About half a year ago I had a chat with some folks from iPass, the Wi-Fi hotspot aggregators. At the time, they said it was not sensible for businesses to buy laptops with embedded 3G/HSDPA/HSUPA/etc, largely because - as the preceding acronymic string suggests - a newer, better standard gets released roughly every few seconds.
But no longer! Yesterday at the Mobile Broadband Congress in West London, I asked Gary Negus of iPass whether this was still the case. No, he said, "the world has moved on. We're not anti-embedded. Our perspective is to stay agnostic. Users don't care about the bandwidth. They just want it to work. A lot of advances have been made in embedded chipsets."
Leaving aside the matter that he was sitting next to representatives from Orange, Microsoft and Qualcomm, all of whom are very enthusiastic about embedded - not to mention the extraordinary amount of activity that seems to have occurred in the last six months - he does have a point. It's all a bit like what 3's been saying recently: mobile broadband technology has already hit the point where advertisements pushing faster (theoretical) speeds means not a lot at all. Mobile broadband is now pretty much on a par with most people's DSL experience, and all that really matters to people now is coverage and indoor penetration.
For now then, success. Until they're trying to sell us LTE/WiMax, at which point the tune might change again.