Analyst firm In-Stat is predicting that a cocktail of network access technologies will become a defining feature of handsets as they continue to evolve from linear voice and text devices to more complex multimedia beasts.
The analyst pointed to an impressive array of radio access technologies already in play — from cellular in its various forms, to 3G and HSPA data networks, to video-broadcast technologies, such as DVB-H, to short-range connectivity technologies, such as Bluetooth, along with location-position technology GPS, and Wi-Fi.
In-Stat said it expects more devices to connect via multiple networks so users can be assured of connectivity and can select a preferred network based on factors such as availability, cost and speed.
WiMax radios are also eventually expected to appear in smaller devices, after initially finding their way into laptop-sized PCs, the analyst added.
Speaking to ZDNet.co.uk sister site silicon.com earlier this year, Wi-Fi trade association the Wi-fi Alliance said Wi-Fi is increasingly being added to mobiles, as having wireless and cellular radios offers advantages for both users and operators; the users get the best of both worlds and the carrier gets the best of the spectrum management.
Key factors expected to shape handsets in the coming five years include the Apple iPhone, alternative networks such as Wi-Fi and WiMax, and mobile TV and video, according to In-Stat.