Wi-Fi mobiles 'will be as common as Wi-Fi laptops'

Big with logistics and healthcare...

Big with logistics and healthcare...

Converged Wi-Fi and VoIP phones are still a drop in the handset ocean this year - but don't rule them out as the next big thing yet, a new report has suggested.

Revenue from Wi-Fi/VoIP handsets totalled $54.7m last year with 130,000 units sold, according to Infonetics Research.

Vertical markets are a particular hot spot for Wi-Fi/VoIP handsets, with logistics and healthcare likely to drive growth in the future as the spread of enterprise WLANs continues.

The consumer market may also help fuel uptake, as service providers start to bundle Wi-Fi routers and VoIP offerings along with traditional broadband packages. Infonetics' biannual report predicts strong growth for Wi-Fi/VoIP handsets until at least 2009.

Converged VoWLAN (voice over WLAN) and mobile handsets remain small fry, netting just $6.7m in revenue in 2004. The future, however, looks bright for such dual-mode devices. Infonetics predicts that in a few years' time, VoWLAN functionality will become as standard in mobiles as Wi-Fi capability is in laptops today.