Consumer electronics converges with Wi-Fi

Consumer electronics converges with Wi-Fi

New internet-connected gadgets on the horizon

Market watchers are predicting the arrival of a new class of Wi-Fi enabled portable consumer electronics devices.

Phil Solis, principal analyst at ABI Research, said: "The market for cellular-enabled consumer electronics devices will gather momentum in 2008 and 2009 with Qualcomm's Snapdragon platform.

"As mobile WiMax networks increase their coverage, more WiMax-only devices will be sold."

Solis added that the 2008 to 2009 time period will be "critical" for the development of this market.

Mobile service providers will increasingly tailor services to users of these next-generation devices, according to ABI Research.

SK Telecom is currently offering services for Samsung's HSDPA-enabled camera, and Sprint Nextel and Clearwire are expected to promote connectivity for a wide range of WiMax-enabled consumer electronics devices.

However, Solis warned that this emerging market is being held back by consumer electronics manufacturers which consider the integration of Wi-Fi as "nearly cost-prohibitive".

"The benefits outweigh the additional costs, but the challenge for vendors is to sell consumers on those benefits," said Solis.