2006: The Quotes of the Year
Sometimes in wireless the gap between talk and reality can be strikingly wide. Consider the words of Google's senior vice president of engineering and research Alan Eustace at a show in London this year. “We’re now in the golden age of technology,” he said. “This is as good as it gets.” (See Google's Mobile Challenge.)
Which might be true from where Eustace is sitting, but could ring hollow to users trying to connect to Google's WiFi mesh network in Mountain View, Calif. "While I can see and connect from inside my home, the service isn't useable at all no matter where I am while inside. Yet, if I go outside and position myself near Google's AP on the street, the signal from my own cheapy AP is strong and very usable," noted one unhappy user on a Google message board. (See WiFi Outlook Cloudy in Mountain View.)
Here are a few more golden words from players, observers, and hard-core users in the wireless arena, all from Unstrung's 2006 coverage:
"There is an old joke within the wireless industry, from years ago, that, in the beginning, God created the heavens, part of which is the electromagnetic spectrum. He then gave the spectrum to Motorola, who tells the FCC what to do with it. Maybe it’s not that much of a joke anymore," Craig Mathias, principal at the Farpoint Group and Unstrung columnist, on Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) flexing its M&A muscles. (See Motorola Gobbles Symbol.)
"There is no doubt that Palm is a company whose best days are behind it, as it struggles to maintain a foothold in a rapidly expanding smartphone market," Carmi Levy, senior research analyst with Info-Tech Research Group , on the waning fortunes of the Treo maker. (See It's Not Easy Being Palm.)
"I think they realize what they need to execute their asses off," Ruckus Wireless Inc. communications director David Callisch, on enterprise WLAN vendor Aruba Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ARUN) as it brought on ex-Alteon guy, Dominic Orr, as new CEO.
"Now, not only are they an unknown or an underdog, but they are strapped to merciless VCs and ignorant shareholders. I would prefer to stick with small private companies, or small public companies that have weathered several years of storms," Roger Cass, CTO at Cincinnati-based healthcare firm MediSync, on IPOs in general. (See Aruba Plots Imminent IPO.)
"I think it's going to be a nightmare. I just know the problems we're going through today. For example, we've got some salespeople on the old AT&T accounts and some on Cingular -- they're sending me two different invoices, and when I call billing they go, 'Oh well we don't know anything about that, that's AT&T.' I'm just imagining what the back-end nightmare is going to be," Manny Singh, director of IT for Bedford Park, Ill.-based Prairie Packaging, Inc., on fixed-mobile converge efforts from big carriers. (See Cautious on Convergence.)
"We're trying to make the capabilities we're implementing today at the shipyard more widely available for the state to look at. We eat our own dog food," J.D. Longmire, director of IT operations for Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, on the disaster-recovery effort at the company's Pascagoula, Mississippi facilities. (See Opportunity From Disaster.)
"WiFi is a great technology, but as a wide area network for what we in the industry call mobile broadband, it's just not happening," Lars Johnsson, vice president of business development at Beceem, on the munificipal wireless networks being installed across the country. (See Beceem Gets MS Stamp.)
"Bluetooh [sic] - Please Just Turn It Off," security consultants Thierry Zoller and Kevin Finistere, in a succinct -- if misspelled -- presentation plea. (See Bluetooth Security Still Wobbly.)
Finally, if the hype, wireless security paranoia, and the struggle to find a WiFi signal do get a little much over the holiday season, just recall this handy mantra: "I thought it was bollocks," an unidentified, apparently British, attendee after a conference presentation at Mobile Business Expo, in Chicago. (See It's All Bollocks.)
Sometimes, just sometimes, words to live by.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, and Richard Martin, Senior Editor,Unstrung