Our current thinking is around our IT distribution channel and direct, said Matthew Wagner, senior manager of product marketing at the Palo Alto, California-based vendor. However, that’s not to say we’re ruling out deep partnerships with operators, which are key to making these products work, and we may collaborate on innovative approaches that leverage our respective strengths.
Clearly, as Wagner pointed out, these are a new type of product for operators compared to phones or PDAs, and they are more complex both to sell and support. There will also be commercial issues, as operators have traditionally subsidized mobile devices, but if they were to start doing the same for laptops, traditional IT channel partners could be miffed. That’s not to say it won’t be tried; there will be lots of experiments in the coming months and years, Wagner said.
HP has just demo’ed cellular data connectivity for the GSM world in its laptops, showing its broadband wireless business notebooks at last week’s 3GSM event in Barcelona, Spain.
The devices were fitted with chips enabling connections to 3G (W-CDMA) and 3.5G (HSDPA) networks in the GSM line of development, which is the sole radio access technology used in Europe, but is also in the rest of the world, being the most widely deployed globally, with over a billion subscribers. The GSM line is also in the States, Japan and Latin America, though in those geographies it competes with the rival CDMA technology, which worldwide has around 200 million subscribers.