It doesn’t have to be 802.11G or N – it could be the incredibly low powered 802.11b electronics that are pervasive in super-small mobile phones like the iPhone. The bottleneck in speed isn’t going to be the Wifi. At least not this year. Cost-wise, an unlimited data plan is about $80/month these days. I can handle that.
Think of it. You get to use all of your wifi devices, computer, cell phone, tablet etc anywhere you go. It is always on and is very small. It would only sign on when you tried to access the net and could have different levels of security to protect you from getting hacked.
Who could make such a device? Novatel would be a good candidate as the make a great deal of SIM Card wireless devices. So could Nokia or any of the other handset providers. In fact, they could make one out of the N95 and throw in GPS to boot. The hardware is there. Just write the software.
Larger variants like Junxion boxes already exist and the even less expensive DLink variant can be had for under $200. You can technically make one out of a Sony UX series or OQO device but thats overkill and still too big and too little battery.
But there is no reason why these things can’t be made way way smaller. Perhaps the size of a deck of cards. About 1/2 of that deck of cards is battery which should last 24 hours. If you need more, you get an extended battery that is another deck of cards in size. Now you have a whole 3 day weekend worth of broadband network in your pocket. Or your briefcase or car or whatever.
Then you can start adding things like (SAN) memory, GPS receiver and bluetooth. All things you don’t need in your hand – things you can leave in your briefcase. The new hand gadgets (like iPhone) would pick up on this device and use it for all kinds of fun stuff. You could even share it with your friends and colleagues.
With VOIP, the traditional telecoms are all but dead in terms of phone service. Skype, SIP variants and Vonage could all use this device to have an always on mobile phone. The telecoms could focus on their strong points – delivering packets quickly, efficiently and everywhere.
This device that doesn’t exist? It will. The future will be begging for them.
btw – I hope I am wrong and something like this already exists. If so, please point me to it so I can join the future.
Update: Cradle has answered our prayers