WiFi enabled cell phones are now the latest favorite among the masses. The sales of these phones are estimated to touch almost 200% per annum. What are these WiFi phones and how do they help? This article aims to give you complete information on WiFi cell phones, how they work, various WiFi-enabled smartphone models available today and whether they are meant for you. Hope you find this post useful in making your decision about purchasing a new cell phone or smartphone.
What is a WiFi cell phone?
A WiFi cell phone, commonly referred to as a cell-Internet phone or cellular-Internet phone, is essentially a cell phone that comes with an additional feature of switching between normal cellular and WiFi VoIP modes, even as conversation is in process. The built-in WiFi LAN, here, is what functions as a cellular repeater for this cell phone.
Sometimes, a drop-out occurs when cell phones cannot sustain constant contact with the repeater. Such drop-outs usually occur in densely populated regions and enclosed buildings, which tend to block the RF (Radio Frequency) signals between mobile phones and outdoor repeaters. WiFi cell phones are designed with a view to preventing these incidences.
In case the building allows WiFi access, the call is transferred from the traditional cellular network to the WiFi LAN, using VoIP technology to maintain the call. Likewise, the call taking place within a WiFi hotspot range can be seamlessly handed over to the conventional cellular network, in case the user moves away from the hotspot range, during the course of conversation. This facility gives the user greater flexibility to use his mobile devices and also substantially reduces Internet costs for him/her.
Cell phone and smartphone companies are now bringing out more and more WiFi-enabled phones, thereby creating opportunities for collaboration and also more competition for various carriers. This works out in favour of customers too.
While earlier versions of WiFi phones failed to make their mark on the market, the smartphones today manage to deliver all they promise and more. T-Mobile, Bell, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless are all into the WiFi fray right now. While the new WiFi technology could result in carriers losing their money if a large number of users shifted to this, many actually welcome this move as an opportunity to move away from the conventional telecommunication that we have seen so far.
Some of the most popular WiFi-enabled cell phones today are Nokia 5800, Nokia N80, N91, N92; RIM Blackberry Bold, Curve, Pearl; Palm Treo, Pro; Apple iPhone and iPhone 3GS; T-Mobile Dash, Sony Ericsson Xperia, P990i; and HP iPAQ hw6925. All HTC cell phones and smartphones are good with their WiFi ability as well. Generally, it is advisable to purchase a WiFi cell phone with a bigger display screen, as this will give you a better user experience, especially while browsing the web and carrying on IM chat.
Pros and cons of WiFi cell phones
- With WiFi, the user can download huge data either at a far lower cost per megabyte, as compared to using 3G networks.
- One can make far cheaper or even free VoIP and VoWiFi calls on their cell phone, as against high charges levied by regular cell phones and smartphones.
- All that you need to set up an ad hoc WiFi network with WiFi-enabled smartphones is a WiFi router, WalkingHotSpot and JoikuSpot.
- A WiFi-enabled handheld could even replace your laptop when you are on the go.
- Roaming between WiFi hotspots is still a problem with WiFi-enabled cell phones. The handover from one access point to another is still to evolve fully.
- Using WiFi substantially reduces the smartphone’s battery power.
- Online security is the biggest issue with WiFi. There is almost no security yet, with these networks.
- Though there is yet no conclusive medical evidence, over-exposure to RF and WiFi radiation may present a serious health hazard.