It seemed that everyone was jumping on the PC data card bandwagon, and for good reason. The simple cards provided mobile broadband, making it easy to use your PC on the go, and without the need to head to a Wi-Fi hotspot to get online. However, adoption of the technology slowed considerably in the fourth quarter of last year.
But there is good news in that slowdown. Most notable is that the fourth quarter still saw a growth rate of about five percent, which is still growth. And any expert will say growth of any kind in a bad economy is still good. Of course we need to see how the first quarter of 2009 pans out, but considering that the six consecutive quarters prior to Q4 of 2008 saw double-digit growth, we can only expect the numbers to be somewhat down.
And before all the blame gets laid on the economy it is worth remembering that where there is growth for a new technology, there is always going to be a point of mass penetration where everyone who has it, or is using it, is already doing so. It could be that PC data cards have hit the saturation point.
According to a new study by comScore, Inc. the subscriber base decelerated in Q4 2008. This study examined the usage and characteristics of mobile PC data card users through data collected from computers where Internet access was via a mobile broadband Internet Service Provider (ISP). The study did find that PC data card adoption grew 163 percent overall in 2008, and that was ahead of the 157 percent growth rate from 2007. The growth rate in the third quarter of last year was at 22 percent, and down to 5 percent in the final quarter.
It is also worth noting that all this means that mobile usage remains on the rise. That could be good news for businesses that continue to offer mobile Wi-Fi access. I’ll be watching to see whether those numbers are sharply down as well.
Another Mobile App Store Coming Soon
File this one in the “we didn’t see it coming” bin. U.S. cable giant Cox Communication could be launching its own mobile app store. This is according to The Wall Street Journal, which reports that the company is partnering with mobile content and applications provider mPortal to develop the store. Cox, which presently is the third largest cable operator in the United States, has more than six million subscribers, mostly in the South and Southwest.
The Atlanta-based company had announced last fall that it would build its own wireless network when it bought spectrum in a government auction. So far the company has further announced that it would offer services over Sprint’s network until its own is completed.
Rumor & Releases: HTC Snap Coming to T-Mobile?
Nothing is ever just a snap when it comes to rolling out a new mobile handset, but Taiwanese mobile handset maker HTC might have another opinion on the matter. At the CTIA 2009 last week the HTC Snap was unveiled, and the smartphone, which includes a QWERTY keyboard, might just debut summer, possibly replacing the T-Mobile Dash. The smartphone for T-Mobile customers, called the HTC S522 a.k.a. “Snap,” could arrive this summer.