ABI Research has announced that it has found shipments of Wi-Fi enabled phones are doubling every two years. Wi-Fi is an important feature today even in phones that offer 3G connectivity. This is thanks to the fact that many 3G networks are notoriously sketchy when it comes to coverage.
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ABI reports that the shipments are expected to double between 2008 and 2010. Forecasts for 2011 expect to see over 300 million Wi-Fi enabled phones ship. One major reason for Wi-Fi capability in mobile devices is that Wi-Fi takes some of the load off the carrier's network.
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For this reason, more and more phones in multiple price ranges are shipping with Wi-Fi today. Wi-Fi’s penetration into handsets has more momentum than the bad economy,” says industry analyst Michael Morgan. “It has become a must-have item much as Bluetooth did earlier. However, just having Wi-Fi in the handset isn’t enough. You have to have a reason for customers to use it. Until now it has been predominantly for data use, with voice struggling to find its niche."