Shop-keeper: Is mein double camera hain. (This phone has a dual-camera).This was the conversation I overheard when I was at a shopping mall recently. And as I curiously nosed around, I saw the buyer finally purchasing that cell-phone. Then I realized, one out of every five mid-range mobile-phones that are manufactured these days support this latest form of mobile technology; 3G.
For the uninformed readers, 3G is the gradual progression of the mobile standards and technology. Till the GSM era, people could use cell-phones as internet devices with a theoretical speed barrier of 236.8 kbit/s (EDGE). This still is the case here. And it's irritating, considering the proliferating broadband connections in India. Yes, when you have pages loading just a few seconds after you hit the enter key on your desktops, you'd sort of want to be blessed with similar speeds on your phone.
And this is where 3G and its varied iterations can help. With many phones currently supporting up to 3.6 Mbit/s speeds (HSDPA), true mobile broadband is not far from reality3G will let people do things that they aren't very keen on doing on their cellular device now. Other than faster internet browsing, higher speeds will mainly allow us to make video-calls (thus the presence of the secondary camera on the front), stream good quality videos without any lag, make voice-calls over the internet by using software like Skype, download media directly on the phone and also help laptops get their share of the high-speed pie (by the use of 3G network cards) among others.
I was really happy to see India in the iPhone 3G's official list of countries in which it is to be launched by the end of this year. I was a lot more surprised when today I saw Vodafone (one of the major carriers getting the iPhone here) advertised its arrival soon in leading newspapers. I had somehow hoped that the new iPhone and 3G technology will make a grand appearance together by the end of the year. But then the "some features (pertaining to 3G) may not be available currently" clause at the end of the ad dismissed my hope. Although technically speaking, it wouldn't make right business sense for Vodafone to put the iPhone 3G's launch on hold till they get their 3G service rolling. The iPhone itself will be a big hit here; 3G or no 3G.
Bottom line..the wait for 3G goes on..and we can only hope that by the end of this year, we can finally enjoy what people in many countries have been experiencing for many years now.