Cellular telephones just weren't enough. With the growth of cellular networks in the 1990's, consumers grew accustomed to the comfort of "wireless connectivity," in spite of the price to pay in terms of diminished privacy. Consumers demanded smaller phones, and wanted more functions in their portable units. Long forgotten were those "suitcase phones" of the early Motorola cellular trials, replaced by handsets now curiously similar in size to those early Motorola hand pagers.
But that was all simple communications by means of wireless technology. Consumers now want data, text messaging, video on demand, and a host of other services that require more bandwidth. Just when it appeared that we had enough wireless standards, the IEEE 802.16e WiMAX standard is poised to provide these diverse services through its efficient use of limited bandwidth. Research firms like In-Star are projecting 19.7 million worldwide WiMAX subscribers by 2010, with enormous growth potential in under-developed areas.
The need for low-cost devices such as the Skyworks module (see below) and for the test equipment to evaluate those devices will grow quickly with the demand, just as for every wireless protocol that came before. Consumers appear to have a voracious appetite for wireless services and devices, with WiMAX toys next on the list.