Even as 3G is still making inroads into the country, the latest generation of mobile technology is here. So what does it have in store for us? A bag of tricks,it seems
For many of us children of the ’80s and ’90s, technology was wonderful. We witnessed the birth of the mobile phone. We saw the coming-of-age of the personal computer. For us, Internet was a wonder, the greatest invention of our time. We didn’t mind, to set a movie for download in the morning, come back after work, eat, read, sleep, walk the dog and come back to find it, still crawling desperately to the finish line. We couldn’t quite conceive then, of a day when we’d be able to stream a video online, have a download ready in the same time it takes to make maggi and, and have it all on the go, on our very own smart phone. All of that had once seemed like a distant reality. But, here we are now already in the future.
Even as rows over 2G auctions go on and Abhishek Bachchan’s omniscient Idea 3G campaign fades from memory, 4G has arrived. Qualcomm just bagged a license and Airtel has already deployed its wi-fi services in Bengaluru.
So we know, 4G essentially means that everything you can do on your PC, you can now do on your mobiles at the better speed and with stability. But just how different will it be? We give you the pros and cons.
Speed like you’ve never seen before
Okay, lets put it this way. 3G’s thoroughput is about 3 mbps. So, as speeds go, 3G is pretty fast. That is, until you consider 4G. Providers claim that 4G has the potential estimated to be 10 times that. In the range of 100 – 300 mbps, to be precise. Unbelievable? Maybe. Practically speaking, experts say it will be average about 3-5 mbps, which on your mobile phone is seriously fast.
Never having to wait again
Even at the best of times, streaming videos on a mobile phone is not the best of experiences. The frames are fuzzy and pixelated making it a long way from the experience you get on a PC. But unlimited speed that comes with 4G means watching high definition YouTube videos, downloading music on the go, surfing the web 10x faster, gaming and more will be absolutely seamless.
Finally Skype, video conferences and video calls will never be more fun to use than when 4G kicks in. Since the networks are fast and consistent, they will support cheap VoiP services, making video finally viable.
At long last, 4G might force us to wake up to the infinite potential of the devices we access, coercing the network providers to offer wi-fi hotspots around the country therefore making it ideal to access 4G devices.
Many complain that 3G networks are crowded, and carriers put caps on how much data you can use per month. On the other hand, 4G with its incredible bandwidth might be more inclined towards offering truly unlimited plans, letting you use as much as bandwidth as you want.
A natural by product of slow internet speed is that high resolution files, especially pictures, clicked on phones are reduced dramatically when uploaded, thereby lowering the quality. Similarly, transfer of heavy files, downloads of apps take forever on mobiles today. With the emergence of 4G, these will automatically become non-issues.
On the Flip side
- Limited coverage: It might be a while yet before there’s complete 4G coverage in India.
- Accelerated battery drain: Faster speeds means more stress on battery, making 4G enabled handsets to be heavier.
- Needs 4G enabled handsets: Only android powered devices, notably Samsung and Motorola currently support 4G
- Trial and Error: Considering how new it is, there might be many glitches before we enjoy 4G at its best.