Apple notes it is
the only player one of two players in WiFi enabled smart phones offering expanded reach when cell coverage is, well, not so good. This week, NEC was issued a related patent on wirelessly downloading files by selecting between cellular or WiFi networks reminding us that the iPhone is going to launch with so many cool features, and will most happily step on some toes in doing so.
NEC has been working a bit with WiFi enabled cell phone technologies. Details on the latest after the jump…
Using a cell phone to reduce download costs, NEC’s technology determines availability of networks and, in knowing charing formats (e.g. flat rate for WiFi + broadband v. variable rate for most cell plans), can automatically determine the cheaper path for a file download.
For a bit of details:
1. A method for downloading a data file to a portable communications terminal comprising:
said portable communication terminal automatically selecting from a first wireless path having flat rate billing and a second wireless path having measured rate billing, said automatic selecting including:
detecting whether said first wireless path is available to said portable communications terminal for downloading said file at the current location and in response to detecting that said first wireless path is available at said current location, said portable communication terminal downloading said file using said first wireless path, and in response to detecting that said first wireless path is not available at said current location, detecting whether said second wireless path is available and, in response to detecting that said second path is available, said portable communication terminal downloading said file from said second wireless path.
With [still pretty darn expensive] all-you-can-get data plans in cellular, download speed may be more important than cost, but not everyone will be up for full access data plans at ~$40/month making this concept worth being expanded upon.