Motorola has taken femtocell innovation to the next level with a new CDMA femtocell prototype which integrates a CDMA femtocell with a digital touchscreen picture frame and VOIP soft phone to enhance end-user experience and improve overall radio performance. This form factor allows a consumer to deploy a femtocell in a central location in their living environment without looking like a piece of networking equipment while integrating well into the home environment. It also eliminates the need to keep a femtocell physically tethered to a broadband connection. This helps solve coverage and interference issues that are expected to arise with femtocell deployments by encouraging the consumer to place the device in a prolific location, likely to be more central in their residence. The VOIP soft phone inclusion was a natural next step as femtocells have gotten a lot of attention for landline replacement. Since the device has touch-screen capability, the user is able to interact with the device to manage subscribers, obtain radio performance and optimal location, and push home coverage needs to the operator to help better plan the home radio network.
-Harsha Hegde, Distinguished Member of Technical Staff for H&NM
The Motorola folks have been shooting a lot of video over the last six months, and I’ve started posting clips here when there’s something I find particularly interesting. The video above shows a concept demonstration of a CDMA femtocell embedded in a digital photo frame. While we don’t see a lot of femtocell deployments yet, we’ve already heard buzz from Comcast that it plans to pursue WiMAX femtocells as part of the Clearwire rollout. And there is talk about using femtocells in certain hot spots to boost LTE service when that comes to market. The gist of the idea is that operators could promote 4G speeds in certain hotspots before network coverage is available everywhere.
The point of all this is that femtocells have the potential to become a substantial part of our wireless infrastructure. But who wants another device to clutter up the shelves? It makes a lot of sense to combine a femtocell with another existing product like a digital photo frame.
I think we’re going to see a lot more of this particular kind of convergence in the near future. IP stations in the home with multiple functions that have nothing to do with traditional PC computing. Like my Squeezebox that plays Internet radio stations but also shows RSS tickers… and could do so much more.