This week saw the 5,000th gadget certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, whose program began in 2000. In the last year, 1,000 new devices were certified. Of the total, 438 are 802.11n, even though the standard is still, technically, a draft.
To get an idea of how far we've moved on in 8 years, here's the very first WiFi-certified device, the Cisco Aironet 340 Access Point and AIR-PCM340 Wireless PC Card, and the 5,000th, Sony Ericsson's C905a dual-mode cell phone.
Cisco's kit included a router and the plug-in PCMCIA module needed to communicate with it. This was expensive gear, eight years ago, marketed directly to the enterprise. Here's part of the marketing blurb from its product page:
The Cisco Aironet 340 Series is a comprehensive family of client adapters and access points that enables organizations to integrate the freedom and flexibility of wireless local-area networking into their information systems. The Cisco Aironet 340 Series client adapters and access points are designed to meet the mobility, performance, security, interoperability/management, and reliability requirements of in-building wireless local-area networks (WLANs) within enterprise-wide information infrastructures or as free standing all-wireless networks. The Aironet 340 Series products provide value-added features that are ideal for: IT professionals or business executives who want mobility within the enterprise, as an addition or alternative to wired networks, business owners or IT directors who need flexibility for frequent LAN wiring changes, either throughout the site or in selected areas, and any company whose site is not conducive to LAN wiring because of building or budget limitations, such as older buildings, leased space, or temporary sites.
Exciting stuff, huh? Times have changes, of course, and we're to the point where the lack of WiFi in pretty much anything is more remarkable than its inclusion. Here's Sony Ericsson's pitch for the forthcoming C905a cell phone, claimed to be a "real alternative" to a camera. It ships soon and is rumored to be subsidized by AT&T.
The C905 is Sony Ericsson's first Cyber-shot slider and its most advanced camera phone yet. With an 8.1 megapixel camera and real camera flash amongst its cutting-edge capabilities, it offers easy photo-taking in a phone that derives its looks from a digital camera and offers the picture quality to match. In comparison the S302 Snapshot is for those who want it all at an affordable price – good looks, must-have features and a pocket-sized slim design.