Sony says the idea of embedding cellular chips into its laptops for the business market, as Dell, Lenovo and HP plan to do for Verizon and Cingular in the US, looks unlikely in Europe.
Verizon recently unveiled a deal with the three big laptop manufacturers in September, whereby they will ship their products with EV-DO chipsets from Qualcomm already embedded in them, thus obviating the need for users to buy data cards. Cingular has announced a deal with Dell for embedded connectivity to its GSM network (i.e. enabling GPRS/EDGE/HSDPA services).
In Europe, meanwhile, Vodafone has told analysts it is in talks with several laptop vendors for a similar offering. Sony, however, says a European offering along these lines is a more difficult proposition.
In the US it’s easier, because there are only a few operators and they cover the entire geography, said a spokesperson for the company. In Europe we spoke to the governments and they were quite keen, but they said the operators saw a lot of problems around roaming.
Of course, such an issue would not affect Vodafone, as it has properties throughout the region, so subscribers will roam on other Vodafone networks, but for operators with one or two countries only, it would appear to be something of an issue.