- 12 Feb 08, 07:06 GMT
It's a little white box with a somewhat bizarre name but the Femtocell will have more impact on the way we use phones than any of the flashy new handsets unveiled here. It is device which creates a mini 3g network inside your home and then introduces your mobile to your broadband connection.
The idea is that this means you will not only get a much better signal but be able to receive a lot of services on your mobile that may be difficult to access when you are on the move – catch-up TV, for instance. The mobile operators love the idea because it offers them a cheap way of extending their networks and gets them into the home to compete against fixed-line businesses and VOIP.
Plenty of big firms are showing off Femtocell technology – but a small British start-up Ubiquisys looks to have a good chance of getting the first product onto the market. Its technology is being used in a British trial by O2 and there could be a commercial launch within a year.
Chris Gilbert of Ubiquisys is keen to stress that the Femtocell uses very little power - “An RF engineer would struggle to detect it in your home”- so those who are concerned about health risks from phone masts should no more worry about a Femtocell than about next door's microwave oven.
This is the one device I've seen in Barcelona that really stands out from the crowd in its ability to change the game, But I still think they need to do something about that name.
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