Virtual Society: 2005

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2005 was the year the world woke up to 3G. While CDMA2000-based, 3G systems have been deployed by vendors such as KDDI (Japan), SK Telecom (South Korea), Sprint (USA), and Verizon Wireless (USA) for years, UMTS-based 3G systems have been delayed until recently. Vodafone's 2004 launch of UMTS in Europe proved successful and other mobile companies were quick to catch up. CDMA2000 companies responded to the new pressure by deploying CDMA2000 1X-EV-DO, an even faster version of the technology. Mergers continued in the telecommunications industry. Those companies that fell behind technologically were acquired by other companies who had successfully capitalised on the potential of these technologies. New sleek, powerful handsets based on Symbian and Microsoft platforms came on to the market. Users now had the ability to get email and web access on-the-go. By the end of 2005, about one third of the markets in developed countries were using 3G.

Other technologies continued to grow in 2005 as well. HDTV and Digital Video Recorders like TiVo grew in popularity. These devices further accelerated the convergence of television and the PC. As program sharing and P2P file sharing proliferated, entertainment companies became outraged and sued everyone they could (i.e., DVR makers, cable companies, ISPs, individual users, etc.) but still failed to stem the tide of media swapping.

Increasingly stricter immigration restrictions in Europe and America only hastened the shift of technology development to places such as India and China. The first WiMAX devices started to appear on the market. However, the networks were still only present in a few cities and the costs were high. Thus, people continued to use 3G and traditional 802.11 WiFi technologies.

By 2005, peer-to-peer telephony, leveraging VoIP, gained widespread acceptance worldwide. In developing countries, lower telecommunication costs became a source of competitiveness: “connected” companies possessed a cost advantage over those that where not “connected.”. As a result, overall penetration of technology and of the Internet in these societies increased in general.

Mordechai's morning commute