In today's San Francisco Chronicle by a staff writer:
" There was a time when the primary devices on cellular networks " were cellular phones. " " But those days are giving way to a new reality where cellular " chips are being embedded in a variety of unlikely devices and " machines, everything from dog collars and prescription pill cap " systems to photo frames and smart meters. " " Consumers have gotten a glimpse of the technology through cars " like GM's OnStar-equipped vehicles and devices like the Kindle " that are outfitted with cellular. " " Now with cellular component prices falling and the U.S. mobile " phone market nearly saturated - there were 286 million subscriber " accounts at the end of 2009 - wireless operators and device " manufacturers are moving toward the next big opportunity in " cellular: connecting many of the other devices around us. " " Embedding devices with cellular endows them with intelligence " beyond unconnected machines and provides greater reach and ease " of use than many Wi-Fi devices. Ericsson recently forecast 50 " billion wirelessly connected devices by the year 2020. " " "What you have is this incredibly fantastic time for devices to " be connected to cellular networks," said Craig Harper, president " and founder of Berkeley-based Apisphere. " " Apisphere recently announced plans to sell a dog collar outfitted " with GPS and cellular service. Owners who outfit their pets with " the collar can get e-mail or text alerts when their animals stray " from a certain area and can track their pets on a map. The " service will also be able to send out status updates to social " networks based on an animal's location. " " One of the most aggressive carriers in this new market has been " AT&T, which formed an emerging devices group two years ago. Glenn " Lurie, the president of AT&T's emerging devices organization, " said the carrier now sees a bright future in embedded devices and " is working hard to strike deals with device manufacturers. " " There were 19 devices on AT&T's network last year, and the " company has announced five others this year with many more in the " works. Lurie said the chips could work their way into everything " from shipping containers and clothing to car diagnostic systems " and consumer electronics.
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