Users should avoid buying notebook PCs with integrated wireless technology until after 2008, due to the risk of wireless obsolescence, Gartner warned at its wireless summit in London this week.
The analyst firm said the 3G interface may become obsolete before the notebook, as notebooks typically last four years within business, while 3G could be obsolete within two.
Separate plug-in 3G data cards will provide more flexibility and upgradeability for most corporate users, it suggested
There is also a support issue, said Gartner. "Mobile operators have neither the skills nor the support organisation to operate a business that involves software subscription services."
This could occur if a software update applied automatically affects an established application, or if a user wants to upgrade from, say, Windows XP to Vista but the operator cannot supply 3G drivers for obsolete data cards.
Gartner said the only time integrated 3G might be desirable is when it is used for a fixed business function that is unlikely to change during the lifetime of the device. It advised users who do decide to buy notebooks with integrated 3G to demand a price and specification for 3G wireless adapter upgrades during the life of the notebook.
Mobile operators and contracts should be tactical selections. Firms should avoid lock-in to contracts or value-added services, Gartner advised.