In the past, I've not been convinced by some of the conspiracy theories around some operators' alleged rabid diapproval of WiFi. Yes, Verizon has been a bit of an outlier on this, and some parts of Asia (China, Japan, Korea) have not been especially enthusiastic dual-mode WiFi/cellular.
My general impression is that when it comes to smartphones, most of the more progressive operators are now relatively open-minded about WiFi. It works OK, battery performance has improved, it's not generally used for canibalising applications - most VoWLAN is usually incremental not substitutive - and it's seen as an important utility by a fair proportion of users and developers. Not only that, but WiFi is starting to be valuable in offloading data traffic from the macrocellular network.
The situation with featurephones has been a bit different - WiFi has been seen as less valuable, software complexities reduce its utility, and the customer base is perhaps more likely to make expensive technical support calls about relatively trivial problems that smartphone-using peers could fix themselves.
The iPhone has demonstrated how appreciated it is. And almost all other top-end smartphones now have WiFi - Nokias, various Windows devices, the Android G1, quite a few of the recent Samsung Symbian phones and so on. So does the BlackBerry Bold.
Which makes its exclusion from the Verizon / Vodafone BlackBerry Storm all the more mystifying - and, to be honest, it seems rather cynical. Yes, I know it's got EVDO and HSPA in it, so it's a fairly complex RF platform, but that's not a sufficient excuse to hobble what could otherwise be legitimately seen as a proper iPhone peer.
Given that Vodafone has quite a few other WiFi-enabled devices in its portfolio, I guess the finger of blame must point at Verizon on this, which has a lot of "prior" when it comes to hobbling handset features. A real shame, in my view.
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