Wireless prophets predict a future filled with phones that will alert you to sales at nearby stores, play your favorite song or video, and even locate you in an emergency.
There’s just one hitch.
Even with 4 billion Internet addresses, current Web technology is expected to be swamped in 2005 amid a flood of devices ranging from third-generation phones to refrigerators and cars that will all need an address to link to the Web.
The pending crunch comes from a dated addressing standard, in use since 1983, when the Internet was launched.
Some experts predict that the world’s 480 million mobile phone users today will top 1 billion by 2003, while Internet users will surge from 400 million today to 1 billion by 2005 and 3 billion by 2010.
Those devices are in addition to an estimated 1 billion cars by 2010 and the billions of Internet appliances forecast for the future.