Nintendo handheld will drive WiFi

Nintendo's new DS handheld will include WiFi. The successor to the wildly successful GameBoy will allow DS owners to play games with other nearby DS users and/or access the Internet via a WiFi hotspot.

That may sound ho-hum, but kids with WiFi devices will change the way we think about WiFi. Kids will want it at the candy store, at the gas station (download some new games while Dad is gassing up), at parks and recreation centers--in short, everywhere.

Communities should start thinking now about WiFi zones and WiFi blankets (collections of hotspots). And guess what? Whole families will want WiFi access, and many will happily pay for a family subscription.

Anything that expands the marketplace for services is a good thing. Along with that, we've also got to think about the implications of kids being connected to the Internet anywhere they go, and in many places where Mom and Dad can't supervise. It's a whole problem itself, and we need to think in parallel. We can't stop this new technology, but we do have an obligation, to our own families and children, and to the community at large, to make sure we use it sensibly, and that our kids are prepared to use these new information portals appropriately.