IEEE Spectrum writes:
A cellphone based on software-defined radio would be lighter, smaller, cheaper, and more power efficient. Whats more, it would be better at making calls: instead of being stuck with one frequency or even one cellular carrier, it would automatically search out the best and least expensive way of connecting. And equipment makers wouldnt need to overhaul their products to fit every new telecommunications standard. Wireless providers would be able to roll out new services easily and troubleshoot technical glitches with a simple download.
We arent there yet, but software-defined radio is definitely coming. Dont expect an overnight transformation, though. After all, it took years for the PC to sweep aside the IBM Selectric typewriter. This revolution, too, is bound to happen in a series of incremental but significant steps.
Steps like this: Vanu, a small Cambridge, Mass., company, says that this year it will begin selling the first cellular base station that can simultaneously process two waveformsCDMA (short for code division multiple access) and GSM (global system for mobile communications)all in software running on off-the-shelf computer servers.