From walkie talkies to the mobile internet

11 Feb

In my childhood, the dream present was a pair of ‘walkie talkies’. In their absence, we were quite proud that a string held taught between two empty tin cans created a workable low-tech alternative.

Today, everyone has a much more powerful communications device in their pocket. And it’s not limited to phone calls and texts; you can have web browsing in the palm of your hand, too.

I, too, was trying a 3 Skype phone before Christmas. I found the mobile Skype function a disappointment, so chose not to blog about it. Yet the revelation to me was just how much web browsing is possible with a 3G phone. Those of us who remember WAP and recall the huge prices paid at auction for 3G spectrum had every right to be suspicious of the functionality and the likely cost to us of embracing this new technology. Yet for some, the ability to update your Facebook status at any time and to view a YouTube video will certainly be worth the cost. For some applications, the phone is now a realistic alternative to a PC or laptop.

For me, I’m not ready to abandon my familiar phone or laptop yet. But I have acquired an iPod Touch because I love the interface and Wi-Fi web browsing in the palm of my hand – without the need to pay for a phone contract (or without the distraction of phone calls). So these are my chosen mobile devices: a 2G Motorola phone for the necessary evil of phone calls and texts; and an iPod Touch for the fun of browsing when out and about.

Gail also uses two devices: a standard Nokia phone and a Blackberry (used for emails only).

I know it’s possible to have one device providing phone calls, music, photography, web browsing and emails – but I’m not yet ready to pay for it. What’s your favourite mobile device?

6 Responses to “From walkie talkies to the mobile internet”

  1. Elif Esiyok 11/02/2008 at 10:24 pm #

    I want to relate this a bit with the “digital immigrants” topic. May be 10 years later when we talk about mobile internet or 3G phones people will laugh because these will be useless and old ideas.
    Companies create a demand. They want to put everything (half photograph, half internet or etc…) and they want to sell it. According to me; those products can not do everthing 100%, for example; I can take only 2 megapixel photograph with my camera. They only give consumer a chance to use one device for many things.
    I prefer to use phone as a SMS or calling tool, camera for taking photos and my laptop for connecting to intenet…
    As I mentioned at the beggining, the reason why they are far away from me is, may be related with me being as an “digital immigrant” I become an adult between old and new world🙂 So in some terms I am a little bit conservative.

  2. Jack Adlam 12/02/2008 at 2:25 am #

    I find myself agreeing with Elif, I have a phone (k800i) that allows me to connect to the internet, however all I effectively use it for is finding out the football scores on a Saturday, it is a fairly redundant function of my phone otherwise.
    Whilst there is no doubt a huge oppertunity for growth in the mobile phone industry, I still have no desire to actively search for a device especially that offers calls, texts, photo taking, music playing and access to the internet into one device, and this is from the perspective of a student!

  3. Heather Smith 12/02/2008 at 1:57 pm #

    What’s your favourite mobile device?
    My notebook and pen – the batteries haven’t run out on me once.
    I’ll get my (hairskin) coat and shuffle back to my cave then…

  4. Rob Skinner 18/02/2008 at 1:08 pm #

    Like Jack, I have a Sony Ericsson K800i. It’s a nice phone with a great camera. I do occasionally use it to surf and to blog, but frustratingly the built-in blogging option only works for Blogger, not Typepad. I use my Dell Axim Pocket PC for wireless internet, which works well. The larger screen is a big advantage over that of a mobile phone.
    I can see why people dream about a device that does everything. But inevitable compromises involved suggest that we’ll still be buying separate devices for some time to come.

  5. Heather Yaxley 18/02/2008 at 4:06 pm #

    Richard, Like you, I have just bought an iTouch and I love it, but… Why should I have to take it back to the shop or pay £12.99 because the January software update isn’t automatically included when I bought the iTouch in February? And why didn’t anyone advise me that waiting a couple of weeks, I could also have bought an iTouch with double the memory?

  6. Richard Bailey 18/02/2008 at 4:44 pm #

    Heather:
    I downloaded the software update for free from iTunes – but there was a scary warning that suggested I might have to revert to the earlier version get things working properly.
    In the event, all was well. The browsing’s a delight, though the BBC iPlayer is incompatible with Safari.

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