Why the word ‘mobile’ is now more significant than ever.


From the iPhone to the dongle, mobile communications are now more integral to everyday life than ever before. So just what does the word mobile mean in the modern world?

In the last half decade the mobile phone’s development and convergence has liberated many people’s lives far further than just a telecommunications device. The low cost calling plans and 3G web-enabled handsets are now allowing people who previously could not afford PCs or laptops, access to the internet, social networking, e-mail and SMS. This is also a two-way street as it also allows companies that would not have had access to certain groups of consumers to use the mobile medium to develop one to one relationships with their customers and not just use traditional forms of interaction.

As an example I recently ordered a pizza from Papa Johns using just my 3G phone via their web-site. It was an easy and efficient experience from start to finish and I was directed via my postcode to the nearest store, browsed their menu, made my choices and chose a method of payment. I then had an almost instant email confirming my order had been processed, another to say the store had confirmed receipt and was actually making it up, and then a final SMS text to say the pizza was on its way and about to be delivered. All this took a matter of minutes and was 25% cheaper than going into the store, making my order and bringing it home myself. Since then I have had an occasional text alerting me of a special offer, something that’s easy to turn off via a single texting of “STOP” in reply. I’m not complaining as it was my choice to receive the texts in the first place and it got me a great 2 for 1 offer during my last Left 4 Dead zombie-fest with a lounge full of hungry fellow survivors!

Because of the now acceptable speeds of mobile internet, I made a decision a year ago to get rid of my landline and go 100% mobile internet via a 3G dongle. Because I write for two magazines and I’m an Online Editor, I’m continually sending in copy, large high-resolution images and sometimes video. At first I thought I may have ‘issues’, and yes there have been times where I have been half way through uploading to my publishers server and lost my signal, but this has lead me to just change my working practice. I now split my work to send smaller multiple files than one or two large ones, is not a problem just a change in mind-set to accommodate the limitations of the technology.



Another thing I now utilise where available is Wi-Fi hotspots. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that wherever I am in the world, I’ve usually found a network to log onto, offering me a good fast Internet connection. Yes some are ‘pay by the usage’ and require you to register such as BT Open Zone, but for limited use, say a day or two working away from home this is a good option. I mapped my local area using the BT web site and there are 3 Open Zone hotspots within walking distance of my house, and more interestingly 13 in a 10-mile radius. Add to this the private Wi-Fi networks offered by independent cafés, hotels and businesses, and I can almost walk the 5 miles from my house to Solihull with my iPod touch or iPhone, and play connect the dots with the networks. I recently also visited New York and did a search prior to going and was amazed how many thousand Wi-Fi hot spots the whole city has. It almost covers the whole map and proves that it is now possible to get wireless internet access anywhere in the city. The following picture shows each network as a red triangle, zoom in to see how many there are per block!

NYC Wi-Fi Points

I am truly now ‘Mobile’, and have never looked back. I can take my work anywhere with me and not only submit and edit articles on the go, but have instant access to my e-mails, forums and colleagues by IM. My phone is fine for most applications in hurry or basic editing, but as ever not for anything where lots of text inputting is required. My iPhone has become the device of choice when travelling. Allowing me internet, email and so much variety in applications that it’s sometimes hard to keep up. Again this device is limited to how quickly and easily text can be inputted and the need for 3G or Wi-Fi access.

i-Phone 3G

So where do we go from here? Users needs are very different, and that’s why the i-phone has become such a global success. By allowing the user to tailor the functionality and additional uses the phone has, Apple have taken the convergence model to another level offering seemingly limitless uses for the phone. Other manufacturers have followed suit and although we are far from a universal OS, there are so many applications that give the same functionality and access to say Twitter or Facebook for example, that it really doesn’t matter anymore. What’s important here is that our mobile technology continues to make life easier, not just to communicate with each other, but become a member of a truly global community.

Peter Gray


For more of the latest in the mobile phone and gaming world download the Phonica Magazine UK App here!



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