April 15, 2009

Mobile Experience continues to change our Computing Ways

Personal computers were originally introduced as a tool for small households to increase productivity for various personal tasks. From spreadsheets, small desktop publishing to multi-media/gaming, our trusted computers have been there for us since the mid 80s. When internet arrived on scene, it increased our computation output exponentially with the ability to download real-time information to make our productivity higher than ever. Shortly after the arrival of broadband internet in the late 90s, I have personally shifted my reliance of communication and information retrieval process primarily to my computer. Some of these activities including:
* Voice Communications
* Text Communications
* Online Shopping / eCommerce
* Organization
* Real-Time Information Fetching
* Banking / Financials / Complex Calculations
In the early 90s, PDAs where introduced to take on a few of the tasks above as the first mobile experience. With the arrival of 1G and 2G internet, early forms of smartphones start to take place and improved some of the computing tasks on the go.

In the last two years, things got interesting. Mobile carriers beefed up its 3G network while phone makers stepped up smartphones performance to allow the mobile experience to really take off. I am now able to do most of my day-to-day tasks on my iPhone 3G quickly without having to commit any time in front of my laptop from home.

*Voice Communications: The iPhone is a phone, so majority of the domestic calls are taken care of. With Skype App and Fring, I was able to make VOIP calls over WiFi.
*Text Communications: There are countless solutions to IMs on iPhone or any other smartphone (Google Talk, Fring, AIM, etc…). As for emails, all smartphones can take care of this via built-in client or over mobile browser. I check my emails frequenty and whenver I have down time (in a bus ride or waiting for friends, etc…). The support for corporate email is pretty much there for all smartphones across the board. IMAP email setting makes your smartphone a true desktop companion. With social media in the mix, I can keep up my status or friend’s on Loopt, Twitter or FaceBook.
*Online Shopping: I do most of my shopping over Amazon and eBay. Both sites have great mobile version over browser but for iPhone, I can seriously manage my buying or researching needs over their mobile apps. For iPhone owners, we’ve had the ability to buy songs off iTunes over our handset which is really cool if you are traveling. Having a full internet browser pretty much will allow me to buy or research for anything on the go.
*Organization: Smartphones are handy for staying organized. Calendars and contacts can be synced to your PC. The G1 will even do most of its syncing wirelessly with Gmail. I use the notepads on my smartphones to jot down tasks or to-do lists. The camera is often used to take visual notes for myself (ie. label of a wine I liked or the address off of a business card). With GPS-integrated phones, photos can even be geo-tagged so you remember your location.
*Real-Time Info: I get weather updates, stock quotes, news and scores whenever and wherever. This is probably the most helpful little tool to help me make my day that much easier. Between Google Reader (which is compatible to almost all mobile browsers) and some iPhone apps like Bloomberg, NYTimes and USAToday. I can always get real-time information whenever I want.
*Banking / Financials: While the financial industry is staying a bit more cautious with their mobile application rollout, they are starting to participate. Most banks have a mobile site to access while some have developed applications for various mobile handsets (ie. BoA, e*Trade, Visa, etc…). As for me, I don’t often bank online from my phone, but its nice to know that if you have a mobile browser capable of full internet access, you can pretty much login and check status for every financial services site on the go.
These are just few of the things I do on my smartphones. Having the flexibility and capability to do these things whenever I feel like empowers me to use my downtime more effectively. Without my smartphone, I would have to cut into my TV watching time… how boring is that?

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