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It's not all mobile
By Dave Winer on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 10:31 AM.
I've heard a lot of the insiders in Silicon Valley say everything is mobile now. But what does that mean? permalink
The protocol of mobile is LTE and GSM and whatever. I don't know them all because it's not my world.  permalink
The protocol of not-mobile is wifi and ethernet.  permalink
It all runs over TCP to connect between nodes. permalink
So we're good on that count. There is no wall separating mobile and not-mobile. Except for screen size and no-keyboard, you could just as easily be coming from a desktop PC. permalink
And screen size isn't really a differentiator so much. I use an iPad more since I sprung for the LTE version. If I have a choice between using a map on the iPad or my Android phone, there's no choice. And the Internet access is faster on the iPad. permalink
Also, I think wifi is going to get stronger and more pervasive, and that's great. Because, by accident, we have a worldwide communication standard with complete interop. Your wifi devices work everywhere. How the heck did that happen! :-) permalink
So, I want to know, is my iPad even a mobile device?  permalink
Think about this. I'm typing this at my desk on a huge screen iMac with a second huge screen right next to it. On the nightstand is an iPad charging up. How do they get to the Internet? The same way -- wifi. Not really that much difference. Yet one is supposed to be mobile, and the other isn't. Is that an important distinction? Not so sure. permalink
I've lately discovered the voice recognition system on Android and the iPhone. They're fairly good. You rapidly speak your message, then go back over it and correct the big errors and send it. I've found that a lot of people I communicate with weren't aware that the iPad had this capability. And that helps make up for the hard-to-use virtual keypad. permalink
I'd say we're getting close to an equilibrium here. I would start designing systems for people who have both a phone and an iPad-size device. An app like Cylemeter is perfect for iPhone. It wouldn't add anything to put it on an iPad, except a lot of bulk, which is something I don't need when I'm cycling. Yet I love to have an accurate readout of my daily ride, to compare with rides of previous weeks. I also use the iPhone for music. But maps -- that's all iPad.  permalink
So I think we're looking at a scale of devices. In an orchestra you have picolos, flutes, oboes, clarinets and bassoons. They're all woodwinds, played in similar ways, and produce similar sounds. But you use them differently. permalink
Finally, the way you think about this is about to bend. When Apple releases their next TV product, they're going to ask you to look at that space differently. Some people are already using a prototype, AirPlay. But that's not a mobile place. The screen is huge, too heavy for most people to lift, much less put in your pocket. But the kinds of visual ideas it can present blow away any device you have now. So as soon as that happens, no one will be saying "it's all mobile." permalink
The correct answer is there are contexts to network use, and software should not just be aware of it, but be clever about it.  permalink
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