The Changing Phase of Mobility

Manila Bulletin, December 27, 2010 | Go to article overview
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The Changing Phase of Mobility


Less than a decade ago, the mobile landscape was different from what it is today. The Motorola Razr was the hottest phone in the market, the SideKick II wasstill Paris Hilton's best friend, and the BlackBerry was still all about business. While smartphones were already around, the devices were really more stylus-toting PDAs with a phone built-in rather than a mobile computer. And while mobile Internet was possible, the whole online experience wasn't worth your while. Nowadays, the mobile phone is king as the feature phone has continued to cede ground to the smartphone, mobile broadband has become a reality and accessing the web, as well as social networks like Facebook and Twitter, has become not just a nicety but a requirement.So how did the mobile phone evolve from what it is now?A touching experienceLoveit or hate it, the iPhone has made major waves in the mobile phone industry. The iPhone was a mobile phone that everybody just had to have and was a key element in the rise of the touchscreen for mobile devices.While the original iPhone was not the first capacitive touchscreen mobile phone on the market, it was the first phone that really took advantage of touch and showcased the power of software written for a touch interface.While the debate over physical or virtual keyboards still rages today, when it comes to interacting directly with content, making phone calls, interacting with applications and adjusting text, touch has become the expectation and preference. The smartphone touchscreen has influenced other products, from media players to notebook trackpads, like pinch-zoom and swipe forward, have become ubiquitous in the world of human interface design.Social mobilityThe early success of Twitter is intrinsically linked to mobile devices, thanks to the ability to send and receive updates via SMS. Instant messaging and e-mail were the killer features of the BlackBerry and Sidekick devices of yesteryear.

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