It can be easy to overlook the tried and true applications in our search for mobility and connectivity. Many applications still function best on a full-sized screen with a full-sized keyboard. Data heavy applications, those that require a lot of reading and those used to create, are far more accessible on the ‘big screen’. I often return to the desktop to access bulky information or more than bite-sized learning. I seldom write full length while I’m mobile.
For me, the desktop is not dead and won’t be for quite some time, despite iPhone projectors, bluetooth keyboards, tablets and voice recognition. Our hands are still a certain size and our eyes have their limits. One Economy, a global non-profit organization that connects undeserved communities to vital web-based information and support, has been in application development for a decade. They have created many web-based tools, such as the Beehive, which provide solutions on subjects ranging from education to emergency preparedness. The data on the web is actively being applied across contexts from the desktop to the mobile phone and some websites translate better than others between the two. Career Coach is a Beehive application that sets a great example of how effective content offered on the web can be applied to phone applications.
Career Coach is a self-directed application that allows you to find out what kind of work you’re cut out for: how to write the resume, prepare for an interview and work your way up once you are hired. By using a simple user interface, multimedia resources and providing multiple language access, the Career Coach has helped thousands of people improve their chances of getting and keeping a job that will improve their lives. Career Coach is one of the many Beehive tools that are under consideration for mobile and gaming expansion. We’d love to hear how you think these and other web tools could be developed and what features will translate best to ubiquitous internet.
I am interested in how the growing adaption of the internet on mobile phones will impact low income people. While the browsers on high end phones are growing ever impressive, I don’t think the perception has gotten to the point where people decide to forgo owning a computer in favor of a phone- partly for the reasons you specified. I wonder when/if the day will come, though. For instance, many of my poor college student and AmeriCorps friends made the decision to not own a TV because their favorite shows are on Hulu and similar internet sites. Even among my most mobile-internet friends, though, their phone is a supplement to computer-based internet instead of a replacement. When phasing out computer in favor of phones becomes an option (if not ideal) for people with limited income, I can see it being a vehicle of social change.
From personal experience, the browser on my Blackberry is OK for emergencies and being bored waiting in line, but could never come close to replacing a computer.
Mobile taking over from the Desktop is still a ways to go because as mentioned the eyes can only see so much on a small device and there are still many applications and tools available to the desktop that cannot/have not been ported to mobile devices because underlying hardware and software has not caught up. And as also noted the view experience sometimes is better on bigger device ie desktop.
I also feel that prohibitive prices of internet enabled phones coupled with related high phone charges is still considered a luxury for many underserved communities.
One wonders with the advent of the computers why the TV has not died yet?