Tag Archives: mobile internet device

MID use case: mobile auditing and inspection


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As promised, I’m starting the series on use cases for Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs), beginning with one that may seem unusual to many: mobile auditing and inspection.

This particular usage hits close to home for me, or at least it did when I worked for Quality Assurance in Nokia’s old Alliance factory in the United States.  My interest derives from the two roles I held there, first as a data analyst and later as a quality engineer.

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Use cases for Mobile Internet Devices

As an extension of a previous article on how to make Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) compelling, I have decided to start a series devoting individual articles to particular use cases, one per article.  I am using the broad term here because I’m not focusing on unique products or brands per se but rather the product type.  Of course, knowing Nokia mobile computers (formerly internet tablets) as I do, many of my examples will relate to them.  I welcome examples referencing competing products from readers.

I’m going to start with a use case that does not get a lot of attention but is near and dear to my analytical heart: mobile auditing and inspection in production, shipping or other operations.  I really think the devices have a great deal of untapped potential here!

So stay tuned, and if you have a use case you would like to see explored, feel free to mention it!

From mobile to modular

IBMs MetaPad concept

IBM's MetaPad concept

Back in 2007 I had what I thought at the time was a unique brainstorm in the area of computing and communications.  Noting the quickening convergence between PCs and cell phones, I suggested that the obvious next step would be to bridge the two in a way that had not yet been done: shrink the PC down to a credit-card sized contraption about 5 mm or so thick and encapsulate it in a format that allowed it to be plugged in, PC card style, into an array of device “skins”.  In essence, a core engine that could drive your cell phone, GPS device, netbook or even desktop PC.  The skin, or shell, would contain or connect to all of the audiovisual interfaces and the main power supply… although the engine would of course have to possess its own energy storage for transport between uses.

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Verizon kick-starting US WiFi?

There are two wireless broadband truisms that have proven unassailable here in the US:

  1. The promise of ubiquitous WiFi has failed, for the most part, to manifest;
  2. Market-restricting service providers fear ubiquitous WiFi

There’s a high correlation between those two axioms, and the result has been a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The largest US telecommunications companies, Verizon and AT&T, have struggled to fit wireless access into their business models (although AT&T has done better of late).  The concern, of course, revolves around monetization– once a widespread, reliable and easy-to-access WiFi infrastructure gained traction, smaller service providers would have the incentive and the means to compete with the bigger players… the latter of which appear to develop allergies to free markets once they reach critical mass.

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The Case of the Phantom Tablet

In the past several years we’ve seen many companies offer up their vision of The Next Big Thing in personal computing.  The goal to get PCs increasingly portable is one admirable attempt but any drastic changes to the interface status quo tend to be met with consumer resistance.  Screens and keyboards can only get so small before they become cute but useless novelties.

One exception is netbooks, the currently most compelling segment of portable personal computing.  These little-brother laptops are rapidly cannibalizing more conventional computing platforms.  Their attributes of low cost and high portability combined with a reasonable attempt to maintain usable interface real estate has contributed to a truly impressive success story.

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