What does mobile mean now?
There are numerous buzz words floating around the internet nowadays. Among them, and arguably one of the oldest is ‘mobile.’ The terms ‘mobile’ and ‘internet’ both sprung up around the same time, though were very different. Over the years however, they have started to grow closer to each other, and I believe we now stand at a point where they are inexorably linked to one another.
In the beginning there was the Internet, which was a large, slow, wired network that allowed files to move back and forth along wires. While this freed a lot of information to be moved around more easily than before, the internet still required you to be at a bulky computer as well as stick around for a long time if you were downloading a file of any size over a 56k dialup connection. The Internet became more accessible with the invention of wi-fi, which allowed for wireless connections. As a result, the internet became more mobile. Combining wi-fi with laptops, one could be anywhere in a house, in a coffee shop, or even an airport and still be connected to the outside world.
Cell phones have been mobile from their outset as is made clear by their alternate title of mobile phones. And when they first appeared, that’s all they did, make phone calls. There had been wireless phones previous, but they were impractical to carry around on one’s person, thus not really being “mobile.” The first cell phones were still large and bulky, but they were contained in one solid structure and could be held up to an ear comfortably. As time progressed the networks that these cell phones operated on became faster and could accommodate more bandwidth. This led to the rise data also going over the airwaves as well as phone calls. The Internet was coming to cell phones.
Nowadays we expect our phones to have access to the Internet. Apple’s introduction of the iPhone in 2007 revolutionized the way that cell phones interacted with the Internet. Previously there were two separate World Wide Webs, one for computers, and one for cell phones. The two looked very different and were largely incompatible. The iPhone could browse website like a computer. This pushed more and more users to access the Internet from their phones, which caused developers and other phone manufacturers to develop for an increasingly connected world.
So what does ‘mobile’ mean now? Mobile means Internet, as in a device that fits in a pocket or a handbag with access to the Internet through web browsers and dedicated apps. We expect to be connected at all times, to find any information we want, truly when we want it. Technically mobile doesn’t have to mean a phone after the introduction of the iPad and similar tablets, but that is still the most common option for people in search satisfying their Internet desires. What do you think mobile means? Let us know in the comments.