Most of us take it for granted that we can check e-mail with our mobile phones. But not long ago, this was a truly disruptive technology that changed how we did business and stayed in touch when we were away from home and the office.
Stories by David Haskin
We've all had excruciatingly embarrassing moments. We say something loud and inappropriate at a party and the room abruptly falls silent and stares. Or we misbutton our shirt and it takes half a day to figure out why everybody's giving us funny looks. That sort of thing.
It's the ideal coffee shop toy for music lovers: A wireless media player that connects directly to an online music service. Besides the usual playback capabilities, the device's built-in Wi-Fi enables you to play Internet radio. If you hear a song you like, you can press a button to download it, the album the track is from or a mix of similar songs.
We all know that in the technology world, the hype about new products often doesn't match reality. So it's fair to ask: Is the iPhone as good as its hype? In particular, does iPhone's much-discussed touch-screen interface really make using the device simpler and more intuitive?
Mobile security threats are a relatively minor annoyance to a handful of users in Europe and Asia. However, conditions are rapidly ripening for these threats to start overwhelming both companies and individual users in North America.
From keynote speeches to the show floor to back-hall meeting rooms, ubiquitous wireless broadband was one of the topics receiving the most buzz last week at the Interop networking show in Las Vegas. But fast wireless networks are only the beginning of the sea changes in mobile communications, said many vendors, observers and pundits.
Scads of acronyms and technologies cloud the crystal ball used to predict the future of wireless broadband. But look closer, and two things become abundantly clear.
Need proof that Apple's iPod and iTunes Store has forever changed how people, particularly mobile people, acquire music? Here it is: The recording industry recently reported that nearly 13 percent fewer CDs were sold in 2006 than the previous year, while sales of downloaded digital songs increased by almost 60 percent.
Hype is the coin of the realm in the technology business. If you listen to vendors and the media, it may sometimes seem as though every new product, service, concept or even security threat will be the Next Big Thing. Some live up to all the fuss, but many don't -- and some fail spectacularly.
Five months after its introduction in the US, industry experts give Microsoft's Zune media player barely passing grades in terms of its marketplace success while Microsoft insists the device is on course.
The BlackBerry 8800 smart phone is a departure from previous BlackBerries. It is both more mainstream and more refined. But it also suffers from some missing features that diminish the attractiveness of this otherwise elegant device.
Rumors circulated late last week on Wall Street that Palm was putting itself up for sale, which one industry analyst said would be a good idea.
Nokia's N800 Internet Tablet is one of those devices that's fascinating and unique enough to make a mobile geek's heart go pitter-patter with excitement but may not fit the needs of a lot of people.
The top mobile and wireless trends that will emerge in 2007 wouldn't be possible without the two biggest stories of 2006: the advent of the cheap smart phone, and Sprint Nextel's bodacious announcement that it is building a nationwide mobile WiMax network. Before looking ahead, Computerworld US, sister publication to Computerworld Australia, takes a brief look behind.
Linux has been mentioned as a potentially leading platform for mobile devices for as long as there have been mobile devices. However, mobile Linux is still largely missing in action. The new crop of high-visibility smart phones such as the Samsung BlackJack, the Nokia E62 and the Treo 680 are based on Microsoft's Windows Mobile, the Symbian and the aging Palm OS platforms.