Mobile Trends

If you want a quick case of information overload, just go and listen to a presentation by Megan Fox, Web & Electronic Resources Librarian at Simmons College. She is an expert on mobile platforms and trends, and that’s an exciting and fast moving field, indeed. There are now three times as many mobile phones as TVs in the US, and many people say that it would be extremely difficult to give up their mobile phone.   The future of mobile devices is very bright, and it has been greatly enhanced by Apple’s iPhone. 
 
The iPhone has radically changed the market, and it has brought many new online users into the market. It has high quality audio and sports a new user interface that responds to gestures or hand motions. It can even sense the orientation in which it is being held and change the screen orientation accordingly. The iPhone is the first in a whole new generation of mobile devices. 
 
Many mobile devices incorporate a wealth of new features, such as keyboards, larger screens, voice recognition, improved cameras, and video. Battery life is also being improved. New GPS features allow users to take a picture and then receive more information on the subject of the picture. And 2 dimensional barcodes
(such as those on the back of CIL attendee badges)
will be able to hold a greatly increased amount of information. 
 
Web content is increasingly being optimized for viewing on small screens, and there is even a new domain, .mobi, for this kind of content. Services such as skweezer and Google’s Web Toolkit can automatically transcode content (i.e. repurpose it for mobile platforms). Find.mobi is a directory service to find transcoded websites. 
 
Text messaging applications are becoming more popular. “Text friendly” buttons similar to “print friendly” are starting to appear on many websites. You can now make purchases from Amazon using text messaging, and in Japan, gift certificates are sent by text messaging. Search results can be sent to mobile phones as text messages. 

Fortunately, Megan will shortly be making her slides available on her web site, so that you can explore the exciting details about these new advances in mobile platforms.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today, and CIL 2008 Blog Coordinator

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