The top 12 mobile and wireless issues for 2008: Part 2

Get ready for another year of change in mobile devices, with batteries, web services and open access to the fore, says Craig Mathias.

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But there's no way that all of the information required for local applications, be it clip art or your personal files, can be carried with you at all times; there's just too much of it. And that holds for most other personal productivity and IT functions; most of these also can't be done without access to the Web. So, strategically, the Web-services approach makes more sense. More capable devices and more wireless coverage (again, via multiple technologies and networks) are also part of the solution. Again, expect good progress on both during 2008. But ultimately, it's all about content - Web content.

10. Sociology, not technology

Wireless can bring out the best, and the worst, in us. We can be more responsive, more productive and more involved. On the other hand, incessantly ringing cell phones, loud talkers, conversations that should be taken elsewhere and the use of cell phones while driving are among the downsides we've seen so far.

Part of the solution here is, of course, common sense and common courtesy, but lacking these, expect more on the legal front during 2008. Any driver involved in a motor vehicle collision (note I don't use the word "accident" here) while talking on a cell phone will find stiffer penalties. Safety (and peace and quiet) must trump convenience.

11. Product quality must improve

This is more of a request than a forecast, but far too many wireless and mobile (and many other) technology products make it to market before they're ready. Bugs are common, and the attitude of leaving it up to the user to download a fix (if that's even possible) after a purchase is far too pervasive.

We shouldn't be expected to debug products for companies that we've paid our hard-earned dollars, and it's time for product designers and builders to get it right before they put that fancy new gadget in the box. Sadly, I don't expect much progress here in the coming year, but I hope the vendors are listening regardless. Losing productivity while dealing with poor quality products affects ROI, as any CFO will tell you.

12. Open access and Net neutrality

I've saved the best, and biggest, for last. The most important stories of 2007 were the FCC requirement for open access in some of the 700-MHz spectrum range. Spectrum blocks to be auctioned shortly, and Verizon Wireless' stunning endorsement of open access (allowing any compatible device on their network, whether they sell it or not) and Net neutrality (agreeing to support any application, again, theirs or otherwise).

Openness is the very foundation of modern networks, and now it will be the guiding principle for wireless going forward. This train is unstoppable, and all successful players are going to get on board - or find another game.

So forward we go to a bright and promising 2008. There's never a dull moment in our little corner of IT.

Craig J. Mathias is a principal at Farpoint Group, an advisory firm specialising in wireless networking and mobile computing. This article appeared in Computerworld.

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