Mobile Internet is about connecting to the Internet with mobile devices like cell phones, PDAs, game consoles, laptops, and other portables. Which means that you get to stay connected wherever you are and even on the move; you don’t have to be near a Wi-Fi spot to be able to access the Internet.
This has come about as a boon for everyone, from backpackers and businessmen to commuters and curmudgeons. If you want to blog about your travels, you don’t have to clamber down the steep hill you’ve just hiked up, you can simply write your blog using your mobile phone. If you want to conduct a business transaction or check the stock market, you can do it on your cell phone, your PDA, or your laptop. You can also make plane, train, car, or hotel reservations, or search for directions on interactive maps if you happen to lose your way. You can email or chat with your family and friends on the go. You can stop grumbling about being ‘stuck’ in the office, classroom, or your home, and go do your work in your favorite coffeehouse or park. So in a sense, mobile Internet can lighten up your life, if you will let it, that is, and don’t ponder too much about the dark aspects of staying perpetually connected.
Accessing the Internet over a cell phone or a PDA is not going to be the same experience as surfing the net on your regular computer. Some of the drawbacks of mobile Internet are:
- The screen display sizes of cell phones and PDAs are very small and it can be problematic viewing text and graphics meant for standard computer screens. In this regard, PDAs are a better bet than cell phones, and laptops, of course, don’t face this issue.
- You can’t view regular webpages in the format they are meant to be viewed.
- You can view only one window at a time on cell phones and PDAs, and scroll just up and down.
- You may find it troublesome or impossible to view PDFs, Flash sites, and video sites.
- Typing out large entries using small keypads is an inconvenient process. Getting keyboards that fold open may be helpful here. But then again there may be a character limit on the messages you can send.
- The mobile Internet connection may be very slow.
Mobile Internet Service
WAP is short for Wireless Access Protocol. WAP enables Internet access through your mobile devices, and makes it possible to use interactive data applications on them. So, it’s a breeze to check cricket scores, browse the news, download music, and see what’s happening on the stock market.
i-Mod is a wireless data protocol system from Japan that is slowly and steadily becoming a good competition for WAP.
GSM is an acronym for Global System for Mobile communication. GSM technology compresses information and transfers it through a single channel. Users can use GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) for WAP access, SMS, MMS, email, and surfing.
CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access. With CDMA technology, information is transferred through different channels, not just one like with GSM.
EDGE stands for Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution. It is also known as Enhanced GPRS or EGPRS. EDGE has better data transmission rates than GPRS and the data transmission reliability is higher too. This is a better choice for multimedia applications.
The usability and interoperability issues with mobile Internet are likely to get ironed out over the next few years, and perhaps all devices, whether fixed or mobile, will operate on wireless IP technologies. This might play a big role in narrowing the digital divide. Cell phones, after all, are much less expensive than PCs―or, for that matter, than PDAs and laptops―and nowadays have become a must-have accessory with a growing percentage of the world’s population. Getting connected to the Internet can be the key to more and better educational and business opportunities, aside from the just better social interaction factor.