Mighty Mobile Microcomputers

I wrote previously that the right "form factor" was one of the essential components of making mobile work (beyond voice) as a mainstream opportunity for everyone. Today there are two pieces (1, 2) in the NY Times (reg. req'd) that talk about small PC devices that are supremely mobile. Wi-fi enabled, they're not phones in a conventional sense. Neither is the previously announced Google-Nokia "Internet Browsing Device."

There probably won't be a single device that unlocks mainstream adoption of "the mobile Internet" but a range of vaguely similar devices that combine of PC-like functionality (or at least good web browsing) with a phone or a Wi-Fi/VoIP capability. But, interestingly, it may be these small PCs with Wi-fi for VoIP calling that wind up being more widely adopted than cellphones with Internet. It all comes down the usability of the device (and of course price).

Online video and mobile are two new battlegrounds that are or soon will be equally competitive and offer enormous opportunity. Mobile is ultimately the bigger (but more challenging) opportunity of the two — and it, of course, includes video.

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Related: The WSJ (sub. req'd) on mobile TV in Europe and the World Cup. And here's an article from CNN Money/Business2.0 about mobile DA provider 4Info and the challenges of the mobile environment for search engines and Web-based companies.


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