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Prompted by a tweet from my good friend Tomi Ahonen, I ventured over to Forum Oxford to check out a discussion that he started referencing in the midst of a conversation between him and Russell Beattie, the might have found a 9th unique benefit (characteristic) of mobile. After venturing to the forum and noting that I wasn’t sure I would agree at least initially, I let it shake arond in my head a good bit and tracked along with others who had thoughts on the matter. I think my thoughts on Sunday night might merit my conclusion s far (we’ll see how much I tweak and ponder before this posts):

Here are those thoughts as posted at Forum Oxford:

I use the analogy often of Micky Mouse in Fantasia when talking about mobile. Specifically that mobile is a magic wand into spatial events usually of a blended reality (blended reality meaning temporal/senses and digital -whether augmented or fully immersed). I think that in such a context, this is the full realization of mobile. Not that the it is a digital interface itself, but that it enables temporal, analog, and digital interfaces to mingle with one another.

In such a thought, I wonder if it is a 9th benefit, or the literal definition of mobile to which the other 8 serve as the characteristics which build that case? Hence my disagreement earlier Tomi. I get what Russell and yourself are stating, even read your post before coming here. I just wonder if it’s either the right overall definition, not full enough of one for equal standing with the 8?

In respect to that Fantasia analogy, this is what I wrote earlier about it which might lend some context to what I say here for others: https://arjw.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/blended-realities-mobilernr/

To catch up on the gist of this 9th mobile benefit/characteristic, check out Tomi’s post. I would recommend getting into Forum Oxford to chat as well, but it’s a lot more heady there for many of the folks might visit here and want a summary. At Tomi’s site is also an explanation of the 8 noted benefits/characteristics of mobile worth looking at as well.

Mobile is an enabled for certain personalized, transactional, creative, instantaneous, reality-bending experiences. Yes, I think it very much functions as an interface, especially when we can use it to open doors, wallets, and windows into other languages/cultures. But, I feel that stopping there is limiting. Mobile’s 9th benefit would be better described, or maybe just the definition of mobile computing as a whole would be better defined, if it didn’t stop at what end experience mobile enables, but that it actually is like a pen in that it actually is the tool that enables it.


Commented at Tomi’s article towards a point that’s relevant here as well:

Re: Ben Day –
Yes, that’s one of the directions that we are heading to. One evolution of mobile combines the biological and computational elements that we are familiar with to augment human capacity. We see this mores than in times past as there is now the level of integration to the brain for prosthetics that we can now call some/many/all of those applications cybernetics.

Another direction – and part of my argument over at Forum Oxford in this discussion – is that the presence of AR (and by relation VR, 3D, and 4D interfaces) is that mobile is now pointing to a layer of spatial interaction that was previously not *as possible.* Due to the prior 7 characteristics, the presence of “mobile as AR element” pokes open the door that mobile is more or less a key to better understanding and manipulating items we’d usually associate to computing in a more spatial arena. This can also be seen in the application of gesture interfaces, sensors for disease/wellness attached to mobiles and in the devices themselves, and some AI components (Nokia Bots, Siri, Google Voice Search, etc.). I talk about this idea of “blended realities” w/mobile playing the role of a magic wand here: https://arjw.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/blended-realities-mobilernr/

There’s a lot happening next. Its all kind of right there in front of us.

That last statement – the future is right here in front of us – is the kind of reality that I’ve been trying to live even in the branding and positioning of this site. What happens when mobile becomes the medium by which you aren’t just filtering life, but are actively opening and closing communicative experiences. What happens when you become the medium (re: this is why your fav web services are free, hint hint).

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2 thoughts on “Discussing the 9th Characteristic of Mobile: Medium/Digital Interface

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