The next wave is where it gets interesting…

4 09 2006

I’m a regular reader of two “digital mobility” magazines: Roam magazine, which touts itself as “Australia’s Mobile Computing Authority,” and T3, “The world’s No.1 Gadget Magazine,” and International Magazine of the Year (published in the UK). The combination of these two mags helps keep my finger on the pulse of digital mobility in Australian and overseas.

I was taken by the latest (October 2006) edition of T3’s opinion column (on page 37), written by Mark Harris (a freelance journalist specialising in digital lifestyle devices). Insightfully, he posits: “infrared remotes were the first stage of wireless tech; we’re currently in the era of wireless 2.0… but the next wave is where it gets interesting”.

…while beaming photos from the camera to printer is all very well, wireless hasn’t come close to reaching its full potential. Current wireless standards are all over the shop, and are evolving all the time, with devices competing for air-space or simply unable to talk to each other. Anyone who predicts a completely cable-free lifestyle hasn’t seen the quantity of power adaptors and chargers these gadgets come with.

But crack open the Pomagne, because wireless 3.0 is just around the corner. With Wi-Max [the new 802.11n wireless networking draft standard -L], the wireless home will now become the wireless town, and with high-speed HSDPA phones, a truly inter-connected globe is on our doorstep…

Tomorrow’s phones will interact with you, your environment, and the Net simultaneously, matching songs you hear to online databases, downloading weather forecasts to your smart clothes, steering you away from trouble-spots…

Our music, photos, emails and even our friends – the things that make us who we are – will always be within reach, just a click or blink away.”

And so too will access to information and learning opportunities. Even faster mobile data technologies are still emerging, such as Samsung’s 4G technology which claims speeds of up to 1Gbps (less that 3 seconds to transfer 100 mp3 files) to a mobile phone – 50 times faster than Wi-Max.

As well as heralding new possibilities, pressure from new and better technologies should also improve the cost and availability of older mobile technologies – making access to connected, digital mobile learning more affordable and accessible to all. Altogether, it’s a future for m-learning worth looking forward to!

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