An essay by Joi Ito:
Several crucial shifts in technology are emerging that will drastically affect the relationship between users and technology in the near future. Wireless Internet is becoming ubiquitous and economically viable. Internet capable devices are becoming smaller and more powerful.
Alongside technological shifts, new social trends are emerging. Users are shifting their attention from packaged content to social information about location, presence and community. Tools for identity, trust, relationship management and navigating social networks are becoming more popular. Mobile communication tools are shifting away from a 1-1 model, allowing for increased many-to-many interactions; such a shift is even being used to permit new forms of democracy and citizen participation in global dialog.
While new technological and social trends are occurring, it is not without resistance, often by the developers and distributors of technology and content. In order to empower the consumer as a community member and producer, communication carriers, hardware manufacturers and content providers must understand and build models that focus less on the content and more on the relationships.
It is clear that the simplicity of WiFi and the Internet is more efficient than the networks planned by the telephone companies. That said, the availability of low cost phones is controlled by mobile telephone carriers, their distribution networks and their subsidies.
Broadband in the home will always be cheaper than mobile broadband. Therefore it will be cheaper for people to download content at home and use storage devices to carry it with them rather than downloading or viewing content over a mobile phone network. Most entertainment content is not so time sensitive that it requires real time network access.
It is clear that mobile computing is about communication. Not only are mobile phones being used for 1-1 communications, as expected through voice conversations; people are learning new forms of communication because of SMS, email and presence technologies. Often, the value of these communication processes is the transmission of state or context information; the content of the messages are less important.