Mobile Computing Essentials

Mobile computing is the ability to do computing tasks in some or all possible locations. Here, I’ll be listing (in my opinion are) the top 4 requirements for mobile computing and my suggestions/opinions on those requirements.

There are other requirements for mobile computing, and you can check them at Wikipedia.

Portability

It’s common sense: if your computers or mobile devices are too heavy to carry around they are useless for mobile computing. Gone are the days of lugging around heavy laptops the size of attache cases. A good example of a very portable computing device is the Apple MacBook Air: It’s small and thin enough to put in an envelope. Also good examples are the humble netbooks. These small, almost pocket sized computers are small and light enough that you can almost put them inside your coat pockets or purses. They offer relatively good processing power for the basic computing needs, up to 15 hours of battery life (depending on use) and are cheaper than most full size notebooks. Since Asus came out with the original Ultra Mobile Personal Computer (UMPC), the EEEPC, almost all computer companies have created their own netbook line.

Now, with the release of the Apple iPad tablet, Tablet Computing have been put in spotlight again. Major computer brands are following with Samsung releasing the Galaxy Tab and HP developing and hopefully finally releasing the Slate, and Asus announcing the EeePads, that more than out features and out powers the iPad.

Battery Life

Even if you have the fastest and lightest computing devices (laptops, mobile phones, tablets, etc.) but you don’t have enough power to support them, they are practically useless for mobile computing. A couple of hours of power is the current standard for most laptops. If your laptop’s battery last for three hours that’s already above average.

With netbooks, three hours is just the average. Because of the development of low power consuming processors and LED displays, and also the development of higher capacity, compact lithium ion/ polymer battery packs, we have netbooks that can stay powered for more than 8 hours. Example of such laptops are the next generation Acer Aspire One 533, ASUS Eee PC 1015,MSI U160, HP Mini 210 Series. Imagine this scenario: You fully charge your netbook before you start the day and then use it unplugged for the whole day. Now that’s you call “truly mobile computing”. With smartphones, especially those that utilizes a lot of 3G connectivity, a full day of operation is adorable: anything less is just normal.

Internet Connectivity

Staying connected to the Internet is one of the basic requirements for mobile computing. Unless you don’t have any use for the Internet, your mobile computing device should at least have a built-in wireless network adapter, also known as wi-fi card. Another essential device for staying connected with your netbook or laptops is a mobile broadband device like the 3G USB modems, pcmcia cards, and built-in 3G modems in several netbooks and laptops. The latest smartphones take full advantage of 3G networks: they can work outside wi-fi hotspots. The only downside to that is the rapid loss of battery life.

Durability

Mobile computing has the most demanding requirements for devices especially when it comes to durability. Because mobile computing is done anywhere and everywhere, the devices you use should be able to survive the most number of scenarios. And when we talk about durability in mobile computing, nothing beats the Panasonic ToughBook. This line of laptops from Panasonic were designed to handle the most demanding computing environments. Check out the videos in Youtube.

Tips

Before buying any mobile computing device, make sure you research well about the product. The best way to gauge if the device meets your needs and wants is to try the actual device. If you can try the device for a day, the better.

Always buy mobile computing devices with at least one year warranty. That gives you a small sense of security when your device fails within the first year.

When it comes to durability, most mobile computing devices like laptops, netbooks, smartphones, and tablets have operational guidelines that you should follow. If you use these devices outside their perscribe conditions, you risk voiding the warranty. Examples are using the device under the rain, vibrating platforms, sand-prone and water-prone places like the beach, and other uncommon locations.

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