Limitations of cellphones for mobile computing 1

Keitai Picture

There is this interesting use of camera phones to get around the trouble of typing URLs. From

“What is it? It’s a barcode that encodes a URL. If you have a wireless or
mobile internet device, you just scan the barcode into your URL field, and
voila! you load the website it links to. “

However, that such a solution is appealing shows the limitation of cellphones — the difficulty in typing more than a few characters of text.

A Japanese company Reudo makes an external full size keyboard that will accept a cellphone

— similar to the keyboards stands that accept PDAs. I found the keyboards for PDAs useful, but only to a point. For entering or editing text which is hard to do with a stylus (or a cellphone keypad for that matter), the keyboard works. However, the kinds of text applications you’d want to do on a small screen are limited. For example, these work:

  • shopping lists
  • short journal entries
  • email

On the other hand, the following wouldn’t work well unless you have a good visual memory to be able to deal with a small visual portal (e.g. 300200 pixels) on a larger document. While such a skill could be developed, it may not be a generally useful one.

  • spreadsheets
  • paging through lots of text for revision
  • web browsing
  • most multiwindowed applications
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  • Case Larsen

    i’m typing this on my treo and I agree that web browsing can be done but more out of need than casual use.