By Daniel Cheung
There are currently two available ways of going
about mobile computing. The first to appear is connecting to the Internet
using a normal mobile phone, which in turn is connected to a computer. The
later to become used widely is using WAP-enabled mobile phone technology.
New forms of protocols and methods are arising, but so far these are the two
trends that have captured the attention of manufacturers, industry experts and
the public alike.
What Hardware and Software Do
I Need For Mobile Computing?
Internet Connection Via
The most direct way of Internet access using a mobile phone is by
using a WAP phone. In this case you can access WAP pages on the
Internet. Otherwise, the mobile phone is only a device to dial in to your ISP.
It cannot even
login to your Internet account, let alone surf the Internet. To enable
your mobile phone to connect to the Internet and be of use to you, you
must first make your phone connect to your computer. There are currently
two ways of doing this. Firstly, you can purchase a data cable that connects
the mobile phone to the computer, be this a PC, notebook, or hand-held
The second way is to use infrared technology to
connect your mobile phone to your computer. There are several factors that
must be observed. On the one hand, your mobile phone must have this
infrared function. Examples of phones with infrared function are Nokia 8850,8210, Ericsson R320 and Motorola
On the other hand, your computer must also be infrared
enabled. Most notebooks and hand-held computers (e.g. PalmV and later)
have this function built in, while with most PCs you must
also purchase an infrared adapter. One
more detail is the fact that most mobile phones to date do not have built-in
modems. In this case it is necessary to revert to using the cable. Check
your computer or contact the vendor to see if this is the case.
WAP site with Palm V via infrared connection to Nokia 8210
When talking of mobile computing, the hardware of choice is of course the
hand-held or notebook over the PC. After all, would you be a mobile
person while carrying a PC around? However, using a hand-held device has
its limitations. For instance, using
Palm hand-helds means that you must use OS 3.3 or above versions of OS - add this
to the fact that your Palm only has 2MB to 4MB of memory, and you may find that
your ability to download to be seriously limited. Another concern is that the highest transfer rate
for the common GSM connection is only
9.6kps. This would make transfer of web-pages slow, and make connection
times lengthy - think of your monthly cost! However, on this front there
seems to be hope on the horizon - the new GPRS services being successfully
tested in Australia would mean data transfer rates of up to 50kps are possible in the near
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