Friday, May 11, 2012

Types of Mobile Media

I've blogged previously about my defintion of mobile devices. Suprisingly, there is little consensus in industry and academia on exactly what is a mobile device, so I hope my definition will be of some use in this regard.

While research the usage and potential of mobile devices, I have found a tendency to view mobile devices as the first form of mobile media. And thus, many writers further the sense that what we are experiencing with mobile device usage is an entirely new phenomenon. Humans have a long history of mobile media, pretty much as soon as written language was invented, texts were carried around whether in clay, vellum, or papyrus.

So since I love lists and typologies, I thought I'd offer a list of other forms of mobile media.

Ghetto blaster
I think it is important to distinguish between portable and mobile. Portable means that a medium is capable of being moved, while mobile means easily moved (see Dictionary. com).

So although a television set can be moved around (hence portable) it isn't easily mobile.

Ghetto blasters, for example, blur this distinction - as this picture from Wikimedia, circa 1987 demonstrates.  Carrier pigeons while helping extend communication over large distances at least since 2000 years ago are not that easy to carry with one so were probably one of the first portable communication mediums were not quite mobile.

Mobile mass media:
  • books (paperback more so than hardcover)
  • newspapers
  • maps
  • magazines
  • transistor radios (e.g. to beach)
  • print-outs & photocopies
  • wristwatch televisions (launched in 1982) and possibly smartwatches soon
  • Walkmans & MP3 players
  • game consoles
  • GPS devices
  • e-readers
  • tablets
  • netbooks
Mobile communication media:
  • personal digital assistants
  • walkie-talkies
  • CB radios
  • pagers
  • car phones (they had them on Charlie's Angels, remember?)
  • cell phones
Let me know if I missed any...

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