What exactly does ‘mobile‘ mean?

Gartner describes the Nexus of Forces as Cloud, Social, Mobile and Information. Many industry commentators and analysts, myself included have blogged about CSM – Cloud Social Mobile.

But what is the ‘mobile’ we’ve been talking about.

Is it the mobile phone – the handheld device? If it is then it immediately we have discounted all tablets and the millions of iPads. Perhaps it is about connectivity. But then again, my iPhone has a signal barely half the time on the train from my home to London. So it can ‘t be that.  Maybe it is about portability – i.e. the ability to carry the device.  In which case my 11” Macbook Air must qualify as mobile, plus it can connect though wifi or 3G hotspot. Wikipedia is no help. It reiterates the concepts above and adds two further definitions I hadn’t thought of; the childs hanging toy, and the city in Alabama.

Another way of thinking about it is mobile is a “way of operating” ie mobility. Freeing people from a fixed physical location. Allowing them to work, play, laugh and love on their terms wherever and whenever they want.  Described like that, it is empowering and inspiring.

You can see why it is having such a profound impact on all our lives. Whole industries and societies are being rewritten.  And, as devices get smaller, more powerful, more intuitive and more connected it can only get better.


Tags: , , ,

Categories: Mobility

Author:Ian Gotts

Founder of Elements.cloud, tech advisor, investor, speaker and author. Runs on Duracell. Based in San Francisco and in a 747. Elements.cloud, is the business analysis app designed to support Salesforce #AwesomeAdmins. 100% cloud, it is tightly integrated into Salesforce. Use the free core capabilities to capture business processes and embed them inside objects, with single sign-on.

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4 Comments on “What exactly does ‘mobile‘ mean?”

  1. September 23, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

    Good Thought. I guess anything which enables us to be location independent would mean “mobile”, although for all practical purposes (and sales of course) we all refer to tablets, phones and PC’s as mobile.

    • September 24, 2012 at 7:38 am #

      Abhishek – exactly. But I spend my time challenging the norm, as it often sparks a useful debate.

  2. September 24, 2012 at 6:45 am #


    I would add one perspective. People are mobile. They move and use different devices at different times to do what they do. Few things demand our constant attention like work. Therefore, mobile related to work is my ability to do what I need from anywhere on any device at any time. Devices connect to software content on the network infrastructure via browser – and friction-free mobility is achieved. Any deviation causes friction with each new element.

    • September 24, 2012 at 7:42 am #

      Steve, You are right about work, but increasingly the line between work and life blurs. How many people no carry 2 mobile devices. One for work, one for life? Your second point is well made and software developers need to recognise that not everyone in the world likes in a always-on world – for the moment

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