Friday, 28 March 2014

What is a mobile device? What is a tablet?

I get asked this a few times so here is how our team view these definitions.

A mobile device is defined from a user context point of view as a device that can be comfortably used, for normal usewhilst on the move or standing up . Note that a tablet device and any wearable device are mobile devices. A small notebook such as the Asus Eee PC 700 measuring in at 28 cm in the diagonal (and actually physically smaller than the Nexus 10 tabletis not a mobile device since you would typically place the device on a table or on your lap to use it. PCs with detachable or flipable screens that such as Asus Transformer and VAIO Flip are not mobile devices when the physical keyboard in place.

A tablet device is a large mobile device that does not comfortably fit in one hand. From a user context point of view, a user is less likely to quickly pull a tablet out of their pocket in a crowded area, whereas they would for a non-tablet mobile device. To be precise, a tablet is a mobile device that is physically larger than 18cm measured diagonally. For example, a Galaxy Note (Phablet) measuring in at 17cm in the diagonal is not a tablet, where as a Google Nexus 7 measuring in at 23cm is a tablet.

10 comments:

  1. We have an ASUS Transformer and also the keyboard attachment. I think you are wrong to classify this as not mobile, based on the criteria you explained. Firstly - not everyone buys the keyboard. It's a great tablet without the keyboard - and the keyboard pushes the price up quite a bit. Secondly - even owning the keyboard - the vast majority of use that the Transformer gets is as a pure tablet. I suppose if you could detect that the keyboard were attached, you could maybe then treat it as non-mobile, but in general, I think you should re-think your classification.

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  2. Dominic - thanks for the feedback and yes you're right. Asus Transformer is a good example of a physical device that can have multiple contextual modes. Sometimes it might be used in a mobile context and sometimes in a non-mobile context. I would say that with the keyboard it is not a mobile device - and with out the keyboard it is a mobile device. Just watching the promotional video they talk about the contextual switch as a user detaches the keyboard. I'll look into whether we can detect the keyboard availability and hence the contextual switch.

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  3. I don't know if I'd define devices as mobile/not-mobile/ tablet by their usage in physical space. To Dominic's point, not all tablets are alike.

    Kindles, iPads, and Nooks all fall into a category of "personal entertainment tablets". While they offer a myriad of apps which extend them beyond just "entertainment", their value drops substantially when you don't have WiFi and the app you want isn't in the App Store (tm), doesn't it?

    the Asus is a personal computing tablet. As are several other windows 8 devices. They have substantial value without an internet connection, and your apps aren't confined to a single "store" (windows marketplace, Chrome App store, Android Play, iTunes).


    Since not all tablets can do the same things for the same user in the same space, I wouldn't think it valuable to define a device at all by its context in such a way. I would think it more valuable to correct the thinking that we need to defined devices by mobility.

    Why wouldn't you, instead, define devices by how a user interacts with them? Specifically, how the user interacts, and the device responds: touch-to-screen; keyboard-to-screen; hand-device-to-screen, keyboard-to-printer; gamepad-to-screen; Tv-remote-to-screen;

    Now that I can browse the web on my phone, iPod touch, chromebook, Playstation, TV, and Watch - trying to settle a debate on whether tablets are mobile devices is kind of like arguing about what's flammable in a forest fire.

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    1. Yes - I couldn't agree more. Properties that indicate how a user interacts with them are more important for optimising the user experience. It's why I classified mobile as "whilst on the move" and "tablet less likely to pull out of pocket in a crowded place". Each individual physical device can clearly have different contextual usages as pointed out by Dominic and his ASUS Transformer. I would, for example, be uncomfortable to drive to much of user experience of these classifications of "mobile" and "tablet" and would prefer to drive them off capabilities, but they do provide some useful high level statistical segmentations, albeit with grey areas galore.

      I do like how some "simple" broad classifications spark healthy comments, thanks.

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  4. For devices, I like the fact that there's a practical reason behind what counts as one type versus another for the Context Engine and that Ian's explaining this. But this isn't a definitive explanation of device types, just what fits under device aspects tablet versus mobile (knowing a model, version, vendor, and variant) for SDL's Context Engine.

    There's nothing preventing us from using device aspects like inputDevices to detect touchScreen, for example. In implementations it'd probably make sense to develop for features rather than solely for devices (unless you have app in an app store, of course). ;-)

    I've suggested similar thought as Frank in these posts:
    http://www.createandbreak.net/2013/10/contextually-aware-content.html

    There's definitely more to the Contextual Web than just devices. I'm glad SDL named it the Context Engine (rather than "Mobile") which covers any and all surrounding (ambient, anyone?) data with the option to add anything else you can detect.

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    1. I'm glad you preferred the naming of context. I even call our device database a context repository, since in the future it could contain more than device knowledge / resolution - an IP address to geolocation is one such context repository that other third parties provide. Calling something mobile does fall into a trap, especially given definitions are debatable.

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  5. افضل شركة نقل اثاث بالمدينة المنورة تساعدك على نقل اثاثك بامان فلا داعى للقلق مع افضل شركة نقل اثاث بجدة

    عزيزى العميل انت من محبى التنقل باستمرار بالتالى انت بحاجة ماسة وضروية الى الاستعانة بالمختصين في نقل العفش خاصة ارخص شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض لان الاستعانة باى من عمالة الشوارع الغير مدربة والتي لا تمتلك خبرة كافية في نقل العفش او الحفاظ علية وليس هذا فقط فقد يؤدى الاستعانة بعمالة الشوارع الى حدوث حالة فقدان وتكسير للاثاث بالتالى التاثير الضار عليك عزيزى العميل

    لا تقلق مطلقاً الان بشأن نقل اي منقولات خاصة بك طالما استعنت بشركة الاول لـ نقل الأثاث في الرياض وخارج الرياض فنحن ليس الوحيدون ولكننا متميزون عن اى مؤسسة أخرى داخل وخارج الدمام وشهرتنا كافضل شركة نقل عفش بينبع
    نقل اثاث بجدة

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  6. هل تفكر بشكل دائم افضل الطرق لنقل الاثاث وكيفية نقل الاثاث لابعد الاماكن دون اى حدوث خدش او تجريح وهل تسعى الى عملية نقل اثاث ولكنك تتردد خشية من حدوث ضرر بالاثاث كل ذلك يجعل الاختيار فى منتهى الصعوبة لذلك هل لك؟
    ان تثق بنا ليس للعمل معنا وانما لارائنا فى كيفية نجاح عملية نقل الاثاث اذا كنت تنوى عملية نقل الاثاث علية التالى
    اولا هل تعلم ان الطرق الحديثة فى الفك والتركيب تساعد فى نجاة الاثاث من عدة احتمالات متوقع حدوثها مثل كسر شركة نقل اثاث من الرياض الى دبى الحليات الموجودة فيه وتلف فى مواد ربط وتجميع الاثاث.
    ثانيا هل تعلم ان التغليف الاثاثى عدة انواع اهمها وافضلها التغليف الفقاعى الذى يحد من عملية تلف الاثاث خاصة فى ابعد المسافات لذلك اذا كنت تعتزم العمل على نقل او تخزين الاثاث استعلم عن التغليف الملائم ولكن ذلك لايقلل شأنا من مواد الغليف الاخرى التى تلزم فلا يجوز الاستغناء عنها فى عملية نقل الاثاث شركة نقل اثاث من الرياض الى جدة منها التغليف الحرارى الناعم الذى يقوم بعملية شد للتغليف الفقاعى بدلا من المواد الاصقة والذى لاغنه عنه فى تغليف الكرتين.
    ثالثا هل تعلم ان الشركة الافضل ليست التى تمتلك كل هذه المقومات فحسب انما هى الشركة التى تتمتع بحسن خلق عمالتها فانت عزيزى العميل لا تمتلك الفكر ولا الوقت الكافى للتركيز مع عمالة النقل اثناء عملية نقل الاثاث.
    والان عزيزى العميل انت مهيا لمعرفة افضل شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض بعد توضيح الامور التى تتوافر فى خدمات نقل الاثاث.
    ولا تنسى ان الشركة الجيدة هى الشركة الاعلى اجرا انما هناك بعض الشركات تقدم اسعار شركات نقل الاثاث بالرياض مميزة جدا وخدمة اعلى من الممتازة.
    شكرا لحسن لكل من قرا الموضوع وعلق عليه بالسلب والايجاب انما كان الهدف منه هو معرفة شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض تتمتع بخبرات كبيرة.

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