Russell Beattie has a nice post on his blog that analyzes the various form factors that different mobile devices need to accomplish different tasks and he simplifies this overview with a wonderful abstract graphic of the different forms currently available. The main point of his article is a search for the holy grail of mobile devices, the search for the perfect device for everyone.
I tend to take a different stance on mobile devices, the greater variation in device types we have the easier it is for each individual to find their perfect device. Everyone’s needs and routines are so different that to try and pin everyone to one type of device is not only futile but actually impedes the incorporation of mobile technology into the lives of many.
The interesting thing I noticed when studying Russ’s form factor graphic is how intuitive it is in presenting pretty much everything available today. It also makes it clear to me that trying to converge every mobile device function into a phone is not the way to go, at least for me. I would rather see a small tablet-like device a little bigger than the Sony U750 that can easily fill four of the six functions that Russell depicts in his drawing. The Sony U can actually fill the four functions right now, especially with a portable keyboard attached. If you are willing to put up with a bigger device a Tablet PC will satisfy all of Russell’s needed functions right now.