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A Range of Devices

The first thing one notices in considering mobile devices is that they come in quite a variety with many different characteristics. The main points that they have in common are small size, limited power, limited input/output capabilities, and limited bandwidth (although many are working on technologies to provide greater bandwidth). They range from data-enabled cellular phones (for various kinds of data) to two-way pagers to personal digital assistants (PDAs) with some kind of communications built in or added on. Some devices combine several of these functions in a single package, such as a combination PDA and cellular phone. In a sense, all of them are trying to offer the same value, or at least they are all trying to head in the same direction. The second striking thing about mobile devices is their range of ergonomic values. There are important trade-offs in factors such as battery life, input method, screen size, and overall size. Yet there are few standards for the way they work, ranging from the radio transmission systems that deliver data to the device to the way applications interact with them.

We will now present more detailed descriptions of various mobile and wireless devices. Some (or all) of them may be familiar, and your personal experience with them may be different, but the important points to understand are those that affect how one can use each kind of device in an Internet commerce system.


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