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  1.    #1  
    The question is asked:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/07...ner_is_laptop/

    You’re out and about, and you know you’ll need to hook back to the office to pick up that important email or access that corporate system – so what do you want to take, a notebook or a handheld device?
    And the answer given was:

    To our surprise, according to over 1,000 of you, compared to mobile access via a handheld device, remote notebook access was twice as likely to be broadly relevant across the workforce.
    Some of the business user comments are also interesting:

    The main reason I prefer laptops over smartphones or PDAs for remote work is that I need a decent (at least 10" 800x600) screen and a keyboard I can type using both hands. For all their functionality, smartphones and PDAs can't provide that. I also need VGA output for connecting to [projectors], but some smartphones/PDAs do provide this, so this is not a major concern.
    For any business user - by which i mean someone with a job that delivers value to the bottom line of an organisation - a laptop will always win over Blackberry or any other mobile device.

    Why?

    Because you can do everything you need to do using a laptop. Even if you can manage to do everything on a mobile device, or phone to the rest of us, it will take you a day as opposed to an hour.

    Laptop's always win.

    Oh - and i can't see the mobile internet catching on either. It's a marketers dream but not an end user.

    These guys really need to move on. Mobile's are phone. Stop complicating things by pretending they're any use for anything else. Please.
    I run with a decent phone in one hand and a PCMCIA edge card in a Samsung microportable 1.6 Ghz dual core PC (nicely supplied by samsung with a 19" screen for desktop use.

    I want a phone to phone... Bring back the old Nokia bricks that could be used as a lethal weapon against hoards of unwashed yoofs and still work properly, that worked until the battery dies rather than dropping calls after 30 seconds when the battery is at 30% charge (QTek), that start quick after pincode being put in (rather than 2 minutes. QTek, I'm thinking about you again...), and don't flash up memory full errors when trying to send texts needing to reboot the Windows Mobile phone more often than Windows ME, and give me Internet on a screen I can read with intelligent navigation, fast url entry with a decent keyboard...

    What a shame my Psion 5 can't have a telephone upgrade... maybe I'll look at the Palm foleo offering if the battery life is good (or even a OLPC that can be recharged by a winder when in the field ;-)
    I think both PDA-type devices and laptops both have their uses. My Blackberry will keep me in touch, and abreast of any alerts or other drama -- but, obviously, if I'm going to make some changes to the system I'm going to want to VPN in on a laptop.
  2. #2  
    Reading this post made me think of one word. Foleo.
  3.    #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by cadman View Post
    Reading this post made me think of one word. Foleo.
    Read the 2nd to last reader comment I copied,
  4. #4  
    Honestly, this should not be at all surprising considering that most data systems were not designed for mobile access to begin with, nor were users trained form the outset to be mobile with certain kinds of data. This tacked-on approach to mobile will always cast mobile relevancy in business in a bad light unless polices, procedures, and devices all line up into one seemless solution.

    The other issue is the computing culture of businesses, but changing that in a fell swoop to things like MOOFing, flex shifts, etc. is just asking for trouble because of the sense of being disconnected from the "office action."
    MMM | AntoineRJWright.com | BH | Jaiku

    Moved on to Symbian, but still will visit from time to time.
  5. #5  
    It depends on your definition of work. It seems terribly funny that a lot of what we call work is just word processing.

    Surur
  6. #6  
    Oooh, nice Surur. Truth be told that is the case in a lot of computing professions (web dev included).
    MMM | AntoineRJWright.com | BH | Jaiku

    Moved on to Symbian, but still will visit from time to time.
  7. #7  
    I'm not talking about bloggers or journalists. In my line of work I spend half my time doing it, and the other half writing reports about what I have done. It seems rather wasteful.

    Surur
  8.    #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by Antoine of MMM View Post
    Honestly, this should not be at all surprising considering that most data systems were not designed for mobile access to begin with, nor were users trained form the outset to be mobile with certain kinds of data. This tacked-on approach to mobile will always cast mobile relevancy in business in a bad light unless polices, procedures, and devices all line up into one seemless solution.
    I think it's simply that one can not be productive:

    1. Typing w/ their thumbs
    2. Scrolling back and forth over a 240-320 pixel wide screen verses 1650-1920
    3. 30 Mbps sure beats the hell out of anything wireless

    If your job involves giving answers to questions in "25 words or less", you can get by with a handheld but you will still be only be half as productive as they guy who can use all 10 fingers and see 22.5 times the screen real estate as the person w/ the handheld. A bike messenger (stop and go, never in one place for any length of time, limited "cargo area") is one example where a person would benefit more from a handheld, though it's not as if he would be severely curtailed using the phone to get and report on pick up and deliveries.
    Last edited by JackNaylorPE; 07/11/2007 at 10:57 AM.
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by JackNaylorPE View Post
    I think it's simply that one can not be productive:

    1. Typing w/ their thumbs
    2. Scrolling back and forth over a 240-320 pixel wide screen verses 1650-1920
    3. 30 Mbps sure beats the hell out of anything wireless

    If your job involves giving answers to questions in "25 words or less", you can get by with a handheld but you will still be only be half as productive as they guy who can use all 10 fingers and see 22.5 times the screen real estate as the person w/ the handheld. A bike messenger (stop and go, never in one place for any length of time, limited "cargo area") is one example where a person would benefit more from a handheld, though it's not as if he would be severely curtailed using the phone to get and report on pick up and deliveries.
    Again, while I agree with your assumptions, to make the broad statement that handhelds are not suitable for a work environment is shortsighted. Sales, real estate, utility, and packing industries get by on systems with successful handheld implementations. Other industries would be well served by either going the laptop, tablet, or wireless handheld route if they would take a better look at what are the kernel tasks that need to be done, and where exactly these need to be done.

    A short example: a few years ago I was given the opportunity to teach a summer course to high school students. The course was a time management course based around using PDAs. The goal, expand the abilities of the students, and make the world their classroom. Not only was the class a success, but the students began lobbying for changes in their other summer classes because of what we had been doing in mine (multiple locations, data collection, sharing of notes and calendaring, etc.).

    The need to use a larger screen, more hardware, etc. is a necessity for some computing-based careers. However, we would be doing the original (historical) paradigm of what computing was meant to do if we continued to just allow one form of mobile computing to govern how and what we do.

    To address the points you've listed specifically:
    (1) For heavy text entry you are correct. For filling in forms, QWERTY with predcitive text is a lot smarter. Build a program that takes advantage of that and text entry on a mobile device isn't an issue at all.
    (2) Depends on what you are reading/writing, but this too can go either way. If all a person is doing is looking for an item, then the searching capabilities can take over where the eyes could/would fall short. In terms of document creation, some are spatial, they need to see the "edges" of the page in order to write. As one who taught writing (same summers as the example, different class), this is one part the person, another part how they learn to tell a story. The latter of which in US systems is almost never taught right.
    (3)No argument there. But why is all of that speed needed. For the industries I listed previously, the current networks work jsut fine. If you are doing something that requires that much bandwidth then you are either developing, publishing, or creating multimedia content. In that case, the larger screen and beefer hardware not only helps with creation, but debugging. When it comes to using it, that should not be dependant on hardware (despite what the last 15 years of computing has told us)

    So again, I agree with you to a degree. However, current preferences and behaviors are just that -- preferences and behaviors. Those can be changed. What needs to be changed first in order to change those two are the methodogies by which content is approached and how the ideas of "work" and "productivity" are assumed in the work culture. Going mobile ain't nothing but taking the work with you. Whether you are using a smartphone or laptop, the content should be the driver, not the window you are using to see it.
    MMM | AntoineRJWright.com | BH | Jaiku

    Moved on to Symbian, but still will visit from time to time.
  10.    #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by Antoine of MMM View Post
    Again, while I agree with your assumptions, to make the broad statement that handhelds are not suitable for a work environment is shortsighted.
    I have never made such a statement. I'm staying on topic with regard to the survey quoted addressing an an environment where both laptops and handhelds may be used. The issue is whether the handheld can be used to replace a laptop. In the industries you mention, that is not the case.

    (1) For heavy text entry you are correct. For filling in forms, QWERTY with predcitive text is a lot smarter. Build a program that takes advantage of that and text entry on a mobile device isn't an issue at all.
    The guy running around talking water meter readings does not need a laptop.....replacing one with a handheld is therefore not within the realm of discussion. However, you will notice,m they are not using handhelds, they are using tablets for the most part. One reason is the forms you mention won't fit on a 2" screen.

    (2) Depends on what you are reading/writing, but this too can go either way. If all a person is doing is looking for an item, then the searching capabilities can take over where the eyes could/would fall short.
    Go back to our water meter guy. name, address, service size, usage history, ....it all doesn't fit on one screen and therefore he can not act "at a glance". The minute you have to hit a key or a button after being on apage, your behind already.

    (3)No argument there. But why is all of that speed needed. For the industries I listed previously, the current networks work jsut fine.
    Can't argue both sides of the fence. The pro handheld lobby can't argue about EVDO being better than EDGE or HSDPA being better than EVDO and whine about the lack of WiFi because all of those are too slow and then argue that the advantage of a wired connection is not of significance.

    I use the internet on my handheld....it's great for say checking the ferry schedule as by the time my laptop would boot, I can read it on my Treo. Well not really cause my the time I locate the right link from the home page and then the 2nd page loads and I scroll across the tables I actually could boot the laptop. But hey, it's in my bag, I'd have to plug into the network, yada yada yada so OK.

    But if I receive an e-mail from a client asking me whether the Whoopdedoo 4000 generator set is going to meet the specs I provided which were in turn based upon products from Himoinsa ..... by the time I find the model on the manufacturer's web site, I have the 3.4 MB PDF file loaded on my laptop screen. Most web activity involves first conducting a search.....and the yahoo / google experience on a handheld is abysmal.

    Again, the handheld is the swiss army knife of communications. I can use the scissor to cut a bandage in a pinch.....I can use the screwdriver to tighten the screw on my bike handlebars.....I can use the bottle opener to crack open a Corona.....I can use the knife to gut and clean a fish But if I gonna be cutting out 10 paper dolls, replacing 10 screws, opening 10 beers or cleaning the afternoon's catch of 10 stripers, I want a full size, dedicated tool for the job.
  11. #11  
    lol
    Did he say "Whoopdedoo"?
  12. #12  
    I have never made such a statement. I'm staying on topic with regard to the survey quoted addressing an an environment where both laptops and handhelds may be used. The issue is whether the handheld can be used to replace a laptop. In the industries you mention, that is not the case.
    Apologies on my end. I really should have read it over before clicking submit.

    Again, the handheld is the swiss army knife of communications. I can use the scissor to cut a bandage in a pinch.....I can use the screwdriver to tighten the screw on my bike handlebars.....I can use the bottle opener to crack open a Corona.....I can use the knife to gut and clean a fish But if I gonna be cutting out 10 paper dolls, replacing 10 screws, opening 10 beers or cleaning the afternoon's catch of 10 stripers, I want a full size, dedicated tool for the job.
    I got ya.
    MMM | AntoineRJWright.com | BH | Jaiku

    Moved on to Symbian, but still will visit from time to time.
  13.    #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by sxtg View Post
    lol
    Did he say "Whoopdedoo"?
    It's an engineering term ..... trade joke for Contractor's habit of submitting products as an "or equal" when it obviously is missing many of the critical material and performance features specified. Kind of like if you specified a device with e-mail capabilities and the Contractor wants to give ya something that can do text messages and explains that it does some useless task that you don't want or need. These "explanations" are then usually met with "well whoopdedoo".
  14. #14  
    For smart people making arguments its always useful to turn the arguments around.

    Jack, for what jobs do you think handhelds ARE preferable to laptops.

    Surur
  15.    #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    Jack, for what jobs do you think handhelds ARE preferable to laptops.
    Read back. I already gave the example of a bike messenger.

    For smart people making arguments its always useful to turn the arguments around.
    Ok, good idea, ....your turn

    Just a reminder within the context of this discussion, we are not talking about using both. While I'll argue against using the air nailer for hanging a picture on the wall, I have no issue with peeps who use their air nailer to put a new roof on and use a hammer to hang a picture. Assuming of course that the frequency and size of the roof replacements one is doing offsets the cost of the tool investment.....not gonna buy an air nailer to put shingles on the doghouse.
  16. #16  
    One example is a bit stingy, isnt it?

    Anyway, in situations where work is not very well defined or task specific, a general purpose, powerful device is probably better.

    E.g. Waitress - PDA, floor manager - tabletpc, restaurant owner - laptop.

    Surur
  17. #17  
    I've had my treo for six months now... would not dream of giving it up. I've replaced my laptop about 85% of the time... but then I mainly use email.

    Today, I had some info faxed which I had to send to another person. I simply had the fax sender send to my 800#, then the fax was automatically sent to my email... I simply called the other person and forwarded the email to him. He was impressed since he was at another location and had email and printer, but no fax.

    But most of the time I'm answering support questions or pre-sales questions... treo is small, but it works fine. Actually, the treo keeps me to the point, and I don't write "books." lol...

    The other 15% of the time I'm creating documents, shipping (on the road) or typing large emails... I use a laptop for that... but I've cut my laptop use drastically and don't think about taking it with me.
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  18. braj's Avatar
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    #18  
    I read my morning emails out in the courtyard under sunlight instead of indoors under fluorescents. Quick emails I can respond to immediately, long ones I'll just deal with when I get to my desk. I'll also often be in my boss's office for an ad-hoc meeting, and he'll email me a doc or xls and I'll read it right there instead of looking over his shoulder.

    Besides that, I always have access to my calendar and notes which wouldn't be the case with a laptop since even if it was extremely small it wouldn't always be with me. It doesn't replace a laptop generally but augments and reduces the frequency I have to lug the thing around with me.
  19.    #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    One example is a bit stingy, isnt it?

    Anyway, in situations where work is not very well defined or task specific, a general purpose, powerful device is probably better.

    E.g. Waitress - PDA, floor manager - tabletpc, restaurant owner - laptop.

    Surur
    I only have an hour for lunch. Can't imagine waiting for waitress to thumb type my order. Besides, waitresses / bartenders already have a tablet PC, only they call it a cash register. Tab the table number on the floor plan, tap the number of people, hit person 1, select from the appetizer list, select the from the entree list, etc. Been that way since I tended bar and I gave that up in the 80's.

    It basically comes down to how many buttons ya gotta push. If it's small and most of the options are already defined, tablets work great. If ya gotta hit more than 100 keys, laptops gonna serve ya better. If all ya need to do is exchange communications of 10-12 words, and not too many at that, a PDA will work wonders.

    A building super is another job where a handheld is ideal.

    1. Fix the toilet in unit 24.
    2. Lock broken on unit 166
    3. Dude in 78 is complaining that it smells like someone died in unit 77.

    Building manager on he other hand who has to look at plans, read leases, write work orders, order supplies etc.....he needs a laptop.
  20.    #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by theog View Post
    I've had my treo for six months now... would not dream of giving it up. I've replaced my laptop about 85% of the time... but then I mainly use email.
    85% of my treo usage is phone.....but if in reach of landline, I'm reaching for that.

    Today, I had some info faxed which I had to send to another person. I simply had the fax sender send to my 800#, then the fax was automatically sent to my email... I simply called the other person and forwarded the email to him. He was impressed since he was at another location and had email and printer, but no fax.
    So, if I understand correctly,

    1. Call sending dude ask him to fax to other number 2 minutes
    2. Wait for fax to arrive 2 minutes
    3. Call 2nd person 2 minutes
    4. Type new e-mail and send it to him 2 minutes

    I woulda just told my a clerk in my office, my hotel, or whatever to send this guy the fax.

    But most of the time I'm answering support questions or pre-sales questions... treo is small, but it works fine. Actually, the treo keeps me to the point, and I don't write "books." lol...
    If a question can be answered in 20 words or less, I'll agree....assuming that you don't have to do more than 3 or 4 of them. If I don't have the laptop handy, I'm more likely to call and take the dude thru step by step. I can talk a lot faster than I write and I can multi-task (driving mostly) on the phone which I can't do while typing.
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