What makes the 'best' wireless devices?

At the recent BlackBerry analyst conference, held virtually from my very own desktop, the critical features of the 'Best' wireless devices were discussed:

  • Send only necessary data – this addresses the pay-by-the-byte users' biggest concern. Since mobile service like most telco services, is a zero-sum game, (there's only so much money in my wallet that the telco will take whatever they can get, leaving the rest for me to live my life), users are often wary of the cozy relationship between the operator and the device manufacturer. At the same time, most Internet and PC networking protocols weren't meant to be stingy on their bandwidth consumption. Some protocols (AppleTalk was the worst) were so chatty, they had to be contained to small zones so as not to overload the WAN with service advertising broadcasts (these are typically printer messages – I'm here – I'm here – I'm here!).
  • Only send when necessary – the corollary to point 1 above.
  • Leverage push instead of response – here the idea is to recognize that network availability is not to be taken for granted, so the device/application should push most likely information to be requested in the background so that the user won't be begging for their next email update, but instead will get it when its available.
  • Context-sensitivity – of course the UI must present options to the user to help them get done what they need. Superflous commands really don't fit in a device that is particularly real estate constrained (small-screen), network constrained (assume it to be slow and thin) and user attention constrained.

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