The mobile user of today can choose from a variety of messaging technologies. At one extreme, the user may choose to carry a miniature paging device. At another extreme, he may choose to carry a laptop device which he can use to dial in to retrieve e-mail messages. Each of these technologies provides a particular set of capabilities and functionality to the mobile user.
Modern e-mail systems provide a comprehensive richness of message format, including To, From, CC and Subject fields, and the ability to include attachments. Traditional paging devices, by contrast, typically provide extreme simplicity of message format - in some cases no more than a 10-digit telephone number.
On the other hand, paging devices provide the user with a very high degree of portability, which cannot be matched by a laptop or even most palmtop devices. Furthermore, paging systems deliver messages directly to the recipient, who is then unilaterally alerted to their presence by the paging device. By contrast, e-mail systems usually do not provide this direct delivery capability, but instead require an explicit retrieval action on the part of the recipient.
The mobile user of tomorrow will expect and demand the best that each of these technologies can offer. While on the move, mobile users need to have important or time-critical information delivered to them. This information may be more complex than a 10-digit telephone number. And it may be necessary to present this information to the user immediately, without requiring him to dial in for messages. Users must be able to accept messages at any time, at any place, and on a device that they can carry anywhere.
In order to satisfy these requirements, a Mobile Messaging system must have the following characteristics:
The required Mobile Messaging system must therefore combine the message richness of typical e-mail, with the unconscious carry and push delivery characteristics of typical paging devices. We will refer to a messaging system that satisfies these criteria as a true Mobile Messaging system.
Unconscious carry, and the push mode of delivery, are essential requirements of the mobile user. Showing up to a romantic dinner carrying a laptop is idiotic. Showing up with a pager in your pocket is not (though answering it may be). And if much later your now-wife is soon to give birth, you certainly do not want to have to dial into your Message Center to discover that she has gone into labor. Information like this must be presented to you immediately, and wherever you happen to be.