Quick Test for Wireless Success

There's a simple way to tell whether a mobile or wireless product will succeed or fail. And it all comes down to location, location, location.

It applies whatever the equipment is. It works in consumer and business space; it doesnt matter whether were looking at a frivolous personal amusement application, or the heaviest of heavy-weight corporate productivity tools. Its a litumus test which requires no complex metrics, and no special training is required before you can expertly apply it.

You simply ask the person who uses the device in question: "Where is it right now?" And if the device is to be successful, the answer had better be: "Here—Ill show you!"

Nokia just announced three phone accessories: all necklaces.

Necklaces? Why necklaces?

Because the company is focused on cracking this benchmark. Nokia wants to make sure that when someone starts praising their neat new portable gadget, and someone else responds: "Lets see!" the owner/evangelist can show it off, right there and then.

This applies to anything, from infrastructure to baubles. If you have a call forwarding scheme, and the calls cant find you, you wasted your money and the engineers time installing the system. If you have a dynamic DNS system which allows you to access your own desktop, but it doesnt work on that device in your pocket its not with you. It fails the test.

Designers of mobile gear are beginning to realize is that any feature that increases the likelihodd that a mobile device will be left behind—no matter how good it looks on the spec sheet—is a dud feature.

I spent an hour with Intels design anthropologist, Dr. Genevieve Bell, and came away shocked by just how bad we, as an industry, have been in the last decade.

Next page: Cultural differences and cellphones.