Supporting ubiquitous information on very small devices is harder than you think

Abstract

A basic objective of ubiquitous computing research is ubiquitous information: the ability to utilize any content or service, using devices that are always at hand, over networks that don’t tie us down. Although much progress has been made, the ideal remains elusive. This paper reflects on the interrelations among three dimensions of ubiquitous information: content, devices, and networks. We use our understanding of these dimensions to motivate our own attempt to create a ubiquitous information system by combining unlimited World Wide Web content with mobile phones and mobile phone networks. We briefly describe a middleware proxy system we developed to increase the usefulness of very small devices as Internet terminals. We conclude with a post-mortem analysis highlighting lessons learned for others interested in information systems for very small devices.