With staggering swiftness, the mobile phone has become a fixture of daily life in almost every society on earth. In 2007, the world had over 3 billion mobile subscriptions. Prosperous nations boast of having more subscriptions than people. In the developing world, hundreds of millions of people who could never afford a landline telephone now have a mobile number of their own. With a mobile in our hand many of us feel safer, more productive, and more connected to loved ones, but perhaps also more distracted and less involved with things happening immediately around us. Written by two leading researchers in the field, this volume presents an overview of the mobile telephone as a social and cultural phenomenon. Research is summarized and made accessible though detailed descriptions of ten mobile users from around the world. These illustrate popular debates, as well as deeper social forces at work. The book concludes by considering three themes: 1) the tighter interlacing of daily activities 2) a revolution of control in the social sphere, and 3) the arrival of a world where the majority of its inhabitants are reachable, anytime, anywhere.
Rich Ling is Senior Researcher at the Telenor Research Institute in Norway.
Jonathan Donner is Researcher for Microsoft Research India.