We tend to believe that people has some sort of mental "scale" from
phones to computers. Something like this:
Basic phone > Feature phone > Smartphone > PDA/UMPC> Laptop PC > Desktop
It seems logical to put all the "phones" in one category and the "computers"
in one category. However my working theory is that "normal people" actually
consider smartphones to be computers. This has some serious design
implications. (And leads to disaster when someone walks into a store to buy
a phone and comes out with a smartphone.)
The mental model for a mobile phone is a device that enables you to
communicate with another person. The phone is an _intermediary_ between you
and that other person. A computer however, is a device that enables you to
"get work done". In this case you either get work done on the device itself,
or the device is a satellite to the "real computer".
This is reflected in the phone interaction style. Basic phones and feature
phones has a default "idle" mode where the only thing you can do is to dial
a number (or hit the mode switch). A smartphone does not have an idle
screen. It has a screen full of active icons and commands that lets you do
So, my question to the list is: Do you agree? Do people consider smartphones
to be computers?