The desktop computer, the laptop computer: so clumsy, they replicated the all too familiar viewing screens of tv and film.
The new computing platform is tactile. It gleams; it buzzes and beeps, pulsates and rings. It begs to be touched, gently fingered as if requesting a massage — and we gladly oblige. It is mobile, compact, and perhaps most notably, alive.
The web was — is — the promise of the archive: all information, all media, at one's disposal. And while it enjoys a certain intelligence, and while it is always growing, it is not alive in the same sense that mobile computing is.
Oh, that ding of a new email, the strum of a new text, the accompanying buzz — it is all so deliciously erotic. The mobile is a literal physical appendage, constantly searching the waves, bringing in information just as eyes and noses do.
In The Medium is the Massage, Marshall McLuhan says that technology is an extension of the human body — the wheel, an extension of the foot; the book, an extension of the eye. The mobile is an extension, too, but not of any one sense per se. It extends human perception into the ether. Now, we are able to hear calls across impossible distances and see things half way around the planet right now.
If desktop computing is always there and later (and before), mobile computing is always here and now. With mobile, computers have become flesh.