Here is part 2 of a series. This myth deals with two phones. Should you really care about whether you are on WiFi or on cellular networks?

Myth # 2 – Two phones in one is better than two phones.

This myth is really about how the two parts of our lives – the office and the mobile – are combined and about precisely how many devices are you willing to put into your pocket or attach to your belt?

A quick show of hands reveals that business people are really interested in ones. One device. One user interface. One number for support. One. Just one.

Those who have downloaded Skype Mobile or various PC-based softphones to address the WiFi-side of the dual mode have learned exactly what a terrible waste of users’ patience looks like. These implementations are two phones operating as two phones. The WiFi client works completely independently of the cellular phone.

This puts the war of two worlds right into your hand. That’s because in this approach, each interface has its own dialer. It’s own interface. It’s own call log. It’s own message waiting indication. This is a very bad idea.

It would seem to me that users really don’t care or don’t want to care about whether a device has one, two or three or a dozen network interfaces. They expect the software to hide the complexities of multiple networks and their performance attributes. They expect the software to easily enable new services, advanced services, simple services. They expect that they will be in control of the ‘mobile console’ in much the way the universal remote controls the home electronics in the living room. The power of making the endpoint of the network as smart as a computer means that an enormous set of functionality can now be delivered via software.

What kind of functionality? Functionality that emulates the deskphone, extends it and enhances it. Simplifies access to enterprise voice mail. Provides call screening details for all calls coming to the deskphone. Supports rich detailed call logs. Includes presence information for key contacts. Delivers instant messaging. These are the advanced services that users will expect to be available regardless of which network the user is currently attached to.

Frankly, only a specialized client, optimized for enterprise implementations of dual mode devices can do that.

Clearly, two phones in a single device is like a radio that also plays CDs, or a PC application that performs equally well over the Ethernet interface or the WiFi interface. Dual mode devices are meant for convergence. This myth is true; two phones in one are better than two phones.

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