Current models of mobility and nomadic computing fail to address the communication process of the work in hand. This literature review critically assesses these models to bring out their strengths and weaknesses, and shows that the system-centered approach is insufficient in supporting mobile work. A new framework based on aspects of communication theory will be put forward as an alternative to the technology driven approach that is in evidence today. Finally, a proposal for further research involving an in depth empirical study of nomadic computing and mobility will be outlined.

The position developed in this thesis is that using a technology driven approach to conceptualise mobile work is insufficient, and fails to support the communicative context of the work or tasks being performed whilst mobile. Therefore, the approach taken has been an anthropological one, in the sense of looking at mobile work from the perspective of what the interlocutors are trying to achieve through mobility. This thesis therefore, is intended to answer three fundamental questions. Firstly, what work has been done on mobility and mobile systems? Secondly, what are the common themes in this literature, and is it possible to synthesise the approaches taken or models and metaphors used? Finally, are there any gaps in the literature, and what are some possible solutions?

In the first section of the thesis, the constructs of mobility are analysed in order to see the types of problems both technical and theoretical that mobility entails. The second section will describe current systems in depth in order to see how some of these problems have been tackled, followed by a synthesis of the models and metaphors used. The third section will contain a discussion of the communicative factors affecting mobile work, with the fourth section proposing a new framework based on aspects of communication theory. A final subsequent section will outline how further research involving an empirical study of mobility and communication could verify whether the proposed solutions are viable.

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