You carry *how many* phones?

A few years ago, during one of the most entertaining job interviews I’ve ever had, one of the questions asked was, “how many computers do you have at home?”

Even at the time (circa 2005), this was a bit of a head-scratcher for me, and I had to ask what they considered a “computer,” whether it mattered if the computer was in active use or stored in the attic “just in case”, and if games consoles counted. The main purpose of the question, though, was to act as a nerd detector. If you even have to think about the answer, you’ve passed some kind of barrier.

The same is happening in mobile development now. If you are looking to hire a mobile (web) developer, ask them how many “mobile devices” they own. If their answer starts with “Wellll…”, then there’s a good chance you’ve got a live one on your hands.

(Warning: do not use this piece of advice after July 2012. I’m guessing that by that point, it’ll be much more common for techies to have multiple mobiles on hand. Right now, though, we’re at a point where it’s still mostly the hard-core who wander around with more than one.)


2 Replies to “You carry *how many* phones?”

  1. Cost of phones is a barrier to entry right now, at least for me. Sure I’d love to have a couple varieties of Android and an iPhone in addition to my webOS phone, but I have no desire to be on the hook for $350+/month just in cell phone contracts.

  2. I’m definitely not trying to say that you must have multiple phones in order to be a mobile web developer, or even that having only one devices makes you any less capable. Just that it’s a “nerd flag” when you come across with someone whose cargo pants are weighted down with computing. 🙂

    Also, you can buy brand new unlocked Android, WinPhone7, and Nokia smartphones for less than €200 these days, and an iPod Touch runs Mobile Safari just fine. You can run mobile browsers on all of these devices over Wifi, and swap around a single SIM card when you feel like it. It’s about the device, not the contract.

    My definition of a “mobile device” extends to pretty much anything that a) you can carry around with you on your everyday business, b) can connect to the internet via a wireless connection (wifi/cell/bluetooth/other), and c) has a web browser on it. Kindles, contract-free tablets, and Nintendo DSi’s all count as far as I’m concerned.

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