Crossing the Rubicon of the Mobile Web


Ever notice that no one says stuff like, "No one will want to use the web on their mobile phone," any more? I have, and I can tell you it's very refreshing!

It's been a long time since I installed Opera on my Nokia 7650 and grokked how amazing and useful the mobile web can be, and an equally as long time listening to naysayers put down the exact same idea. Early adopters like myself can suffer through things like small screens, slow connections, memory limitations and wonky interfaces and still see the huge potential ahead. Laggards will bitch and moan about how it's not perfect and wait for something better, which they finally got when Apple launched their iPhone. Thank goodness! Here's the thing though, that event actually opened *everyone's* eyes to the potential of the mobile web now, regardless of if they have an iPhone or not.

Even just a year ago (a few weeks before the iPhone announcement), this wasn't the case. People in the Valley were still making up all sorts of random reasons - cultural, physical, technical - for why people wouldn't want to use the Internet from their phone. Finally we seem to have passed that threshold for good. (Though, this has been replaced somewhat by the Apple Zealots who have taken a great product and blown it up to the Second Coming of the Great Prophet Zarquon... but they'll eventually get a clue as their percentage of phones continue to stay well below 1% of phones world wide in the years to come.)

And not only do users accept the idea of the web while mobile, it seems people are finally grokking the difference between useful mobile interfaces to the web (i.e. the "mobile web") and the web as a whole. No one questioned the fact that Google launched a dedicated iPhone portal the other day, did they? No one said, "Why bother? The iPhone browser renders their home page, search results and apps just fine..." Not one person on the whole interweb bothered to bring that up, everyone just said, "Ooh, shiny!" What's even cooler is that I've started to see developers extrapolating the idea even more... the same dedicated iPhone interface on a 3.5" screen actually works pretty well on a 2.5" QVGA screen too. Whoda thunk?

So where do we go from here? Towards ubiquity of course. Universal acceptance is one thing, but universal usage is another. And lots of opportunities are there for the taking before that next goal is reached. It's just nice that as we're now heading that way, the naysayers can now take a break from the mobile web and focus on something else, like say that whole mobile video thing instead.

I mean, who the hell will want to watch TV on a 3 inch screen anyways?



< Previous         Next >