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Smartphone, Wireless, and Mobile Technologies Forum

Mobile Web Has Teething Trouble

 7:13 pm on Nov 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

ON the surface, the mobile Web is a happening place. There’s the iPhone in all its glory. More than 30 companies have signed up for the Open Handset Alliance from Google, which aims to bring the wide-open development environment of the Internet to mobile devices. Nokia, which owns nearly 40 percent of the world market for cellphones, is snapping up Web technology companies and has made an eye-popping $8.1 billion bid for Navteq, a digital mapping service. There are also the requisite start-ups chasing the market.

It all looks good, but the wireless communications business smacks of a soap opera, with disaster lurking like your next dropped call.

"The user experience has been a disaster," says Tony Davis, managing partner of Brightspark, a Toronto venture capital firm that has invested in two mobile Web companies.

Mobile Web Has Teething Trouble [nytimes.com]



 3:29 pm on Nov 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I plan on not focusing on mobile web. Most people I talk to say the screens are too small and they need to buy coke bottle glasses to be able to see it AND these are the same people that have their home computer screens blown up so large even Grandma can see it, LOL...so how is this going to translate into mobile web? Not good. Shoot, people want BIGGER and BIGGER screens now, why would people think they want to look at an itsy-bitsy little screen except for maybe emergencies, or business e-mails or something? I do not see mobile web as EVER having too big of a market share at all. So the mobile device screens MUST get larger and then you might as well get a laptop, LOL. Just MHO!

[edited by: WiseWebDude at 3:42 pm (utc) on Nov. 28, 2007]


 3:49 pm on Nov 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I agree, the screen size has been a major turn off for me. It's a size/performance compromise that is going to be tough to overcome.


 4:03 pm on Nov 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

WiseWebDude, the "Mobile Web" really isn't about reading the front page of THE GUARDIAN or a 2,000-word article in FORBES on a mobile phone. As the referenced NEW YORK TIMES article suggests, it's about serving "Mobile Web"-optimized content to mobile devices.

For example, a guidebook publisher might have a Web page with mini-reviews of 10 hotels in Widgetville, but its "Mobile Web" application would likely serve up individual mini-reviews (a la the listings in an AAA guidebook) that are designed to be readable and useful on a miniature screen.

As the NYT article points out, the Mobile Web's teething problems involve more than page and device design--they also involve connectivity. There are a lot of different standards floating around (some open, some proprietary), and some of the promised solutions--such as WiMax--have been very slow to get off the ground. What's needed is the ability to carry a cell phone, PDA, or something like the Nokia Internet Tablet anywhere in the world and access the "Mobile Web" without connection hassles or outrageous roaming charges. With luck, that day will come, but it may be a long way off (though it's starting to look closer than it did a few years ago).


 4:39 pm on Nov 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I do not see mobile web as EVER having too big of a market share

- Foldable displays in prototype now.
- Mobile screen projectors on the market today.

The way things are going, your grandchildren might have to go to museums to see today's laptop.


 4:59 pm on Nov 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

The iPhone is good enough for me - great screens, and a fantastic ability to navigate. What's more, there's no need to tailor sites for mobile viewing.

It's so good that I suspect it may be "game over" for everyone else in the market.


 5:01 pm on Nov 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

designed to be readable and useful on a miniature screen.

Not on my phone screen it won't, I'll need to invest in a new phone with a bigger screen, and my phone works fine as a phone, just now. ;)

Technology needs to advance so that the holy grail of at least a PDA-sized screen, with phone, doesn't make a hole in my pocket.

I'm sure we'll get there, but, I can't think of anything less appealing than carrying more gadgets around just so I can access the latest news headlines. I have radio, TV, and even newspapers to do that.

In Europe, 3G was introduced some time back to allow users to access the web, view their favourite football team's goals, and watch movie clips, etc. Telecoms companies gambled big money.

Yes, cost is a problem, too. The charges are simply too high to be of mass appeal. Roaming charges are incredibly expensive, and offputting, imho.


 3:51 pm on Nov 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Verizon's announcement that they are getting out of selling equipment (that's not what they said, but that will be the result) will help a lot. I think the iPhone is foreshadowing the future, but EFV is right--it's not meant to replace the desk computer. It's a new market.

Now, how big a market? Not as big as some hope. It will not rival the audience we have today on desks in terms of $$. But, I was once wrong in my life about something, so it could happen again.

GrendelKhan TSU

 9:19 am on Nov 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

I do not see mobile web as EVER having too big of a market share

I don't see how everyone can still have this view (or similar gloomy ones) given that it already is thriving and profitable and growing markets in Asia-- namely Korea and Japan. some of the markets are saturated already (eg: mobile games).

no, "mobile web" its not the same as the systems used here (generally proprietary), but the systems and devices are still up against the same basic issues you are all concerned about.

Thus, like the "Korean internet", many of teh services, behaviors, biz model implementations are being benchmarked based on Koreamobile culture and tech -- if even just for "crystal ball"/idea purposes.

yah, there are a lot of cultural and tech factors/variables in the way... and the final form will surely be different than you see in Korea/Japan... (and will probably always be somewhat "behind")

but in the end, mark my words, it can and it will happen. no doubts whatsoever. the only "betting" becomes "when?".

- so sayeth Grendel"mobile"Khan{TSU} ^^


 2:31 pm on Dec 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

The problem is content not being setup specifically for the mobile phone screen sizes.


[edited by: jatar_k at 11:32 pm (utc) on Dec. 11, 2007]
[edit reason] no urls thanks [/edit]


 5:09 am on Dec 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

I see problems on the horizon from the mobile web, and they'll only get bigger as more people surf that way. There are sites out there like mowser.com that don't even register on my web site logs, yet my entire feed (including graphics) comes up on mobile devices through them (and even on their site on the web). I know I'm losng traffic because I've been told by many that they are now accessing my site that way. I find that to be a big problem which will only grow over time. Mowser.com type sites are acting like undetectable site scrapers where they benefit from my work and I get no benefit whatsoever. A bigger potential problem from sites like mowser.com will be spam. If you can't detect these sites, yet they can access your site, won't they be a spammers dream?


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