We just finished a really good conversation on the the future of the mobile web at MobileActive ’08. Toni Eliasz of Ungana Afrika moderated a discussion where one side of the room was charged with arguing against the mobile web, and the other half for the mobile web. I sat on the “for” side of the room.
The web is made up of data, and we generally think of it as what we access via the PC. However, that same data can be accessed and added to through mobile phones as well. Whether its basic SMS, Java apps or direct web browsing. Data is data – how you access is what matters.
Some of the issues holding back penetration of the mobile web:
- Accessibility – though this gets better every year
- Cost – The reason why you can’t directly compare interaction or development of apps and services that use the mobile phone to the PC is because of the cost associated with data and SMS costs on mobile right now.
- Interface – usability can be a major problem on Java apps, and 160 characters is very limiting.
But the basic truth remains. If you can access and contribute to the global databases of content, then you are in fact on the mobile web.
The mobile web is already here. It’s happening now.
Mobile Web Questions
Rabble’s and Blaine’s Positions
Rabble, creator of Yahoo’s Fire Eagle, and Blaine, the original architect of Twitter, continued the discussion with me afterward. The claim here is that the only truly mobile web device is the iPhone, all else is negligible – maybe not in theory, but in action.
Rabble tells me that it’s much like saying that if you could get the web through this blurry glass, even if it’s feasible, it’s not useful or likely. He’s got a good point…
[final note: I was preoccupied while trying to post this with Rabble and Blaines’ conversation…]