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Apr 14

The future of the Mobile Web is strong

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Mobile Web

Russ Beattie has closed up shop for Mowser and people are rushing to declare the death of the mobile Web.

I like Russ, and was glad to see him back on the scene and blogging a storm, even if he can be a touch offensive from time to time ;)

But, just because he couldn’t find the right niche for Mowser, doesn’t mean the “mobile Web” is dead before born.

Take a look at what he really said:

In other words, I think anyone currently developing sites using XHTML-MP markup, no Javascript, geared towards cellular connections and two inch screens are simply wasting their time, and I’m tired of wasting my time.

I agree. Where are the mobile apps today? They are the iPhone specific ones, and a few stripped-down versions. The mobile Web is growing strong from where I sit. I just have to look around at how my own wife uses her laptop less and less, and her mobile browser more and more.

I am so bullish about the Web on the phone that I believe it will be THE platform for building mobile applications in the future.

If you are a hardcore mobile app builder you may snortle a little. Really? Cheesy Web technology can compete with rich application frameworks? Never.

They can, and they will. I was listening to someone talking about the battle of IPX versus NetBEUI. The viscous battle between Microsoft and Novell. This person said: “If you had told me that this TCP/IP thing would beat both of us I would have laughed in your face”. Some crappy thing uses in academia that doesn’t have all of the features that we do? In the battle of IPX and NetBEUI, TCP/IP won.

It will keep winning, and it will come to win in the mobile world. This is why I am excited about Gears for Mobile, and any other work that will come through in HTML 5 and browsers such as Mobile Safari.

It may take awhile, but would you really bet against it? The mobile Web will just be the Web. We will have limitations of course. 3G will take awhile, and the size of screens isn’t going anywhere until we have the dream of projection into your eyes and such.

Would you bet against it?

5 Responses to “The future of the Mobile Web is strong”

  1. Ray Cromwell Says:

    ,
    I spent years in the HDML/WML/XHTML-MP/WAP hell-hole, the insane thing was, I hated using “mobile” apps. The screens were small, the input method extremely frustrating, the rendering slow, and the networks uber slow. The only reason SMS worked nice was because of the asynchrony of it: a native UI experience (no delay to go enter a message), and no synchronous waiting for the send/receive, fire-and-forget, SMTP/UUCP style.

    Honestly, it wasn’t until my first experience with the iPhone that truly felt the mobile web had any potential. The devices are finally getting fast enough, snappy enough, with large enough readable displays, and good user input (I *like* the touch screen), that I can see real, useful apps running on them. My only beef with iPhone is lack of 3G (soon to be rectified I think), and not adhering to other mobile standards/defacto standards (No MMS, no voice dial, no Jabber, no Flash, vCard/iCal attachments, etc)

    I mean, take Safari on iPhone. I think the touchscreen interface is a quantum leap over directional thumb key approaches, it’s like playing a first person shooter with keyboard vs mouse. The ability to move around fluidly, zoom in/out quickly, all of it is critical for using small screen devices.

    In the end, the enemy is UI/network latency, and the more a mobile phone can do to ease or hide this, the better.

  2. James Pearce Says:

    +1. The tribulations of one business does not a medium’s failure make.

    (although I think the world of both Russ & Mike).

    I think we all know that the made-for-mobile web is an inevitability.

    But in fact the Mowser business (in the short term) was a bet *against*
    a made-for-mobile web… gently weaning users off the sedentary web
    experience while the web development community got round to creating a
    critical mass of made-for-mobile content.

    It’s a shame that Mowser didn’t get further since they are talented
    individuals, and really did *get* mobile.

  3. Raffy Banks Says:

    I agree with Ray Cromwell, there is a huge mental hurdle to the mobile web. The iPhone helped a lot of people “get it”.

    I used pull out my phone, start looking up movie times and my girlfriend’s eyes would roll. Now she is snatching the phone right out of my hands wanting to browse he favorite sites.

  4. Matthew McCullough Says:

    1) Where’d you get that great photo? It really captures the essence of the blog post.

    2) Perhaps Android and the iPhone SDK are the “redux” of the mobile web. Only time and market acceptance will tell.

  5. Shane Murphy Says:

    Hey Dion,

    Fully agree that mobile is far from dead. It’s quite ridiculous to say that it is given all the key metrics are growing eg handset sales, mobile internet usage etc.

    Your blog inspired me to write my own but taking this from a consumer marketing perspective. Check out http://www.opinionsandonions.com

    Shane

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