Monday, October 30, 2006

Mobile Still Missing A Large Part Of The Web

It's obviously difficult to create websites that look great on both computers and mobile devices, but that fact doesn't keep users as well as content providers from getting what they want. By not having a mobile web solution, content providers loose out on a large percentage of potential viewers, users miss out on useful information when using a mobile device. It's true that all content isn't created equal and certain sites are not really useful on a mobile device, but that should be left to the user to decide if it is relevant to their needs or not. There are several other reasons why we still have this divide between the mobile and non-mobile web:

Screen Size and Resolution - This is probably the largest factor in why mobile devices can only view a fraction of the web, yet it is slowly becoming less of an issue when it comes to manufacturing better screens. Resolution is improving, but devices become less mobile as the size of the screen increase and as a result are less successful on the market.

Web Browser Standards - Each device maker seems to have it's own, which causes the web to look different from one device to the next. This issue is also on its way to being solved with web browser makers [Mozilla, Opera] taking up the challenge to bring the same standards in their PC web browsers to the mobile platform. Mozilla has it's Minimo browser which is very much Firefox for mobile, and Opera has a few solutions with Opera Mini, Opera Mobile, and Opera for Devices. So now you not only have a standard compliant browser for your mobile, you have options to which browser suits your needs.

Specialized and Dynamic Content - This is not as big of a deal as the other issues, but they have become more important to Internet users over time. When I say specialized I'm referring to things like Java and Flash. Because these are mainly dependent on how powerful the processor in mobile devices are, I'll just say that the devices that can do it should. Devices like the Nokia 770 should be able to handle these applications and it's just up to the maintainers of the applications to adapt them to the mobile platforms. Is it so much to ask to be able to play games like this on a mobile device? As for dynamic concepts, I'm thinking about JavaScript and AJAX. There's really no reason most mobile web browsers shouldn't be able to handle this stuff, and yet, there is apparently still some reluctance to bring to mobile devices. This one is probably best left up to the web developers to decide if it's necessary for their applications.

I'm sure there are a lot of mobile users that want to be able to get as much of the web on their mobile devices as possible, and I think it would be great to be able to watch YouTube and Google videos directly in the mobile device's web browser. I'm sure all of this will be improved over time and I really think things are heading in the right direction. I believe we are almost at that point where all you need is something like an Internet Tablet with cellular connectivity to function on the go.


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