In 2001, the phone could connect to the web via WAP. Limited content, reach, connectivity and speed issues marred the WAPscape. By 2008, Mobile Web use is growing faster than ever, as noted in this post by ReadWriteWeb, Wireless devices are everywhere these days. Wi-Fi hotspots are popping up in more places and aircards protrude from the laptops of the mobile workforce. 3G Mobile Broadband use also increased during 2007 with the average monthly data transfer rate up 25% over the course of the year, indicating that usage seems to rise with experience.
Desktop Class Browsers
With emergence of desktop class browsers(Skyfire, Opera Mobile 9.5, MiniMo) for mobiles, users can get a near PC browsing experience on their phones, this however, will be limited to high-end devices for now due to the high memory, processing power and bigger screen requirements.
W3C is working on OneWeb, it hopes that this new tool will help developers build websites that will work well on any device, be it a phone or a video-game console.
Thanks to the availability of AJAX, Web platforms and web runtimes, service providers can provide easy to access and easy to use services. Browsing is out, engaging experiences are in, operators and OEMs are deploying mobile portals to make access to services easily available. All major players in the web space (and a plethora of small ones) are creating mobile widgets with customized content and services to reach out the users without them having to open a browser and link to the entire site.
m-portals and mobile widgets have the following benefits over the browser:
- Faster access
- Reduced clicks
- Integration with native phone Apps (Camera, Media Gallery etc)
- Rich and more engaging user experience
- Low latency
- Lower bandwidth requirement
Creators of mobile widgets need to use caution in what content/feature/service they offer because the mobile paradigm is very different from the desktop, as Paul Golding puts it “The bulk of web-based apps have been human-to-content (H2C). However, in the mobile world, the dominant paradigm is distinctly real-time voice and messaging, supporting a predominantly human-to-human (H2H) mode of interaction.”