This article I written originally for the Insight Guide – A monthly Lifestyle Magazine for readers in Brighton and surrounding areas. The article gives newcomers to mobile internet a reason to take its future seriously and look ahead to what’s coming soon on the mobile platform.
There is only one web, the principle of making the same information and services to users regardless of the way they access it. No doubt about it, the number of mobile devices we choose to interact with websites and online applications is increasing, comared to just desktop computers. Mobile will revolutionise they way we gather and intereact with information in the next 2 years, and this is using the mobile in your pocket, not just the iPhone.
Compare the number of global mobile owners, more than 3 billion, to the number of computer owners, 850 million. The mobile is something you don’t leave home without, why leave the web at home or at work? It is predicted that the in the next decade the mobile will be the first point of contact with the internet, and the desktop computer the second.
According to a new report from the telecom research firm Berg Insight, more than 100 million mobile subscribers in Europe will use location-based services by 2012. Mapping, navigation and search are believed to become the top applications, followed by social networking and tracking.
GPS is about to become a standard feature in mass-market handsets which are highly advanced and support third party applications. Many will try and a few players will most likely succeed in creating location-enabled mobile applications that will have the same impact on the mobile industry as MySpace and Facebook had on the Internet.
Now we have mobile versions of the BBC (bbc.co.uk/mobile), Facebook (m.facebook.com) and ebay. These are stripped down versions of the main sites. As when on the move you only want to know the headlines, get to pages quickly without having to wait for long downloads, this is possible as image use is limited and page widths are flexible so it will fit to deliver main content and basic navigation to whatever size screen you are using.
Mobile applications have real value for people on the move, for example, in the last few weeks I’ve used the internet on my mobile using Google Maps (google.com/m/products) to direct me to a hotel in Edinburgh from the Railway station, or if i have forgotten to send an important email I just visit webmail on my mobile to forward it to a colleague or client.
To improve your mobile experience I recommend you download OperaMini (operamini.com), it’s free, easy to install, packed with great features.
These are exciting time for how we interact with the internet. it’s early days, the mobile operators have the networks in place, its down to individual web companies and web innovators to create projects that capture the possibilities of the mobile internet. First there must be a critical mass of active users to work with, come and experience what the mobile web can do for you!