Richard MacManus writes:
One of the key factors in uptake of the Mobile Internet is data speed. And although subscriber and developer-wise we’re getting closer to Mobile Internet Nirvana, the fact is a lot of us are still on pre-3G mobile networks. Roland Tanglao recently called it “the GPRS version of the mobile internet” and we in New Zealand are in the same boat. NZ has GPRS and CDMA mobile networks, but we’ve been promised 3G for years. Our neighbour Australia is a bit ahead of us in the mobile world, as Hutchison already has a 3G network – using the brandname 3.
Apart from speed, the user-friendliness of the mobile internet and its applications is another hurdle. As of this date, it’s still a pain for people to use a pokey little keypad and screen for mobile internet. The mobile jigsaw (fitting all the pieces together) I wrote about earlier is also an issue.
On the positive side, the handsets available these days are much easier to use and have more functionality than even a couple of years ago – and they will get even better before the year is out. Plus with people like Russell developing new services and apps, there’s a lot of developer enthusiasm around (don’t forget it wasn’t that long ago that WAP in particular was ridiculed by developers). So mobile apps and services are getting increasingly user-friendly.
As Russell expanded upon, it’s a new form of media. Just as eBooks shouldn’t just duplicate paper books, the Mobile Web shouldn’t be about replicating PC Websites and apps onto a mobile platform. And as Sir Tim says, it’s all about extending the Web so the Mobile Web complements and interoperates with the PC Web.