The mobile Internet – or, the World Wide Web that you can get on your cellphone or handheld device – has had an incredibly lengthy and labored gestation. Around the turn of the century, it was widely heralded by the telecommunications industry, only to be widely derided by consumers for being slow, cumbersome and generally useless.
Today, it is still sometimes slow and occasionally cumbersome, but the portable Internet is no longer useless. On a recent-model mobile phone, you can navigate to almost any Web site at an almost-reasonable speed and a not-too-outrageous cost, once you sign up for a data plan with your phone company. You can get and send e-mail from your regular accounts. For consumers, it is convenient and cool; for business users, it can be a critical mobile tool.
But it is still a far cry from using the Internet on a personal computer.