Is the Mobile Web Finally Set to Take Off?
There are, by some accounts, about 3 billion mobile phone users in the world. That's more than the number of automobiles, more than the number of personal computers, more than the number of landline phones, more than the number of TVs, and more than the number of credit cards. The mobile Internet, however, has largely been a rather uninspiring experience. While many people, mostly in the developing world, use their mobile phone as their primary Internet or computing device, the mobile web is often looked at as a jungle of slow loading pages, poor design, and unoptimized content that is a pain to use on a tiny screen.
In the US there are 237 million wireless subscribers, but only 32 milion acssesed the internet in September -- a tiny fraction of the 210 milion users.
This year, a few potentially game changing devices have been released in the United States and elsewhere that could help push the mobile web (and the concept of accessing the web as a whole from your mobile) into the mainstream. The first, of course, is the iPhone (and iPod Touch). In August, Forrester Research talked about the iPhone as a mobile web killer because of its large screen, fast wifi access, and ability to elegantly display the full Internet without having to bother with mobile optimized sites -- which not every web site offers. We were skeptical, saying that iPhone has more going for it than the mobile web, but "isn't quite a Mobile Web killer just yet."
Even so, we've already sung the praises of the iPhone, listing its strong, full web access as one of our favorite features. Perhaps even more importantly for the adoption of mobile web usage, the iPhone also introduced affordable data plans for users. The cheapest iPhone plan (AT&T), which includes unlimited data, is $59.99/month in the US. Verizon Wireless, meanwhile, has plans (in my area) starting at $79.99 and data usage usually counts against your monthly minutes. Clearly, the iPhone lowers the barrier of entry for many users by making access cheaper.
But, even though the first three months of sales for the iPhone have been good -- estimates range up to 1 million units sold since its late June launch -- the iPhone still only accounts for a very tiny percentage of the mobile market.
What do you guys think? Is the mobile web (or, rather, using mobile devices to access the web) finally coming of age? Are we set to see more of these devices flooding the marketplace in the future or will the idea never take off? At the end of last year, only 15% of R/WW prognosticated that the mobile web would be the biggest web trend of this year. Could the results for next year's predictions be different?
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WAP has always been weak even with devices from manufacturers such as the communicator.
Some pda/cellfone units accessed the internet but had dreadful hang issues.
In my opinion wap has been superseeded by machones such as apples i phone and touch.
WAP is now really a backwards stop
I have the i pod touch and safari works really well with wifi at home or in hotspots.
Both the i phone and touch can be jailbroke.
So in respect to the i phone one could use your own sim card
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