back to article Mobile internet set for take-off?

The mobile internet is more toll road than superhighway, but the logjam could clear up. On the face of things there is little reason to be confident that mobile internet will ever fully catch on with consumers. It's expensive, awkward to use, and lacks the content and functionality of a traditional PC-based browser. While …


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  1. Andy

    hardware not ready yet

    With the exception of the occasional email or "where's my nearest garage", nobody really wants to surf the net on a tiny phone screen.

    I agree, cost is the greatest barrier. But the next barrier is a bigun, too: lack of a decent portable terminal.

  2. Kevin Ruston

    Ready Right Here Right Now, with Google

    "who wants to use the internet on a phone?" - Are you KIDDING??

    'occassional email' and 'where's my garage' would be two great examples of exactly why people WILL and DO use the net on a phone.

    And emails won't be occassional. I use mobile gmail from Google which is awesome - and I use it at least 30 times EVERY day, for work and private communication; and not just when I'm travelling; when I'm at meetings, and when I'm at home on the sofa and can't be bothered to get to my PC (who want's to be sat at a PC at 11pm at night?). And it translates Word documents to text on the fly, and lets me download powerpoint and excel files and images (assuming you have offline capability on your 'phone' e.g. some kind of smartphone).

    And google local search as well as its main search works just fine, and the 'new' [it's not new atall, just not widely known about] google mobile gateway which sucessfully translates 90% of websites into a text-only, navigation and images removed version is again, ready right now.

    So its not a hardware/connectivity issue - its just a question, as with 'search engines' (remember someone somewhere once said "why would anyone want to search the internet? I just like to browse my favourite sites") of when Google mobile services become widely know - the demand, usability and technology is NOT a problem, even the advertising models, it's just that the current telco's AND handset companies are still trying to push their own walled garden approches.

    On this same page right here there's an article about Google entering into the mobile OS market - once that's done the mobile internet will become a reality, but as I said the demand and technology is already there; its just a question of market reach and awareness - a totally different issue. Once the telco's realise it they will partner with Google, as will the handset manufacturers. A phone without Google will soon be like a PC without Google - you might as well throw it in the bin. And the new iphone? Well iphone with Google services is a great tool for the masses: the iphone without Google services is just a fancy handset that could come from anyone who can be bothered to develop a fancy UI - it's again not that big a deal {but it will ship with Google services of course ;-).

  3. Chris Matchett

    The hardware is fine

    Current phones either have decent resolutions or are Windows Mobile or other OSs that can cope with most web pages just fine. Sites that don't work are just poorly designed if they rely on a minimum screen size.

  4. Craig Collier

    User error

    The problem is, that most people don't understand how to use the internet on their PCs, let alone understand how it woudl work on their phones.

    And education on either of these won't help. Some people just don;'t want to learn, they don't care baout technology, they just want a sexy phone they can show off and a few free texts a month.

    I use the 3 £5 a month X-series contract for unlimited internet (i suspect there's a cap on this unlimited offer though) and it means that i, who can spend time working out what to do, now can get my emails and MSN messenger on my phone wherever i am. I had to do it myself though, and it wasn't easy, but then it isn't any easier on a PC< its just that we're used to that.

    I say leave it as it is, charge those who want to pay, and for the few of us who actually use it, the service will just get better and better.

    Google is leading the charge here though, hotmail is at best unusable on a phone browser, so google just release a small java app that handles email on and offline, so simple, so usable. If google ever release their own phone, it will be the one-stop shop for everythign you need, i suspect they're holding off until they can offer everythign they want to rather than the half baked efforts of other competitors.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    but google is not the internet - it only seems that way.

    Although google do offer some great services and this new mobile one mentioned above is new to me, but sound good, the technology IS the problem as there is no apparent standard to developing mobile sites.

    A few years ago WAP appeared to be such a standard, but without a decent and well known technological expectation of what phones can do, building websites for mobile becomes a very expensive task which duplicates other development work, for what is usually a very small gain unless you are a large site that can afford the extra time in development.

    Until there is standardisation on screen size, resolution, javascript support, image support etc etc making mobile sites IN ADDITION to a normal site is money down the drain.

    Also cost is a factor. I don't have a web bundle on my phone, and so i would not consider even trying to do any web things on my phone - i'd rather spend the money on something else.

    If you want to check you email at 11pm at night, why wouldn't you use a PC or in my case a laptop wherever i am in the house?

  6. Tom Thurston


    Hi Jeremy,

    Standardisation isn't going to happen mate. Some phones will have small screens and some will have huge ones and that's because we want it that way. One person might want a small phone which fits easily into their pocket / bag, another will want something with a huge screen so they can see huge videos on it / organise their life. And the fact that there are hundreds of different factors to cater for doesnt' matter to developers of the mobile internet because we've all been sharing this information with each other for years! It just requires a bit of content adaptation! Check out if you want to have a go yourself!

    With kind regards,


  7. Jonathan Fitt

    iPhone to save the mobile web. LOL

    "The AT&T iPhone might shake this up with Apple's genial simplicity"

    Don't make me laugh. Simplistic or not, no one will want to wait around for pages to load over GPRS, especially when you start wanting anything more complicated than small pages of text.

    I used the mobile web a lot with my old GSM smartphone and it tried my patience on many an occasion. Only someone who REALLY wants to use the mobile web would do it over GPRS. It will win no converts.

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