Internet Must Change for Mobile Use - Things May Get Simpler
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If designing a webpage that works on cell phones and PDAs seems like too much work, there are companies like MoBits (http://www.mobits.com) that have emerged and specialized in mobile-friendly web design. MoBits does nothing but produce mobile versions of webpages. They can take an existing page and either make one similar that works for both computers and mobiles or they can design a second version of the website for mobiles. According to their introduction, they are quite optimistic about the future of mobile internet:
According to the ITU, there are now approximately 1.5 billion mobile phone subscribers worldwide; that's one quarter of the human population. Twice as many people today use mobile phones as use the internet. In the developed world, while mobile phone use has plateaued, with adoption nearing 90% in many Western countries, the transition from "2G" voice-only systems to 3G (high data speed) or 2.5G (medium data speed) systems is almost complete. Almost all phones sold today in the U.S. include a color screen and some way of accessing the web. According to this recent study, in total, 13 percent of mobile subscribers in USA reported accessing news and information via a mobile browser in February 2005.
But if just looking for a simple solution, it doesn’t need to be as complicated or expensive as contracting another company to rebuild your site. The problems mostly arrise from not knowing how web patron's devices and services will affect the site. No matter what you do, not everyone will be able to see the site.
To make mini-browser displays more predictable, the Open Mobile Alliance (http://www.openmobilealliance.org) is trying to implement some standards, such as making XHTML the standard browser type. Hopefully it works. It would be unfortunate if the promising mobile internet never makes it out of the disorganized mess it's in.
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