Mobiles: The next frontier of browsing

Posted on April 20, 2007  /  2 Comments

Big Money in Little Screens – New York Times

Searching the Web on a mobile phone has been a lot like getting online via dial-up modem circa 1995: slow, tedious and not terribly useful. Typing on tiny buttons, squinting at a list of links and clicking through to a page that won’t display properly is enough to test anyone’s patience.
The head of Yahoo’s mobile strategy, Marco Boerries, standing, said overcoming difficult Web navigation would be a challenge.

But that is beginning to change. Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have all trained their sights on cellphones, which they see as the next great battleground in the Internet search wars. They have thrown tens of millions of dollars and armies of programmers at the problem, seeking to develop tools that people on the move can actually use.

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  1. It seems clear that if mobiles were indeed the next frontier that we would already be using them for browsing, etc. We have a bunch of potential killer apps (from both the private and public sectors) – and no real contending devices via which to sic them onto users. Maybe we have entered a phase of “device fatigue” and will start moving backwards, retrofitting ubiquity into already existing devices, appliances, clothes, vehicles – rather than achieving a new super-device – which certainly isn’t the mobile handset.

  2. Mobiles are already the primary communication device in the world. Mobile devices will probably be the gateway to the Internet for much of the developing world where wired solutions and PC based access will be much too expensive for most, especially those at the Bottom of the Pyramid.

    I think it takes something more than courage to bet against the combined wisdom of Google, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Verizon, Sprint and many others who see the future in mobile devices. At least they are putting money where their mouth is.

    The article outlines the bottlenecks and what various stakeholders are doing to remove them to bring search functionality into mobile handsets. Its too early to write-off the mobile platform as a killer-app.