The emperor of mobile content: naked?

katipo.jpgIs the emperor of mobile content a nudist, after all? I'm interested in the buzz about the mobile web, but I have been waiting for somebody to state the obvious. Finally it's happened.

Cell phones are poor surfing platforms, says Michael Fitzgerald of the New York Times on

In this field I'm not an early adopter. If I ever give in, I'll be a surly adopter. I use my cell phone for phone calls and texts, full stop. Why should I torture a phone into a doomed attempt to imitate my lovely Mac and 17 inch screen? (Be bigger, be bigger!) Still I was willing to believe the rest of the world was happy to grapple with web sites on their iPhones and Blackberries. I even have my own little plan for mobile poems simmering in the back of my mind.

Now, bless him, Fitzgerald tells the uneasy history of Man's Search For Ubiquitous Access, finishing with the verdict of Nathan Eagle, an MIT researcher in Kenya:

he thinks the basic Web experience for most of the world's 3 billion cell phones will never involve trying to thumb-type Web addresses or squint at e-mail messages.

Instead, he said, it will be voice-driven. "People want to use their phone as a phone."


Dec 27, 2007 • Posted by rachel

Thanks for this succinct reply!

Yes, the MobilEd project uses voice, as Eagle says. QR codes — like Marilyn Monroe in burnt toast — amazing.
“Content is not king” by Andrew Odlyzko: never was any doubt about where the money goes — interesting to see Eagle’s point made already in 2001:
“The primacy of connectivity over content explains phenomena that have baffled wireless industry observers, such as the enthusiastic embrace of SMS (Short Message System) and the tepid reception of WAP (Wireless Application Protocol). Combined with statistics showing low cell phone usage, this also suggests that the 3G systems that are about to be introduced will serve primarily to stimulate more voice usage, not to provide Internet access.”

Dec 27, 2007 • Posted by Miraz Jordan

But, but, but…

I have a Sony Ericsson 700i. It can, sort of, browse the web … painfully. Typing in even one URL is torture. I’ve only ever used it for the web as an experiment.

However, although I don’t have an iPhone, I do have an iPod touch, which has many similarities. Surfing the web with that is a wholly entirely different experience. It uses a real web browser: Safari. It surfs real web pages, not reformatted, cut down ‘sort-of’ web pages. Typing an URL is easy, as is saving a page in Bookmarks.

I don’t ‘grapple’ with websites on my iPod touch, and I doubt that iPhone users ‘grapple’ with them either.

Dec 28, 2007 • Posted by rachel

Aha! The plot thickens.

Dec 27, 2007 • Posted by leighblackall

MobilEd project – watch scenario videos

QR Codes – 47% of Japanese use QR daily

Content was never king anyway

Leave a comment: