Some thoughts on the subject of mobile web use from a Yahoo! employee.
So I ask a very simple question: How far ahead is Japanese Mobile Web use from US, Europe and other parts of Asia? One year? Two? I won’t listen to anyone give me junk about how the Japanese are “different” - you’ve seen me bitch about that before - they’re not. They simply have more advanced networks, more powerful phones and more compelling mobile web services which drive nearly 3/4 of those polled to use the mobile web every day. That, my friend, is ubiquity if I ever saw it. So how far away is the rest of the world from these types of sky-high usage?
It’s impossible to gauge perfectly, but let me throw out my thoughts. I’d say that the U.S. is only about 18 months behind the Japanese, and (ready for this?) the Europeans in general are about two years behind because of carriers’ resistance to unlimited data plans.
What my predictions mean is that in the U.S. we’re going to see big upswings in mobile web usage over the next year (pushed by MVNOs and carrier competition), reaching near Japanese levels of use by mid 2007.
In another blog posting by this Yahoo! employee who works on mobile products, Russell attacked the hype surrounding Web 2.0. When he got to the part about mobility, he said:
And finally, where is the goddamn mobility? This is what most depresses me most about these new sites. Not being able to use my mobile to sign up and use any new site or service that’s launched now is completely inexcusable. I don’t care what you’re doing, you’re wasting your time and the 20 seconds I spent even checking out your site. The future is so obviously in mobiles, why the hell are so many startups still screwing around on the desktop? Morons.
A really simplified version of Toledo Talk has been available for a while, which should display okay on a mobile. I haven't added posting and searching and a couple of other aspects to the simplified look.
A small web "tablet" became available this month called the Nokia 770. Might be a good gizmo for basic web surfing at home if a wireless network is present. And it would be an easy carry-along when visiting one of the many WiFi spots in the Toledo area.
(My Nov 14, 2005 comment in that same thread)
Nov 13 Mobile-Weblog posting:
You can't help but know who Walter Mossberg is if you've got any tech pedigree whatsoever. His Wall Street Journal Personal Technology column has appeared every Thursday since 1991 and he's been a part of the technology scene almost as long as there's been a technology scene.
Speaking to a capacity crowd...in fact the biggest crowd I saw assembled during the entire [Venture Wire Consumer Technology Ventures] conference, Mr. Mossberg [said] mobile devices will far exceed the PC in importance for most people, that security is something that must be addressed before the enterprise will be able to successfully accommodate mobile devices and that the ultimate incarnation of the ideal mobile device is something that still hasn't been realized and which might end up being quite surprising when it finally is.
He continued by saying that he didn't think it was right or reasonable for the carriers to exert control of the devices that use these networks. He feels that unless this changes it could stifle innovation and put the brakes on progress.
He also spoke about the deployment of Verizon's National Broadband Network, claiming that he has been online with this network, that it is 3 times as fast as the European 3G and that it is available essentially nationwide.
Venture capital firms are pouring more and more money into companies serving mobile phones, seeing them as extensions of the new, wider Internet technologies that are bringing more people to engage, share -- and buy -- online. Venture capitalists invested $455 million in wireless-related companies during the third quarter, a four-year high.
An investor at DFJ, said his main interest besides Web 2.0 companies is the growing market for "third screen" companies. By "third screen'' he means mobile handset screens, which rival the PC and television. Mobile handsets are transforming: They're shrinking, and therefore becoming more portable. They're increasingly connected with the Web and other devices, making them more useful. And their computing power is rising, allowing for richer map, location and graphics data to be processed more swiftly.
(good foresight by those people.)
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