Monday, January 08, 2007

Evolution of the Mobile Web

Yesterday I was sitting in a tailback on the Interstate between Baltimore and Washington DC. Surprise, surprise you might say, but it got me to thinking about what we really need from the Mobile Web. I believe that the mobile web will evolve in two directions. Firstly as a conduit. We will see high-speed internet service delivered via mobile devices with these devices being used as a conduit for laptop access. We are already seeing laptops with high-speed cellular data cards installed. The likely evolution of this is that new generations of consumer devices will include cellular data service capabilities. The ability to deliver on principle two - services beyond a single device - will become critically important. While the cellular service providers will likely be the providers of the network, they do not have a great track record in delivering service beyond the cellphone. This new, pervasive network will require easy, uncomplicated access and diverse payment and authentication options to allow all ytpes of devices to be connected without tying the consumer in knots with complicated and unpredictable billing schemes.

In the other direction the cellphone will be used as a device to access the web while on the go. in this scenario access to the web needs to be streamlined and focused. In this scenario the web is used for a purpose to answer directed questions such as:
  • Where am I?
  • Is there an alternative route to get me to my destination?
  • Where is the nearest gas station?
  • Where is the nearest coffee shop?
As the Web develops as a platform, applications move from the client to the cloud and new possibilities emerge. Voice recognition and voice commands become a feasible method of interfacing with applications. We then reach a stage where we can give a voice instruction with results being delivered to our mobile device as text or images. In this increasingly converged world presence management becomes an interesting challenge. People at Microsoft has been doing research to establish presence management as a client-based service. But, presence is an ideal "Cloud-based" service.

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