Mobile Web: So close yet so far
Posted in: Internet Use/New Technologies at 27/11/2007 05:46
On the surface, the mobile Web is a happening place. There's the iPhone in all its glory. More than 30 companies have signed up for the Open Handset Alliance from Google, which aims to bring the wide-open development environment of the Internet to mobile devices. Nokia, which owns nearly 40 percent of the world market for cell phones, is snapping up Web technology companies and has made an eye-popping $8.1 billion bid for Navteq, a digital mapping service. There are also the requisite start-ups chasing the market.
In 2000, the wireless application protocol was supposed to bring the Internet to the cell phone. Our hero turned out to be a flash in the pan. That was attributed to a lack of high-speed cellular data networks, so a frenzied and costly effort to build third-generation, or 3G, networks ensued. But at a recent conference, 3G was called "a failure" by Caroline Gabriel, an analyst at Rethink Research. She said data would make up only 12 percent of average revenue per user in 2007, far below the expected 50 percent. (The 12 percent figure does not include text messaging, but you don't need a 3G network to send a text message.)