Last year, I predicted that 2006 would be the year of the mobile Web and that the mobile Web would “go main stream.” I think I can say that this prediction has largely played itself out. The rise of the mobile Web has become a topic in the mainstream press. Products like the X-Series from 3 and the Nokia Series-60 Web browser have addressed both the functionality and the cost issues. Opera launched Mini, opening up sophisticated Web browsing to a much wider range of handsets. The work of the Mobile Web Best Practices working group and the W3C Mobile Web Initiative have also played a role in providing guidelines to Web site developers and generating awareness of the mobile Web. Although it continues to be controversial, dotMobi, which also launched in 2006, has played a key role in raising awareness of the mobile Web. I’m proud to have played a role both in the development and launch of dotMobi and in the W3C Mobile Web Initiative. What I couldn’t have predicted at the end of 2005 was the rapid growth of other sophisticated Web and Internet-linked applications. Mobile photo-sharing and video-sharing are becoming as ubiquitous as their “traditional” Web counterparts. Web powerhouses like Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft (Windows Live) have launched their own custom mobile applications for mail and messaging. Mobile Ajax and Mobile Widgets are also starting to play a role in bringing sophisticated and rich user experiences to the mobile handset. The walled gardens are opening up. Mobile Web advertising is rocketing forward, …

Revisiting 2006 Predictions Read more »

Krunk! Originally uploaded by Mike Rowehl. Well, it’s a month on from the mobile2.0 event in San Francisco (only a month? It seems like ages ago) and what have we learned. The mobile2.0 meme seems to be taking hold in a fairly distributed fashion, which is good. We’ve had good press coverage and the linkbacks keep appearing on the “what is mobile2.0” article on this blog, which I think is an encouraging sign that I was making some kind of sense. That post, by the way, was written on a Virgin Atlantic 747 on the way to San Francisco from London. By the way, this is a picture of Mike Rowehl and myself enjoying some richly deserved gin martinis at the reception after the event. The grins on our faces say it all: “thank god it’s over!” We’re now talking about doing another one next year around the same time (sandwiched between Web 2.0 and CTIA which returns to San Francisco next year). Please post thoughts and suggestions about format, etc… either here or on the event blog.

[ad] Christmas seems to have come early this year for Nokia N73 owners. When I downloaded and installed the latest software build yesterday, I was surprised to find a new application – a search application that allows you to search Yahoo! and Windows Live as well as local directories (such as Yell.com in the UK). The search results are provided quickly and clicking on each result brings up a quick summary of the page before offering to bring it up in a browser (the Series 60 Open Source Browser) or bookmark it. It’s a great, simple UI for mobile search that’s well integrated into the phone and the browser. And it allows you to download updates over the air. It reminds me a bit of Apple’s Sherlock application. The update, by the way, also seems to speed up the phone UI and so far it also seems more stable (no phone crashes yet, but I’ve only had it installed for 24 hours or so). The only issue I have here is about the phone update process itself. I had to somehow know that an application (PC only) exists, download it, and then connect my phone via the USB cable in order to update the software. There is no over-the-air update available, even though it seems like this should be feasible with a big enough memory card to store the image. But the bigger issue is just getting the word out about this update — this could be a major quality of life improvement for N73 owners, …

New N73 Software Drop Includes Wizzy Search App Read more »

Opera arguably reinvented the mobile browser with the original release of Opera Mini. The innovation of Opera Mini was to be able to fit four quarts into a one pint jug. By putting most of the guts of the browser into a smart proxy layer, they were able to create a smart browser that could be downloaded and installed on most phones, not just so-called smart phones. Opera’s new Mini, announced this week, isn’t just an incremental upgrade. The new Opera Mini plugs directly in to the phone camera to allow photo blogging directly from within the browser environment. See here for an example of this (Charles McCathieNevile snapped this at the W3C Advisory Committee meeting here in Tokyo – I think he got my good side). So why is this revolutionary? Of course, it allows users to bypass MMS and other operator-sanctioned photo sharing mechanisms, but that’s no big news. Other downloadable applications have enabled photo upload and mobile blogging, but in integrating this function into the browser, Opera has turned Mini into a read/write application. The browser, traditionally the tool used to consume information, becomes a sophisticated content creation mechanism as well. Users who otherwise might not go through the trouble to download and install a photo blogging application will suddenly find they have this capability. Of course, desktop browser users already enjoy this kind of capability through Ajax applications and browser plug-ins but these capabilities have not been present on the mobile platform. And by the way, photo blogging isn’t the only new …

New Opera Mini Integrates Photo Blogging Read more »

We have had some great coverage of the mobile2.0 event appear in the blogosphere and the press. Here are four particularly good and detailed run-downs of the day: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/11/17/mobile_2_zero_event/ http://opengardensblog.futuretext.com/archives/2006/11/mobile20_great.html http://jlarienza.blogspot.com/2006/11/mobile-20-san-francisco.html (in Spanish) http://gigaom.com/2006/11/07/mobile-20/ I was particularly impressed with the coverage in the Register. They never print anything positive about anything, so we must have done something right. If you attended the event and you wrote about it on your blog or took pictures, please leave a comment or trackback on the mobile2.0 event blog, here.

I should start this post with an extra disclaimer: although I work for Vodafone, this article does not represent Vodafone policy nor is it a product roadmap or public statement on behalf of Vodafone or any of its subsidiary companies. It is purely and simply my opinion. This is also marked as “beta” because mobile 2.0 is a work in progress in a constantly shifting mobile technology landscape. Mobile 2.0? Ever since Tim O’Reilly wrote his famous article on Web 2.0, everyone wants to jump on the 2.0 bandwagon. We now have “media 2.0,” “advertising 2.0,” “TV 2.0,” etc… to contend with. So why do the same and try to define mobile 2.0? The answer is that people out there are already using this term. I think there is a danger that the definition of mobile 2.0 will become hijacked either to become synonymous with “Web 2.0 applications and services brought to your phone” (which is part of the story but not the whole story) or with multimedia applications (again, only part of the story). But if we’re going to have a mobile 2.0, I think we would do well to base the definition on the Web 2.0 mind set and thinking. With that in mind, here are some revised extensions of the O’Reilly Web 2.0 set of examples applied to mobile 2.0 (revised somewhat from my original draft definition). SMS -> IM, mobile blogging MMS -> Media sharing Operator Portals -> Mobile Web and search Operator chooses -> User chooses Premium SMS billing -> Mobile …

What is “Mobile 2.0” (Beta) Read more »

So I finally got around to downloading and installing Yahoo! Go mobile. Am I impressed? Yes and no… It was not that straightforward to download the application and get it running on a Nokia N70. There are some aspects that are quite unintuitive. Overall, I think it’s a good start. I mean essentially it is an application that launches a few other mini-applications (for photos and Yahoo! Messenger), some built-in S60 applications like Mail and Calendar and then has a bunch of Web-links for content (like “ringtones” — ugh!). One problem is: I can’t get it to bring up Opera as the default browser when it initiates a browsing session (admittedly this is probably a S60 problem but it would be nice for the Yahoo! application to give me the option of setting an alternate browser). I wish the content wasn’t just a link off to a browsing session — how about reading news through a built-in RSS reader? To be fair, they’ve indicated that mobile Konfabulator-style widgets are the next step, so maybe integration of these will solve some of these issues. The background synchronization and email config seems to work fine — I was up and running with my Yahoo! mail account in minutes once the application installed. I wish you could replace the phone’s “active idle” screen with the Yahoo! Go application and that the applications’ main screen could contain more dynamic content (like a mini-my-yahoo: number of messages in your inbox, top headlines, etc…). Verdict: It’s a great start.