Codegent thinks mobile close
Most of the industry are predicting a breakout year for the mobile web in 2008.
For a long time, the mobile web has been unpredictable, costly and low on user take-up. The majority of campaigns I have previously worked on with any serious mobile element have just scraped the surface, tapping into popular SMS and MMS services.
So what is encouraging us to use our mobiles online?
Apple's iPhone, released in late 2007, has made mobiles very sexy again.
If you haven't heard of it (welcome back to Earth, the wall is down and the cold war is over) the iPhone is a revolutionary device that unites your calls, contacts, email, music, camera, web browser etc in a dynamic, touch-screen, curvy-edged box.... and regular people are using it in droves!
For many reasons it would be wrong to confuse the iPhone with most mobile devices, especially if you are considering building a mobile site, but it has finally united the idea of phone and web working together properly.
It's not just the technology that has pushed us. Major websites, search engines and social networks such as YouTube, Flickr and Facebook have placed mobile services at their core, tempting unsuspecting users into an ever-connected virtual world.
Location Based Services
We have been using Google Maps and Sat-Navs for a while. It makes perfect sense to be applying all this thinking to your mobile. Needless to say the iPhone already does a lot but what about the rest?
In 2007 Nokia acquired a mobile advertising firm and a leading navigation system company. It isn't hard to see where they see things going. The benefit to marketers is easily delivered, relevant, geographically contextual content to end users.
Open Platforms for Applications
It's not all about browsing! 2007 really brought home the possibility of the web app, widget, mashup etc. Vista followed the Mac's lead and introduced desktop feeds for your local weather, football scores, status updates (the list goes on forever) and we all became RSS junkies. Adobe launched AIR and iGoogle followed suit so even your default homepage can tell you everything about anything you want.
But what about the mobile phone? Geeks have been hacking the operating systems on their phones for years but there have been no open standards available for developers to really use the core features of a physical handset. Until now!
The Open Handset Alliance Project launched Android, an open, free mobile platform which is being supported by some heavy companies such as Google, Motorola, LG, Samsung and T-Mobile to name a few. Expect that to be supported as standard in most future handsets.
Apple decided to open up the iPhone Developer SDK last week so we can look to develop intelligent bespoke apps that can fully interact with the handset soon!
Mobile Web Standards
There has been a degree of convergence in web standards for mobile. XHTML-MP has become the default industry-supported language for the mobile web. Page load and the multitude of various screen sizes still need to be taken into account when designing but at least the code is behaving itself!
So we thought after all that talking we should show you something. We have built a simple version of our own site for your viewing pleasure.
Or you can navigate to it using your mobile barcode scanner on the funky looking graphic below. You will see these dotted around everywhere soon. The Japanese have been using them on outdoor advertising, business cards, print ads etc. for years. But don't feel too left behind, they also have robotic dogs that clean their flats whilst they micro-sleep :)