mobile contradiction

I just noticed a funny contradiction in current web trends.  Whilst the much trumpeted ‘Web2.0’ approach is all about ditching locally-installed applications and doing everything via your browser, the cool stuff on mobiles generally assumes the opposite and demands you install.  Even for something as trivial as news headlines.

This seems a little perverse given the staggering range of mobiles in circulation.  Admittedly, it might be fiddly to get rounded corners in a mobile browser but in terms of reach and accessibility there has to be no contest.  I guess the minority have better phones and more patience than the majority.

Having said that,  I think there is a deep niche waiting to be carved out by having your phone display periodically updated information in standby mode;  News, sports, etc.  But that requires hard mobile OS hacking or more extensible mobiles.  Still dreamin’.

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6 thoughts on “mobile contradiction

  1. But isn’t this more to do with data bandwidth and having the logic locally rather than keep downloading it? And with the Java standards you target that platform and have it work, rather than deal with the rubbish implementations of browsers on the different platforms….

  2. Fair points. I guess I’m working on a couple of assumptions. Firstly, bandwidth is going to get (a lot) better. Secondly, people are not inclined to install and keep updating software on their mobile device. From an engineering perspective it may be skewy but when you consider the nature of the user it makes sense. Maybe auto-installing and updating is the way to go.

  3. It is true that there is no ‘silver’ bullet and so long as updates don’t get silly, I am happy to download them, if it saves me data charges. Because at the moment data *is* expensive.

  4. Damn right. I’d say extortionate. I can’t believe it reflects the cost to the networks who vary wildly in their charges.

  5. I think it depends entirely on the application. Most of the cool applications on mobiles require hardware access (eg. camera, audio out) and probably do some sort of local processing. I think Java’s quite well-suited to that. Applications that just deliver content should surely be delivered via the web.

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