Monday, November 15, 2004


SonyEricsson on the future of the mobile web

SonyEricsson on the future of the mobile web. Some key points from the document:

  • In 2006 we expect most phones to have a mobile Web browser that is able to render almost any Web page on the Internet. WAP is history and, from a technology point of view, the mobile Web has converged with the de facto Internet standards.

  • The main new trends are

    • Music (over the air download and personal radio)

    • Imaging (Photo services and photo albums)

  • We expect more animations and multimedia being integrated into mobile Web portals, and the combination of all Web technologies (SVG, SMIL, XHTML, CSS, and ECMAScript) is the key to a standard solution for Web applications.

  • Push services are on the rise on the Internet, based on the de facto standard RSS. We believe that RSS has a great potential in mobile phones, as a technology to automatically provide updated content to users - accessing the Web without browsing.

Overall I agree and wish that all mobile devices would agree on xhtml with javascript as the standard. The phones -today- are too slow to display rich contents as they take 4-5 seconds too render a page after it has received all data. Add javascript and complex css formatting and you have time to go for a coffee. Navigating in old plain text wap mode is still a lot faster than navigating in xhtml mode.

Using RSS for push would be great as there are tons of feeds around. It would make it possible for anyone to create push services for mobile devices. Today push services are limited to a selected few that have the resources to send Wap Push or MMS. It only makes sense if the phone can see the post pointed to by the RSS though. It's possible too render a RSS summary on a device but most RSS feeds point to blogs that have "complex" layout that can't be rendered on a small device. They look ugly on a device like the Pocket PC that have an enormous screen compared to most mobile devices.

Phones also have to become a lot smarter and have more storage to figure out which posts it has seen already. Thinking about it, it could delegate this task to a feed server that keeps track of the items viewed by a particular SIM (assuming that SIM decides which posts are new, regardless of the device it is in). A bit like a Bloglines on steroids that provides one (or more) RSS feeds that give you new/unread items and keeps track of which items you read.

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