As of today it isn’t a secret that most people use their mobile telephone for talking. Small portion of the population use it for sending SMS as well and a tiny portion use it for other usages, such as playing games, surf the web and listen to MP3 music.
Except for the Address Book integrated application most users hardly know the other applications available on their mobile, not to mention the possibility to download new ones and install them on their mobile.
As of today, during the last years (since its inception in 2001) Java ME seemed to be the technology through which new applications and new services will be available via the mobile telephone we all carry with us. Unfortunately, it seems that most users are still reluctant to use Java ME applications and as of today the usability of these Java ME applications is still a geeks phenomena.
The complexity involves with navigating through the phone menus seems to be a “block” for the common user. As with the desktop world, it seems that most mobile telephones’ users prefer to avoid the complexity involved with using applications installed on their device.
When using a desktop, it is clear that most users prefer using services over the web via the browser they are already familiar with. The success of endless list of web based services (e.g. social networks such as facebook and myspace, ERP web based systems, google web based applications, video content over the web via youtube and similar, virtual markets as ebay and others.. ) is a clear proof the services over the web via a browser the user already knows and feels comfortable with is the winning formula.
During the last years the web browsers installed on mobile devices have evolved and become more sophisticated and at the same time more user-friendly. Most of them support XHTML and many of them are already capable of handling web sites designed for desktop browsers. The Nokia E71 I have recently acquired is a good example for these new capabilities (and beyond).
As of today I recommend carefully looking at Nokia E71 browser capabilities as a milestone for next mobile telephones web browsing capabilities. It supports XHTML, Java Script as well as integrated web based Flash content allowing to easily use most services we usually enjoy while using our desktop. I found it easily comfortable accessing my gmail account (desktop version) as well as watching full length movies I found at www.megavideo.com web site, do some secured shopping, browsing my facebook account as well as any other web site I chose. The integrated support for Flash content seems to allow a sophisticated functionality that sets the Flash technology as the next coming promising technology (on which I plan to post a separated post).
Given all that and especially given the WiFi web connectivity support offered both by Nokia E71 and by most other coming new handsets, IMHO we should expect to see a growing wave of web based services optimized for mobile browsers, growing mass of users using their mobile for doing things thay haven’t done before, changes in the content market common business models, less operators’ centralized markets and new high quality content developed by web technologies companies and especially by those who specialize in Flash.