Friday, February 29, 2008

Mobile Internet

After nearly ten years of promising us the Mobile Internet, 2008 should finally see it arrive in a meaningful way. From the extremely bad days of WAP to the disappointment of 3G, we have new technologies coming on stream that finally make Web browsing on your mobile a reality and not just a gimmick.

HSDPA has already brought mobile data rates into the Mbps range (I currently get 2.6Mbps on my T-Mobile connection in the UK), and this can only increase through 2008. More phones will support HSDPA in 2008, and also Wi-Fi as well, providing broadband data rates direct to your mobile. Better still, WiMAX phones should start to make an appearance, giving us even faster data rates.

These faster data rates have combined with fully functional browsers, such as Apple's Safari or Opera's mobile browser, which offer a proper desktop Web experience on your mobile. Add to this improved processing power, bigger memory, and (finally!) a willingness by the mobile operators to open up their networks, providing flat-rate data tariffs rather than charging by the byte, and you have the recipe for explosive growth of mobile Internet devices and services.

Google's Android platform can only help to accelerate this process, and so by the end of 2008, the mobile Internet will no longer be the painful experience it can be today, or the preserve of people lucky enough to have expensive smartphones.

This in turn will lead to an increase in the number of mobile services and applications that are developed to take advantage of the new mobile Internet devices. If 2007's Web was the year of the social network and Web 2.0, then 2008 should be the year of the Mobile Web.

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