Tonight at the Portland Web Innovators group Jason Grigsby gave a presentation and led a discussion about the mobile web. He’s very passionate about mobile and presented some interesting statistics about mobile device usage and adoption rates (the U.S. lags far behind the rest of the industrialized world).
One of his major points was that the mobile web space is currently in a situation similar to that of the general web in the mid 90′s. Standards are absent. Most people aren’t yet on the platform, but it’s quickly growing. There are many browsers. Each browser renders content differently. Nobody is sure who will “win” the browser wars. Nobody knows the direction the mobile web will take.
It’s an exciting time for those who want to jump into mobile. Porting existing web applications to the mobile space is one aspect to the situation, but the real innovation in the mobile web will be with applications that haven’t yet been invented. Who would have thought a few years ago that one of the biggest mobile apps would be a hybrid web/SMS system where folks can send 140-character responses to the question “What are you doing right now?”. As mobile device adoption rates grow, new b2b and consumer applications will rise.
There was a brief discussion about tools; right now all of the major phone manufacturers (except for Apple) offer developer tools such as emulators to help with development efforts. Jason mentioned at least one vendor that is offering commercial tools that help translate code between devices. The commercial tool wasn’t cheap, which brought up another key point: at this point in the mobile web game, tools can be expensive because they’re rare. That stinks as a consumer, but is a great opportunity for someone who wants to work in the dev space.
As someone who started working in the web space in 1995, the next few years could be very interesting if things parallel the development of the web.
Keep an eye on the CloudFour blog, where I’m expecting Jason will post some followup information/links from his presentation.
[tags]mobile, mobileweb, pdxwi, jasongrigsby, grigs, cloudfour[/tags]