The mobile web is very much alive (and kicking)

Some great debate today on ReadWriteWeb’s post asking whether the Mobile Web is still alive or not. It was very much in response to Russell Beattie’s throwing in the towel and Michael Mace’s pronouncing Mobile Apps dead.

What’s interesting about the post is the comment thread that follows, where a number of people debate this issue. But the real gem in there is Jason Grigsby‘s comment:

First, when Russell says Mobile Web, he is narrowly defining it as “developing sites using XHTML-MP markup, no Javascript, geared towards cellular connections and two inch screens are simply wasting their time.” Basically, he is describing building sites for pre-iPhone mobile devices.

What we know now is that given the right browser that mobile web usage takes off. And every phone manufacturer is working to copy the iPhone experience. Russell seems to equate this iPhone-like experience with desktop browsing.

Russell’s argument is that the mobile web is moving towards the iPhone experience. He acknowledges that Mowser was a “short term bet against Moore’s law.” And he lists the numbers that show that web browsing increases for iPhone users.

To put this in perspective, Russell is arguing that there is no money to be made using Gopher (xhtml-mp w/o javascript) now that Mosaic (iPhone) has been released and consumers have released that they don’t want anything less than the Mosaic or better experience.

That’s not proclaiming the end of the mobile web. It is the beginning.

Michael Mace’s argument is the opposite of the Mobile Web being dead. Instead, he is arguing that the mobile web is killing mobile application development. I don’t buy that either because there are still things that you cannot access in a browser that are critical mobile features. But whether or not I agree with Michael’s argument, his article certainly doesn’t support this article’s headline.

Maybe I can be accused of having mobile-color glasses on, but I don’t see anything in a careful reading of either article that suggests that the mobile web is dying. If anything, both authors seem to be saying that it is poised to take off.

Wow, that pretty much sums up my feelings about both articles. Technology is continually evolving and what we’re seeing is the death of old models and the emergence of new ones. To draw a comparison, once upon a time, watch making was still in it’s infancy and something like this Technomarine watch would have been considered science fiction.

Where some companies are going under, new ones are springing up. The great thing for us consumers is that there’s always something new and exciting to jump on to.

It’s a pity Russell, maybe you’ll jump on the right bandwagon next time.

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