opinion


Web giants work mobile magic

It’s only Wednesday but it’s already been an exciting week for mobile web developments and I’m not quite sure of the three big announcements we’ve seen, just which is the most significant.

Nokia’s decision to make Microsoft’s Silverlight web platform available for Symbian S60 devices as well as for Series 40 devices and Nokia Internet tablets, is abig deal for Microsoft as it gives the platform much needed credibility in the mobile space. For Nokia the announcement is in keeping with its multi-runtime strategy for its device platforms. As a varierty of analysts at Ovum point out: “This announcement is also significant for mobile operators and the plethora of vendors with proprietary solutions providing Rich Mobile Application environments. It further demonstrates the convergence between web and mobile. The technology basis for both will be the same and creating proprietary or even separate standards-based architectures for the ‘mobile’ web will become ever more irrelevant.”

The other big news is Google’s revelation that its Google Gears platform is available for Windows Mobile devices. Google Gears is a web browser extension that allows developers to write web applications that run when the device is offline and is a nice way of handling the latency issues on 3G networks. Check out the video below.

The next trick of course, is getting developers to write Google Gears into their applications. At present there are only a handful of Windows Mobile web apps that use Google Gears for mobile, such as the personal finance service Buxfer and online applications provider Zoho.

Not to be outdone by Microsoft and Google however, Yahoo also stepped up its own mobile plans with a content management system to complement its already announced oneConnect social networking application.

Just as oneConnect is designed to allow consumers to manage their various social networks through one interface, the Yahoo! onePlace application is intended to allow mobile users to better manage the wide selection of content available across the internet.

It’s interesting because a recent roundtable I went to focused, in part, on this problem. There’s no way for content to be distributed virally on the mobile. As David King, CTO of IT services specialist LogicaCMG, pointed out: “User generated environments [such as personally customised handset profiles and applications] are just as important as User Generated Content (UGC) itself and can be attractive to other users.

“Companies that make it easy to churn between services will be king, by allowing users to take their portable data with them,” he said.

What came out of the rountable was pretty interesting stuff, so keep an eye out for an In Depth piece on it later this week.


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