Open Questions

And a few not so open…

Q: Does the iPhone (or specifically the desktop-grade Safari browser) make the “mobile web” obsolete?

A: The “mobile web”, as we know it today, will become obsolete without any help. Things change. Devices improve. That said, the context in which one uses the web is different, and there will always be a need for some sites to have mobile-specific versions, even after the day every mobile browser is desktop-grade.

Q: Does the advent of desktop-grade mobile browsers mean that today’s mobile development is meaningless?

A: No. The race is on today, and the winners will be those who can make the most users happy. That includes users who–for several more years–won’t own hardware capable of desktop-grade browsers. The winner on this playing field will have any easy momentum play to carry over to the next one.
Q: Will the iPhone “cannabalize” iPod sales?

A: Goodness, no. People who buy one will be either 1) buying it instead of an iPod, or 2) not. The Cingular CEO said it was a “multi-year exclusive” deal, signed sight unseen. In other words, Apple had incredible leverage to get a good deal. Their subsidy on the 2-year contract is probably significant, maybe in the $300 range, possibly a lot more. So would you call selling a $800-900 device instead of a $200 one cannabalization?

Q: What does this mean for XHTML-MP and XHTML Basic?

A: That’s a tough question. In the end, it will boil down to momentum. Today’s successful mobile development necessarily involves XHTML. Once browsers get better, nobody is going to re-write their sites in worse markup, though some might attempt to merge with the main site. (Another open User Experience Design question is the degree to which it will be possible for one site to work in a different, mobile, context.)

Q: What does this mean for Mobile Web Best Practice and mobileOK?
A: Like the “mobile web” both of these specs-in-progress will become obsolete without help. But now they are going to look increasingly obsolete at an accerated rate.

-m

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