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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

3GSM: Mobile content is officially dead. Long live the real Internet on mobiles.

Quick note while dashing between meetings: the only discernable megatrend emerging here in Barcelona is the confirmation that mobile-centric content and operator-specific portals are dead, or at least confined to a handful of small niches & individual national markets.

Everything else is about taking the real Internet onto mobile (there isn't, nor ever has been, nor ever will be, a "mobile Internet") . YouTube, Google, MySpace, Yahoo and so on - yes, optimised a little bit for mobile devices & networks, but only insofar as browser, screen and network technology can't quite cope with the full-on web today.

Vodafone's recent announcements of deals with almost all major Internet brands follows on from 3's X-Series, T-Mobile's Web'n'walk and assorted others. It's a recognition that the only place for viral adoption of cool new stuff is on the Internet, where choice of service provider is irrelevant when you tell your friends to "check this out!". Until there's another mechanism for innovators in a garage to reach 500 global operators' customers in a matter of months, without an army of lawyers drafting contracts, mobile-specific services and communities will be limited to a set of small-to-medium niches. (There's no real way for mobile to monetise "the long tail" without the Internet, either - but that's for another post).


Anonymous said...

At last, as we say in Italy, "better late than never"; actually, the thing was clear 6-7 years ago: the only mobile internet is the "actual" Internet on the mobile; sure, it has been a waste of time and money

Anonymous said...

Well, that's a somewhat superficial comment. While I agree that the browsing, messaging (IM and email) and blogging experience are going to be the same in the mobile world as in the PC world, there are plenty of other Internet services that are unlikely to migrate to the mobile world anytime soon. Take multi-player gaming or some of the more sophisticated ecommerce services for example.

Zigurd said...

Hey, I resemble that remark!

Chasma (whose IPRs are now part of Blaze) successfully engineered a head-to-head racing game running over a 2.5G CDMA data network.

People have been doing multiplayer action games since the days of 9.6kbps modems. The high latency (less high on CDMA since the layer 2 is not quite as brain dead as GPRS) on mobile is a challenge, but not a barrier.

Anonymous said...

Are you serious?? That is the most asinine post I have read in a long time. You are like a little boy whistling in the dark. Open your eyes, my friend, the Mobile Internet is here, and it is VERY real.

Ian Wood. Principal Wireless Foundry LLP said...

Dean have to say that the conversations I had with CMO of three networks means that for them the Garden is still walled!

They are not prepared to lower prices or allow barriers. In fact what they are looking for is more unique content in an effort to keep customers.

Dean Bubley said...

OK, let me clarify. Mobile content is dead, but it's still twitching a bit. It's like Prodigy & Compuserve or the French Minitel system in 1995. We've still got AOL today, but it's not a major force.

Digital Evangelist - no, it's not all going to happen completely overnight, and as I mentioned there are a few niches/countries which for whaveter reasons will soldier on.

Anonymous - you obviously have me confused with another little boy - the one who dared to say that the emperor had no clothes.

Anonymous said...

Dean, about this statent of yours because of your article "Truphone....redefining the mobile operator",dated in october, 2006, I need to talk to you.

Iam starting to deploy services trough a unique VOIP Fixed Line license in Chile and I would like to chat with you about this.

I will appreciate your answer.

Hernan Streeter