Future of Mobile


So this time, no internet instead of a piss poor connection from Carson. So I had to struggle with my Gmail fix via my Nokia E65. It can’t be that hard to setup a couple of Linksys WRT54G-L routers onto a computer with a Vodafone high speed connection dongle thingie. It’s a myth that WIFI can’t handle lots of users in a concentrated space, as I remember Debconf’s wireless in Edinburgh working well with loads of connections. However, you do need the right equipment (WRT54G-L with Tomato firmware) and the expertise. Though today, they could of done with a decent sound engineer. Audio/mics were also poor.

Luca's xhtml_support_levels

Though I enjoyed the day really. It started slow for me, though I liked Luca Passani’s jibe at Navorra/Vodafone. I don’t like 3rd party content adaption/transcoding either, so it was nice to someone else being passionately against it.

Though after speaking with chaals, I relaxed a little. I don’t like Luca’s wurfl, i.e. content creators “adapting content” (device dependent engineering) either. And after playing with those content transcoders, one must conclude any user will just move to a different service after encountering the very poor results (“user experience”) of content transcoders. Though… with 18th month contracts being the norm (for data), it is a bit tricky to change operators!!

I really like one of the slides of chaals, summing up the whole situation for me. You either use:

  1. Use @media handheld
  2. Use media queries
  3. Use wurfl/wall
  4. Use “enterprise” (volantis cited) as your content adaptor

You really want to use 1–2 and that’s what most developers will end of using. 3–4 is just too expensive.


Dave Burke’s presentation on Android was exciting. There seemed to be some tension in the air, especially after hearing about the “revolutionary” iphone from Brian Fling. I have taken a look at Android beforehand, though I have a couple of concerns today:

  1. They won’t release the entire stack until the “first phone ships”. This looks like the 2nd half of 2008, so at least a year before I get to see the “whole picture”
  2. Haven’t discovered a “package management” system yet (like Debian packages)
  3. I am not fond of promoting a platform other than the web. I don’t like the idea of people writing java, python etc. apps on this platform.

There was this “user permission” stuff talk in the manifest, which I gather has been another java inspired thing. I wonder how this security stuff will end up being solved, as I am looking into the problem too at Aplix UK.

Surprisingly I found Simon Rockman’s presentation pretty good. I hoped to catch him afterwards for a chat. I need a mobile phone recommendation for my elderly dad! ;)

Julie Stawson’s talk of proprietary fonts fired me up. Fonts on the “web platform” is in a bit of a dire state from a open standards POV. I’ve blogged about fonts before. There are some freely licensed fonts like Dejavu that are pretty good. I wonder how it performs on mobile devices. However I think her company Monotype Imaging could make some contributions to typography on open platforms like Bitstream did for example.

Adobe’s slick “user experience” veiled Flash Lite pitch from Matt Millar also didn’t escape my comments. It is really sad that Adobe don’t properly support SVG anymore, since buying Macromedia’s Flash. Adobe, please carry on making create tools to generate (and playback) open formats. Please don’t push your proprietary platforms like AIR. We’re Web developers following open standards and we are not stupid.

I enjoyed asking a few questions, though here is one more for the lazyweb. WTF is OVI supposed to be?

I am left quite excited now by what I’ve seen today. I think people mostly understand the whole “Web as a mobile platform” idea and expectations are now raised.


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