Turns out the mobile web is just … the web

Russell Beattie should stand up tall and proud. The Yahoo! alum gave up a secure job (well, sorta secure) and a steady paycheck to tread the uncertain waters of the startup life, and unfortunately was sucked down.

He developed Mowser, a mobile web browser for small-screen mobile devices (OK, that’s a fancy phrase for cell phones). Mowser made big fat web sites small and lean for tiny screens and narrow pipes. (Example: check out Sparkplug9 in all its Mowser glory.)

But then iPhone showed us that the future of the mobile web was … err … the web. Not some “baby internet,” in His Steveness’ words, but the real internet. In your pocket. On your phone. On your iPod. And those of us who had tried to scrunch the web down onto our 2″ screens jumped up and said Amen.

Here’s how Russell says it:

The argument up to now has been simply that there are roughly 3 billion phones out there, and that when these phones get on the Internet, their vast numbers will outweigh PCs and tilt the market towards mobile as the primary web device. The problem is that these billions of users *haven’t* gotten on the Internet, and they won’t until the experience is better and access to the web is barrier-free – and that means better devices and “full browsers”. Let’s face it, you really aren’t going to spend any real time or effort browsing the web on your mobile phone unless you’re using Opera Mini, or have a smart phone with a decent browser – as any other option is a waste of time, effort and money. Users recognize this, and have made it very clear they won’t be using the “Mobile Web” as a substitute for better browsers, rather they’ll just stay away completely.

I can’t agree more … as unfortunate as it is for someone who’s sunk his life savings into making the web work in miniature.

In any case, he’s now looking for a job.

Someone will benefit by having him on-board. Not only is he new media savvy, he’s just spent his life savings figuring out what doesn’t work. Some smart company is going to be the beneficiary of that hard-won wisdom as he starts building what does.

. . .
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More analysis, insight, and general reportage:

ReadWriteWeb sort of agrees
Last 100 disagrees
Mobile Marketing Watch might want to buy Mowser
Another one hits the deadpool
Venture Chronicles thinks the mobile model is wrong
Larry Dignan at ZDNet mostly agrees

 


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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • […] itilir wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt Russell Beattie should stand up tall and proud. The Yahoo! alum gave up a secure job (well, sorta secure) and a steady paycheck to tread the uncertain waters of the startup life, and unfortunately was sucked down. He developed Mowser, a mobile web browser for small-screen mobile devices (OK, that’s a fancy phrase for cell phones). Mowser made big fat web sites small and lean for tiny screens and narrow pipes. (Example: check out Sparkplug9 in all its Mowser glory.) But then iPhone showed us t […]

  • I agree completely. Actually, I posted a similar thing on my blog, regarding an article from a guy in a national newspaper [in Mexico] who was promoting “iPhone Killers”.

    I think the main success in the iPhone is not getting ill with “featuritis”. Actually, any decent Nokia has the same and even more features that the iPhone has [mail, Internet, photos, camera, wifi, etc].

    The difference is all about usability. Cell phone companies got stuck with adding more “stuff” without realising how difficult it was to use. So nobody does.

    iPhone is the biggest usability success.