Thoughts on Beattie’s Mobile Web

Russell Beattie (who I had the pleasure to meet at VendorCon, after BloggerCon III) has a very interesting post tonight entitled “The Mobile Web”, in which he ponders (and envisions) ‘how much’ of the current Web will be available via mobile devices (cell phones in particular) and what technology standards will make it happen…

Here’s my current take on things…

1) Users will/do want to access what we currently call “web content and functionality” anytime and anywhere

2) Device/platform independent content formatting (i.e., XML) and functionality implementations (i.e., Web Services) will truly divorce the presentation layer from logic and storage layers, enabling an ‘optimized’ experience on any given platform

3) Input/Output (I/O) functions will be separated (physically) from storage/computation/connectivity/locality functions.

4) I/O devices will project an interface several factors (to several orders of magnitude) larger than their physical size.

A hypothetical future scenario:

A) You (always) carry a small/lightweight device that is capable of persistently storing/retrieving data, conducting computations, locating itself in the physical universe (e.g., GPS) and connecting with other devices and local/global networks (e.g., WiFi, CDMA, BlueTooth, etc). For the sake of this scenario, we’ll call it your CORE.

B) You carry one or more specialized, componetized I/O peripherals (depending on your needs, to #3 above) that leverage the CORE. For example the same earbuds that playback your music (i.e., iPod) also playback your friend’s voice (i.e., cell phone). And, the same display that renders your applications (PDA), also renders your current call information (cell phone), movie (portable DVD player), photos (digital camera and/or iPod Photo). Etc.

C) Providing further leverage, your portable I/O devices are more virtual than physical (to #4, above). For example, how about a 3D display thin-air display (IO2 Technologies) and an IR Keyboard (Canesta Infrared Keyboard). Providing even greater leverage, you may choose to use publicly provided I/O peripherals (e.g., a display and keyboard embedded in your airplane seat) with your CORE.

Yes, a fully functional, open and extensible solution like this is a ways off (sigh)… but it is a much more compelling future (IMO) than going long on solving for two square-inch displays. And slowly but surely, pieces are indeed falling into place!

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