One interesting thing about my recent trip to Silicon Valley was the sheer number of iPhones being waved about. Given the price tag (even with the recent drop), I’m genuinely surprised by their popularity – the US doesn’t even have 3G support yet, so consumers are paying through the nose for a very limited experience.
That said, it’s by far the best of a very bad bunch. My own Windows Mobile device – which Orange gave me for free when I renewed my contract recently – is cumbersome to use, and features like WiFi and the on-board GPS flake out if you so much as look at them the wrong way. The question, given this, is how on Earth we can expect the mobile web to take off, if the only devices we have are dodgy or cost the same as a cheap laptop.
Over on Last100, Daniel Langendorf makes the important point that for the mobile web to improve, we’re going to need new hardware. The iPhone is a start, but ultimately I want something that’s cheap (sorry, but I can’t afford to drop $399 + extortionate line rental on a mobile device, no matter how cool it is), flexible, cutting edge (Opera browser, please) and so easy my mother could use it.
Once that’s been achieved, we’re going to start to see a sea change, just like the advent of cheap broadband and cut-price laptops has changed the way we get information. I’m looking forward to programming mobiles interfaces for everyone, but I’m not really into what, for now, is an elitist medium.