The panel is led by Rael Dornfest and members are Russell Beattie, Jory Bell, Juha Christensen, and Trip Hawkins.
Rael introduces why mobile is important and how the Mobile Web is different than the traditional web.
Q: Is mobile a new platform? How should businesses be thinking about it?
A: The mobile web experience will be more fragmented compared to the PC. There are more browsers on phones than on computers. Much more diverse selection of applications, not just phone-based browsers.
Q: Intesting content?
A: Ring tones are obvious. But the vertical content will be killer. So there's not a killer application. But for specific segments, there are killer apps--like mobile e-mail on the Blackberry--always connected. This stuff is coming down from the enterprise to the consumer level. Everyone is carrying a little computer--a little connected computer.
Q: The unconnected PDAs are dying off. Where's this stuff headed?
A: Two devices: phone and computer. Which functionality goes where? Things like iPods will morph into one of those. The majority of Internet data is in "web form" today. That's important. Russ uses his phone for nearly everything with his Edge capable phone.
Q: Getting to the carriers?
A: Carriers are still dominated by voice thinking. But the mobile phone is turning into a social computer. (That seems like a very important observation to me.) Mobile phones are connections in the modern village.
Q: User interface changes needed?
A: Yeah, we need changes. It's hard to change simple settings and too easy to do the wrong thing. Usability and navigation are still a problem. Plastic skins change the physical UI. Battle between the UI the carriers want vs. what the phone maker wants. Flash UI provisioning is coming--let's the user decide. This stuff needs to be iPod easy. SMS is popular because it's Google easy (one input box, one button).
Interesting discussion of phone vs. really small PC going on. But will one form factor really rule them all? No, not really. It depends on the user's needs. Many carry a Blackberry and a cell phone.
Can you keep the same data on your PC and your phone? That's a worthy goal. Dodgeball for SMS is a great little app that completely changes how Soccer Mom's use cell phones.
Mobile phone customers are paying and may be willing to pay for other services. There's a credit card on file, so that makes it easier.
Large volume of camera phone output--that proves how users will figure out things they really want to use.
Traffic info is a great app for mobile phones. The "smart dust" info out there makes this doable.
Q: Do apps funnel thru carriers or will be from outside sources?
A: It's hard because most users just think of their phones as phones. Pre-set buttons make discovery easier, but it's going to take time for people to go from a carrier-centric model to finding what they want, wherever it is. Carries are aggregation points that can handle billing. That makes it easier for developers who don't want to deal with it.
Q: Podcasting is the new radio. So does massive storage on these devices and broadband change things in terms of getting entertainment?
A: Russ has 512MB on his his phone and uses it to listen to streaming media already. UMTS is 200kbit/sec to your phone. Why store it when you can stream it? Phone sales vs. iPod sales, no comparison.
See Also: My Web 2.0 post archive for coverage of all the other sessions I attended.
Posted by jzawodn at October 06, 2004 11:36 AM