Locative Lab

researching locative media

iPhone tipping point for a mobile web ’standard’?


Has anyone noticed the number of sites now developing mobile interfaces optimized for the iPhone, like Facebook, LinkedIn and soon – I can’t wait – BBC’s iPlayer? Some sites are developing mobile interfaces solely for the iPhone (including one that I’m working on). Using the IUI framework, it is possible to design iPhone apps with the consistent iPhone look and feel. This in itself is interesting as I don’t recall a previous mobile device that basically comes with its own styleguide, although you don’t have to stick to it.

With the ever increasing fragmentation of the handset pool, will the consumers assert their preference for a ’standard device(s)’ for accessing web applications, namely the iPhone? And will Web 2.0 sites be increasingly forced to offer a designed-for-iPhone website in order to be relevant?

Mobiles are still overwhelmingly about voice and text. Most other stuff is a side-show. For the standard voice/text experience, perhaps with a bit of web, the myriad device types and platforms will do. After all, this is how the industry remains competitive and we get cheap and sexy handsets across the board. However, for that group of users who are serious about mobile web, is the iPhone going to become the defacto standard? There will be room for one or two others, but the point is that users will want a consistent usable experience knowing that all the cool sites are going to make sure they work well with these devices. The iPhone has clearly started out along this path.

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Cityscape LocativeLab.org is Ronald Lenz's research website on locative & mobile media. This is mostly an archive of blogposts I find inspiring and interesting and an overview of my work. I'm a strategist, technologist and researcher in the field of Location-Based Mobile Services and work at Waag Society, a medialab in Amsterdam, The Netherlands where I head the Locative Media research program and at 7scenes, a platform for GPS games and tours as creative director. Picture 4 Find me at Twitter, LinkedIn or via ronald [at] waag [dot] org.

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