Interview: Will the mobile Web take over?

January 17, 2008 at 9:08 pm

www.jpgWill the mobile Web will overshadow the traditional Web? Will DSL or cable modems be replaced by high-speed wireless Internet? If so, when? We posed those questions to Song Huang, Chief Evangelist at mobile file access provider SoonR and to Kai Yu, president of mobile messenger developer BeeJive.

Yu: No, I don’t think it’s a matter of one overshadowing the other, but they are complimentary. Cost-wise, it’s hard for mobile broadband to beat existing hard lines like DSL and cable. I don’t think the distinction is going to come down to what pipe one uses to access the Web – many high-end phones offer WIFI support, which ultimately accesses the Web through a hard line – but more from what the form factor of the device is. I do think you’ll see more web sites tailored for the mobile device, driven by usability.

Huang: The surprising thing is that dependence on the desktop or laptop PCs will not diminish. Unless the physical make up of humans change, there are just limitations to a mobile device that can’t be overcome. It’s the same reason that it’s nicer to watch a movie at a theater or big screen than on an iPod. Sure you can watch the movie, but the impact of the epic war scene (a la Lord of the Rings, Braveheart, Hero) is very different. I think we will all continue to gather digital assets and that a way to unify and access them all regardless of device or location will be of utmost importance.

So you don’t see the old devices being replaced by the new ones.
Huang: They are different mediums, each with their advantages. Recall in the old days the movie studios were all paranoid that the video tape would make people stop watching TV or going to the movies? In reality it grew the market and created new opportunities. The mobile web will have the same effect. We have seen this played out over and over again. Today it’s going on in the music industry. The Web and the mobile Web are delivery mechanisms. People will use what is most appropriate for the situation that they are in.

When will high speed wireless Internet become more appropriate in more situations?
Huang: If high speed wireless Internet reaches the same value equation as DSL or cable, then it will start to replace the older system. Today, the price and speed difference doesn’t make that possible. I recall a mobile trade show where they assumed that everyone would have a mobile phone. Then it turns out that the sessions were being held in a ballroom that happened to be three floors underground. No one could get any signal at all in the ballroom. All the vendor demos were broken. What we wouldn’t have given for a regular [wired] LAN…

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Entry filed under: beejive, interview, mobile applications, mobile content, soonr.

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