May 10, 2008


A mobile version of the Internet is a topic that has been popping up in casual discussions and some of the sites I have been reading. This is not the same as you squinting at your mobile phone, trying to browse, this is a whole new internet for the mobile device and it carries the moniker: “Third Screen.” Let us put aside the depressing WAP of the 90’s. This is an experience that will be powered by content, applications and information, accessible through your smart phones. My present knowledge on this subject is spotty at best, but let us chew on the idea a bit:

The Internet is marvelous. I do not need to expound further. Yet how many of us actually browse the Internet on our mobile devices with ease? Statistics say that 10% of all mobile phones are smart phones—but who are we fooling, probably 8% of these smart phones have speeds of access match the Cebu Pacific refund hotline. When you partner this “siesta” velocity to the tiny screens most smart phones sport (I Phone and E90 aside), mobile surfing is really more of a way to look busy when you are not or at best, kill time between meetings.

The Internet of the 21st century is a far cry from what we had back in the 90’s. Today we are bombarded by a rich experience of data, photos, information, music, and advertisements. The whole system is calibrated for home/work PCs and will continue to expand and improve through technology. It also helps that the world is allowing more and more of this Internet to enter our daily lives, some of the content I see out there is just embarrassing (but we all enjoy clicking on it anyway!).

I feel that mobile technology will always be a step behind, primarily because the development of our mobile phones are hampered by industry ceiling set for size and selling price. If for the foreseeable near future the mobile Internet as a subset of the much larger PC Internet will be noticeably inferior—why not approach from another angle?

I will assert that for most professionals, we would rather move around our tight schedules for a little, uninterrupted web time on a computer, then attempt to browse on the go. There is just more that you can accomplish in an hour of Internet time behind a powerful computer, than you can in 3 hours on a phone. Already I find my poor eyes benefiting from the larger and brighter screens on new computers.

This “Third Screen” as an article I read on Adage mentioned, will develop a new Internet rather than a subset of our existing one. New brands not just an extension of old brands. A world where barcode scanners like the one on my Nokia can be used to scan products and access information through the web direct to our phones. Perhaps social networking sites will be seamlessly integrated, where we might correspond with our network by scrolling down our contacts list and clicking on a name. Like for many things in life, software adoption depends on ease of use and presentation, not just by merely existing.

Of course, these are just conjectures. Most companies have not even made a full shift to the Internet, what more a Mobile net. I cringe when I think of all the expensive programs that are currently shuffling old media to new media (think of WSJ and However, it is an interesting step towards the future and one that is not as far fetched as you might think.

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