The Arrival Of The Mobile Internet
Mobile phones are changing fast. Over the years they have shrunk in size and have become packed with additional features. Almost all phones now come with a colour screen and can play a range of games. SMS Text Messaging has boomed in the last 5 years and has been extended with Picture Messaging using inbuilt cameras.
The biggest change however is just around the corner. This is using the mobile phone to connect to the Internet and use the device much like you use a desktop computer to browse websites and read and write email.
Most mobile phones have been able to do this to a limited extent for about 5 years. However they were limited to accessing specific web sites cut down for mobile devices. Also connection speeds were slow and overall it wasnt a great experience for the phone user.
Now though, the mobile phone networks have got faster with the rollout of what is termed 3G (for 3rd generation). Newer phones come enabled to use this faster network and they also have better Internet browsers so they can work with most web sites.
Very soon it will not be uncommon to see people on the move using the Internet on their mobile phone to search for phone numbers, look at a map showing locations of interest such as restaurants, and even make an online purchase just as you would from a PC.
In fact it is suggested that more people will eventually access the Internet from their mobile phones than with their desktop PC. In particular this is forecast with emerging markets such as Africa where desktop PCs are not so common.
The rise of the Internet search engine has contributed significantly to how people use the Internet today. The home pages of companies such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN are often the first places people go to when they use the Internet. From there they can search for pages of interest based on a key word search. These search companies are now very interested in the mobile Internet and intend to have the same influence with mobile users. They do this by providing a search page optimised for the mobile user which will work well with small screens and contain references to useful information such as directory searches and maps.
The operators who run the mobile networks are also particularly interested in the mobile Internet. When their customers access the Internet from a mobile phone, the operator will typically charge them based on the amount of data transferred when the page is loaded. More and more network operators are offering unlimited access to the mobile Internet for a flat fee to encourage mobile Internet use. The mobile network operators are also partnering with the search companies to make it easy to use the mobile Internet and find information quickly.
One of the most interesting areas in the mobile Internet is the use of mobile advertising. The search engine companies make their money with the desktop Internet search through placing advertisments on the search results pages. A lot of web sites also use adverts within their pages to pay for the development of the site. Doing similar things with the mobile Internet is generating a lot of interest.
The mobile Internet now seems set for widespread use, making the mobile phone a much more useful gadget. As well as making calls from most places in the world you can connect to the Internet, browse, buy, and email from just about anywhere!