Mobile Browsing: The Next Great Race

Carl Weinschenk

This GigaOm piece says that the browser wars pitting Internet Explorer against Firefox are expanding into the mobile space.


It's an interesting time in the world of browsers, which IE has long dominated. In late 2004, open source competitor Firefox hit the scene, and soon was taking market share from Microsoft. Redmond's entry never was anything but the big kahuna, however; the only question was the size of its lead. Most recently, Microsoft -- led by IE version 7 -- has made a bit of a comeback.


That's on the desktop side. There are two issues to keep in mind when considering the mobile sector. The first -- and most important -- is that mobile browsing is significantly different. Consumers trying to find directions or a local restaurant don't have the patience or often the ability to scroll through multiple screens. Hardware and software developers must create stripped down, just-the-facts platforms that get people what they need and get them on their way.


The other element of this environment is the emergence of the .mobi domain. As the name implies, .mobi's goal is to facilitate mobilized versions of Web sites. The success or failure of .mobi will have a big impact on how developers approach mobile browser creation.


Mobile browsing sits squarely in the intersection of corporate and consumer concerns. Of course, companies need to reach their traveling workforces with basic information. Beyond that, there are many sophisticated emerging applications, such as mobile customer relationship management, that will rely on well designed browsers to be effective.


On another level, businesses have a lot at stake in making it easy for traveling consumers to easily find restaurants, movie theaters and retail outlets.

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