I just posted the details for the February 2008 Silicon Valley Mobile Monday. Lots of predictions are pegging 2008 as a major year for the web on mobile devices, but folks working in the environment already are debating what exactly this “mobile web” will be. Devices are gaining capabilities and developers are tired of having to support multiple distinct forms of their website. But designers and service providers continue to advocate respecting and taking advantage of the unique restrictions and capabilities of handheld mobile devices.
How this plays out is going to be determined in large part by the browsers that users have access to. Recent releases have really shifted the field with respect to device screen size and the expected level of support for “full web” standards. How long will it be before the average mobile user will be able to get convenient and automatic access to the full web version of the sites? How does the practice of “designing for mobile devices” change with these new browsers, and what should developers plan to support? How will the unique capabilities of mobile phones be exposed to web applications? And where does the line between web application and native application get drawn if you need access to device information?
I’ve been having conversations of the sort with friends and colleagues since last year, and the pace has been picking up over the last few weeks in particular. I was considering holding off the topic for a while, but the time seems to be right for a larger discussion.