Although many have cell phones and other mobile devices that would permit mobile surfing, few do. Part of this is explained by the poor appearance of many websites as seen through a mobile device
Given the push to have more mobile-friendly websites, hopefully this will change. The dotMobi community is providing resources and we now have a dotMobi Mobile Web Developers Guide. Unfortunately one of the biggest barriers is the awkward, tiny, multi-purpose keys that most mobile devices have. Even using a stylus is very little better as a user-experience.
It might be thought the obvious solution is a no-brainer. Keyboards are almost a vestigial reminder of the original 10 positions to be found on rotary telephones in the museums. We are dealing with a device with high technology components to receive, handle and transmit sounds with great fidelity. Yet the major controls, the keys, are mechanical and ill-suited for manipulation by human fingers. Why not exercise the major controls through that same sound handling high technology.
The acquisition of Tellme Networks by Microsoft may be a harbinger of such exciting developments. Anyone who looks into the voice handling capabilities of some of the systems developed by Nuance will be truly amazed. Some may have been irritated and indeed turned off by some of the weak IVR (interactive voice response) systems being applied already by some of the telcos. However others are integrating voice handling and artificial intelligence in systems such as the Crimsonet IVR (intelligent voice response) system. If and when Microsoft or another company offers such technology for mobile devices, then cell phones will truly become our windows on the mobile web.
Sea, speech and sun at Nuance Conversations in Cannes, France
Beginning to be heard – notes on the same Conference