I just saw this video on MobileCrunch. It’s a demo of how the Firefox mobile browser could work and it looks pretty amazing.
As of today people’s mobile Internet behavior is markedly different from terrestrial use. I’m excited about this type of functionality as it will help us shed some light on what people’s behavior will be if they are holding a window to the Internet instead of a very limited WAP based tool. Currently the factors that shape people’s mobile online Internet behavior are:
- Limited screen real estate
- Being in an open environment
- Interface limitations (screen navigation, keyboard, etc)
Even if browsers get better the first item is still going to be an issue as we want a mobile phone to be . . . mobile. There could be options to resolve those moments when you must have a larger screen and yet it is a condition of the medium. The second factor could potentially make it more of a fractured experience and yet it does enable location based services to happen; and with a better browser, those experiences can be more robust. The third issue is most likely one associated with age or experience level and I have offered a potential solution for these interface limitations.
It will be interesting to see how search will be impacted by these newer more enabled browsers. As of now when people search for something online they are doing it through a WAP enabled portal. As a consequence, most bookmark things and then look for more detail when they get to a better screen. I’m not sure if this is an issue with navigation or screen real estate or both. Many would site the use of mobile video as a sign that people will use the Internet as they do on a terrestrial connection and yet it is important to realize that video is passive and search is active. Of course text messaging is active.
All that I’m sure of is that we will know more soon about how people use the mobile internet.