Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web, has argued that the Internet needs to be device-independent, that there should not be different Webs for different audiences. Victoria Shannon writes about the regular experience of accessing the web from mobile. Many of the Web sites - don't look very nice on the small screen of my smart phone. When part of the splendor of the Internet is supposed to be that it is the same for everyone, it looks like something is broken - not to mention the poor value derived from subscription to mobile related internet services.
Eleven technology and telecommunications companies, under the umbrella of a for-profit corporation based in Dublin that is seeking additional investors, now have a plan to change that. This past week, their idea for an Internet address for mobile devices was approved by the ICANN. By this time next year, you should be able to go to Web sites with names like www.iht.mobi, www.ebay.mobi or www.hotmail.mobi - or even www.company.payroll.mobi, for wireless use of internal corporate sites. When you access a .mobi site, it should look like it belongs on a small screen. In theory, behind every .mobi address will be a series of "style sheets" that let the site identify what kind of device you have - its screen resolution and size, for instance - what kind of Web browser it uses and the amount of bandwidth you have and then adapt its presentation accordingly. From a public relations standpoint, "normal" Internet access from a wireless gadget should encourage the sale of such devices and their regular use for data instead of just voice. If the industry had waited until this step to introduce the wireless Web to the general public, there would certainly be less of the "WAP is crap" attitude that greeted the first iteration of the wireless Web five years ago. For companies and Internet service providers, the advent of .mobi may be seen as something of a pain in that business may need to maintain a new domain.The annual price of a .mobi address "will probably be a little more" than the going rate for a .com or .net, as the costs are probably a little more because of the industry evangelism needed to be undertaken.