The reality of "Mobile 2.0"
Monday, October 1, 2007 7:58:09 AM
Over the last couple of conferences I've attended I've heard a whole lot about designing for iPhone and that it is the only browser worthy of being called Mobile 2.0 (whatever that is). A revolution is about to happen and it revolved around one shiny device (or make that recently two).
Of course, in reality that isn't strictly true. Opera Mini has been blazing its own trail for a long time, irrespective of iPhone. I'm stuck in D.C. Airport for a number of hours, so I thought I'd check on how we are crumbling below the might of the fruit company. Last month we had a commanding lead over that browser according to Net Applications. This month's figures are in, and with all the continued hype and the recent release of the iPod Touch, you'd have expected things to have swayed. Not so.
The iPhone has seen a respectable climb from 0.05% in August to 0.07% of the entire browser market in September. How did Opera Mini do in the same period? In August it had 0.27% of the entire browser market. September however eclipsed this with 0.39%. This growth alone is bigger than the rest of the mobile browser share market combined. Unless I'm delusional as I've not slept for a number of days.
What does this mean? Well don't believe the hype. There is no before iPhone and after iPhone. It is more before Mini and after Mini. Mini is destroying the competition. It's no surprise when two of biggest markets for mobile web access are India and China, and it is unlikely the iPhone/iPod will ever reach the masses in these territories, not to mention the emerging markets in Africa, Asia and South America. Many of these countries are places where the only way they have to access the web is via a mobile. There are also countries where home grown handset brands are very strong, particularly in the Far East. The mobile market isn't simply a one size fits all market.
It also means I'm failing to do my job. Why? Because I'm finding it very difficult to get designers to have any interest in Mini, in light of other browsers, while away from the development community it ca be seen it is catching on like wildfire. There is a huge market out there, that people are failing to look at or take into account. Maybe it is just because we don't have
The Shiny. If Mini continues on its current course, it'll be impossible to ignore.