Russell Beatttie recently talked about the state of the mobile web on his blog. He believes the mobile web, in it’s current form, is in a sad state of affairs with too many different technologies and hardware to support. Many are ancient and bug prone. I could not agree more. The mobile web is in a “sorry state of affairs” at the present.
I do not see things improving dramatically anytime soon for two reasons. The first is more easily solvable: there are so many different competing technologies out there (Flash, SVG, RSS, Java) and very little standardization. Unless I have a motivating financial incentive why even get into the mess. Let others be the first adapters and try to figure things out. Basically, I agree with Russell, stick to web standards and wait for other devices to get replaced. This is not an IE/web standards thing where one browser controls 95% of the market and you have to support it. Trying to support all mobile browsers would just drive you off of the deep end.
The second reason that I do not see the mobile web changing dramatically anytime soon if consumer behavior. As a developer, sure I want to be cool and create all of the latest and greatest things, but as a consumer who cares. What benefits does the mobile web bring to me? I have a high-speed connection with a large monitor at home and at work. I have no desire to look at a tiny screen, with slow loading and dumb-downed sites, and pay extra for the whole process also. I currently have mobile web options on my phone but rarely use it for anything. I use it occasionally to check sports scores and maybe do a few local based searches, but can easily live without it.
For any of this to change some company out there, with the necessary resources, is going to have to find an avenue that provides them with a competitive advantage and new revenue streams. Someone is going to have to come up with a new way of doing things that makes the whole experience more pleasurable. Then and only, then I may use the mobile web more frequently to do things like local searches, order movie tickets, scan the latest news etc.