Unless you live in a cave, you might have heard the new buzz around “Mobilization of websites,” “Mobile optimized website,” “Mobile Site,” and “ionized” in the past year or so. You might be wondering what is all this about and what’s in it for you?
Many technologies around mobile phones were in the market for quite a long time. You might have heard about Microsoft’s mobile platform a few years back, specifically targeting mobile applications in Windows mobile operating system. This mobile market segment was not given much importance or excitement until the 3G mobile network (3G allows simultaneous use of speech and data services and higher data rates) was specifically used for Mobile phone data communication. Apple’s introduction of iPhone and Google’s NexusOne with mobile-based open-source operating system Android, for mobile devices and other devices like Palm Pre, Motorola Droid,d, etc., complemented the model. All these Smartphones combined with 3G network technology made a huge impact in the Mobile Computing world.
These introductions of the new so-called “Smart Phones” are like a mini-computer which you can keep in your pocket or bag and has its own unique advantages which can do almost all the things a computer can do. In some cases, it is much better as it uses GPS navigation and location-specific applications, which are even better than computers or laptops. In mid-Feb 2010, Mobile World Congress held a conference in Barcelona, Spain, in which there were high enthusiasm and excitement from smartphone manufacturers about the future of mobile technology. One of the participating companies, Microsoft, mentioned that they would revamp and refocus on mobile technology. So everybody is on it. When all these things are happening around you, and you also notice every day that more and more people around you are buried in their phones, you might be wondering why all these buzz around this Mobile technology and what is in it for me or my business?
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Yes, many things will impact you if you are a small business or business owner with a website or wanted to have your own web presence on this World Wide Web. Let me tell you a little history behind all these changes; when the information revolution happened in the late 1990s and early 2000s, many businesses moved their business process towards the internet, and the internet has become a backbone for everything happening around us. More and more businesses wanted to have their web presence, and a website has become a default for any business.
Initially, desktop computers with a dial-up modem slowly progressed to broadband and then to “WiFi.” so now you have millions and millions of websites that everyone accesses with a click of a button. All these search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, etc., have information available wherever you are and whenever you want. If you want to access information at any time, you have to have a laptop with WiFi access. You have to carry your laptop wherever you go, but that is not very convenient and cost-effective. The latest Mobile technologies solve this problem. A mobile phone gives you the comfort of always being connected with 3G or other sophisticated mobile networks so that you can access information whenever you wanted as long as you have a signal on your phone. This technology change provides a new opportunity for all businesses.
According to estimates, there are 2 times more mobile users than internet users of any kind and 3 times more mobile phones than personal computers or laptops. You will be losing something unless you are “wake up” and think about these changes and act on them. If you are a business owner or have websites, this is the time to either “Mobilization” or “Optimize the site for Mobile phones.” If you don’t, then you may be losing customers for sure. More and more people are on the go, and they look for information with their mobile phones. The beauty of these smartphones is that they come with GPS-enabled devices, and if you want, you can find out where the customer is, which is a treasure for online marketing.
A lot of Marketing research shows that location-based search and location-based marketing will increase exponentially, and not only that, there is a cost advantage by using mobile phones than buying the laptop and having broadband access. Also, people are moving towards mobile phones and not having those traditional landlines, and so ultimately, everyone will carry a Smart Phone in the next few years. So Mobilization of your website is a must. One would think that their site looks OK on iPhone, but that may not be true. You will understand what I mean when you see 2 different versions of the site, one optimized for mobile phones and another is a regular site optimized for Browse in your mobile phones. The user experience on a regular website on a mobile phone might be quite frustrating.
There is a misconception about what is “Mobile optimization” or “Mobilization of websites.” Some think they have to hire an iPhone developer to develop an iPhone app or hire someone to write an Android application that can be run on phones that use Android operating systems. That is not TRUE. All you need to do is to optimize the site to look good on Mobile phones. These mobile-friendly sites will be easy to use on a mobile phone, and customers will like them. For example, if you go to CNN, they have a separate site for mobile phones and regular browsers. That is called mobile optimization, and at the same CNN, they have a CNN Money iPhone app that is iPhone app that you can download from Apple’s iTunes or CNN.