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 wonder what this is about and what’s in it for you.
There are many technologies around mobile phones which have been in the market for quite a long time. You might have heard about Microsoft’s mobile platform a few years back, specifically targeted for Mobile applications in the 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 the iPhone and Google’s NexusOne with the mobile-based open-source operating system Android, for mobile devices and other devices like Palm Pre, Motorola Droid, 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 mini-computers that you can keep in your pocket or bag and have their unique advantages, which can do almost all the things a computer can do. It is much better in some cases as it uses GPS navigation and location-specific applications, even better than computers or laptops. In mid-Feb 2010, the Mobile World Congress held a conference in Barcelona, Spain, in which there was 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 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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Many things will impact you if you are a small business or business owner with a website or want to have your 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, it did a lot of Business to move their business process toward the Internet. The internet has become a backbone for everything happening around us. More and more businesses want to have their web presence, and web site has become a default for any business.
So now you have millions and millions of websites that are accessed by everyone with a click of a button, and all these search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, and social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, etc., have information available wherever you are and whenever you wanted. Initially, there were desktop computers with a dial-up modem, slowly progressing to broadband and “WiFi.” If you wish to access information at any time, you have to have a laptop with WiFi access. You must carry your computer 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 want as long as you have a signal in your phone. With this technological change, it provides a new opportunity for all businesses.
According to estimates, there are two times more mobile users than internet users and three times more mobile phones than personal computers or laptops. You will lose something unless you “wake up” and think about these changes and act on them. If you are a business owner or have a website, 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, looking for information with their mobile phones. The beauty about these smartphones is that they come with GPS-enabled devices, and if you want, you can find out where exactly the customer is, and that is a treasure for online marketing.
Lots of Marketing research shows that location-based search and location-based marketing will increase exponentially, and not only that, there is a cost advantage to using mobile phones over buying laptops and having broadband access. People are also moving towards mobile phones and not having those traditional landlines, so ultimately, everyone will carry a Smart Phone in the next few years. So, Mobilization of your website is a must. One would think their site looks OK on iPhone, but that may not be true. You will understand what I mean when you see two different versions of the site, one optimized for mobile phones and another is a regular site optimized for Browse on your mobile phones. The user experience on a regular website on a mobile phone might be quite frustrating.
There is a misconception about “Mobile optimization” or “Mobilization of websites.” Some think that 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 which use Android operating system. 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 a site fxcor 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.