Up until four days ago (April 7, 2006) the cell phone as a browsing device was an idea that was in the distant future.  It was an oddity for techie teens who already had their handy out for SMS messages.

The thing which is going to drive this will be use of cell phones as electronic wallets.  Several firms have tried to establish such systems, but the entry of PayPal into this space is a very big deal.
https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=xpt/mobile/MobileOverview

The service allows members to pay for products (or to pay each other) by sending a text message from their phone.  Besides being embedded in posters, product packages, and fast food lines — look for such links to be part of web pages too. Except other larger competitors to debut offerings this year.

This will drive more handset traffic online.  And the thing that will accelerate this is the already high percentage of Europeans and Asians already using cell phones for email and text messaging. This large installed base makes phone commerce attractive to business – and as more people buy with their phone, they will browse with it for select functions.

What does it take to be friendly to these phone surfers? The Monitor is already taking the first step by having more standards-compliant pages. If this is a market we’re keen on, then we may want to make a conscious decision in the future to create pages styles that will render for mobile devices.

Here is what Sony Ericsson has to say about making phones first-class options for accessing web content.

http://www.w3.org/2004/10/MWIWS-papers/sonyericsson-mwi-ws.html

This is  something that we may want to be actively thinking about as we plan our strategic future.

By Dave Wieneke

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