11/16/2009, 02:38 AM
I ask this because I just tried the iphone agent spoof patch and, while I was impressed with the few sites it worked on, I was also disgusted by a few that seemed to have bought entirely into the Apple mantra.
Every site you go to on your phone has a desktop version, and many, especially within the last several years, have added a mobile version.
With the coming of the iphone, something changed: many websites began offering iphone specific interfaces which made effective use of the phone's abilities while limiting the amount of clutter users would normally see on a desktop version of the site.
For a while, this remained unchallenged, party because few phones could realistically compete. HTC would unfurl a high-spec'd phone running WinMo that could get the job done but remained inelegant. More telling was that all the phone manufacturers would release several different phones, all high spec'd and equally mismatched against the iphone; the iphone's specs became upgraded, and as it's screen resolution and size remained constant, it's markset share only increased. The diversity of all of these challengers relegated them to either dealing with desktop versions of websites or using incredibly spartan mobile sites that offered none of the flair of their just-for-iphone stylized cousins.
Things have been changing though.
Palm and google have made great strides in the mobile browsing arena, and also-ran phones like the new chocolate and instinct offer more fully fledged browsing experiences due to the larger, iphone like screen. While there is still much diversity, the ability gap is closing in terms of display potential and interface.
Until relatively recently, it was common to see a website have a blahblahblah.com/iphone as well as a blahblahblah.com/mobile address. Facebook seemed to be ahead of the game in realizing that mobile versions of sites are great for dumbphones, but touch interface phones need an iphone style treatment. Currently, every smartphone goes to touch.facebook.com by default (of course, facebook is so large a company that it's almost not a good example-it's ahead of the game because it both has to be and can afford to be).
My question is when will websites at large stop treating noniphone pda users as second class citizens? How long will it take, and what can palm or other manufacturers do about it? Will it take google's muscle to even the playing field? Will flash be the great equalizer that makes non-iphone pda users suddenly the market to refresh webpage design for?
Or will the situation never truly change? As Apple's marketshare continues to climb, will web browsing innovation be the only cure to the lack of ease through efficiency to which the iphone is privy and we are not?