The weakness of the Mobile Web – Carriers required
There is a lot of buzz going on about The Mobile Web and how it is going to transform our world and we process information. All the big names in tech are carrying on about the transformation we will see as smartphones and tablets become more persuasive through our society and our principal methods of interacting with each other via the Web.
Desktops and the hunt for the end of Moore’s Law are being increasingly minimized as our main objective when it comes to computers. In its stead we are being conned into believing in just good enough computing power and services. Slowly we are being lead from a state of mind where ownership is important to one where we rent everything and being led to believe that this is a good thing.
I am not suggesting that the mobile web isn’t a good thing or that it won’t bring about some pretty momentous changes. What I am going to suggest is that this perceived ubiquity of the mobile web as a replacement for the wired one we try and use today is a lot further off than all the companies and kool-aid drinkers would have you believe.
If there is going to be one major winner in the mobile world it is going to be the carriers. Not only do they get to dictate the marketplace of the very handsets that we dutifully line up for every year to upgrade to, regardless of the punitive upgrade or early termination fees, but they also get to dictate the fees we have to pay in order to use the mobile networks. Of course this is on top of the fees you are already paying for any other services you might get for them which in some cases has them triple dipping for the same fundamental service.
Then there is also the interesting timing of all of this pushing of video and the implementation of data caps. There isn’t a content producer, or carrier, around who isn’t singing the praises of video content and how great it is that we can now watch all the movies and television show we want on these ridiculously small screens that chew up battery life. The thing is that all that video content which is being pushed at you requires copious amounts of download speed and and will quickly chew those byte caps and spit them out – all over your monthly bill.
Not only are we being encouraged to break our current concept of ownership of “things” and replace them with renting or subscribing via the tsunami of mobile applications; which are increasingly being designed with the innocent in-app purchase ability (or should that be renting ability). The thing is that all these apps are nothing more than a transit point for streaming data – data that you will end up being charged for in aggregate.
It is one thing to have an app that constantly transfers a small of data but add to that the increasing multitude of apps doing the same thing and with many of them pushing incredibly large rich media type data. The mobile web isn’t being run for you or me. The mobile web isn’t about expanding horizons, as much as we might want to believe otherwise.
This is entirely about the carriers being able to get their next golden goose in place before the inevitable happens – the Internet becomes a utility. That is why there is this push by the carriers to make us believe that the mobile web is Internet 2.0 and is fundamentally different than the one the majority of us use now. This is why company like Verizon and Google join hands to come us with a policy suggestion that says that they’re okay with the government regulating the wired web but that the wireless web is different and therefor doesn’t need to be regulated.
So just the carriers have been double, and triple, dipping when it comes to the services available on the wired Web they want to be able to do the same or more on the wireless web. It doesn’t matter if it is the same Web, the same Internet. It is just a matter of perception and our willingness to believe the marketing crap that is shoved at us.
If the past is any indication the carriers can rest easy – the con is on.