Tag Archives: touch web
Mobile search company Taptu has taken the wraps off their latest project. Billed as "The World’s largest Directory of Web Apps & Touch Friendly Sites For Owners of Mass Market Touch Screen Mobiles", it's modeled after the iPhone App Store with mobile web apps and sites organized into categories like News & Weather, Music, Sport, Entertainment, Social and Technology. The directory is searchable and features rotating galleries of "Top Sites" and "New Sites".
You can reach the Taptu directoy by visiting Taptu.com and clicking the "Categories" tab at the top of the page. If you are using an older phone and don't see the tab, click the "Full Site" link near the middle of the page to bring up the Touch version of Taptu. I was able to open the new version with every mobile browser I tried except Opera Mini where the "Full Site" link just seems to reload the "Lite" version of the site. Taptu uses image resizing and pagination to keep page sizes below 50 KB making it compatible with many basic feature phones
I understand that Touch is a hot mobile buzzword these days, but I don't think using it as a differentiating term is the best approach to driving traffic to the new site. Taptu's directory looks and works great with non-touch BlackBerrys, Windows Mobile and Symbian handsets and even the more capable non-touch feature phone browsers. The same is true of almost all the sites listed in the directory. But currently only 14% to 20% of all new mobile phone sales are of touchscreen devices. Tagging the directory with the Touch label discourages 80 to 86% of Taptu's prospective user base from even trying it out.
Touch screens do have some advantages for mobile browsing. Touch-only designs make larger screens possible in a pocketable device. Good touch aware site design can definitely make page navigation faster and easier and improve the overall user experience.
But non-touch screen devices have their own advantages. It's easier to integrate a good physical keyboard into a compact device. Non touchscreen browsers don't suffer from the confusion between scrolling and clicking that sometimes occurs with even the best touchscreen browsers. The cost of manufacture of a non-touch handset with good browsing capabilities is less than that of touch device.
The cost differential between touch and non touch will decrease over time and touch browsing usability is bound to increase too as will touch market share. But the biggest opportunities for mobile web growth today are the developing world and the teen and pre-teen markets. These are price sensitive markets and also ones where good text messaging capabilities are a requirement, both factors that favor non-touch devices.
I like Taptu's Touch Web directory. It's gorgeous, easy to navigate and goes a long way toward improving the discoverability of mobile web sites and apps. I think mobile web "stores" like this will play a big role in facilitating the switch from native mobile apps to mobile web apps that's on the horizon.
But we really need a better label than "Touch" for the next generation of the mobile web. I'm not crazy about "Rich Mobile Web" either but it is getting some traction and I like it better than "Middle Web" which is meaningless to most people and conjures up connections with "Middle Earth" and "Middle School" in my mind. "Mobile Web 2.0" is undefined and tired. I guess I'll go with "Rich Mobile Web" until a better buzzword comes along.
Mobile search company Taptu released the fourth in a series of "State of the Touch Friendly Web" reports today. The reports track mobile web trends and showcase over 100 new Mobile Touch Web sites each month.
In the latest report (PDF) Taptu compares the size and growth rate of its Mobile Touch Web index with that of the iPhone and Android appstores. By Taptu's count there are currently:
- 440,100 Mobile Touch Web Sites
- 185,000 apps in the iPhone App Store
- 35,947 apps in the Android Market
In terms of growth, based on numbers from the last four months:
- Mobile Touch Web sites are growing at an annual rate of 232%
- iPhone apps are growing at an annual rate of 144%
- Android apps are growing at an annual rate of 403%
Not only is the Touch Web growing faster than iPhone apps but it is also growing twice as fast as Taptu projected in January. Taptu now expects the number of Mobile Touch Web sites to reach 1.1 million (up from their previous prediction of 0.5 million) by the end of 2010.
Incidentally, the majority of the sites Taptu calls " Touch Friendly" work just as well with the browsers on non-touch phones. Touch can definitely enhance the mobile browsing experience but it is not a requirement to use the modern mobile web.
Coincident with the release of the latest report, Taptu together with mSearchgroove's Peggy Ann Salz have put together a Mobile Touch Web "Virtual Roundtable" in which a number of industry experts were asked to share their thoughts on various aspects of the Touch Web. I'm proud to be a part of the Virtual Roundtable which is available now on Slideshare.
POLITICO is a three year old politics focused daily newspaper distributed for free in Washington D.C. It's widely read by politicians, lobbyists and other D.C. insiders. The paper's website, Politico.com has significant national readership with an Alexa US traffic ranking of 287.
Politco's mobile editions are somewhat limited. They do appear to include, with one exception, the full text and photos from all the articles and sections on the main site. The exception is Mike Allen's daily "Playbook" column, arguably the most popular feature on Politico and thus a strange thing to leave out. Other limitations of Politico mobile are the complete absence of reader comments and the removal of all hyperlinks, both internal and external from within news stories. Politco's stories get hundreds of comments, with the discussions often as interesting as the original articles, so why not include them, even if only in read-only format. The same goes for links, Politco's stories are loaded with links, almost entirely internal ones to related articles and background information. I don't understand why Politico would want to strip out links, especially internal links, which help keep readers on the site.
I applaud Politico for recognizing the mobile web's potential and providing attractive, well organized mobile sites with lots of content. But I'm disappointed by the "dumbing down" of the mobile versions by the removal of important features like comments, links and Mike Allen's column. Source: Taptu State of The Mobile Touch Web Report (PDF)
Filed in: Wap Review Directory - News
Ratings: Content Usability
Ready.mobi Score: 2 "Bad"
Mobile Link: mobile.Politico.com
Alameda, California based NextBus delivers frequently updated estimates of the arrival time of the next transit vehicle at a given stop. Delivery is by electronic signs, voice response systems, SMS and the Internet, including the mobile web. NextBus is used by 45 transit systems in the US and Canada, including my hometown, San Francisco.
Today @Karrio on Twitter discovered a location aware Touch Web version of NextBus at nextbus.com/webkit/. Using the location provider API exposed by the iPhone and Android browsers, it displays the next arrival times at the nearest stops along with a map showing your location and the nearby stops.
I was unable to find any announcement of the new web app on the web or even a mention of it the Nextbus site. So I guess it's a stealth Beta. If you have a compatible phone give it a try. Most BlackBerrys and the MicroB and Mobile Firefox browsers on the Nokia N900 have location provider support and may work as well.
If your browser doesn't expose location information or you choose to block location access, NextBus will default to showing information for a dummy location in downtown San Francisco. There's a menu that lets you change to a different location or even a different city by picking from a list. This worked pretty well with the location-less Opera Mobile 10 Beta running on my Nokia N95-3. Opera Mini and the WebKit based Nokia browser on the N95 were also able to display the NextBus touch site with proper formatting, but clicking the menu to change the location in those two browsers had no effect.
Please leave a comment if you are able to get the NextBus touch web app working on other devices, with or without location support.