The future of the mobile web: Augmented Reality

For a while the mobile web has been perceived to be dead, at least in the sense of customised mobile friendly web pages, which have been rendered mostly irrelevant with the arrival of more and more smartphones with capable browser, that display full web-pages more than satifactorily.

This is probably to a large extent correct (although it will be interesting to see if HTML 5 could lead to an upsurge in mobile targeted web apps), however I still think the concept of a “mobile web” is still entirely valid, i.e. in the sense of a version of the web purely targeted at the mobile user.

The new mobile web will take the form of augmented reality, as demonstrated by a new android app from Layar.

The potential for this is staggering, imagine being able to navigate to your destination with arrows and guides superimposed over the pavement/road itself, having the bus you need to get on being highlighted in your line of view, detecting and highlighting pedestrians who may not be visible when driving at night. The computer games you could develop with this would be immense as well, check out Halting State by Charles Stross for examples on how this could work.

It seems to me that the mobile web isn’t dead, it hasn’t truly been born yet.

Amazon “Items dispatching soon”

When processing an order (especially ones with  super-saver delivery), Amazon tend to have an intensely annoying habit of setting the order to “items dispatching soon”, so it cannot be ammended or cancelled, and then leaving it at that stage for ages (I think nearly a day for my current order). In the past I’ve had this go on for days for other orders.

I think this is something Amazon should really look at, especially if you get annoyed with how long its taking them to fulfill an order but can’t cancel it! (I don’t buy that an order can be “dispatching soon” for several days)

Google Voice in the UK

Google voice looks like an awesome service that could be a huge game changer in the UK telecoms market (especially if it was fully integrated into Android), however there seems to be doubt as to wherever the service will ever be rolled out in the UK market. One issue that might pose a problem is that the UK and US telecom operators follow a different billing model.

In the UK we have a “caller pays” model where the cost of the call is charged to the account of person who initates the call. Wherehas in the US the opposite happens: the subsriber pays for calls they receive on their line. This means it would cost google to forward a call on to a UK number, wherehas in the US system the user would pay the costs.

I’m not sure whether the caller pays system would present an insurmountable obstacle to Google Voice arriving in the UK, however if so Google could always leverage some of its huge cash reserves and purchase a mobile network. I realise this is exceedingly unlikely, but there would be several interesting benefits too Google:

  • Direct path to the end-user to deliver web services without having to rely on 3rd party ISP’s
  • Diversified revenue stream from line rental, reducing reliance on advertising
  • Deliver high bandwidth content such as Youtube from servers embeded directly in the mobile network itself

It would be interesting to see what google could do in a carrier role, especially if they took the existing business model and tore it up.

Google Reader on Windows Mobile: Speeed Reader

I have been looking for a decent app for getting Google Reader on Winmo for a while, since i’m not a fan of Google Readers mobile web interface.

I recently came across an app called Speeed Reader, and currently using  v. 0.7.  I really like being able to read my feed through a native interface, its far quicker and more intuitive than the mobile web version.

Unfortunately, the refresh function doesn’t work on my device (HTC Touch Pro) very well, either it crashes out or seems to get caught in a loop so it doesn’t update my reader account with the posts I have read.  Also at the moment it displays all your feeds even if there are no unread items in them, it would be cool to have an option to only see feeds which have unread posts (Like Reader).

Overall, great app with a lot of promise, will be following its progress.

Facebook OpenID

Just managed to get Facebook to recognise my OpenID with the help of this post.

Unfortunately the facebook system doesn’t seem to recognise the delegate url (at least in my case). I associated the OpenID  http://tom.morr.is (which delegates to http://tmorris.pip.verisignlabs.com/) with facebook. However facebook list the Verisign url as associated to my account instead of http://tom.morr.is, which should happen.

This kinda makes delegation a bit pointless with facebook, at least with Verisign PIP.

Google Reader Twitter Integration

In an attempt to find a use for my twitter account, I have being trying to integrate it with Google Reader.

Currently using Twitter Feed to import the Atom feed from my Google Reader shared feed. It works ok, but unfortunately doesn’t pick up the comments from the shared item into the tweet itself. It would be much better if Google actually integrated twitter into reader in the first place.