Mobile Web coming to a tiny screen near you...June 1?
Well, with the carriers sitting in the way of getting cell phone users on the web (overpriced data plans, horrible navigation, horrible terms for small innovators trying to get services on the decks, etc.) Apple will be the first company to make a grab at a healthy percentage of those 223 million cellphone toters in the USA. Google and Yahoo won't be far behind with their own spin on services (linked to a specific device or not). Microsoft...well, they've got the Zune. Give them some time they'll have a Zune phone, I guess. Harder to say with them.
“It wouldn’t be surprising if they offer a co-branded phone configured for easy access to Google services,” said Charles Golvin, principal analyst at Forrester Research.
That would help to ensure that Google’s services are not frozen out by future alliances between rivals like Microsoft and carriers or handset makers.
For now, searching the Web on a cellphone, which requires a modern phone with a data service plan, is far from being a mainstream activity. In February, fewer than nine million cellphone users in the United States conducted Web searches, according to the research firm Telephia. About 233 million Americans had cellphones at the end of last year, according to CTIA, a wireless industry group.
“There is a pent-up demand for mobile search that didn’t really exist with the PC,” said Greg Sterling of the research firm Sterling Market Intelligence. “And competition is really starting to create some innovation.”