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The State of the Mobile Web in the U.S.

19 January 2007 · Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

With George W. set to give another State of the Union address in a few days, I thought I would ping the web building community about the State of the Mobile Web in the U.S. Is it as backwards and behind the curve as it appears?

Consider these stats (from Communities Dominate Brands):

Now check this out:

Wow. Or, as I told my good friend, Mark Bixby, after seeing these numbers, geezum crowbar.

Of course, not all mobile phones can access web sites, but most of them do SMS. In Asia, mobile web access is already huge. In places like Africa, India, and Europe, it’s growing at a mind boggling rate. According to the article, China adds 6 million mobile phones a month. India, 7 million! In Africa, whole economies are skipping land-lines and PCs in favor of mobile phones.

Now, I have worked in the web industry for 10 years in the United States. Not once have I worked on a site where mobile access was even considered, much less the focus. Maybe my experience is very different from my American colleagues. But, maybe not. If it’s not, then, my friends we are about to be left behind, pariahs of web-dom, by companies looking for designers and developers versed in the best practices for reaching this staggeringly large population of users.

I really want to know, what is the state of the mobile web in the United States? Who is doing the cutting edge work? How can I, as a web developer, start building my skills in this booming sector?

Oh, and I’m not counting on the iPhone to save us. It will be a long time before the web surfing experience that device promises makes a dent in the overall experience of mobile web users.