Mobile Platforms – Which One Meets Your Needs?

March 31, 2009

First, know that HTML was NOT intended for browsing from a smart cell phone. It’s intended to work with fast connection speeds (broadband, T1 or higher) and high resolution screens from the web browser of a desktop PC, laptop or thin client. The mobile web emerged in 2003, yet browsing [from smartphones] with HMTL gave it a poor viewing experience; WAP and J2ME dramatically improved the mobile browsing experience in 2007.

These two common platforms for mobile browsing: 1) WAP / WML and , 2) J2ME allows browsing to be controlled from a smart cell phone with a joystick, trackball, trackwheel or touchscreen. SMS leverages the [phone’s] keypad to receive and retrieve brief information in text within seconds.

WAP and J2ME are designed to browse i) at slower connection speeds typical with cellular service, ii) small screens with lower resolution and, iii) meet users’ needs of clicking for information they want, often on the fly.

1.WAP/WML (Wire Access Protocol and Wireless Markup Language, often referred to as WAP). ‘Mimics a browsing experience with links, text and images; it often takes longer to load because it’s drawing from lots of information. It’ll disconnect [with error messages] when the smartphone loses its signal; content [including ads] is not consistently visible at all times. It can install a customized icon (typically a logo) on the desktop of the smartphone to expedite connection, with the reader’s permission. WAP works best with a large portfolio of websites with different layouts and content of text and some graphics.

2.J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition). An application that exports an icon and GUI (a MIDlet) to a smartphone with the user’s permission; the desktop icon connects [to a server or website] within two clicks and displays a premium, a menu-driven, user-friendly viewing experience. Content is presented in a format that’s simple to navigate and easy to read. The administrator controls what the viewer sees. J2ME resides on a server to import/export specific content from an HTML website to the smartphone requesting it. Content is displayed within a menu-driven GUI that’ formatted it for the phone’s operating system. J2ME supports all types of smartphones and is carrier agnostic; a shorter development time enables a quicker launch date. A template for click-through page ads, page sponsors and coupons are established to generate untapped revenue for the publisher.

Note: J2ME works best with redundant layouts throughout a portfolio of websites.

Apps like J2ME offer features over WAP/WML browsing that include: i) the icon demands space in the phone’s “desktop” serving as constant reminder of the availability of the contained content, fortifying brand awareness. ii) users spend much more time when inside an app vs. at a mobile web site, leaving more opportunities for ad impressions and clicks. iii) banner ads will always be visible, occupying 100% of the screen’s width without stretching, ensuring readability. iv) banner ads offer an optional “click through” that can generate revenue. v) applications are more prestigious. vi) apps can provide content integration with GPS and alerts depending on the user’s location (i..e opted-in coupons or classified ads).

SMS (Short Message Service). Offers text-only messages up to 160 characters; communication is one way or interactive via text words or short codes. SMS connects with cell and/or smart phones. It’s used to send short messages to mobile phones; it can be integrated with WAP or J2ME applications. Short Code SMS messaging requires opt-in by the user to remain in a database for future message events.

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Future: More software is expected to run on smartphones. Applications for smartphones today give consumers cause to keep their smartphone and have a dataplan; carriers are making more of their income from dataplans vs.handset sales. Handset manufacturers are increasing and improving RAM, on-board storage and accepting more space in expansion cards; carriers are following by enhancing connection speeds. Data plans [over 2 year contracts] generate a large percentage of carrier’s income. This revenue stream has enabled carriers to make smartphones affordable via POS and mail in rebates in exchange for two year voice and data plans. Please contact me to learn about the mobile apps I offer that offer a similar viewing experience to J2ME. ###

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