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« The power of the network - the wealth of the network | Main | Alan Moore and Tomi Ahonen present at Oxford course on Mobile Social Networking in July »

January 31, 2007


Stefan Constantinescu

So how would you classify a digital native like me reading your blog?

Curious to know more about the world around me?

You really should get your talks in to some sort of podcast. Hire someone to follow you around with a superb camera and decent editing skills.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Stefan!

Ha ha.. You did know we just launched our podcast with Alan Moore on the Horizon Channel last week?

But no, I think I would rather listen to other experts and bring them to our podcasts, and then blog about these things, talk about them at conferences, and let my mind "mull it over" until the thoughts mature enough that I'd dare to put it on paper and author another book...

But yes, digital natives like you - I'm like the Cro Magnon Man, envious of you and your superior abilities :-)

Thanks for stopping by Stefan, you surprised me with the immediate comment ha-ha....

Tomi :-)

Paul Jardine

I'd love to go through this and give a reasoned response to each of the points made, but unfortunately I don't have the time.
So, once again I'll say that broadly I agree with the behavioural trends, but I don't agree with the definition of this new 'environment' as 'internet on a mobile phone'. The devices that are starting to cause the move from fixed internet access to mobile internet access have voice as a feature. As data services become more important to our lives, the dominance of voice will diminish (though it will still be important).
It's all semantics really; is a PSP with voice capability a phone or a game device?
What I think is important is that we don't get sucked in to the view that something like the .mobi domain is necessary for the mobile internet.
The mobile internet is the same as the fixed internet, it is just accessed differently on different devices, that tend to have smaller screens and less processing power. No big deal, we already develop for many different browsers. If content is properly developed it can be viewable from any device.
I do agree that the default content will become smaller, and more geared to the majority of consumers.


Hi Tomi:

As always, an great synopsis.. 8-)

Stefan: I'd love to follow Tomi around and shoot tons of video on a regular basis. Meanwhile, my interview's with him at the 3G Forum will have to do:



Regarding the "Search and Mobile" section: the cell phone's small screen does indeed prevent 10 search results from being displayed at a time. But there are better solutions than displaying only 4 at a time and doing more scrolling down. One method is doing back-and-forth texting, with results getting more refined as the texting goes along. Another method is to set up alerts for search results whenever new results appear or old results change (think sports scores or stock updates). has this kind of focused searching and alert system set up -- so there already is a lot of mobile search functionality, though not in the same format as you'd get on your computer.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Paul, Lars and oliver

Thanks for stopping by

Paul - I appreciate your position. It seems very reasonable to think that it will be one web, with both PC and mobile access. But that misses the point I am making. Consider cinema and TV. You can say, to someone in the 1950s, that any TV content "could just as well be on cinema" - when at the time TV ran big highly produced variety entertainment spectacles (not unlike Hollywood musicals of the time) and you could argue that early dramas, soap operas and TV news were copies or adaptations of what was on the movie screen.

But today, the VAST MAJORITY of TV content cannot play on the cinema format. We do become addicted to reality TV like American Idol or Big Brother, and watch it daily and passionately, several hours at a sitting, and often tuning into some of the shows several times per day. We couldn't do that in cinema. The same is true of the plethora of game shows. Possibly if there was one game show only, that could also co-exist in the cinema (remember, cinema has to collect entry fees from the audience, a pay-per-view payment model). But not when we get four hours of game shows in the afternoon and late night, one after another. Someone likes one game show like say a Who Wants to be a Millionaire or the Weakest Link. Someone else likes the game shows of guessing the number of interspaced triangles etc. Game shows would not work on cinema.

How about talk shows. A cheap TV show format, get a host like a David Letterman, Jon Stewart, Graham Norton, and a couple of guests and there you go. Every night. The mass market would walk to the cinema at 11 PM to get this entertainment, but millions do tune in every night as they get ready to go to bed, a bit of jokes and light discussion with a collection of celebrities. Would not work in cinema.

My point is, that ALL of the content that existed on cinema, also exists on TV. Some of it happens to work better on TV (say news) and others work better on the big screen (movies). But all that once was on cinema, is now also on TV. Only movies can generate money now in cinema circulation, the other formats moved permanently to TV.

THEN we get all the new content on TV. That never made it to cinema. We don't watch reality TV, game shows, music videos, talk shows, etc in the cinema. The total content universe for TV is at least 100 times larger than that for cinema. TV totally dwarfs cinema.

TV didn't kill cinema, but it superceded it.

That is what is already starting to happen on the internet. ALL of the content we currently have on the fixed legacy internet, can be consumed on the mobile internet. But hundreds of services on the mobile internet do not exist or are not appealing to the masses on the legacy fixed internet. I am talking about ringing tones, TV voting, breaking news alerts, banking alerts, micropayments like paying for your bus ticket and coca cola from a vending machine etc. In only 18 months, NTT DoCoMo's Felica mobile phone payment service has been picked up by 8 million of its subscribers - 16% of its total customer base. For contrast in over five years, only 15% of the number of total Americans have bought an iPod, and many of those purchases were replacement iPods, and a tiny fraction of them access iTunes. Consider Japan's 16% in 18 months and get the picture. The mobile internet is inherently more useful than the fixed legacy internet.

The service universe for the mobile internet is vastly larger than that for the legacy fixed internet. The number of devices on the mobile internet is vastly larger on mobile. And very soon the amount of data service usage on mobile will be much bigger than that on the legacy internet.

You cannot say that it is the same, because for example a credit card alert - someone used your credit card - which is a huge service in places such as South Africa, Nigeria, etc - cannot work on the legacy internet. We are not permanently connected. If there is abuse of my credit card, I need IMMEDIATE alert about it. Not tonight when I might log onto the web via my laptop and the criminal has had hours to empty my credit limit.

The mobile internet is inherently superior to the legacy fixed internet. It has its limitations (small screen and inconvenient keypad) but has far superior balancing elements - the built-in camera which makes the smartphone a far superior creative tool than just the keyboard of a PC - a picture tells a thousand words, and a moving picture is worth a thousand still images.

The mobile phone is now adapting the 2D barcode - which circumvents typing ALTOGETHER. Accessing the web via a cameraphone and 2D barcode is FAR SUPERIOR to doing it with the best laptop and mouse, as we can see in Japan and South Korea already.

No, the mobile internet is NOT going to only as inconvenient as the current legacy internet. The services on the mobile internet are starting to be more personal, more global in reach, faster, and with more value than those on the legacy internet. It is not the same. The mobile internet is a superior delivery platform. Much more content and services will live on the mobile internet than the fixed internet. But the fixed internet will not die away, and some, in particular commercial/business applications will continue on the web - such as a reporter filing his story via a newspaper publishers website and intranet. Yes, but the mass market - is running to the mobile internet.

But Paul I do agree with you on .mobi.

Lars - ha ha, thanks...

oliver - very good point. We will have search on both. But for search to really serve users on the mobile phone, it has to be tweaked and improved. On the phone we are usually in more of a hurry. We operate the phone on one hand while carrying something on the other hand etc. We are doing two things at the same time. But we need the results fast. We also have the abilities to know the user much better, so the search function can learn much more on the phone than on a PC that may be shared by a family etc. Nobody shares their mobile phone, it is too personal.

Thanks for writing.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Paul Jardine

Tomi, I note that in your response you only use the word 'phone' once. That was really the point I am making. It's not about a phone it's about a mobile device for accessing the internet, that we carry around with us. Though I admit most of the current devices are 'phones', this is only part of the market - probably less than 50% eventually.
The screens are smaller, but similar now to the resolution of PC screens when the internet took off (mid 90's). Everything will be done on an IP link (or several simultaneous), no GSM or other specialist carrier, just a bitpipe.
There will be specialist devices for photography (that will probably run voice apps too), and specialist music devices (that run voice too). There will be cheaper cpmbined systems (from the HiFi model) that do everything adequately.
But what I really would like to see is an Access device that provides multiple network connectivity for all the devices I have; a router (UWB - HSDPA - WiMax -WiFi). That would seal the migration of the internet to mobile - for access at least.


Shakira's curves get the attention they deserve in today's entry. I'm afraid there isn't any continuity here, but I'm sure you don't mind. As ever, if anyone has any further images from any of these series, please get in touch and I'll fill in the gaps in a future post.


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