One web, mobile web, idealism and pragmatism
Mike Rowehl: "Long term I’m a One Web person, but I’m also aware of the fact that The One Web is a long ways off."
Andrea Trasatti: "It is great to hear them talking about the idea that the web should be only one and that everyone should be able to access the exact same contents indipendently from the language, region or medium used, wether he/she has any visual deficiency or any other handicap. We all wish for that to be true some day soon."
I'd agree with both of these smart people. It seems to me that the one web vs mobile web battle is idealism vs pragmatism, and the two don't need to be mutually exclusive in the long term. There's where we want to be, and there's the reality of delivering services in the near future.
What doesn't help is that upgrade cycles in mobile are slower than in the fixed web. We've all been brought up to think that releasing a new browser can get it into the hands of a large chunk of your audience within months, thanks to our experiences with Netscape, IE et al downloading software over the web. This doesn't hold when it comes to mobile: browser software is tightly bound into the actual hardware, you're looking at average 12-18 month cycles for consumers to upgrade their handsets, and need a couple of these cycles to get a large chunk of your audience over to any new technology.
So if a genius or company of geniuses solves the "one web vs mobile web" problem tomorrow with an incredible software product (and I haven't seen a product which would qualify for this), we still have 2-3 years of dealing with the reality of what's out there today before we can all be idealists.