Why the iPhone IS Revolutionary

I was drooling over the iPhone yesterday. I want it. I want it now. Then I was surprised to see a few blog posts today from people who don’t think it is a big deal. There are other phones, ones you can get now, that do what the iPhone does. At least on paper: voice, email, browsing, music, video. But that is like saying one car is like another, and they haven’t changed since the 1930s. Here’s what I think they are missing:

It is all about the browser. Have you ever tried to browse the Web on a mobile phone? Painful. Most phones, like the popular RAZR don’t even try to render parts of the page. They don’t understand JavaScript, Cookies or advanced DHTML. You can’t even type a URL in to them and go wherever you want. You can only go to your bookmarks. Better phones, like my Sidekick, will at least try to render the whole page. It does understand cookies and some JavaScript. But the page is still chopped up and some pages don’t work right.

Having a real Web browser in a phone opens up a whole new world. Think of all the Web applications out there that you use on your PC, but can’t really do on your phone — maybe your bank, or the admin pages of your blog or Web site. Flickr, Amazon, imdb.com, Wikipedia. Many may come up crippled on your current smartphone, but think how powerful it will be to have them look on your iPhone like they do on your PC.

Take, for instance, RSS. I didn’t see a mention of an RSS reader in Jobs’ keynote. But the iPhone doesn’t need one. There are hundreds of Web-based RSS readers and aggregators (I use MyYahoo). No need for there to be a one-size-fits-all RSS aggregator for the iPhone, you can choose your own Web-based one and use it. People may start coming up with new concepts in RSS aggregators that work best with the iPhone’s screen. No “deal” with Apple needed. Just build a site.
The Web is a huge application platform. Once a mobile phone like the iPhone opens up to the real Web, the phone is no longer reliant on the hardware manufacturer or telecom service for new applications. You can just surf. And you don’t have to wait for someone to make a special “blackberry” or “sidekick” Web site — you can go to one that was made for PCs. Which means any Web site.

Does the phone support gmail? Of course it does! Just browse to it. How about your bank? Of course! How about LinkedIn? Digg? ETrade? Yes. Yes. Yes. And none of these companies will have to do a thing to support it. And the usefulness of your phone is x 1000.
This is what all the other phones don’t get. This is what makes the iPhone revolutionary.

Posted on January 10, 2007 at 8:30 am by Gary Rosenzweig · Permalink
In: General

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  1. Written by Bas
    on 1/10/2007 at 10:04 am