The ‘Full Internet Experience’ of 2010

Posted on 11 March 2010 by



pcmobileThe Internet experience has split into two in the worst way possible. The mobile internet is no longer a subset of the ‘Full’ Internet; it is now a separate world offering features that the desktop just can’t offer and the worst thing is that there isn’t a single device and operating system out there that spans the two Internet worlds. In this article I look at the feature-set of the ‘Full Internet Experience’ and how those features impact netbooks and other ‘mobile’ PCs.

When I took a stab at defining the ‘FIE’ In 2007 we had a situation where X86 devices were driving internet development. ARM-based device just couldn’t keep up and were, to be frank, useless. The speed was terrible (9 seconds per page slower than the slowest X86 device), the quality was terrible (it was rare to find a smartphone browser that handled Ajax, dropdown menus) and as a result, half the Internet was out of bounds. Web designers had to create special versions of websites. Can you imagine that!

For mobile professionals, the only way you could take the ‘FIE’ with you was to use a UMPC.

Three Device StrategyToday, something very interesting has happened. Not only did the smartphone catch up, it has also set new standards for interactivity, personalization and features. Not to mention ‘always-on.’ In some cases, the desktop browser can’t compete. Of course there are still mobile internet activities that only a desktop browser can give you (try plugging in a webcam to a smartphone for example) but the mobile internet on mobile operating systems also offers features that the X86-based browser can’t support. What an amazing change in just two years.

In 2007, I highlighted the following features that defined a Full Internet Experience:

  • Traditional browsing engine. Not a small or medium-screen renderer. Its important that users get to see pages as they were written. This is especially important for Internet applications. Ideally this would be an ie7, FF or even safari-based engine to ensure maximum compatibility. Preferably open source to encourage community improvements.
  • Tabbed browsing (this is, or will be, a customer expectation.)
  • Full-screen capability with auto-hide tool/URL bar.
  • Inline Flash video support.
  • Export multimedia to media player option. (‘open-with’ options)
  • Support for inline audio and video and other multimedia plugins written for the chosen browsing engine.
  • Ability to handle client-side processing e.g. DHTML, Ajax and JavaScript
  • Enhancements for small touchscreens -finger touch input panel. On-screen handwriting is not necessary.
  • Gesture support.
  • Basic bookmark and history handling.
  • Simple zoom functions through gestures.
  • Page overview function (instant full-page zoom-out)
  • All browsers should be able to perform [these actions] with near-desktop speed – Gmail, iGoogle (fully populated selection of windows ), Meebo, Google reader. YouTube inline flash playback.

It’s almost funny to think about tabs and Ajax support in a mobile browser now but that’s what the mobile internet looked like back then. Death, taxes and internet evolution. It happens! 2.5 years on from that list above and we’ve got new features to think about….

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18 Comments For This Post

  1. Steve 'Chippy' Paine says:

    RT @umpcportal: The 'Full Internet Experience' of 2010 http://bit.ly/btOrW4 A split, a problem.

  2. Alessandro Tucci says:

    RT @umpcportal: New article: The 'Full Internet Experience' of 2010 http://bit.ly/btOrW4

  3. Kevin C. Tofel says:

    Great UMPC Portal article on mobile web experience. Central theme backs up my "perfect storm for ARM right now" theme. http://bit.ly/cBFnzF

  4. Michael J. Pesare says:

    RT @chippy: RT @umpcportal: The 'Full Internet Experience' of 2010 http://bit.ly/btOrW4 A split, a problem. (Excellent article @chippy!)

  5. solnyshok says:

    right direction. but I think that example with the webcam isn’t good one. You don’t need to plug webcam into your phone, it is already builtin. And there is fring with support for videocalls.

  6. Vakeros says:

    I would actually argue that the Desktop has become the subset of the mobile version. I would expect though that a UMPC like the Viliv S5 with 3G and GPS should allow the best of both worlds – except for the always on part.

    Chippy Reply:

    I was discussing this with JKK. We both agree that there are processing power, connectivity, screen, input, driver issues with the mobile internet operating systems/devices and hence the mobile OS is not quite the super-set of desktop-style Internet. For some people though, these issues are not important so yes, for them, desktop internet is a subset of mobile internet.

    aludal Reply:

    Very good, very solid and thorough thinking of 2007! As of today, I would add UMPCs can and will be capable to excel desktops not only in the realm of mobile FIE. If I may, I’d like to suggest several newest paradigm-shifting features:

    — “Sunlight Computing”, with the help of Pxel Qi, Mirasol, or Liquavista screens. I can almost bet that somewhere in the middle of 2011, it will be a blast watching Avatar 3D 1080p on a Liquavista 3D screen of a 2.35:1 tablet on some Florida or California beach;

    — Ultra-low power consumption of say, Tegra2-Android tablet demands that say, the back panel of such a tablet should be made into a combined solar and WiFi-charger panel. It may contain spare/bigger battery and, in a shell-like opening design, a “hardware” keyboard. Such a tablet may not need charging from the mains at all one day,

    — Up to 12 Mpixel still camera, HD Web camera, VoIP/smartphone capabilities can present new possibilities for field workers/tourists/hikers etc., and their experiences in social networking,

    — I personally would love to see developed sketching/painting capabilities in such tablets emulating overpriced Wacom Cintiq functionality,

    — With the advent of Chrome OS and cloud computing we might see even more capabilities and functions open for such tablets, but even before that, one way of “upgrading” your cheap ($100….$150) tablet might be buying another such tablet and using both in a folder-like enclosure, connected/networked. The kitchen/house surveillance/HTPC/car might need more of such devices, and such popularity can bring the price further down,

    — They talk about OLPC program for what, nine years now? Time to dump overpriced Atom/Celeron?VIA platforms and replace them with Tegra-2 Android/Ubuntu tablet for $95 or even less, such “children” computers can be sold in tens of millions.

    Apple content and carrier contracts for iPad will certainly starve the competition tablets. Many good prototypes will be doomed, or swiped out into niche markets. However, I believe that when any potential tablet manufacturer aspires to produce a tablet capable of all “FIE” by Chippy, plus many, or better all, of my functionality additions, such tablets would have too many critical advantages over inferior, crippled iPad to be pushed aside, or stomped out by ridiculous patent litigations.

    chippy Reply:

    I dont want to seem rude but did you check page2 and page 3 of the article where i talk about some of the things you mentioned. Worried that you didnt spot the next page link! If so, I need to make it more prominent.

  7. Miguel says:

    Hi,nice article.

    Can you explain what you mean by ‘the Google juice that makes Android worth having’

    turn_self_off Reply:

    android market and the apps for google services.

    Chippy Reply:

    Google Marketplace, mail, calendar, maps, buzz and other apps aren’t part of the open-source Android and it’s open-source Android being used on many of the tablets entering the market – without the important Google apps.

    miguel Reply:

    Hi,thanks for reply.

    I don’t get it. Why would you need the apps you mention as part of android. Couldn’t you just access them via the browser ? ( sorry if my question sounds stupid)

    chippy Reply:

    The marketplace is not available on a website. The same is true of maps that use the gps functions. These two features (there are others) need an application to work best.

  8. turn.self.off says:

    i would say that the basic proplem is that there is no fine grained way for a device to tell service what the device us capable of, so that the service can adapt. Everyone is expecting the device to do all the smart thinking, yet the layout and the content is so joined thats nearly impossible.

  9. Ramon Spearman says:

    The 'Full Internet Experience' of 2010 | UMPCPortal – Ultra Mobile … http://bit.ly/boNXS1

  10. ablufia says:

    the 'full internet experience' http://goo.gl/CwPy how the internet experience is divided by mobile / desktop computing #umpcportal

  11. obarthelemy says:

    Actually there’s also an interesting piece in PCMag about the iPad being more of a threat to MacOS than Windows: people may like the ease of use + safety of the walled-garden iPhone OS so much, that they’d trade their full-fledged desktop OS for it.

    I might even agree. When I think about what I’m doing with my desktop PC these days (watching videos and web stuff), the purchase price, power consumption and constant aggravation of running a full OS doesn’t seem quite worth it. MS has made such a hash of things with the oh-so power-hungry, complicated and unsafe Windows, that any reasonably open OS (not iPhone, but maybe Android, Meegoo…), and on more efficient platform (ARM, not Intel) sounds good to me.

  12. Jan says:

    I think that at the moment, the iPad is the device that is nearest to the solution. Runs all the iPhone apps and still has enough screen real estate to come close to the full browsing experience. And you can run a word processor on it, too. I’m really looking forward to it ( and already have started some development with the SDK).

    ( By the way: how ironic – the mobile theme of this site allmost makes the iPhone crash when you try to write more text in the comment area than fits inside without scrolling, have to go to the non mobile theme which works great on the iPhone -before I can submit)

    admin Reply:

    The ipad is a good example of a mobile os moving up. There are still many things it cant do but its moving in the right direction.

    Ive upgraded the mobile version of the site. Its an automated 3rd party feature. Maybe the error has been fixed now?

    Jan Reply:

    new theme does not fix it. Text area’s on iPhones are not very mature yet :)

    the only web app I’ve seen that handles the iPhone’s quirky text area behavior in the right way, is gmail.

  13. John says:

    I fully agree with Chippy’s thoughts on the whole social netbook concept. One thing that I would put more emphasis on is what Apple did with iWork. If this is a sign of things to
    come and if cloud sync becomes a common ground for the majority of people (say Apple decides to include MobileMe as a standard feature of their OS) then not only netbooks but also desktops could be under threat IMO in the sense that a typical user will not feel the urge to update his desktop or laptop every year or two, since the majority of his computing needs will be covered by the mobileOS device.

  14. Joe says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but have you seen the new MSN:
    http://www.msn.com/preview.aspx

    Don’t the pieces look like perfect Windows Phone 7 Series chunks of the full page that the phone could display via some simple algorithm without the need for zooming or to see the whole page.

    The tabs look perfect for swiping your finger left to right to flip among them. I think Microsoft has some big picture in mind.

    Maybe a well designed phone can provide the full experience. It just needs a forward facing camera for video calls, and an HDMI port, bluetooth keyboard, and mouse for home use.

  15. Schugy says:

    Well, there are several points I don´t understand. I´ve never used twitter or any social network like xing. What I use is a big chat community and loads of RSS-Feeds in a directory of my Firefox bookmark toolbar, e. g. umpcportal news and umpcportal forums latest posts. Anything more I should need or I could use more comfortable? I´m currently really happy with it.

    My LG cell phone supports j2me applications, so I have Opera Mini 4/5 beta2, jimm, ebuddy, j2memap (google maps, can connect gps over bt), MidpSSH e.g..
    If I use the mobile youtube page in Opera mini I can stream videos through the inbuilt player perfectly.
    Multitethering like a WLAN AP (hostapd) would be nice but maybe it´s a huge task for a 100 Euro phone. At least bluetooth DUN profile and USB modem (/dev/ttyACM0) work.

    Phones like the Freerunner would keep my privacy (I don´t use more than google search or googleearth and especially I don´t use clouds!). The builtin gps e.g. can be used to load applications just before I reach the desk at work or come home.

    I wish my DigiCam would have GPS to enter it into the exif data.

    My Everun Note could have longer battery life or multitouch but I love it running Kubuntu 9.10.

    My desktop is still a nice thing to have to write letters, for gaming, faster optical drives, vdr (wastes some power).

    Is there anything in computing I could do better without paying for every standard feature I´d expect (buy a very dumb phone and pay for everything else) or sacrificing privacy?

  16. Kevin N says:

    I wonder how HTML5 will affect all of this. It has many of the desired features: offline support, video… How is it for location based services/GPS?

    If my Archos 5 went fully mobile — 3g and phone services (in my areas of US, I need Verizon) — and had an attachable keyboard (say, Touch Pro 2 class), I’d have a lot less need to fire up my trusty p1610.

    Dell Mini 5 moving that way, but I so love a physical keyboard…

  17. Jan says:

    I also should mention (instead of just jumping in with my apple/ ipad enthousiasm) that I really like the analysis you made. The web currently really is split in two, and that we have not seen before.

    With respect to the ‘death of the umpc': i think that some things are so complex that you need to (re)invent them several times before they are right. (Remember that before the UMPC we had the PDA?) The umpc was based on the idea: we really like computers, so what if we took the full power our desktop and try to shrink it down into a portable device….? It was also a reaction on the PDA, I think, because PDA’s were so limited, that people started longing for a desktop like experience that you can take everywhere.

    That idea was very appealing, because we all want to be able to do everything we did before, and mobile this time! But it was not right. You cannot just shrink the device: the hardware gets completely different properties. And just as you can’t simply shrink the hardware you can’t expect that desktop software paradigm’s work well on mobile devices. Take for instance, a traditional desktop app that really really shines: photoshop. The GUI consists of a very complex menu structure, very many panels. No way that this is ever going to look nice if you scale it to 7 inches or even smaller. It is so complex that it screams for a huge monitor to be displayed on, and shrinking the pixels (making the information denser) just won’t do the job to make it mobile. EVER. Even if you had huge processing power and unlimited battery life. A true mobile experience just can’t be done with this software.

    The new software paradigm seems to be: take very few UI elements, make them big enough for a human finger and present them on a touch screen. If you want to display more complex information than fits on the screen: use clever animatated transitions to give a sense of context and hide the fact that a mobile device is never large enough to show everything at once.

    This doesn’t mean that umpc’s don’t live on – because the touch devices of today are not possible without the experience that was created by making these devices. But now, there’s just a new iteration. We’ll see if this will be enough to create truely mobile devices.

  18. Lee O says:

    http://bit.ly/dCNOH0 great article on "Full Internet Experience" by @chippy

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