On my last visit to India, I was not so astounded to see the milk-man or the rickshaw driver to have a mobile phone. What I was astounded with was a lack of a “value-added” mobile phone application in such a widespread market.
Try counting (on your fingers if you may) the applications/websites you use on the Internet, and then count the ‘applications’ you use on your mobile (including stuff like SMS, MMS, Mobile Cam, MP3 player etc.). Considering the average person doesn’t use a Blackberry or an iPhone, I bet your computer-driven Web usage will win over your mobile phone-driven Web usage.
So, even though, there are more mobile phone users than Web users, the applications on/for the mobile phone are too limited for the common man. Of course you can browse the Web on your mobile phone. Heck, my sister even checks her Gmail and Facebook profile on her mobile phone. But what else? Maybe manage some simple things like a synchronized (across devices and computers) to-do list, or reading news, or say, writing a short letter? An average mobile phone today has everything to manage such simple things, which can increase our productivity and even entertain us a bit. Still, in general, not many of us use any of those applications.
Technically, the mobile web has taken off in a big way. But, for the common man, the mobile phone is still primarily a mode of verbal communication. What I’m waiting for is the killer mobile phone application (Facebook? Wikipedia?), that will change the way we use a mobile phone. Twitter, for one, has made a difference to the conventional trend by allowing anyone to post short updates from their mobile-phone. And Netbooks are already being seen as a consumer-level gadget. Maybe its the assimilation of the netbook and a mobile phone that will drive the future of mobile applications.