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“Limitations” of Mobile Internet Platform

January 7th, 2009 No comments

When I talk with people about the opportunities in the Mobile Internet, I often hear a comment along the lines of “yeah, but a Mobile device is so limited compared with the PC Internet experience.” While this is certainly true, I don’t think it is very relevant with respect to opportunities for startups in mobile, for two important reasons.

  1. Most people’s first ideas around what to do with any new technology, or channel, are to simply do what they’ve done before, but using the new thing. This paving of the cow paths can have some use, but doesn’t generally lead to great companies. Instead, the great startups look at what is unique and enabling about the new thing and build utility around that. The fact that Google search couldn’t possibly understand an end user’s search needs as well as a human reference librarian didn’t stop them from building a great company.
  2. When you compare today’s Mobile Internet experience with that of the PC Internet experience of 1995 (when Amazon, eBay, and Yahoo! were all in business), the Mobile Internet is surprisingly compelling. As illustrated in the table below, the Mobile Internet of today compares very favorably along most attributes. Screen size, and input are areas where the PC of 1995 had an advantage, but everything else goes to the Mobile phones of 2008.
The PC Internet exerience of 1995 wasn't as good as might think...

The PC Internet exerience of 1995 wasn