Consumer Demand Is for Web-Based Internet, Not WAP
Currently, WAP sites are the primary source of content for consumer mobile phones in China, as many mobile phones do not offer Internet access. However, WAP sites, which are controlled by carriers, are a sort of walled garden in which content is very limited and entertainment-oriented. The PC Internet, by comparison, is an open garden with a tremendous number of applications and services. As things stand, PC Internet users usually don’t care to visit WAP sites and most mobile Internet users don’t have PC Internet experience.
In addition, due to limitations caused by screen size, processing capability, operability, user interface, and a fragmented OS platform, consumers cannot experience the Internet on mobile phones as fully as on PCs. As a result, the conflict between consumer demand for mobile Internet access and the current development of mobile phones is heating up.
However, even with advances in technology that make it possible to access the PC-based Internet via mobile phones, the user experience is not good. As a result, PC Internet users who wish to use mobile Internet are moving to mobile devices that allow them online access anytime and anywhere. These devices allow users to combine the convenience of mobile Internet with the broad-based content of the PC Internet.
MID the Best Solution for Mobile Internet
The mobile Internet device (MID) is a new category of consumer-oriented device tailored to Internet on-the-go. Compared with other devices that have Internet capability, such as notebooks, netbooks (a kind of mini-note), and smartphones, these mobile devices, with their 4–7-inch screens, full webpage display, high data-processing capability, and multi-network connections including both WWAN and WLAN technology, provide both portability and a full Internet experience. MIDs incorporate all the services of the mobile Internet: communication on-the-go, entertainment on-the-go, and computing on-the-go.
Potential users of MIDs include business professionals, media-savvy consumers, and young adults. Business professionals typically use MIDs for business, and MIDs meet their demand for on-the-go communication, information, and location-based services (LBS). Media-savvy consumers usually use MIDs for entertainment, and MIDs meet their demand for communication and multi-media on-the-go. Young adults use MIDs to keep in touch with online communities, and MIDs provide a PC Internet-like experience for sharing and keeping in touch with friends anytime and anywhere.
Mobile industry players, including software and service providers, OEMs, carriers, and chipset/architecture vendors, now recognize the demand for Internet capability on mobile devices. The involvement of industry giants such as Apple, Google, Nokia, and Intel proves that full Internet via mobile device is becoming a very definite trend in the mobile industry.
As has been proven by Apple’s iPhone, a mobile device that provides a good Internet experience will be welcomed by consumers and will significantly drive mobile Internet use, greatly benefiting operators. Another product, Google’s Android, is the first service-oriented smartphone platform. Nokia, in an effort to counter Android, has acquired Symbian, made it open source and royalty-free, and has been launching MID products since 2005. Finally, Intel’s efforts with MID chipset platforms, software ecosystems, and OEM partnerships have greatly driven the growth of the x86-based MID market.