Page last updated at 06:00 GMT, Saturday, 26 April 2008 07:00 UK

The mobile future is calling

Maggie Shiels Technology Reporter
Web 2.0 San Francisco

Aerial photograph of London, SPL
Location systems look set to be popular on mobile phones

Developers are being asked to devise applications for mobile devices so users can "access it, mix it up, save it, and store it".

The plea to harness the creativity of the internet and apply it on mobile phones was made by Mitchell Baker the chair of Firefox developer Mozilla.

All of this functionality "should be the same if I am on a laptop or phone, at home or on a train," says Ms Baker.

"The breadth of the new ideas floating around and the different ways that people are thinking about information and using the web further away from browsing into more personalised information is exciting," said Ms Baker, speaking to the BBC News website at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.

She is convinced that mobile phones will be one of the forces that will help people make better use of information pertinent to them

"Information that matters to me is what the future is about," she said.

Transforming experience

For Marc Davis, Yahoo's social media guru, there's no doubt that the future is about mobility - with the numbers of handsets about to hit 4 billion there's plenty of evidence of their popularity.

We are about 18 months from an incredible boom in mobile applications and mobile adoption
Mike Butcher, TechCrunch

"The mobile web is not just about accessing the web from your phone," he said "Mobile phones that are location aware, temporarily situated and socially connected will transform our experience of the web, the world and ourselves."

"The next web," he says, "will be about place and time."

He suspects that we are near the point at which more people will be able to access the web via their phone than their desk top computer.

Open strategy

Echoing Mozilla's call to developers, Mr Davis is urging them to get involved in being part of Yahoo's mobile future. As a way to convince his audience he highlighted the company's earlier announcement at the Expo called Yahoo Open Strategy (Y!OS).

"Openness is deeply in our DNA and we are coming out as an 'open company' now in a big way. So we are making it possible for developers to write an application, to write a widget and open this up."

Nokia N96, Nokia
Add-on applications known as widgets are starting to show up on phones
Yahoo is not the only one championing widgets. Mobile giant Nokia has announced the next stage of its Widget platform for Symbian Series 60 smartphones .

The new stage will give developers access to GPS, contacts book, communications stacks, e-mail and SMS functions on the phone.

"These are the kinds of things that really make a phone unique," says David Rivas, vice president for Nokia's Series 60 technology management devices group.

"We are at a real crossroads in terms of mobile phone technology and it is this availability of web technology on the mobile device that signals that crossroads."

But when can consumers expect results? Not for a while said Mike Butcher from technology blog TechCrunch.

"We are not there yet," he said. "We are about 18 months from an incredible boom in mobile applications and mobile adoption."

"I think there are two things that are going to happen," he said. "Firstly the mobile platform is being opened up for other people to create interesting applications. And the second is the handsets are constantly improving which means the overall experience promises to be good."

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