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Mobile Sites - Are Their Days Numbered?

I was asked yesterday by a client who recently purchased an iPhone are the days of mobile specific websites numbered, and is it worth while developing a mobile online presence. Neither the easiest question to answer on the spot, but I promised I would get back to him after I did a bit of research.


The Statistics Don't Add Up

Despite the massive increase in smart phones, either Apple iPhone's, Nokia's excellent range (I do have a 5800 which I find perfect for my needs) or the various other later entrants to the market, the actual percentage of mobile browsers visiting the top twenty client websites has not really increased over the last year, and where increases have been noticed it has mainly been to APP and RSS type services, rather than specific traditional widescreen browser pages. This would in theory mean that people who are using their mobiles to browse prefer to use mobile applications rather than mobile pages in our experience.


So - Mobile Pages, Standard or Apps

The best option would be to use standard pages with fluid layouts; however this normally won't work for feature rich websites or those who rely on fancy fixed layouts. Mobile pages are deliverable through redirects and alternative CSS code layouts and font styles. Mobile Apps are, however, probably the best long term option, provided they are delivered free of charge, are quicker than current options and do not impede on what people are trying to do online.

In short, Apps seem to be the way forward, if expensive.


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