Mary Meeker’s Web 2.0 presentation made a strong case for the imminent boom on the mobile internet. Some statistics that caught my attention:
· Mobile internet users will exceed 500M human beings in early 2010
· The mobile consumer device market will exceed 10B in the next 5 years
· The current iPhone + iTouch user base is larger than Netscape’s base in 1999
· More than 20% of the world will be on 3G networks by the close of 2010
This is a serious change in how people are using the Internet. I don’t think of the Internet as synonymous with the Web; the Web is one pattern of applications, based on HTML and HTTP, that uses a common infrastructure – the Internet. Both the iPhone and Android phones have a much higher share of Web and Internet usage than previous generations of mobile devices. But are they really using the internet? Or are they using the Cloud?
From my point of view, the Cloud is another pattern of applications – like the Web – that use a common infrastructure – the internet. But just as Web application patterns are different from other Internet applications (like email, for example), Cloud application patterns have their own rich array of styles and requirements. And what we’re seeing with mobile consumer devices is an explosion of applications that reside on the device and use the Cloud for access to remote logic and data.
(I promise not to capitalize web, internet, or cloud from here on out.)
So the future of the mobile internet is not the mobile web – resized, limited web pages rendered by a WAP server and discovered via Google and Bing – but the cloud. What we’re seeing are the first generation of sites rebuilding their backends to be accessible via cloud APIs in order to give access to mobile applications that will drive business. Some sites are on their second and third generation, having rebuilt their web presence to rely on the same cloud APIs that their mobile applications do.