The Universal mobile APP- it already exists

Posted on September 23, 2010

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The ‘Universal’ mobile APP, has the time come to look into the future of mobile platforms and operating systems and come to the conclusion that the mobile APP world’s time is gonna be a changin’? What is the Universal mobile APP- why its the mobile browser, and it is already on your phone. It gets you to the mobile web, just like your PC internet browser does. Now, companies just have to get focused on that mobile web site and user experience. Over time, most needs for basic mobile APP’s to let the customer engage you through their mobile phone will become less important (and less costly) than getting their site looking and working right on the mobile web .

First, let us look at the internet for reference. Generally, each individual web page is delivered to the client as a static document, but the sequence of pages can provide an interactive experience, as user input is returned through web form elements embedded in the page markup. During the session, the web browser interprets and displays the pages, and acts as the universal client for any web application. The web interface places very few limits on client functionality.

As every company is trying to come to grips with customer engagement in the mobile space, maybe a bit of a history lesson is in order.

In 1995, Netscape introduced a client-side scripting language called JavaScript, which allowed programmers to add some dynamic elements to the user interface that ran on the client side. Until then, all the data had to be sent to the server for processing, and the results were delivered through static HTML pages sent back to the client.

In 1996, Macromedia introduced Flash, a vector animation player that could be added to browsers as a plug-in to embed animations on the web pages. It allowed the use of a scripting language to program interactions on the client side with no need to communicate with the server.

In 1999, the “web application” concept was introduced in the Java language in the Servlet Specification version 2.2. At that time both JavaScript and XML had already been developed, but Ajax had still not yet been coined and the XMLHttpRequest object had only been recently introduced on Internet Explorer 5 as an ActiveX object.

A web application is an application that is accessed over a network such as the Internet or an intranet. The term may also mean a computer software application that is hosted in a browser-controlled environment or coded in a browser-supported language  and reliant on a common web browser to render the application executable.

Web applications are popular due to the ubiquity of web browsers, and the convenience of using a web browser as a client, sometimes called a thin client. The ability to update and maintain web applications without distributing and installing software on potentially thousands of client computers is a key reason for their popularity, as is the inherent support for cross-platform compatibility. Common web applications include webmail, online retail sales, online auctions, wikis and many other functions.

  • Web applications do not require any complex “roll out” procedure to deploy in large organizations. A web browser is all that is needed;
  • Browser applications typically require little or no disk space on the client;
  • They require no upgrade procedure since all new features are implemented on the server and automatically delivered to the users;
  • Web applications integrate easily into other server-side web procedures, such as email and searching.
  • They also provide cross-platform compatibility in most cases (i.e., Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.) because they operate within a web browser window.

The point of all this tech info, is to say, just as in the early days of the internet, before web sites and web browsers became the basic way to interface in the internet, people developed APP’s for everything, eventually settling down to focus on the use of the basic and Universal web APP, the browser.

Now in mobile, today, most companies are rushing to implement an APP for all the platforms to allow customers to engage with them, usually forgetting that each customer already has an APP on their phone that does the job already- its called a mobile browser.

I know that most people feel that the UX is disappointing through the mobile browser when compared to an APP, but there are solutions for the mobile web that exist and do not use the limiting WML markup language and WAP stacks.

Siteminis is a company that has that ability now. Have you been looking to turn mobile phone “browsers” into buyers? Now can now turn your mobile website into a brand consistent, fully functional m-commerce destinations without losing control or profits to third parties — regardless of the type of cell phone or carrier your customers use.  “Siteminis“  can do just that.

Siteminis, a developer of internet-based mobile commerce software solutions, has spent more than three years of research, development, and testing with major retailers and finally launched their patented Mobile Web Solution™, one of the first mobile platforms that allows companies to easily deploy one site instead of multiple sites for each type of phone.

The Siteminis mobile web solution allows a complete and consistent shopping experience on mobile, regardless of the type of cell phone or carrier their customers use. Take a look at how your site might look on various mobile phones:

Siteminis’ mobile-optimized web sites offer an interesting solution for major retailers, entertainment and sporting events. Also, travel providers who are looking to make sure that their mobile marketing strategies are managed profitably with their mobile commerce strategies can also benefit from using Siteminis. The Siteminis platform offers customers who wish to purchase merchandise, tickets or make reservations a convenient shopping experience, allowing them functionality not previously available to them before and the ability to view a consistent mobile Website regardless of their wireless phone carrier or type of web enabled or smart phone operating system.

Before Siteminis developed this distinctive mobile-optimized solution to ecommerce, companies had to use a complex integration strategy to deploy multiple mobile sites, each designed and seen differently over different wireless carrier networks and phone Internet browser platforms. This resulted in a variety of brand design and functionality experiences for users of each type of mobile platform – playing havoc with companies’ efforts to present a consistent brand image to consumers across Microsoft Windows Mobile, Palm, iPhone, Nokia, Android and Blackberry platforms.

Unlike existing mobile Websites today, Siteminis Mobile Web solution simplifies a company’s mobile Web strategy by:
– Allowing IT administrators and Web designers to easily deploy and manage multiple site configurations into one site across several platforms.
– Lowering the cost – they need create only one site versus multiple sites
– Removing reconfiguration of mobile Web sites with each new phone operating system
– Recognizing every smartphone platform, as well as all Web-enabled cellphones
– Working across all wireless carriers
– Turning cell phone shoppers from browsers into buyers
– Allowing the same consistent design and brand to be viewed regardless of phone or wireless carrier.

Using Siteminis Mobile Web Solution, you can now simplify the implementation with one mobile optimized site, one URL and one mobile redirect which automatically detects the user’s browser and cell phone type and delivers an optimized mobile commerce site with a consistent design and functionality, no matter what carrier they use or what cell the site is viewed on.

By establishing a new platform directly into your existing website, Siteminis’ Mobile Redirect® detects the mobile device and instantly and invisibly redirects the browser to an adjacent, mobile-optimized website with your own URL, eliminating the need for a third-party host server.

Most mobile web sites today have been built on device-specific platforms or the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), an antiquated platform created in 1997 that has constrained user interface capabilities. WAP sites require separate activation and additional fees for data support and data access licenses. All of these barriers to access and added costs are eliminated with SiteMinis.

Many wireless carriers sold their WAP services as “open;” however, they also made sure that the first page which clients accessed was their own “wireless portal,” which they controlled very closely. While there are a small number of mobile-configured websites that can accept payment transactions, most either charge a fee to a third-party vendor, or simply add the charge to the consumers’ cell phone bills. In this process, the browser is redirected from the retailer’s website to a third-party host’s URL. With its proprietary Mobile Redirect® technology, SiteMinis eliminates the need for a third-party host. The software, which is configured into the client’s existing website, allows retailers to offer their consumers a fully functional mobile marketplace, along with the convenience of making purchases and other transactions through a secure mobile portal on their own website which can be easily maintained by the organization.

Founded in 2007, Atlanta-based Siteminis, Inc. offers one of the only mobile Web site platforms that can be deployed across every Web-enabled cell phone and all popular smartphone operating systems such as iPhone, Android, Palm, Nokia, Blackberry, and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile. Siteminis develops and integrates profitable mobile e-commerce and informational Web sites that simplify the IT deployment and brand design issues faced by companies doing business on the Internet today. The firm provides M-Commerce technology and consulting services that radically improve, simplify and increase a company’s mobile marketing and branding exposure to attract and engage mobile consumers.

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