The Business of Mobility is Broken

Some people are born beautiful.  Others become beautiful. The rest visit cosmetic surgeons as they wage a holy war against Father Time and their own genetic limitations.  And when those people eventually choose the wrong surgeon, they’re disfigured for life, turned into freakish mutants who are a strange and distracting parody of beauty.

That’s what’s happening now with mobile phones.

As audio devices, today’s mobile device is amazing. Talk to anyone, anytime, anywhere (well, almost anytime and anywhere), for $100 a month. Hell of a value proposition. But that isn’t enough for the mobile cognoscenti: They don’t want a phone to be a phone. They want it to be a web browser on an obscenely tiny screen. The phone equivalent of collagen-bloated lips and botox-frozen startle is a hard to look at, strangely fascinating, and good for no-one.

And it’s not practical: An owl with great eyesight might really dig today’s phone browser.  But we aren’t damned owls.  In fact, most of us can barely see anything on a mobile screen.

Someday soon, we’re going to break down and want to use our phones as phones. Why not make the application bend to the user, instead of contorting the user’s phone into a browser just so we can monetize it with banner ads? Listen, don’t look. Really — the only way we’re going to see mobile computing truly become widespread and used by everyone (as opposed to just the 20-somethings that use it today) is to make the application bend to what my 67 year old dad already knows. And guess what? Tiny web browsers hiding behind weird gestures and zoom buttons aren’t it.

Besides, this way when T-Mobile mascot Zeta-Jones walks by, you can actually enjoy the view instead of squinting into your minuscule screen.

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