The freedom of mobile Internet access

For a long time now I've wanted to get myself an internet enabled mobile phone. Partly to be able to check how well the sites I build work in a couple of mobile browsers, partly to have internet access wherever I go.

I asked for recommendations some time ago, and based on the information I was given I decided to get a Nokia 6680. I've had the phone for two weeks now, and I love it. It's the best mobile phone I've ever had, no doubt about it. And using the phone to browse the web has made me appreciate web standards-based websites that are built with accessibility in mind more than ever.

The Nokia 6680 comes with a built-in web browser that actually works pretty well. I thought I would also be able to run Nokia's new Web Browser for S60, which is based on Apple's WebCore and JavaScriptCore, but unfortunately it looks like that won't be available for the 6680. However, since this phone will run Opera I quickly downloaded and installed that as my main browser. And that brings us to the incredible convenience of having mobile Internet access.

Spending some time browsing various websites with a mobile phone really makes you realise how much faster and easier it is to use sites that are built with lean, semantic, and accessible markup compared to those that use nested tables and spacer gifs for layout. And skip links are invaluable when you're using a device with a screen that is only 176 pixels wide and 208 pixels tall. In fact, it's made me consider implementing more skip links on this site, especially for jumping straight to the last comment on a post.

Some people argue that browsing the web from a mobile phone is useless, but I doubt that they've actually used a 3G phone like the Nokia 6680, equipped with a good browser. I think it's great. Much better than I thought it would be, even though I've been told by friends and colleagues that mobile web browsing is really becoming very useful.

I don't know what it's like in other countries, but with the massive marketing campaigns for 3G phones here in Sweden it's only a matter of time before website owners will realise that they need to make sure their sites are usable for people browsing with mobile phones. And that will be a good opportunity to convert to a standards-based design.

Anyway, now I'm looking for other apps for my phone. A good newsreader would be nice, as well as a multi-protocol instant messaging client. I also need to get a Bluetooth adapter for my office Mac so I can sync the 6680 to iCal. Maybe that would finally make me start using an electronic calendar instead of using my brain to keep track of everything.

Got any must-have apps for the Nokia 6680 to recommend?

Posted on November 24, 2005 in Browsers