Mobile Web Technologies for Handheld Devices

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The progress of communications and technology in the world has resulted in the creation of hand-held communicator devices such as mobile phones with internet connectivity. The advancement of technology has permitted the advancement of communication science to a new level (Serrano, Hernantes and Gallardo 2013, p.24). Furthermore, these advancements have transformed human communication. The remarkable advancements in mobile phone processing capability have had a huge impact on web development (Chiu ed. 2012, p.15). Initially, mobile phones could only provide limited features such as calling and text messaging. The mobile web refers to access of internet services through the browser from handheld mobile communication devices such as feature phones or smartphones (Hemel and Visser 2011, p.10). Most notably, due to the emergence of mobile web technology, mobile phones offer computing services such as the Internet connectivity via mobile devices like smartphones, which has led to substantial impact in the world.

The development of mobile web was first launched in the 1996 when Nokia Company introduced the Nokia 9000 communicator phone through the Radiolinja and Sonera networks. In addition, the Apple Newton also introduced the mobile browser which the first of its kind and was referred to as NetHopper. In 1997, the WAP technology was developed with the aim of demonstrating internet details on mobile customers (Serrano, Hernantes and Gallardo 2013, p.27). At this point, the WAP browsers could only show optimized WAP sites but their outputs were quite poor. However, the first commercial unveiling of mobile-based browser-specific services was done in 1999 when NTT DoCoMo launched i-mode, which replaced WAP. In 2000, Microsoft introduced Pocket Internet Explorer 3.0 which could offer services such as image resizing, cookies, HTML content and uniform form of JavaScript (Hemel and Visser 2011, p.11). In 2003, the Opera Mobile was initiated for WM platforms although the general experience when browsing the web was extremely poor as compared to the current browsers

Further advancements were introduced in the 2005 when Opera Mini was introduced. The innovation helped all Java-enabled mobile devices to access the web. Until now Opera Mini remains the most favourable browser among the mobile phone users (Frederick and Lal 2010, p.41). Furthermore, the ease and beauty of accessing the internet on a mobile phone catalysed the revolution of new technology experience (Serrano, Hernantes and Gallardo 2013, p.30). Precisely, it facilitated introduction of the iPhones in 2007 by Apple, which transformed the mobile web to the next level. They could offer a more advanced internet services such as HTML email hosts such as Yahoo, AOL, and Google. Other mobile web technologies that have been introduced in the recent past include the iOS platform and the Android. More importantly, advancement is being made to improve its functions (Hemel and Visser 2011, p.13).

Current Status/Recent Development

Recent development of mobile technologies have witnessed introduction of the webOS platform and the Android. The new inventions were intended to solve problems such as slow download speeds and connections (Chiu ed. 2012, p.15). In addition, some webpage elements such as drop-down menus were incompatible with mobile phone interfaces. Due to the technical challenges that prevented easier navigation, innovative user interfaces and menus have been introduced on the mobile platforms. Furthermore, the mobile companies have strengthened the computing capacity of these devices (Serrano, Hernantes and Gallardo 2013, p.35). For this reason, recent versions of mobile web technology include powerful smartphones such as HTC HD2. Furthermore, the webOS platforms also initiated advanced WebKit browsers. The android is also under constant improvement in order to meet the needs of mobile phone users.

Additionally, the demand on web access has gradually changed from office and homebound computers to handheld mobile devices. Consequently, recent developments have witnessed need for better software, which can operate efficiently on receptive platforms (Hemel and Visser 2011, p.17). In this regard, the App industry has emerged which has helped in the development of apps for different functions such as communication, business productivity, games, entertainment and education amongst others (Serrano, Hernantes and Gallardo 2013, p.40). Most of these apps are found in App Store for Apple and Google Play for other androids.

Current feature phones provide new experience of decent and interesting web browsing. For instance, most of the Samsung’s phones such as the jet are incorporated with an attractive WebKit browser (Chiu ed. 2012, p.15). Similarly, Sony Ericsson contains a better section of software on the majority of its non-smart receivers. Lately, Nokia launched the N900, which contains a more powerful browsing advancement with full backing for flash. In addition, Microsoft has attempted to improve Internet Explorer although it has only succeeded in acquiring simple Flash support (Hemel and Visser 2011, p.22).

Since, the mobile web has witnessed significant revolution in the past few periods; websites are not developed to serve the purposes in the desktop screens. In fact, they are designed to function in different screen sizes especially in the mobile devices. Moreover, the website designs in the current format are more intricate and dynamic as compared to the past versions (Serrano, Hernantes and Gallardo 2013, p.44). Importantly, they do not have limited pages or the stripped-down that they were during the initial period of mobile web development. Therefore, developers and manufacturers are determined to produce mobile phones that facilitate easier communication and access to the internet in an easy and cost-effective manner just like on the PC (Sheng and Kjeldskov 2013, p.81).

Technological limitations and future potential

Mobile web technologies have recorded various limitations, which require further advancement. Some of these include variable connectivity, touchscreen limitations, and single window. In particular, the access of Wi-Fi and internet via mobile phones has not been efficient (Neto ed. 2013, p.52). There are widespread challenges on connectivity which wastes a lot of time before a page loads. In addition, size of the touchscreen provides various challenges because it is difficult to conduct typing work because of the overcrowding of the keys (Hemel and Visser 2011, p.31). Furthermore, the limited size of these devices has made it difficult to open more than one window when surfing. In addition, people cannot use different apps or websites simultaneously because phones support single window.

In the future, mobile web will continue to become more advanced. In the next decade, some of the trends in the development of mobile app will lead to release of wearable devices, mobile-linked smart objects, m-commerce, and location and motion sensing (Neto ed. 2013, p.52). In particular, the future development will record rise in smart wearable devices such as Hololens of Microsoft and Apple Watch, which create new opportunities for accessory markets, app developers and vendors. In addition, the smartphone will turn out to be the heart of individual area network comprising wearable gadgets (Sheng and Kjeldskov 2013, p.92). Secondly, by 2020, mobile-linked smart objects will have been developed. Some of these include controllable power sockets, medical devices, domestic appliances and light bulbs, which will integrate into the internet for easier communication via the Intelligent System Services. In the next five years, location and motion sensing devices will be initiated to offer data on the geographical location of the individual especially in games, anti-theft and security sectors (Sheehan 2015, p.20). Finally, by 2020, m-commerce technologies will have been released to provide data gathering services and predictive analytics.


Chiu, D.K. ed., 2012. Mobile and Web Innovations in Systems and Service-oriented Engineering. IGI Global.

Frederick, G. and Lal, R., 2010. Beginning Smartphone Web Development: Building Javascript, CSS, HTML and Ajax-Based Applications for iPhone, Android, Palm Pre, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Nokia S60. Apress.

Hemel, Z. and Visser, E., 2011. Declaratively programming the mobile web with Mobl (Vol. 46, No. 10, pp. 695-712). ACM.

Neto, F.M.M. ed., 2013. Technology Platform Innovations and Forthcoming Trends in Ubiquitous Learning. IGI Global.

Serrano, N., Hernantes, J. and Gallardo, G., 2013. Mobile web apps. IEEE software, 30(5), pp.22-27.

Sheehan, M., 2015. Developing Mobile Web ArcGIS Applications. Packt Publishing Ltd.

Sheng, Q. and Kjeldskov, J., 2013. Current Trends in Web Engineering. 1st ed. New York: Springer.

May 10, 2023


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