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Dispatches from members of the W3C Mobile Web Initiative Team

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French study finds Teens increasingly sharing Mobile phones — 20 September 2007

A surprising result that I mentioned to some people at the "Mobile Web 2.0" event in London, and thus wanted to quickly record: According to a study conducted by a French research lab based on hundreds of user interviews, mobile phone users are increasingly sharing their phones. This was the second time this study was done; and sharing was a new phenomenon this time around.

Mobile phone sharing contradicts an "accepted wisdom" in the mobile community that mobile phones are very personal, intimate devices, and thus not shared.

Excerpts from an English translation of an article in French newspaper "Le Monde" (full translation):

  • "Real collective strategies are developing, with teens often passing their phone on to their friends to take maximum advantage of the prepaid calling plans and the discounts these offer." ... They might take advantage of the free calling hours of one of their friends.
  • "The shared use of the mobile also leads to the disappearance of its function as a private object containing intimate secrets. ... When a teen is momentarily absent, friends often take the phone to read out recently sent text messages or to view recent photos."
While pundits might explain this by the "reduced importance of privacy for the myspace generation", the real explanation might may actually be more mundane: the desire to save money. I actually observed the same behaviour with non-myspacers - operator pricing plans such as free calls to "friends and family" or very cheap calls to other subscribers at the same operator led people to share and exchange mobile phones participating in these plans.

Mobile phones do, of course, sometimes contain sensitive private information where involuntary sharing can have dramatic results - more excerpts from "Le Monde":

  • "Within couples, spying on the mobile of one’s partner is very common"
  • "The mobile phone plays a key role in many break-ups"
For more information and additional interesting results in other areas, see the translation of the press release on the study - that blog entry also contains a pointer to the full version of the study (in French).
by Philipp Hoschka in News Permalink

The WaSP looks at the iPhone — 23 August 2007

The WaSP (the Web Standards Project, the famous standard evangelism group), in the person of Aaron Gustafson, takes a look at the disruption the iPhone has created in the Web and the mobile Web.

In summary:

  • the good, the quality of safari of a mobile web browser
  • the bad, the lack of support for some standards
  • the ugly, the ermergence of iPhone-only Web sites
by Dominique Hazael-Massieux in News Permalink

W3C MWI Open Mobile Web Test Suite: Call for Contributions — 9 August 2007

This has been posted on the W3C homepage, but thought it might be worth repeating here:
2007-07-30: The Mobile Web Test Suites Working Group is launching an Open Mobile Web Test Suite built by the community for the community to describe support for technologies in mobile Web browsers available today. Mobile Web developers can submit test cases (as described in the submissions guidelines) illustrating authoring practices. Submissions will contribute to a better understanding of the current limitations of user agents, which helps pave the way to better mobile Web browsers tomorrow. Read the Call for Contributions and about the Mobile Web Initiative.
by Philipp Hoschka in News Permalink

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Contacts: Dominique Hazael-Massieux