Jeremy Liew: Cramming bigger pages onto iPhone screens

Jeremy Liew · May 7, 2008 · Short URL:

 iPhone users browse the web on their phones far more than the users of other phones. According to the NY Times, over Christmas 2007, Google got more traffic from iPhones than from any other type of phone, despite the iPhone’s small market share:

The data is striking because the iPhone, an Apple product, accounts for just 2 percent of smartphones worldwide, according to IDC, a market research firm. Phones powered by Symbian make up 63 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, while those powered by Microsoft’s Windows Mobile have 11 percent and those running the BlackBerry system have 10 percent.

Info World notes:

The key to the iPhone’s success is the fact that it provides a unified, full browser experience, said Neil MacDonald, a Gartner analyst. By comparison, Windows Mobile is a fractured platform, with separate PDA and smartphone versions, as well as a version of the browser that doesn’t support full HTML.

But at the same time we have an increase in full web browsing on the phone, web pages are getting bigger. Much bigger. The average web page tripled in size since 2003. Why? says:

Web 2.0 technologies such as Ajax certainly contribute to the increase in the number of objects per page, as well as the growth in JavaScript file size. Dynamically generated sites from content management systems are typically not as optimized as hand-tuned sites, and often carry over site-wide CSS, JavaScript, and page components to every page on a site.

As broadband becomes more widespread web designers have created more elaborate designs, assuming that a large proportion of their audience is on broadband, or ignoring dial-up users entirely.

Even iPhone users will acknowledge that visiting big web pages, especially those incorporating rich user interactions, can be a frustrating experience. Yet most pundits agree that web usage is only going to increase on mobile devices, despite the triple constraints of slower connections, slower processors and smaller form factors.

I’d be curious to hear what readers think will happen as these two trends collide.

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