What's holding up mobile?

When I began covering the IT industry almost a decade ago, the Internet and mobile devices were then just becoming the latest buzzwords. It wasn't long after that industry players put the two together and evangelized an environment where mobile users would enjoy the same Web browsing experience they got on desktops.

When I began covering the IT industry almost a decade ago, the Internet and mobile devices were then just becoming the latest buzzwords. It wasn't long after that industry players put the two together and evangelized an environment where mobile users would enjoy the same Web browsing experience they got on desktops.

It's now 2007, and I'm still waiting--impatiently--for that to happen.

In his post this week, Malaysia-based ZDNet Asia blogger Oon Yeoh touched on the problem with the form factor that he notes is hindering the adoption of mobile Internet.

Oon is absolutely right in this aspect, but I believe the challenge also extends beyond the device.

While there are several established PDA (personal digital assistant) phone models in the market today, I still keep my handheld and phone functions separate because I don't want to have to squint my eyes each time I key in a new entry or refer to my week's schedule on the calendar.

But my main gripe about Web surfing on-the-go isn't about the screen size. Rather, it's about the experience I get when I browse online.

While some Web sites do offer a "lite" version for mobile consumers, most still don't have alternative site designs developed specifically for the mobile platform. I find it terribly frustrating to browse through sites where the font is too big for my PDA screen, and where I have to scroll to the right just to finish reading a sentence.

Site design for mobile devices has been a discussion point for several years now, as early as the turn of the millennium, but it still remains largely unaddressed today.

Why that is so, I can't say for sure. I can only assume that most businesses don't see mobile consumption as a key priority, or that there's still a lack of tools to help them provide for this capability easily and cost effectively.

Does anyone have an inkling?