As I read the latest post over at Mobile RnR, I could only smile. Rita is totally right in that a defining characteristic of the present (not future) of mobile is this idea that it doesn’t matter what device you are using, but that you have content readily at your needs. And especially with those pieces of communication which have a person live on the other end, such integration (called continuous client functionality) is definitely where mobile platforms need to be now.
That said, as much as I like that kind of independence and interpolation of events, I don’t want to be subject to someone else’s service layer. I want to be the pipe starter, and use open (and secure) standards to remain independent of platform decisions. If you will, I want to be the place and person from whose service the API starts, and utilize dynamic and smart managing of connectivity assets (wireless, prices, etc.) to keep connected to whom I choose without the frailty of the current stream of things.
For example, there is Twitter, but you must run thru their servers. You can’t have an instance of your application running on your server, using the Twitter API to talk to someone else whether they are or aren’t using the Twitter service layer piece. Twitter makes sense, but not the noise, marketing, or down-time moments. All of which I can’t control, unless I use another 3rd party app, adding another service to manage just that channel.
I saw something like this with the mobile web server project that Nokia was doing. There was this component where you could download a widget for your PC, or another person could run the mobile web server on their device, and all you would need is their name and the release of their permissions to view/engage that data for you to see/engage it. It was hard as beans to discover others who were using it, but when you did, you ended up with these pods of content, each self-managed, but also open enough that you were comfortable with Nokia “owning” aspects of that channel. It made sense, but also kept you really independent of services.
Shame it didn’t get more pub (I kind of blame me there). But the ideals that it launched into my sense of mobile, security, and stability haven’t left. Like Rita, I want to be able to access my content anywhere, with a browser the most tolerant layer I could see. But, I also want to own the pipe a bit more. I want to have again that ability to go as simple or as complex with what I expose, and then be active in connecting, instead of letting a service be that active agent for me.
That kind of independence is a bit more than most could care for. But, if we knew the weight of the stuff we passed through these service layers, people might be prompted to ask for something better.