Displaying a website on the mobile has always been tricky. The small form factor, the profusion of models and operating systems – Symbian, Android, Maemo, Bada, Java, Web OS and their ever-changing versions have developers scrambling to provide a streamlined experience for users – apart from tackling issues like click and touch interfaces. While Opera Mini is the preferred browser for mobiles, applications that repackage the web page on the fly are exploring unchartered territory.
While browsers align HTML code to display better on 2 inch – 4-inch screens, apps like Pulse and Flipboard are redefining the fundamental basis of website identity. Facebook on Flipboard is completely unlike Facebook on the PC. Newser is a pointer to how websites are aggregated on the net but Pulse changes the look and feel of websites in a way that makes it a breeze to consume on the mobile and tablet. The designers of these websites have very little to do with the way their sites look on these devices.
In essence, these applications are content repackaging gateways. They allow you to experience the most popular websites in the same unified way, without having to navigate from site to site. I think we are seeing the first mutation of how small screen form is defining a function. And another shift in power.