I've long considered the development of dedicated mobile versions of websites to be a waste of time and money - especially considering the groundbreaking Mobile Safari and roll-out of the free, cross platform scalable browser Opera Mini 4. Still, it seems the BBC believes we'll all have crappy handsets for many years to come as it's just announced the fourth mobile incarnation of its website.
Joining the 'Standard' WAP (above, left) and 'Enhanced' XHTML (middle) versions comes 'PDA' (right) which will offer fleshed out versions of the Beeb's news and sports pages, but nothing else. Yep, it seems pointless (and ugly) to me too.
Still, Matthew Postgate, Beeb Controller of Mobile, said (apparently without irony): "The refresh of our mobile browser service comes at a critical moment in the development of mobile in the UK. It is the first step to transforming bbc.co.uk on mobile into a much richer and more engaging experience. In the coming months, our mobile proposition will develop significantly, and include coverage of the summer's biggest sport events including Euro 2008, the Beijing Olympics and Wimbledon."
Now not to pooh pooh on Mr Postgate's dreams here, but personally I prefer my mobile websites to scale and zoom and well, look like this...
Still, before this begins to feel like technological bullying, I'll step calmly away and tell you it can be accessed by using your mobile to surf on over to bbc.co.uk/mobile, selecting preferences and 'PDA' version. It can also be accessed by texting 'FOOTBALL' to 81010 for a reply containing a link, while the Beeb is going to supply it at selected football grounds by using Bluetooth to send fans the link. A four-week nationwide ad campaign will also follow.