Thursday, November 18, 2004

Mobile RSS

Russel Beattie has written an interesting post titled The Mobile Web. I must say, it is a great post.

While I was reading the post though, I was wondering why mobile devices haven't already started reading RSS feeds. Now, when I think of it, RSS feeds are ideally suited for information delivery to mobile devices.

  • RSS files are small in size. This is great for mobile devices.
  • RSS doesn't enforce any presentation related rules. Rendering software/hardware can handle RSS how they feel appropriate.
  • Like most of the rest of the Internet, RSS is open and non-proprietary. It's free. No messy licenses to be obtained by mobile companies to add this to their phones.
  • Unlike some parts of the Internet, RSS is standards based (or at least, there are widely accepted and adhered-to RFCs). This is great for mobile devices too. They wouldn't have to worry about inconsistencies in the file format.
  • RSS delivers information as it happens. This is great for mobile devices. In fact, most of the information I would require on my phone are updates - news updates, mailbox updates, weather updates, traffic updates, stuff like that.
  • RSS is gaining popularity. Most modern websites that need to syndicate content are already using the technology. They won't have to change a thing to make their content available on mobile devices if mobile devices would read RSS files.
  • RSS aggregators have matured. Developers know how users like to interact with RSS feeds. Emulating such behavior on mobile devices will not be difficult.
Frankly, on my phone, I don't even have any IP ready services enabled – no GPRS. But that's because there's no application that uses GPRS that I need. However, if my phone would deliver my RSS feeds to me, I would seriously consider enabling IP over my phone.

Now, only if mobile manufacturers would think about adding this to their phones. I could then unsubscribe myself from those messy SMS based services that crowd up my mobile inbox.


Anonymous said...

can u elaborate on the SMS based services that crowd up your mobile inbox. I mean we don’t know any free stuff like that. If you are talking about paid services forget even I asked

Rakesh Pai said...

I have signed myself up for a lot of the alerts on Yahoo! Alerts - alerts on international news, local news, weather updates and my calendar events. I have also subscribed to several job hunt services over SMS through their websites.

I don't know where you are from, but depending on your location, Yahoo might not allow you to register up your mobile device. I had that problems setting up my mobile alerts. Instead, I hacked around it by sending the alert to an e-mail address, and I entered the e-mail address of my phone. So, in my case, I asked Yahoo to send an e-mail to