PhoneNews.com is an up and coming mobile news blog. I met founder Chris Price at Saturday’s MobileCampSF and he mentioned that PhoneNews was bigger traffic-wise than MobileCrunch, something Alexa confirms.
The site focuses on handsets with timely coverage of the latest device announcements, releases, carrier placements, firmware upgrades and price plans with an emphasis on the US market.
PhoneNews also features the PhoneEncyclopedia, a Wiki with a page for each phone where you can find specifications, manuals, firmware files, codes, tips and tricks for that model. It doesn’t have all those for every phone but it’s a Wiki which means that you can fill in the blanks for the phones you know. That’s the great thing about Wikis, they become community repositories for the collected wisdom of the knowledgeable users who contribute to them. Anyone can register and contribute to the Wiki with PhoneNews staff insuring that the content is on topic and accurate.
There’s also a PhoneNews Forum where users discuss phones and carriers. The forum is starting to get some posting activity which is the key to a successful and useful forum.
As befitting a site devoted to mobile, PhoneNews has a mobile web edition. It’s at the main URL, PhoneNews.com, with browser detection automatically delivering the mobile ediiton to recognized handsets. There doesn’t appear to be a direct link to the mobile edition but the detection worked with all my handsets and most of the random mobile User Agents I tried.
What you get with the mobile edition of PhoneNews is the full content of the the main News section, the forums and Chris Price’s personal blog. The Phone Encyclopedia has not been mobilized, unfortunately.
The mobile versions of the News and Blog sections are built on WordPress using the WP-PDA plugin. This plugin, as the name suggests, produces a page optimized for phones with larger screens and memory capability. It works well with Windows Mobile, Palm, Opera Mini and S60 and even with feature phones using modern mobile browsers like Obigo and Netfront. But with around 40KB of text and images the PhoneNews home page may give “out of memory” errors on lesser browsers.
The forum runs on Invision Power Board with a new version of the WiForums mobile add-on. WiForums creates a smaller page of around 20KB which should be OK even on low spec phones. If your phone is choking on the main PhoneNews page, you can go directly to the forums by entering phonenews.com/m/forums. And if you are using a better browser WiForums is configurable using the Settings page where you increase the number of threads and posts per page and turn off pagination to make the most of your browser’s capabilities.
Mobile Link: phonenews.com
Ratings: Content: Usability: