ZDNet, the online tech news, reviews and software download site, also hosts a network of around 45 blogs including several well known and popular ones like Mary Jo Foley’s All about Microsoft and Adrian Kingsley-Hughes’s Hardware 2.0. There’s a list and links to all 45 on the Blogs tab of the ZdNet Homepage. I knew that at least one ZDNet Blog, Matthew Miller’s The Mobile Gadgeteer, had a mobile edition and it turns out that all of them do.
There’s a mobile front end at m.zdnet.com which lists and links to the most recent posts across all 45 blogs. When you go to www.zdnet.com with a mobile browser you are redirected to m.zdnet.com. This happens even if you’re using a full web browser like Opera or Nokia WebKit. Of all mobile browsers, only the iPhone escapes this forced redirection. There doesn’t seem to be any way to tell ZdNet that you want the full version on your mobile. The problem is that only part of ZdNet.com is mobilized and these full-web mobile browsers could easily display the parts that aren’t. All that’s needed is a link, something like pc.zdnet.com that bypasses browser detection to go directly to the full ZdNet site.
The mobile editions of each blog are built on Alex King’s WordPress Mobile Edition, the same WordPress plugin that I used as the basis for the mobile edition of this blog. Interestingly, ZDNet seems to be using the plugin “straight out of the box” without any customization. There’s nothing wrong with that, the default layout is dead simple and works well, but I’m surprised the ZDNet didn’t dress it up a little with CSS.
The biggest issue I have with the vanilla WordPress Mobile Edition is that it doesn’t split up long pages or resize images. The ZDNet bloggers tend to keep their posts to a reasonable length and not use too many images, but users of phones with Openwave and Motorola browsers are likely to see some out of memory errors. Again there is no way to force the full version of the individual blogs if you are using a full-web mobile browser.
It’s great to see another big web publisher and blog network like ZDNet getting on the mobile bandwagon. Actually I think all the big time blog networks have mobilized their content. Weblogs, Inc (Engadget, TUAW, Autoblog) has been doing this for a couple of years as have Creative-Weblogging (The Mobile Techology Blog, CIO) and Gawker Networks (Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Valleyway, Wonkette and Defamer). Welcome to the mobile web ZdNet, but please give us the option to use your full site on our phones if we want to.
Mobile Link: m.zdnet.com
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