I just saw this list of 31 new mobile news sites on MobileRead which, by the way, is an awesome site covering mobile content in all it’s forms.
AM New York
Chicago Sun Times
Crain’s Chicago Business
Crain’s New York Business
Los Angeles Times
Morning Call Online
NY Daily News
New York Times
San Francisco Chronicle
I took a look at some of these links and it turns out they all have, “Mobilized by Unified Mobility“ at the bottom of every page. Following that link I found a description of the company and it’s services. It looks like Unified Mobility has a mobile transformation service that uses site specific scripting to convert an existing web site to a mobile one. They claim that they can have the mobile edition of a typical business web site up and running in 3 to 10 days. This is obviously not garden variety transcoding, for one it’s done with the consent of the content creator. This is significant because there is a a definate and understandable backlash against Google’s mobile transcoder for expropriating and modifying content without permission. The other thing that’s different about Unified Mobility’s service is that it’s clearly customized on a site by site basis to give a professional looking and highly usable site, something that totally automated transcoders like Google and Skweezer rarely achieve on complex pages.
Also notable is that most of the Unified Mobility sites that I looked at had ads. There were little “Sponsored by … ” at the top of most pages – where “…” would be the logo of Sprint or HP or Motorola, for example. Some pages had clickable text adds embedded within an article’s text like “20% off Sprint Phones”. Surprisingly, when you clicked through you got a form asking for your email address so the advertiser can send you details of the offer. Huh, this is mobile, entering an email address is a pain on most phones – shouldn’t that be a a click to call link?
There are some gems in here like:
CNN, which has had a mobile site but years now but it’s only available if your provider has partnered with them. This new url, which has a different layout, seems to be open to anyone. Also it’s WAP2 (html) rather than wml which means it will work on html-only devices like the Sidekick/Hiptop and many PDA browsers. And if you do have wml-only phone you can access it through a transcoder like Google’s or mine (wml link). I’ll be adding links to transcoded wml versions of all these sites to the YesWap mobile portal shortly.
Wired Whose old mobile site hasn’t been up dated since December.
The New York Times – which had a horrible old mobile site where the “stories” were hardly any longer than the headlines.
San Francisco Chronicle which up to now has only a paid subscription mobile site.
One thing that is curious is that some of new Unified Mobility sites are for news providers that already have decent existing mobile sites like, USA Today and the Los Angeles Times. I can’t imagine that the old and new sites will continue to co-exist for long.