I try to keep the WapReview Mobile Web Directory and YesWAP.com mobile portal up to date and free from dead links so every day I try to go through a different folder on the sites and check the links to make sure they still work. Yesterday I was QA’ing the News/International/Europe folder and when I clicked on The Daily Mirror’s link I was surprised to find that it opened a site called “Showbizfree Mobile” (top image) which offers free entertainment videos and wallpapers for download.
I’m not sure exactly what happened but it looks like The Daily Mirror originally used mobile web development company Mowave to create their mobile site which was hosted on Mowave’s
opnr.com domain. At some point The Daily Mirror relaunched its mobile site on it’s own domain at m.mirror.co.uk. Then Mowave “recycled” mirror.opnr.com to point to ShowbizFree. There does at least seem to be some sort of connection between The Daily Mirror and ShowbizFree. Many of the videos on ShowbizFree, all the short clips of celebrity interviews and sightings branded as MirrorTV, carry The Daily Mirror’s logo.
I’m not crazy about this sort of domain switcheroo, it’s confusing to users and doesn’t make the job of mobile web directory maintainers like me any easier. But putting that aside, Showbizfree seems to be one of the better sites for free multimedia content. There are more than 300 wallpapers, 30+ movie trailers and over 70 MirrorTV episodes on the site. The wallpapers all seem to be 240x320px in size. It would be nice if the site re-sized them to fit your phone’s screen size but that doesn’t seem to be the case. MirrorTV episodes are short, averaging 10 seconds in length, 176x144px in resolution with an average file size of about 300KB. Movie trailers are the same resolution but much longer and can be over 2MB in size, something to watch out for if you are on a metered data plan or are worried about hitting the cap on an “unlimited” plan.
What about the new Daily Mirror site? Although its been completely redesigned, it has kept some of the original’s visual appeal thanks to the use of lots of color. The middle image shows the old Mowave designed Mirror site, the bottom image is the current design. I personally prefer the older design, it has more impact and the color combinations are less garish and more readable. Content hasn’t changed much, a smattering of hard news along with lots of sports, entertainment and “lifestyle” pieces on dieting, beauty, style, health and relationships.
I do wish the the developers of both these sites had been a little more carefully about keeping page size down. The Daily Mirror’s front page has 34 links and 13 images and weighs in at 44 KB, too large to load on some low end phones. ShowbizFree is almost as bad at 34KB. This is reflected in the sites’ Ready.mobi ratings. On the five point Ready.mobi scale, The Daily Mirror earned a Three (Fair “…will possibly display poorly on a mobile phone.”) and ShowbizFree got a Two (Bad, “…will probably display very poorly on a mobile phone”). Both mobiTLD and the W3C recommend that a one-size-fits-all mobile site be under 20KB total including markup, images and stylesheets.