Updated: All WordPress.com Blogs Are Now Mobile Friendly.

WPTouch WordPress Mobile Edition

Images – WordPress.com

Updated: Issues using WordPress.com with Symbian phones fixed.

Wow! Automattic, the folks behind WordPress, finally fixed something I’ve been complaining about for years.  All 4.5 million WordPress.com blogs are now mobile friendly.

Just to be clear there are two distinct products called “WordPress“.  WordPress.org, which is what WapReview.com runs on, is free open source software that anyone can download and install on a web server.   You can do anything with it including modifying the code or installing any of  thousands of add-ons to customize your blog without coding.  If you want a mobile version of your blog there are at least a half dozen plugins for that as well as others for easy video embedding, conducting polls  and much more.

WordPress.com is like Google’s Blogger, a free service that lets anyone create and run a professional looking site.  Because these blogs are hosted there have always been some limits on what you can do with them.  You can’t install plugins or themes, run your own ads or modify the code.  All of these limitations can be removed for a price, but I believe that the majority of WordPress.com users run the free version. A number of high traffic blogs like Fail Blog, Hack A Day and Stuff White People Like run on WordPress.com.

A big problem with WordPress.com up to now was that because plugins aren’t allowed there was no way to create a mobile friendly version of your blog.  That’s no longer true, staring today every WordPress.com blog has mobile support enabled by default.  WordPress is doing browser detection and displaying mobile formatted pages to mobile browsers.  There are two different mobile versions used.  Advanced phones like the iPhone, Android devices and S60 3rd edition phones get a mobile layout based on the WPtouch plugin (first image).  Update: There was a problem with S60 phones where it wasn’t possible to leave comments or switch to the full version.  The switching algorithm has been modified and S60 devices now get the WordPress Mobile Edition theme which works great on my N95. All other mobile browsers (including Opera Mini, surprisingly) get a simple layout derived from Alex King’s WordPress Mobile Edition plugin.  The mobile integration is enabled by default.  Site owners can turn it off but why would anyone want to?

This a great move by Automattic.  It means 4.5 million more mobile websites.  WordPress.com joins two other big free blogging platforms; Six Apart’s Vox and Microsoft’s Live Spaces which have had built in, enabled by default mobile browser support  for years.  That leaves only Google’s Blogger, which is the biggest hosted blogging platform of all, without mobile support of any kind.  Come on Google, I thought you believed in mobile, how about some mobile browser support for Blogger?

10 thoughts on “Updated: All WordPress.com Blogs Are Now Mobile Friendly.

  1. Since Sept. I’ve been unable to visit my favorite WordPress blog from my Nokia phone. The page loads them crashes. I got the mobile site once or twice but can’t find it now. What can I do to visit from my Nokia? Do I need an iPhone or Blackberry? Thanks.

  2. My only concern would be an ability to switch back & fourth from the mobile device. A la places like Flickr, who default to a mobile theme, but then allow you to switch and set your default preference.

  3. It all comes down to money anyway. Wapple is a pretty good plugin but like Dennis just mentioned it was developed for non commercial use only. Besides, there is something in it for WP. More traffic, more members and the upgrade fees (which may be a profit above the development capital) which surely all equate to a bigger bottom line.

  4. Rick, Thanks for your comment.

    I can think of a couple of reasons why WordPress.com isn’t using the Wapple Architect Mobile Plugin.
    1. Wapple’s licensing is for non-commercial use only. WordPress.com offers paid upgrades so it wouldn’t qualify as non-commercial.
    2. Each publisher needs to register with Wapple to obtain a key which would defeat the seamless, default mobilization of all WordPress.com blogs.

  5. Hi.

    It’s a shame that wordpress seem to be catering for just two schools – iphones and non-iphones.

    It’s also a shame that they didn’t check out the Wapple Architect Mobile Plugin, as it works for EVERY device and makes your blog look amazing on every one of them.

    You can upload a mobile logo, change the styling (which by default tries to mirror your web theme) – all allowing you to retain your brand identity instead of providing a blog for mobile users that looks like the other millions out there.

    The URL for it is http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wapple-architect/ – check it out!

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