I’m on the phone

Another day, another new thing from the Post. Today is launch day for “the first mobile site from a regional paper”. Point your phone at m.birminghampost.net and you’ll find a version of the site suitably squidged for your mobile. It’ll look a bit like this:

Newer phones, iPhones and the like, are meant to use the “normal” web rather than a specially reduced mobile one, but there can be advantages even if you have one. For a start less images and adverts, which can mean quicker loading, and your first act isn’t to squint and zoom into the bit you want.

The idea is that if you’re on the move you’ll not want to read stuff in depth, so not everything from a main site makes it onto a mobile one. On a personal tip, the blogs section of the Post site doesn’t make it to the mobile site, which is understandable if you’re aiming at fast news on the move, but quite a lot of us read long articles on our mobiles these days. The fact that you can do that on the bus is one reason paper sales have gone down.

The new Post mobile site looks good on an iPhone, and on a little Samsung thing I tried it on (it did go a bit odd if you scrolled left to right). The best bits though are things that you can’t get on the regular website:

  • Personalisation — allowing you to ditch all that dull business stuff from the front page…
  • And a live football service which looks like it’s going to be text commentary — can’t test that till there’s a game on of course. And I’m waiting for a blues game, even in the name of local web reseach I’m not doing the modern equivalent of watching Walsall on Teletext.

Search is a bit ropey, as if nothing matching is found on the site you get “mobile web results” — the”mobile web” is a dark and odd place, full of ringtone suppliers and badly formatted pages. It’s not the fault of the Post site, more the concept of the mobile web as a different beast to the rest of it. If you’re searching the Post, all well and good. Someone’s got to re-jig the local cinema listings too, there’s not a picture house in Brum in the first twenty listed.

They’re also running a compo to win a laptop, you should be able to find details on the proper website.