Cyberclinic: What's next for web mobiles?

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The Independent Online

In a Cyberclinic column nine months ago, many of your e-mails poured scorn on the pathetic internet capabilities of mobile phones, and how it cost an arm and a leg to tease out a trickle of barely decipherable data. But things have changed. Some nifty mobile applications are starting to make the best of small displays, and flat-rate internet access plans from T-Mobile and 3 mean that we no longer have to resign ourselves to the prospect of an enormous bill every time we log on.

Commentators have compared these new flat-rate plans to the birth of broadband, and your e-mails certainly suggest a loosening of shackles. "T-Mobile's 'web'n'walk' might not allow high-bandwidth usage," writes John McMillan, "but it's not as if the speed of mobile connections encourages that kind of thing anyway. It's really handy."

So, what to choose? Opera Mini is a great all-purpose mobile browser, while Fring - still in beta but available to try at - brings the world of internet telephony, or VoIP, to mobiles with speedy enough connections. But it's Google that's at the forefront of net mobiles. "Its new Gmail application is brilliant," writes Sara Todd. A phone-based version of Google Maps is putting a neat worldwide map into our pockets, and Google is working with Orange to build a mobile for release next year.

Diagnosis required

Next week's question comes from Lisa Johnston: "For creative types, setting up a webstore that accepts credit cards is very expensive. What options are there for selling my wares online?" E-mail any comments or questions to: