Russell Beattie has started a new website to serve as a “knowledge base for mobile phones”. He posted about it in his blog, describing why he chose the collaboration format that he did and what the goals are. I immediately signed up and added info for a bunch of the US providers I’ve tested equiptment with. I think this site is a great idea, and I even agree with the knowledge base format. One thing I would like to see is access to the KB from mobile phones. If it were possible to get to the knowledge base from a mobile phone, the KB could have info about services like SMS shortcodes, WAP services, links to other sites with more info. I think that keeping the site a knowledge base instead of a news site is a great idea, but I also think that these other features really are part of mobile computing.
The phone features and usage tips are definitely necessary. And that’s very usefull, if you’re looking to contact another user or connect to a known resource. But I think that the chances are high that if you end up at the knowledge base you won’t know about services that are available. Maybe this is just because I have a chip on my shoulder with respect to wrenching control of mobile services away from service providers, but this strikes me as an avenue where we can make some progress. One of the reasons that Russell says the site is necessary is because providers don’t have the support staff required to deal with advanced services. It’s nice to be able to address this need for this class of users, but it also means that we’re doing the work for the service providers, but they’re collecting the money. While we’re at it, I would like to make a statement. The statement should be something along the lines of:
Hey service providers, we as a community can support expert users better than you can. We can get experts the info they need to access services which make you money. Why don’t you stop trying to reach into our pockets by attempting to control mobile services, and stick to just providing bandwidth. In return we’ll support this growing class of high ARPU users which make that business model profitable.
That’s my pie in the sky ideal. Maybe it’s out of line with everyone else, but I’m sticking to it.