Mobile Web Server on Nokia phones

May 13, 2006

Nokia Research Center has been working for about two years on making a regular webserver running on a mobile phone (mobsite) and they now have a solution:

The client binary is available for download and you can ask us to create an account for you on our gateway. Once you have installed the software and we have created the account, you will have a web server on your mobile phone that can be accessed using any regular web browser.

There are prerequisite on which phones can actually run the software.
They have ported Apache httpd to the S60/Symbian platform and a number of modules are built in, including Python. This, together with a custom gateway, make it possible to access the webserver from the internet as it were a regular server:

Providing access to a mobile phone from the Internet is not straightforward, as operators typically employ firewalls that prevent access from the Internet to phones inside that firewall. By implementing a custom gateway we could circumvent that limitation and we are now able to provide a webserver on a mobile phone with a global URL than can be accessed from any browser. In a sense, the mobile phone has now finally become a full member of the Internet.

It is more than a technical challenge as there are some concept demos included with the software, and some thoughts on the essential differences intrinsic in a mobile web server:

content

As a mobile phone contains quite a lot of personal data it is easy to semi-automatically generate a personal home page. And contrary to websites in general, a website on a mobile phone always has its “administrator” nearby and he or she can even participate in the content generation. For instance, we have created a web-application that prompts the phone owner to take a picture, which subsequently is returned as a JPG. That is, on a personal device the website can be interactive.

mobility

Further, that a website becomes mobile implies that certain properties of websites that hitherto have been mostly meaningless now need to be taken into account. As long as a website resides on a stationary server the physical location of that server lacks meaning, because it will never change. With a mobile website it does change and it is meaningful as the content that is shared may depend upon the current location and context.

paradigm shift

If every mobile phone or even every smartphone initially, is equipped with a webserver then very quickly most websites will reside on mobile phones. That is bound to have some impact not only on how mobile phones are perceived but also on how the web evolves.

For more info look at the FAQ.

When something similar from other makers?

via Mauro Cherubini.


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