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Back to school for Aussie mobile users

If the idea of mobile Web content seems confusing you're not alone, and a new Web site aims to guide you down the mini-mobile superhighway.

Back to school: use your phone to get online

"You can on your mobile" is a new online service educating Aussie mobile users about the wild and wonderful world of mobile Web content.

You've got your brand new mobile phone home from the store, torn open the packaging, charged the battery, and switched it on. You've called your Mum, you've sent SMS messages to your mates, and you've taken a couple of photos of yourself with the camera in the phone; the kind of photo where you hold the camera at an angle over your head and look up at the lens, pursing your lips.

What's next? You have a strange feeling your phone should be able to do more than these basic exercises and you've heard trendy people at the water cooler boasting about this excellent Yum-Cha restaurant they found using the maps on their mobile phone. Could you also find restaurants and be trendy?

Launched by the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (AIMIA), You can on your mobile aims to inform the wider public of the various mobile Web content available for access through mobile devices. The Web site offers step-by step guides to setting up certain Web features on your phone, information about the cost of mobile data and premium SMS services, and a list of live mobile Web sites including the mobile alternative to Australian sites, such as ninemsn.

During the launch of the Web site group chairman, Chris Noone, spoke of the future of the Website, suggesting plans to develop the site further to offer instruction to consumers as to how to get the most out of their phones. Future additions to the site may include features about circuit-switched video, and the use of GPS software.

A quick scan of the list of mobile Web addresses is telling to the state of mobile data in Australia to date. A majority of the sites listed offer immediate information like the location of pubs and bars, or free-to-air TV guides; answers to the kinds of questions you might call a friend to ask. As well there are links to news and sports sites, ringtones, photos of CLEO bachelors and RALPH babes: not exactly hard-hitting stuff, and certainly not the kinds of content people seem to be willing to pay top-data-dollars for when the same and better content is available and easier to access on PCs at home and at the office.

But we certainly expect this to improve, and "You can on a mobile" is an excellent introduction for a lot of people who are new to the mobile Web, and if you catch up on your homework now then you'll be ready for when the really cool stuff lands on our mobile devices via the Web, like HD mobile TV and, no doubt, millions if not billions more ringtones.