A server on a mobile phone

After the server on a USB key, there is this project at Nokia of having a server running on a mobile phone (via). The motivation here is quite technology-driven:

For quite some time it has been possible to access the Internet using mobile phones, although the role of the phone has strictly been that of a client. Considering that the modern phones have processing power and memory on par with and even exceeding that of webservers when the web was young, there really is no reason anymore why webservers could not reside on mobile phones and why people could not create and maintain their own personal mobile websites.

But things gets more interesting when they talk about the implications:

As a mobile phone contains quite a lot of personal data it is straightforward 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.

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. For instance, if you browse to a mobile website and ask the "administrator" to take a picture, the image you get depends upon the location of the website. Current search engines that update their indexes rather rarely may need modifications to be able to cope with the dynamism introduced by mobile websites.


We believe that being able to run a globally accessible personal website on your mobile phone has the potential of changing the Internet landscape. 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.

Why do I blog this? even though the motivation at first glance was very engineer-centric, there are some curious implications, especially when thinking of the internet of things/blogject mumbling.