Just recovered from my “gosh, I thought I’ve seen it all” moment when I discovered about the Aptana Jaxer server, Jonathan Mulholland (a Twitter buddy, and read here his excellent blog) pointed me to the fact that Nokia launched the Nokia Mobile Webserver initiative. Djeez, it was one of those stupid things you read over the internet when someone said “wouldn’t it be cool if you could run a webserver on your mobile phone?” and now…. it’s reality!
That does make me think btw that you better listen to newbies, noobs and the simple-minded people that yell things like mobile webservers and running JavaScript on the server instead of the expensive reports from “certain reputed analysts”. It’s much cheaper and has a high probability of becoming true apparently.
Anyway, Nokia managed to tweak the Apache httpd server (one of world’s most popular webservers) to run on their Symbian operating system. Since it already has some kind of POSIX layer, they could port the httpd server to their mobile phone. Since they already ported Python to Symbian, they reused that effort and now you can run your Python Server Pages on your phone.
But the most interesting part is not the fact that they managed to do this, but more what tremendous opportunities this could bring us. So basically your device becomes an active participant of the internet. Nokia envisions a future where users can browse to your phone and for instance watch your pictures and leave messages. But think also about the following:

  • Stream your phone’s video feed live to the world. (Could also be used by jealous husbands and wives, and when I think about it, the porn industry could be a major driver of this feature.)
  • Extreme live blogging/twittering: I don’t think how much more live and extreme this kind of blogging can be? If you would have a temperature sensor (and I don’t see why you couldn’t), your blog could adapt on the fly to the weather circumstances 🙂
  • Dating: when you enter a room or club, some wicked Personal Area Network detects all the participants and feel free to browse the profile pages from everyone around you.

But, and yes there are some “but’s”, think about the following:

  • IPv6: if all those millions of phones start hitting the internet, I think we’ll run into troubles with the amount of available IPv4 addresses, so we need to switch to IPv6
  • Performance: when you’re John Doe that wants to show off his cats to the occasional visitor, no problem. If you are some kind of porn star or just… popular, what if hundreds of people start hitting your mobile site? Can’t imagine that your phone can handle that.
  • Security and privacy: well I don’t think I really need to explain you what kind of security and privacy nightmares this can cause?
  • Bandwidth and costs: will UMTS be enough? And how much money will these huge data transfers will cost you (in case you want to live stream your video feed 😉 )

But let’s not be so negative and let’s focus on what kind of added value this could bring to a business! You can leave a message on my phone…