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OpenTable Offers Al Fresco Access

If any Web site ought to work on an Internet-enabled mobile phone, it should be one built specifically to get you out of your home and office and on your way to a nice restaurant.

But until yesterday, OpenTable only offered a version for full-size browsing, meaning anybody without an iPhone was pretty much out of luck if they wanted to book a reservation on the go. The San Francisco-based firm remedied that oversight, announcing a new mobile-phone edition available at mobile.opentable.com (which I hope will soon be reachable at the shorter address m.opentable.com).

This site works a little differently from other mobile-phone editions of popular Web sites: It doesn't require you to log into your account. You only need to provide your name, phone number and e-mail address (the site remembers them afterwards), and as long as that data matches the info in your OpenTable account, you'll see the reservation show up when you log into the full site.

A short tech-support page offers answers to some common questions about the new mobile site, but not this one: Why did the company wait until the middle of 2008 to add such a seemingly obvious feature?

Scott Jampol, OpenTable's senior director of consumer marketing, wrote in an e-mail that it had been developing the mobile site "over the last year or so," in response to user requests and because cell phones had gotten better. He wrote that the firm had held off earlier after an unsatisfactory experience developing a mobile application back in 2000 after it had seen other companies fail to get much from mobile-Web applications.

With OpenTable's new phone-friendly site, I can't think of too many other sites that I'm waiting to see migrate to the mobile Web. What about you? What sites would you use on your phone if only you could?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  July 1, 2008; 9:45 AM ET
Categories:  The Web  
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Comments

WIKIPEDIA! Think about it -- you can Google anything, but most of the results aren't phone-friendly. When you need to know something obscure on the go, you're currently screwed. Wikipedia is illegible on non-iPhone mobiles.

Posted by: cbr | July 2, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Wikipedia does offer a mobile-phone edition, but you can't get there from its home page; instead, go to en.wap.wikipedia.org, an extremely stripped-down version of the site. Or you can get a more detailed, ad-supported mobile version at wapedia.mobi--and, of course, there are other alternatives detailed in Wikipedia's own entry on the subject.

This leads to an interesting ethical dilemma: Would it be wrong for me to edit Wikipedia's home page to include a mention of the mobile edition?

- RP

Posted by: Rob Pegoraro | July 2, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

m.opentable.com is now live in addition to mobile.opentable.com. Great suggestion. More improvements to the site are underway as feedback from users has been strong.

Scott Jampol
OpenTable.com

Posted by: Scott J. | July 2, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Wow!! Thanks Rob!

Posted by: cbr | July 3, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

...and no, I don't think it'd be unethical to edit the page. Think about it as saving them some time and getting them some much-needed broadband traffic. :)

Posted by: cbr | July 3, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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