Voda really screws up mobile web

Saw this on the Mobile Monday London mailing list earlier. First the technical version (the original was written by Geoff Ballinger on the list).

Vodafone UK upgraded their mobile internet gateways for pay-monthly customers last night. If your site is not explicity registered with Vodafone as a ‘mobile’ site, the returned useragent is “Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:  Gecko/20060909 Firefox/″. This means it’s now impossible to detect the correct phone capabilities.

The non-technical explanation is this. If you’re running a mobile-related site, and you rely on detecting the handset type – or like quite a few sites you want to be able to automatically serve mobile-friendly sites to handsets and normal content to PC browsers, this is going to really ruin your day.

The work-around so far? Register your sites URL with Vodafone. Bango have a fix too, but that involves registering for a free account on their site.

Alternatively, wait until Vodafone reverse this rather bizarre ‘upgrade’ and put things back to normal. Apparently there was a meeting about it there this afternoon – although the result of it is yet as unknown.

Update: The Register have a story on the problem here, and go into a little bit more detail on how to get around the problem.

3 replies on “Voda really screws up mobile web”

Holy crap. Thanks Vodafone. Voda’s strategy department has been high up in the W3C Mobile Web Initiative. I don’t recall this being a recommended best practice.

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