What might have been: Graphical SL on the iPhone

We’ve all dreamed about running “full” SL on mobile devices; while there are some great text-based clients available for both Android devices and the iPhone which offer a lot of functionality, it’s fair to say that SL doesn’t always feel like SL when the graphical element is removed. Whether we will eventually see SL accessible via mobile devices and tablets on a regular basis is open to debate – although with the likes of Unity, it’s hard not to believe there will be a time when graphical access to SL via such devices will be available.

In fact, where the iPhone is concerned, it wasn’t that long ago that it looked as if graphical access to SL might not be that far away, as the video below shows.

This concept demo was developed by Comverse back in 2008. It made SL on the iPhone possible by using a server sitting between SL and the iPhone to handle all the hard number-crunching, with the results being streamed to the iPhone’s web browser, with inputs from the interface being sent back to the server for processing, prior to being sent to the SL servers. The go-between server clearly has an impact on response times, but as   Tech Digest said at the time, it wasn’t bad for a proof-of-concept at the time.

Sadly, the project never seemed to go beyond this demo phase, and there is now no mention of it on the Converse website. Still, it’s interesting to contemplate where the idea might have gone, and whether it might yet simply prove to be an idea a little ahead of its time, technology-wise.