Personally, I don't like the template switching approach employed by template manufacturers to date. Firstly, it relies on imperfect device detection approaches and it requires the site owner to design and support multiple templates.
I have just created a Joomla! template, based on an 1140px grid, that uses a fixed-fluid layout and media queries to ensure that all the site content is laid out in the optimal way for the device it is being veiwed from. It is all css based. No detection scripts, no 'mobile template'. 12 columns on a high-res screen down to a single column on a mobile device.
You can see it in action here http://demo.internet-inspired.com/atmedia
To really 'get it' you need to visit from a smartphone. Though, you can simulate that by simply resizing your browser window. Yes, it is all done with CSS!
*Disclaimer* This is a commercial template made by myself. I do mention it here though because I feel it is innovative, the first Joomla! template I know of that uses media queries to optimise for mobile devices. I do have an obvious interest in promoting it of course.
There's a bunch of problems I see with this approach:
Mobi web isn't just about making something look pretty on any size screen. It's also about reducing the content to the smallest possible size so that it loads quickly. The demo above, for example, is over 200kb. That's about 10x the best practise size for mobi friendly pages. Most mobile phones, at this stage, take longer to download and process webpages than PCs on broadband.
Also, browsing habits of people on mobiles is different. Mobile browsing is often about getting a summary of content fast, or just contact information, or location of business because you are late for a meeting. So just porting your existing content to a different template doesn't fix this issue.
I prefer the sniffer approach which:
-redirects to a subdomains accessing the same joomla database
- with specially written mobi friendly content
- a custom built mobi friend template
- using a fluid layout.
Here's an example http://m.unleashedtravel.com.au
. Obviously if you look at on a PC it looks bad - better on a mobile device. The client asked that if an iPhone hits the homepage www.unleashedtravel.com.au
, that it not be redirected - all other devices are redirected (hopefully) to http://m.unleashedtravel.com.au
Total size of the mobi home is 20kb