The trouble with mobile segregation.
With the advent of smartphone computers, content providers have been drawing rather clear lines in the sand with what constitutes a ‘mobile’ experience, the current ideology being that if it runs a ‘mobile’ OS (Android, iOS, Windows Phone 7, etc) then it is a ‘mobile’ device. This has since been extended to the point where a computer is defined by running a desktop OS, usually limited to Windows proper or OSX (linux distros often get ignored outright as far as compatibility is concerned).
The problem for content creators who segregate content by device type is that the lines between devices have become blurred, and will become even more blurred when Windows 8 and Windows RT launch this october. As far as user agent pinning, Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 8 and Windows RT don’t feature varying user agents, so you can’t stop users that way. Presumably, because Windows RT’s internet explorer has a walled version of Adobe Flash, sites like Hulu will simply not register themselves as a flash enabled metro site. Still, what would happen if say Chrome for Metro retains access to Chrome desktop’s pepper API without including a special metro version user agent or Microsoft changes their mind and makes Flash available to all sites by default with Internet Explorer? Then you cannot segregate between paid hulu and free hulu on what may constitute a ‘mobile’ device.
Even if you lock down the Windows RT tablets, there is still the matter of the Windows 8 tablets using x86 processors such as the Microsoft Surface Pro. Hulu and sites like it would be completely unable to prevent access. At best, they can disallow access to full screen users, but this would inconvenience desktop mode users who prefer to browse in full screen mode. Similarly, Android as a platform seems to be expanding onto every conceivable device type. Kouziro has a decidedly not mobile 21” tablet, which while unusual and unlikely to garner competitors, fills in a niche that perhaps android may find itself officially supporting a year or two down the line.
Likewise, if regular users, who’s typical computer use involves web browsing and word processors, become satiated with ARM powered devices such as cheap netbooks or tablets, then it will put content providers in an awkward situation of alienating an entire user base in the market.