I had a chance to try out mobify, and while quite impressive it's by no count automatic.
It would be fairly effective at simply scaling down images and limiting content by throwing out parts of the page, but after that your on your own.
For a simple layout not concerned with styling, menus, or sidebar content it may be a good shortcut.
However for anything beyond that, you would have to create many "extraction templates", and then style each of them basically from scratch. It's not particularly easier than creating new Theme, Contexts/Panels in Drupal, and with much less flexibly. External content such as ads would not be handled, though it appears you could manage other content (such as mobile ads) in the mobify tool. However that would be a manual process.
I'd expect a mobile design with modify to take +-20% compared to creating a custom mobile theme and pages in Drupal, depending on what your expectations were for final output.
If you are comfortable with Drupal themes and have a site built with Views and Context, just adding a couple of modules like Mobile Tools, Display Suite, and ImageCache are likely to get you you just as far down the path to a good Mobil site in about the same amount of time. But with the option to go a lot farther and with no additional cost. (and if your already using Display Suite, and ImageCache then your all but ready)
Using Panels based layouts, well I guess if your an expert you'll do fine, but I prefer Display Suite/Context and I think it makes for a much quicker Mobile theme development path.
I guess I must be missing something, and the mobify process is pretty impressive, but only for a limited time kids, new sites ought to be mobile ready from day one.
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