SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

There is no future in mobile …

Posted by Admin on November 19, 2008

… unless we make some changes.

That’s the view from Helen Keegan of Beep Marketing. It was also the basis of the presentation she gave to the Future of Mobile conference (which was quite brave!) and she blogged about it here.

I’m going to shamelessy paraphrase from Helen’s post because I think she’s got it pretty much spot on. The basis of her argument was that there are 6 main reasons why the industry will struggle and these are the things that we have to change.

1. We carry on focusing on technology rather than people

– It’s a very good point. Most people on the street don’t care about the technology, they just it to do whatever it is it says it will. Too many people in the industry get too hung up about how cool the technology is and forget that it can only be there to make life better and easier for people.

2. We continue to have silly mobile tariffs

– Helen talks about an old internet tariff that was simply a penny a minute. People can relate to that and manage their usage accordingly. Nowadays too many people are scared of using mobile data as they are frightened of billshock. And operators talking not delivering ‘Unlimited’ doesn’t help at all.

3. We create applications and services for people like us

– What many people forget is that for the vast majority of mobile phone users, the device is primarily about voice and text. That’s what they want and that’s what they use. So if you want to introduce sexy new apps you have to consider how and why that audience will use it before it can ever be mainstream.

4. We continue to nurture the culture gap

– Helen’s talking about the gap between web developers and mobile developers. If those groups can get on together then the mobile may be seen by the man on the street as a true extension of the fixed internet.

5. We remain Western-Centric

– This point is very similar to the one Doug Richards of Trutap made at the FoM conference. He talked about ‘the emerging middle class of the emerging markets’. Billions of people are just switiching on mobile phones for the first time and it is they who will drive new services, applications and markets.

6. We forget that the mobile phone is a communication device

– The phone is personal and each user will choose how they want to use it, but for nearly all of them it will be to communicate with people – not be talked at.

Helen finishes her post by saying:

“So please, don’t abuse my mobile life by clogging it up with stuff that doesn’t work, stuff that is memory hungry, stuff I don’t need or want. Think about the real people who are using real phones in real life and make their mobile life better. And maybe then, just then, there’ll be a future of mobile.”

You can also catch her interview with Jemima Kiss of The Guardian here.


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