martes, 12 de junio de 2007

Mobile Phone Reality

The iPhone buzz is all over the internet, and while it will be interesting to see how this may change the mobile phone game, I think the point and context of the launch is left a bit inarticulated, lost in all the rumors, countdowns, and feature speculation.

The personal use and features side of the cell phone is really the sexier subject to study, but the real significance lies in the business side potentials of the whole market, where amazing things are already happening.

The obvious fact is that everyone in the world has a cell phone (Spain is one of a number of countries that have more cell phones than people!). However, businesses see this as a way to reach nearly 100% of the population for periods everyday of over 12 hours and through a device that also takes into context your location.

Your phone accounts for where you are in a given moment. No other device, medium, or form of distribution can make or has ever made use of this contextual application like the mobile phone. And it is the application of this new concept that is forecasted by some to be a nearly 20 billion dollar business in the next 5 years.

The combination of location and accessibility with multimedia, navigation, and communication capabilities warrants what some have called, the birth of a new medium.

Why is location so important? It opens up part of the consumer world to offers, services, and interests that can satisfied and met more efficiently. Businesses and people in general have never before been able to harness this information.

Mobile Marketing will prove to be a different type of marketing. Already, the publicity model is changing. People are used to the idea of paying for content, but now content is being delivered for free, and location based content (including advertising) is bound to actually serve the client better - more people, simply getting what they want.

The iPhone as it is right now, is a reaction to the market. Apple realizes the potential here, and will leave their traditional business model in order to enter it. The ironic genius of this move lies in the fact that the market may actually react strongly to the iPhone, and if it does, Apple will have a strong position on the inside.

Of course, there are more considerations that need to be made carefully. To name a few:

The Intangibles. First of all, this market carries with it a great deal of controversy, stemming from the potential intrusive nature of marketing, to the ramifications in knowing that your parents could actually map your location anytime, from anywhere (a service offered in Japan). Also, one must consider the fact that big businesses may just be getting bigger and the consequences of such a Big Brother.

The Tangibles. The market lacks standardization that would help propel growth (so many mobile phone models, screens, operating systems, technical capacities). However, with only 3% of cell phones being more than 3 years old (in the case of Spain), this playing field is somewhat leveling off.

There is also a lack of format standardization between SMS, MMS, text, image, video, videoblogging, and the development of WAP through off-portal sites.

And perhaps most important, the existing structure of the carrier is inhibiting any kind of growth that will weaken their position. Having to sign contracts, pay for internet access and content, and even having to unlock your cell phone are all little systems of control meant to keep you in the palm of the carriers hand...

So, Steve Jobs enters the market in a position prepared to establish some standardization and some boundaries through the mass appeal of their product development. And they will also conventiently bring the weight they carry in the content distribution area. In this sense, it seems like a means to an end...

Would I buy an iPhone? I´d surely take one for free, but I don´t think its the right combination of battery life, available memory, and everyday subtleties that justify my limited funds.

There is much more...

2 comentarios:

  1. In a few years mobile phones wouldn't be named "mobile phones". It'd be a mini personal computer (or mac) with multiple mobile functions.

    More than anything, it would be a "communicator" (I wanna call it in this way).

    People will interact with their environment through this gadget and it will be as necessary as always having a pen on hand.

    And I will talk about the iPhone, but if I buy it or not i´ll talk about only after i have in hand

  2. Congrats, this post is almost perfect. Almost... because puede escribir en español! so lazy... just kidding.

    I think the mobile phone isn't a gadget, It's more an important tool in the actual society, but is important answer when it's rining... Chileans doesn't knows how to do it...