“Understanding the Mobile Ecosystem”, a white paper written by Strategy Analytics, explains in detail the roles of the key players in the mobile industry. The paper emphasizes the rapid growth of the use of mobile phones all over the world, and especially the continuous development of technologies to provide users with data services and content. The report also examines the market opportunities for content owners, designers and developers, publishers and aggregators, hosting partners, and delivery agents. I will briefly comment on two topics discussed in this paper: the mobile phone as the most widely-used electronic device and the distinct uses of cell phones world-wide.
The numbers shown in the report are not surprising: there are approximately 3.5 times as many mobile devices in use as there are PCs. Mobile phones are cheaper than computers, even though used computers may be cheaper than high tech brand new mobile devices. Nowadays, mobile phones encompass several functions that only online computers were able to offer in the past. They are being used as aggregators, and they are making us put many other tech gadgets aside. Cell phones are not only used for voice communication; they are mp3 players, video cameras, televisions, radios, GPSs, and, of course additional Internet navigation portals. One of the charts presented in the report shows that 800-900 million phones equipped with cameras and/or music are expected to be sold in North America, Western Europe, and the Asia Pacific by the end of 2010.
Another interesting topic in the paper is the diversified uses of cell phones in distinct parts of the world. The report mentions that Japan and Korea are globally known for use of data services. In these countries users spend twice as much per month on data than users in Western Europe and North America. In Brazil, for example, the data service opportunities are still pretty small. The 3G technology has already arrived, but the price of smart phones and other technological devices are still very high. The iPhone was released in Brazil last year at seven times more its price in the US for prepaid plans. In my opinion, the level of technology penetration in a country is a decisive factor for the success of data services business. Another barrier for the expansion of data services is piracy and lack of control of illegal downloads.
1. How does an international channel such as CNN produce mobile content having to take into account regional differences of data service use, and many other variables such as diverse types of content consumption, device storage capacity, platforms, sizes of screen, etc?
2. One of the advertising delivery options presented in the report is “display space on websites accessed by mobile users (p.11).”Smart phones users, for instance the iPhone users can zoom in and zoom out parts of the navigation page to facilitate their reading. However, having this option, will they not skip the ads in those pages? And in the case of users with devices that don’t have this option, will the ads placed on websites not be too small?