Friday, May 19, 2006

In mobility wars, wireless providers believe simpler is better

AP Wire writes about the movement in the mobile industry to make "devices easier to use - fewer steps, brighter and less cluttered screens, different pricing strategies - so consumers will not only use data functions more often but also be encouraged to buy additional ones." The article looks at what the U.S. network operators are doing to make this happenand make sure their handsets attract customers and keep them loyal.

David Chamberlain at In-Stat said, "To think that they're putting this kind of effort into the interface is welcome news."

Roger Entner at Ovum thought "most carriers are trying to replicate how people use personal computers instead of coming up with a new approach." He said, "What do (customers) do best on the phone? They talk. What do they do worst? Type. Why is every user interface based on typing? Right now, the software developers take advantage of every weakness a device has and none of the strengths."

Charles Golvin at Forrester Research commented that a "recent survey indicated few cellular customers choose a phone based on its usability." He stated that "for the market to truly grow, the programs and devices are going to have to become more graceful and not just the purview of tech-junkies."

Golvin said, "Early adopters are less retarded by the user interface. As we're moving from the early adopters to the more mainstream customers, it will make a huge difference."

That's an odd quote, but it makes complete sense. Gadget geeks are not the mainstream. If they were I'm not so sure the iPod would be ruling the earth. Instead we'd have all kinds of feature-filled devices that are impossible to use without a Ph.D....