Archive for June, 2006

NY Times article on Mobile LBS app

June 28, 2006

Article in the NY Times (reg. required) today about a mobile guide service launched in Japan through the collaboration of US & Japanese firms. The application combines GPS & an electronic “compass” to give users real-time location information about their surroundings (such as directions). As typical with many mobile services launched in Asia, don’t expect this type of service in the US anytime soon…

It sounds like a cool application, but we’re going to run into the old chicken-and-egg problem with these types of services: carriers are probably going to be hesitant to fast-track these services until they see evidence for large-scale user adoption, which makes it harder for LBS developers & vendors to develop services at a lower cost, which in turn makes it less likely consumers are going to adopt these services b/c of cost issues (i.e. people are cheap!), which means we’re going to have a lot of fits-and-starts in the US before GPS services gets any serious traction…

Who are “connected creators”?

June 19, 2006

A little late on posting this…but M:Metrics posted its latest monthly survey on mobile data adoption. This month’s topic: “connected creators” who are using mobile social networking-type apps.

Their press release defines these “connected creators” as users who have “uploaded photos or videos to the Web, used chat or used dating applications” on their cell phones. M:Metrics cites 6.7% of U.S. mobile subscribers as “connected creators”.

But why exclude the 35% of U.S. subscribers (and nearly 80% of U.S. college students) who text message from this list of potential mobile social networking users? As this Mercury News article points out, some of the decline in teen email use may be attributed to the growth in MySpace messaging. Messaging is an important part of any social community – and SMS will be particularly important for mobile social communities

A new Chaperone from Verizon

June 12, 2006

After the announcements from Sprint & Disney about their kid tracking services, it's not surprising to see Verizon come out with their own version. Verizon is calling their service "Chaperone" and you can check out this article to see more details, but the basics are the same as the others (i.e., subscribers pay a monthly fee to track the location of a handset). So far, it looks like the service only works with Verizon's LG Migo handset…

As I mentioned here & here, don't hold your breath for these services to kick-start LBS. Kids don't want to be tracked and as ABI analyst Ken Hyers stated, “vendors will need to set realistic expectations for their customers. In many cases, this will mean educating the public on the real-world availability and accuracy of cellular A-GPS.”