Mobile Marketing won’t work until…

I just took part in a poll on LinkedIn in which we were all asked how often we used our mobile device as a browser. The answers were generally that the screen was too small, the load was too slow, and it was entirely too difficult.  Now a portion of the respondents did say that using the Safari browser on their iphones did make it easier, but that was on the iphone only. Which leaves the other 95% of mobile users out in the cold.

Which leads us to all of the wireless carriers right now who are touting their phones access to the web as being so easy to use and how fun it is to connect to get the latest scores, the latest news etc etc.  The problem is website capability suited to mobile devices, Wifi speed compatible to mobile devices and mobile devices compatible to the web in regards to connection speed.

If we look at what has happened within the last 2 years we can see that we are moving there quickly. But right now, the general consensus is that most people do not surf the web using their mobile device simply because the expereince is a pain in the ass.

Let’s also not forget the hidden charge that most wireless carriers tack on above and beyond what you are charged to use your phone as…. a phone.

Here is a typical but more technical explanation of why most people do not use their phones as browsers:

iPhone browser is good, but still needs work. I do use it quite a bit, but it can sometimes be frustrating because its easy to miss links (maybe my phone has an offset issue?) and some sites just put too many images up. EDGE is definitely too slow to be useful for browsing so a wireless connection is a must. And Safari’s support of Javascript seems to be limited so some AJAX type sites don’t work well. The embedded applications like weather, stock-quotes and google maps work great.”

What I like though, is this comment from Greg Harris, CEO of Mobile Visions:

I am not a typical mobile user since I am in the mobile industry, so I will comment on when I use it as a consumer.On my iPhone, I use the browser 90% of the time that I use the actual phone. It has changed mobile web browsing completely, and will produce a major shift in how we view the mobile web going forward. They have set a new standard for manufacturers. I mostly use our iPhone RSS reader to catch up on my blogs and news.

I do not use the phone, the email & sms suck, and I rarely use the iPod.

A better indication would be my Blackberry. While still mostly a phone, and email device, I use the browser about 20% of the time I am using it. Many people don’t use the browsers because they do not know of useful, fast loading mobile web sites that they can access. (We’re working on that.)

There is no question that mobile web browsing is moving beyond the “emergency” stage. Admobs is serving billions of ad impressions. Social networks are appearing every day, and useful mobile web applications are being developed. 

As the bandwidth and handset capabilities improve, and the quality and availability of the content grows, there will continue to be a major shift.

So we know where it’s heading we just need the carriers and the sales people and the marketers to be straight up with the consumers and let them know that yes you can surf the web but it’s not going to be the same as on your pc. And that flip phone we just sold you for free, won’t work nearly as well as this $500 Treo or Blackberry. Even then, We are also going to charge you an additional fee to surf the web and not all of your favorite web sites will be available on your 2×2 or 3×3 screen as well. It might also take some time to load so be patient. 

Do you think the message is mixed to consumers? Are mobile devices primed for public use of the internet or are we still in the infant stages? Is it fair to tell consumers that they can surf the web to their hearts content, when it really might not be the case? Is it fair to charge for a service that really does not work well on the majority of phones? How should social networks be used on a mobile device?

Alot of questions, but the reality is we are going there whether we like it or not. The laptop will be transformed shortly to the kneetop. And the cellphone will be a complete extension of who and what we are, it will be our connection to everything that we know.

The 10 things I thought when I dropped my Treo.

I dropped my Treo the other day, cracked the screen, and someone called me immediately after.  I couldn’t hear them or see who the caller was.  At that moment a couple of things flashed through my mind:

1. Oh Shit. I’m screwed. I’m totally screwed.

2. Sweet I get to get a new phone, what should I get? The iphone is cool.

3. What if I lose all of my contacts? I’m screwed some more.

4. I really don’t feel like forking over 3 hunge even if they give me a $200 rebate, it’s all bullshit anyway.

5. What If I get the call and I can’t talk???  That’s so professional. Hello? Hello? I said hello!

6. Maybe if I just take the battery out and blow on it, It’ll be cool.

7.  If they can’t fix it, I’ll just get a free flip phone. I’ll simplify my life.

8.  What do I really need in a phone anyways, I just need to talk right?  Besides, email and web access are so overrated.

9. Blackberry’s are cool

10. I am so dreading going in the phone store. It’s like being in a freightcar of techno idiots.

Well, ultimately I did have to go in and the tech took my phone away.  I was hoping they would just give me a new one, no questions asked. He even said, “let me see if we have a replacement”. Nope, he comes back 10 minutes later and says, “Good news, our tech guy was able to fix it,  It’s not perfect but we saved you some money.”

I was pissed. I wanted a new phone. Even a new old one would have been cool, now I just have an old, new one.  It looks like it’s been gnawed on by my neighbors dog.  I admit, the emotions are raw. All of those thoughts and yet in the end, I’m still stuck with this cruddy piece o’ crap Treo.  I’m complaining because my Treo seems so “old and antiquated”. I loved it once, now it’s like a set of worn out tires. They work, but they look like hell.

What has all of that flashy marketing done to me?  What has marketing done to all of us? It’s a phone.  How do you feel or how would you feel should something happen to your phone?