Back in the 1980’s it was considered avant-garde to have a “car phone,” and it was a car phone since it was the size of a large brick, or required a suitcase to actually make it mobile. Flash forward to 2009, and we are on the verge of a mobile marketing extravaganza. In 2008, 140 million “smart phones” were sold, as defined by phones with Internet capability. In 2010, sales are expected to double to 280 million smart phones sold. And Nokia alone, is making 13 phones per second, selling approximately 400 million total phones each year.
The difference is mind boggling; in the last 20 years we have gone from having paperback size car phones to cellular devices with immense computing capability, including interactive media, in our purses and vest pockets.
So what does this mean for your business? We conducted an informal poll among smart phone users to gain insight into how new technologies are changing the way that people use the web, and how it may affect your business. While this is by no means exhaustive, there are some trends that are clear based on the data.
Out of our US-based survey group, it was almost evenly split between Apple’s iPhone and Research in Motion’s Blackberry, with iPhone’s locked-in service making AT&T the most used, and Verizon in second place and Sprint a respectable third. The selling points for each were based on the desire for a qwerty (full key) keyboard on RIM’s Blackberry vs. the design, web functionality and applications for the touchscreen iPhone.
The coming revolution will be in geo-sensitive search, or the combination of GPS (Global Positioning via your phone signal) and search coming together. Your customers are already coming to your site via mobile, and if you have a slow loading site, or one with too much Flash, you may be driving them away. In addition, when a user maps the location of your business on Google Maps, the reviews of your business immediately come up next to the review. It is the combination of maps, search, and reviews that are going to be important to manage.