2/13/2008 12:15:00 PM
No more gimmicks
Anyone who went to the Mobile World Congress this week hoping to be wowed by shiny things from the future will have been disappointed. There was a refreshing absence of the conceptual and a shift towards the practical. And the changes are happening now or within months, rather than years.
Instead of trying to chisel money out of customers with gimmicks and badly conceived technological leaps that offer a questionable benefit to consumers, presentations centred on what people actually want. T-Mobile has spent big on fine-tuning the experience of using the internet on phones, accepting that it is not the same as on a PC. It may sound obvious, but it is amazing how many people still haven’t accepted this reality.
There is also a collective admission from UK companies that there is no turning back from the expectations of ‘free’ in the market. Nokia and LG are about to introduce free unlimited music downloads on their handsets. And Sony Ericsson will have some high-quality headphones bundled with its top-end music devices. Everyone was trying to show they were different by focusing on the experience of their handset or network.
One of the most important areas where difference will be counted is retail. With so great an onus on services, everyone talked about the role of retail to demonstrate TV, navigation, internet and music services. But demonstrating services in retail is not free, and someone will have to pay for it.