How is your mobile phone use changing? What would your next smart phone do?

June 3, 2009

in Mobility

My thoughts revisited the SmartPhone market this morning when I read in the WSJ about Sony’s new super phone “Satio”coming in about six months. It’s another followup on the impending launch of the Nokia N97 which I’ve been following since it was first announced. We can add the Palm Pre to the mix too. Then next week the launch of the Apple iPhone 3.0 and potential iPod updates too.

How all these new phones will compare? Will they cater better to my changing mobile needs and what I value? I also wonder how they will fare in different countries. My market research in the past in India would provide a very different outcome to my more US centric personal thoughts below.

In launching these products do they understand how my usage behavior has changed in the last year. While they aren’t launching these products just for me I want to know if I’d give up my iPhone for any of them? My guess is I won’t. And that is the biggest challenge any of these have. In this I’m not referring to the price, or the plan, or general availability. My first test is simply is it better for my needs. After that all the other challenges and cost elements come into play.

How my needs have changed.
1. Reading: A year ago I read very little on the iPhone. Yesterday I bought an iPhone developers book using Kindle on the iPhone. It was over $20.00 from Amazon. Why. It was available immediately. I can read it anywhere etc. And based on other books I’ve read on it… likely to meet my needs. I still can’t bend the pages but that will come. I also read many papers today on the iphone. Including the unofficial SFChronicle which provides the local sports. Probably 3 or 4 I access daily. I’ve dropped everything but the WSJ at home.

2. Internet: I have many favorite searches ready for one click perusal. I’ve found this very interesting when tracking things I want. Eg Craigslist housing for lease. Plus if I am watching TV and I happen to hit a commercial… reading and weblinks become more important. Or back to the newspapers. (BTW I am still poorly served by shared weblinks)

3. Communication: Twitter and Twitterfon in particular provide an interesting and effective way to communicate. All DM’s are received by SMS. I often check into twitter when between things or waiting for something. I would not buy a phone today that didn’t provide me with an adequate “open” messaging format like Twitterfon/twitter.

4. Bluetooth: The iPhone 3.0 has bluetooth that connects to my car stereo finally. So I’ve been enjoying that for months. That’s where my iPod function gets the most use. Outside the plane trips where I usually have some video / movies loaded.

5. Camera: I see the Sony is likely to have a 12 megapixel camera. Cool but so what. While I want a better camera what’s interesting to me is I snap many photo’s just off the screen. I often share these in one way or another. The camera is must less important to me than reading and web browsing. I need it and want a good one. It no longer inflences my overall decision. That’s also true of music.

6. Apps (for some it may be games) definitely make a difference. The number that I use everyday is actually increasing (skewed to journalism and communication – twitter / skype). I use maps more than ever. Weather updates are also always on the phone. I can’t wait for turn by turn directions! I expect soon. I actually like being asked. Can this app use your location. That means it is likely to serve me better.

7. Games: I don’t find much time for games. I’ve played and bought a few. There’s two dozen on the phone currently.  Perhaps I just haven’t found the one’s I’d like.

So what about these new phones?
Will I like them? I might if they are more tactile than the iPhone. Although touch technology continues to improve and “feel” is coming. Yet most importantly to me is it’s no longer about making calls. I carry my iPhone for completely different reasons. It’s part of a being in touch, real-time world of updates and broader connectivity.

Add to that the plan and competitive position that ATT / Apple have seem to struck as a bargain between them and it’s unlikely that these phones will find a place with ATT. They will remain too expensive to compete or appear only in very limited quantities.

Still, with past passion for Nokia not quite forgotten I’d love to put my hands on a Nokia N97 and find that I don’t miss my iPhone.

Previous post:

Next post: