Device wars: Phone Mobility vs Device Mobility
Admittedly, I’ve never been a fan of the use of infographics for the sake of them – if theyÂ distillÂ complex information down, then great, but to use them just to get attention and show off some bright colours – that’s a no-no in my book!
That said, this beauty tells an amazing story of the rise of the ipad, something which I covered briefly at the Insights Eleven event a couple of weeks ago:
What makes for such interesting reading is not the infographic in itself, but the story of phenomenal adoption of the format that sits behind it. Doing some digging for Insight Eleven 2 weeks ago, I discovered that by the end of 2011, Gartner predicts that there will be 55million mobile devices around and that by 2014 there will be around 208million devices, not including smart phones (of which Apple shifted 40 million in 2010). Now, these Gartner predictions are clearly larger than the Oppenheimer ones, but the growth rate is still a staggering 60-odd %.
Is the future mobile web device a phone?
And it got me thinking. With mobile devices coming in all shapes and sizes from the Dell Streak up to iPad and beyond and with suchÂ phenomenalÂ growth in the format, has the “mobile device” category seized the mobile web initiative from mobile phones? Is it unreasonable to expect that flash issues aside, the size of mobile phones will always limit their ability to deliver the kind of web experience the public wants on the move?
Will our thirst for an always-on, rich media web experience, wherever we may be, drive the use of mobile device internet rather than a mobile-phone based one? Or, do we in fact NEED the full web experience when we are on the move? Let’s not forgetÂ Project Origami…
A change of approach is needed
One angle that may ultimately lead to a resolution is the nature of the ways that brands provide a mobile experience versus a mobile phone web one.
In-built technology like camera’s, AR, gps, compasses, as-they-happen-notifications and gestures all present different ways in which a brand can interact with the user on the move – yet the focus (at the moment at least), seems to be “how can we make a mobile version of our site”.
There needs to be a fundamental rethink of the way in which brands and their agencies think about what mobility means to consumers and the environments in which they live.Â High Streets feature a plethora of distractions, from friends chatting, traffic, pavement ads, shop frontage…and foreign students stood with big bits of wood telling you of a golf sale just around the corner…how would your mobile-optimised site really get you attention in this environment?
Evolution not revolution from desktop to phone
So mobile phones may very well not lose out to larger mobile devices, but the point is that we seem to be looking at two extremes of the spectrum – desktop web experience and stripped-out mobile experience, without thinking about how we can bring elements of both into the mobile experience – and it seems that mobile tablets have got the lead.