You could say that I’m an early-adopter of new tech gadgets. That being said, I also continue to use older devices until I find a very good reason to upgrade to something more current.
Maybe that’s why I don’t own a mobile smartphone, because I’ve previously not had a compelling reason to retire my basic feature-phone. That is, until now.
I eagerly adopted video chat capabilities on my notebook PC. It’s a great way to stay in touch with friends and family members that live far away. I use it several times per week.
The business use case for free video services — such as Google Talk and Skype — is equally compelling. As Andrew clearly articulated in his story about video communications, we humans feel drawn to face-to-face interaction.
Anytime, Anywhere Mobile Video Chat
As an early-adopter of legacy videoconferencing for business communications, I remember back when the connection method was two ISDN BRI circuits, and the typical system user interface was not in the least bit user-friendly.
We’ve come a long way since those days. Usability has evolved considerably. Today, we can choose from the lower-quality single user solutions or the very high-quality multi-user solutions — and numerous capability options in between.
I actually like the notion of video chat on a handheld device. Following the launch of the Galaxy Nexus smartphone, I imagined using it for impromptu video chats (personal and business use). I wondered, could I easily start a multi-person chat within a Google+ Hangout on a smartphone?
Excited by that scenario, I reached out to the PR team of my service provider.
I pitched my product application proposal and asked them for a review sample. They declined my request. Perhaps I did a poor job of explaining my proposal, but they seemed puzzled — why would anyone want to read my description of handheld video chat usability?
How Meaningful Reviews Influence Consumers
FYI, U.S. mobile service providers routinely provide new phone samples to traditional trade media journalists for review. Each review is similar — it’s about the processor type, the memory capacity, the screen size and a detailed list of the other noteworthy features and functions.
In contrast, some potential new users of smartphones are like me, they crave more meaningful and relevant insight. They want to know how it will benefit them — by addressing their usage needs and wants.
Granted, some people may not desire this application information and guidance — to them a new smartphone could be an impulse purchase or acquired due to the “cool” factor.
That being said, when a customer selects an expensive product they typically use metrics — measures of benefit value — to define what’s important to them. So, if you want to convince them that yours is the best smartphone for their needs, they’ll want proof.
Crossing the User Segmentation Chasm
If you’ve read the book “Crossing the Chasm,” and you believe that there are customer segments with different expectations, then you will agree that the practice of marketing smartphones in 2012 may require a more thoughtful approach.
As smartphone ownership becomes more mainstream, software application reviews and recommendations could help stimulate new demand. So, who is the best source of information about smartphone app usage benefits? Which company comes to mind?
Perhaps none do. Then that’s an untapped opportunity.
Besides, maybe application-centricity can help to improve mobile service provider customer loyalty — as price-centric competition becomes more intense. Think about it; imagine that you could learn to extract more meaningful value from the user experience.
So, will mobile app utilization become a significant key performance indicator — and a service provider point of differentiation — in the next wave of mobile sector growth?
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