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October 23, 2008

Living the life of a mobile phone

ESPOO, FinlandMy article on the bangs and bumps of a mobile phone got a few comments and posts. AdamF, of course has the best story, though it is a friend of a friend kind:

I asked the man when did he notice these problems, and he replied, “Well… It was after I removed it from a cow”

Hm. Do we really know what folks do with their phones? We try. For example, did you see this one on work-life balance (also picked up by others, for a chuckle)? And we’ve been reporting here whatever we can get our hands on.

But, as you can see if you read on, others have been doing their own research as well…

Korea, relevant?

While the Silicon Valley Web-heads suggest that European mobile-heads (particularly Nokia) are clueless, we all know that the real trends in mobile-Internet-digital media fusion are coming from Korea and Japan. Hence, it pays to have people on the ground who know what’s up (BTW, two whiz-bang trend-spotters at Nokia are Jan Chipchase, who lives in Tokyo, and Younghee Jung, who is Korean and lived in Tokyo many years). Barring a person on the streets, the next best is a trip there to roam and learn.

Rudy, at m-Trends, writes about his recent trip to Korea and what he saw there. He notes the mobile device usage patterns that surprised him, cites some statistics, and muses about the main Web services Koreans use.

He points out something interesting – the mobile world in Korea (and Japan) is a very closed ecosystem. Will Korea be able to grow beyond its borders to dominate the (relatively more) open mobile ecosystem in the rest of the world? And, likewise, will Korea open up its home-turf to competition from the outside?

Don’t know. But more important to me, than what people do and what are the services, is why Korea such a fertile ground for innovations in this space? How can we have some of that?

Carphone Warehouse report?

Why does a British mobile phone retail chain commission a mobile phone usage study [link via Experientia]? I can think of a ton of reasons, but what I do know, it’s always a good report. In conjunction with the London School of Economics, this is the fifth such study. Many of the findings revolve around youth, heavy users of online and mobile tools. In addition to texting and online habits, the study found out that 14% of kids found themselves in an uncomfortable online situation with a stranger. Indeed, the report has a five point plan to help parents discuss with their children how to deal with things like online privacy and safety.

S60 features cull list?

On a lighter note, dotsisx asks over at Symbian-Guru for her readers’ least-used feature on their S60 phone. The long list of comments could be used as a kill list for underutilized features in S60. But some items I don’t see as need-to-kill but actually needing a remake. Some already have been fixed or killed in more recent devices (*sniff* Lifeblog R.I.P.), though.

Holy in one?

Ani, over at the S60 Blog, has an interesting article on using mobiles for religion. I do know that AJWright has been working with mobiles in ministry. Also, Nokia created a Ramadan collection of apps for mobiles.

Mobiles are tools and there is no reason why folks shouldn’t adapt them for their needs, whether it be for games, photography, or spiritualism.

Wishing for something different?

Of course, we have a few ways of using and interacting with mobile devices. Nonetheless, I wonder if we will ever break from the phone-in-hand-to-ear model, even a little (check out this thumb-finger phone) or the phone for folks with visual impairments. But I really want more.

I wonder if all these studies will give birth to some new way of communicating.

Image of Korean phones by Photocapy.