Friday, 26 October 2007

Americans don’t get mobile like we do. Yeah right!

Attended a great panel session about the future of mobile messaging titled Enhanced Mobile Messaging: What’s Beyond SMS? I’m going to post separately about the services discussed but in writing it I realised the session had crystallised some feelings I had about what I’d been seeing here.

I really got the impression that feeling a bit disgruntled about being left behind in the whole SMS thing and being seen as laggards by us in Europe, the Americans are determined to be at the forefront of the next wave.

Similar sessions I’ve attend at the couple of Global Messaging Congresses have come up with some similar ideas, but none of these had the clarity of vision or left me with the impression that they were going to happen anytime soon.

Innovation just seems to ooze out of everything IT in the San Francisco Bay area. I found the whole visit quite inspiring for that reason. There is a buzz around, an assumption that the status quo is there challenged.

A key aspect of the approach is to just go out and do it, it might just work. Do it without the carriers first, get traction with real customers and if you get enough of them then it’s a no-brainer for the carriers.

While the US carriers are generally lambasted for their control-freakery and protectionist approach I think they’re in a far better position to make some of these things happen than in Europe. They have complete control over the handsets so if they want to ship a new feature they can make sure it get’s everywhere.

I think we’re in danger of being a bit complacent, viewing our US cousins and their clunky handsets with a misplaced superiority while we stroke our shiny new Nokias.

People use mobile services that help them run their lives. Shiny new handsets quickly lose their lustre.

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