Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Something simple, small and nice on the hip

This is a quote from today from one of the panelists (from Sprint) at a educational session I went to today at the CTIA conference.

What was he talking about?

He was describing a BlackBerry and it was said as he flicked his hip towards his hand.

I was on stitches, until I realised everyone else was nodding sagely. 'Yes', the rest of the audience agreed, 'I can see the new Curve looking great on my hip'.

It's a very different mobile world over here and not just because they keep their mobile phones in belt mounted pouches. The carriers are king, everything goes through them.

People buy their phones from them. Not from intermediary like Carphone Warehose but from the network. In the UK we often choose a handset then choose the network (carrier) that offers the best deal to get that handset, complete reverse here.

The networks also control access to their customers with absolute ruthlessness. All SMS services have to be run through shortcodes, period. Virtual mobile numbers, dynamic sender not a chance, or as I was told by one of the networks tonight.

We're not even listening to business cases, it just 'aint gonna happen.

From a European perspective this is astounding, completely alien. But hey, these are very successful businesses serving the most demanding consumers in the world, right?

Time will show whether the Rest of the World model will eventually prevail. In the meantime while we talk of a global economy, culture really is everything.

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