Demand for location services has gone through the roof because Australians like practical applications, according to Maio Mackay.
While primarily using their mobiles to access news, weather and sports information, Australians were also found to be using their handset to increasingly access every type of information — from TV listings to comedy, adult entertainment, transport information and dating services.
The most popular items bought to use on mobiles this year were games and true tones; the least purchased were screensavers, logos, monotones, greeting cards, sound effects and videos.
According to Matthew Whittingham, Vodafone’s head of content and mobile Internet, the rise in content sharing and content creation and the use of more sophisticated mobile services stems from several factors. These include better handsets and operators investing in their networks, increasing their coverage and “demystifying data on the handset”. “We are getting to a tipping point”, said Whittingham. “A sea of change is going to happen in the next year.”
When AIMIA survey participants were asked about the kind of mobile content they wanted to see more of in the future, digital music and games were the most popular choices.
“Where people are heading is the idea of unlimited access, where they pay a flat fee for all services. People want more of everything rather than just specific services”, said Maio Mackay.
According to Gartner research director Nick Ingelbrecht, mobile games, mobile search, mobile TV and mobile news are all niche applications that while profitable may never reach mass adoption.
Gartner’s 2008 consumer mobile application survey found that 22.5 per cent of Australians used mobile news, sports and weather at least once a month, but outside those services, demand dropped quite a bit.
“We are looking at a segment of the user population rather than mass adoption of mobile applications and rich content”, says Ingelbrecht.