December 14, 2006

Year end TOP lists a plenty - LBS topping smartphone predictions?

I love this time of year... the year is ending and everyone and their dogs are coming out with their year in review best of and TOP picks and predictions for 2007. Once such list got my attention this morning. It was from mobile application sales channel Handango. They have their Top 7 picks for smartphone apps for 2007 and once again LBS (and GPS) are topping the picks. I don't want to be a prude but man, haven't we been hearing this for about 5 years now... LBS... the killer app! Now don't get me wrong, ofcourse I think LBS is a killer app but it may not be THE killer app. Indeed the penetration into the commercial application spce has been signifigant, for obviousl reasons... if you aren't location-enabling your commercial applications and solutions then you aren't in the game. But... to imply that "GPS-Enabled Location Based Services (LBS) Will Be Killer Applications" as Handango has is a bit of a stretch in my mind. HAndango is a consumer channel thus, their predictions are for the consumer space. Plain and simple... the consumer will not adopt GPS enabled apps in droves... not yet anyway. The obstacle is the sales channel, a problem that has plagued the mobile space for years. The consumer relies upon the sales clerk to sell him a sleek, cool device and the supporting services and these clerks simply aren't equipped to sell GPS, Geospatial, or LBS solutions (disclaimer: although the savvy user will ask for them). Here's just a small example... I recently signed up to activate 3 phones on the T-Mobile service. The clerk (a very helpful young guy) was eager to sell me the latest music and picture phone.. yadayada, until he realized I may know a think or 2 about the space... I pulled 3 smartphones out of my pocket that he'd never seen and blew him away with them (my Nokia N80, 7610, and 6680 - European edition). He proceeded to sell me a "my faves" plan and I left quite satisfied. The problem... unlocked devices are not able to take part in the plan.. the reaon being that only T-mobile provided phones come equipped with the required application software and settings... ooops... too bad the clerk wasn't aware of that! LOL - you can check out the Handango Smartphone Market's Top Seven in '07 HERE

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