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Survey Says... Mobile Apps Hard to Setup/Use; Slowdown Says... Now's the Time to Educate

Tue Jan 20, 2009 - 10:19 PM EST - By Annie Latham

When 4,000 consumers (in the UK and US) were asked about problems related to mobile usage, 95% of them indicated they would be more likely to try new mobile services if setup was easier. Findings from the survey, commissioned by mobile device management (MDM) specialist Mformation, also indicated that "complex setup issues are also preventing 45% of people from upgrading to new, more sophisticated mobile phones. Moreover, 61% of these mobile users say phone setup is as frustrating as changing a bank account."

In a write-up by CrunchGear's Devin Coldewey, he remarked, "I can see that, however I think the iPhone and G1 are doing things right." Which pretty much means that Palm with WebOS and the Pre, has a shot at easing users' frustrations. Coldewey talked about the importance of improving the user experience and why the iPhone has become so successful because "it feels like it's doing what you want, not like it's letting you pick from 3 options."

Another the interesting thing is the Mformation survey results parallel the findings of another recently released report. According to NPD's "Mobile Phone Usage" report, 45% use their phones just for calls, and only 20% for "all-in-one multimedia," which includes a wide range of activities ranging from music listening, video viewing, Web surfing and picture-taking to text messaging, mobile gaming, adding ringtones, and Bluetooth connectivity. In a story ("Almost Half Use Cell Phones Just For Talking") by Les Luchter at Mediapost.com, it is noted that nearly half of U.S. consumers still use mobile phones solely for their original purpose--to make phone calls--with Verizon Wireless customers least likely to use their phones as "all-in-one multimedia devices.

Not only does this indicate an opportunity for Palm, but it also is a call to wireless retailers and operators to take this "slowdown" as an opportunity to educate consumers as to the capabilities of their handsets, said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for NPD, in a statement.

By the way, the NPD Mobile Phone Usage Report came from an August online survey of 4,681 pre-identified mobile phone owners ages 13 and older.

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