Taking Care Of That iPhone--Even If It's Fake
Over the last couple of weeks, a whole slew of companies were trying to ride the wave of iPhone hype--and it's still going.
I got an amusing e-mail pitch about a new game launched today by Cellufun, a mobile content provider that mostly offers ad-supported games for cellphones. It's latest offering: Mobile Pet myPhone, which lets people who are too frugal to pay $500-$600 on an iPhone adopt a fake, virtual one instead. So consumers with gadget envy can earn points by keeping their pet phone from getting sick, feeling neglected and avoiding visits to the virtual computer store for repair, the company said in a press release.
OK, so it's a bit over the top. But the emphasis on keeping the pet iPhone healthy reminded me of a conversation I had last week with Matt Bancroft, chief marketing officer for a company called MFormation Technologies, which helps wireless carriers like Sprint and Vodafone manage the software, security and network settings for their devices.
As mobile devices get more complicated, so does the job of making sure they run smoothly. The iPhone is expected to increase interest in so-called smartphones that let consumers do everything from browsing the Web to watching movies. That means carriers are going to have to work even harder to keep their networks operating glitch-free.
"As you look to do more on your mobile phone, there's more and more settings you have to have working to access to all data services an operator offers," Bancroft said. "That's potentially very costly to the operator."
According to data from Current Analysis, a Sterling market-research firm, 70 percent of all handsets need to be reconfigured at some point during its lifetime, which typically last 18-24 months. Another study done by Strategy Analytics, a reserach and consulting firm, shows that the average call to tech support to fix a cellphone problem lasts five minutes and costs the carrier $7. With a smartphone, that call lengthens to 45 minutes and costs $65.
Everyone wants to use their mobile phone to do more, and carriers want that, too, because it generates more revenue. But it also means more room for technical problems. In the iPhone's case, It will be interesting to see if the actual service is able to keep up with the device itself.
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Posted by: Geoff Livingston | July 17, 2007 1:52 PM
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