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.
One such list got my attention recently. 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, of course I think LBS is a killer app but it may not be THE killer app. Another prediction also from Caroline at the WIP… “This will be the year that location based services comes into their own. The ecosystem is in place and is working together from the data providers, the carriers (CDMA anyway) who have the technical pieces they need, and solid Geospatial Platform Providers (GPP).” Indeed the penetration into the commercial application space has been signifigant, for obviousl reasons… if you aren’t location-enabling your commercial applications and solutions then you aren’t in the game (just look at the recent marketing from the likes of Sprint, and Cadillac as examples). 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 reason 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. With cool new devices availble like the sony ericsson 950i and the Nokia N95 coming soon I can only hope that they will make it onto the shelves and the sales crew will learn something about them… after all, the symbian powered devices are ideally suited for running powerful and useful LBS apps (think large screem, loads of memory, and robust OS) - you can check out more on Handango Smartphone Market’s Top Seven in ‘07 HERE