T-Mobile Smartphone Research

tmobile.gifYesterday, I went to a T-Mobile blogger/press event covering their latest research on how smartphones are changing the way we live, think and feel. The research was performed by The Future Laboratory and surveyed more than 1000 Britons aged 18-65 in major cities during November 2009.

Here are some statistics from the research. Some of the numbers surprised me for being so high…

  • 19% seek travel information while on the go.
  • Nearly 1 in 10 (7%) currently use augmented reality applications (superimposing of graphics and text onto surrounding environment).
  • Of those that have used augmented reality applications, 17% have used it in an unfamiliar place.
  • 35% of people are optimistic that it will no longer be necessary to learn languages because translation and pronunciation will become available on mobile phones.
  • 57% of people use GPS on their mobile phone.
  • 40% of people using GPS/mapping believe they will never get lost and 19% feel safer.
  • 43% believe being lost will become a thing of the past.
  • 53% of women and 47% of men feel confident that all the information they want is readily available through their mobile phone.
  • 38% of people believe that money and credit cards will become obsolete as mobile phones are increasingly used to make transactions.
  • Due to social networks going mobile, 28% of people now believe loneliness will soon become a thing of the past.
  • 20% of people would like their phone to be able to share physical sensations such as sending and receiving virtual kisses.
  • Accessing local news and tweets via mobile has made 14% of people feel closer to and more involved with their local community.
  • 49% of men feel a sense of superiority at having information at their fingertips before anyone else.

The T-Mobile report and yesterday’s round-table discussion centred on the drivers and consequences of these statistics. Here are few topics I found of interest…

  • I asked what payment methods people thought might be used to to make ‘money and credit cards obsolete’. Naturally, NFC was mentioned and there was much discussion on some of the consumer barriers to adoption. As mentioned in a previous post, there’s currently an impasse between phone OEMs and network operators. Don’t expect this to be resolved any time soon.
  • It’s currently thought that the ubiquity of smartphones (particularly Android devices in the case of T-Mobile) will drive consumers to use these new services and products. It’s also thought that prepay (as opposed to on contract) will bring them to the mass-market. I previously wrote about the T-Mobile Pulse and how I thought it would make more branded alternatives from Motorola or Sony Ericsson a difficult choice. It turns out I was wrong. People much prefer to buy a brand. T-Mobile indicated that currently the majority of their Android subscribers are on-contract rather than using the Pulse prepay.
  • Another issue that came up, within the context of using augmented reality when abroad, is the cost of roaming data. It’s my belief that network operators have to make this less expensive and/or costs more transparent so that services such as augmented reality can be used when they are needed most.
  • Shopping is a large area for mobile, as demonstrated by the recent taptu metrics. It was mentioned that large UK supermarkets, particularly cheaper ones (Aldi, Asda) are interested in how to get their data mobile so that people can easily do price comparisons.
  • I also noted that someone asked how supporting one mobile platform might alienate customers who don’t have that platform. It’s a very interesting question given many companies’ rush to create iPhone apps for a small percentage of consumers.
  • Finally, I was intrigued to hear a comment that research has shown that people are doing more things on their own due to the security and social interaction provided by mobiles. Eating out alone and other such activities are becoming more commonplace because people have a mobile phone through which they can communicate.

The research paper is available on the T-Mobile UK site.