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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Mobile technology gets personal...

This month, the Kelsey Group released its “Mobile Marketing View” tracking study of mobile user behaviour, including asking what customers want to do most. Number one on the list – better Internet capabilities. Almost half of those asked, 44.7%, say a mobile phone with better Internet functionality and a cheaper internet plan are tops. According to the survey, only 26 percent of mobile phone service subscribers currently opt for an Internet access plan.

“The combination of unlimited data plans and next-generation Internet-enabled mobile devices, like Apple’s iPhone, suggests mobile Web access will grow to become ubiquitous,” said Matt Booth, a senior vice president at The Kelsey Group. And what do customers want to do with those unlimited connection times? Search for local businesses along with a custom map and turn by turn directions. Travel across the Pacific ocean to Japan, however, and you'll find they're way beyond having a cell phone point out landmarks or the nearest takeout restaurant.

Introducing the Wellness Navigator – a touch screen slider phone manufactured by Mitsubishi. It was shown off earlier this month at CEATEC 2007 in Tokyo. Among other personalized coaching features like counting calories and offering up motivational messages, the phone has a built-in bad breath meter that lets you know if you have the halitosis. You simply cup the receiver with your hand and huff – and your personal stink sensor goes into action –alerting you to pop a mint or that it’s ok to have another piece of garlic bread. The phone has a built in pulse meter and body fat analyzer which sends a weak electrical signal through your body to assess your paunch.

My New Best Friend..?
The mobile phone continues to evolve as a personal device. For many, it’s within reach at every waking moment, customized with photos and ring tones (one for each friend!) as it securely transmits our most intimate conversations into another person’s eardrum. Therefore, it's inevitable for some that mobile technology take on more human traits.

But many of these offerings with a ‘softer side’ have been slow to find a North American market. Why? Some observers believe that it’s because we draw the line on what we allow technology to do for us. Buying movie tickets with our mobile is one thing – being told to lay off the double cheese pizza is another.

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