Iphone recantation

I had lunch with Robin Jaffray today before running training at his agency Inferno. We ended up comparing notes on mobiles. He has a brand new Storm – and works on the Blackberry Business. And muggins here has the Iphone. Its interesting how Blackberry is already picking up Iphone type design cues such as rolling down lists – dunno if they pinched it from Apple but its an indication how fast design is moving on. At last Nokia and Sony Erickson can't hold us back with plonky menus that slow everything down and applications which don't pass data to each other.

Today's discovery was Fring. A free application which assembles among others Skype, Twitter, MS, ICQ, Googlechat, Yahoochat. I could go on. What I want to know is why there isn't a comparable application on a desktop (or maybe there is and I just don't know about it). What has impressed me about the iphone in spite of the shortcomings which I mentioned last week. Is the appstore that is easy to use and brilliant. O2 used to try to persuade me to buy the electronic version of GQ for the same price as the newstand magazine – just stupid. Whereas the pricing and the range of titles is so more-ish I can see how people could fill their iphones and just delete the ones they don't need for now because for a quid you can always get them back again. And the habit of scanning for apps goodies is of course mildly addictive – though I have managed to behave myself.

The other aspect of the iphone is the integration of practical applications. I don't need to find a restaurant within 100 metres. It is nice to know the actual times of the trains (even the delayed ones) at any station I care to point at. Its nice to be able to facebook and twitter instantly. I might even get back to blogging on the move if the typepad app works well enough.  And I can also get through the day on a single charge – which is the perpetual danger when you are browsing websites, using GPS and generally caning the battery.

Its a reminder that the key to monetising the phone is to get people to use it more. Not to get them to pay for everything but to use it constantly and instinctively.Slapping £5.99 charges on this and that is a way to kill it stone dead. The Iphone is making mobile internet usage and spending the odd 50p as ubiquitous as carrying a bottle of water with you in the summer when you walk around. Good for them.

The challenge of all of this is where marketing activity fits in. A lot of this is free. A lot of this I pay for in a one off payment. So it doesn't need to be paid for by advertisers.  Content is eating marketing alive. Good for business if you make content that people like and want to pay for. Lousy for marketers who just want to messsage and for people who are paid to make and place marketing messages.



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