I was invited to chair one of the three days of the MAPOS event, (Mobility Applications, Platforms and Operating Systems) in London. As is often the case these days with change seeming to be happening all around us ever faster, I realised some of the things I just hadn’t been keeping up with. As you will know from previous blogs I have been a believer that as the cell phone gets smarter, or at least more capable, it becomes increasingly a candidate for being the one ubiquitous device that we will all have and use most. Why? Because the user interfaces of phones are more natural in placing people at the centre of the activities they want to use for everyday matters as opposed to data entry centric interfaces on traditional PC keyboards.
Actually, I could argue that as the PC becomes smaller, and lighter, it’s moving towards being the same device as a cell phone anyway, so no matter who makes it, and from which direction they got there, the real point is not the device, but the users and the content. It was Bob Metcalf, the inventor of Ethernet who first pointed out how the value of a network is determined by the number of users, so in the case of the mobility phone here are some statistics given out at MAPOS.

  • 95% of cell phone owners never leave home with out carrying their phone;
  • 3 billion people are always ‘connected’, twice the number of connected PCs;
  • 54% of 14-24 year olds use their cell phone of the internet;
  • 24% of Japanese cell phone traffic is voice traffic;
  • Between 1 and 6% of users ‘click through’ on cell phone adverts a higher percentage than on PCs.

Conclusions? People do more surfing on PCs to ‘kill time’ where as they do more targeted activities from a cell phone usually associated with the activity, or location, they are currently engaged in, or at.
So if we have the people building the volume, what about the tools to make it interesting? And that’s where it all got very interesting for this was a focussed event and therefore it produced some really detailed demonstrations. Now you will already know that I like micro blogging, and Jaiku, but now I started to see many more new things, but I will content myself with taking you to just one. www.widsets.com
This is a library site which as of today is offering a stunning 3,444 widgets for your cell phone!
Some are from well known places such as Google, or Flicker, but others are new, to me at least, and more importantly are not modified versions of the original PC version. And if this seems all too much and daunting then the 3,444 are all placed into different categories to help you find what you are looking for, or even as I quickly discovered to help me find what I didn’t know I could do! A good place to start is the ‘Editors Favourites’, but if overall this doesn’t open your eyes to why the statistics show so many people are now using their cell phones for the Internet I don’t know what does! But it’s not necessarily the same internet content as they use from their desktop.
To end; a funny but allegedly true story about transportation ‘widgets’, and in particular Widgets for checking train timetables and journey times something very popular in much of northern Europe, but are not popular in the UK. The answer to this is supposed to be because British users don’t think it worth looking at the train time tables because the UK trains never arrive at the times given! That just has to be the ultimate location story about the value of information changing according to where you are!