Mobile Convergence And The Consumer

    March 15, 2007

According to Parks Associates, U.S. consumers have a favorable opinion of convergence in mobile devices. The marketing research and consulting firm reports that 41 percent of U.S. households own a camera phone and 21 percent own an MP3 music phone.

The company is launching a new consumer survey Mobile Entertainment: Platforms and Services to examine consumer interest in mobile service and platform convergence. They will also study future trends in usage and purchase patterns.

“The key challenge is to understand consumer perspectives in a fashion that will help handset manufacturers, portable device makers, entertainment companies, and service providers in formulating their strategies,” said Yuanzhe (Michael) Cai, director of broadband and gaming at Parks Associates. “The second edition of our Mobile Entertainment series examines emerging trends in the adoption and use of mobile and portable devices and services and consumer perspectives regarding mobile convergence.”

Parks Associates cites a number of industry events as part of the convergence trend in mobile devices. A major one being Apple’s iPhone announcement which created a massive amount of buzz in the market. Also major carriers are looking to integrate mobile platforms into their bundled offerings and provide fixed-mobile convergence applications. One example is Sprint, which is testing a new business model with Wimax-based services that will offer a bundle of services and applications on multiple platforms and allow consumers to connect a number of devices to the company’s network.

“The continuous evolution of mobile phones toward a convergence platform poses many important questions,” Cai said. “Do consumers want a multifunctional cell phone? Does the success of camera phones indicate interest in other hybrid phones? At what point will convergence impact adoption of stand-alone portable devices? These are all questions we will address in this project.”