Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. How about Cheaper?!

So, for a while now, I have been extremely geeked up on mobile and all the possibilities that it holds.  I’ve been in several phones, and now reside inside a sleek MotoQ9C.  It runs on Windows Mobile, which is decent in usability and I have Sprint, so SprintSpeed is how I roll!  It works really well.  Even when I’m watching Sprint TV during a commute or while walking the dog, the data speeds have come so far. 

It seems like just yesterday (but actually is 2 years ago give or take) that I downloaded MobiTv, located over in Emeryville, CA, and was using a Palm Treo at the time.  I liked the idea of getting small chunks of different programing, but the data speeds were slow and the resolution spotty.  With SprintSpeed, you get some real nice transfer speeds, I think Sprint TV is the old MobiTV anyways, but the point is the data speeds are faster now.  If I’m watching the NFL Network, where there is a lot of fast moving action, it can be a bit wonky, but with a nice fixed image, such as; John Stewart or Joel McHale’s weekly tv roundup, The Soup, it can be a nice way to spend a few minutes.  Plus with CNN, I can put the phone in my pocket and listen to the news cycle through on my bluetooth while I’m walking Miles Davis.  I mean, who needs to watch the talking heads anyways?  Plus it leaves my hands free to pick up dog crap. 

Mobile remains a new frontier for advertisers because right now the consumer shoulders the entire financial burden of the medium.  The consumer pays for everything; the data, the applications, the service, and the hardware.  Once these variables find subsidization, possibly through ads, it will truly launch mobile computing and mobile communications to the next level. 

Two of the two largest barriers to advancing mobile right now with the consumer are the handsets and the data plans.  For starters, most companies have expensive data plans.  Some charge you minutes while online, some charge by the data usage, and a variety of other things.  For the most part, the data plans just aren’t low enough yet to crack the masses.  

Another big hurdle to mass adoption of mobile services and data access is the high prices of the handsets.  I mean, why are we even paying for these things?  The ones they give you for free don’t do a whole lot, other than text, and I guess that is enough for most consumers at this point.  Although I have seen smartphones, such as the Palm Centro, down at the $99 rate, most are expensive (iPhone) and cost prohibitive to the average consumer.  The price of phones and data plans are just two problems with the advancement of the mobile marketing industry, albeit two of the most basic and important.  I don’t see this lasting too long, though. 

At some point in the next couple of years I would expect to see smart phones become the new flip phone and come free with service.   And data plans should follow suit and become better, faster, and more affordable.  Sprint is already offering an all inclusive user package, which includes unlimitied text, talk time, data usage, and email for a flat $99 a month.  I use my phone for almost everything (more on this in another post) so for a savvy power user this is pretty acceptable, but for the average user this is not yet a justified use of discretionary income.  It’s certainly a step in the right direction though and I applaud Sprint’s CEO for pushing this excellently marketed campaign to market.  This should help to stimulate competition from other carriers for cheaper usage packages.  It won’t be long until that $99 access package is down to $49 and those data plans carry HD quality streaming video and audio directly to your handset wherever you are.  Better, Faster, Stronger…and Cheaper!  Now mobile is ready for the masses. 

Advertisers and Marketers!….Start your engines!