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Users want smartphones, but want help too
Posted on 12-Nov-2003 23:13. | Tags Filed under: News.

A survey conducted in the UK showed that smartphone users want to have more from their mobile phones, but are not receiving support from operators. The survey was conducted by research specialists Taylor Nelson Sofres. The survey was commisioned by Intuware, a smartphone software developer.

The research revealed that the most common areas of frustration encountered by Smartphone users are not knowing what features are available (30%), and not knowing how to download applications (29%). Intuwave believes that the survey reveals that network operators, device manufacturers and retail outlets are not doing enough to help consumers to find out how to get the best out of their phones.

The number of Smartphone devices in the market has dramatically increased and according to a recent report from Ovum, shipments of Symbian handsets will reach 100 million phones worldwide in 2007, with a predicted 22 million shipments for Microsoft Smartphone OS. The majority of Smartphone users taking part in the survey had proactively chosen their device for the enhanced functionality it offered, rather than because it was an upgrade or was provided as a standard company phone. Of these users, 50% are using their handsets for advanced messaging features such as Instant Messaging and MMS. Other uses were given as managing personal information such as contacts and calendar (45%), downloading games and information from the internet (28%) and web browsing (38%).

When asked what other functions users would like to be able to use their Smartphones for, backing up information on the device onto a PC and email came out as the two top responses with 22% and 19% respectively. Email, the number one problem for mobile network operatorsí support staff at the current time, is a good example of why users need support: there are over 12 parameters to set for the email function to work on a Sony Ericsson P800 Smartphone. Even if the user knows how to set parameters there is a likelihood they will get at least one wrong, thus resulting in non-functioning email and a frustrated user. Users need assurance that a Customer Services Representative will be able to fix problems such as this in a quick and easy way.

As Smartphones become more complex in their functionality they are slowly becoming more like mini-PCs, and users will require more support in learning how to utilise their full potential. Dean Bubley, founder and analyst, Disruptive Analysis, said, "Smartphones are approaching the power and utility levels of PCs, but differ in terms of user expectations. The PC is a "product": if it crashes, or we have a software issue, we contact paid-for helplines or corporate IT support departments. By contrast, Smartphone usage will be driven by our experience of voice mobile phones, which are part of a "service". Users will expect 'dialtone' levels of reliability and simplicity, and it will be the mobile service provider that gets the support call when things go wrong. Cellular operators therefore face the prospect of rising Smartphone support costs, unless they manage users' devices much more effectively and proactively."

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