Want greater control over mobile experience
Skype published data today from a recent Zogby survey which shows that most mobile users still perceive a gap between the purpose and controllability of their computers versus their mobile devices. The gap correlates with the finding that the vast majority of mobile users do not yet download applications to their mobile devices, says Skype.
However, the survey said that the same people expressed a strong desire to be able to choose mobile applications for themselves, and not have their carriers decide what applications they can use. The results also indicated that people will pay more for a device that will allow them to control the applications.
The study surveyed approximately 3,000 mobile users in four markets -- the U.S., U.K., Japan and Spain - between December 2008 and February 2009. Highlights of the findings include:
- 62% do not yet view their mobile device as an extension of their computer.
- Only 23% feel that they have more or the same level of control over their mobile device as they have over their computer.
- 70% have never downloaded an application to their mobile device.
- 67% want to be able to choose their mobile applications for themselves, rather than have their carriers choose for them.
Regional breakout: Spain leads way
When the results are broken out by market, regional differences emerge. In Japan, the U.S. and the U.K., respondents felt the least control over their mobile devices versus personal computers (67 percent, 78 percent, 65 percent, respectively), which correlates to few users downloading applications to their mobile devices (22% in Japan, 26% in the U.S., and 28% in the U.K.)
The results from Spain, however, paint a different picture says Skype, one that hints at what happens when mobile consumers are given more control. In that market, more than half of the respondents felt there was no difference or they had more control over their mobile devices (53%) as they have over their computers (46%). Nearly half (47%) view their mobile devices as extensions of their computers. Given these attitudes, it is perhaps not coincidental that nearly half of Spanish mobile users (48%) have downloaded applications to their devices, a much larger percentage than the other markets surveyed. And, a much larger percentage of Spain's mobile users - 50% -- are willing to pay more for a mobile device that allows them to control their applications.
The age gap: younger people less likely to view mobile devices as merely phones
The survey results also indicate that younger adults have a different view of what a mobile device is than their older counterparts. When asked if they view their mobile device as a phone to make calls on, a computer to access the Internet and download applications, or both, younger respondents were less likely to consider their mobile device to be just a phone. For example, in Japan, respondents under 30 were more likely to view mobile devices as a computer, or both (50%) than view them as merely phones (47%), while only 1 in 4 respondents in that market between the ages of 50 and 64 shared a similar view.
"These results show that work could be done to continue to blur the line between the computer and the mobile device, and that advances in new Internet-based services and mobile devices will help drive innovation. Overall, people want the ability to have control over which applications they download and this is consistent with trends in other industries," said Chad Bohnert, VP Marketing and E-Commerce at Zogby International.
"This is a clear call to action for all of us in the communications industry - carriers, device manufacturers, and software companies like Skype - to work together to deliver what the mobile consumer, especially the next generation of device and data plan buyers, obviously want and expect," said Scott Durchslag, Chief Operating Officer of Skype. "Together, we can bring a rich PC-like communications experience to mobile devices - one that combines voice, video, presence, instant messaging, and file sharing. In doing so, consumers win, and so does the industry as it fuels growth in data minutes and revenues."