The next big thing in mobile phones ... the telephone call

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The search for the next big thing in mobile phones is over. After billions spent developing flashy gizmos to do picture messaging and video calls, mobile phone companies have discovered that elusive "killer application".

The search for the next big thing in mobile phones is over. After billions spent developing flashy gizmos to do picture messaging and video calls, mobile phone companies have discovered that elusive "killer application".

Vodafone, after "extensive customer research and feedback from thousands of customers" has decided that the next big thing in mobile phones is ... the telephone call, pure and simple.

Although mobiles have become almost ubiquitous, many people are resisting their charms, particularly older people or those who just can't see the point.

Vodafone has now launched two phones that have no cameras, no videos, no games, no music, no inter- net and no e-mail. Instead they just make telephone calls and send simple text messages. The company believes there is a big market for simplicity seekers.

"A lot of people find that mobile phones are not necessarily intuitive things to use. The target group for these phones are people in their mid-30s upwards and possibly skewed towards women," a spokesman for Vodafone, said.

Doug Overton of WDS Group, a company that supplies customer advice services for mobile operators, has seen an increase in call volumes as frustrated customers struggle to make seemingly straightforward applications work. "About 45 per cent of calls are linked with the setting up and configuring of services, most commonly mobile e-mail."

Vodafone held focus groups where consumers were provided with prototypes and given sticky buttons to place on the models to show where they wanted the controls positioned.

A feature of the new handset is a prominent button in the top, centre of the phone that lights up when a message has been received.

The screen layouts have largely abandoned icons and replaced them with words that indicate functions and data such as the battery charge and signal strength.

Comments