Wireless Media Lab

Conducts some of the industry’s most extensive testing of how consumers use mobile services and applications, including browsing, media and messaging, context awareness and convergence.

September 7, 2010 20:02 knolan

There has been a great deal of speculation in the press recently that Google is in talks with major music labels about launching a cloud based rival to iTunes. Latest research from Strategy Analytics Wireless Media Lab suggests that such a service could provide a compelling solution that meets virtually all consumer needs for a mobile music service.

Our research found that consumers want to have access to all of their music while on the go, but current side-loaded solutions don’t totally meet their needs.

  • These solutions require users to manually synchronize their devices each time they buy new content. Consumers really want to be able to supplement their music collection while mobile, but they don’t expect to pay a premium for this convenience.

  • Also, they told us that streaming services such as Pandora and Slacker are appealing because they provide a convenient way for them to access music on the go, but they really want to be able to play specific songs of their choice.

However, while consumers consider the convenience of cloud based music services to be appealing, having the ability to synchronize tracks and playlists for offline consumption, as offered by Spotify Premium, is also an important feature.

If it does all of these things, and if the music catalog is suitably broad, we believe that Google Music could be the just the compelling solution to provide a shot in the arm of mobile music services.

Further insights into meeting consumer needs and providing a superior mobile music solution can be found in this recent Wireless Media Lab report

August 9, 2010 23:35 Chris Schreiner

I recently received a FLO TV personal device and was eager to compare the live TV experience on a dedicated mobile TV device to that available on mobile phones.

The FLO TV Personal Television is pretty simple to use, with one initial difficulty in locating the TV guide. I assumed that channel up/down and guide keys would be located on the outside of the device, as the volume up/down, mute, power, and battery indicator buttons were. Instead, the guide key is on the front right of the device, and at first was not noticeable as a button. This is only a minor concern that once discovered was easy to get over.

To change channels, you can flick the screen up and down. While an intuitive gesture, it only became apparent when I stumbled across the section in the device settings that informed me of that feature.

The range of live channels is impressive, with 19 channels available on my device. However, even though I was in the middle of San Diego, which is the home of FLO TV and its parent company Qualcomm, reception was very poor. The coverage map of San Diego seems to be less than what you would find for Sprint TV’s service (powered by FLO TV’s main competitor MobiTV), though currently Sprint TV has only 6 live channels.

Do consumers want to watch live TV while on the go? Our recent research suggests that live TV content is not the top priority for mobile video users. While mobile TV would be useful to catch live sporting events while away from home, most of the time mobile video consumers are looking for on-demand content and are unlikely to want to be beholden to a TV schedule while on the go.

Furthermore, the monthly subscription price of $14.99 a month (or $149 to prepay for one year and $199 to prepay for two years) is more than what we believe consumers would pay for mobile TV. Our research suggests that $5 per month is a more compelling price for US consumers.

So while the FLO TV Personal Television is easy to use, has good content, and provides a clear picture, challenges in coverage and cost, as well as improvements in live TV on smartphones will make it difficult for this personal television to break through. FLO TV does power V Cast TV from Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobile TV, and has an edge there in bringing compelling live TV experiences to consumers.

- Chris Schreiner

Related reports:
Mobile Video: Identifying Consumer Preferences and Benchmarking Services
Interest and willingness to pay for mobile services

July 12, 2010 16:07 pbrown

So another World Cup is over. 64 games broadcast around the world. And with games being played at various times throughout the working day, this meant alternative ways were required to view them. First up for me was streaming online. I watched a number of games whilst in the office, and my experience was pretty good. I can probably count on one hand the number of times the stream buffered for the opening game, while I have no complaints over the quality of viewing. I particularly liked the BBC coverage, providing short clips of important action I missed while involved on a conference call! I did manage to see the England v Slovenia game on television, so was not one of the record-breaking 800,000 concurrent streams, but having spoken to several people who were unfortunate (or fortunate) not to be able to get out of the office, the experience sounds somewhat mixed in terms of quality. For one week of the World Cup I was over in the US benchmarking a number of mobile video solutions – one of which happened to be Sprint TV on the new HTC Evo (its large 4.3” display and fold out stand make this a great device for consuming video content). I was very impressed with ESPN Mobile’s coverage of the World Cup. Aside from a few glitches (e.g. temporarily showing the commentary for Nigeria v South Korea but pictures from Argentina v Greece), it was easy to follow the game. The picture was about 7 seconds behind television coverage, but I don’t remember a single instance of buffering – and I wasn’t even in one of Sprint’s few areas of WIMAX coverage. So while congratulations go to Spain for winning the World Cup, I must also say congratulations to those who made the World Cup a successful experience viewing over multiple screens. - Paul Brown ESPN coverage on the HTC Evo ESPN coverage on the HTC Evo

March 16, 2010 15:03 pbrown

Every now and then I read something online that I want to share with other people. The BBC is one of the websites I visit most using my mobile, so I was quite excited when reading an article I noticed the option to share it via SMS. dsc07837.JPG Thinking this was a great little feature, I decided to give it a go, and clicked on the ‘SMS’ icon. Unfortunately I was disappointed at what greeted me. In order to share the article, I was taken to another webpage, where I needed to enter my friend’s number. dsc07840.JPG Suddenly, sharing this story got a little complicated. I don’t know about you, but the days of remembering people’s phone numbers are long gone for me. I wasn’t compelled enough to go and look up their number in my phone book, write it down, and return to the webpage, so I just gave up. What I would have liked was to see some kind of integration between the browser and my SMS application, where clicking on ‘SMS’ opened up a new text message with the link to the story, and then I could just send the message to my friend (or friends) who I thought would be interested. So while I have to give credit to the BBC for introducing this initiative, my engagement will be minimal unless it is integrated with other phone applications, or I can start remembering people’s phone numbers… - Paul Brown

November 20, 2009 14:11 pbrown

Strategy Analytics has found that Facebook and Google are the brands that users most want to have on their mobile phone in 2009. Personalized content and services are more desirable than media brands, with Yahoo! rated highly in the USA and UK, while MapQuest and Weather.com in the US and MSN in the UK both received strong interest from respondents. When it comes to television channels, US respondents show strong interest in FOX, Comedy Central and HBO, while BBC1 and Sky Movies are the most desired UK channels. The top five most desired brands in each country were:

US       UK
1. Google 2. Facebook 3. Yahoo! 4. MapQuest 5. Weather.com       1. Facebook 2. Google 3. MSN 4. YouTube 5. Yahoo!

WML clients can view the full report, Facebook and Google Most Desired Brands for Mobile. Paul Brown

October 20, 2009 17:10 cdodge

At CTIA in San Diego earlier this month, Strategy Analytics’ User Experience Analysts recognized mobile integration and content personalization as key themes of this years show set to enhance and drive the mobile experience. Nokia, Ericsson, Samsung, and Tarsin all demonstrated technologies associated with these themes. Nokia showcased Lifecasting with Ovi Maps and Facebook, allowing users to update their Facebook status with specific geographic locations, providing a link to the location on Ovi maps for fellow Facebook friends to see. Samsung Communities offers users a simplified process of uploading a photo to multiple social networking sites simultaneously. An Ericsson conceptual integration of the social networking aspect connecting users and allowing for sharing of content between TV, mobile devices, and computers brings new and exciting features in to the connected TV experience. Tarsin has removed the barrier to viral sharing of applications by creating the Capsa platform which allows for applications to work seamlessly across various platforms, as the content is optimized for all devices, encouraging users to share with contacts – regardless of device type. An insight report with more information on these technologies can be found here

October 5, 2009 14:10 pbrown

Adobe today announced Flash Player 10.1 software for smartphones, smartbooks, netbooks, PCs and other Internet-connected devices, allowing content created using the Adobe Flash Platform to reach users wherever they are.

As part of our research on mobile browsing we asked participants to rank 12 features that a mobile browser could provide. The top 3 features that users wanted were:

1 – Ability to play video directly in browser
2 – Ability to open multiple tabs
3 – Support for full Flash

(A mobile version of web pages ranked #10)

According to Adobe, more than 85 percent of the top 100 websites use Flash and approximately 75% of all videos on the Web use Flash, so having a full Flash player will provide smartphone owners with a mobile browsing experience much closer to that which they receive on a computer.

September 3, 2009 10:09 pbrown

Strategy Analytics Wireless Device Lab and Wireless Media Lab have just published the first set of reports from our 2009 wireless user survey. The reports look at Bluetooth usage within the car, text messaging habits and interest in threaded messaging, iPhone owner profile and behaviours and interest in location services. WDL and WML clients can access each report directly by clicking on the link below, and each report is available to purchase for non-clients. Here is a summary of each report: Bluetooth Headsets Still Reign, but Daily Usage in US Declines Strategy Analytics surveyed 625 automobile owners to examine feature usage and priorities with in-car communication. Among the choices in in-vehicle communications, Bluetooth headsets remain by far the most popular. However, owners of professionally installed car kits use their systems more often than owners of headsets or removable speakerphones. In the US, regular usage of Bluetooth headsets has dropped markedly since 2008, while usage in Western Europe has remained fairly steady. Bluetooth headset owners were most satisfied with the ease of use of their device, and least satisfied with style, while owners of professionally installed car kits were the most satisfied with their devices. WDL clients can read the full report here: Bluetooth Headsets Still Reign, but Daily Usage in US Declines Mobile Users Prefer Threaded Messaging Strategy Analytics has found that consumers in both the US and Western Europe show a preference for a threaded message layout over an unthreaded layout. Users who have already experienced a threaded messaging layout for SMS show a strong preference for keeping this format. In terms of number of messages sent, respondents in the US send twice as many SMS per week compared to Western Europe – driven by a higher penetration of unlimited messaging plans. WDL clients can read the full report here: Mobile Users Prefer Threaded Messaging Retaining and Attracting New Customers: Profiling the Apple iPhone User Strategy Analytics end user survey found that the typical iPhone owner is aged 25-44, has a household income of over $50,000 and is employed full time. iPhone owners exhibit high brand loyalty - over 80% of iPhone owners also own an iPod. iPhone owners use more features on a regular basis than non-iPhone owners, with two-thirds browsing the web and sending personal emails on a daily basis. When it comes to purchasing criteria for their next device, iPhone users demand new features from a trusted manufacturer – as well as improved battery life, the current source of greatest dissatisfaction. WDL clients can read the full report here: Retaining and Attracting New Customers: Profiling the Apple iPhone User Consumer Transport Habits Affect Mobile Location PrioritiesStrategy Analytics has found that almost half of respondents in the US and Western Europe are interested in having location aware services on their mobile phone. Interest in location services is highest amongst Smartphone owners. Routes and maps are the location awareness services users are most interested in using on a mobile phone. In Western Europe, where people place a much higher reliance on public transport, interest in transport time tables is considerably higher than the US. Younger respondents show a higher interest in news and weather as they look to the mobile device to replace traditional information services such as television and newspapers. WML clients can read the full report here: Consumer Transport Habits Affect Mobile Location Priorities

July 16, 2009 17:07 pbrown

Today I finally downloaded Midomi Ultra - the free update to Midomi. In January 2009 Strategy Analytics Wireless Media Lab published a user evaluation of music recognition services - Music Identification: Midomi Has More Options but Shazam More Intuitive Midomi Ultra has made three major changes that should improve and enhance the user experience. Firstly, all tag options (identify a song that is being played, sung or hummed, or saying or typing in an artist or song title) are now available from the same homepage. Midomi also provides the user with clear instructions as to how each tag option works. Midomi Ultra Homepage The second big improvement is the process for identifying music that is being played. Once Midomi Ultra has heard enough of the song to identify it, it will automatically stop listening, and take the user directly to the search results - eliminating 2 steps from the old process. The third big improvement is that Midomi Ultra automatically saves a history of tagged songs. The first version of Midomi required users to manually save any results, with many users accidentally deleting a song they had tagged as they did not realize they needed to save it, or by pressing the wrong button. While the original Midomi service functioned pretty well, the new and improved Midomi Ultra now offers a simpler user interface that is extremely intuitive, therefore providing an enhanced user experience.

May 20, 2009 10:05 pbrown

For those of you who don't know, I travel quite a lot for work. While in the US a few weeks back, I tried to make a purchase using my bank card. The purchase was declined at the time, and given that it was a small amount (about $10 for lunch), I thought nothing of it - after all, I had forgotten to inform my bank I was going to be in the States, and on numerous occasions I have been unable to use my card abroad for this very reason (note to self - mark in calendar to call bank before each trip). Unfortunately, the reason I couldn't make a purchase was not because I had nto informed my bank I would be overseas. I had been hit by card fraud. I was none the wiser of this until I returned home to countless letters from my bank telling me I had no money! When I checked my account online, there were 17 (yes seventeen!) transactions over the course of 12 hours that had wiped out my account. I guess the fraudsters had tried to be clever, by making purchases in a pattern that looked 'normal' i.e. not all at the same place, different amounts etc. On to South Africa, where I am now, again conducting research sessions. We have been discussing with participants, amongst other things, mobile banking. While still a relatively new service, one aspect of mobile banking has really caught my attention - SMS Text Alerts. Basically, for every transaction you make with your card, you will receive an SMS detailing this transaction. If only had this service in my time of need! Does my current bank offer this service? Not that I am aware of. Is receiving an SMS every time I use my card an inconvenience? Not at all. As long as it works, it seems a great way to combat fraud. I would have called my bank after the first transaction on my account was made and had my card cancelled immediately. Do I want this service now? Of course! I am looking to change my bank account after the poor customer service I received trying to deal with fraud - and SMS alerts is definitely one of the features I will be looking for when choosing who to bank with next.