Continuing with a great success, let me welcome here again a dear friend of mine. Please welcome Savka Andic, Research Associate at the Wireless World Forum, who is also the co-author of the mobileYouth 2006 report. Savka has agreed to share some insights from the upcoming mobileYouth 2007 report! If you missed the first part of this interview, just follow the link.
Savka, the stage is yours!
Which handsets are popular among different age groups and why?
There is a whole school of “handset anthropology” devoted to the study of how mobile handsets mark out group identity. Handsets are not only associated with different age groups but also with different lifestyles and aspirations. One recent Australian survey I came across drew the following conclusions about the identity of handset owners:
Fashion-conscious under 24s
Family-minded, middle-aged managers
Ambitious young men trying to make their mark
Career-minded young women
According to this survey, I would be an ambitious young man, given that I’m the proud owner of a Sony Ericsson Walkman handset - It’s a great handset and I would recommend it to music lovers everywhere (Sony Ericsson are not sponsoring me to say this!).
Notice that Motorola is very much seen as a youth handset, particularly in the United States. This is due largely to the success of the slim and zippy Motorola V3 RAZR handset. The handset’s status as a badge of inclusion among youth made it into an iconic youth handset. Nokia, as always, is renowned for its durability and reliability, and for this reason is favoured by more active youth with a propensity for breaking things!
Which services appeal most to different age groups and why?
Pre-teens and younger teens will favour services which allow them maximum communication with their friends. Services such as Boost Mobile’s Loopt service are popular with this age group. Boost Mobile customers can download Boost Loopt on its existing Java- and GPS-enable handsets. Once you activate the service, Boost Loopt can use GPS to locate you and others who subscribe to the service and have accepted your Boost Loopt invitation to list them as friends. When Boost Loopt is running, a map appears on screen showing your own location. Up and down hardware navigation controls on your handset cycle through your friends' locations, from nearest to farthest or from farthest to nearest. Left and right navigation buttons control the zoom view of the map.
Like some instant messaging clients, Boost Loopt lets you scribble a short status message about what you're doing; you can also broadcast messages to groups of friends (which you can define by name, using a desktop browser) or to all friends within a certain distance. Boost Loopt lets you bookmark locations and define events to which you can then invite your friends. The service expects to introduce additional community mapping features--such as the ability to tag, blog about, and annotate locations with images and videos--later on.
Older teens and young adults will favour services such as Chaos Mobile, a portal for mobile music and content based on punk and rock music, skateboarding and other extreme sports associated with the “Vans Warped” tour. On Chaos Mobile, consumers can download songs, related content such as ringtones and wallpapers and find additional music and artist information exclusive to the portal. This age group also favours MVNOs such as Amp’d Mobile, which creates and delivers exclusive mobile content to its subscribers (such as the Li’l Bush series). These kinds of services are more geared to a youth expression of individuality and desire for unique content than simply to satisfy a need for belonging.
What can you say about issues like texting and linguistic degradation?
The results are inconclusive. While some studies have shown that youth linguistic skills are adversely affected by text messaging and we hear that “txt spk” is showing up with disturbing frequency in school essays and exams, other studies have shown that the children who text most frequently are on average stronger readers and writers than the less frequent texters. So texting doesn’t have a noticeable effect on the language used by children with pre-existing stronger literary skills. What still needs further investigation is whether children with weaker literary skills are more adversely affected by texting.
Thank you Savka for this great interview :)