Mohan Sadashiva

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The Importance of Mobile Content Portability

Making your mobile content truly mobile

The recent explosion in innovative and exciting mobile devices has presented a challenge to the average mobile consumer - figuring out how to move the content from their old devices to their new ones. In the past, when the mobile phone was really just a phone, mobile content was also simple - a set of names and phone numbers. When replacing their phones, consumers accepted as a consequence of the phone upgrade process that they couldn't take their contacts with them, started with an empty new phone, and either manually re-entered their numbers or asked their friends to call them so that they could save those numbers on the new phone.

But in today's mobile world, this old method is no longer practical. Early on, mobile phone users only saved a few choice numbers of family and close friends. Now, the average consumer handset has around 50-80 numbers, and mobile phones used in the workplace can have hundreds of contacts. That simple talking device has become increasingly sophisticated, with email, messaging, cameras, and multimedia storage, as well as highly specialized content such as games, location-based services, and other applications. Along with increased functionality has come increased customization, from custom ringtones and wallpapers to groups of contacts and profile settings. With all of these advances, it's little wonder that many people now consider their mobile devices to be an essential part of their social and professional lives.

Furthermore, with mobile subscribers now upgrading their phones on average every 15-18 months, it would be agonizing to have to re-create content after each device upgrade. Forty-six percent of surveyed mobile users have cited the lack of mobile data portability as a deterrent to upgrading their phones more often. With two-thirds of those same users indicating that their mobile phone was their primary source of contacts, there is little doubt that mobile content portability is important to mobile users.

There have been efforts to make mobile content portable. A handful of companies have come out with cable-based products, primarily aimed at retail point of sale outlets or sold off-the-shelf directly to consumers. Others have created over-the-air products that are offered on various carrier application stores. Although mobile content portability applications are on the market, their impact has been diminished due to limiting factors such as the level of technical expertise required to use many of these products, incomplete platform and phone model support, insufficient support for the types of content now available on mobile phones, and a general lack of product awareness and marketing support.

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Mohan Sadashiva is the senior vice president of marketing for FusionOne, a leading provider of mobile content portability solutions.

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