A trio of interesting articles from Julian @ Go Capital.
Excerpts which had me nodding vigourously at my screen include:
"The point is that the mobile user may have never been exposed to the Internet before and therefore needs a quality experience when they use the I-Mode service."
So true - mobile penetration exceeds fixed-line internet. Some mobile users won't be comfortable using the web. You can't rely on them understanding request/response metaphors, what a browser is, what a server is.
"In Japan, we have seen tremendous growth in the number of so-called unofficial sites, compared to official sites the ratio is something like 1:35, a complete reverse of the situation at the beginning of mobile Internet"
We're just starting to see this fact recognised over here in Europe, with Vodafone launching a second-tier, less branded portal for less official content.
"So what are the key takeaways from the Japan experience? Well, the care and attention to the quality of the customer experience is something we could all emulate - that quality comes from (1) fantastic handsets - believe me you haven't really seen a handset (and let's face it, most of us haven't) until you've seen the handsets available in Japan: more variety, lighter, colour screens, excellent sound, batteries last ages, they look better, are more reliable and easy to use than the 'bricks' they sell in Europe; (2) great services - you can only get great services when there is an environment that allows service providers to make money and innovate. Japan's packet-switched network helps and so does the fact that the business model for services providers is clear. It's very interesting that the debate at industry conferences in Europe tends to revolve around how to make money, whereas at equivalent conferences in Japan it is about what new and exciting services we can innovate next."