Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Killer App Idea: Every Mobile Platform Needs Dedicated Social Network

For those of you mobile warriors who spend a lot of time on the game consoles, you'll know about the communities that Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony created for online gaming, communicating, and buying contents.  You know, like "Xbox Live" or Nintendo's use of "Mii" figures.  So, I ask you all this:  can that experience be brought over to the mobile world?

Suppose Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony duplicate that for the Zune HD, DSi, and PSP.  I think that can go a long way in helping them gain or solidify their place in the mobile world.  Also times to mind is Apple and iTunes.  

More than just gaming, I like to see mobile platforms create a dedicated community that exists on the smartphones or mobile devices, it can create a more loyal customer base.  Such a community can go beyond simply selling, chatting, or tweeting.

Other online society networks like Facebook or MySpace can be invited to participate.  And much like the way Facebook works, dedicated platform social network can allow companies to participate and interact with the base.  I'm sure if Apple offers companies the opportunity to introduce new products and services to the generally cash-rich Apple fans, they'll jump at the opportunity.  

In owning a dedicated social network in a mobile device will enable platforms to own a larger control of their users' mobile experience.  But I say "control" with an asterisk.  Screw this up and it can end badly.  Mobile platforms needs to make sure they provide the best possible experience because they competing with others in the market.  

For instance, Blackberry Messaging is cool but I think it can be a lot more than that.  RIM ought to add a social component a long the line of Facebook or Twitter or simply incorporate them into a larger app.  More than that, RIM needs to be an active participant as well.  RIM can help its tens of millions of users discover new apps, use the Blackberries in new ways.

On Android, I like to see Google make Wave a center of the Android experience.  Right now, it's floundered a bit.  Not much going on but there is a huge potential if Google can make it work.  

Microsoft can Zune all the mobile devices.  Perhaps, we'll see a closer integration with the Xbox Live experience.  To be frank, the Xbox is the only successful consumer-oriented endeavor in a long time, if ever.  It ought to be something Redmond leverages.

Just as Apple has been doing with iTunes.  I imagine with iPhone 4.0, we might see something along that line.  Apple has been doing this with iTunes newsletter and on twitter and facebook where they actively push ideas and suggestions to users.  But that's not enough.  Apple needs to allow iPhone and iPod Touch users to interact with one another by sharing tips, experiences, music, and apps with each other.  Apple can take it a step further by offering some of MobileMe's services like e-mails for free to iPhone and Touch users.  It's the only way I see this working.

As companies become more involved with their users, it may help foster a more intimate mobile experience.  I'll make this prediction now:  More companies will utilize the the app concept to create new opportunities to introduce new products to users, get feedbacks, and, ultimately, foster a better relationship with its customers.  You know that bands use it promote their music and stay in touch with their fans.  And recently, ATT released an app that allows iPhone users to report their network issues.  As basic as ATT's app is, it's a step in the direction I'm advocating.

So, why can't the mobile platforms do this as well and enable a richer mobile experience?  

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