The Consumer Matters is the blog of Leslie Grandy, aka Gearhead Gal.  My passion is creating and delivering compelling products that delight customers through simple and elegant user experience design.

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Entries in mobile (33)


Mobile Is Eating The World & Other Insights 

The folks over at, aka Andreessen Horowitz, have recently posted some interesting content on the state of mobile that bears sharing. 





5 Mobile Companies That Are 2014 Customer Champions

Every year, JD Powers publishes the results of the surveys it receives from consumers about which brands delight them with their service. More than 600 brands are evaluated in many categories from airlines to banks to automotive manufacturers.  

"The 50 companies we've recognized as Customer Champions demonstrate the highest levels of service excellence, not just compared with their direct competitors, but also across all facets of the customer experience. Not only does satisfaction encourage customer loyalty, but happy customers also become advocates of the brand to others. Particularly given the ability of today's consumers to easily communicate their experiences far and wide through social media and online reviews, customer advocacy can be critical to a company's bottom line," the JD Power Customer Champion announcement states.

 This year, I was struck by the selection of mobile companies that made it to the list.

  1. Boost Mobile
  2. Straight Talk
  3. TracFone
  4. US Cellular
  5. Metro PCS

The positive experience customers have with non-contract carriers is important, and the timing of this announcement no doubt played a huge role in the T-Mobile announcement around the same time to end contracts.


Mary Meeker's All Things Digital Report - 2012 Internet Trends

Published May 2012 by Mary Meeker and Liang Wu

This report talks about today’s Internet growth and provides an in-depth look for the following new trends: 1) review of Internet stats and notes that Internet growth remains robust and rapid mobile adoption is still in early stages; 2) run through a number of examples of business models that are being re-imagined and re-invented thanks to mobile and social; 3) highlight mixed economic trends and 4) observe that while there’s a lot to be excited about in technology, there are things to be worried about regarding America’s financial situation.

KPCB Internet Trends 2012


Pew Research On The State Of Mobile America


From Ubergizmo: How Far Can You Leverage A Brand?

[Excerpted from a guest post on Ubergizmo the past week.]

With the launch of an Android-based Sidekick and the close of the Danger service, can the brand recover its status as a cultural icon?

The inevitable shuttering of the Danger service earlier this month came and went without a lot of hoopla, providing an inauspicious end for the original T-Mobile Sidekick, the first truly consumer-focused smartphone. The Sidekick name was cleaved from the Danger intellectual property after the acquisition of the company byMicrosoft and the subsequent dissolution of the exclusive distribution agreement that Danger had with T-Mobile.

Earlier this year, T-Mobile, which maintained the rights to only the Sidekick name and the subscriber base, transferred the moniker to an Android-based device produced by Samsung (previous generations were made mostly by Sharp,). Built over eight major releases and six Limited Edition co-branded versions, the Sidekick name lives on as the moniker for a new mobile phone experience, and raises the question – how far can you leverage a brand?

For the rest of the post, click here.


CES 2011 Video Moments

I hope you enjoy these two video montages of the sites and sounds of CES. It's a visual and auditory mashup, but so is walking around the show floor.

And, just in case you think it's all glam and glitter at CES, please see my post on Technorati, Ten Things I Hate About CES.


What A Panel Looks Like As An Infographic

Today I moderated a panel for the Open Mobile Summit entitled "Beyond the digital living room: Entertainment Anywhere." The design firm, Fjord, had a "visualizer" onsite who, in real time, illustrated the salient points of the discussion in a mind map on the ballroom wall.  Here are snippets of the mural that reflected our discussion.  All I can say is that it was interesting to see the totality of the conversation in graphical form.

Graphics by Fjord


A Few Of My Favorite Tweets

RT@punchcut 5 considerations for  UI: "Not a Phone, Not a PC: Why Tablets Must Be Different"   

RT@: If You Are a Startup Founder, You Need To See This 

RT@ Denying the existence of Android fragmentation is the technological equivalent of being a Global Warming unbeliever.

RT@ webinar w/Berkeley's Hank Chesbrough, the world's leading expert on "open innovation." (Nov 11)


Navigating Your Airport Experience

With fewer direct flights, weather delays, and long security lines, there are more chances than ever that you’ll find yourself with time to kill in an unfamiliar airport. The boredom of waiting will inevitably lead you to twiddle your thumbs on your smartphone. If you're not texting—or triaging your inboxyou could be using the new FLYsmart app for Android and iPhone to look for the closest newsstand, restroom, souvenir shop or ATM.

FLYsmart is the result of a partnership between outdoor advertising giant ClearChannel Outdoor, and Geodelic (a client of Waldo Finn, a company which employees this author), a mobile, location-specific media platform powered by a network of informative and relevant guides to local attractions, businesses and services.

FLYsmart customers will also be able to linger in a bar or bookstore longer - and with less stress - because they can check arrival and departure times right from their smartphones, instead of running out to the concourse to check the displays.

"By combining Clear Channel's enormous airport footprint with the simplicity of Geodelic's mobile experience, we can provide consumers with a new level of convenience that comes from having personalized and relevant location-specific information at your fingertips," said Rahul Sonnad, founder and CEO of Geodelic. Sonnad says the app will be available for Blackberry in the near future, as well.

Location-based marketing is a growing category for businesses looking to maintain traffic into physical locations, like retail stores, restaurants, and tourist attractions. Companies like Gowalla and Foursquare have popularized "check ins", while social networking behemoth Facebook has just launched Places, a feature for connecting  with friends based on their location.

 The FLYsmart application takes a different approach, providing location-specific services and information to improve a transient customer's experience through an airport terminal.

“Airports are always looking to improve the traveler experience and find new ways to garner the attention of transient passengers in promoting food, retail and advertising sales,” commented Toby Sturek, President of Clear Channel Airports. “FLYsmart will do all that in the most relevant, convenient and contemporary way.”

The FLYsmart app will initially be launched in ten of North America’s largest airports including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Philadelphia, Phoenix San Francisco and Seattle. New airports will be added each week.

I used the app the first day it launched, on my travels from Seattle to Los Angeles. The app was very helpful in keeping me informed about flight departure times for my home airport. Although the Los Angeles Airport guide hadn't yet launched, I could still see relevant local information for my stay in Los Angeles through the Geodelic national directory, that comes with every FLYSmart app.


Favorite Tweets Of The Last Week

After taking a few days to listen to real, flesh and blood humans discuss the future of digital technology, I tackled a backlog of commentary from the Twitterverse. Here are some of the nuggets I found buried in my stream.

Genius! RT@cshirky My next book will be 'Wikipedia Brown', about a boy detective who solves crimes by getting his friends to do all the work.

Consumers with an income of $100,000 or more are among the most likely to use coupons /via @adwise << interesting!

RT @emarketer Case you missed this: How Consumers Balance Openness and Privacy -



Favorite Tweets of the Day

RT @DesignerDepot: The Dos and Do Nots of Mobile Applications Sez don’t mix mobile app and mobile web

RT @ tonyadam My thoughts on the hot topic - A resume doesn't tell the whole story - Well said.


PANEL: What iPad Means For The Future of Mobility

On the eve of attending adTech in San Francisco, I attended a local panel discussion for app developers organized by Noah Kravitz of PhoneDog, a mobile blog that's part of the NetShelter Technology Media network that includes IntoMobile and, my personal favorite, Panelists included:

  • Will Park, Editor-in-Chief,
  • Damon Brown, Daily Media/Tech Blogger,; Author of “Damon Brown’s Simple iPad Guide”
  • Aaron Watkins, President, Appency Press
  • Jesse Lindeman, Director of Product and Technical Marketing, Mobile Iron
  • Anthony Ha, Assistant Editor, VentureBeat
  • Nitin Chitkara, VP, Business Development, Mobclix

As is often the case in these intimate sessions with this many panelists, the evening took a while to take shape. But Noah did a stand-up job managing his moderator duties - talking to the live streaming audience and tweeting fans on his iPad and juggling a panel that was insightful, if not articulate. After a bumpy beginning talking about whether iPads legitimize "man-bags" and rambling panelist self-introductions, Noah steered the discussion to elicit a few interesting comments and insights.

On the topic of app pricing: "$4.99 is the new $.99". Panelists were divided about if and how the iPad will normalize pricing for paid apps on the large screen iPad versus the iPhone. One panelist remarked that the extra screen real estate will not be enough to justify a higher price for an iPad app than the same app on an iPhone/iPod. IntoMobile's Will Park noted simply, "Crappy apps will only look crappier on a bigger screen."  However, there was little consensus about how developers should consider setting prices for iPad apps to harmonize costs and volume.

A New User Experience: Developers should re-think their iPhone app strategy for the bigger form factor to increase a consumer's engagement with their app's content. The panel seemed to agree the iPad was an immersive experience that could be leveraged for monetizable value. And there was clear consensus from the bloggers on the panel that they weren't prepared yet to ditch their laptops for the sleek tablet. "It's not that cool yet." Park was balancing his teetering iPad on his knee in its case, allowing him to tip the screen so he could (I'm guessing) type during the session.

Early Adopters Sharing: There was only a brief mention of developing apps for other tablets than the iPad, although the topic was merchandised more broadly than simply the iPad. About half of the audience indicated they owned iPads, and 90% of those seemed to have been expensed. Panelists stood in line the first day, they streamed to their blogs from the lines, and they even admitted they take their iPads into the bathroom to read. A few confessed to cuddling their iPad in bed, an experience they claimed they never had with their laptop, which gets overheated. "It's the last thing I see before I go to bed."

Apps, Books, and Stores: The most popular app among the panel was Netflix, although one panelist, Damon Brown, pointed out that Alice for the iPad was really an app, not a book. I thought that was an odd distinction. So I went to iTunes and noticed "books" appear on the App Store, and books appear in the iBook Store. There are apps that are sold to read electronics books you can read on an iPod that doesn't have the iBook store yet.  Confused yet?

As panelists summarized their final thoughts, one common theme emerged: the iPad is important to this group not because of what it does, but because of what it enables for designer,s developers, advertisers and consumers.


Favorite Tweets of the Day

It's been a while since I posted any tweets that captured my attention. Here now is an eclectic group of ideas to ponder for a Monday AM.

RT @mindful_living “I am a very old man and have suffered a great many misfortunes, most of which never happened.” ~ Mark Twain

RT@innovate A Tribute to CK Prahalad - - Rowan Gibson - #ckprahalad #strategy  #tribute #innovation Rethink the future

RT @eMarketer: Consumers Spent Less Time With All Media Except Mobile in 2009 [Stats]  -

RT @themarknews Why Neuromarketing's Time Hasn't Come - April Dunford — THE MARK

RT @gigaom The State of the Internet: Now Bigger, Faster & Mobile 


Should Microsoft's Kin Be Considered the "Son of Sidekick?"

First published on Technorati April 13, 2010

The launch of Microsoft’s Kin carried with it many assumptions and expectations. KinFirst there was the Microsoft purchase of Danger, the operating system that powers the Sidekick. Since the Sidekick target customer was considered “young and social”, many reviewers and bloggers I spoke with came to today’s launch event expecting to see a “Son of Sidekick.”

The Windows Phone 7 launch, and the deep dive for developers at Mix10, lead some people to believe that Microsoft might not launch its own branded phone first, and many speculated that today's announcements might be about a Microsoft tablet.

Xbox, clearly a component of the Windows Phone 7 plan, has yet to be leveraged into a mobile strategy. And finally, the Microsoft launch of Kin comes a full two years after the last major Windows Mobile OS release, during which time Apple and Google have captured consumers’ hearts and minds with apps and more apps, establishing app stores as the primary battleground for smartphone operating systems.

So, like many folks who attended today’s event in San Francisco, I approached the launch with my pre-conceived ideas of what Kin would mean to the market and to Microsoft.

I had seen the leaked hardware, which is made by the same manufacturer, Sharp, that built the Sidekick. And I had seen early concepts of Pink long before Windows Mobile changed its name to Windows Phone 7. But to burden Kin with all of those expectations is to do the device an injustice. Kin deserves a fair shake at finding its own audience, and the time to develop its rightful place in Verizon’s device portfolio.

Sure, many people buy based on the specs of the phone, like megapixels and memory, that the industry calls “feeds and speeds.” And Kin doesn’t have the most and biggest of very much. But having the most of everything may not be what the audience for this phone really needs, because feeds and speeds add to the bottom line cost of the handset, and for Kin’s 18-24 year old target, budget may be a real constraint.


Where 2.0 Videos Now Playing in My VodPod

If you are a regular visitor to this site, you have probably discovered my VodPod in the right sidebar on this page. It is a window into my video collection, the clips I save when I surf the web. Recently shelved in this library are a number of videos from the O'Reilly Where 2.0 conference last week. "Where 2.0 brings together the people, projects, and issues building the new technological foundations and creating value in the location industry."  Clips include presentations by Dave Fetterman from Facebook, Jack Dangermond from ESRI, Jerry Stoppelman from Yelp, and other execs from Loopt, Foursquare and Nokia, as well as Michael Arrington and Ryan Block. This is a great survey of location based tech.


A Composite View of Mobile Trends

Compiled from many different sources, this set of slides was put together by a European blogger who asked some very influential friends for their perspectives on the future of mobile.


BuildAnApp Makes it DIY Easy To Be On a Smartphone

If you are a small business owner or tech savvy soccer coach wondering how you can get in on the mobile app gold rush and aren’t sure if you have what it takes to launch and manage an app, BuildAnApp may be just the platform you need. Anders Davidson, president of MobileOn, the company behind BuildAnApp says his DIY mobile app solution will simplify the process of communicating with customers regardless of which smartphone they have, because his solution publishes apps to multiple mobile operating systems.


Buildanapp logo

Using standard templates and a simple six step wizard, anyone – and I do mean pretty much anyone – can create a mobile app. You simply pick the content pages you want for your app, upload images, pick styles, add links and feeds, and you are ready to publish. You can even preview the app in a nice window next to where you customize the page inputs. Davidson calls the app “morphable” because of the large variety of combinations and customizations businesses can use to merchandise themselves, and because the platform automatically configures the same content for iPhone, Android, RIM, and Windows Mobile devices. “Small businesses don’t have time to manage and support an application, even though a mobile app can strengthen their relationship with their customers.”screens

Davidson has some relevant experience supporting small business as a product manager for Microsoft’s small business portal, bCentral. BuildAnApp provides useful tips for creating your app, too, because Davidson knows Apple has been cracking down on what they call their “Minimal User Functionality.” To be a great app, Davidson says, “you need original, useful and dynamic content.”

To make it easy for any budget-conscious community group leader to see what’s required to have an app, BuildAnApp offers a 30 day free, no credit card trial. Calendars, photos, and social media feeds are simple to hook up. It’s easy to imagine how the local Little League could quickly connect and inform mothers about schedule changes this way. Team managers can create a separate app that also shows stats and standings. “Cross platform is essential to these audiences, because they are so diverse.”

Davidson wanted to remove not only technical hurdles to having a mobile app, but economic ones as well. In 30 days, your app will expire unless you convert to a subscription, and the fee is based on how often you update your app. (The definition of an app update appears to need a little refinement during the beta period, because any streamed content which is added to an app may itself get updated.)

Once your app is published, a link is generated quickly that can be emailed to your existing customer lists directly without worrying about marketplace certification for three of the mobile platforms; the iPhone application goes through a separate three to four week approval process and costs an additional $19.99 fee to publish to it.

On Android, RIM, and Windows phones, applications can be side-loaded directly by the user, making it quick and easy to create and download my own a sample app and watch it running live on my Nexus One in no time. You can also tweet the link and put it on your website or Facebook fan page to drive downloads.

The platform is in beta right now, but Davidson claims there have already been 500 apps built with his company's platform. While you’ll give up a little elegance on the graphics and UI side to get an app that can run on almost any smartphone, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can say, “there’s an app for that” about your business, too!


Get to know Anders Davidson, a small business owner himself, as a consumer (his company has 5 employees), by hearing him in his own words.

How would you describe yourself as a consumer? Anders Davidson
Very intentional. I am not an “impulse” consumer nor am I impulsive with what consumes my time. By the time I am ready to make a decision about how I spend my time or money, I know what I value and what it is worth to me.

Speaking as that consumer…

What is the first and last app you downloaded for your personal use? 
My first app was the NYTimes because it’s a news source I value and the app allows me to have better access to its content than through the Web browser. The most recent apps I’ve downloaded are: 1) an app I built using our service for my son’s school so I can keep track of their schedule and key phone numbers and contact. And 2) the NCAA March Madness app because I enjoy following the tournament results but won’t spend much time watching the games on TV.

What product is sitting in a “saved shopping cart” that you plan to buy soon? 
None. I rarely save items in online shopping carts.

Thinking of non-technology items as well, what product or service have you bought recently that most disappointed you and why? 
I can’t think of any real buyer’s remorse I’ve had recently.

What is the one true thing that exists in every product you love to use? 
Simplicity. There’s often a big trade-off of simplicity vs. features, but smarter designers are getting better at tackling both.

What one piece of technology innovation would you say changed your life the most? 
In 2000, I had a Compaq ipaq Pocket PC with a sleeve that held a Wi-Fi card and was able for the first time to have real-time data come to my handheld device without the need to sync at my PC. This was for me, the beginning of the real promise of mobile computing...

What product did your family or friends have before you did, but you eventually had to buy, too? 

Are you a Mac or PC? 
Mac laptop dual-booting Mac and Windows XP

What phone are you carrying now? 
In my line of work I carry four. :- ): a Samsung Ace (Windows Mobile), Nexus One, Blackberry Pearl and an iPhone. But I mostly use the Blackberry Pearl because it’s smaller.

Do you Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn? 
I have accounts on each. For BuildAnApp we tweet with content relevant to BuildAnApp’s customers, I use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family and rarely mix business into it. And I use LinkedIn to map my professional network.

What was your most unusual job? 
In the early-mid 90s I worked on political campaigns in Oregon, California, Minnesota and Washington.

Where do you like to shop?

Read more:


Favorite Tweets of the Day - Fun With Infographics & Consumer Behavior

RT @thejordanrules: Very cool interactive visualization - The mobile intent index - a useful tool #stats -

RT @9swords: 20 incredible infographics, interactives and data visualizations

Amazing motion-graphics visualization video from @jess3 on State of the Internet - @techcocktail (RT @GeniusRocket)


The 'Tapas Trend' in Mobile Continues

Last year, at Mobile World Congress, I had the displeasure of eating a precious multi-course meal of nouvelle tapas at a pretentious restaurant referred by countless culinary experts. Sadly, I wish I had known you can get some of the best tapas in the city tucked away in passages only the locals can guide you to discover. Tapas, for those who don't know, are little snacks of - well, pretty much anything. They can be cold or warm, and be composed of fish, meat and vegetables.  These bite-sized little morsels of flavor are the currency of chefs in Spain, but these tasty bits may be best served by underset expectations.

On the night of the first day of announcements from this year's MWC, therefore, it may be easier to forgive me for making an analogy between tapas and apps, and butchering a metaphor far longer than I could at other times. Since, like tapas, apps can be anything - they can be games or utilities, feed readers or miniaturized applications, it seems a small leap of faith. Apps are often bite sized versions  (see how this will go?) of bigger web properties, kind of like snacking versions to keep a mobile consumer's appetite satisfied until a bigger serving is available.

Most of the headlines from today's show focused on apps, so it appears that the 'tapas trend' will continue to be on the menu for mobile consumers for the near future.  The creation of a new alliance, the Wholesale Applications Community, is intended to create a common approval process across multiple OEMs to facilitate access to the world of mobile consumers for application developers.  But should application developers be able to use one recipe to appear on any device  with any carrier?  And can all of the chefs in the WAC kitchen ever agree on a standard recipe? Imagine getting Wolfgang Puck, Tom Douglas and Ferran Adria all to agree on a single preparation for salmon tapas.

The combination of Maemo and Moblin to create MeeGo may not create enormous benefits or greatly enlarge the app world for consumers any time soon, but the news does provide another proof point that app stores likely won't just be a phone phenomenon since the combined OS is targeted at in-vehicle infotainment systems, connected televisions and consumer electronics. This Nokia-Intel platform, however, may simply be a mash-up of two lagging open source projects, with each ingredient still needing the proper plating on a killer piece of hardware to break through with consumers.

Adobe's announcement that it has joined the LiMo Foundation shows how badly it wants in on the mobile app business, having been absent in any meaningful way from smartphones till now.  In addition to that news, though, Adobe announced its Air for Android, which in conjunction with AIR on the desktop, gives web web developers familiar tools to build standalone applications that run on the devices using Google's Linux-based mobile operating system. With the exclusion of support for Flash on the iPad, iPhone and iPod, and the failure of Flash Lite to have a notable impact on mobile development to date, Adobe has been trying to get a seat at the app store table for a while.  As an ingredient brand in websites,  Adobe has not had as much leverage to date with device manufacturers and carriers as they may have anticipated with the popularity of the mobile browser.  Apple has preferred to think of Adobe as the "trans fat" ingredient in mobile applications and browsers, positioning it as the enemy of performance and an ally of viruses.