Tuesday, February 15, 2011

DigitalFilipino.com Talks Blog Contest: My View on Opportunities in Mobile Content Development

My View on Opportunities in Mobile Content Development

Yesterday, February 14, 2011, DigitalFilipino.com posted a video on Making Opportunities in Mobile Content Development. JV Rufino, Director for Mobile for the Inquirer Group (http://www.inquirer.net) was interviewed for this topic.

As what Mr. Rufino said in the interview, mobile content development has a lot of potential, even to the point of overtaking internet content development on the PC. Mobile content development is not just restricted to cellphones but to the iPad as well.

Not all Pinoy families right now have internet connection at home BUT majority of us Pinoys have cellphones. That is the major reason why his argument holds true. And when it comes to iPad, a lot of us want to have this because of its sleek design, lightweight frame and portability.

According to him, there are forms of mobile content. Text updates are a basic part of sending mobile content. Older phones will be able to receive this kind of information without compatiblity problems. The other form is through mobile applications (or apps) where internet content can be displayed on more modern phones and the iPad.

What's great about today's technology is that we can literally hold the power of the internet at the palm of our hands. Mobile phones now have web browsers while some establishments provide free WiFi internet service for phones equipped with Wireless LAN, encouraging this mobile content trend.

The current trend with newer phones

The trend right now is headed to mobile apps because more phones coming out in the market (even the cheaper models) are internet ready and WiFi capable. Soon, these types of phones will be accessible to the masses. I think this is a good development for the masses because connecting to the internet is a lot cheaper than being charged on a per-text basis. For example, if your cellphone can connect you with a friend in Facebook, you will rather chat through that connection at 20 pesos per hour, rather than sending messages through text, which costs 1 peso per send.

The problems with Mobile Content Development:

A. Cheap but not for free

When it comes to sending mobile content through Short Messaging Syetem (SMS) or better known as text, companies can use this service, but it does not come for free! Companies who will use this may have to pay a 3rd party (like Globe or Smart) who can send the text updates for them. In order to cover the expenses, it trickles down to us, the end-users / subscriber.

Let's take the Inquirer for example. Let's say you subscribed to their text updates for the breaking news. Every time there is an update, you will be sent a short text message of the news, but in return, 2.50 pesos from your load balance will be deducted. (See the Inquirer Wireless service page for more info.) Whatever breaking news it is, whether it is significant to you or not, you will be charged per update.

From the masa approach, they would rather glimpse at the headlines on tabloids or newspapers rather than availing the service because 2.50 per update is expensive for people with a shoestring budget. Assuming a person gets 10 updates per day, that's 25 pesos which is good enough for a daily meal.

B. Underdevelopment for mobile apps

Mobile apps right now are fast becoming the trend, but what a lot of people do not realize is that it is not that easy to make a mobile app for your web content. This is because there is no standard when it comes to deployment of mobile apps.

When it comes to PCs for example, we have certain operating systems - Windows 7, Mac OS and UNIX are the more popular ones. When a developer makes an app for Windows 7, it won't run on Mac OS and vise versa.

All the more when it comes to mobile phones because each phone brand and model has its own operating system. There is bada for Samsung, Symbian OS for Nokia, Windows Mobile for HTC smartphones, etc. The trouble with that is you need specific developers who can develop a mobile app for you for each type of phone. If you want to have a lot of bases covered, you really are going to spend. So even if you ask a company to develop for you, I don't think it will come cheap.

Call for more mobile app developers

Since there is a lot of money-making potential in the mobile app development sector, IT experts may want to venture in developing mobile apps to prospective clients. Some telcos like Globe Labs (www.globelabs.com.ph) are offering free training courses to possible future mobile app developers. Its goal is to help IT professionals fill in the gap for the lack of mobile app development in the Philippines and hopefully help this fresh, new industry in the future.

This is my entry to DigitalFilipino.com's Talks Blog Contest. Be part of the conversation. Visit the contest page to join. Feel free to comment on my blog post about My View on Opportunities in Mobile Content Development.

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