26 UX research notes summarising Mobile World Congress 2010

Marek Pawlowski, founder of the MEX conferenceAfter several days of back-to-back meetings in Barcelona, I’m delighted to publish a complete summary of all 26 research notes from our MEX trip to Mobile World Congress (see below for full list). These notes are intended to combine insight into the industry’s competitive landscape with the trademark ‘MEX reality check’ from our studies of mobile consumer behaviour. It is an approach we use in all our work, including MEX consulting, conferences and reports.

Please add your comments on the blog or get in touch to share your opinions – it is always good to hear from the readers.

With Mobile World Congress over for another year, our focus is now on the next MEX Conference, which will be held in London on 19th / 20th May. In this 7th edition of the MEX event, will once again be bringing together 100 of the brightest minds in mobile, media and design to create new ideas at the cutting edge of mobile and multi-platform user experience design.

Registration for MEX is already open and now is the time to talk to us (details below) if you’d like to be involved as a speaker, sponsor or attendee. MEX sells out every event in advance, so please register early to guarantee your place.

Marek Pawlowski
t: +44 7767 622957
e: mp@pmn.co.uk
tw: @marekpawlowski

Orange ON explores new possibilities for an operator

The competitive threats to network operators are well documented: legacy voice traffic is migrating to VoIP providers such as Skype, data traffic is expanding beyond available capacity (but without a corresponding revenue increase) and users’ primary address books are relocating from the phone to social networking services such as Twitter, Facebook and Gmail.
Orange is experimenting […]

Analysing UX implications of the Meego platform

With the announcement of Meego earlier this week at MWC, Nokia and Intel are taking a significant step to establish a new OS which can power multi-platform user experiences across a wide range of connected devices, from in-car systems to home entertainment and mobile computers. The full details of the announcement can be found […]

Visual multi-platform design tools are evolving

One of the conclusions of our December 2009 MEX Conference on multi-platform user experiences was that designers currently lack the tools to implement centrally-planned interfaces across multiple touchpoints. There are numerous reasons for this: the market for these tools is still at an early stage and there is considerable fragmentation on the client side, […]

First Else offers a different interaction flow

I met with Eldad Eilam, CTO of Else Mobile, to learn more about the unique approach they’ve taken to create a handset with a new type of interaction flow and a back-end architecture to deliver a suite of connected services.
I first saw the product when it was announced at CES in January and it was […]

Designing audible experiences in the multi-platform world

Music will be one of the main drivers of multi-platform user experience. Content designed for the ear can be consumed in numerous environments, from the car to the home, not least because it doesn’t require use of our hands.Mobile phones are the natural connectors for mutli-platform user experience. They are with us constantly, […]

Video – Nokia shows multi-platform concept UI for future in-car systems

The tools and platforms are finally starting to emerge to support multi-platform user experience design, where multiple digital elements are combined using wireless networks to create an experience greater than the sum of its parts.
Nokia’s Qt platform, acquired from Trolltech a couple of years ago, combines authoring tools and runtime environments across multiple mobile OS, […]

Growing interest in remote mobile user experience testing

Mobile devices and wireless networks are inherently suited to lowering the cost of user experience testing, providing a viable channel for remote testing. However, there has traditionally been a certain stigma attached to this approach and a notion it is less valid than studies conducted face-to-face in a lab environment.
I sense that mood is […]

Video – Sagem Puma phone shows potential for real brand experiences

I just had a brief look at the Puma phone with Jerome Nadel of Sagem Wireless today. Nadel spoke about the complexity of capturing a brand’s soul across multiple platforms at our MEX Conference in December 2009 and the Puma phone launch at MWC shows the first fruit of Sagem’s work in this area.
After […]

Short stories as a new form of mobile entertainment

Currently authors can expect to receive a single digit percentage of their book sales. For those lucky authors who manage to find a publisher, the range of work the publisher is willing to take is usually limited to full length books, leaving the authors’ collections of short stories as an untapped resource.
Reading for any […]

Higher resolutions = proportional revolution in UI

76,800. That’s the number of pixels a UI designer controls at any one time on a 320 x 240 screen – currently the most common display resolution on mid-range handsets. Increase that to 800 x 480 (the resolution found on devices such as the Nokia N900 and Google Nexus One) and the number […]

360 degrees of touch and protecting user behavioural investment

The FUSE concept handset by TAT, Immersion, TI, Synaptics and Alloy has been the topic of much discussion at MWC, helping to visualise many of the experimental user experience elements which will be reaching mainstream handsets in 24 months time.
The device itself is covered in detail in last week’s diary article about TAT and Malmo, […]

Can an interface age?

What if the user interface grew old with the customer? Imagine receiving a mobile device in your first lesson at school, aged 5, and that device staying with you for entire educational career. As your learning evolved, so too would the interface, revealing new lessons and layers of complexity as your education progressed.

In […]

Who can’t afford to lose in application stores?

I was chatting with Mitch Oliver, Vice President at Qualcomm Internet Solutions, about the future of application stores. It occured to me – in light of yesterday’s operator consortium announcement – this market has now become a story of “Who can’t afford to lose.” With such fragmentation and crowding in this space, there […]

Video – Wave AMOLED screen impressive to behold

At first glance I mistook the new Wave handset from Samsung for a plastic mock-up. The screen was so vivid and bright it looked as if it had been printed onto a plastic model. The Super AMOLED screen is a genuine differentiator for this device – it looks like nothing else on the […]

Video – Windows Phone 7 UX tour

For the first time I find myself captivated by a Microsoft mobile user interface. There is a lightness, a minimal quality and a logic to the interface design of Windows Phone 7 which has been absent from Microsoft’s previous offerings. It seems to mould content into an interface in itself, removing all of […]

Video – Samsung phone for the outdoors, 62 days battery life

This Samsung E2370 handset is designed for the outdoors, with a chunky rubber case and protection against water and dust. However, its unique feature is 62 days of standby battery life from a huge 2000 mAh battery. It also boasts 22 hours of talk time. Interesting to see how Samsung is targeting […]

Minimalism overtakes the Windows Phone UI

I spent some time looking at the new Windows Phone 7 interface today and, for the first time, I am impressed by what I have seen. There is a logic and sparseness to the UI which speaks on uncharacteristic restraint and elegance from Microsoft.It has been back-to-back meetings today with no time to blog, […]

Mobile Premier Award photos

A couple of photos from the MPA, where the first Mobile Premier Award for Best User Experience by a Start-up, sponsored by MEX, was presented to location browser Flook by Norbert Metzner and Marek Pawlowski of MEX.Petit Palau de la Musica, the venue for the MPA.A packed house at the MPA as the Awards are […]

Flook Wins Mobile Premier Award for Best Start Up in User Experience

Barcelona: Monday, February 15, 2010 – The Mobile Premier Awards (MPA) today announced that the Best Start Up in User Experience Award, sponsored by MEX, has gone to flook, the location browser.
Selected from a group of 115 award entries in this category, Flook received the award from Marek Pawlowski, Founder, and Norbert Metzner, Research Director, […]

Toshiba starts to push multi-platform vision for home media

User interaction with media and brands is rarely confined to a single platform, yet many handset manufacturers and media companies continue to develop products as if mobiles, TVs and PCs existed in separate universes. This was the theme of our most recent MEX Conference in London in December 2009 and it was apparent how […]

MessagePhone combines handset and middleware for low-cost push email, networking and web

Synchronia, the mobile middleware provider, is working with Korean manufacturer KC Mobile to deliver MessagePhone – an integrated user experience for push email, social networking and web browsing on a handset costing under USD 100. They’ve built two handsets, both featuring QWERTY keyboards, which are pre-integrated with Synchronia’s back-end server.
Put simply: it’s a Blackberry-style […]

Vodafone’s USD15 handset expands m-payments to ever larger footprint

It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of fastest, shiniest and most advanced which spins out of the PR machines at Mobile World Congress. However, the USD 15 handset announced by Vodafone – aimed at emerging markets and with support for mobile payments – is likely to have just as significant an […]

Emporia, gardening and handsets for the micro-niches

Emporia, best known for its chunky handsets for older customers, has announced a device aimed at senior gardeners – the SOLID. While at first glance this might seem a bizarrely niche segment for a product, it is worth noting the obsessive enthusiasm for gardening among retired people in the UK.It is a national past-time, […]

QWERTY keyboards proliferate as data creation grows

Sony Ericsson is at it with the Symbian-powered Vivaz Pro and X10 Mini Pro. Toshiba’s K01 also brings a QWERTY to the manufacturer’s high-end Windows Mobile line.Expect to see more handsets featuring physical QWERTY keyboards as manufacturers respond to demand for high volumes of messaging and data creation on the move.The current wave will […]

Operators build defensive alliance against app store leaders – who’s standing up for the UX?

Application stores are dominating the headlines thus far at Mobile World Congress, with news of a 24 operator alliance being formed to create a unified set of development standards and route to market. It includes some of the biggest names from the networks – Vodafone, Verizon Wireless, China Mobile, China Unicom, AT&T, Orange, NTT […]

Interviews with TAT, Colormonkey and Polar Rose – Malmo diary

Malmo was in the grip of icy cold when I visited last week, but the Swedish city is home to a hot mobile scene. This is my diary of interviews with those at the heart of the Malmo mobile hub, their focus on user experience and what’s driving the city as a centre of […]

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