The full search experience

Alltel, the US operator, is working with white-label search provider JumpTap to integrate a search engine button into handsets. The first device with this feature is LG’s 8600.

The move is intended to spur adoption of mobile data services and will return results including content downloads and information. It will be branded by Alltel.

The operator, which uses a CDMA network, has been active in trying to enhance user experience. It recently launched Celltop, a Qualcomm uiOne-based interface, which enables users to personalise their handset with visual widgets showing information such as sports scores and weather forecasts.

Celltop was created by Frog Design, who will be speaking at the MEX conference in London on 2nd – 3rd May. Mark Rolston, Senior Vice President of Creative at Frog, will deliver a keynote on how personalisation must be built into every level of the value chain.

Alltel’s deal with JumpTap and LG is an example of how an operator can play a leading role in facilitating this kind of deep personalisation. In this instance, the carrier is orchestrating a partnership between platform supplier Qualcomm, application developer JumpTap and handset manufacturer LG, going considerably beyond the usual supplier relationships.

Wade McGill, senior vice president of product management for Alltel Wireless, said: “At Alltel, we are constantly striving to make the mobile experience simpler and more enjoyable. We have successfully used dedicated keys in the past to provide content we wanted to make readily available, including games and ringtones. It’s been proven that the easier it is for subscribers to find applications, the more likely it is that they will be adopted. We believe search is really at the heart of the mobile experience and by putting JumpTap’s search solution right on the handset, our subscribers will use it even more often to find what they are searching for.?

Despite the proliferation of carrier portals and direct-to-consumer offerings, mobile content usage is still limited by poor discovery mechanisms. This is despite increasing numbers of operators deploying new user interface solutions. Such moves only address a small part of the problem and fail to recognise that user experience goes far beyond the interface layer and incorporates elements as diverse as payment mechanisms, application latency, consumer trust, hardware capabilities and network coverage.

To learn more about these issues, join us at the MEX conference on 2nd – 3rd May 2007, where they will be addressed in a 10 point manifesto. Delegates participate in a series of breakout groups and panels inspired by our keynote speakers, which includes some of the leading thinkers in the mobile business.

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