September 21, 2008

Azuki Systems, Inc. announced the results of its first annual U.S. mobile phone user survey to profile trends and emerging behavior. Over 54% of those surveyed said their mobile phone usage had increased by more than 25% over the last two years, and one in five respondents said it had increased by more than 50%. A significant catalyst behind this growth is smart phone adoption, with 62% of respondents indicating they either own or will own such a device in the next 12 months.

Despite increased adoption, almost 80% of those surveyed said they wished it were easier to access information from the Internet on their mobile phones, and an equal percentage stated they wished it were easier to access rich media on their mobile phones. The majority of those surveyed pointed to a number of current obstacles to enjoying rich media on mobile. For example, 69% felt that the long time to download and/or play media ranked among their top three barriers, and 66% felt that difficulties finding and navigating to relevant content was a top three inhibitor. A number of shortcomings were also identified for iPhone and BlackBerry users.

“Mobile device technology, as well as mobile content and application development, is on the rise. As a result, the mobile experience is getting better with access to more content, and mobile adoption is growing at a rapid speed,” said Jim Ricotta, CEO of Azuki Systems. “However, as the survey results indicated, there is still work to be done in order to deliver truly usable mobile content to today’s mobile devices. Mobile requires a different consumption and interaction model where, unlike the desktop, it is less about browsing and more about glancing to ‘snack’ on media.”

Mobile Users – Where Does the Time Go?

Regardless of which mobile device they are using, U.S. mobile phone users are spending a significant amount of time on their phones. This highlights the fact that core consumer services have expanded beyond voice to include messaging and data services, which also serve as a launch pad for broader Web and more advanced content services. Survey findings showed:

- Gabfest: 33% talk on their mobile phones more than 10 hours per week. The youngest generation is spending even more time, with 34% of those 17 and younger talking for more than 15 hours/week.

- OMG: Of the 79% who send text messages from their phones, 29% do so for more than two hours/week. Again, the younger generations prove to be power users, with 37% of those less than the age of 22 texting for more than two hours/week. With only a gradual drop-off in text messaging for 23 to 44 year-olds, a generational gap is evident with a sharp decline to almost no usage for those approaching age 60 and older.

- Hooked on e-mail: 50% access their e-mails from their mobile phones, with nearly 30% of those between the ages of 35 and 44 doing so for more than two hours per week.

- Going surfing: 52% access the Web via their mobile phones, and 35 to 44 year-olds are leveraging this technology the most, with 60% spending time each week surfing the Web. Perhaps fueling a significant portion of this growth was iPhone adoption, which according to the survey results appeared strongest among 23 to 44 year-olds. In addition, there was clear evidence of 23 to 34 year-olds trading up their feature phones for smart phones as they move into the corporate world.

- TV time:25% access video on their mobile phones, with 88% of this group spending less than two hours/week, which may indicate a growing appetite for rich media with shorter duration viewing patterns.

Socialization & Monetization

Survey results show that the social networking craze is starting to heat up on the third screen as well. Twenty-five percent of mobile users are accessing social networking sites from their mobile devices with one in seven respondents between the ages of 23 to 34 doing so for more than two hours/week. Sixty-four percent of those surveyed reported that they would share content via their mobile phone with their contacts from social networking sites if it were easier to do so.

The survey results also proved good news for mobile advertisers. Almost 70% of mobile users surveyed would prefer mobile ads in exchange for free access to mobile content. Additionally, if their mobile phones had location tracking capabilities that would present them with promotions for local businesses, more than 65% would take advantage of this opportunity.

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