Fighting over the home screen real estate on smartphones

In light of all the buzz around Facebook yesterday and this week, it’s obvious mobile continues to be a key battleground. The constituencies within the mobile ecosystem – are all in land grab mode to win user’s attention and dollars. As a result, the lockscreen and homescreen are becoming an increasingly coveted real estate. Furthermore, the mobile device is fast becoming the digital medium of choice for users to discover services and products, resulting in commerce of virtual and physical goods.

However, the current trend is that players are trying to center users around themselves e.g. Facebook as opposed to creating value for the entire ecosystem based upon each player’s requirements and needs. For example….

  • Handset manufacturers want to be able to enhance their relationship with the user, create their own differentiated value to the consumer and ensure long-term monetization of the consumer.
  • Mobile Network Operators want to be able to ensure that they can provide enhanced value, compete effectively against the competition and upsell higher value services beyond basic communication.
  • Large content publishers want to be able to increase usage of their media and be able to get users to view more pages on their servers while social media companies want to keep themselves as the unique node for user communications.

I believe that the key to the puzzle is to ensure that we keep the user in mind, while being mindful of creating value for all the players in this ecosystem. If this is done in a neutral manner, then the value created from new areas of commerce, for example, can be of high value to all parties involved. However, if the solution is skewed towards just one aspect of the user’s needs, then the resulting value to the user diminishes significantly.

We are seeing that a number of our users want the ability to continuously change the appearance of their mobile lockscreen in order to reflect their persona, not on a one-time basis but on a regular basis. To some, this is about of the moment, cool content that is most important to them, and having this made available immediately. While for others, it is just a convenience coupled with their own personal albums.

I would say that with the power and openness of Android, the path is to put the user first and ensure that the solution is not about “One size fits all”.

Author: Ramgopal Vidyanand, VP Marketing & Business Development

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