Just chewing through analyst predictions for the mobile social networking space—an area VCs have not been shy about investing in:
- There’s less of a browsing component to mobile phone access of social networks. Mobile users spend an average of seven minutes a week accessing networks, compared to 47 minutes for PC users, according to Gartner. That’s probably not surprising given the slow data speeds, small monitors and generally transitive experience of mobile phone applications, but it translates to less of a boon for traditional advertisers.
- The people most likely to buy location-aware devices are a tough demographic to crack. The high cost of personal navigation devices has put them predominantly in the hands of older people (56% of users are over 45) and richer people (54% are from households that earn $75,000 or more each year), according to data from Parks Associates.
- That may be one of the reasons that such a small percentage of mobile phone users, about 6% according to Gartner, are currently using social networking services.
- But prices for the component parts of GPS are coming down and some 40% of mobile phones should be GPS enabled by 2010, according to Gartner.
- And demand may be poised to grow, as 27% of people surveyed by Parks Associates said they were very interested in mobile phone applications that would help them know the status of their friends or family.
- Still, the technology isn’t perfect: GPS needs a satellite connection to work, which can be hard to get from the inside of a shopping mall, restaurant or office building.