For years we have heard how "smartphones" are the hot area. Apple, Android, RIM, Microsoft, Nokia and others have all been pursuing the business market with the "smartphone" being the portable desktop computer. But as time has gone on we have seen more and more adoption, acceptance and use of "social" applications like Facebook, Twitter, FourSqure on the desktop and mobile phone. As the mobile device becomes the dominant way people are connecting and staying connected with their friends and families. This means we need to have a defined "SocialPhone" category going forward.
The RuderFinn Mobile Intent Index reveals to me that the handset manufacturers are missing the mark by not having a social phone in their product mix as the segmentation details of intenders reveals as much interest in Social Phone type usage as their is for Business applciations. Except one company. INQ Mobile. Their new Chat 3G phone is precisely aimed at the SocialPhone market. Why? Well more and more I find that I'm living inside Facebook, that I'm twittering more about what I'm doing and of course communicating on Skype. When I'm in the UK, this is an ideal upgrade for my SkypePhone2 (also made by INQ) so after seeing the Chat 3G hands on last week in Barcelona, it was obvious to me that finally there's a company, perhaps the only company, that "gets" it when it comes to the largest swath of intenders using mobile phones. Bravo. Well done.
As a matter of fact, while Nokia has made some strides software wise, not one of their devices are called social phones, nor has anyone really defined the standard of the category for it, (though one could argue that INQ with the term SOCIAL MOBILE as part of their web site are starting too.) The smart phone category is already well defined, and for the most part, but without segment definition clearly being articulated the "social phones" companies like INQ, ANDROID and Nokia are are going to get their new social focused devices unfairly lumped into that "older" market segment. And we all know that no kid want's to be using a phone that's designed for dad or grand-pop.
When you drill down and look at the "socialize" data you can see that the intent is there to use a mobile phone for a lot of actions that are already completed on a laptop or desktop, as well as a mobile phone. That means as we all go more mobile, there is a greater need for more "social" phones that do those things better and more easily. This can be everything from application specific definable softkeys, a more robust interface, faster and more powerful processors that do more within and on the device as well as the Mobile Cloud structure being put in place. This means what RIM does for business, and what Apple is doing with MobileMe leads to the conclusion that some company will have do the same thing for social.