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Decoding Mobile Jargon for Your Web Marketing Campaign

Sometimes, it’s difficult to distinguish one category of handheld mobile device from another. The lines blur as manufacturers compete by adding capabilities. For web marketing purposes the devices can be categorized this way:

  • PDA: The handheld PDA helps people organize their lives by using various software tools, such as calendars. Originally used for exchanging e-mail and browsing the web, newer versions add phone capabilities. Although this older, network-independent device may be on its way out, it still has millions of users.

  • Standard cellphone: Sometimes known as a feature phone, it uses a telephone-style keypad and a small display screen for voice calls and text messaging and for shooting and sending photos and videos. Some newer models include e-mail, instant messaging, GPS, and limited web searching.

  • Smartphone: The iPhone (from Apple) and Droid (from Google and many other manufacturers), for example, combine web browsing and PDA functions with feature phone capabilities and larger screens.

    The use of the keyboard and touch interface makes it almost an extension of a desktop computer; a smartphone can be used to create documents and spreadsheets and connect with social networking sites. The iPhone incorporates the music capabilities of the iPod as well. Smartphones are gobbling market share from feature phones and PDAs.

  • Tablet computer: A tablet such as the Apple iPad marries the functionality of a smartphone that has an extra large screen with a netbook computer. Like a smartphone, a tablet responds to touch commands as well as to keyboard input.

    Its high-resolution screen and high-speed web access make it an excellent choice for displaying videos. Like desktop computers, tablets now have USB ports and external storage. Special software applications (or apps) are developed for both smartphones and tablets.

As a marketer, what you need to know is that all these devices offer incredible marketing opportunities to reach consumers with the information they seek — at the moment they seek it. The marketing techniques you select may depend on the devices your target market uses.

The terms 3G (third generation) and 4G (fourth generation) refer to the speed and underlying technology of the cellular networks that enable smartphones and tablet computers to access the web. 3G supports voice and video and works well for people who download (at 14 Mbps) more than upload (at 5 Mbps); 4G offers full Internet-style services at high connection speeds (100 Mbps to 1 Gbps), even from moving vehicles.

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