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Mobile Technologies Used in Location-based Marketing

Mobile technology enabled the adoption of location-based services and the FCC mandate that GPS has to be included with cellphones unlocked the ability for geo-awareness. GPS combined with the mass adoption of smartphones is driving increased adoption of location-based services, particularly among influential, affluent males.

comScore’s demographics of U.S adult mobile users who accessed check-in services in March, 20
Credit: Courtesy of eMarketer, Inc.
comScore’s demographics of U.S adult mobile users who accessed check-in services in March, 2011.

Until a few years ago, there were primarily six different mobile operating systems:

  • Symbian: Standard operating system for a large majority of the world’s smartphones (including Nokia).

  • BlackBerry: The device and operating system of choice for most large enterprises, the BlackBerry OS from Research in Motion was one of the most popular operating system in the United States until a few years ago.

  • Windows Mobile: Available on a variety of devices from a variety of wireless operators.

  • Palm OS: Launched in 1996, the Palm OS platform has provided mobile devices with essential business tools as well as the capability to access the Internet.

  • Mobile Linux: Linux is seen as a suitable option for higher-end phones with powerful processors and larger amounts of memory.

  • MXI: A universal mobile operating system that allows existing full-fledged desktop and mobile applications written for Windows, Linux, Java, and Palm enabled immediately on mobile devices without any redevelopment.

Now add to this list the likes of iOS (Apple devices like iPhone and iPad), Android, Nokia’s Ovi, and Palm’s newer webOS, and you have a lot of different platforms to support. Fortunately, three of the operating systems — iOS, Android, and Symbian — make up the lion’s share of the market.

It’s probably easier to think about types of devices and not worry as much about platform because there are three major categories of devices on the market today:

  • Smartphones: These mainly comprise phones made by Nokia (including the C7 and 6303Xx), Apple (iPhone), HTC (Thunderbolt), Motorola (Droid), and Research In Motion (BlackBerry).

  • Tablets: At this point, there are really too many to list, but Apple created this market with its iPad. Dell, HP, and a number of other PC manufacturers have created offerings in this category as well.

  • Laptops, notebooks, and netbooks: This is a relatively new category and is pushing out an earlier category known as personal digital assistants (PDAs). Palm owned this market early on but ultimately lost this footrace to the likes of today’s smartphone giants Nokia, Apple, Samsung, RIM, and HTC.

The same venue on the same location-based service can look different on three different devices.

A location-based service page on a MacBook Pro, iPad, and iPhone, respectively.
A location-based service page on a MacBook Pro, iPad, and iPhone, respectively.

All your customers will experience your venue differently across their various mobile devices. This does not mean that you have to go out and buy one of every device on the market, but it doesn’t hurt to at least have an idea of what your venue(s) look like on PC versus Mac versus smartphone versus tablet.

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