I had a very healthy debate with a friend of mine over a subject which is the next rage in mobile communications. The use of IM (Internet Messenger) over mobile, not the SMS way, but in exact replica of the way it currently functions over PC. So instead of PC, the same interface and near about the same pattern of interaction a user can do through mobile. Recently read in TOI that in US more people prefer using IM over mobile than PC based IM. Ok, that's interesting. Now back to the debate point. My point was that the audience for such kind of applications would be the young, college going folks or probably people who are addicted to chatting and spend endless hours chatting on the net (bachelors of different kind - something which even I was couple of years back!) and not people like me (though that doesn't mean I am old!) who are always hard pressed for time be it at home or at work and the last thing I would do is log in to my mobile and chat with friends!!!!
My friend's point was that if you get used to the chat application, you get hooked to it. You can check out your mails, chat with friends while you are on the move. My point: As you keep moving up the ladder, work & responsibilities also increase. Probably 6 years back I would have used such kind of application when I was a self confessed hard core, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, AOL chatter. I used to chat endlessly for hours coz I found pleasure in that(Ekta can vouch for that - how I once spent the entire night in office chatting with her in US and left for home early morning!) . Cut to today. Life is moving in fast lane. Leave for office at 9.00 Already running late. Drop wifey at her office. Wriggle through traffic to reach your destination. And now that I am at office, I am online - why will I feel the need to check mails or chat with someone thru mobile? And if I am driving, how can I do that in the 1st place?
FP (friend's point): Well if you have a chauffeur driven car, or if you are using a public transport then you do get time to log on and check your mails or chat with someone or download your mails to mobile etc.
MP (my point): People who have chauffeur - well the last thing they would like to do is chat with someone on yahoo or msn!! They are a totally different audience segment. yes, they would like to access their emails but they would prefer using BlackBerry for that. In the free time that they get in car, they would rather catch up on the Economic Times.
People like me who spend around 10 hrs online at office and again around 1-2 hrs online at home won't feel the need to check their Gmail or rediffmail on their mobile. I can very well check it whenI reach office or go back home. That whatever little free time that I have while I am driving or moving in public transport is the only time that I will have for myself and to be honest, chatting with someone or checking mails won't be the 1st thing on my mind then :)
Tell me will you yourself feel the need of activating your GPRS service and paying though the nose for it to view your yahoo/rediff/gmail mails on your mobile??? Unless of course if you are waiting for some coveted job opening reply. Yes, probably as a curiosity they would check it out, which I will confess, even I do, but not as a long term thing. And as far as chatting is concerned, again as you move up the ladder and work increases, how often do you get time to really chat with someone? And in most of corporates with all IM blocked, slowly you get over it and you get time for chatting only when you actually have time for it and that is mostly at home when you are catching up with personal mails, orkutting or sending that personal mail which you couldn't do from office. Activating my GPRS and paying 12 rs everyday for it besides monthly fee just to chat thru my mobile and that too only when I am not accessing net on my system (which is if I am on vacation or in public transport)...is not my cup of tea.
So to sum up my take is that the primary audience for applications like these are the college kind of gang, love birds, Lukha vella log who are optimistic that through chatting they can find their dream partners, young bachelors (MTs, graduate software engineer trainees) who have ample of time besides work and don't know how to spend or the Lokesh that he was from 1998 to 2004 - the baap of chatting arena which many of the current readers would vouch for. :)
What's your take on this thing? Would love to know.