Mobile Nature :

iPad International Data Plans, Will Cost Deflect User Acceptance?

The acceptance or rejection of a device or user pattern is not just dependent on great industrial design, interface and user experience -price and availability can be just as much a part of user experience.

A successful product acceptance and the subsequent user pattern change depends on many factors. None can be ignored if the desired goal is to create a platform on which to build further sales and expansion, both as leverage and/or affiliation.

Branding and buzz peaked people’s interest. Its unique form factor, sometimes refereed to as ‘intimate computing’ has carried the iPad to record sales in its short release period. Its weight, size, power consumption, fluid wireless connectivity has kept it in that sweet spot of user acceptance and expansion.

The overall price of the device has been keenly chosen to be just affordable enough and yet, at the same time, a premium enough price to not fall into a commodity backwater. Its focus on immediate computing: content consumption, gaming and casual creation has guaranteed its hold on this position.

Even competition will not affect this situation. More manufacturers and their devices will only confirm and further define this new user pattern. The bold outliers will describe what is at the edge of acceptance, they will fall away, while stiff competition at he center of this market will further describe the acceptable foundations.

Further app based development both general and vertical solutions for key industries will establish an ever more intractable embedding of these devices and their uses into daily life, they will move further and further from the novel to the everyday.

What threatens all of this is the overall cost of connectivity. Wireless telecoms have seen this opportunity as a gold mine and an opportunity to shift the argument of net neutrality to wireless from land lines, –a battle that they are likely to lose. In the mobile wireless space they feel more comfortable applying charges that would be ridiculous in any other network service.

A user subscribing to DSL or cable Internet access does not pay more when they buy an additional computer, laptop or otherwise. The connection has been installed, the bandwidth established and maybe the per month cap of bits. This is the given use of the user, it would be ludicrous to consider charging them more if they had another computer on their service. The consumer would not tolerate it.

Yet mobile wireless carriers think nothing of asking a customer to pay more for tethering or adding a device such as an iPad. If the customer pays $75 a month for an unlimited data plan for an iPhone an wishes to add an iPad it is an additional $14.99 for 250 Mb or $25 for 2Gb per month. Considering the user can only consume so much data per month this artificial sectoring of devices is more the sign of a non competitive monopoly than any real cost and profit structure.

The greater negative outcome will be a compressed market for downstream, added value economies growing from apps, services and other development based on the platform. Overall consumption by customers will be reduced because the pool of acceptance is smaller for both the device and the apps/services resting on the platform.

Consumers, governments and the rest of the telecom economy should be concerned. Everyone should understand that the definition of user experience includes very aspect of the user pattern: design, user experience and cost. Just as in nature, one cannot focus on just one species to make a successful biome, it requires a multitude of species in a viable terrain to arrive at a healthy environment.

  • email
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • FriendFeed
  • Reddit
  • Technorati
  • HackerNews
  • NewsVine
  • Google Buzz
  • viadeo FR
  • NuJIJ
  • LaTafanera
  • Wikio IT

, , , , , , , , , , ,