The Observer ran a piece on how Google and Orange could soon be getting together to launch a new handset that is based on Google software within an Orange Smartphone. Now the idea is that you will be able to search the web wherever you are!
But guys, I can already do that today on my Orange handset thanks to Opera Mini. What makes Orange think that working with Google they can make it any easier. It is not the case with T-Mobile's Web'n'Walk solution that I have on another phone. In fact it is so poor that I bye pass it and use Opera Mini.
If I was advising Orange I am affraid that I would have to say if you want to get back to the good old days with the Brand invest in Customer Service! What the networks need to do is work on get the number of minutes of use up befoe thinking that they can grab back losed revenues from getting us to surf the web on our mobiles.
Last week I conducted a little experiment with everyone I saw using the same handset as mine. Most of them had the handset for less than two months, none of them were using any data services as they saw them as too expensive. When I asked why the had selected the handset all said because it had a great camera. Asked what they did with the photos they took all said that they stayed on the handset as they were yet to work out the best way to transfer them, but they were not going to use the networks email or mms based solutions as they were too expensive. One did say that her son had uploaded a few picutures to ebay and that they were impressed at the quality.
No if this not very scientific study showed that a number of professionals were happy to have the technology but were not using the technology as they saw it as a rip off then any plan that involves getting people to use data services is flawed. I think that if I were running a mobile network the first thing I would seek to do is build trust with my customers then once they saw thet I was not about to rip them off start to rollout non voice based services. Telling the press and analysts that you have a compelling data service that has done well in trials might be good for short term PR but it does not put money in the bank!
On another note when your brand is tarnished don't expect that you can benefit from the glow of the new Brand darling all that it will do is show how dim your star has become. FT are better off fixing the problems within Orange than looking at how they can make money from getting its customers to watch adverts on their phones.