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The Year of Mobile Email and Backup and Restore for the Masses
Synchronica CEO Carsten Brinkschulte Offers His Opinions on What Will Be Hot in 2008


Royal Tunbridge Wells, February 1, 2008. - 2008 will be the year when mobile email and backup and restore for mobile devices take off, in particular in emerging markets. We will see massive growth in mobile email in the consumer space due to the successful adoption of industry standards such as IMAP (LEMONADE) and SyncML, bringing high-value services to low-cost devices. Additionally, as many users now use their phone as the only repository for storing contact information, we will see an increase in operators offering consumers backup and restore services to insure their social networks when devices are lost, stolen, or upgraded.

For years, mobile operators have been striving to increase ARPU from mobile data services: MMS, mobile TV, user created content, and mobile social networking, to name some, but these services have so far enjoyed limited success. We are now seeing signs that the market for consumer mobile email is set to grow exponentially from eight million accounts last year to a massive 184 million consumer mobile email accounts by 2011*.

The popularity of email will drive increased mobile data usage and, therefore, ARPU.

Mobile Email for the Masses

Until recently, mobile email use has been limited to business users who can afford to buy an expensive smartphone and are willing to accept a costly data plan. But there have been strong signs over the course of 2007 that the age of mobile email for the masses is upon us. The combination of the adoption of industry standards enabling push email on mass market feature phones and affordable service plans is set to make mobile email for the mass market a reality. Evidence of this shift is seen in particular in emerging markets, where fixed-line infrastructure is limited and PC penetration is low, whilst mobile phone penetration is soaring.

It is my belief that the mobile operators in emerging markets now have the opportunity to make the mobile phone the primary method of accessing the internet, with mobile email probably being the most popular application for both business users and consumers. As a result, I can see mobile email consumption in the emerging markets of Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe leapfrogging the 'developed world' in Western Europe and the U.S., which will mostly remain limited to high-end business user email.

However, to make this happen, it is important to use middleware that can support the majority of the mobile phones that are already out there in those markets. Communication only works if it can be sent and received; so, by using standards such as IMAP (LEMONADE), SyncML, and email-to-SMS conversion, we will see email and synchronization services extended to every single mobile phone on the planet.

While we are all drawn to sexy new devices such as the Apple iPhone, the fact is that smartphones represent only a tiny portion of the addressable market. The vast majority of phones in use today (and in the foreseeable future) are mass market feature phones. Therefore, it is essential for service providers to offer push email and synchronization solutions that work well on the phones that are already in users' hands today. In 2008, the time is right for mobile data pricing plans to fall and, as customer numbers increase, we will start to see mobile email becoming the next generation SMS.

The problem today is that most mobile email solutions are based on proprietary protocols, requiring users to download additional client software. This approach is set to fail in the mass market, where the overwhelming majority are using feature phones that cannot effectively use proprietary clients. Time and again it has been proven that consumers won't adopt services that are hard to setup or difficult to use. They want to be able to use mobile services on standard mobile phones right out of the box - no software installation, no fiddly configuration, no expensive proprietary devices.

The only viable<


Publisher Contact Information:

Synchronica plc
+ 44 1892 552 720
info@synchronica.com

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