Wow, IHT also has another article today about i-mode which was touched upon briefly in the other article I quoted this morning, but this one goes into much more detail: I-mode slow to catch Europe's fancy which documents the failure of i-mode to cross over from Japan.
I was going to just and an addendum on my Voda post, but there's lots to learn in this article as well (wow). I love articles with real facts and figures! Though I've known for a month or so now from comments left on this blog that i-mode in the Northern Europe isn't doing too swell, this is the first article I've seen that goes into the issues.
A few things to learn from the article: Vodafone Live's 1 million subscribers is only about 2% of their European customers. Interesting - lots of room to grow. And get this: i-mode doesn't allow phones with pre-paid cards to access their service! That's incredible. I've only used a pre-paid card since I got here, I can't imagine trying to build a customer base - especially among the sought-after teen market - without pre-paid cards. Duh. Supposedly KPN is changing this now, but is it launched yet? The story doesn't say.
Here's another bomb-shell... a while ago Telefonica Moviles (my provider) announced they were going to be offer i-mode service here in Spain, but now it looks like they're not even going to use the i-mode branding and will stick with their "e-mocion" brand instead. This is interesting... I've been wondering where the hell the marketing campaign is for i-mode since its supposed to be launched in June (next WEEK!), but now I know what's going on.
The article then goes back to the basic fundamentals of why i-mode was a success in the first place, which boils down to compelling content via cHTML. The article insinuates that Vodafone is using WAP 2.0 and thus is competing with i-mode on equal ground now, but that's not the case, at least not now. This gives i-mode a window in which to gain back some lost ground in Europe, but not much. Better marketing and more compelling services.
The most interesting thing of the article? The Nokia 3650 is considered an i-mode phone. :-) Yeah, baby. Like I wrote about before, Nokia's browser has a special DOCTYPE you can use on your markup called something like XHTML+cHTML where it supports the 6 extra tags like <font> and <center> that cHTML still uses. And we've seen from the Lonely Planet example that the browser is quite fault-tolerant, thus should be able to display existing cHTML pages without much (if any) problems. Now we know why the browser's not as strict as it should be - Nokia's playing both sides of the services fence with this phone. Yeah, baby!