Opinion: Au One – how separate should the desktop and mobile Internet be?

September 4, 2007 at 7:07 pm

kddi_logoe.jpgLater this month, KDDI will be launching its Au One integrated portal for both PCs and mobile devices in Japan, and this has got us thinking (again) about the differences between using mobile- and desktop-oriented Internet services. We frequently argue that the mobile environment is very different from the desktop one, and that Internet-based services therefore need to address each differently. But does this imply that the two should be entirely separate, and that applications designed for one should never darken the door of the other? Clearly not. While services like Mizpee are obviously designed to be used on the move, others such as the all-conquering YouTube can be just as suitable for mobile devices as they are for desktop computers , albeit with a little tweaking here and there.

Sources indicate that the Au One service will will combine a portal for Ezweb, an Internet service for au cellular handsets, a portal for DION, an ISP service for PCs, and a portal for DUOGATE, a PC portal designed for mobile users. It will also feature personalized ads delivered using a behavioral targeting system based on usage audits of subject-specific sections of the portal. This kind of personalization is a typical example of a service feature that can work equally well in either a mobile or a desktop environment. But the implementation still has to take account of both the advantages and limitations of mobility.

We can’t say too much more about the Au One implementation as yet because it looks as if fluency in Japanese is required to get to the nitty gritty of the solution. What we can say is that value for both users and advertisers will be optimized only if the service uses the differences inherent in the fixed and mobile Internet experience to its advantage. That means focusing on detailed, multimedia and deeply interactive content on the desktop, and entertaining but quickly accessible and digestible content for mobile users, preferably with a locational aspect that enables them to extend their experience into the bricks and mortar world by, for example, recommending a nearby retailer or restaurant.

We like the fact that service providers are trying to join the dots between the desktop and mobile Internet environments – but the user experience still needs to be tailored to one or the other.

Hamish M.
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Entry filed under: dion, duogate, kddi, mizpee, mobile advertising, mobile content, youtube.

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