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80% of Mobile Phone Features Unused, Study Finds

David Murphy

They are becoming ever more sophisticated, yet the average mobile phone remains largely unexplored, according to a study just released by WDSGlobal, which provides support and device management services for the wireless industry. The companys survey of 500 mobile users found that only 20% of a phone's services and features are used regularly, and up to a quarter remain completely undiscovered.
For the most part, users struggled to list more than half a dozen services featured on their current mobile phone, says Doug Overton, Vice President of Consulting and Analysis at WDSGlobal. Regular usage was largely confined to voice, text messaging, address book, camera and alarm clock. Users do dip into additional services, such as the music player, Internet and games, but we found that a large proportion of features remained completely undiscovered.
Service discovery, the company suggests, is now one of the most challenging barriers to mobile service adoption. According to Overton, users often feel overwhelmed by the many features and pre-installed applications on the modern mobile phone. He says:
Poor user interfaces and complex menu structures mean that many revenue-generating services are buried several layers deep and are unlikely to be discovered. Conversely, users who know what they want often struggle to find the relevant application or service and simply give up.
The survey was conducted in support of WDSGlobal's vDevice solution. These are virtual handset simulators that allow end-users to quickly explore handset capabilities, compare features and discover new services. The company says that vDevice simulators are one of the most effective ways of helping end-users to set-up services such as mobile email and Internet browsing.
Six handsets are available, the Nokia E61i, HTC Touch, Sony Ericsson, Nokia 6110 Navigator, HP iPAQ rw6800 and Toshiba Portege G900. For each, there is a range of virtual tours, tips and tricks and tutorials, including multimedia messaging, web browser configuration and mobile email set-up. 
WDSGlobal is offering free access to vDevices samples here.