Looking Smart With Smartphones

I don’t need to explain what a Smartphone is to most of you. That’s because you already have one.But it might be helpful to discuss a little bit about why taking advantage of Smartphones is so important – and why it can be so complicated. To start, you may not completely understand the difference between the four main “flavors’ of Smartphones.

First, there are Blackberries: phones built and sold by a company called Research In Motion (RIM), these phones have been king of the Smartphone hill – especially for business people – for a long time. Blackberries use a unique operating system which isn’t nearly as transparent (from a development standpoint) as the others on this list. Then there are Windows phones. The latest versions of these phones just came out (in the fall of 2010), and they are a huge improvement over their predecessors. As their name implies, the operating system comes from Microsoft, though the phones themselves can be built by any number of manufacturers. Windows phones were in danger of becoming an asterisk in the Smartphone race, but maybe, just maybe, they changed their ways just in time. The media darling Smartphone is Apple’s iPhone. Now that Verizon is offering an iPhone, you can use one practically anywhere, and people who have iPhones love them. Finally, there are those phones that use the Android operating system (developed by Google). There are a lot of these phones, and now that Android has had a few updates, they are working better and selling like crazy. In fact, the hottest selling Smartphones in the United States are Android phones.

What does all of this mean to your marketing efforts? If possible, it means that your web site should try to accommodate all four (!) of these different operating systems and their subsequent browsers. It means that you should make sure that your email blasts look good on a mobile platform (busy people who get poorly made emails when they are in line at the dry cleaners don’t waste time – they just throw them away and forget about them). It means that you need to pay some attention to the current death match over Flash (that plug in that allows for animated graphics and video on web sites). Right now there are two camps. Adobe (who makes Flash) and Google are in one camp: the “Flash is great” camp (of course). Apple and some other big hitters are in another camp. They hate Flash and claim that it is buggy and a security risk. In fact, iPhones can’t even view Flash content.

It can get confusing unless you have help. That’s where we come in here at Anchor. We love Smartphones. We keep track of bizarre Silicon Valley blood feuds. We were trying out new technologies like QR Codes when nobody knew what the heck they were. We know that the more consumers use Smartphones, the more we need to be ready to communicate with them on those phones. Let’s send them coupons on their phones! Let’s ask them to check in using Foursquare at your store! Let’s ask them to stop in as they drive by!

Let’s be smart about Smartphones – together. It can help your business a lot.