3 The Technology of Mobile Market Research

INTRODUCTION

This chapter looks at the hardware and software that define today's mobile world, in the context of what market researchers might want to know. Given the speed that mobile technology is advancing, the book does not seek to be a technical manual; it aims to create a framework of understanding.

Topics covered in this section include:

  • Types of mobile devices
  • Connecting with mobile participants
  • The mobile ecosystem
  • The features of mobile phones
  • Mobile operating systems
  • Location-based services.

This chapter focuses on technologies that are in use currently and that impact the world of market research. Beyond today's technologies there are a variety of new innovations, for example the use of wearable technologies and biometrics. These advances are covered as part of the Evolving Picture chapter towards the end of the book.

TYPES OF MOBILE DEVICES

There are a variety of mobile devices that are of interest to market researchers. Each device has something in common with the other mobile devices, but each also has something unique.

From a research point of view, mobile devices can be thought of as falling into one of three broad categories:

  • Smartphones
  • Feature phones
  • Tablets (including PDAs and phablets).

There are also other devices such as wearable technologies (e.g. Garmin Vivofit and Google Glass) and GPS navigation systems that are mobile, but are not yet part of the standard market research tool kit.

SMARTPHONES

The ...

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