A few different stories out there today aren't too much on their own, but come together to highlight a significant problem facing the mobile industry: how it continually lets the latest technology race to market well ahead of suitable services or business models. First is the news that the number of Americans using mobile browsers has been pretty stagnant since the beginning of the year. In spite of that, a survey done by a telecom billing software company says mobile content will be a $9 billion business this year, with the percentage of global mobile users downloading content tripling to 60 percent. Both stories highlight a number of the pitfalls of current mobile data and content offerings: the first commentator gives a pretty damning verdict, saying the industry "has utterly failed to provide Internet handsets and services worth our time and money", while the content survey points out that operators must build better relationships with customers "to deliver high-quality services that meet the markets' needs." Neither one carries a very positive message for the industry, instead highlighting the fact that vendors and operators are often out of step with consumers, particularly when it comes to new service offerings. Their standby, tried-and-failed solution? Bring out the next generation of technology sooner, hype the hell out of it, and assume it will solve all the problems. But the real issue is that consumers are interested in not what technology can do, but what they can do with technology. Until the mobile industry -- particularly operators -- figure out they can't market technology and that they need to market compelling services and solutions, expect little change.
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