Shocker — Making Messaging Easier Increases Uptake

Danger says that users of its devices, which account for 1 percent of US mobile users, sent 6 percent of the total mobile messages in the country in the fourth quarter of 2004. Danger cites a few factors it thinks causes such heavy messaging by its users, including its service platform and the unlimited data plan its US carrier partner, T-Mobile, offers. But it’s the one Danger’s press release glosses over — a solid user experience — that’s probably the most important. There’s no denying that the Hiptop is one of the most locked-down devices out there, and while the control operators exert over it is without a doubt frustrating, it also makes on important difference: the thing works as it’s supposed to right out of the box, a luxury noticeably absent from many phones. And while the Hiptop user interface is also frustratingly closed, it does its supported functions — IM, email, and so on — quite well. And of course, having a nice keyboard doesn’t hurt messaging either. So while people sit around and scratch their heads trying to figure out why MMS failed, the strengths of the Hiptop offer a few lessons for success.

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