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The End Game of the Mobile Address Book

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Note -- this news article is more than a year old.

According to a report commissioned by phone synchronization vendor, Funambol, the number of address books that a person uses has increased from one to more than ten over the past several years. At the same time, a person's average number of contacts has grown from 45 to 180. The number of contact points for each person has also significantly increased (e.g., six phone numbers, four email addresses, several social network and IM IDs) and the frequency at which this information changes has accelerated.

This all makes losing one's address book no longer just a minor inconvenience but a major ordeal.

From an industry perspective, the white paper describes how the mobile address book has transformed into a highly strategic asset for mobile operators. The emergence of cloud-based social address books on smartphones from Apple, Google, Nokia and others poses a grave threat to operators. These address books act as "gateways" to mobile services provided by device manufacturers which threatens to diminish the role of the operator and hasten their demise into an undifferentiated commodity.

"The industry is changing rapidly, and user contact information is moving to the cloud," said Fabrizio Capobianco, Funambol CEO. "Whichever company owns the address book owns the customer. Mobile operators are being beat to the punch by device makers, and if they do not act quickly, they risk alienating and losing their customers."

The white paper examines major trends affecting the mobile address book and describes the current crop of smartphone address books. It projects the future "end game" of the mobile address book and provides a prescription to enable mobile operators to retain control of the address book and their subscriber loyalty.

The report can be downloaded from the Funambol website (registration required).

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