As the iPad 2 comes to the UK (the line up in Covent Garden today was insane) and talk of the Blackberry Playbook is still going on – side note to RIM, a year of build up before launch is way too much – I thought it was interesting that RIM was focusing so much attention to tablet devices and not looking at hand held mobile non telephone devices. Basically the Nintendo DS and the iPod Touch.
It really strikes me as odd that no one is talking about the iPod Touch and how this is a strong seller and growing amongst younger users. Sure, teens love BBM, I’ve seen this on the train repeatedly (where I conduct most of my user observations with people sending me weird looks repeatedly), and this makes a lot of sense as BBM is “cool” and teens like using something their parents aren’t using (parents using iPhones, teens wanting blackberrys). With roughly 2 iPod Touch units sold for every 3 iPhones this is a pretty big user base.
I’m seeing lots of younger teens and kids using iPod touch’s. From as young as our 18 month old (who can unlock, start an app and watch YouTube) to friends’ 4 year olds, 7 year olds to older kids whose parents have deemed these kids as too young to have a phone, an iPod touch is this generation’s game boy. With one exception – it’s still a communication device. As kids get older their using apps as messaging tools.
With recent investments by both Fred Wilson and Mark Suster in “group messaging platforms “(Kik.com and Gogii – which makes textplus.com respectively) and our own in-house use of whatsapp, not to mention Skype, iCall and other messaging applicationsI can see this trend growing.
RIM’s BBM is nice, I’ve long maintained it’s the one killer app that keeps people on BBs, but as this teenage segment becomes young adults and the next generation of teenagers move on from the iPod touch to phones my guess is they’re going to want to stick with an OS they’re familiar with and groups and contacts that move seamlessly from the iPod touch they’ve been using for the past few years, wonder which phones they’ll choose?