LATimes about cell phones services

Put a cellphone to work — to locate friends, avoid traffic, find a cafe, check show times — and you mobilize your Susan Carpenter:

Cellphone users tend to fall in two camps — those who use their phones to make calls and those who use them for everything else, such as listening to music, getting restaurant recommendations, receiving instant traffic updates and otherwise planning their weekends. (...) Largely unknown to the masses but enthusiastically embraced by die-hard cellphone fanatics and techno geeks, a bevy of mobile content options have come to market in the last year or so. And the release rate of these on-the-go offerings continues to race along at breakneck speed. It's just their adoption by your average, everyday cellphone user that is slow. (...)"Oh my God, Logan's here!" she announced, reading the message delivered via Dodgeball. A sort of Friendster for mobile phones, Dodgeball is a social-networking program that lets subscribers announce their location to a preselected group of friends and friends of friends that has been established online. "The big thing in L.A. is you just need an ice-breaker in order to start talking to someone," said Elizabeth, who moved to L.A. from New York a year ago.

"[Dodgeball] sends you a photo, and if you find them, it's like, 'Hey, you're on the website,' and it's not as awkward as randomly approaching someone for no reason," added Elizabeth, who met her friend Daniel Hengeveld because she saw his picture on Dodgeball.

Yes it's the same situations as explained in the article about Mogi Mogi I blogged about yesterday: physical proximity is a trigger for social encounters, 'ice-breaking' as stated in this LA Times article.

The article also interestingly tackles the limits of cell phone services:

As exciting as these new developments are, using them can be frustratingly slow. For many cellphone users, they are also too expensive and/or too complicated. (...) The barriers, Zutaut says, are the phones themselves and the technological limitations of the mobile service networks. On the phone side, it's a matter of processing power, screen size and keypad functionality. As for carriers, it's how quickly they can deliver data, and the price they charge to deliver it.

Moreover, I like the final statement:

"People oftentimes don't fully understand what the technology or the service offerings could provide and oftentimes can't visualize how it would impact their lives.

"In a couple years, when their teenage kids are using it, they think, 'That would be really cool.' " [says Allyn Hall, director of wireless research for In-Stat]