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Understanding Mobile Discovery

Search and discovery market grows as users demand a more personalized mobile experience

The design of the mobile user interface (UI) has been stable for many years, only undergoing minor changes as handsets become more feature-rich. UI uniformity still exists across most mobile phone vendors, particularly when it comes to the approach of organizing functions, content, and the menu structure. However, with the growth of smartphones and the improved functionality of mid-range handsets, virtually all of which have embedded browsers, the design of existing UIs is seriously impeding a user's ability to find what they want on their mobile phone and on the Internet. The answer? Mobile discovery.

On-device discovery may sound like one of the more predictable evolutions in the mobile industry, but it is fundamental for both operators and users. For operators, it can aid the growth of mobile advertising and the usage of advanced data services, and can lead to increased ARPU. For users it will enhance their overall mobile experience.

The History for Search and Discovery
Mobile discovery is often categorized with mobile search. Search has been an industry buzzword for the past few years and is the fundamental link that stands between the user and mobile content and services. The evolution of mobile search came about after operators realized that providing standard Internet keyword results did not work on mobile, and operators wanted to move toward providing more relevant, contextual, and action-based results. Vendors realized that this evolution from network to device would take time as search vendors needed to re-vector their products to accomplish this. As this occurred, another market segment bubbled up in 2007 - mobile discovery.

Mobile discovery is focused on finding and using features, services, and content on the mobile phone. By complementing the UI, mobile discovery allows access to these device features without the user needing to remember how or where to locate them. They are simply accessible through the keypad by entering real words to easily find and do things. The premise is simple - leverage the traditional user journey from dialing a telephone to sending a text to discovering the possibilities offered by their mobile phone. This evolution is from device to network as the user discovers layers from contacts to call log, music to videos, and operator content to Internet content. Ultimately, mobile discovery and mobile search are opposite sides of the same coin, showcasing the possibilities of the device for consumers with a compelling user experience.

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Milos Djokovic is the chief operating officer and chief technology officer for Zi Corporation. He is a proven software industry executive and innovator with a strong history of founding and developing technology companies and formulating the operational strategies necessary to help them grow and mature. Milos holds a bachelor's degree in computer engineering and management science from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

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