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Today is a great day for the truth ladies and gentlemen. We've already had some light shed on the nonsense spewed out regarding Internet fraud and now it's back to our old friend, the WAP phone.

Through rigid stubbornness, we have managed to stay still while everyone else has come round to the fact that WAP phones are crap. But hang on. A lot of money has been invested in these daft things and you can PR your way out of anything. Can't you?

Well that would certainly explain the huge number of "surveys", "polls" and other nonsense in the last few months that say while WAP phones are indeed crap, people are buying them anyway and so they must good.

It was working too. Until eMarketer decided to make some money by doing a report of the "eWireless" market. To do this, it thought it would just collate previous surveys, find some patterns, write it up and then charge $795 for 241 pages.

And so it checked out 100 research organs and checked over its figures. And it discovered... absolutely no connection between them all whatsoever. In other words, everyone was making it up as they went along.

Euro Trade magazine noted the discrepancy and called up eMarketer's wireless analyst, Paul Mulligan. He made his views pretty clear. "Researchers are pulling their numbers out of thin air based on hot air," he said.

Paul also makes the point that mobile companies have grown so used to creating facts that they have even started talking about the number of 3G users they will have. "Now, we have researchers projecting usage numbers for things that don't even exist yet - like 3G services. They might as well be telling us how many people will drive wheel-less cars in 2007."

Which is all a refreshing breath of sanity. In the same way that documentary makers gradually persuaded themselves that it was okay to lie and project fiction as fact, so marketing folk have grown so used to the image being the reality that they have forgotten some basic truths.

By the way, WAP phones are still rubbish and 3G phones are years off and actually won't make your life any better.

As for the rest of the report. You can either part with $800 or know that wireless Internet users are expected to quadruple in the next four years, that half the money from such phones are expected to come from shopping, that the US is getting more advanced phones, the Europeans love text messaging and the Japanese think i-Mode is the dog's rollocks. ®

Related Links

ET Mag
eMarketer's report

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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