Posted September 24, 2009 7:08 am by with 0 comments

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Old Cell PhoneAll of the talk these days is about smart phones. The iPhone, BlackBerry and Android’s of the world often get the bulk of the media attention but there’s more to the mobile market. AT&T is seeing that as it is now enabling non smart phone users who use ‘older’ phones to see some of the same local advertising that the smart phone people do. Personally, I am not sure if this is a blessing or a curse for those legacy phone users but that’s not for me to decide.

ClickZ reports on some information passed along at the Mobile Ad Summit in New York as Matt Crowley, CMO, AT&T Interactive talked about this approach

AT&T Interactive has completed development of a WAP application that will open up ad opportunities for search listings seen by non-smartphone users at

Crowley briefly mentioned the new app during a larger discussion on how to target mobile consumers. Later that day, Crowley said the app, dubbed “YPmobile,” establishes dedicated top-of-page sponsored search inventory where it will deliver relevant promos for AT&T Interactive’s pay-per-call advertising clients, as well as its advertisers who pay to be featured.

It’s interesting to note that AT&T had this WAP app (let’s for fun call it their WAPplication) as Crowley put it, “sitting around”. Huh? At what point did they realize that not everyone actually has a smart phone and that there was a lot of potential being left on the table, or at least sitting around it? I have to chuckle as big because big companies probably forget about more that they already have developed than most smaller companies develop in total. Too bad the big boys often are asleep at the wheel.

Moving forward there is a general sentiment that developing apps to satisfy the wide variety of phones and platforms out there is a challenge.
Although the growth of smartphones and the app market to support them were big topics at the event, AT&T’s item underscored the fact that reaching consumers on older, “legacy” cell phones remains a formidable challenge for the interactive marketing community.

The obstacles to standardizing experiences between older and newer phones is not the only challenge for developers of mobile apps. Even within the smartphone category, it remains difficult to build experiences for multiple devices.

So it appears that as we may actually be truly entering the age of mobile for real it will not be without its pitfalls and trouble spots. As these obstacles are hit moving forward, it will be up to everyone to step back and remain realistic about just how far and how fast we can become the mobile Internet society that has already been ordained as reality.