Mobile Social Networking

Moto-CliqThe Motorola Cliq seems to be the first compelling, hand-held device (or second if you count the Palm Pre) allowing you to “see your entire social network on one screen.”

It does so by extracting and blending together different bits of information – including social network status, messages, comments, addresses / location, e-mail addresses, websites, IM name, and phone no. -, which are available on the Internet, in your personal agenda and your address book. This is then displayed in a unified way, and can be viewed by person or by specific theme.  Any new information from popular social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, is updated in real-time.

From this perspective, calling is one of many ways for communicating with your contacts. However, up until now mobile telecom providers still require customers to take out a phone AND data contracts, for a set time period. This traditional approach allows such consumers handsets to be offered at more affordable prices through direct subsidization, while ensuring customer loyalty through the contract period.

At the same time, I can’t help but wonder if/when they will shift positioning to become more of a mobile Web communications providers. In such a case, we can imagine Cliq-based service offers focusing on messaging and/or mobile Internet access, where calling is a pay-as-you-go, optional service. In this instance, device subsidization (if any) could come through any combination of the service provider, sponsorship from the social networks services, through web advertising, or from revenue-sharing of any web transactions.

The Motorola Cliq will be available from T-Mobile US, starting at $199 with a 2-yr calling AND data plan. (See T-Mobile US)

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