The Commuter’s Shopping Impulse

A good piece that explores the point I was trying to make earlier about the commuter element in cellphone service adoption, from Reuters’ Sachi Izumi (via

Someone needs to look closely at the link between flat free pricing for mobile browsing and m-commerce (yeah I don’t like calling it that either, but it’s there to differentiate between buying online and buying on the mobile. I’m sure the distinction will blur eventually). Japan’s burst in mobile commerce ahead of the rest of the world is impressive, and it’s all to do with people being stuck with their phones for company for long periods. Jun Hasebe, an analyst at Daiwa Institute of Research: “Impulse shopping accounts for most of the purchases done on mobile phones, and that would not usually happen unless users are on flat fee-based services.” Phones, in a word, have become more like our friends than our friends are.

The only thing holding this back? Fear of fraud. Most people don’t like punching in their credit cards to their phones, although this may have as much to do with where they are (public places, public transport) than it is about actual fraud. One reason I think facial recognition as authentication will play a big role.

This week’s column – Airtexting, Airport Pickups and Airheads

This week’s Loose Wire column is about mobile phones and how they are not just changing us, but the world we live in:

 The thing about mobile phones is that they have changed how we communicate (via 160-character bursts of text), how we perceive the world (it’s never less than a phone call away, unless we left it at home in which case we go back for it). But how are our phone habits changing the world we live in–and in the process changing what our mobile phones can do?

Full text at the Far Eastern Economic Review (subscription required, trial available) or at (subscription required). Old columns at here.