With mobile phone brand O2 poised to launch i-mode technology in the UK, what opportunities will such technology afford brand owners and designers?

Japan’s 40 million i-mode subscribers can use their mobile handsets for any number of tasks that previously required Internet access. They can send and receive e-mail, check the weather, view sports results, download ring-tones, play games, do their banking on-line, purchase air and train tickets, download images and music, look for restaurants and meet new friends. So there are plenty of opportunities, the challenge for designers and service providers is to make these services simple to use, engaging and appealing.

Mark Delaney, Director, Plan

Thanks to the true transactional opportunities offered by the i-mode technology available from O2, participating companies can now offer consumers a ‘branded world’ rather than simply a branded message. Pushing forward what was previously considered to be one of the more restricted media, i-mode presents designers with the opportunity to design the whole ‘experience’, rather than simply laying out content.

Gary Holt, Executive creative director, Lambie-Nairn

Web on the mobile phone is certainly not new and has come a long way from black and white WAP services. Neither is i-mode new, and despite success in Japan, the system has failed to take off in Europe. Whatever nature the technology takes, there is a wealth of opportunity in the design of mobile games, services and information that can be downloaded through 3G, 2G or i-mode. It’s a challenge, demanding knowledge of technology and usability on the part of the consumer, but design is a vital part of the business success of these services.

Clive Grinyer, Director of design & usability, Orange Global Products

With most mobile phones at the same point we were with TVs a few years ago – your choice is limited to a few channels and half of them still have black and white screens – i-mode technology should deliver to consumers the service equivalent of attaching a satellite dish on to the side of your mobile and tuning in the set-top box – bring it on!

Adam White, Creative partner, Factory Design

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