The sorry state of UK text service innovation

James posted a comment here about Broadtexter. He noted that they don’t currently provide service in the UK and asked if anyone would like to work on a similar concept with him.

Kudos to James.

He makes a key point. What are we playing at?

What happened to rapid, fun and innovating UK text mobile development? Where are all the new UK services? I reckon on balance I’ve written about more international mobile services than British ones.

We used to lord it over America with phrases like ‘ah yes, they’re about 2-3 years behind us’. No more. If anything, they’re way ahead.

We appear to be stagnating in the UK.

If you know better, send me details of new(ish) UK based mobile services and I’ll get the word out. I’m

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

One reply on “The sorry state of UK text service innovation”

> not sure first one came through!

Hi Ewan,

I don’t think anyone ever ‘lorded’ it over the US market about innovation, it was more about carrier and service level capability. After all the US market has only has cross network SMS for about 3 or 4 years.

Sure there are lots of ‘cool’ and ‘funky’ apps coming out of the US market right now, but realistically these are no ‘funkier’ relatively speaking than the raft of innovative services that the UK market has spawned over the past 5 years. Ultimately even simple 2-way SMS is pretty much new to the US market and as such they are several years behind us in terms of ‘throwing mud to see what sticks’ and creating tonnes of new services. Today’s media is better suited and hungrier (i cite you starting this blog) to innovation and todays US service is going to find it easier to gain traction than its UK counterpart of 3 years ago.

Additional factors being the US’s relative size, and let’s not forget the ridiculous investment going around at the moment (I forget the name of the SMS reverse auction company in the US with oodles of funding, but it’s a little farcical). I could mention quite a few other services which you’ve celebrated on this site that (imho) won’t succeed (although will likely get funding – i guess it depends on your view of ‘succeed’ LOL).

Today’s UK market is still more mature than the US, and it has the benefit of several years of hindsight and experience. There are many of today’s US services that many in the UK have already thought about, or trialled/launched with, but which they cannot see profit or success in hence not getting involved now. At the same time, what you will see are better, more involved, more eloquent and ultimately more high potential services being launched out of the UK (Shozu, MobyCards, 82ASK etc etc). From a VC perspective the Palo Alto and Boston collective could do very very well indeed to look a little further afield than californian bedrooms!

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