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Wireless E-mail Tops PDA Users' Wish Lists

November 14, 2001

A survey commissioned by wireless networking company Motient Corp. (NASDAQ:MTNT) says the ability to access and use e-mail wirelessly from a personal digital assistant (PDA) ranked first on PDA users' wish lists. In addition, the survey revealed that wireless applications, such as the ability to track stocks, review restaurants, locate addresses and get traffic and weather reports are "extremely important" to the PDA user's lifestyle.

Coupled with e-mail capabilities, the survey uncovered that the top three most important functions that PDA users consider when making a wireless device purchase decision are reliability of the network on which the device runs, mobility, and the cost of the device and monthly airtime fees.

"People want to stay connected and they want reliability,'' said Peter B. Belman, vice president of marketing and brand management for the Reston, Va.-based Motient. "Our core offering -- a reliable means to stay connected wirelessly -- is validated by these findings."

Additional survey highlights include:

PDA users between the ages of 31 and 40 account for 31 percent of responses followed by PDA users 21 to 30 at 28 percent of responses;

More than 36 percent of those surveyed own a Palm V series handheld, making it the most popular PDA;

The top three user application functionalities include calendar and contact information, tied at 77 percent, followed by the ability to use other business applications at 40 percent;

When asked what characteristics or new applications are most important for future devices, survey answers revealed increased storage/RAM, faster transmission speed of data and real-time wireless email; and

Men are almost twice as likely to use PDAs than women.

The survey also addressed coverage issues, constraints and limitations. Among those polled, loss of coverage was a major problem, with more than 44 percent of respondents reporting they always lost coverage in a tunnel, 41 percent lost coverage in the subway, 31 percent in a basement or underground facility, 28 percent in an elevator and 14 percent outside a metropolitan area.

Motient, together with public relations firm Hill and Knowlton, administered the national survey targeting PDA users in 11 pre-selected U.S. cities. This survey was conducted with the purpose of uncovering information on PDA users' current usage habits, preferences and desires for future functionalities of their PDA devices. Industry studies by design involve small samples of participants for exploratory research purposes. This survey was sent to 5,213 registered PDA users. The survey garnered participation from 4.8 percent of those targeted, or 254 people

Motient owns and operates the largest data network in the U.S. and provides two-way mobile and Internet communications services principally to business customers and enterprises. Motient sells a number of two-way messaging services including the BlackBerry by Motient, eLink and MobileModem.

By Roy Mark. Copyright 2001 INT Media Group, Incorporated


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