Archive for December, 2008

What did 2008 bring for Mobile?

As the end of year period allows some catching up on reading industry news, I came across an interesting year overview by FierceMobile, which nicely sums up the importance of the past year for the mobile industry.

1/ The iPhone pushes the Mobile Internet to the next level
apple_iphone1The iPhone was first launched in 2007, but became a worldwide hype in 2008.  For the first time, consumers started thinking of their mobile device as more than something that allows voice calls and sms messages.  Mobile Internet finally came on the radar of a larger audience.  And other mobile manufacturers followed with the launch of new smartphones with lots of interesting new functionalities.

 

2/ The App Store redefines the mobile user experience
The App Storeallows consumers to download a large variety of applications onto their iPhone.  For developers it provides an interesting platform to sell their new applications. This completely changes the user experience: no longer must subscribers troll carrier decks and retailer web sites in search of applications optimized for their particular device or operating system, or suffer through absurdly complicated download protocols. Moreover, the sheer abundance of applications available from the App Store virtually guarantees there is an app tailored for every iPhone owner, regardless of their personal wants and needs.

 

3/ Google emerges as a mobile superpower
google1Having conquered the position as #1 web search tool, it was obvious that Google would become a leader in mobile search as well.  But they didn’t stop just there.  Their open software platform Android encourages innovation on the mobile and their partnership with T-Mobile results in the launch of the G1 smartphone, up for competition with the iPhone.

 

4/ Mobile reshapes social networking – and vice versa
facebook-social-networking2The mobile hype went parallel with the growing popularity of social networks, such as Facebook and MySpace. It’s only natural that both got intertwined. 46% of social network members have visited their favorite sites on their phones, with more than half of them checking for comments and messages from their friends. A 45% have also posted status updates. In November, Facebook announced its mobile userbase has expanded from 5 million to 15 million since the beginning of 2008.  MySpace announced that same month that its integrated mobile solution customized for device maker Research In Motion’s BlackBerry smartphones generated more than 400,000 downloads in its first seven days of release. 

 

5/ Mobile messaging continues to surge
girl-sending-sms-11Economic crisis or not, people continue to send SMS text messages. In the 3rd quarter alone, the global volume for mobile messaging increased with 10%.  Several mobile trends emerged, among them messaging initiatives tied to social and political change and marketing, mobile messaging for charitable donations and a significant growth in mobile messaging by enterprises and financial institutions. Just think of the importance of the mobile in the presidential campaigns in the US.

 

6/ The mobile data pendulum swings to the US
While the US was lagging behind for years when it came to mobile data adoption and innovation, they have made up for that in 2008.  A new generation of more sophisticated and user-friendly smartphones as well as a mounting number of must-have applications have brought the US into one of the leading positions on the mobile market.

Given the many positive evolutions for the mobile industry in 2008, 2009 promises to be a very interesting year for mobile internet and mobile marketing!

Happy New Year!

French retailers test mobile wallet

Several French retail stores are testing the possibility of introducing payments by mobile phone.  These stores include Auchan, Carrefour, Fnac and Kinepolis, among others.  In a first phase, running till the spring of 2009, several possible ideas are considered during brains tormings and test ateliers.  Next up will be the transfer into technical applications and experimenting. 
The stores are not only thinking of using the mobile phone for handling payments, but also for fidelity credits, coupons and other transactions.  Basically everything should run through the mobile phone because the SIM card will contain everything that we now carry in our wallet.  This way, the mobile will be the central element in the client relationship. 

More at JournalDuNet

Mobile social networking grows 182%

At the Web Goes Mobile seminar, Paul Golding indicated that mobile social networks will be the killer app for the mobile phone.

His point seems to be proven by recent figures  of US research firms The Kelsey Group and ConStat.  These indicate that the volume of US mobile subscribers who accessed social networks via mobile device increased from 3,4% in  September 2007 to 9,6% in October 2008, which equals an increase of 182%. 

The report indicates that the Mobile Internet is used for following purposes:
– 15,6% searches for local products & services
– 14,3% searches for products & services outside the local area
– 13,7% searches for info on movies or other entertainment
– 11,7% searches for info on restaurants and bars
– 8,4% watches or purchases mobile video clips

eMarketer forecasts that by 2012 over 800 million users worldwide will access social networks via mobile device, up from 82 million in 2007.

Check the eMarketer report for more info on mobile social networking.

Operation guided by SMS

A British doctor, working in Congo for Doctors Without Borders, has operated an adolescent while following instructions given by SMS.

The doctor got confronted with a young man who was biten by a hippopotame.  To avoid gangrene and a sudden death, the man’s arm needed to be amputated.  However, the doctor had never done such a risky operation. So he contacted a colleague in London, who sent him step-by-step instructions by SMS. 

The operation worked and the man is doing fine now.

Web Goes Mobile 3: food for thought

On December 4th, the third edition of the Web Goes Mobile seminar took place. Many enthusiastic participants received new insights from a unique panel of eminent speakers. The absentees were wrong this year as well, but can still get a short summary here.

“Almost 1 million Belgians surf mobile regularly”

photo-palte Nanno Palte of Insites Consulting started off the seminar as the first keynote speaker, presenting the results of the Mobile Mapping study. This showed that 47% of the Belgian population owns a device that allows the use of the mobile internet. 19% of those visit the mobile web regularly. Most of them are young men from all income classes.

“Mobile is essential in our 0-1-7 vision”
photo-vandermeerschNext up was Peter Vandermeersch, General Editor in Chief of Corelio, who explained the mobile strategy of the group. Mobile plays an essential role in the “0-1-7” vision that was developed by the group to bring news reporting. Ever more, the news must be brought ‘hot of the press’ (on the moment “0”) to the web and the mobile (for example through SMS alerts or on the mobile site). Peter Vandermeersch made a very explicit call to all actors, not the least to the mobile operators to help encourage the market.

“The mobile phone becomes the remote control of our life”
photo-goldingPaul Golding, a British expert in Mobile 2.0 and author on the subject, brought a strong case for the development of new mobile 2.0 applications. All technological barriers that existed before, have been cleared throughout the past few years. The new “internet-centric” devices, such as the iPhone bring a new and formerly unknown user experience. That user experience encourages the development of new applications. In the creation of the mobile eco-system, Golding believes that mobile social networks will become one of the killer apps.

“We bet on the web”
photo-vanlerbergheMarc Vanlerberghe is a Belgian who plays a very important role in the development of mobile applications at Google as their Global Product Marketing Director Mobile. Google invests heavily in the mobile medium, knowing that worldwide there are already twice as many mobile users than internet/pc users.

Google notices the very strong impact of the internet capable devices such as the iPhone: the amount of search queries that enter through an iPhone is many times higher than those through other smartphones (such as Nokia or BlackBerry). The key explanation lies in the user experience and the simplicity of the browser.

Google chooses explicitly for the development of mobile web applications and not for downloadable applications. Because of the proliferation of devices and operating systems, the cost for the development, maintenance and distribution of local “on-device” applications is much too high. Furthermore, a mobile web application offers a lot more possibilities for fast innovations, because you can introduce new features in a “24 hour turnaround model”. Lastly, Google strongly stresses the open innovation model, which puts the introduction of the Android platform central.

Do you want more food for thought from the seminar? Watch the videos and the presentations on www.webgoesmobile.be

New operator Mobile Vikings offers free mobile internet

Today, December 16th at 16.16, Mobile Vikings will be launched into the Belgian market.  This new mobile operator, developed by CityLive, aims to offer free mobile internet access.  This way, CityLive wants to promote their platform of mobile applications.  The high data tariffs of the traditional operators still block the proliferation of such mobile applications.  

It’s not clear how Mobile Vikings intends to finance this free data access, but probably they’re hoping that the offering of applications will compensate for that. 

United Telecom will be the provider behind Mobile Vikings.

Google Adwords for iPhone and G1

Google has announced new campaign-level options for their Adwords application, allowing advertisers to show their text and image ads on the iPhone, the T-Mobile G1, and other mobile devices with full (HTML) Internet browsers.   This way, there’s no longer the  need to create mobile landing pages or ads in mobile formats.  

For more info, check Google’s mobile blog.

google-mobile-blog