Posts Tagged ‘ mobile phone ’

2009 will be difficult for mobile phone producers

The economic crisis will have its effect on the market of mobile phones.  Producers of mobile devices are expecting a serious fallback in 2009.  Market leader Nokia is counting on a decrease of 5% compared to 2008.  That’s more than the 1 to 4% predicted by the American research company Gartner. 
Other producers such as RIM (Blackberry) and LG have also been giving warnings about upcoming sale drops.

MobileWeb interview at Mobile Monday

At the Mobile Monday event on September 22nd, Danny Lein (CEO MobileWeb.be) was interviewed by AWT TV:

Next Mobile Monday is on November 17th, 2008 with following program:

18.30 Welcome – Wim De Waele (IBBT)
18.40 Mobile Advertising what can we expect in Belgium- Fabian Tilmant (Cleverwood)
19.00 Start-up case – Jean-Paul de Ville (Pumbby)
19.20 Debrief of MobileMonday Stockholm session – Tanguy De Lestré
19.30 Drinks and networking

More info here.
See you there!

The mobile internet train has left the station

Finally we’re there: after many years of patient evangelization we see this year the launch of the first commercial mobile internet sites. De Standaard was the first to launch his mobile news site. This was followed by several other mobile initiatives, such as De Tijd, VDAB, Jobat, Telenet, Truvo and the VRT.

The development of the mobile internet in Belgium seems to have lifted off. And this is only the beginning: when we look at our neighbouring countries, we can expect a strong growth in the offering ànd the use of the mobile internet in the coming months. In France, 25% of the 15-50 year olds uses the mobile internet on a weekly basis. In the Netherlands, 1,6 million mobile subscribers frequently use the mobile internet. In the past few years, the growth of the mobile data traffic has shown a growth rhythm of 50 – 100%.

Many companies and marketers are, with good reason, asking themselves whether they should jump the band wagon or not. Proponents see enormous business opportunities for specific mobile internet applications:

  • The possibility to stay in touch with the client or the end-user “anytime, anywhere”;
  • The capturing and monetizing of “impulse-moments”, when the mobile phone is the only device at hand of the consumer;
  • The building of a mobile user group, complementary and even larger than the users of existing media.

Critics however see mainly barriers for the implementation of a mobile internet site:

  • Many companies are only just now occupied with the building up of their corporate website and internet activities. An additional mobile platform only causes an additional complexity.
  • Some claim that the availability of a separate mobile site is not really necessary since the iPhone and its adapted Safari browser.
  • In the present difficult economical circumstances, there is not much budget available for the implementation of such new initiatives.

For many different initiatives, we – as a privileged partner – have been able to build up certain insights, which can serve to bring some perspective to the decision process:

  • Mobile internet is mostly important for young people (hence the success of the mobile version of Facebook) and professionals who want to be continuously fed with “real-time” information, as proven by the rapid success of De Standaard Mobile;
  • The consumption of the mobile internet site is often very different and complementary to this of a website (as well in intensity, time and frequency of the use);
  • The simplicity of the pages and the speed at which they charge are primary design elements at the development of a mobile internet site; most existing websites are totally not adapted for consumption on a mobile device (not even on an iPhone).

The question is no longer whether companies will launch mobile internet sites, but rather when they preferably should do this. Building up the first insights in time seems primordial to us to have a good position in this fast developing market. The companies that now have, within a limited budget, the guts to launch their first projects will without a doubt be able to get the benefits from this on the short term. That’s what they call: “first movers’ advantage”.

Google unveils own mobile g-phone: the T-Mobile G1

Yesterday, after months of anticipation, internet search giant Google unveiled their own mobile phone.  The mobile device, manufactured by HTC and developed in collaboration with mobile operator T-Mobile, has been baptized the T-Mobile G1.   It will start quite a competition with the popular iPhone of rival Apple.  The handset, which is based on Google’s Android platform, will be available in US stores on October 22nd for $179, which is 20 dollars cheaper than the iPhone.  It comes with a 2-year subscription with T-Mobile.

the T-Mobile G1

At first glance, the design seems to us a bit less sophisticated.  It’s thicker but narrower than the iPhone.  Many of its features are similar to the iPhone and Blackberry: touch screen, trackball navigation, 3G, Wi-Fi, e-mail, GPS,…  Advantage over the iPhone is the Qwerty keyboard and a higher resolution camera (3 megapixel). However, the G1 can’t shoot video, while the iPhone can. 

To compete with Apple’s iTunes store, the T-Mobile G1 offers access to 6 million MP3 songs in the Amazon store.  And of course, there are lots of Google applications integrated in this smartphone: Google maps, Gmail, Youtube.  The mobile device is also aimed to boost Google’s open source Android software platform.

Surely, we’ll hear lots more about this new toy in the coming days & weeks!
Full product presentation can be found on www.t-mobileg1.com/

Combined sales for mobile phones? Yes please!

With the recent launch of the iPhone 3G, the discussion about combined sales of mobile phones and mobile subscriptions in Belgium has started again. According to an article in De Tijd on September 13th, the European Commission wants to have this ban on combined sales lifted.  As a service provider, we are a very much in favour of making such combined sales possible. This is an absolute necessity to stimulate the development of new multimedia services on mobile networks and to give this young and promising industry a chance to blossom.

Belgium has once again made the international news tribunes with less favorable news: we have the most expensive iPhones 3G in Europe in the shops of Mobistar. Benoit Scheen, CEO of Mobistar, excused himself for this at the launch of the iPhone 3G. He mentioned the lack of combined sales between mobile subscription and mobile device as principal reason for this high price tag. Minister Q, who is busy these days with the planning of the telecom policy, hurried to express his discontent on this ban as well. Even Test-Aankoop – who is generally against combined sales – explicitely spoke in favour of lifting the ban under certain conditions.

In other countries, for example The Netherlands, where combined sales are allowed, the iPhone is marketed at considerably lower prices. In certain packages, the iPhone is even offered at 1 euro. Without any doubt, such low price tags lower the access barriers for the purchase of new multimedia devices. This way, the mobile phone park is renewed much quicker. On average, most users also buy better quality devices.

We also see the combining of mobile devices to subscriptions erases another important barrier in the adoption of new services: the devices are all properly confiured at purchase. From my own experience: GSM with Orange subscription bought for 1 euro in the Fnac in Paris. 5 minutes after purchase: ready to use and surfing on Orange World. In Belgium, we can only dream of this.

Because of the ban on combined sales, the penetration and the use of new mobile internet services is a lot lower in Belgium than in countries who do allow this. In France for example, about 25% of all mobile subscribers between 15 and 50 years old uses the mobile internet every day. Because of the lack of combined sales Belgium risks to get seriously behind in this market. That is not only a bad thing for the mobile operators, who desperately need the revenues from data services to achieve their growth goals. It is also a missed chance to build up a local mobile multimedia industry, with the loss of employment as a result. The amount of companies active in this sector in Belgium can be counted on one single hand.

We are hereby calling on all policy makers, including minister Magnette who in De Morgen reacted rather negative on the initiative of the European Commission: lift the ban on combined sales and open the gate to a growing and florishing mobile multimedia activity in Belgium. We are convinced that in the end the consumer will get better from this as well, with better devices and more mobile services available.

Book: Mobile Web Design

I took some time on my Monday morning to finish Cameron Moll’s book ‘Mobile Web Design’.  Here at MobileWeb, we already have good experience in mobile web design, so I’ve put our mobile campaigns to the test, as described in this book.  Glad to report we seem to be doing a good job! 🙂  Still, Cameron Moll gives great insights and lots of tips & tricks to everyone who is, or wants to be, involved in designing for the mobile phone.    Importantly, Moll doesn’t just stress the do’s and don’ts, but also points out that for mobile web design a different approach is needed than for web design.  After all, many people see the mobile site as just an extension of their internet site and forget that a mobile phone user on a bus or walking down the street has a different kind of user experience than someone at his desk behind his laptop.  That must be kept in mind when designing for the mobile web.

You can order ‘Mobile Web Design’ here.  Available both in PDF e-book and print paperback.

Order your copy of 'Mobile Web Design'

New mobile phone…

Courtesy of Garfield.com