Tag Archives: mobile

The Apple Watch comment

It’s a very quick one – and one has to write something anyway after such a long hiatus. Even though we’re talking about pretty different things, both the Watch and the Research Kit have Apple taking on different verticals (luxury, healthcare), the “traditional” industries that are very much any agency or consutling firm clients base. In the automotive industry e.g. we’re seeing self-driving cars coming both from technology or service platform leaders (say Google, Uber) and the conventional automotive players. I guess this is a kind of different competition that it’s worth exploring with clients.

On a general note, I enjoyed the news discussion from the Leo Laporte Twit tech podcast élite (as usual). Here is the link to the 9th of March edition of Tech News Today.

“Smartphones”: market share & usage data

After every quartery release industry analysts, experts and all comment on the latest market share data, based on sales in that timeframe — something a bit misleading if you think about the expression “market share”: in fact, these numbers does not tell much about the actual distribution (i.e. platform share in a given period: look e.g. at the market share of Symbian, RIM and iOS published alongside this FT piece on Nokia CEO troubles, in which you have Symbian declining from over 60% in 2006/2007 to slightly above 40% in 2010, RIM moving from less than 10% in 2006 to 20% in 2010 and Apple iOS raising to something like 15% after the 2009 slightly higher peak; sorry for not being precise but the chart is very small… precious exact figures are missing ofc).

Update: via @tomiahonen I just found a Reuters infographics, Strategy Analytics data, that shows the general dynamic very well.

This is not to say that this information is not important: of course it is, 100%, for a number of obvious reaasons. But there is big but here in my opinion: if we want to look at the “user” side of the coin (end-user or business), then discussing smartphones market share makes sense as long as they are accompanied by some data on the actual usage of the specific capabilities that make them different (supposedly “smart”) when compared to “dumb” phones: i.e. online applications usage, be they related to Web app/mobile sites or native apps. Even in this case, we would still be at a very high level, unless we discuss about some sort of activity or product/service category: e.g. search, games, social networks etc.

To make the point clearer, look e.g. at the chart below, taken from a MocoNews.net post on a recent Pew survey:

In other words: we might well have a relatively small number of iPhones around, but if iPhone users (or Android users, or whatever) are those mostly actively browsing the mobile Web, using and spending on mobile apps, searching and possibly clicking on those paid search ads etc. then this is what matters most from a business and marketing perspective.

Now, data on mobile products/services usage vis-à-vis actual smartphone penetration divided by platform do not seem easily available, at least in the public domain — or am I wrong?

Update (27-7-2010): cf. e.g. these conclusions from a Yankee Group report (Why iPhone matter; premium access only, the following quotation is from the public executive summary): Two-thirds of iPhone owners use the mobile Web daily … Plus, iPhone owners download more apps, are more interested in mobile transactions and conduct more mobile e-commerce than users of other [smartphone platforms I guess — it’s truncated right there!]

PS: I put the quotation marks on smartphones in the post title for the same reason: Wikipedia tells that a smartphone “allows the user to install and run more advanced applications based on a specific platform” and then that they “run complete operating system software providing a platform for application developers”. Still you can use a smartphone pretty much in the same way of a dumb phone, as perhaps one went for it for other reasons than the possibility to use apps, the mobile Web and the likes. In short, couldn’t be this one the case for so many Nokia smartphones around? (especially in Europe) Smartphones are not created equal…

Latest “Internet trends” from Mary Meeker

Mobile business and online advertising enthusiasts have welcomed this latest deck from Mary Meeker, perhaps the most famous Wall Street Internet analyst to date (see the Wikipedia bio). I noticed it on the blog of London-based mobile agency Addictive (their weekly Mobile Fix is also worth reading).

The presentation has been given at a major industry event in New York just a couple of days ago. I read somewhere that Meeker has been often credited with an outstanding capability to capture big trends early on. So, her takes on the “unprecedented early stage growth” of the mobile Internet are of particular interest for all of those concerned with mobile things.

Meeker co-authored a seminal report on then emergent Internet industry more than 10 years ago — “The Internet report”. There is a digital version available from the Morgan Stanley web site but it comes also in book form from Amazon. The picture below is from KPCB site.

Mary Meeker portrait
Mary Meeker (pic from KPCB site: http://www.kpcb.com/partner/mary-meeker)

Android surge vs. iPhone repeats Windows vs. Apple pattern

This is not the blurb of some Google enthusiast or Apple hater but the reasoning of Fabrizio Capobianco, the CEO of Funambol and a leading voice in the industry, especially when it comes to mobile and open source. See the original post (published about one week ago. 9th of November 2013 update: failed to open page…) for the complete commentary on the NPD data on US 2010 Q1 sales reported below (again, copypasted from Fabrizio’s blog 9th of Nov. 2013 update: same data and image now taken from this post at Android and Me blog by Taylor Wimberly).

smartphone operating system unit share trend circa 2010

In short, the parallel drawn by Fabrizio is about the contrast between better but closed operating systems (the ones from Apple) on one side and not vertically integrated / somewhat open alternatives on the other side (Windows in the past for the PC, now Android for mobile — yesss, not open source on the MS side 😉 The end result is that Apple’s share in the PC market never reached high marks.

Any pattern recognition? I bet. That’s the PC business. One Apple operating system which was closed, and one Microsoft operating system that hardware manufacturer could adopt and ship at “low” cost (for the time). Apple was better and now they have 4% of the PC OS market share.

via Mobile Open Source

Two personal takes:

1, We all have heard the argument that you can run a very successful company with a small share of the market; but it can be counter-argued that the perspective of the analysis above is not focused on a single corporation as such, but on general market dynamics, which at some point in the future could indeed impact the performance of any company in the arena.

2, I know that I am mixing (real 😉 apples and pears, but the surprising NPD data are a striking confirmation of the expectations about future mobile OS diffusion expressed by the respondents to the RTM survey on which I blogged about a while ago (it was: Android first, iPhone second, but now it looks like it could be a very distant second).

Update: I noticed that Apple has publicly reacted to the NPD data claiming that “this is a very limited report on 150,000 U.S. consumers responding to an online survey”, as reported by Reuters and others. Furthermore, Apple reference to another report by IDC on global market sales for mobile vendors in 2010 Q1 highlights also how big is the difference for Nokia penetration in the US vs. the global markets. BTW, perhaps analysts shoud measure (OS) platforms and device vendors together (terminology discussions on “smartphone” vs. “mobile converged devices” might be interesting but they are not very practical).

Sketching mobile application concepts on paper

Sometimes I am faced with a little bit of wonder or surprise when I suggest to sketch application concepts on paper — even from expert professionals. So the video below comes handy; I just found it by chance on Pixelthread‘s blog, a London agency, and the video itself is from Adaptive Path.

PS: students often hear me talking about the new meaning of sketching in the digital/ubicomp realm, a discourse largely drawn on the work of Bill Buxton; still, it’s nice to see here something in the more literal sense (of course, sketching as drawing is also part of the analysis of Buxton).

400.000 people at 4G speed in Nordic Wonderland

TeliaSonera today switched on LTE networks in Stockholm and Oslo with coverage for 400,000 customers.

via 4G network goes live for lucky few • The Register.

I first heard about 4G technologies when I started attending conferences on telecommunications technologies back in 2004 — at that time we were just starting Mobilife, a big collaborative R&D project about “B3G” mobile applications and services. I travelled quite a lot since then in the Nordic countries, and I have always marvelled at how fast they are in adopting new things, quite simply — and I guess you don’t need to be a technoenthusiast (I am not) to agree. Anyhow, the news from the Register is a worhty and fun reading.  It will be intersting to see what will come out of this.TeliaSonera today switched on LTE networks in Stockholm and Oslo with coverage for 400,000 customers.

via 4G network goes live for lucky few • The Register.

From (mobile) walled gardens to carriers stores

Verizon Wireless came up with a series of announcements geared to new revenue streams in the emerging world of the mobile cloud and open web services. As well as its M2M venture with Qualcomm, it hosted its first developer conference, showing off the Vcast application store and throwing open the doors to its traditionally tightly guarded network. “Our future success is no longer in the walled garden,” Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam told the developers gathered in Silicon Valley.

“It’s a new day [in wireless],” McAdam said in his keynote and webcast to developers. “Our success is tied to you.” He stressed the advantages that carriers stores – as opposed to those from device or software makers like Apple, Microsoft and Google – bring to programmers, notably access to mobile subscribers and their personal data and preferences, plus a familiar billing platform. Like Vodafone, the US cellco is creating open APIs to allow developers to hook into Verizon’s billing system, to support one-click purchasing, and into other subscriber platforms within the network, such as location-based services, presence, and messaging.

via Vcast store finally destroys walled garden at Verizon – Rethink Wireless.

Having just posted about Vodafone Live! death, I couldn’t resist to quote again from Rethink Wireless on another “walled garden” happy end. So, now it’s “carriers stores” time. They are expected to offer some concrete advantages over the leading Apple Store and other followers, in terms of telecom-specific features (if I got it right, the money for the developer would be the same 70%). On a personal note: the Live! news brought me back to MobiLife business modelling times; this one to the SPICE business modelling work, with smart people at IBBT, NTNU, Telenor, Telecom Italia and Telefonica.

(Vodafone) Live! is dead

Vodafone is to dump its once all-important Live brand as it revamps its mobile web strategy […]

Vodafone Live was a ground breaker in its time, making the cellco the first major outside the Far East to recognize that it needed to associate itself with a software experience and web portal. But its operator-centric approach still clung to the walled garden, and has become old-fashioned in the world of app stores and open web services. Now Vodafone will adopt a new portal structure and brand – the unoriginal My Web – boasting all the features that the modern consumer supposedly wants, such as personalization and integration of social networking and messaging.

via Vodafone drops Live brand as European cellcos regroup – Rethink Wireless

Big news for me and everyone I think following mobile business / mobile design things. Vodafone Live! has been one of the biggest operator-led service ventures over the last few years (in Europe — note the careful distinction about the Far East above). It started in 2002. At that time I was dropping extra office hours with Neos friends to get onboard the MobiLife proposal and consortium, and we made it. Then, as I was working on business models with MobiLife folks in 2004-2006, we often made references to Live! as a typical operator-driven model, quite far away from the opennes envisioned in the project. Now let’s see how the new My Web will look like.

NABA multidisciplinary team wins Nokia NUP-Nokia University program recognition

Fabio Mattia, Rossella Scicolone and Lara Gianotti, students respectively in the Media, Fashion and Graphic Design program at NABA, have won the 3rd placement in the 2008 edition of NUP-Nokia University Program, an annual challenge sponsored by Nokia Italy and addressed usually to Economics and Engineering faculties. Thanks to Alberto D’Ottavi, the NABA Media Design school was invited to join this edition, which in itself has been an achievement, since it has been the first and only design school selected.

Fabio (Media Design) put together a multidisciplinary team inviting two other students from different domains (Rossella from Fashion and Lara from Graphic Design). Alberto and myself have supervised the work. To me it has been especially interesting for the double reason that Fabio was in my Design Methodology / Philosophy of Design class and that the topic of the challenge (“How the Internet device of the future will look like?”) was very much in line with the work done over the last few years on beyond 3G / ubicomp application and services (the service side was also stressed by the reference to OVI in the brief).

The main objective was to develop a concept and articulate it with service ideas and an early business perspective. As obvious, the differences among the various participants were quite evident. Most of the presentations from Economics and Engineering programs were pretty much centred about one or another technology idea, expanded into a bigger marketing picture (some provided even TV spot snippets and campaign budgets), even though others put a considerable effort also in physical mock-ups and benefit analysis. NABA students were drawn instead on a design perspective in which service scenarios and device sketches were perhaps more tied together.

From the educational point of view, I really enjoyed having a chance to practice with the students some of the key issues that I try to teach in my class: design as a team-based, distributed, multidisciplinary work in which intangible, service aspects are related in many ways to physical ones, from the functional, social and esthetical point of views. Furthermore, as the final day was hosted in Roma at Roma Tre University (namely by professor Carlo Alberto Pratesi), Nokia kindly invited the team to bring there some classmates. At the end we were almost 25 people, travelling from Milano to Roma and back to Milano in one day; 9 hours on the high speed train, but it looks like that everyone had a good time… (Friends might wish to check the Facebook photo album).