Posted By ] Maggie Shiels Technology reporter, BBC News, Silicon Valley
Google is set to introduce a mobile payments platform that will turn its Android smartphones into a digital wallet.
At an event in New York on Thursday, the tech giant is expected to show off the technology called near field communication or NFC.
The technology allows devices to ‘talk’ to one another wirelessly.
Consumers wave their phones in front of a reader at a checkout to pay for a purchase or to receive special offers.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that the programme will initially be launched in New York and San Francisco before being extended more widely across the US.
Retailers who are said to be taking part include deparment store Macy’s, American Eagle Outfitters and Subway fast-food chain.
While Google has made no comment on the reports, it has sent out invites to the press asking them to attend an event at its New York offices where it will show off its “latest innovations”.
Mobile network operator Sprint is also expected to take part.
“Phones, as we know, are used as banks in many poorer parts of the world—and modern technology means that their use as financial tools can go much further than that,” said Mr Schmidt.
Research firm Forrester has said it expects 40-50 million NFC equipped phones to be sold in 2011.
Apple is reportedly planning to include the technology in its upcoming iPhone 5 which is expected to be unveiled at its developer conference next month.
Samsung and Visa have said they will facilitate mobile payments via NFC on smartphones during the summer Olympics in London next year.
“Google’s Nexus S device that it recently announced is the first Android powered device supporting NFC and we expect NFC is going to increasingly become a default feature of every smartphone that is sold over the next couple of years,” Charles Govlin, principal analysts at Forrester told BBC News.
Market researcher Gartner said with the total value of mobile transactions reaching $245 billion in 2014, demand for mobile wallet services will be huge.
But not everyone is convinced that contactless payments using a phone will replace cash.
“In my view, while I think it is clear that potentially these phone-based transactions will be widespread, it will happen slowly. One reason being that consumer behaviour changes very slowly,” said Mr Govlin.
“The big beneficiary here will be Google, a company that is all about information. The metadata involved in such transactions could allow Google to serve ads and make you a more valuable target for advertisers,” he added.
Last week the first NFC service was announced in the United Kingdom involving Orange and Barclaycard.
Mobile wallet services have been available in Japan for a number of years.
Watch: Rory Cellan-Jones demonstrates how it can work, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13540466
Posted BY ] DAILY MAIL REPORTER
The deal would be the biggest in the 36-year history of the world’s largest software company.
Despite doubling sales and profit in the last eight years, Microsoft’s stock has largely languished at the same level, as investors worry about its ability to counter new rivals or adapt to new ways of computing.
Microsoft already has video chat as a function in its Windows Live Messenger service, but it is not available on its Windows Phone 7 software.
Google recently followed suit by adding video to its popular Google Talk application for smartphones.
The deal is relatively small for Microsoft, which has $50 billion in cash and short-term investments on its balance sheet.
The $8.5 billion purchase price would likely include the $686 million in long-term debt on Skype’s balance sheet.
‘I think the price is quite reasonable,’ said Sean Lee, a Taipei-based manager of the Global Top Dividend Fund at Shinkong Investment Trust, which owns Microsoft shares.
Luxembourg-based Skype, which had delayed plans for an initial public offering, had recently been looking at other options.
Facebook and Google were separately considering a tie-up with Skype.
Microsoft and Skype declined comment.
Posted By ] Henry Blodget
A few weeks ago, when Comscore’s mobile survey showed that Google’s Android smartphone platform had blown past BlackBerry and iPhone to dominate the US market, Apple fans temporarily panicked.
It was the 1990s all over again!
(How could Apple possibly be losing share, Apple fans roared. Apple’s US iPhone sales grew 155% year over year!)
Well, now the Nielsen numbers are out. And they show the same trend Comscore’s numbers did:
Android is gaining share by leaps and bounds, and iPhone share is dead in the water.
Specifically, Nielsen’s numbers suggest that, of all the smartphones sold in the US in the past six months, fully 50% were based on the Android platform. Meanwhile, only 25% of buyers bought an iPhone, and only 15% bought a BlackBerry:
Now, these numbers extend back beyond February, when Apple started selling the iPhone through Verizon (which helps). And another Nielsen survey, of purchasing intent, suggests that going forward the sales may be more evenly split. So Apple looks poised to regain some share, at least relative to RIM and other also-rans.
Here’s the purchasing intent of those who expect to buy a smartphone over the next year. Last year, iPhone was the big winner. Now, by a small margin, it’s Android:
As for current platform market share (phones in use), Nielsen’s numbers look very similar to Comscore: In March, Android had 37% of the US market, iPhone had 27%, and BlackBerry had 22%:
After the initial Comscore numbers came out, Apple fans also made the perfectly reasonable point that, if you’re assessing platform market share, you should also include iPod touches and perhaps even iPads when looking at Apple’s numbers. And, certainly, if you include both of those, Apple’s overall share looks better. But, globally, if you add up iPhones and iPod touches, Apple still lost share to Android year over year.
Why do Android’s gains matter? Can’t Apple just hold onto the “premium” segment of the market?
The Android gains matter because technology platform markets tend to standardize around a single dominant platform (see Windows in PCs, Facebook in social, Google in search). And the more dominant the platform becomes, the more valuable it becomes and the harder it becomes to dislodge. The network effect kicks in, and developers building products designed to work with the platform devote more and more of their energy to the platform. The reward for building and working with other platforms, meanwhile, drops, and gradually developers stop developing for them.
(This has not happened yet. Developers are certainly gearing up to develop for Android, but most say that they develop for the iPhone first. And Apple’s app distribution and payment mechanism is still far superior to Android’s. But lots more developers now develop for Android than they did two years ago.)
Importantly, it’s not a question of which platform is “better.” (This is irrelevant.) It’s a question of which platform everyone else uses. And increasingly, in the smartphone market, barring a radical change in trend, that’s Android.
So that’s why Android’s gains matter. And, yes, Apple fans should be scared about them.
As we’ve said before, Apple is fighting a very similar war to the one it fought–and lost–in the 1990s. It is trying to build the best integrated products, hardware and software, and maintain complete control over the ecosystem around them. This end-to-end control makes it easier for Apple to build products that are “better,” but it makes it much harder for the company to compete against a software platform that is standard across many hardware manufacturers (Windows in the 1990s, Android now).
As we explain here, two important things are different about the current Android - iPhone battle as compared to the Mac – Windows war in the 1990s. First, Apple is maintaining price parity (or better) with the leading Android phones. (Macs were always priced higher than PCs). Second, Android is still a fragmented platform, which significantly reduces the benefits of “interoperability” across multiple manufacturers.
Google is working to fix the second problem, though–enacting much tighter rules about how Android can be used. And if the platform is to become dominant and ubiquitous, it will likely continue to tighten these rules.
And Apple’s price parity certainly does not appear to have stopped the Android juggernaut so far. And the reported delay in the release of the iPhone 5 until September won’t help.
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — What a difference an “i” makes. When Steve Jobs introduced Apple’s very own mobile ad unit, the iAd, on a stage in Cupertino, Calif., the mobile ad industry arguably got its highest-profile endorsement to date.
“It’s awesome — Steve just did a big commercial for mobile advertising,” Jason Spero, VP-general manager of Google’s AdMob, told Ad Age at the time of the announcement.
Nissan Leaf was a first mover on Apple’s iAd.
Clients, at least in BBDO’s case, weren’t immediately throwing money in mobile rich media. But it got mobile on the radar and started talks on budgets and strategies far beyond mobile ad buys.
Though it’s not all mobile media all the time. “When we discuss mobile with our clients, we have a much wider conversation,” said Jean-Philippe Maheu, worldwide CEO for Publicis Modem, which built Citi’s iAd. “Ninety percent of the discussion is about other things in mobile advertising, like commerce and apps.”
While mobile rich media pre-dated the iAd, Apple’s pricing strategy was one of a kind. With iAd, advertisers would have to pony up payment twice, paying cost-per-click on top of a cost-per-thousand fee. What’s more, Apple demanded budgets north of $1 million, an usually large sum for mobile ad buys. Those higher asking prices meant iAd couldn’t be funded out of existing and comparatively measly mobile budgets. IAd opened mobile up to the larger pool altogether.
“The budget commitments Apple asked for actually broadened the conversation beyond the usual mobile marketing purview,” said Mr. Bear. “That was Apple’s intention: to get some of that TV budget and to get some of those CMOs to look at mobile as a potential channel.”
Mr. Jobs announced Apple had secured $60 million from advertisers for iAd, a whopping 36% of eMarketer’s projected $166 million in mobile display spending for 2010. Those projections were determined before iAd hit the market, and Noah Elkin, eMarketer’s mobile analyst, says that money was likely new to mobile. “These are big ad spenders across any medium,” said Mr. Elkin of iAd launch advertisers like Nissan, Citi, Dove and AT&T. “I’m assuming that they didn’t balk at spending additional money in the wake of iAd. That suggests a good portion of money being spent on iAd is net new.”
But Apple might have stumbled onto some impeccable timing as well. Shortly before Apple bought Quattro Wireless, the mobile ad network that helped launch iAd, another Silicon Valley titan, Google, staked a claim on its own network, AdMob. According to the biggest independent mobile ad network, Millennial Media, the big jump in mobile ad spending started a year before Apple announced iAd, well before it even had an eye on Quattro.
“I think the hockey stick for mobile advertising started in second-quarter 2009,” said Marcus Startzel, senior-VP sales for Millennial Media. “That’s when we really started to see a rapid increase in advertiser investment.”
Apple, largely focusing on its rich-media unit, seems less concerned with participating in the growth of the industry beyond the iAd. Mr. Startzel reports huge demand for Android mobile-ad inventory, which accounts for six-figure portions of some advertisers’ budgets. Android continues to gain market share, while leader BlackBerry slips, along with Apple, according to ComScore. In August, Apple announced it’d be closing Quattro to focus on iAd, sacrificing any inventory it might have been selling on other platforms, such as Android or BlackBerry. That means Apple isn’t directly competing with other mobile-ad nets such as Google’s AdMob, Millennial and JumpTap for non-iPhone mobile-ad inventory.
It also underscores that iAd isn’t the only force bringing the spotlight to mobile marketing. Smartphone penetration continues to rise, location-based services have shaped up to be the digital marketing darling du jour, and Google’s figuring out ways to build AdMob into its massive ad infrastructure
While likely unintentional, Apple even had a hand in Google’s role in mobile advertising, too. It wasn’t until after Apple introduced iAd that the Federal Trade Commission finally OK’d Google’s $750 million acquisition of AdMob. Google announced the deal in late 2009, which prompted an investigation to weigh if the move could mean a monopoly in digital advertising. Then, after more than six months of scrutiny, the FTC greenlit the transaction in May, one month after Mr. Jobs took the stage to introduce iAd. “As a result of Apple’s entry [into the market], AdMob’s success to date on the iPhone platform is unlikely to be an accurate predictor of AdMob’s competitive significance going forward,” the agency said in a statement.
While ad networks like AdMob offer rich media creative — Google has broadened its mobile creative palette to also include expandable maps and interactive video in the months since iAd launched — Apple’s laser focus on iAd brings it closer to rich media providers like Medialets.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the competition. Medialets Chairman-CEO Eric Litman says he’s seen a significant uptick in business since iAd. Mr. Litman sees Apple’s influence as providing more attention for rich media in mobile. “I see a faster shift toward rich media as a dominant display format,” he said. “Twenty percent of total spend in online display goes to rich media, and it took ten-plus years to get there. In mobile, it’s approaching that level now.”
All the attention could definitely mean a higher creative standard for mobile advertising. Apple did it before with iPhone and its apps. Some ad agency execs report difficulty in convincing clients to test mobile before Apple’s phone, since advertisers just couldn’t imagine their brands in mobile before the iPhone and its slick user interface.
“By having Apple stake its claim in that realm of the display market, it’s planted a flag and said: ‘This is the bar and how we plan to raise it,’” said eMarketer’s Mr. Elkin. “If you want to compete, you’ll have to do the same.”
Posted By ] Lance Whitney
The global smartphone market of 2014 could see Android in second place with a 25 percent share, followed by BlackBerry, Apple, and Windows Mobile, according to IDC’s new “Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.”
Though annual growth in the hot smartphone market may slow in another four years, certain key players will continue to drive sales and grab more market share. No one vendor will dominate the landscape, but Android will enjoy the fastest growth, IDC forecasts.
Nokia’s Symbian will hang on to its No. 1 spot with 32.9 percent of the market in 2014. But it will lose some customers to Android, which will see its share climb from 16.3 percent this year to 24.6 percent.
“Phone vendors have been drawn to Android because it allows them to present their own approach to what a smartphone experience can be,” Ramon Llamas, a senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team, said in a statement. “In addition, users have quickly warmed to Android, comparing it to iOS due to its ease of use and a growing mobile application storefront. Now that HTC and Motorola have leapt out in front with their own respective devices, other vendors such as Dell, Kyocera, LG Electronics, and Samsung will soon help grow the Android market.”
BlackBerry’s share will stay about the same, though Apple’s iOS is expected to lose some share, falling from 14.7% this year to 10.9% in 2014. Rounding up the top five, Microsoft will recapture some of its lost mobile market share through its new Windows Phone platform.
“IDC believes the market will comfortably support up to five OS players over the next five years,” Kevin Restivo, a senior research analyst with IDC, said in a statement. “Shorter replacement cycles and an ample feature phone to smartphone upgrade opportunity means the smartphone OS market will remain fragmented but healthy for the foreseeable future.”
Looking at the near term, consumer demand higher than expected should help the market grow 55.4 percent this year over 2009, 10 percent higher than IDC’s previous forecast last quarter. Amid launches of the iPhone 4, BlackBerry Torch, and HTC Evo 4G, 269.6 million smartphones will ship this year, compared with 173.5 million last year, estimates IDC.
The surge in demand will lead to overall growth of 14.1 percent this year, 1.5 percent higher than IDC’s prior forecast and a nice improvement over last year when the market dropped 2.8 percent. The smartphone market will enjoy further gains of 24.5 percent next year before declining to annual growth of 13.6 percent in 2014.
In a separate report earlier this week, Piper Jaffray was especially bullish on Android, saying it would likely control half of the smartphone market within five years.
As iPhone 4 went on sales other manufacturers reported their sales figures. RIM reported sales of Blackberries mounting to 11.2 million. This shows 6% growth from Q1 and have now surged passed the 100 million mark, cumulatively speaking. However, the news gets more interesting from Google who are reportedly selling 160,000 Android devices per day. Annually that would equate to 58 million, which pushes Android quite comfortably ahead of the iPhone (on about a rate of 35 Million per annum) and behind Symbian ( on about a rate of 70 million annually).
Android devices have become the second bestselling smartphone OS. This is great news for the industry and a wake up call to those that think it is all about the iPhone. It will be interesting to see how the sales continue for the rest of the year. It wouldn’t surprise me if Android overtakes Symbian early next year. Whilst this is quietly going on, Microsoft seem to be in trouble and are pulling the plug on Kin as their sales have been terrible.
Well done Android!
What many people overlook here is the iTunes model. Asides for the obvious differences in platform development and handset capabilities, even if Nokia get up to speed they do not have iTunes (it is not just about the developer). So as a user of this demographic, the choice of a phone that comes with iTunes is much more powerful than one without. Therefore, this compliments apps as the model roles on into the app store and people already understand the payment process. They already have all their music and movies synced with the account. They do not have to start buying a load of music again to load on to a new device from the Ovi store, which is by far sub-standard to iTunes. When the app hysteria settles and the focus shifts elsewhere, this will leave Ovi store with a very uncertain future, and a hefty investment bill from trying to play catch up. This too also stands for other platforms including Google’s Android, although their demographic to-date is mainly made up of geeky males that just love gadgetry (not a bad move).
Posted By ] Diana ben-Aaron June 13, 2010, 6:26 PM EDT
June 14 (Bloomberg) — As Nokia Oyj prepares to introduce its latest flagship smartphone, developer Jan Ole Suhr says he knows why the brains behind addictive applications are shunning the Finnish company.
“It’s difficult for small developers to invest in the smartphone segment of Nokia when nobody knows its future,” said Suhr, creator of Twitter application “Gravity,” which was showcased by Nokia when it opened its Ovi applications store last year. “The new shiny things aren’t available and there’s only the old-fashioned stuff, where it takes a lot of work to make the software look good.”
Nokia’s 41 percent share of the smartphone market, the fastest-growing piece of the mobile-phone industry, has failed to make it the platform of choice for software writers. It is instead at the bottom of the pile, behind Apple Inc.’s iPhone and devices based on Google Inc.’s Android.
Developers of games, music, videos, media and other apps want to see if the N8, Nokia’s first device running the Symbian 3 system for touchscreen phones, delivers on promises of improved look and feel, an easier interface and operability across devices — in short, if it’s more like an iPhone. For many, the device scheduled to be released in the third quarter has been too slow in the making and may still disappoint.
“Symbian needs a more competitive platform to attract users, early adopters who are the sort of people who download lots of apps,” said Gartner Inc. analyst Nick Jones. “We may have to wait until Symbian 4 to get a really compelling Symbian device, so that the ecosystem may not start to achieve its full potential until 2011.”
The world’s largest mobile-phone maker’s failure to lure apps developers, whose products help sell iPhones and Android devices, adds to the perception that its devices are behind the times. With Apple last week unveiling iPhone 4, with a video- chat feature, and Android devices chalking up sales, the Espoo, Finland-based Nokia risks not being able to recoup lost ground.
Nokia may post lower-than-expected second-quarter profit because of a weak product range and falling prices, Macquarie Group Ltd. analysts said last week. There’s “no visibility on the N8, continued heavy competition in handsets and softening demand,” Phil Cusick and colleagues wrote in a June 9 report.
Chief Executive Officer Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said in April he expects sales of handsets and associated services to be between 6.7 billion euros and 7.2 billion euros in the second quarter. He cut the company’s full-year margin forecast, citing the slow development of the N8.
Nokia shares have plummeted 51 percent since Apple opened its App Store on July 11, 2008. Its market value has shrunk to 29 billion euros from 203 billion euros in 1999, when it was Europe’s most-valuable company.
Nokia, which doesn’t disclose its catalog size, says it has 1.7 million downloads a day of apps including QuickOffice, Skype Internet calling service, Shazam music identifier, Spotify music, Snake games and Lonely Planet travel guides. The company’s secrecy about the number of apps is “probably because it’s still rather small,” said Gartner’s Jones.
Its offerings lag behind Apple’s App Store, which has more than 225,000 apps. Android has more than 70,000, according to Androlib.com, which tracks the platform’s apps.
More than 5 billion programs have been downloaded from its store, Apple says. IPhone users spend more on apps than people with Android devices, who in turn spend more than users of Nokia handsets, developers say. That drives software efforts.
‘Six of Six’
Nokia opened the Ovi Store to offer developers a channel to the 68 million people a year who buy its smartphones. Developers spoiled by iPhone tools say they found Nokia’s software and storefront clunky. Many are turning to Android and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry.
“The Ovi Store doesn’t have any traction in the U.S.,” said Ken Willner, CEO of Zumobi Inc. in Seattle “They’re probably number six of six,” behind Apple, Google, Palm Inc., RIM and Microsoft Corp.
Willner’s company, whose applications present media content such as MSNBC and Parenting magazine on iPhones, chose Android- run devices as its second platform, bypassing Nokia.
“Large numbers of developers see Nokia as less relevant for distributing apps,” said Martin Garner, a London-based analyst at CCS Insight. “They prefer to work with software that has obvious growth momentum in the market.”
The market share of Symbian, Nokia’s main smartphone operating system, fell to 44.3 percent in the first quarter from 48.8 percent a year ago, according to Gartner. Although mostly on Nokia phones, Symbian is also used by Samsung Electronics Co. and Sony Ericsson. iPhone’s share rose to 15.4 percent from 10.5 percent, while Android soared to 9.6 percent from 1.6 percent.
Nokia says its new line of smartphones with Symbian 3 and Symbian 4 improves the user interface and carries a new version of tools for developers, making cross-device development easier.
“You’ll see a big improvement in terms of the store experience with the introduction of the N8, as well as with subsequent devices,” said George Linardos, the Nokia vice president who runs the Ovi Store. He cautioned that there won’t be any “immaculate moment” when the store is perfect. “I look at this as the first innings of a very, very long game.”
Switching to Android
Many developers don’t want to wait, and say they can’t take the risk of developing for a yet-to-be-perfected platform. Even long-time Nokia software authors are looking elsewhere.
Take Alan Masarek, chief executive officer of Quickoffice Inc. in Plano, Texas. Nokia helped his 150-person company become one of the biggest independent mobile apps developers with its stripped-down word processor and spreadsheet running on more than 240 million mobile devices worldwide.
About 1 1/2 years ago Masarek, whose software is preloaded on all Nokia Symbian devices, began working on Android phones.
“That in hindsight has proven to be a good move,” he said. “The numbers on Android are very ascendant right now. We’re on all these devices that just started shipping in meaningful volumes the last two quarters.”
Android-based smartphones threaten to top the iPhone in 2013 in market share, according to Framingham, Massachusetts- based IDC. Shipments of Android devices may reach 68 million that year, making it the second-most popular operating system after Symbian, according to IDC.
For Quickoffice, Apple and Android now each account for about 30 percent of shipments against 40 percent on Symbian.
Some developers are shunning Symbian entirely so far.
“Development on Symbian has historically been difficult and Google and Apple leapfrogged Nokia in terms of developer friendliness in the past two years,” said Phil Libin, chief executive officer of Mountain View, Calif.-based Evernote Corp. “There’s no comparison.”
His 30-person company’s main product is a note-taking application that runs on desktop computers, iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Palm’s WebOS and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile — all except Nokia’s Symbian.
Apple has a system in place that makes selling and buying apps easy and painless, said Joseph Darling, a long-time Nokia user in Sydney, Australia, who opted to develop his ParkWatch parking monitor application for Apple.
“They have a payment system that was already popular for music and video,” he said. “That takes you from browsing to buying in a couple of clicks. They’ve brought that entire community over into apps. It’s hard for others to duplicate.”
Gravity’s Suhr, who lives in Berlin, is one of the few developers to have worked on mastering the Nokia system, supporting himself by writing apps for it since 2002.
His application, which lets users read and write Twitter messages on phones, was touted by Nokia at the launch of its N97 smartphone last year. Suhr says Gravity is “almost the only application that makes a Nokia device look like an iPhone.”
“It should have been very easy to create Gravity-like applications to cover other functions,” he says. “And then I bet the whole reception of the platform and the phone would have been very different.”
–Editors: Vidya Root, Heather Harris
Don’t choke your marketing opportunities on the iPhone’s pips, warns Gary Corbett, Commercial Director at Oxygen8 Communications. A serious mobile marketing strategy needs to cater for every taste.
Mobile marketing is one of the fastest growing areas of the advertising market globally and becoming a major part of the communication strategy of many companies and brands, particularly now with the prevalence of smartphone devices that support sophisticated, multimedia-rich web interactions.
For marketers, the mobile medium is special because it is personal, getting direct to the individual, offering unparalleled immediacy and the chance to personalise marketing messages to a specific user. Importantly, because each user can be treated as an individual, tracking and measuring user responses is relatively easy.
The latest figures show that more than 88% of UK adults own a mobile phone, with similarly high market penetration across developed countries. In the UK, over 5 billion texts are sent each month.
More crucially, 97% of these messages are opened immediately, presenting an incredible opportunity to get up close and personal to target customers within the tightest of timeframes. It is no coincidence then that analysts are predicting a 580% growth in mobile marketing over the next five years
As devices become more sophisticated, screens and keypads continue to evolve, and the reach of mobile broadband expands, marketers will not be able to avoid this essential channel, particularly as their rivals begin to realise its potential.
The biggest growth spurt in advanced mobile marketing has been narrowly focused, however. Betting on a future that belongs to Apple, brands have developed enhanced web-based applications that have been optimised for the iPhone, in their pursuit of deeper and broader interaction with potential customers.
Although the Apple mobile platform is now well established, with new ‘apps’ popping up at an accelerating rate, media analysis firm Quantcast reported in March that, while iPhone-based devices currently continue to account for the majority of mobile web consumption, there has been a significant drop in market share since January.
A plethora of additional Android-powered handsets have since been announced, fuelling speculation that iPhone’s early domination may be short-lived.
It is clearly dangerous, then, for brands and service providers to place all their fruit in Apple’s basket.
To truly optimise their web/WAP presence and realise significant gains, their applications need to be rendered on all smartphone devices including Windows Mobile devices, Android devices, Blackberries and bespoke handsets.
Failure to achieve this will result in disgruntled end users, following a poor experience on their handset of choice if it is not Apple flavoured, and cannibalised revenue streams.
In these early days of influencing consumers’ mobile usage habits, companies need to be very careful. E-commerce software provider ATG reports that, while 38% of UK consumers have attempted to shop online from their mobiles to date, more than a quarter of them have found this difficult. Putting users off in the early experimental days risks their buy-in later, whatever the marketing goals associated with the mobile medium.
The danger of investing too much in developing applications specifically for iPhone users, which can be costly due to Apple’s particular coding standards, is that the same slick look and feel will not be replicated on rival handsets without further, discrete coding.
Don’t ignore iPhone users, by any means; just be aware that Apple is not the only fruit in the store. Maximising the potential of the increasingly important mobile channel means being as inclusive as possible and supporting the maximum number of platform options from a single marketing development investment.
That means resisting alignment with a single provider, but instead basing applications and campaigns on an independent delivery platform.
With maximum audience penetration a given, the only limit is the marketers’ imagination.
Brands can then concentrate on the sophistication and personalisation of their campaigns, honing the range of options open to them, including SMS and MMS campaigns, direct response and brochure requests, quizzes and competitions, votes, alerts and reminder notifications, community-based interactions, mobile coupons and ticketing.
Early innovators have the market to play for, as few brands have yet to exploit the mobile medium to maximum effect.
There is no doubt about the future potential of this increasingly dynamic channel; the challenge is to yield full commercial advantage by being aligned with all of the opportunities as they emerge, which means being ready for anything. Dancing only to Apple’s tune is to limit that scope.