The cost of iphone piracy

It’s around $450 million according to financial site, 24/7 Wall Street. They based the calculation on the basis that for every one legitimate paid sale there are three illegal downloads. That equates to $4.5 billion. Unlike the music industry’s vastly inflated claims, the calculation sensibly assumes that at best, 10% would have paid for those apps if they could only get them legally. That’s how they arrived at the $450 million.
I’m not too worried about Apple as they are doing very nicely from the iphone and app store. There will always be piracy, but as always it will be the small developers who suffer the worst.

Apple’s tablet tested for launch

Ahead of Weds launch, it has been a case of ‘keep taking the tablets’ according to mobile analytics company, Flurry. In the last few days they have seen a significant increase in activity from 50 mobile devices testing over 200 applications, all tracked to Apple’s cupertino HQ. They have concluded it can only mean one thing … tablets!
With Apple entering the market it looks like tablets may be the big technolgoy story for 2010. The offer a good half-way house between lap tops and smartphone, with the big-screen advantages of the former and the touch screen/mobile connectivity of the latter. More updates on the Apple Tablet following Weds launch.

Want mobile ad click-thrus? Then go Symbian

In spite of the fact that the iphone/ipod touch has a high internet browsing rate, it would seem that it is the Symbian mobiles which include many Nokias, that get the highest click-thru rate on adverts. Mobile ad optimiser, Smaato looked at the average click thru rate of over 3 billion served ads. Using that as an index of 100, they found that Symbian handset users rate was an impressive 169 points. iphone was the next best at 119. Blackberry, in particular, showed a low index score.
More information on Smaato’s site here.

The next youth trend in handsets will be …

… The Blackberry. Yup, you read that correctly, the Blackberry! This mainstay of mobile business email is on the verge of becoming the must-have gadged for teenagers. But surely not? What about the iphone, it’s way cooler than anything RIM has to offer? Well the iphone is cool if you are 20somthing (or 30something even) and particularly if you are a creative, media, Twitter using-type. But if you’re a teen the iphone doesn’t have much to offer (and teens don’t use Twitter anyway). For starters the iphone is pricey, only available on specific networks. What’s more, everything’s heavily tied into Apple and their itunes store. Not great if you are sharing, rather than buying music as many teenagers do.
Blackberry, on the other hand, actually has coolness amongst teens. It’s the handset of choice for Paris Hilton (bright pink and covered in Sorowski crystals) and the cast of Gossip Girl. Its strange how Apple Macs are always the computer of choice in films and television, but the iphone has not made the grade. Maybe it came too late, or maybe Blackberry just did a better job of product placement.
The other thing that RIM have going for them is the killer app for teenagers. But its not a game nor a camera. Its their instant messaging application ‘BBM‘. It’s fast, simple and free (if you have a data package). You can copy and paste conversations, send them on anonymously and best of all you can quickly change your screen name to become undetected to people. The other advantage of the Blackberry is the QWERTY keyboard, which can be used with two hands. Considerable faster than the iphone’s touch keypad. An essential consideration in the world of teenage communication. That’s also the point. For teenagers communication is as important as entertainment. Facebook’s success in the teenage market has been helped by status updates and spam free messaging.
What is also interesting is the way that teenagers are rapidly adopting a business tool for their own purposes, in much the same way that teenagers adopted SMS a decade ago. Text messaging was seen as a business tool, but the younger demographic encouraged by the low cost, saw SMS as the perfect tool.

For more on this, see the article at http://www.mobile-ent.biz/news/35751/Why-do-kids-love-Blackberry#after_ad
There is an interesting paper by MIT on the whole subject of youth and identity here: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/dmal.9780262524834.143

Mobile apps worth $29.5 billion by 2013

According to a Gartner report, mobile apps will generate over $6 in revenues in 2010, rising to a massive 26 billion downloads worth $29.5 billion by 2013. That’s even accounting for the fact that 80% will be free downloads. Significantly mobile advertising will represent a good portion of that revenue. This year it will be $0.6 billion or 10% but in three years time it will represent 25% of the total revenues.

What this clearly suggests is that the way forward for mobile advertising is through apps. Given that 90% of mobile apps are opened once or never at all, the next thing is to get people to actually use them.

Apple have already sold 3 billion apps through their store, and according to estimates, they have made over $2 billion from those downloads. Nice work if you can get it.

Social Networking doesn’t work (if you are a business)

I’ve said this many times before, and it looks to be the case: it’s called ‘social networking’ NOT ‘business networking’. As such, it is not a channel that generates sales. A report by Creston shows that 80% of marketers do not believe that social media has any impact on the social or purchasing habits of their customers.
The point is this: I do not believe that social media actually generates sales. I would go further than that, no one has been able to provide me with hard evidence to show that social media has generated sales. I was speaking to a major retail brand recently. They have become more actively involved with social media, and have a Facebook fan page. Their offers are put on the fan page and it does generate sales. But I am of the strong opinion that it merely offers another route to the customer and they would use the offers regardless of how they found them.
However, for other brands the situation is more tenuous. Ultimately its about effort vs reward. Does the effort of social media justify the reward in terms of sales?

Another day, another record for the iphone

The iphone’s launch on Vodafone on Thursday 14th Jan saw record day one sales. The network sold 50,000 units, compared to Orange’s 30,000 units on their first day in December 2009. As with all of the iphone ‘records’ there is no information published about O2s sales, but I would suspect that their first day of selling the iphone 3GS saw similarly high volumes.

Vodafone’s first day sales were in spite of a post Xmas lull in retail sales. It seems that the UK’s love afair with the iphone continues.

Coca Cola will power your mobile phone

I’m not a big fan of Coke, unless it’s for cleaning metal. However, a student at St Martins College in London has designed a mobile phone battery that is powered by sugary fizzy drinks. The bio battery uses the glucose in drinks such as Coca Cola, which are then reduced to hydrogen molecules using enzymes. Passing them accross an anothode and cathode creates the power. The by product is plain old water.

As yet bio batteries do not have the power to actually allow the mobile to make a call, but developments in the techonolgy are rapidly improving and it should be possible to use the fuel within a few years.

Exciting stuff!

… but Google’s Android will win the mobile OS battle

In spite of slow sales of the Nexus One, it still looks like Android will win in the battle of the mobile OS. It may take a few years to get there though.

In my predictions for 2010 I said that Android would become a significant OS this year. At the end of 2009 and start of this year there were some decent Android hansets appearing in the market: The Droid and the Nexus One. Perhaps they may not have the ice cool factor of the iphone, but in terms of pure functionality they certainly match, if not beat Apple’s offering. In the meantime, a number of frims from Samsung to Acer committed to Android. Recent announcements by Dell and Lenovo demonstrate a further committment to Google’s OS.

It’s not just about manufacturers adopting Android. Google has taken a more open approach to development, particularly apps and app stores. Apple’s more draconian approach to their appstore could see developers switching their energies to developing more for Android, especially where there is a growing user base.

Ultimately though, there is no threat to the iphone. Apple have taken a different approach to Google, and as with their PC’s it’s about offering both OS and hardware together. The iphone will remain a significant handset for many many years, but Apple will not dominate the mobile OS … but that never was their intention.

What of Windows Mobile? It would not suprise me if it becomes subsumed into a more generic Windows aimed at the portable computing market.

Now if only Nokia were interested in Android, then we would see a real unstoppable force in the handset/OS market.