It seems like Android handsets are appearing on the market quicker than I can keep up with them. Today Motorola announced a partnership with SK Telecom, a Korean company to develop the Motorai. It will be an entirely new Andorid handset and quite different to their much-praised Droid.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Analytics firm Flurry has revealed that the new Android handset, Nexus One sold 20,000 units in its first week. Not bad, but not great when compared to Droid’s 250k and insignificant when compared to the iphone 3GS first week sales of 1.6 million. It is worth keeping in mind that the Nexus One is currently only available through one source: Google’s website. The iphone 3GS launch was across all territories to an existing and vociferous customer base.
It looks like the Nexus One could be a bit of a slow burner.