The Apple/Google relationship has been become increasingly sour recently. The latest manifestation of this seems to be the censorship of the word ‘Android’ in apps in the iphone appstore. According to a report in Mobile Crunch, one developer had a reference to their entry into the Android awards removed from their appstore review.
Apple has previously censored words on the grounds of profanity, but have been largely ridiculed for removing ‘boobs’, ‘booty’ and ‘piss’ from apps such as dictionaries. The censoring of other brands appears to be a new step for Apple.
I blogged about this previous: T-Mobile were giving away iphones in order to retain their contract customers. I now have first-hand experience of this. I called the operator as my contract is due for renewal shortly. I told them I was interested in the iphone and they tried to offer me a number of other handsets including the G2 and the HTC Windows Mobile model. I kept telling them that I wasn’t interested in those and that I would take my contract to an operator that offers the iphone. They then made a firm offer that they would give me an iphone one month before my contract renewed in order to keep my business. They even told me that if my contract had been for renewal within the next month they would have given me an iphone right away.
So there you have it. T-Mobile will give you an iphone if it looks like you’re going to take your contract away!
This is big news for those in the world of mobile marketing. The GSM Association, which represents the mobile operators, has launched a new metrics service with Comscore, to provide detailed information about the mobile internet. The GSMA has taken great care to ensure that the data is anonymised and combined this with demographic data taken from a representative sample to ensure they are providing detailed information about what is happening on the mobile internet. The advantage of the mobile space is that mobile internet access is through just five operators, rather than the many ISPs for the fixed line internet. The only thing it cannot account for is access through WiFi connections.
Some initial data from the metrics showed that 16 million people in the UK accessed the mobile internet in December 2009. The top 10 sites accounted for 70% of the total traffic and were as follows:
1. Facebook.com (5 million)
2. Google sites (4.6m)
3. Telefonica Mobile Networks (3.7m)
4. Orange Sites (3.6m)
5. Vodafone Group (3.3m)
6. Yahoo! Sites (2m)
7. BBC Sites (1.9m)
8. Microsoft Sites (1.6m)
9. Apple (1.5m)
10. Nokia (1.1m)
It is no surprise that Facebook is top. It is interesting to see the number of mobile operator and manufacturer sites in this list. However, when listed according to time spent on the sites, Bebo and Flirtomatic both making it into the top 10, bumping out Telefonica (O2) and Nokia. It means that social networking is clearly a significant activity on mobile. Whilst the presence of Google, Yahoo and the BBC is unsurprising, it would seem that the operator portals still retain a place in the smartphone mobile web.
O2 have announced that their sales of the iphone have surpassed 2 million handsets, making it their best selling device. The operators sales of the iphone are likely to slow down as they have lost their exclusive agreement. There has also been an overall slowdown in demand for the iphone, which is likely to see Apple retain a strong, but no dominant position in the smartphone market. Vodafone claimed 100,000 sales in their first week after offering the iphone. Tesco and Orange have not yet provided up to date figures so it’s impossible to get an exact total for the UK, however it is a safe bet to say that total UK sales are between 2.25m and 2.5m iphones.
It is worth keeping in mind that this does not necessarily mean there are that many iphone users. A number of O2s sales will be represented by upgrades from the original handset and from the iphone 3G to the 3GS. A total of 2m UK users is therefore a pretty good estimate.
There are no demographics available for the device and it appears that the operators are not measuring this. However reports from Comscore and annecdotally suggests that they ownership is concentrated in the 20-40 yrs age range, and generally middle to higher incomes. Although it is available on pay as you go, most users are on subscription packages. A mixture of both cost and functions suggests that the iphone does not appeal to a younger age demographic.
Apple’s total worldwide iphone sales reached around 57 million in 2009, and at the current time they will be hovering around the 60 million mark. They have a 17% share of the Smartphone market behind Nokia and Blackberry.
There are many detractors who seem to think that Nokia are loosing their way in the mobile market. They have certainly had their blips, however the company still retains the largest share of the handset market, the largest share of the smartphone market, and with Symbian, they are key players in the most popular mobile OS.
Whilst Apple’s iphone gets all the headlines (and make a great phone, don’t get me wrong), Nokia have done a number of clever things that will ensure their number one status:
Free Ovimaps: their decision to offer maps and sat nav to all compatible handsets for free is genius. Forget all the glamour of the iphone, what people want are good, practical applications. In fact if I was Tomtom or Garmin, I’d give up on the sat nav market! And here’s the proof: Nokia have announced 1.5million downloads of their Ovimaps in just one week.
Open Sourcing Symbian: Although this comes from the Symbian foundation and not Nokia directly, the decision to open source Symbian is a brilliant idea. The software releases today, and with the input of independant developers it will ensure that their OS is refined and will retain it’s number one status.