Well, not forever. But I will be on holidays for the next 2 and a bit weeks (Germany & France in case you’re wondering), so I will probably be a little silent during this period.
I trust (hope?!) that most of you will be able to take a well-earned summer break, too. So wherever you are, enjoy the summer (with lots of sunshine, liquid or not) and check back later in August…
This week’s Carnival of the Mobilists is hosted by Ifan Chou and the folks at Idlemode and pretty much centers around the mobile web: they have included my look at the conundrum (if it is indeed that!) between web and apps when it comes to discovering and using mobile media, they highlight posts on smart mobs helped evolve by location-aware phones, mobile web widgets, use (or not) of .mobi. They also picked up a very remarkable post on mobile phone microscopy (yes, really!) and one that dissects the success (or lack thereof) of the Palm Pre. So, go on, and read it here.
The all-the-rage iPhone (can someone please come up with a worthy competitor, please, so we have other things to talk about, too?) is said to be increasingly the businessman’s (and woman’s!) phone of choice. Satisfaction rates outstrip Blackberry and anyone else out there competing…
I am not sure how it is elsewhere but in the UK where O2 holds the reigns on the iPhone, it appears that this might only be true for the ones that work for very generous employers (or those whose IT departments are not very cost-conscious) or that have only domestic businesses to pursue. Because when one attempts to make one’s iPhone travel-proof (and, remember, the data usage is what makes it such a delight!), you get somewhat of a rough awakening: transferring your all-you-can-eat data plan to international territories, fail. No such thing. No can do. The only thing one can do is buy a data packet of either 10MB (for £20) or 30MB (for £50). And this even though I am on one of the dearer packages on offer.
Now, would I own a Nokia N-97 with a Vodafone contract, I would roam as freely as a bird (well, they don’t actually say anything about data roaming…)! If I would be on a Blackberry Enterprise package (on O2!), it costs £20 to extend to international roaming. No worries about data consumption. Keep the e-mails flowing… Anything like that for the iPhone? Nope…
As a customer, I say: shame on you, O2! It is terrible! I am going on a vacation with my children to Germany (where O2 is also present!) and France and one of the biggest cost items will likely be my phone bill. Not so good at all!
Last week was quarterly reporting week, and both Apple and Nokia let us have a glimpse on whatever they did. Subsequently, some reported (via Twitter) that the iPhone outsold the N series for the first time.
Nokia first: In Q2, Nokia sold 103.2m units (down 15% year-on-year but 11% as compared to Q1). Total sales of “smartphones” amounted to 16.9m devices, of which 4.6m were N series (the balance being made up of E series and some “numbered” devices, of which the 5800 series took the biggest share). The total number of Nokia smartphones (or “converged devices”) in market was thought to be 41m. Nokia estimated its share of the smartphone market to amount to 41%, which would be up 2 points from the previous quarter. I wonder…
Apple, by contrast, reported that it sold a whopping 5.2m iPhones in Q2 (Apple’s financial Q3), which means that the iPhone outsold the Nokia flagship smartphone series for the first time. A couple of years ago, no one would have thought this was possible! It is noteworthy that this does not even include the iPhone 3GS, which only went on sale after the close of the quarter.
After all the worries about Nokia’s performance (see e.g. here, here and here) and the relevance of Apple’s “minute” market share in relation to the total handset market, this is a very important benchmark: not only does Apple beat Nokia in an important segment (the N-series traditionally spear-headed Nokia’s mass market assault on the higher-end side of handsets) but it also shows the dynamics behind Apple. Nokia’s distribution and incumbent market footprint is hugely superior than Apple’s and yet Apple manages to outsell them. Very impressive indeed!
Nokia has announced that it will acquire “certain assets” of Hamburg-based mobile software firm Cellity, these “assets” being its people and technology. Cellity’s current offering, an “address book 2.0″, which promises to connect and consolidate a user’s contacts and messages across mobile phone, social networks, etc into one inbox. It also offers a dashboard to manage this. However, this – the company’s current – service is said to be discontinued. So what is Nokia buying then (besides the very talented people)? My best guess is that Nokia would want to use the technology to ease consolidation and interaction across a variety of their handsets’ and services’ (including Ovi).
Good on the good folks of Cellity. Let us wait what it the result will hold in stock…
Fishlabs, the German high-end 3D studio have long been one of my favourite developers (see here for a previous post). And with the ascent of the iPhone also appears to come the rapid rise to fame for them. Today, they have released numbers on one of their latest advergames, which they did for Barclaycard. For those not familiar: Barclaycard runs a large advertising campaign where a guy slides on a water slide through the city buying stuff whilst passing through markets, shops, etc. It took me a while to understand it (even though I am one of their customers) but it is to promote their new RFID-enabled credit cards.
Fishlabs produced an iPhone game for this (aptly called “Waterslide Extreme”). Interestingly, other than a Barclaycard logo on the main menu screen, I could not (yet) find any mention of the brand. Anyhow, Barclaycard seems to be super-happy as Fishlabs now has reported a whopping 2m downloads in one (!) week, which have generated 16m “engagement minutes”, presumably meaning that players engaged with the brand.
The – free – game is said to top the iPhone download charts in no less than 57 countries, including all the biggies like the US (where, reportedly, 54% of iPhone and iPod Touch users reside), the UK and Germany.
I just wonder if this is such good marketing (and I am not an advocate for unwanted in-your-face advertising at all): one mention of the brand (and very subtly, too) would surely make for only the most discrete of “engagements” with the brand.
So good on Fishlabs! But advertisers might want to consider giving these things a little more thought. Imagine the potential result for the image of the Barclaycard brand if, through a somewhat more thoughtful and smarter brand treatment, all of those 2m users would actually perceive it as a fun goodie brought to them by Barclaycard. Just to think of it…
Gamevil’s very own, indominable Kyu C Lee (@kyuclee) was kind enough to share with me the total number of shares in relation to Gamevil’s IPO (on which I reported earlier today). The total number of shares in the company is 5,484,780. Therefore, the company is floating stock representing c. 14.5% of the total, which values them at a fairly impressive $145m 69.65m or so.
Very respectable, folks! Well done!