Month: October 2010

Making Money on Android (slides) – Droidcon London 2010

This week, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to speak to the Android developer community at the fabulous Droidcon London.

The following are the slides to my talk on “Making Money on Android” in which I focus on the necessity to tackle the challenge to engage users at a time and in a place that a developer can actually control, namely in the game or app itself. Scoreloop provides cool tools for this, and its virtual currency and virtual goods solutions allow developers then to capitalise on that.

Conference: Droidcon, London

On 28 and 29 October 2010, Droidcon London will open its doors again, exploring in multiple tracks the Android ecosystem. Business, Developer, Design or SDK/API – there will be something for everyone involved or interested in the fastest growing mobile OS (and associated ecosystems) at the moment.

For the main conference on Friday, the speaker line-up promises a lot of learnings and insights.

I will be there telling people on how to make money on Android (hint: yes, it will involve Scoreloop‘s tools… ;-)). But you should also come and see great speakers from:

  • Google
  • Admob (yes, I know they’re Google now, too)
  • T-Mobile
  • InMobi
  • comScore
  • Sony Ericsson
  • Motorola
  • Orange
  • Reuters
  • Qualcomm
  • INQ Mobile
  • Ericsson
  • Accumulate
  • Alcatel-Lucent
  • Device Anywhere
  • and many more (check here for a full list of speakers).

The conference will be preceded by a barcamp on Thursday (28th), which will feature, amongst other things, a Google Android boot camp and dotOpen’s formidable AppCircus.

I am hoping to see you there. Go here to register (or check here for the full programme on Thursday and Friday).

What matters: Handsets or Packages?

It is this time again: my phone contract comes up for renewal. And – as anyone who is following this blog will know (to recap, look here), I have not been all too happy with the treatment I got from O2 UK. So today I started looking around. Given my rather fat tariff requirements, carriers normally throw in all sorts of goodies (scil. free handsets), so started there. I have an iPhone 4 and a Nexus One already, so started to see what else is out there, as there are:

Then I started looking at where, what, how I could get it and at what price, and the UK carrier labyrinth was entered: The Omnia 7 is carried by 3, Orange and T-Mobile, not by O2 or Vodafone (at least I couldn’t find anything to that end). The HD7 is an Orange exclusive, the Trophy is a Vodafone exclusive. The Galaxy S and the N8 seem to be with all of them.

Step 2: tariffs. With an unhealthy amount of traveling abroad to do, my main cost item on phone bills regularly is data roaming, so this is where my sensitivity lies (because of the eye-watering bills I regularly get, I am not bothered about 600 or 900 UK any-network minutes costing £5 more or less), and it became clear quickly: Orange, T-Mobile and 3 are out of the race (their charges are even higher than O2’s). Vodafone looks good (about 1/3 of O2’s rates) but O2 claims to still have their Blackberry tariff for international data roaming (although I struggled to find it on their website). Now, THAT would bring my bill down by a cool £150-200 a month or so. Enter Blackberry. The Bold (which I dearly loved when I had it) or the Torch (which gets decent but still very mixed reviews)? And then: O2 again? In spite of my anger with them?

And then I started to compromise: anything exclusive to Orange, T-Mobile or 3 was out of the question (because data roaming is pretty much a killer for me), which boils it down to Blackberry and O2 or any of the others on Vodafone (which would mean that I couldn’t get what started being my favourite, the Samsung Omnia 7). Hang on: I compromise over some shoddy pounds? Is the handset then not so all important as one might have believed when reading all those blogs, news blitzes and tech publications over the last months?

And, yes, I think it is true to say that – at least in instances where there are certain usage requirements (in my case data roaming), the package is what rules. This is perhaps then the wedge that the carriers –  scrambling for meaning in this new app store world – could use to pry that dump pipe/smart phone dichotomy open. How’s that for an idea?

So, good folks at the carriers, listen up: do it (oh, Vodafone, and get me that Omnia 7, will you? 😉 ).

Conference: OSiM (London)

If you are in London (or looking for a rather compelling excuse to come over), you should visit OSiM (short for “Open Source in Mobile” next week. Opening its doors at Olympia on 19 and 20 October (i.e. Tuesday and Wednesday), it boasts an impressive line-up, including speakers from:

  • Telstra
  • Virgin Mobile USA
  • ST-Ericsson
  • France Telecom
  • Texas Instruments
  • Turkcell
  • etc, etc

The good folks from WIPJam will run one of their famous Un-Panels, too!

I will be on a panel of bloggers and analysts and looking at “How web service innovation affect and impatc operator strategy and mobile device services” (yes, I was scratching my head, too).

Come over and say hi; it’ll be worthwhile!

Spotlight: M-PESA / Mobile Money

At the recent ForumOxford conference, Mi-Pay‘s Simon Cahill reported a most remarkable case of the use of mobile. He told us about the Kenyan operator Safaricom (in which Vodafone holds a stake) and its M-PESA service (which now also operates in Tanzania, South Africa and Afghanistan, too; you can apparently also send money to Kenya from the UK; see here a TV ad).

M-PESA is not new; it launched to the market already in 2007 and a pilot commenced as early as 2005 (here’s a link to a background document).

The success is staggering: according to Mr Cahill, no less than 20% of Kenya’s GDP is running through mobile money. Yes, I did write that: 20%!!! Safaricom asserts it moves nearly €150m worth of transactions per day (which would make it larger than Western Union).

It works basically like top-ups for prepaid phones: one party sends money to another one using the recipient’s phone number (and the sender’s PIN). The recipient will be notified by SMS and can then either use it as phone credit or receive a pay-out through an agent. Interestingly, Safaricom partnered with thousands of merchants, groceries, etc because the banking system in Kenya’s rural parts is so thinly developed that people could not have used it appropriately. Apparently, a lot of people do not actually take the cash out but keep the balance in the phone (for top-ups or just for keeps). This means that, as an aside, Safaricom is allegedly saving $12m for not having to print and distribute top-up cards for its prepaid customers.

M-PESA has more than 10m users in Kenya alone, and with the contribution to the country’s GDP as outlined above, it clearly is one of THE greatest mobile services in the world! And a final nugget by Mr Cahill: according to (I am quoting from memory, which might be a little shaky) the World Bank, mobile banking contributes 2-3% growth p.a. to the economy of a developing or emerging country.


ForumOxford Conference on Mobile Apps & Technologies

Next week, on 15 October 2010, there will be the fantastic opportunity to bask in the glory of Oxford University and attend what many say is one of THE outstanding conferences in the mobile space, namely the University of Oxford’s Mobile Apps and Technologies Conference 2010.

I will be speaking as will James Elles, MEP and folks from Vodafone, IBM, Edelman and many more, including some of the most eminent analysts and strategists of the mobile space. The conference prides itself that it does not deliver any sales pitches, and it is not even very expensive!

So come along and join us for a great day of learning, discussing and networking.

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