It's an oddly warm, sunny day here in Kansas, so despite the wintery season, a great time for a carnival!
The Carnival of the Mobilists is a weekly collection of the Web’s best writing on mobile and wireless, hosted and collected by a different site each week. If you are already reading our blog, or anything else mobile, you should add this collection to your subscription list as well.
Several of the submissions this week were written before CES – which I sadly didn't get to go to this year. Disappointingly what with teasers and a lamentably predictable industry, hardly anything happened to invalidate anyone's claims. Next, we'll have to see what gets announced next month at MWC in Barelona. Until then, check out those who challenge your ideas and bring you the mobile thoughts you may have missed.
Bucking the Conventional Wisdom
James Rosewell, writing for TheFonecast.com asks Will the CES trend for larger screens lead to poorer mobile web sites?
“ could it be that larger displays are simply more popular because they’re closer in size to desktop and laptop computers, while consumers are struggling to use the web on smaller-screen devices because sites haven’t been tailored to fit? ”
I can see an argument that excessive, misdirected attention to one platform can cause you to miss the true nature of the market.
“ Really? I don’t think the data support this conclusion. Flurry’s numbers show that 49% of that app consumption is games, which do not involve “accessing information.” If you remove the game time from the app numbers, the result is 48 minutes per day for apps versus the 72 minutes for browsing. ”
This is the sort of analysis I like to see. Even if I don't agree with it (I do), numbers can be sliced different ways. It's good to see analysis that bucks the party line, sometimes.
Advertising and Marketing
“ Advertisers need to think carefully about what they’re trying to achieve with their mobile ad campaign and nail the fundamentals (CPA? CPC? Blind? Premium?) before they let themselves get beguiled by the ad networks’ invariably impressive claims and boasts. ”
Mobile advertising has to meet the needs of your product and region. You can't just use what is comfortable, cheap or has the best industry buzz if you want to get results.
The effectiveness of QR codes has bugged me for a while. Not that they are ineffective per. se. but that the proof is always from very narrowly focused research or from marketing intent stuff. Terence Eden is trying to answer some of these questions, looking at the Real QR Statistics from TfL. And, then a couple days later, More *Real* QR Statistics
“ It’s hard to assess just how successful these codes are. The numbers are low, no doubt about that. As I mentioned in my interview for Econsultancy, a company needs to perform proper A|B testing to see how many calls, email, or website visits they would have got without a QR code. ”
Peggy Anne Salz, among other things the Queen of the Carneys gathers up a vast amount of data to surmise that Kindle Fire might be a lot bigger deal than we've all expected, and predicts some of what might happen as it gains traction in Europe. Kindle Fire To Heat Up European Tablet Market; What Can Advertisers Expect?
“ "Clearly, the one-size-fits-all approach for digital content across TV, PC, smartphone and tablet does not work, and this has significant implications for content producers and advertisers." ”That quote is not Peggy's, but from Bruce Hoang, group marketing director of the Orange Advertising Network, but I think it sums up a lot of design challenges, not just the possibility of saturation in the tablet space in Europe. This article is full of links to the original data or analysis, so if you have the time, I advise really getting into it.
Digital marketing specialist Tina de Souza, asks us all, Would you close your doors for business for 2 days out the week? Of course not, so why are you.
“ retailers without mobile optimised sites are losing out on nearly one-third of business based on new m-commerce research. Alex Kozloff, Senior Mobile Manager at the IAB, describes this as businesses effectively closing their doors for two days out of the week. ”
It's way past time to address every device users might use. Numbers like this make it easy to justify, so march on down to the VP of Marketing tomorrow morning and get some budget for that mobile-optimized version you've wanted to do.
The OS Wars
In a timely submission, from the depths of CES, Rodrigo Arantes asks Who, besides Microsoft, is interested on another mobile OS?. I like where Microsoft is going with this, and think innovation should be celebrated (fragmentation be damned) but he has good points about building a community and competing in this market.
“ The gorgeous Lumia 900 is the wrong answer to the real problem that is: Microsoft is designing its ecosystem for itself, not for those who should use it and make it full of value. ”
Well, the answer might be that the smartphone war is not over.
Hoi Sta tells us that Android and Apple have NOT won the smartphone war and there's a lot more at work, and a lot less stability than you'd think from the everyday mobile tech press.
“ The current incumbents (Apple & Android) are less than 5 years old! There is still plenty of time for change, and change has been happening fast. That’s an average of just over 4 years for each incumbent, but the trend suggests change is happening faster. ”
Actually, I'd like to quote about half this article. I'll refrain, but it does a great job of summarizing the reasons that we should constantly be aware of the changing market and not discount any OS, for a long, long time.
Disruption and the Future
Antoine RJ Wright brings us a short A Wearable Computing Equation
“ Smart glasses + an efficient, clipable-to-your-clothing computer + savy voice/gesture control interface + integration with all parts of your life that matters + decent price for the core (computer + 1 accessory) = wearable computing > mobile.
The only question I now have is when. Because the parts are certainly there to pull this off. ”
This is a question I ask a lot, of many different products. We can do so much more with what technology is in hand, today. If I can't have a jetpack, can I have my wearable computer now?
Ajit Jaokar at Open Gardens writes about the rest of the US market, and asks Do you ever hear of the spectrum/bandwidth crunch in Boise Idaho?
“ The Operators want bandwidth – so they paint a picture of a Bandwidth crunch. The analysts and the infrastructure providers want to please the operators to get more business. So, they also paint a spectre of impending doom. The whole industry speaks with one voice (for once!). Here’s why the bandwidth crunch may be a mirage... ”
I personally think there is a bit of a connectivity issue in the boondocks, and even used backhaul issues on vacation as an example in my book, but I think that might prove his point instead; no one can trust mobile enough for intensive operations, so no one does. I wonder what we should all be doing about it, though.
I am sad to say I've missed the discussion of French triple-play Free, but Volker Hirsch – whose day job is the Director of Business Development for RIM – brought me up to speed with some interesting thoughts. Be Free! How an ickle player changes an industry.
“ Now, the really cool thing is how they are doing this. Since Iliad owns those masses of fibre networks, they can efficiently operate this. Now, they apparently start equipping their set-top boxes with femtocels and reserve a sliver of each of the bandwidth of those for their mobile network. ”
If you asked me 15 years ago where mobile would be today, I would not have guessed we'd still be SIM-locked, contract-bound, and subject to a relatively few telco-operators. When even big-name MVNOs can't cut it in the US, something totally different is really interesting.
And finally, in this chock-full week of mobile blogging, Bruce Burke of Gulf Bay Consulting talks about how embedded cameras are the next disruptive force in mobile commerce, of all things. Picture Perfect - processing images in Generation-M
“ That’s right, you can use the connected or integrated camera on your desktop or laptop computer, or your mobile device with integrated camera, to process credit card transactions with no dongle, cradle or swiper hardware required. ”
Any time a technology moves from the obvious (camera = family snapshots!) to the unexpected, it's the very definition of a disruptive technology and I can't wait to see more.
And the Winner Is
For my post of the week, I have to choose the one that gave me the most trouble quoting. Hoi Sta's article Android and Apple have NOT won the smartphone war was maybe not revolutionary, but was such a well-assembled argument about the reality of the world it's hard to resist.
Tune in Next Week
Next week's Carnival (#258) will be curated by Martin Wilson and hosted at his Mobileweb Company. If you'd like to be included in Martin's wrap up of the week's mobile writing, be sure to submit your posts by the end of the day, Friday 20 January. Unlike me, Martin will get his out on time the next Monday.
If you would like to host an upcoming Carnival of the Mobilists, drop our leader, Peggy Anne Salz a line and she'll be happy to set you up.