Saturday, April 03, 2010

iPad impact on Phones

TechCrunch's Mike Arrington unofficially reviews the iPad and this line resonated with my own anticpated behaviour for the device. Link

"I suspect I’ll rarely be away from this device. In fact it will make my phone far less important for non-calling uses (emphasis mine).

I may not have the iPad in my pocket with my phone, but it will certainly be in my bag over my shoulder. With a 3G data plan I’ll use it to read the news, look up movie times and reviews, send instant messages and emails, and lots of other things that I do with my phone. I’m not so sure I need to have the latest and greatest phone device any more, knowing that there’s an iPad within reach."

If I'm willing to carry the iPad out and about I might not automatically jump to a smartphone to do consuming-content-type-stuff (this is location dependent obviously). A phone primarily becomes a voice / sms / and portable camera and that means a big screened smartphone is overkill.

For those individuals that already carry two or more devices (such as a blackberry and phone) I wonder if the iPad will replace either.

We'll see soon.

[Update: August 2010] Ok. Having lived with the iPad for a few months there's one thing that I got right and one I got wrong.

Right: The iPad form factor/consumer appliance in some way shape or form is here to stay over the next 5 years I bet ("I'll rarely be away from this device"). It's being used in the office and at home pretty much constantly and travel inbetween a lot. Like others, the laptop hardly comes out at home anymore, however it's still used on occasions and for now with iPad Generation1, is still needed.

Less use of the smartphone by using iPad more (if you're using an iPhone and an iPad). I'd underestimated Apple's iEcosystem + iDevice1 + iDevice2 combination effect. iTunes + iDevice1 is a given (for purchasing and synching apps, music, books etc) and what most users are accustomed to. Hold that thought.

Now add in Apple's Halo effect; iDevice users are more likely to buy other iDevices.
In this case coupling the iPad (iDevice1) with an iPhone4 (iDevice2) provides a more seamless usage across iDevices of the same apps, music and crucially user experience.
I've found this quite useful, dipping in and out ofthe same apps on different iDevices depending on which one is to hand.

Anyone care to comment on what life is like with an iPad + Symbian or iPad + Android smartphone device (or other smartphone)? Do they complement each other in the same way or does it not matter ?

[Update: September 2010] seems iCulture is the word I was looking for ... Link

Friday, January 16, 2009

Power to the Players

How to make sticky addictive web/mobile services ...

Power to the Players
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: game games)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Mindshare vs. Marketshare

Nokia's announcement of their new flagship handset for the first half of 2009, the N97 (or perhaps just one of them?) got lots of buzz two weeks ago at Nokia World 2008.

The hardware specs are impressive and when handling the device, it does not feel too large in the hand. The form factor resembles a cross between the E90 and 5800 Xpress. They've added a decent battery but it still has a resistive non-OLED touch screen. Build quality felt ok.  The software is too alpha at the moment to really comment, but the device is running Symbian 9.4 with a version of Series60 edition 5 (same as the 5800) with extensions like Web Run Time widgets on the idle screen.

As many have commented already, the timing of the device entering the market may be a problem, as other device manufacturer's flagship devices will be refreshed or newly introduced by mid next year. This is normal as part of the device OEM roadmaps, there's always new handsets on the horizon, but a 6 month 'lead' time in today's competitive device landscape for a flagship replacement is a long time off.  I wonder whether Nokia wanted to 'get in first', pre-empting Macworld, Mobile World Congress, ceBIT 2009 to recoup some lost Mindshare.

Have Nokia really lost Mindshare this year?

A couple of subjective pointers from the conference lead me to the belief they are now playing catchup:

  (i) Having attended previous Nokia World events this is the first time I've seen the competitor devices acknowledged and openly mentioned comparing the G1, Blackberry Storm and the iPhone to the new N97 by Anssi Vanjokki during the ketynote speech.
  (ii) Several of the Execs wandering round the event were using iPhones. 2 years ago Execs would have been touting the latest Nokia flagship handset.
  (iii) The Ovi email service (see previous post on wondering where Ovi email was) is late in coming to the market, although the upgraded  Ovi Maps has potentially leapfrogged ahead of say, Google Maps (too early to say).

The N97 would have been on the drawing board 12 months ago, if not longer. During that time whilst Nokia's Marketshare has remained stable the Mindshare drifted to Nokia's competition. The Sony Ericsson X1, the HTC Max 4G/G1, Samsung Omnia, PradaII, Apple iPhone, RIM BB Bold/Storm etc... are all vying for the top slot and have been the focus of consumer attention in mobile devices in 2008 (versus Nokia's N96 and 5800 Xpress).

All of the above manufacturers will have new flagship devices in mid 2009 to compete. So, whether 2009 Nokia devices and the N97 can regain the top slot flagship product and get back some Mindshare remains to be seen ...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

BlackBerry Storm in a teacup

RIM have been highly successful in the enterprise push email market. So succesful, that anything mobile email related is instantly compared to Blackberry (even POTUS doesn't want to give it up).

However, as Apple starts to creep up its mobile market share with at least a potential new model every year and email/Exchange support, it may be enough to make RIM a casualty.

RIM have not sat back and watched this potential market-share threat of course and we're starting to see the first consumer-focused Blackberries appear into the market, as a response.

The one right now that's getting all the focus is the Blackberry Thunder (but more consumer Blackberries are due early next year). There's already many reviews on the web so I'll keep my own comments brief.

In short the BB Thunder is disappointing. The high resolution display is amazingly sharp and bright and the device has good solid build quality but the major feature of the clickable screen is a novelty and rapidly becomes irritating- taking at least twice as long to do anything as with the non-touch Bold (I just could not get used to the two letters per key on the on-screen keyboard in portrait mode). The browser is ok but multi-touch iPhone users will find it sub-par  - no pinch and zoom of course.

There's nice transitions and a medium reponse time when navigating menus and traversing around the OS (except the flip into landscape mode), but the built in native applications don't cut it -the media player crashed several times when trying to play any video for example. It's nowhere near as stable as the Blackberry Bold and left me with a similar impression of the nokia N96 when it first came out - buggy and unfinished. Perhaps some of the issues will be fixed in firmware updates.

RIM have a lot to learn when it comes to consumer-based devices it seems and it's yet-another-iPhone-clone that doesn't come close enough to provide any serious competition.
However I'll still be using the Bold for email until that iPhone with keypboard appears.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

200 million iPhone App downloads

Apple announced they've seen 200 million downloads of applications from the Application Store in 102 days since launching it, in their F4Q08 earnings call.

2M downloads per day across two devices(iPhone 3G / ipod Touch)... hmmm, I wonder if Handango have similar figures for the last 100 days?

You can understand why the competition are scrambling as Apple put it, to copy this business model.

Monday, September 22, 2008

G1 arrives

There's loads of reviews on the web already of the G1 versus the iPhone and other phones, so I won't repeat an in-depth review here. The conclusion is ... you're going to need to try one for yourself ... whether you like the G1 will be dependent on your main mobile usage (messaging/email/texting/voice vs. data-usage/browsing, content consumption etc..).

Personally I'm not a huge of the form factor of this first HTC Android device but can understand the appeal of a Sidekick+iPhone hybrid (including the Blackberry-like navigation ball). Lots of folk who wanted a physical QWERTY keyboard on the 2nd gen iPhone have a new choice (other full touch screen + QWERTY keyboard devices eg. Prada II are coming later in the year).

There's no soft keyboard option on the G1 which prevents any chance of single-handed in-line text entry (eg. in the browser or messaging apps). The HVGA capacitive display screen is responsive and the webkit based browser is speedy (not quite as polished or smooth as iPhone Safari with multi-touch support).

The Google mobile apps are very well integrated, as you'd expect... (but, what if you don't have a Google account ?)Like the iPhone 1st generation there are missing features both hardware and software based in this first implementation: no camera flash, video capture etc... but they did include copy and paste.

A quick note on my current view of Google's impact in the mobile marketplace a year on since announcing their intentions. The G1 device launch, is a necessity from a consumer perspective to get people thinking "Google do phones" and they can run the same Google applications as on the web (so another consumer choice for mobile-web-based integration a-la Ovi, Mobile Me.. Google have a headstart here because so many normobs use their web based services).

Google have proved they can develop and integrate a mobile OS ('Open' with constraints).
The main question I have now, is whether /how Android will be adopted and taken forward by the OHA to be integrated and deployed across future multiple device platforms ?

Collectively at any one time, the main handset manufacturers are working on hundreds of new devices for release globally over the next 18 months. The OS platform choice the handset manufacturers choose to deploy in these devices (and Operators influence) will be a crucial factor in Android's progress. This question also impacts the developer ecosystem uptake of the Android SDK and Marketplace distribution for free/paid applicatons. Reach is impacted by volume.

Back to the G1....Google's choosing to launch their first Android based device on the current form-factor (rather than a Blackberry-like/Candybar or Clamshell form-factor) has reaffirmed the large, touch-screen phone device is here to stay (with or without QWERTY), implying the continued shift towards doing much more on your mobile device than voice and texting...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Future's Cloudy, the Future's Ovi ?

Maybe, but Nokia have a lot more work to do yet.

It's been a while since the last update but Nokia have launched the next upgrade to their Ovi service offering (bringing the web, desktop and mobile harmonisation one step closer).

The new additions are synching (contacts, calendar, notes, tasks) via SyncML, a personalised dashboard with flickr and Ovi share 'widgets' and a desktop PC suite client (Ovi Suite). Multiple devices can be synched to a single Ovi account but mobile web browser access is still pretty limited with these new features (no login/dashboard view).

This complements the existing Remote File Access/Share (from your mobile/online PC) and Ovi Share (photos and media uploading/sharing)services.

Games, Music and Maps (no eMail?) are still to be integrated but Nokia have been listening it seems, for a single unified account login to all Nokia Ovi features with FileShare and new Synch service at least sharing the same login details.

The fixed-browser widget approach is a good move, allowing personalisation of the dashboard assuming we see other Nokia/external widgets being made availabe soon (I would find an SMS-text backup widget very handy ...)

However I think the whole Ovi strategy still way too fragmented for normobs - the multiple logins, multiple access points to the services (synchML, mobile web, web, active idle screen integration of Ovi Share) and the separate Share Online application, N-Gage arena on the device just cause confusion.

I'll assume at some point Nokia will have a centralised approach for device, desktop, mobile web and web and might take a leaf out of Apple's book regards simplicity (although MobileMe has its own fair share of problems too).

In the meantime Zyb, Dashwire, MobSynch, Funambol, SoonR, Orb and the myriad of other services that synch media+contacts+calendars from mobile-to-cloud and/or mobile-to-PC, will need to try and stay ahead of the giant as it continues centralising and improving these services further in its quest to become an internet company.

As usual, AAS have a much more detailed review.