So the iPad was just officially announced by Steve Jobs and overall sentiment online has been mixed. I am going to reserve my judgement until I have actually placed my eyes and hands on the device myself. However, I do want to point out that this device or one similar to it is going to completely revolutionize the PC industry.
A few posts back I talked about the impending mobile OS wars and the future of the PC industry. The launch of the iPad proves that this movement is very real and that we are going to see more of these in the near future.
What does this all mean for newspapers and media companies? Well, we saw two media demo’s today. The first was from MLB who always do a spectacular job with their interactive technology innovations. If anyone is on the cusp of making ipTV attractive for the masses it is the MLB. more importantly though was the demo from the New York Times.
Here at Spreed we are very focused on the newspaper industry and as such the iPad is a very interesting platform for us. The NYTimes demo showed off a great looking app that really took advantage of the entire form factor to replicate and enhance the traditional newspaper experience. I love how they have integrated videos and galleries seamlessly into articles and how users can get a snapshot of every article in todays newspaper through one view.
In addition this is a much smarter platform for newspapers and magazine publishers in comparison to the Kindle. For a good year now I have been saying that the Kindle is okay, but it doesn’t satisfy the needs of readers and advertisers. The Kindle is black and white and not interactive from a media stand point. The iPad completely satisfies these holes left by the Kindle. It can do everything a Kindle can, but displays everything in color and lets people really interact with the content (a must for online advertisers these days).
Mobile platforms are exciting and there is loads of potential for innovation. Spreed is definitely going to be playing around with the iPad and helping our clients embrace this new platform. However, we suggest everyone be cautious and make sure that they understand each platform before they move onto the next one. Make sure you can sell at least some of your existing mobile inventory on your iPhone, Blackberry and Android apps before you start sinking big money into an iTab edition of your paper.
I look forward to getting my iTab and sharing my first hand findings with you all. Please feel free to call or email me with any questions about this new platform and what it means for your organization.
Admob, which was recently acquired by Google is always a great place to get useful stats on the mobile landscape. Marketers looking to understand the viability of a new smartphone platform in terms of potential ad revenue should always keep the Admob numbers in mind. I do have my questions about the validity of the Admob numbers. Nearly all of the ads it serves to smartphones are centered around Android and especially the iPhone. Therefore it doesn’t give the greatest all-around snapshot of the mobile landscape. Still, it provides insight into the long-term given the fact that smartphones such as Android and the iPhone represent the future of mobile devices and especially the future of the mobile Web and how to monetize it.
This months stats pointed out two very interesting items. Firstly, they noted that iPod touch numbers doubled after Christmas morning. This is to be expected (it also happened last year), but what are the implications? Publishers should understand that when building an application they must keep in mind the regularly offline iPod touch users. Spreed takes this into consideration when developing apps with our offline reading mode feature. All content is downloaded into the device when it has connectivity and reports usage back to the server when it reaches its next connection point. This means that iPod touch users (an increasingly growing market) can still use the app, download the content when in their Wi-fi network and read it on the go.
The second notable stat from this months report is that the iPhone accounted for 54% of all smartphone requests. Although it is important to take into consideration a multiple platform advertising strategy, it is clear that the iPhone is currently the best platform for displaying and seeing a return on your investment.
December 2009 Mobile Metrics Report
Today we released the December edition of our Mobile Metrics report, our monthly look at the data flowing through our network. This month we look at several key metrics including manufacturer share, operating system share, top devices, and top smartphones for each region in our network. At a glance, the data shows large regional differences in the devices that are accessing the mobile web.
Last week Mobile Marketing Watch posted an interesting article summarizing some stats from a recent DM2PR and Quattro study. I’ll let you read the article for yourselves, but the general premise is that very few people tested out mobile apps in 2009. However, those that did saw great results and as such many more marketers are planning on embracing an app strategy with the iPhone being the platform of choice.
Development and Overall Use of Apps to Skyrocket in 2010
The study indicated that many marketers took a “wait and see” approach in 2009 in terms of a mobile app strategy, stating fewer than one-half of marketers created either a mobile or social app in 2009. Most of those surveyed plan to invest in a mobile app this year, however, with the iPhonebeing the platform of choice, followed by Android.
This article just popped up on my Google reader just after I posted my last article about how Android is a bigger threat to Microsoft than it is to Apple. I have heard rumors of a Microsoft Zune phone for some time now but always dismissed them. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has always been very adamant about following the OS only approach,
With Windows Mobile, we want to permit a range of hardware innovation, and yet, still have a pretty good experience end-to-end, with good applications, and we want the ability for software developers to target both a very high-end and a lower range or mid-range phone. And the ability to scale up and down, to work with multiple hardware vendors, to get a range of competition and innovation and price competition amongst the hardware guys is a big asset. It is certainly what our strategy is.
However, a recent article in All Things Digital has eluded to new evidence that may suggest that Microsoft is prepping to launch the Zune phone very shortly, possibly within the next two months.
Microsoft to Launch Zune Phone in 2 Months?
It’s intriguing to see that talk of Microsoft’s (MSFT)long-rumored ‘Pink’ phone project has started up again. In a note to clients today, Jefferies analyst Katherine Egbert claims that Redmond is gearing up to launch a phone based on WindowsMobile7.
“Our recent industry checks indicate Microsoft will be debuting its own phone sometime in the next two months,” Egbert writes. “We expect the new phone to debut soon, at either the Feb 15-18 Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona Spain, or possibly at CTIA in Las Vegas one month later.”
Everyone talks about Google Android like it is a major threat to Apple, but to be honest I think it poses a much greater threat to Microsoft. If you look back at how this scenario has played out in the PC industry with Mac OS going up against Windows you will see what I am talking about. Apple has and always will have its loyal followers and without a doubt that following will continue to grow. However, the very fact that Windows can be installed on almost any PC will always secure its position in the PC market … or will it?
Google Android is Google’s new mobile Operation System (OS). It’s an open source project that allows any cell phone manufacturer (no matter how big or small) to install a top of the line smart phone OS with a full ecosystem and community of developers supporting it. In many ways it is like Windows; just much more open. Just like Windows, Google Chrome can be installed on any mobile phone, making it a very attractive solution for hardware manufacturers. There is no doubt in my mind that like Windows did in the PC marketing, Android will do in the mobile market (that doesn’t mean it’s the best), but Apple will always have its loyal following. So how does this pose a threat to Microsoft’s main OS business?
I am going to make a bold prediction here that may or may not come true. I believe we are just beginning to see the first adoption wave of truly mobile computers. Apple is coming out with a Tablet or Slate as they call it at some point in 2010 (maybe on January 27th). In the mean time Google has proven already in 2009 that it can install its Android software on netbooks, tablets, and other portable PC’s etc. I believe that a good portion of the PC market is going to radically shift to a mobile platform as these devices go from being feature rich phones and lightweight PC’s to devices rivalling the power of your regular laptop and desktop PC. Then what is Microsoft going to do? Their mobile OS has poor adoption rates and the User Experience both on their core mobile OS and in the app store is far below subpar.
If the PC industry makes a radical shift over the next 5-10 years into a highly mobile platform and if Google does what it is currently doing and continues to make it easy for mobile hardware manufacturers to install its OS, we are going to see a very different OS landscape and Microsoft won’t be the leaders this time.
A new report was released last week by Smaato outlining the success of mobile advertising in 2009. One very surprising highlight of their report was the fact that Symbian is the leading mobile platform when it comes to engaging end-users in mobile advertising. This surprises me as I was under the impression that the iPhone was by far the leader in CTR’s. Today, Symbian released a statement responding to this report.
Symbian Dominant in Click-Through
Some new December data from the mobile advertising company Smaato suggests that it’s actually Symbian that kills both the iPhone and Android. Now, I know what you’re thinking: that’s because Nokia, despite the buzz surrounding the sexier smartphone devices, remains the biggest mobile player in the world. But actually, the numbers are for the all-important click-through rates on the various platforms.
Smaato Index - Operation System CTR's Worldwide - Dec 2009
As part of our 2010 marketing strategy we are going to begin sharing interesting articles from around the mobile marketing/advertising space with all of our readers. Over the weekend GigaOm (a publication I have a lot of respect for) posted and article about how small mobile ad startups are going to fuel an M&A fire this year. Although the two biggest ad networks were recently bought up by Google and Apple, there are a lot of smaller companies that are pursuing very interesting niches in the mobile ecosystem. The article argues that these startups are going to be very attractive to some of the big boys in the next year.
Smaller Startups to Fuel M&A Fire in Mobile Ads This Year
While we may see one or two more big-budget acquisitions in mobile advertising this year, most of the M&A activity will center on smaller startups. Entrenched firms with deep pockets will look to fill out the holes in their mobile ad businesses, and independent players will forge alliances to better compete with their larger counterparts. Those deals won’t make headlines, but they will reconfigure the landscape of mobile advertising in 2010.