Archive for September, 2008

Will The Wireless Industry remain unaffected by today’s Financial Crisis

People around the world have different views but in my opinion, YES, It will remain unaffected. The mobile-phone industry will boom despite the current global financial crisis, reports CNet, which quotes a report from Portio Research. China and India will be the big contributors. “The mobile industry continues to confound expectations with spectacular accelerating growth,” the report stated. 

ARPU (average revenue per user) may decline but still, most believe that for a majority of people in developing countries, their first interactions with the Internet will be over the mobile phone, not a PC. I will also support this by a study by Chetan Sharma consulting firm in US according to which Data now represents 20 percent of all wireless revenues.

1 comment September 30th, 2008

First ever Global Mobile Film Festival at the Mobile World Congress in 2009

This will be the only event of its kind, the first time ever in the world. This will be First Ever Global Mobile Film Festival – at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2009. It was announced by The GSMA, the global trade group for the mobile industry, and Mofilm, a pioneer of short films for mobile and on-line distribution, just yesterday.

This will mark the begining of a new era giving a platform for all the movie makers around the world to test their skills and make movies targeting the most personal device with anybody around the world today. This will be an event to look forward to. Entries for screening are being invited until the deadline of November 28th 2008. After this date, they will be judged by an international jury of film, festival and mobile content experts, with the best films showcased at the GSMA’s Mobile World Congress ( http://www.mobileworldcongress.com), the world’s largest communications industry event that attracts more than 55,000 visitors from the mobile, entertainment and many other industry sectors to Barcelona each February.

Vishal

September 29th, 2008

Revenues from mobile advertising will be higher than online…

Today I was discussing mobile advertising trends with a few friends in India. It was surprising to know that though they are from non-tech field, they understand the value of mobile advertising completely. They informed me that they are heavy users of mobile advertising and benefit from it a lot.

One of them informed that some consumer durables companies (their clients) in India are not leaving any stone unturned and deploying all sorts of mobile advertising solutions be it bulk sms marketing or bluetooth or voice push service or ivr. These companies are targeting the large crowd generating Indian religious events like Dussehra, Deepawali, Navratri, Durga Puja covering whole of North India, East India and parts some parts of West India too etc. We all are very sure that this company is going to make great reveues out of these semi-India campaigns.

I was also interacting with some Yahoo and Google company emloyees here and thgey also are tryting to explore all kinds of revenue models which can be applied in mobile space to generate revenues. Inspite of the fact that they work with 2 of the top 5 search engines in the world, they strongly believe that advertising revenues from mobile will in no time surpass the revenues coming from online world.

Vishal

2 comments September 29th, 2008

gPhone or G1 – Google’s Android-based phone emerges

Well…here comes G1 – Google’s Android phone from T-Mobile USA. This is the iPhonesque phone from Google running its Android operating system and manufactured by HTC of Taiwan. Incidentally, it is also the first Android phone, Android being the Open Source Mobile Operating System being promoted by Google via its Open Handset Alliance (OHA).

G1 is available from T-Mobile USA from Oct 22 for $179 (with a 2 year contract) but the carrier is pre-selling the phone from today.

Take a look :

Google phone G1

Google phone G1

 

Google G1 (photo by Mark Lennihan)

Google G1 (photo by Mark Lennihan)

It looks nice. Does it compare with iPhone. It comes close but still does not beat iPhone sleekness. What about software ? We still need to see if the Android and all the Google apps loaded on it do any magic beyond the benchmark set by iPhone and its amazing software and application ecosystem. Android is supposed to create a great mobile software ecosystem similar to Apple and its iPhone environment.

For those who were holding out on buying an iPhone could take a shot at this one. But we doubt any iPhone owners out there would switch. iPhone 3G is just too good. Well we will see once we see adoption of the new Google phone. This is supposedly running the Google’s new shiny Chrome browser (actually Chrome Lite – mobile version of Chrome).

Some key Android features : openness – developers can develop application extensions to Android using its publicly available API. The G1 comes with maps, e-mail (gmail), instant messaging, music player and a camera. There is an Android Application store similar to the iPhone App Store. Google’s USP against the iPhone seems to be openness and willingness to let developers work more freely with Android as compared to the Apple’s tighter control over the iPhone application ecosystem. It could be a double-edged sword. Openness has its pros and cons. As to iPhone App Store, since its launch in July, users have downloaded more than 100 million applications for the iPhone and the iPod touch. Google has run Android developer challenge contest to get developers to create more Android apps.

For more details on G1, go to T-Mobile G1 site.

Welcome to the world of superphones. Superphone – a term informally being used for the ultra smart and ultra sleek new smartphones. This is a new world. We love this, finally mobile world is coming around with some cutting edge device and software innovation. Next we await the BlackBerry Bold – RIM’s answer to the iPhone and Google phone.

One thing is for sure. The new superphone world belongs to Apple, Google, RIM and Nokia. What about the rest ?

From a mobile OS perspective, there is a fight between Android, iPhone, Symbian, Windows Mobile, LiMo etc. Talk about fragmentation. Alas, if only developers could find a truly universal Mobile development ecosystem but without a PC-kind of monopoly.

MT

September 23rd, 2008

New white paper on Location-Based Services

We are pleased to present our latest white paper titled “Location-Based Services – Concepts and Models”. This is available under CellStrat (www.cellstrat.com) White Papers section. The copy posted there is an abstract. If you need the full version, feel free to email us at contact@cellstrat.com

MT

1 comment September 23rd, 2008

Attended Wireless Technology Forum, Atlanta 09-18-2008

Folks – I am back after a relatively long sojourn. Meanwhile my colleague Vishal has kept you entertained with some keen mobile insights and writings.

I begin with some notes from the Wireless Technology Forum that I attended today at The Ashford Club in Atlanta. The topic today was Mobile Applications for Business world.

There were speakers from TeleNav (Location Based Services firm), Southern Energy Emerging Tech Research, Cisco and UPS Mobility Marketing

Great set of attendees from all sorts of Atlanta based firms.

Some key issues which emerged are :

a) Security: This remains the big kahuna in all things corporate technology. Mobility adoption by businesses is highly dependent on being able to provide services in a secure environment. At the same time, corporate IT would like control over employees mobility solutions including laptops and phones. Same is true of pushing apps as in case of Phone app store. Hence the reason for popularity of BlackBerry still. In case of BlackBerry, corporate IT has total control over device content and applications. iPhone is creating some waves in corporate world but does not meet the security needs and control aspects which corporate IT requires. I am sure one Mr Steve is listening to corporates and would come out with robust security and control mechanisms in future versions of iPhone ecosystem.

b) Location Based Services: This is coming fast and offers compelling business apps in corporate mobile world – firms like UPS and TeleNav are doing some groundbreaking work in mobile asset tracking and fleet management as well as staff tracker on a location map. However larger firms are battling unionized labor force for adoption of new mobile apps. Unions do not want their members to be tracked and accounted for at all times. A UPS Truck driver would like to divert thru his favorite coffee shop sometime without his employer checking on his whereabouts using location tech.

c) Human Issues: As broached earlier, corporate adoption of mobile apps is dependent on employee enthusiasm. Employees like some apps like laptop and corporate email on mobile but location tracking gets into their privacy garden. Nobody wants to be tracked by their employer as to where they are at a particular moment. There is some resistance in corporate employee community about taking on new tech. The users complain about difficulty in learning mobile apps and use, the irony being that these users are good at ringtones and downloads ie more personalized content is finding easier adoption than corporate-tending apps.

d) Future trends: Ultra mobile worker is a given with powerful laptop and phone solution. Distributed ticket management to send tickets with video clips of field sites to expert engineers in central location is another possibility in future. The expert from Cisco felt that video and collaboration (aka Cisco products) are the future for corporate employee environment. We don’t disagree with any of these experts.

e) The Power of A: The company from Cupertino, Silicon Valley has created a phenomenon in iPhone. I can’t stop loving my personal iPhone 3G. Too good to be true. What to say of certain Mr Jobs ? Wow!! Anyway, iPhone is penetrating corporate world due to employee demand. Also every corp out there is having to tune its mobile apps to work on iPhone as this is what the consumers are demanding. Creating iPhone apps for online apps or mobile apps is not an option anymore for a good number of firms and developers. However Corporate IT is working with Apple to try to get more corporate features like remote wipe out, Outlook email integration, controlled App downloads and so on. Lets see if corporate IT succeeds in controlling employee iPhone features.

e) Killer apps in enterprise: Secure email till date remains the killer mobile app for corporates (of course voice is bigger but nobody talks about voice anymore). Machine to Machine communication in industrial and utility environments is expected to be a big use of mobile technology. Wireless broadband on WIMAX and LTE will open up some new business models and business use cases.

f) Vertical nature of mobile apps: This is key to the success of mobile applications in corporations. Most firms want applications customized for their business line. Eg for UPS, package tracking is important whereas for medical line, patient data apps are important.

Well Maury Margol, Bob McIntyre and Steve Bachman have done a fantastic job of the wireless tech forum for Atlanta based wireless community. Congratulations folks!!

MT

3 comments September 19th, 2008

Forget Cell Towers…

Yes, you read it right…

Forget Celltowers… This will be the mantra of companies for reducing the company costs of deployment and maintenance of huge celltowers.

World is undergoing a recession…many well established companies are going and many have already gone bankrupt like the most recent Lehman Brothers. Also, many companies around the world are cutting costs by cutting down their man power around the world…

Seeing all this, it is very clear that in times to come, telecom companies too will follow the same route with continually decreasing voice and data rates and thus, decreasing margins.

In my opinion, to reduce costs, telecom companies would some how like to pass on more and more costs to the consumers and what better way will there be, then to pass on the cell tower costs to consumers. WHAAT??? Cell tower costs to consumers…Am I joking here!!! NO…I am not. It’s easily possible…

HOW? Ofcourse by using femtocells technology that will be used when 4G comes into play provided by LTE (Long Term Evolution). Now people may ask…What is that??? For this…you may like to see one of my earlier posts in this blog on femtocells and additionally…you may want to read the white paper on Femtocells written by our company experts.

To tell you briefly…how it will minimise the cost to companies, I would like to mention that femtocells will eradicate the network costs and also eliminate some, if not all, problems of backhaul that stymie 4G networks. It seems theoretical now, but when LTE comes in…people will be able to get whooping speeds of upto 150Mbps. Femtocells are small devices which can be installed by a group of houses or even a single house as a stand alone unit. It costs miniscule in comparison to a celltower and maintenance costs too are almost nill.

It’s already being deployed in US, Europe and since recently, idea is being explored by Russians too and looking for good vendors to supply them the same so that they don’t get left behind. Even I came in contact with some people who are looking to deploy these femtocells asap…mainly because of these reasons i.e. costs less, give better connectivity and last but not the least can be great where houses are in congested spaces and tower signals there, are weak or compeletly missing.

But inspite of having said all of the above…I do feel that it will remain a complimentary technology in 4G and not all countries will be able to shift so fast to femtocells…so we will still see the cell towers for some years to come…

Vishal

1 comment September 17th, 2008

Want a Blackberry with flip form factor…here it comes…

I know quiet a lot of people who have always wanted to buy a Blackberry smartphone but but they always go for phones with flip form factor. And, I recently saw just that…BlackBerry Pearl 8220 smartphone, which RIM touts as the first BlackBerry phone to come in the flip form factor.

But, Indian buyers will need to wait as it will take time to reach here as currently it’s exclusively for T-Mobile.

It’s looks are as impressive as it’s features. Some of the key ones are:

This quad-band EDG based smartphone features 2 high-resolution, light sensing color displays, an external LCD screen and a 240×320 internal LCD, recognition for Voice Activated dialing, voicemail attachment playback, background noise cancellation, speaker phone, Bluetooth, GPS receiver, and a large QWERTY thumb pad.

Software goodies include DataViz Documents to Go software suite for editing MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint files in addition to BlackBerry Professional Software suite and Enterprise Server.

Finally, the Pearl Flip will offer a 2.3 megapixel camera with flash, zoom and video recording.

Impressive indeed.

Vishal

September 10th, 2008

BMW, the first car company takes up Mobile Marketing…

BMW is one of the world’s most recognizable brands. As part of their on-going effort to build stronger connections with consumers, BMW has established a Marketing Innovation Department, which, among other things, has responsibility for developing mobile advertising and marketing.

Marc Mielau is the Innovation Manager for Mobile Marketing at BMW. In this two-part interview Marc explains how a major brand like BMW with a large complex organization can effectively address new opportunities such as mobile advertising and marketing, and he shares several of the very interesting campaigns that BMW has run. Click here for reading the full story.

I sincerely believe the when Indian car companies start doing this too…they will surely see an increase in sales and positive feedback from customers…

Vishal

1 comment September 10th, 2008

Android Developer Challenge I (Round-2) come to an end…

The final phase of Android Developer Challenge Round 2 is now complete. Out of 50 teams of finalists, 10 teams received a $275,000 award each and 10 teams received a $100,000 award each. All of the teams’ hard work during the past several months is apparent in the final 50 entries.

We found all the application great but sincerely feel that if they are also available in other platforms too besides Android platform, it can be a great benefit to developing countries like India or others where Android will enter late.

Some of the best applications were:

cab4me
Konrad Huebner, Henning Boeger
Ever been looking for a cab? cab4me is the answer. Anywhere. Anytime.

CompareEverywhere
Jeffrey Sharkey
Shop smarter using your phone. Compare prices, read reviews, and connect with local stores.

Ecorio
Jeff Kao, Gary Pong, Robert Lam, Taneem Talukdar
Ecorio automatically tracks your mobile carbon footprint, suggests transit and carpooling alternatives and lets you stay carbon neutral by offsetting your trips easily.

GoCart
Rylan Barnes
Scan a product’s barcode with your phone’s camera and view all the best prices online and at nearby, local stores.

Life360
Chris Hulls, Dilpreet Singh, Luis Carvalho, Phuong Nguyen, Steve Potell
From major natural disasters to little things like your child wandering away at the mall, there is a lot you might worry about. Life360 can help.

Locale
Carter Jernigan, Clare Bayley, Jasper Lin, Christina Wright
Locale is an advanced settings manager that automatically changes your phone’s settings based on conditions, such as location.

Softrace
Staffan Kjellberg, Thomas Kjellberg
Turn your workout into a thrilling race and challenge the world in real time.

Android Developer Challenge II: This contest will launch after the first handsets built on the platform become available in the second half of 2008.

You can find more here.

Vishal

September 8th, 2008

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