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The Mobile Only Challenge May 5, 2013

Posted by themobilephoneconnoisseur in Uncategorized.
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It was 20 years ago that the first web sites came about.

Taking the step from printed information to web was a long journey for many businesses, and newspapers for example are still struggling to figure out how to make the web profitable.

But in the past year we have come to a turning point. The regular web traffic, coming from desktops (Mac/PC) is on many sites declining, yes, declining! For any business wishing to be aggressive in marketing the fact is that customers are using a mobile device and thus the focus needs to shift to a mobile only environment.

But doing that does not just require ads to be reduced in size. The end to end experience needs to mobile only, because the customer may not even have a computer, scary thought isn’t it?

The desktop experience is as different from a mobile experience as printed paper is to a desktop experience. The challenge to move to a mobile only environment should not be underestimated.

Finding the customer, converting the customer to a paying customer, supporting the customer, getting the customer to purchase again or reduce churn. All this needs to be done by communicating and interacting with the customer, who is using only a mobile device.

Let’s take an example of how difficult it can be, even for a business that would not even exist if it were not for the smart phone explosion.

If you in the popular sports tracking mobile app Runkeeper, go to Settings and “Get one”. This takes the user to a web site, hardly optimized for a mobile device. But with all certainty most users visiting this web page will be using exactly that, thereby sub-optimizing the possibility to do more business.

Why? Well, most businesses have a legacy of assuming the user finds information from a web site, and then after that accesses a mobile web site or mobile app. But when the path starts from a mobile device the handling of that customer becomes confused.

Actually, the original hypertext revolution in the early 90s did for-see this situation of different devices, and originally intended the client (Mosaic mainly) to choose how to render the information. The idea was that browser would choose font, font size, line breaks, background color and so on. However with Netscape’s early browsers, the temptation to create attractive design killed those ambitions, which of course lead the way to the web explosion and gave us new world. It is so different that we have a really hard time imagining how we did any form of information consumption without the internet.

In the same way, we will have a hard time understanding how we lived with information only intended to be consumed with a screen size of 20 inches.

State of the mobile handsets industry March 21, 2013

Posted by themobilephoneconnoisseur in Uncategorized.
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So the dust has cleared from CES and Barcelona and all the separate events from the handset industry. Loads of events that sum up the trends, and they are more or less boring to listen to after a while, because they lack any real conclusions. We are also looking at some really interesting trends for 2013.

1. Handset manufacturers.

  • Samsung is still the leader in terms of impressing the early adopters. With the S4 they are ahead and will probably be so during 2013.
  • HTC, Huawei and Asus and loads of others are still wondering what to do to beat Samsung.
  • Apple is still living off of existing customers loving the products and the rumors of new existing stuff. It is time to show off something better and more interesting in 2013.
  • BlackBerry seems to have survived, and is hitting back from outside the main markets, like the Middle East.
  • Nokia. Still unclear what is going on. These guys make fantastic phones, but they are not quite used to fighting in the high end market only. And the logical low price handsets are still a bit confusing. Microsoft needs to step in, possibly buy them out.
  • Motorola seems to have died, at least in Northern Europe, where they apparently closed their Nordic offices. The Google purchase is probably the core reason.

2. Microsoft continues to disappoint.

  • The Windows 8 PC OS is not really ready, still loads of bugs and hundreds of megabytes of downloads from Windows update cause annoying problems
  • The handsets are still way too expensive still, Microsoft should simply sponsor some flagship and take the hit to get something going.
  • The usage of the phones sold are extremely low. I have indications of less than 0.5% of traffic on mobile web sites are from the Windows Phone OS. Who will ever care about this audience?
  • The important apps never released at the same time as the iOS and Android.

3. Mobile browsing is taking over. Regular web browser usage is actually beginning to see decline on sites that have mobile web pages.

4. NFC is a mess. The lack of defacto standards and loads of proprietary systems will in my eyes kill any real break through in mobile handsets for at least 2-3 years.

5. Bring your own device-trend is clear, but IT-departments are panicking, and Dropbox seems to be the number one service to hate, but all their users love it. I would not be surprised if they came out with a business version this year.

6. New OS. Firefox OS, Ubuntu for mobile , Tizen are liked challengers, but it will take a really long time before any of these get real traction. Maybe Nokia will pick one of these up, that would be an exiting change in an otherwise way too predictable environment.

7. Google seems to be struggling, seemingly mostly protecting their existing revenues, rather than doing anything really innovative, aside from their new glasses.

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