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Stanford Graduates Release Pulse, A Must-Have News App For The iPad June 1, 2010

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Akshay Kothari and Ankit Gupta, two Stanford grads who signed up for the Launch Pad class at the University’s Institute of Design (aka d.school), could have hardly chosen a better path to try their hands at startup life. The pair has gone from idea to a (very cool) digital news app for the iPad in just 5 weeks, and they’re just getting started.

The application, called Pulse, is essentially a visually attractive RSS-based news aggregator. On sale for $3.99 (iTunes link), the app is aimed to please both hardcore RSS reader users and people who are willing to pay top dollars for single publication apps.

via Stanford Graduates Release Pulse, A Must-Have News App For The iPad.

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Alternatives to iTunes: how 5 rival music services match up | ZDNet May 19, 2010

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How well do the current crop of online music services stack up against the iTunes Store?

When I did my inaugural round-up of iTunes alternative last year, I was looking for ways to avoid the high price of iTunes, and I succeeded. I found six rivals that offered significant savings—at least 10% and potentially much more. My criteria included services aimed at music lovers who want the option to buy music by the track or by the album. Several of the alternative services included interesting differentiating features, with the biggest being the all-you-can-listen-to subscription model.

I looked at three main factors: price, selection, and ease of use. To make price comparisons, I created a basket of 10 rock, folk, country, and classical albums, six recent releases and four back catalog choices from the previous century.

On price, iTunes was once again the most expensive, with the highest price for the collection. See the chart at right for details; the asterisk in the Cost column indicates that two of the five alternative services didn’t offer the entire selection of albums—Zune Marketplace was missing two and eMusic had only six of the ten albums on my list. To figure the total price tag for those two services. I calculated the cost of the missing albums using the prices from the iTunes store. Amazon MP3 and Lala offered significant savings over iTunes, with total savings of 11% and 20%, respectively. Rhapsody offered only trivial savings over Apple’s store, and the Zune prices were all over the map, with three albums costing more than their iTunes rivals.

Read the rest of this article via Alternatives to iTunes: how 5 rival music services match up | ZDNet.

P.S.: I’ll be back. China is behind me 😉

Knocking lets you share live video between iPhones and Android smartphones | VentureBeat March 24, 2010

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Knocking Live Video, which allows you to send live video footage from your phone’s camera to another phone, is one of the coolest iPhone apps I’ve seen recently. And today it’s launching for phones using Google’s Android operating system.

via Knocking lets you share live video between iPhones and Android smartphones | VentureBeat.

Day 74 Sales: Apple iPhone vs. Google Nexus One vs. Motorola Droid March 17, 2010

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Through applications using Flurry for analytics reporting, Flurry can detect and count unique devices in the market such as Google Nexus One and Motorola Droids. Because applications embedded with Flurry have been downloaded to over 80% of all iPhone OS and Android devices, Flurry is able to make reliable estimates about total handset sales.[…]

So, why 74? Simply put, according to Apple, the original iPhone reached 1 million units sold in that many days. […]

The chart below compares the sales results through each of their respective first 74 days. The launch dates were: iPhone, June 29, 2007; Droid, November 5, 2009; and, Nexus One, January 5, 2010.  Please note that we forecasted the last few days of Nexus One’s first 74 days sales based sales of the first 70 days we tracked at the time of writing this report.

Sales Nexus One, Droid, iPhone

Inspecting the graph, it’s immediately clear that Nexus One sales continue to pale in comparison to iPhone 1G and Motorola Droid, with each besting Nexus One sales by roughly 8 times over the same time period.

At the same time, an interesting side-story is that the Motorola Droid edged out iPhone 1G over the first 74 days, coming in at just over one million sold through, by our calculations. This was surprising enough that we re-ran our estimates several times and still came up with the same results. Thinking about the differences associated with each launch (operator, year, etc.), we believe there are three underlying drivers of Droid worth keeping in mind compared to the other two handsets:

1. Consumer Perception & Demand: Motorola Droid launched over 2.5 years after the iPhone 1G. (Nov 2009 vs. July 2007). When the iPhone launched, consumers’ concept of a mobile computing device as we now understand it, was very different. Since then, Apple has spent millions of dollars training and educating consumers about capabilities of such a device, which was no small feat especially after its first foray into the handset business (Motorola ROKR E1 in 2005). Until the iPhone was introduced, most consumers, especially in the U.S. had thought of their phones as, well, just phones.  Finally, it’s worth noting that the Motorola Droid could be considered Android’s “third generation” handset, which benifitted from generated awareness by preceding G1 and MyTouch 3G handsets.

2. Relative Subscriber Bases: Droid launched on Verizon, a larger network with more subscribers than AT&T, especially when considering AT&T’s 2007 size (63.7 million at the time of iPhone launch) versus Verizon’s 2009 size (89 million at the end of Q3). Additionally, there was pent up demand among the Verizon subscriber base for an iPhone killer, which is exactly how Verizon positioned the Droid. Finally, Verizon backed the launch with advertising support of at least $100 million.

3. Holiday Season Sales: Droid benefited from launching on Nov 5 and having its first 74 days lifted by the holiday season, which is the highest selling period of the year for handsets. Neither iPhone 1G nor Nexus One’s first 74 days spanned a holiday period.

As Google and Apple continue to battle for the mobile marketplace, Google Nexus One may go down as a grand, failed experiment or one that ultimately helped Google learn something that will prove important in years to come. Apple’s more vertically integrated strategy vs. Google’s more open Android platform approach offer strengths and weaknesses that remind us of PC vs. Mac from the 1980’s. A key difference this time around is that Apple is enjoying much more 3rd party developer support, whose innovative applications push the limits of what the hardware can do. Ultimately, however, developers support hardware with the largest installed base first. For Android to make progress faster, from a sales perspective, it needs more Droids and fewer Nexus Ones going forward.

via Day 74 Sales: Apple iPhone vs. Google Nexus One vs. Motorola Droid.

Tim Bray lands on Android team March 15, 2010

Posted by andre in Mobile & Gadgets.
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XML co-creator Tim Bray has joined the exodus from Oracle and landed at Google, as a “developer advocate” for the Android.

The iPhone vision of the mobile Internet’s future omits controversy, sex, and freedom, but includes strict limits on who can know what and who can say what. It’s a sterile Disney-fied walled garden surrounded by sharp-toothed lawyers. The people who create the apps serve at the landlord’s pleasure and fear his anger.

I hate it.

Having a public, personal face on its Android efforts will be very important to Google, which faces both marketing and legal challenges to its growth in the mobile market from Apple. […]

via Tim Bray lands on Android team | Open Source | ZDNet.com

Demolition Derby in Devices: The roller-coaster ride is on | VisionMobile :: blog March 13, 2010

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[The economic realities will lead to a roller-coaster ride that will shake up the mobile industry. Guest blogger Richard Kramer talks about the impending price war, the implications for industry growth, and how this will alter the landscape of device vendors in the next decade]

With all the discussion of technology trends on the blogosphere, there are some harsh economic realities creeping up on the handset space. The collective efforts of vendors to deliver great products will lead to an all-out smash-up for market share, bringing steep declines in pricing.

In November 2009 I wrote a note about what Arete saw as the impending dynamics of the mobile device market. I called it Demolition Derby. This followed on from a piece called Clash of the Titans, about how the PC and Handset worlds were colliding, brought together by common software platforms and adopting common chipset architectures. As handsets morphed into connected devices, it opened the door for computing industry players, now flooding in.

New categories of non-phone devices
A USB modem/datacard market of 70m units in 2009 should counted as an extra third of the smartphone market, as it connected a range of computing devices. By the end of 2010, I believe there will be many new categories of non-phone mobile devices to track (datacards, embedded PCs, tablets, etc.), and they may be equal to high-end smartphone market in units in 2011.  Having looked at the roadmaps of nearly every established and wannabe vendor in the mobile device space, I cannot recall a period in the past 15 years of covering the device market with so many credible vendors, most with their best product portfolios ever, tossing their hats in the ring.  I see three things happening because of this:

1. First, a brutal price war is coming. This will affect nearly every segment of the mobile device market. Anyone who thinks they are insulated from this price war is simply deluded. I have lost count of the number of vendors planning to offer a touch-screen slim mono-bloc Android device for H2 2010. The only thing that will set all these devices apart will be brand, and in the end, price.  Chipmakers – the canaries in the handset coal mine – are already talking about slim HSPA modems at $10 price points, and $20 combined application processors and RF. Both Huawei and ZTE now targeting Top Three positions in devices, with deep engagements developing operator brands. They are already #1 and #2 in USB modems.  Just look at the pricing trends ZTE and Huawei brought to the infrastructure market; this will come to mobile devices.

2. Second, growth will rebound with a vengeance. I expect 15% volume growth in 2010, well ahead of the cautious consensus of 8%.  I first noted this failure of vision in forecasting in a 2005 note entitled “A Billion Handsets in 2007” when the consensus was looking for 6% growth whereas we got 20%+ growth for three years, thanks to the onset of $25 BoM devices. Consumers will not care about software platform debates or feature creep packing devices with GHz processors in 2010. Ask your friends who don’t read mobile blogs and aren’t hung up about AppStores or tear-downs:  they will simply respond to an impossibly wide choice of impossibly great devices, offered to them at impossibly cheap prices.

3. Third, the detente is over. The long-term stability that alllowed the top five vendors to command 80% market share for most of this decade is breaking down.  This is not simply a question of “Motorola fades, Samsung steps in” or “LG replaces SonyEricsson in the featurephone space”.  Within a year, there could be dangerously steep market share declines among the former market leaders (i.e. Nokia) to accompany their decline in value share. Operators are grasping control of the handset value chain; many intend to follow the lead of Vodafone 360 to develop their own range of mid-tier and low-end devices. Whether or not this delivers better user experiences, operators are determined to target their subsidy spend to their favourite ODM partners. In developed markets, long-established vendors are getting eclipsed: in 2010, RIM or Apple could pass traditional vendors like SonyEricsson or Motorola in units. RIM and Apple already handily out-paced older rivals in sales value, and with $41bn of estimated sales in 2010, are on par with Nokia.

Hyper competition
So where does this lead us? Even with far greater volumes than anyone dares to imagine, there is no way to satisfy everyone’s hopes of share gains, or profits. With Apple driving to $25bn in 2010 sales and Mediatek-based customers seeking share in emerging markets, the mobile device market is entering a phase of hyper-competition. It is all too easy for industry pundits to forget that Motorola and Sony Ericsson collectively lost over $5bn in the past 2.5 years. More such losses are to come.

Never before have we seen so many vendors acting individually rationally, but collectively insane. Albert Einstein once famously said that “the defintiion of insanity was doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result”.

The men in the white coats will have a field day with the mobile device market in 2010.

– Richard

via Demolition Derby in Devices: The roller-coaster ride is on | VisionMobile :: blog.

comScore Reports January 2010 U.S. Mobile Subscriber Market Share – comScore, Inc March 11, 2010

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RESTON, VA, March 10, 2010 – comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released data from the comScore MobiLens service, reporting key trends in the U.S. mobile phone industry during the three month period between October 2009 and January 2010. The report ranked the leading mobile original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and smartphone operating system (OS) platforms in the U.S. according to their share of current mobile subscribers age 13 and older, as well as popular activities and content accessed via the subscriber’s primary mobile phone. The January report found Motorola to be the top handset manufacturer overall with 22.9 percent market share, while RIM led among smartphone platforms with 43.0 percent market share.

OEM Market Share

In the 3 month average ending in January, 234 million Americans were mobile subscribers ages 13 and older, with device manufacturer Motorola ranking as the top OEM with 22.9 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers. LG ranked second with 21.7 percent share, followed by Samsung (21.1 percent share), Nokia (9.1 percent share) and RIM (7.8 percent share).

Top Mobile OEMs
3 Month Avg. Ending Jan. 2010 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Oct. 2009
Total U.S. Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Share (%) of Mobile Subscribers
Oct-09 Jan-10 Point Change
Total Mobile Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Motorola 24.1% 22.9% -1.2
LG 22.0% 21.7% -0.3
Samsung 21.0% 21.1% 0.1
Nokia 9.3% 9.1% -0.2
RIM 6.4% 7.8% 1.4

Smartphone Platform Market Share

42.7 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones in an average month during the November to January period, up 18 percent from the August through October period. RIM was the leading mobile smartphone platform in the U.S. with 43.0 percent share of U.S. smartphone subscribers, rising 1.7 percentage points versus three months earlier. Apple ranked second with 25.1 percent share (up 0.3 percentage points), followed by Microsoft at 15.7 percent, Google at 7.1 percent (up 4.3 percentage points), and Palm at 5.7 percent. Google’s Android platform continues to see rapid gains in market share.

Top Smartphone Platforms
3 Month Avg. Ending Jan. 2010 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Oct. 2009
Total U.S. Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Share (%) of Smartphone Subscribers
Oct-09 Jan-10 Point Change
Total Smartphone Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
RIM 41.3% 43.0% 1.7
Apple 24.8% 25.1% 0.3
Microsoft 19.7% 15.7% -4.0
Google 2.8% 7.1% 4.3
Palm 7.8% 5.7% -2.1

Mobile Content Usage

In an average month during the November through January 2010 time period, 63.5 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device, up 1.5 percentage points versus three months prior. Browsers were used by 28.6 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers (up 1.8 percentage points), while subscribers who played games made up 21.7 percent (up 0.4 percentage points). Access of social networking sites or blogs experienced strong gains in the past three months, growing 3.3 percentage points to 17.1 percent of mobile subscribers.

Mobile Content Usage
3 Month Avg. Ending Jan. 2010 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Oct. 2009
Total U.S. Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Share (%) of U.S. Mobile Subscribers
Oct-09 Jan-10 Point Change
Total Mobile Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Sent text message to another phone 62.0% 63.5% 1.5
Used browser 26.8% 28.6% 1.8
Played games 21.3% 21.7% 0.4
Used Downloaded Apps 18.3% 19.8% 1.5
Accessed Social Networking Site or Blog 13.8% 17.1 % 3.3
Listened to music on mobile phone 11.6% 12.8% 1.2

via comScore Reports January 2010 U.S. Mobile Subscriber Market Share – comScore, Inc.

How The iPad, And The Slate Computer, Will Evolve In The Next Two Years March 11, 2010

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With the iPad hitting pre-order in two days and shipping in April, it’s important to think about when and why to buy the iPad. Based on our understanding of the product lifecycle and expected moves by Apple’s competitors, we foresee big changes in the ultraportable landscape with the ultraportable/netbook as we now know it mutating – or branching – into a new species of media oriented Win7 and Android devices. Here’s what we can expect.

April 3, 2010 – Big launch. Light crowds at the Apple Store. This isn’t huge-huge. It’s medium-huge and I don’t think you’re going to see an army of the pasty arriving at your local shop clamoring for iPads. This is Apple’s wait and see product, although I don’t doubt between 3-5 million won’t wait and see in 2010.

May-June 2010 – Chinese knock-offs will flood the market and we’ll see a nice collection of weird, mutated slates hitting the more esoteric sites. Nothing major and no big sellers.

Summer 2010 – Dell and HP release their devices. Dell’s is called the Mini 5 AKA the Streak and HP’s as of yet unamed. These guys will wait until the waters have been fully tested before they move with their devices.

Read the rest of this entry »

via How The iPad, And The Slate Computer, Will Evolve In The Next Two Years.

Healthcare Wants a Tablet, But Not Apple’s iPad | Survey Results February 6, 2010

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Last week, during the fever pitch surrounding the announcement of Apple’s iPad tablet, Software Advice surveyed 178 physicians, nurses, medical students and healthcare IT professionals about what the healthcare industry’s ideal tablet would look like. This isn’t our first time talking tablets and healthcare. In April of last year, we wondered if the Apple tablet would become the ideal device to run electronic health record (EMR) software.

Majority of Healthcare Professionals Are Likely to Buy a Tablet

What Healthcare Wants, the iPad Doesn’t Have

After reviewing dozens of tablets on the market, both consumer focused and healthcare focused, we came up with the above list of “must-have” features for healthcare tablets. We asked our survey respondents to check all of the features they felt were “must-have” features in a healthcare tablet device. […]

Read the full article over here: http://www.softwareadvice.com/articles/medical/healthcare-wants-a-tablet-but-not-apples-ipad-survey-results-1020410

What are your thoughts on tablets in healthcare? Is the iPad the tablet healthcare workers have been waiting for? Or is it another tablet that just isn’t quite there yet for the healthcare industry in terms of functionality?

Behind the Smartphone Craze: redrawing the map of mobile platforms February 2, 2010

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Thought Android and iPhone are taking over the world? Think again. The device platforms map is more fragmented than ever, while the media hype distorts the commercial reality. […]

The Smartphone Craze
The other day I was reading some of the usual hype-induced reports on the Smartphone revolution. Wanting to put things into perspective I pulled out some old Smartphone forecasts from 2004-2005 by the likes of IDC, Informa and Ovum.

In those pre-historic days the main Smartphone contenders were Symbian and Windows. Blackberry was still an insignificant niche, and touch screen devices were still clunky stylus based UIQ phones and iPAQs. Yet surprisingly, the average Smartphone share of shipments that was forecast for 2010 was …about 30%. So even without the Apple & Google revolution fanning the flames, many analysts believed in the mass migration to Smartphones.

Reality check: by looking at the numbers for the first three quarters of 2009, it appears that last year there have shipped no more than 170-180 million devices considered to be Open OS Smartphones. Indeed Symbian, Windows, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, WebOS, LiMO and Maemo taken all together still only constitute about 15-17% of shipments. This percentage is in fact much lower than the 2009 Smartphone share predicted a few years ago by many research companies. […]

The bets are spreading
As of late 2009, the only companies who are shipping true Open OS Smartphones in mass volumes are Nokia (Symbian), RIM (Blackberry), Apple (iPhone) and HTC (Windows Mobile, now Android). This will no doubt start to change over the course of time as Android shipments start to ramp up and the rest of the platforms realize their growth potential, but it is still not an overnight revolution.

Looking forward, this thesis shows that the market will be much more diverse than the simplistic notion that everyone either wants an App Store capable iPhone or Droid, or alternatively, an ultra-low cost phone to make phone calls. There is many more commercial dynamics at play, making up a complex platform map which is driven by customer ownership.

In 2009 the number of available device software platforms effectively grew, creating more fragmentation in the industry, not less. There are clearly mid-range segments and geographical markets with varying needs, which can be addressed with various software platforms, not necessarily in the traditional view of Smartphones vs. RTOS “dumb phones”. Simply betting on one or two platforms to rule the industry is not a sensible plan.

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Read the full article at VisionMobile.comBehind the Smartphone Craze: redrawing the map of mobile platforms | VisionMobile :: blog