Saturday, October 13, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO — With GPS available on more new mobile devices, consumer demand for location-based services (LBS) such as navigation is growing, according to Telephia, a service of The Nielsen Company, and the world’s largest provider of syndicated consumer research to the telecom and mobile media markets.
In its second quarter report on mobile applications, Telephia also reported that:
Approximately 13 million mobile consumers downloaded a mobile application on their phone.
Of the $118 million in revenue that downloadable mobile applications such as LBS, weather applications, chat/community, and personal organization tools generated during Q2 2007, LBS represented 51 percent.
Networks In Motion (NIM)—an LBS navigation publisher for products including Verizon Wireless’ VZ Navigator—secured a 27 percent share of carrier revenue from mobile applications and leads all mobile application publishers. Telenav Mobile followed with a 15 percent share of carrier revenue and is another LBS navigation publisher.
While location-based services deliver highly personalized offerings such as friend-finding and other location-aware features, navigation represents the lion’s share of revenue. Moreover, favorable carrier deck placement for LBS applications and the bundling of navigation services with data packages have contributed to record high downloads.
“With consumer awareness increasing, there is enormous potential for even greater LBS growth, especially since Telephia research indicates that there are approximately 130 million GPS-capable handsets in the U.S. alone, and growing,” said Doug Antone, president and CEO of Networks In Motion. “Networks In Motion is committed to remaining an LBS leader by continuing to create compelling mobile phone applications that consumers can benefit from on a daily basis.”
LBS applications command a healthy price premium compared to other downloadable mobile applications. The average price per month for an LBS application is $9.23, as compared to a range of $3.82-$5.41 for weather applications, sports, wallpapers/pictures, etc. (see Table 1). The selling price for LBS applications is roughly 180 percent of industry average. However, overall consumer penetration for mobile applications hovers around five percent, as compared to penetration rates of 7-13 percent for other downloadable content like games, ringtones and premium SMS.
“There are hurdles that LBS publishers face, most notably the relatively low incidence of application downloads when compared to other mobile data activity. Many consumers may not realize the utility of a navigation application on their mobile phone until they use it,” said David Gill, Director of Mobile Media, Telephia. “However, Nokia’s bid to buy NAVTEQ for $8.1 billion is a very positive sign for the market and validates the strength and potential of LBS.”
Table 1: Average Price Paid by Consumers for Mobile Applications (U.S.)
Mobile Application Average Price Paid
Personal Organization Tools $5.41
Source: Telephia Mobile Application Report, Q2 2007
Thursday, October 04, 2007
The Ken Werner at InsightMedia published this very insightful article about the "display" issues handicapping internet content accesses via the emerging smartphone.
I’m scheduled to give a presentation later today at the Mobile Web Americas conference here in Orlando on displays for Mobile Web applications, and I spent yesterday listening to reports of mobile standards developments, mobile web browsers, mobile search engines, mobile business models and mobile advertising strategies. Symantec has a mobile web security suite for the Windows Mobile platform and will soon come out with a version for Symbian.
There’s general agreement that LBSs (location-based services) will be a big business opportunity, and one that’s getting a lot of attention is location-based search. That is, the phone knows where it’s located via GPS or other means, and tells you where the nearest ATM or cholesterol-laden hamburger can be found. The feeling in the mobile search community is that the regular Web is much better at finding a hotel in Hong Kong or an HDTV from a national retailer than it is at helping you find a near-by place to repair your shoes. The vision is that mobile search can plug this huge gap in the Net. A talk by Alex Muller, CEO of GPShopper, summarized the position well. It’s title? "The Future of Retail; Why Mobile Matters Most for Local Search." Of course, wireless providers have to convince themselves there’s a way to make money out of this, and that may be on the verge of happening.
Another Mobile Web app is geotagging, in which a location tag is automatically used in an application. One possibility is to label each photo taken with the handset’s camera with the GPS-derived location of the photo, and then place flags on a Google map to show where each photo was taken.
A recurring theme at Mobile Web was the gymnastics mobile browsers, such as Opera Mini, Bitstream’s ThunderHawk, Nokia’s S60, and Microsoft’s mobile browser, must perform to deliver versions of an arbitrary website to all devices. This was tied to a still somewhat controversial philosophical position: "There is only one Web." That is, a mobile device should be able to see all of the sites a PC can, and not be limited to sites designed specifically for mobile platforms and (perhaps) designated as mobile sites....
At the heart of this debate, and of the ingenious developments of the mobile browser creators, is the difficulty of presenting full web pages on small displays. The new generation of mobile browsers do this remarkably well, but they are still dancing bears. It’s amazing that they dance at all, even if they don’t dance really well.
The problem is that with today’s mobile handset displays - and this year, for the first time, the display with the largest market penetration is, according to DisplaySearch, a 2.0-inch QVGA display - is that there just aren’t enough pixels and inches to go around for a fully satisfying web-browsing experience.