Archive for October, 2009

Nokia Siemens Networks accuses me of bias toward Nokia

October 23, 2009

I was quite surprised this evening to receive a critical response from Reda El Khayyat from Nokia Siemens Networks accusing me of bias toward Nokia.

You can read the comment here. I clicked through from Reda’s comment to his website and found his CV — which states that he’s the UK and Ireland Cost Manager for Nokia Siemens Networks.

I thought I should respond to Reda’s assertion of bias toward Nokia with an explanation.

Reda forumlated his assertion by reading through the last 7 Nokia related posts (he even helpfully listed them in his comment). The last 7 have contained some amount of Nokia critique.

Alas Reda didn’t read on. If he did, he’d have found this post:

Absolutely blown away by the N900

That’s actually the highest trafficked post this month on the site — with thousands from Nokia’s own intranet flocking to have a read. As you might have guessed it’s rather positive.

Perhaps it’s time for a clarification of the Mobile Industry Review position on Nokia: Frustrated fanatic. Frustrated enough to tell-it-like-I-see-it, rather than sit and hope.

Indeed Reda, if you’d had a look around the site — or read some of the posts you listed — you’d have learnt that I recently invested £630 in a new 3UK contract replete with a stunning Nokia N86.

You’d also have noted that — on our Youtube channel alone this month — we’ve had 45,000 views of our thoroughly excited N900 videos. We host our own HD videos on Mobile Developer TV and Mobile Industry Review too (with Youtube being just one outlet) — so adding all the views and embeds up from there too, we’ve had just over a quarter of a million folk watch me gushing like a child over the N900 in the last 10 days or so.

So I’m not biased toward Nokia. I’m not operating some secret nail-Nokia agenda. I write as I feel here on Mobile Industry Review, Reda.

Thanks for taking the time to write Reda and good morning to everyone at Nokia Siemens Networks.

(My Original Blog Post: http://ping.fm/ZHTEO)

Love and Appiness tonight in San Francisco

October 22, 2009

Approximately 30% of the MIR audience is based in San Francisco and the surrounding region, so for that reason I’m delighted that we’re one of the media sponsors for tonight’s Love and Appiness event.

I did an overview post the other day here with full details. If you’re in the area, pop along — and say hi to Vijay (from AppLaunch PR) for me.

Our man Michael will also be there. I’m going to get him to do a post on the event and the people he met too.

(My Original Blog Post: http://www.mobileindustryreview.com/2009/10/love-and-appiness-tonight-in-san-francisco.html)

Nokia’s legal action potentially massively damaging to their reputation

October 22, 2009

Nokia’s name is already mud in Silicon Valley, for a whole range of different reasons. For a large part, many people misunderstand the company, it’s reach, size, pedigree — and find it extremely easy to completely dismiss.

Whilst in the Valley, I’ve seen many a senior Nokia (or Symbian) executive, accustomed to being treated with a certain level of deference, being snubbed either unwittingly or in some cases deliberately. Snubbed by the media, by the tech elite and by the developers.

The fact that the company shifts BUCKETLOADS of handsets and is still one of the largest players on the planet is entirely lost on most of Silicon Valley.

The company was at best overlooked and at worst deemed irrelevant.

Silicon Valley is the centre of the mobile planet. That’s not going to change for some time. And when the centre of the Universe keeps forgetting you, that’s not good news. But it’s not a critical problem.

Not until you do the equivalent of burning the Silicon Valley poster child.

Yes. Nokia is suing Apple.

All of a sudden, University Avenue, Palo Alto, is alive with furious Tweeters telling their networks exactly what they think of Nokia.

There are far-reaching ramifications to Nokia’s offensive against Apple.

When I read the news on the BBC, I immediately switched over to the bible of Silicon Valley: TechCrunch.

“Goodness me,” I thought to myself, “TechCrunch will either flail Nokia-alive, or not bother even to mention it.”

It’s the former.

John Biggs of CrunchBase fires both barrels over at Nokia. The headline?

Nokia Takes Apple To Court. If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Sue ‘Em.

John finishes his post with this explanation:

Nokia has been struggling to gain traction in the high-end phone market now that we live in an iPhone world and this may be a last ditch effort to derail futre models or, assuming they’re going for a bit more mercenary approach, cash in on some of the iPhone’s success.

I guarantee Rafe Blandford of All About Symbian is right now banging his forehead on the desk at this analysis.

But John’s language is an accurate representation of a lot of the Valley opinion that I’ve been able to measure this afternoon.

The Silicon Valley Insider goes slightly further:

Lame Nokia Sues Apple Over iPhone Patent Infringement

The Insider’s Jay Yarow is decidedly unimpressed by the move:

Yawn.

Nokia should focus on trying to build a better product.

I do like Jay’s perspective: build a better product.

I understand Nokia has to vigorously protect it’s intellectual assets — especially in the face of a competitor who is — allegedly — not playing ball.

A lot of people are going to view the action as case of incredibly expensive ‘sour grapes’.

Please don’t take your eye off the ball, Nokia.

(My Original Blog Post: http://ping.fm/apHx5)

PRs: Please don’t send me anything using Newscom

October 22, 2009

If you’re a public relations professional, you probably use a company to do the broad distribution of your press releases and materials.

One company, Newscom, really, really frustrates me — and I thought I’d lend a bit of insight.

I’m working on a post about a wristband tag that patiences would wear in hospitals. It enables their location to be tracked precisely by WiFi.

I found out about this from a press release emailed to me that features photographic links. So far so good. There’s a picture I’d like to use.

The PR has helpfully included the link for the photo in their release text.

They’re using this absolutely rubbish service, Newscom, to host the imagery though.

I clicked on the supplied URL for the photo:
http://ping.fm/NCqWv/cgi-bin/prnh/20091014/363009

That takes you to this page:

The photo, as you can see, has got bollocks newscom branding all over it. I suspect this was relevant about 10 years ago when people wanted to control access to ‘official photography’. Hence the watermark. I can’t get the un-watermarked version unless I login.

I have a login. Somewhere. I can’t remember the details. To GET a reminder of my details, I have to email a support address. You know, like being back in 1995 again.

I just don’t have time to arse about.

Newscom, alas, appear to be in the dark ages. Almost every other press release service — RealWire for example — just provide you the images right there and then. You can pick’em up free of watermarks or any other time sapping rubbish and get on with the writing of your post.

I want to point out to every marketing/PR executive reading that if you’re including Newscom as a method of photo delivery for your releases, recipients like me will be getting mightily annoyed every time they want to actually pick something up and write about it.

Meanwhile, dear reader, I’ll be using this image in the post I’m writing:

Yup. That’s the only one I have the rights to use.

Total unmitigated bollocks, isn’t it.

It really is like being back in 1995.

Please either use a proper distribution service — maybe even a ‘social media release’ function, or publish the images on your blog or something like that.

My post on the Ekahau wireless wristband is coming soon… complete with stupidly small photo.

(My Original Blog Post: http://ping.fm/vYlFZ)

Going shopping at the Nokia Ovi Store: Dire

October 21, 2009

The talented Mr Ben Smith over at The Really Mobile Project has used one of those super flash cartoon animation services to script his experience of shopping at the Ovi Store.

Although Ben is a little flippant with some of the dialogue, there’s a very serious message. At the end of the video Ben points out that the Really Mobile team have spent over £40 on applications at the Ovi Store.

But they’ve only managed to download 1 application successfully.

Oh dear.

The team — collectively — submitted 4 support requests asking for help.

They got one response.

ONE.

The other three were apparently ignored.

The one response was rather shocking — they asked for bank details (via email) so they could do a refund (since original payment had been made by operator billing). There has to be a more efficient and safer mechanism, surely?

Deary me.

Meanwhile, I recommend getting a coffee and sitting down and watching Ben’s masterpiece above.

(My Original Blog Post: http://ping.fm/5J0jo)

Calling all Nokia & Symbian geniuses: Am I wrong?

October 21, 2009

I thought we’d have a bit of an interesting debate here.

I posted a note yesterday highlighting that one movie Studio had chosen to integrate ‘iPhone Apps’ into it’s marketing mix right on the front-page of their official movie site for the upcoming ‘blockbuster’, 2012.

In the headline, I said that this pointed to the ‘death’ of Nokia and Symbian applications.

The actual headline reads:

The future is dire for Nokia and Symbian applications: Dead by 2012

Now, regular readers will recognise the MacLeodism — the fact that ‘death’, 2012, you know, it’s all related. I was aiming for a Dan Brown-esque parallel in the title.

I know Nokia is dead.

I know Symbian isn’t dead.

But as far as Sony Pictures are concerned, Nokia, Symbian, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, they could all be relieving themselves up the proverbial wall. Sony Pictures doesn’t care.

It’s jumped into bed with iPhone. For a number of reasons. All of which are absolutely totally 100% dire.

Kudos to Alex Kerr who jumped into the conversation with absolute indignation. You can read the to-and-fro between us on the thread comments.

Further kudos to the always magnificient Holy Father of Symbian, Rafe Blandford (of All About Symbian). I could actually feel Rafe’s wry grin from 50 miles away as he typed his text.

Both Rafe and Alex pointed out — I’m summing up, big time — that Nokia is far from dead.

I acknowledge this.

I am *loving* the N900.

I’m sure that 40% of the Far Eastern/African marketplace is going to be loving Nokia (and Symbian) for the next decade.

But what about Sony Pictures?

The fact they CHOSE not to bother with Nokia really bugs me.

It really, really bugs me. Massively.

They simply couldn’t give a toss about Nokia.

Fundamentally that’s frustrating to me as a Nokia user.

Before you actually go ahead and stick your dagger into my apparent Nokia-hating-heart, I’d like to point out that only DAYS ago, I agreed to an 18-month contract with 3UK. I’m playing them £35/month for 18-months for the privilege of carrying around a Nokia N86. Nokia hater I am not.

Symbian hater, I am not.

But I am 100% apoplectic at the senior management of Symbian. Or Nokia. Or, frankly… do you know what, I can’t be BOTHERED to even find out who is to blame.

What the hell are you playing at? You. Yes you — the chap or lady in control — why the hell is Sony Pictures publishing an official movie website with — NO WORD OF A LIE — the menu item saying ‘iPhone Apps’.

Where’s the Nokia Apps?

Or… let’s put that to one side.

Where are the SONY ERICSSON Symbian applications? Isn’t Sony Ericsson meant to be, you know, some sort of 1/3rd Symbian lover?

While I’m at it, isn’t Sony Ericsson LOOOOOOSELY connected to Sony Pictures?

Doesn’t the Sony Pictures Chief Executive ever sit down and have breakfast with the Sony Ericsson Chief Executive?

If is TOO much to ask for them to get into bed together?

Is it TOOOOOO much to ask for Sony Pictures to hire a Symbian development firm to knock up some apps similar to the iPhone ones they’re currently showing off?

Rafe, Alex… you and I know the answer is yes.

It is too much.

Nobody can be flippin’ bothered.

Let me try a different tact.

Just to ram it home. Just to ensure that I win the argument, 110%.

Ocado.

You know them. They’re the British company that are reasonably well connected with the upmarket food retailer, Waitrose.

Ocado deliver Waitrose goods.

You place your order online and a very nice man in a greenish outfit arrives at the appointed time, often with a Galaxy chocolate bar in hand, with your shopping.

Genius.

Guess what?

Yeah. There’s an app for that.

You don’t need me to continue, do you?

But I will.

Yes. Ocado, in their infinite wisdom, want their consumers to be able to use their mobiles to place their shopping orders whilst they’re (for example) on the train.

Genius.

You know where I’m going with this, don’t you?

Rafe certainly does.

Ocado launched an iPhone application recently.

Here’s the website with the details.

You can even watch Dan Lane’s video on the subject here.

Ready for my point?

Where’s the Symbian Ocado application?

I’ll tell you. Nowhere.

Nobody could be bothered.

I’m willing to bet that the Ocado team — like the Sony Pictures team whom I speculatively wrote about yesterday — had a meeting about this.

I reckon smart people in very nicely shaped suits sat round a pretty looking meeting table at Ocado HQ and listed out the mobile platforms most prevalent in the UK.

I’m further willing to bet that everyone in the room did the polite business equivalent of coughing ‘bullshit’ whilst one of the chappies read through his research.

“Right, it says here that one of the biggest handset platforms in use in the UK today is Nokia?”

“:: cough :: bullshit ::”

Ok…

“And, er, then it says Sony Ericsson?”

“:: cough :: bullshit ::”

“Right… er… Motorola?”

“:: cough :: bullshit-you-gotta-be-kidding-bullshit ::”

“Er… iPhone?”

At this point, the meeting room will have come alive. iPhones will have been withdrawn from pockets and proudly displayed. Smiles will have appeared. Heads will have nodded. The proposal from the Symbian development agency that was £50k higher than the iPhone proposal will have been set alight under the table.

What went wrong with Nokia and Symbian?

How could one of the UK’s retailing giants (i.e. Waitrose/Ocado) not bother to even think about the Nokia platform for it’s mobile system?

What the hell is wrong with this billion-dollar picture?

We all know.

The Emperor has no clothes. It’s too expensive, too annoying, too frustrating, too difficult to even THINK about developing for the Nokia/Symbian platform for anyone other than a few brave, brave souls.

So then Mr Symbian.

Step up.

What the hell are you doing about this?

Or is the best policy for MIR’s 250,000 readers (and, by extension, the other million or so who read after the re-tweets, forwards, emails and whatnot 90-days hence) to simply get on with developing on the iPhone — and maybe have a bit of a look at Android?

And before anyone trots out the total bollocks of ‘X hundred million Symbian handsets on the planet’, let’s take a step back. I KNOW there are — and will be — a lot more Symbian handsets on the planet than there are iPhones/Palm Pres/Androids and so on.

I know this. I don’t dispute this. I know that Nokia’s market is for the 29 quid handset in India.

But that doesn’t help me.

It doesn’t help the good 10-20 million mobile obsessed Westerners sat with a Nokia handset wondering why the Symbian Foundation is busy sitting on it’s arse (if not, SHOW ME THE 2012-tie-in movie mobile application?).

Why can’t I order my shopping via Ocado on my N86?

What’s so rubbish about my Nokia N86 that Ocado simply chose not to recognise the Nokia platform?

Help me Obi-wan-Blandford and Obi-wan-Alex… You’re my only hope.

Should I do the decent thing and get back in my box, sit in the corner and be delighted that I’ve spunked £630 on a contract with 3UK for my Nokia N86 that, at almost every corner, appears to be demonstrably useless for anything exciting that I’d like to do.

I’d like to unlock my Streetcar my with my Nokia. I can’t, because they couldn’t be bothered to invest in developing a Symbian app.

I’d like to be able to show my mates some Gym Babes working out. I can’t, because they couldn’t be bothered to invest in developing a Symbian app.

I’d like to be able to order my shopping via Ocado. I can’t, because they couldn’t be bothered to invest in developing a Symbian app.

I’d like to be able to download some 2012 movie stuff. I can’t, because they couldn’t be bothered to invest in developing a Symbian app.

I’d like to be able to manage my car insurance on my handset. I can’t, because they couldn’t be bothered to invest in developing a Symbian app.

I’d like to be able to download an entire season of The Wire to my handset. I can’t, because they (the studios) couldn’t be bothered to invest in developing a Symbian app.

I’d like to be able to access my Dropbox in a nice mobile application. I can’t, because they couldn’t be bothered to invest in developing a Symbian app.

I’d like to be able to use Jamie Oliver’s ’20 minute cooking tips’ application. I can’t, because he couldn’t be bothered to invest in developing a Symbian app.

I’d like to be able to AudioBoo on my handset. I can’t, because they couldn’t be bothered to invest in developing a Symbian app.

I’d like to use Evernote on my handset. I can’t, because they couldn’t be bothered to invest in developing a Symbian app.

I’d like to be able to query my 300+ gigabytes of music with a Zumodrive mobile application. I can’t, because they couldn’t be bothered to invest in developing a Symbian app.

I’d like to find my nearest London Underground tube station with a single button click. I can’t, because they couldn’t be bothered to invest in developing a Symbian app.

I’d like to be able to immediately query the nearest cinema times in a purpose made mobile application that allows me to buy cinema tickets in 2 clicks. I can’t, because they couldn’t be bothered to invest in developing a Symbian app.

I’d like to use the WordPress application to manage Mobile Industry Review remotely. I can’t, because they couldn’t be bothered to invest in developing a Symbian app.

Of course, most — if not all — of these organisations/companies in question will have made a determination that the Nokia/Symbian platform (and other related platforms such as Sony Ericsson/Motorola) are simply not worth the hassle.

So who’s made the wrong choice?

Them?

Me?

Was it my fault?

The market is telling me that I’m an idiot for owning a Nokia.

I access the Nokia Ovi Store and I — when it’s working — I’m presented with some third-rate scrabble games or a 6-month old movie trailer.

What am I missing?

Who’s the arse?

Is it me?

Am I wrong for wanting what others have got?

Obviously I don’t suffer.

I don’t suffer because I went out and bought an iPhone a long time ago. I can’t quite bring myself to only use a Nokia. It’s far too painful.

But please do put me out of my misery.

Is it me?

Am I wrong?

is the right position to stoically stand by Nokia and Symbian whilst they deliver me — in summary — a totally shit service by comparison? All I want to do is cool shit via my phone.

I’ve got past the fact that my Nokia lets me do stuff like send text messages and take really nice pictures. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I’m way beyond taking nice pictures. What’s next? Why is the chap on the tube opposite me getting a better mobile experience than I am, from my Nokia?

How come he get’s to order his shopping on his phone, on the train, in the morning, whilst I check my empty text messaging folder for the 12th time that minute?

Should my policy be to deploy a fake smile at every opportunity?

Is the best way ahead to simply ignore the staggering iPhone application innovation and put it down to ‘a fad’?

Or should my policy be patience.

That’s it!

Patience my dear friend!

Do I need Robin Williams from Good Will Hunting to come and rescue me? Do I need him — in a very proper manly way — to put his arm around me and guide me off to the sidelines gently whispering, “Ewan, calm down, calm down. Good things come to those who wait.”

Even though I protest, do I need Robin to placate me?

“But,” I complain, “That guy over there has an iPhone and he gets to order his shopping ON THE TRAIN! ON THE FLIPPIN’ TRAIN!”

“You’re only kidding yourself, Ewan,” comes the reply, “Those iPhone users,” he says, glaring at them, “It’s only fleeting. It’s not true mobile. It’s not proper, Ewan.”

What do I do?

Sit and wait for the Nokia-Symbian enlightenment in a few years?

Maybe QT will fix it, er? I won’t even mention the 20-stage install process on Symbian.

Woops. I already did!

Here’s the video:

Save me.

Somebody save me…

(My Original Blog Post: http://www.mobileindustryreview.com/2009/10/calling-all-nokia-symbian-geniuses-am-i-wrong.html)

AdMob: 10% of UK smartphones are running Android

October 20, 2009

You know AdMob, the chaps who serve billions of mobile advertisements every month?

Well they’ve been publishing a metrics report every month for quite a while and it makes absolutely fascinating reading.

It is my no means illustrative of the market as a whole — they can obviously only track the users who’re visiting mobile sites featuring their ads — but nevertheless it’s a brilliant indication of what a section of the mobile population is doing with their devices.

You can get the metrics reports free here: http://ping.fm/rq1tC.

Here’s some interesting points from the latest report:

AdMob’s most recent mobile metrics report revealed that:
– The Android OS now has seven per cent market share globally
– 10 per cent of smartphones in the UK now run the Android OS
– HTC Dream, which uses the Android OS, is the second most popular mobile phone for surfing the mobile web in the UK, after the Apple iPhone
– Android is growing rapidly in North America and Western Europe. The HTC Magic is a Top 10 smartphone in both North America and Western Europe
– The HTC Dream handset is ranked fourth globally

And..

An AdMob study of 1000 mobile phone users revealed that:
– Android users download 9.1 apps a month on average
– iPhone users download 10.2 apps a month on average
– iPod Touch users download 18.4 apps a month on average

It’s a fascinating time for the industry.

(My Original Blog Post: http://ping.fm/YNuC3)

Nokia N900 and BBC iPlayer ? it’s bad news folks!

October 20, 2009

I’ve had a LOT of email from people asking me to try the Nokia N900 out with the BBC iPlayer. My expectations were high… but wait ’til you see the experience in the browser. It’s bad news.

I think we’ll need to hope the BBC release a stand-alone app for the N900 — that’ll work perfectly fine I’m sure.

Download M4V Video | Subscribe to Podcast | Embed video

(My Original Blog Post: http://ping.fm/5gq9U)

Love and Appiness iPhone Event: San Francisco

October 20, 2009

If you’re into mobile and applications, and you’re based in San Francisco, go along and say hi to the good people at AppLaunchPR and mobile media network Greystripe, who’re holding the Love and Appiness Developers Meetup this Thursday at 5pm.

The event is being held at the Roe Bar in the fine city of San Francisco (I imagine the weather is pretty good right now). I’ve never been to the Roe Bar — I’m not sure if I’m cool enough — but I wholly recommend going along and doing some super networking.

The event is being held in conjunction with People Operating Technology, VentureBeat and good old Mobile Industry Review. Indeed, our man-in-San-Francisco, Michael, will be there to cover it.

This week’s event will cover the following:

• Monetization strategies.
• The do’s and don’t of app marketing.
• Case studies of publisher revenue following Greystripe ad supported model and successful AppLaunchPR launches.
• The opportunity to meet with other developers and industry influencers.
• Ways to generate publicity and make an app stand out.

RSVP via Meetup.com here: http://ping.fm/wb9bg

(My Original Blog Post: http://ping.fm/69KIR)

o2 Top Up Surprises shows 52% response rate

October 20, 2009

o2 UK has 10 million Pay As You Go customers. In November last year, the company introduced a ‘Top Up Surprises’ campaign for customers.

It works really nicely: Every time you top-up your account, you get a text back from o2 with a ‘surprise’.

Surprises range from extra texts, picture messages and minutes through to prizes such as holidays, TVs and mobile phones.

It’s a really smart way of encouraging and rewarding customers to keep on topping up regularly. And, although I’m not an o2 PAYG customer, I can imagine I’d take a small (but nevertheless powerful) amount of joy at ‘winning’ a little surprise each time I topped up.

o2 Media, the chaps behind this, have decided to open up their platform to allow other brands to participate. The concept being that advertisers get access to a set of customers who’re already in the middle of ‘interacting’ and who’re ready and waiting for a ‘surprise’ deal or offer.

Blockbuster video got stuck into this channel. Here’s how it worked:

O2 customers visiting Top-up Surprises to claim their reward were offered a 30 day free trial of Blockbuster’s unlimited rental service, a £10 voucher to spend in a Blockbuster store or online and £1 off the monthly fee if they chose to take up the unlimited rental service. 52% of customers chose to take up the Blockbuster offer and of these 11% have already redeemed the offer voucher.

“This has been one of our most successful acquisition campaigns to date,” said Gerry Butler, Senior Vice President Europe, Blockbuster. “We’ve been delighted by the response rates which exceeded our expectations and look forward to continue to work with O2 Media to deliver campaigns through this highly effective channel.”

Very cool indeed. For the right products and services, I think this channel could very quickly become a key channel in the mobile marketing mix. I don’t think it’ll be long before Pizza and other fast food chains are getting stuck in too.

If you’d like to see what the end consumer sees, visit the site: http://topupsurprises.o2.co.uk/

This site also happens to be the highest trafficked UK site in the ‘Entertainment – competitions’ segment according to Hitwise. Good exposure for advertisers.

Talk to your mobile media buyer for more details on o2 Surprises.

(My Original Blog Post: http://www.mobileindustryreview.com/2009/10/o2-top-up-surprises-shows-52-response-rate.html)