Tesco’s iPhone 4 price plans are pretty good!

June 23, 2010

I have to say I’m consistently impressed with Tesco’s clear and straight forward iPhone pricing. I really do like how they’re pricing the device and the contracts. Whilst they’ve limited the options, I think this will make decisions for Tesco’s target consumer very, very easy.

Here’s the tariff structure:

Pay As You Go is nice and simple. Plonk down 569 pounds and you’ll have unlimited data (1GB) for 12 months, unlimited WiFi and a brand new 32GB iPhone 4. Since it’s PAYG you need to obviously pay for your call and texts — but Tesco will triple your credit. So spent £10 and you get £30 worth of calls and texts. Basically, if you don’t want the arse of a 24 month contract, this is one of the cheapest ways of getting hold of a 32GB iPhone 4. Indeed, if you’re planning on using your iPhone as a secondary device (like I do — the Bold 9700 is my primary phone), then Tesco’s PAYG option really is a super choice.

Of course, you need to bear the £569 pain up front for the 32GB or £479 for the 16GB version.

Alternatively, you can get Tesco’s help with subsidy on a 12-month contract. I have to say I’m rather attracted by the £45/month 24-month unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, unlimited (1GB) data and unlimited fair-use WiFi. The 8GB iPhone 3GS is free on that price plan and you’ll only have to stump up £99 for the iPhone 4 32GB.

And if you’re into collecting clubcard points, do take a look at Tesco Mobile.

I wonder how many people will be walking into Tesco to do their weekly shop and find themselves walking out with a PAYG iPhone 4? 😉

(My Original Blog Post: http://ping.fm/z1MWP)

The total fcuk-up that is ‘developer relations’

June 22, 2010
I have, for about a year or so, been witnessing nightmare scenarios all around the mobile developer relations market. From global operators to handset manufacturers and ISVs, it’s more or less the same: A total, unmitigated fcuk-up.

It is laughable.

I find it hilarious and extremely sad — at the same time.

It’s hilarious because, goodness me, the organisations and well-natured people running and contributing to these programmes still don’t seem to have a clue.

And it’s sad, because mobile developers aren’t getting the resources they crave in terms of support, market access and revenues. And it’s sad because consumers are going out and buying devices and finding them wanting.

A phone is not about megapixels, or styling or how good the box is. It’s about what it *does*. It’s about the experience. And this is largely influenced by third-party developers enabling consumers to augment the standard setup defined by the manufacturer/operator/service provider.
There are three influence segments to developer relations:

– brands
– programmers
– the wider market

Brands are companies like Touchnote, Evernote, Shozu, Ocado, Reuters, CNN, The Telegraph, EA Mobile. They are organisations who operate mobile channels either exclusively (like Shozu, who don’t do anything else) or as a part of their business. Reuters doesn’t live or die by it’s mobile apps but it is, nonetheless, part of their strategy. Likewise with Touchnote, mobile is a key business market for them. Brands are run by non-techies, generally. There’s usually a VP or Director of Mobile who is either a bit-of-a-geek, a full-geek or entirely non-geek (and thus reliant on his/her team or the design agency/consultants). ‘Market sentiment’ is heavily influential.

Programmers come in two flavours. There’s the do-ers, the ones who simply hire themselves out to make apps and then there are the entrepreneurial ones, who create apps themselves or in small teams (who then, if lucky) grow into brands.

The wider market represents everyone else. Analysts, media, the whole shebang.

One of the key problems with developer relations programmes is that they focus on developers. On the geeks. On the people who actually write code. This is useful, but there’s a real issue with this strategy: Developers need to get paid. They need demand from brands. Or they need very understanding wives who will let them blow the savings. They’ll certainly attend and listen carefully at developer conferences. But they’re attention is passive. That is, you’re not paying them and neither is the brand, so they’ll look and learn because it might-be-useful. But the 400-500 quid a day they’re getting for turning out so-so iPhone apps is keeping them warm at night.

It’s not about the programmers. They need to be educated, they need to be given swift and efficient access to development resources, but fundamentally, the people who matter are the ones with the cash and the ability to wield it — the brands.

Imagine, if you will, the Westfield shopping mall near you. Chances are it will be a fine, grand building. Thousands or car parking spaces, acres of shopping square footage — and if it’s modern, like the ones in London — the inside will resemble a palace of sorts. Bright, relaxing, welcoming.

I’d like you to equate an empty brand new Westfield shopping mall with a new mobile platform. Many of the parallels are pretty striking.

First off, as owner of the mall, it’s your job to get footfall, to get shoppers in the door. Or, in our example, to create appealing handsets, market them nicely and sell as many as possible.

Simultaneously, or, ideally before ‘launch’, you need to be talking to the anchor tenant stores: The John Lewis, the Marks & Spencers, the massive brands. Now chances are, you’ll need to do some negotiation with the big guys. You will have to hold their hands. You will need to give them money — either in terms of reduced rent or in some cases, straight forward cash sums to help with fit out and so on. In our mobile example, you need to either help fund development for your platform, give them 100% of revenues for a year or some other incentive to guarantee they setup shop on your platform.

There is nothing worse than firing up a new mobile device to check out the app store and finding it full of rubbish — and worse — unknown apps. We need to see familiar brands we recognise. I’m thinking, for example, Shazam, Google Mail, Yahoo, MSN, Reuters, BBC, Sky News.

Once you’ve sorted the superstar brands, you need to work on the big brands. Like the Boots chemist, the Lush soap shop, the Timberland store, the Carphone Warehouse, GAP and so on. Again, they’re big brands so they’ll expect hand holding and some kind of financial assistance.

Of course, there’s always space for the one-man-band boutique stores. They’ll get favourable terms and an opportunity to shine too — and if the customers love them, then they can be moved from those tiny aisle desk shops into bigger prominent premises.

When you view mobile platforms as Westfield shopping malls, you can almost immediately see the holes in the marketing and outreach strategies.

People often ask me ‘how do I do developer relations’ and I will sit them down, narrate this example and then put it into practical terms. They’re usually horrified when I indicate there’s quite a bit of footwork involved. They don’t believe me when I point out that, generally speaking, cash incentives will be required.

At some point, the VP of Marketing at the handset manufacturer or operator will have gone to a conference and heard about the benefits of social media. All you need to do, they’ll have been told, is knock-up a twitter account and a Facebook page and — blow me — the developers will come running.

The misconception with developers is simply shocking. How bad is it? Well, here’s one example. A global handset manufacturer to offered a pre-release handset to a well known iPhone developer — one of the superstar companies operating in the ‘new mobile sector’ (ie. iPhone only). The manufacturer was utterly shocked when the developer said ‘no, thanks’ to their offer. It’s only natural to assume that any developer would love to get a new handset to create and test their apps on, right? No. The developer in question wasn’t convinced that there was any demand and felt the manufacturer was irrelevant. Shocker.

So the developer relations teams are typically ending up staring at the wall, wondering why nobody cares.

It’s quite simple. It’s all about money.

Nobody ever got shot for developing an iPhone app that promises to make millions and fails. Thousands would be marched straight to the firing squad if they proposed developing for anything other than iPhone, Android and possibly BlackBerry.

Competitions are absolutely rubbish, generally. Look at Vodafone 360. The chap who won the hundreds of thousands of pounds prize wrote a Flickr app. A Flickr app! Not to take anything away from the chap who created it (nice one, and congratulations!) But you have to ask yourself why a) the idiots running 360 didn’t already integrate Flickr (only one of the world’s largest photo sharing communities) and why that won the prize. It’s not a new concept. It’s not, on the face of it, innovative. It’s not, I don’t believe, an app folk will be showing their friends at the pub — and it won’t, I don’t think, have hordes running to the 360 stand in the Vodafone shop.

Competitions don’t work for the developer business. Why hasn’t Touchnote created a 360 app for Vodafone 360 (despite both sharing the same PR company)? Simple. They won’t make money from it. At least, they don’t think they will. Ergo they won’t. And since they’re not present on the platform, they definitely won’t! If Vodafone had offered 20k cash subsidy? I wonder if Touchnote would have taken a second look.

“Why should Vodafone stump up cash?” I hear outraged 360 executives screaming, “When Apple doesn’t give anyone a penny?”

Because that’s how the market is configured right now. It’s like trying to buy a new Range Rover for 5 pounds when the market wants 75k for it. You can scream all you like, you can try holding competitions, parties or tweeting like crazy, the market still wants 75k for it.

So distort the market.

What you want, as a manufacturer or operator, is ambivalence. You want the previously hostile developer chap to think, “You know what, since they’re offering to fund/support/sponsor the app on their platform… Yeah, screw it. Let’s do it.”

Just like how the Westfield mall does it. Get your anchor tenants in. Get your big brands in, any which way. Find and curate the best stores and services — and if necessary, go to market with a wad of cash to make it happen.

It’s important not to have numbskulls running the team and making the decisions though.

It’s also important to have the right technical and business evangelists. The technical evangelists should — more or less — be able to write code on the platform. The business guys should be entirely switched on people, capable of joining the commercial dots and knowing how and when to influence and with the appropriate resources. And they should be giving handsets away like sweeties, to the right people at the right times.

Polyester suits bearing a slide deck and a disinterested detachment are not popular with developers.

The sad reality is that most developer relations strategies are adjuncts to the marketing plan. 2 people, a dog and a desk at the back of the 5th floor that nobody ever goes to. Or, 50 people trying to execute five different strategies.

I’m constantly surprised at the budgets too. Enough to hold a party for 25 developers each having two drinks. Once a quarter. I’m exaggerating, but I’m not far off it.

So if you’ve been wondering why most platforms you look at seem to have next to no decent apps — and if you’re wondering why nothing seems to be as good or have as much variety as the iTunes App Store, it’s because the platform owner didn’t think like a shopping mall.

They thought like a platform owner.

[Written on a BlackBerry Bold 9700 on the way to Paddington]

Posted via email from MIR Live

(My Original Blog Post: http://www.mobileindustryreview.com/2010/06/the-total-fcuk-up-that-is-developer-relations.html)

Tesco Mobile: A new phone every year

June 21, 2010

This is a rather alluring message for those in Tesco Mobile’s target demographic, harking back to the good-old-days when mobile operator Finance Directors were a lot more liberal with their subsidy budget. There are many, many people who still can’t stand the thought of an 18-month or 24-month commitment, despite the fact that almost every advert now is priced on the basis of a 24-month deal. It’s still quite a bitter pill for many to swallow. Indeed many phones in the UK are simply ‘unavailable’ on 12-month deals. I suspect that the Tesco 12-month contract will feature what we’d consider as rather limited devices that aren’t compatible with an uber-geek lifestyle. Still, a good reminder for the target demographic… And a nice memory for the rest of us tied into multi-year deals. It could be worse. We could live in Canada where they make you sign-up to three-year deals.

Posted via email from MIR Live

(My Original Blog Post: http://ping.fm/5wFF3)

Senior Mobile Market 2010: Stirling Moss is speaking!

June 21, 2010

Are you going to Senior Mobile Market this year? The agenda is packed and I think it’s looking like a brilliant event for anyone interested in the largely overlooked senior mobile market.

There’s still time to register — the event is on July 6th in London. Here are the details from one of the organisers, Dominic Travers. (My policy is to always aim to attend anything that Dominic is involved with).

The Senior Market Mobile conference 2010. Following it’s successful launch in 2009, this conference examines both the business and design values required for great senior market products & services. Curated again by Simon Rockman, who is very passionate about this sector. Highlights of a full and diverse programme include…

– How Japan has sold 16m Raku Raku phones into the Senior market.
– How better audio makes phones suitable for seniors and better for everyone.
– What to add. What to take away: Less isn’t always more, how to do an exclusion audit on mobile phones.
– Operator experiences: How European operators are benefitting from the senior market.
– Inclusive design ethos: Lessons learned from the motor industry.

The event takes place at RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London on 6th July.
For more information and booking details please see the web site…

http://seniormarket.mobi/

Now tickets are £349 each — and if you’re uber-quick, you qualify for 20% discount on the basis of being a MIR reader. Use the code ‘MIRsubs’ when you book online. But be quick. The deadline is fast approaching.

(My Original Blog Post: http://www.mobileindustryreview.com/2010/06/senior-mobile-market-2010-stirling-moss-is-speaking.html)

Are you at MEM2010 tomorrow & Wednesday?

June 21, 2010

It’s a busy week this week. This evening is the MEFFYs award ceremony and tomorrow, MEM2010 starts. MEM stands for Mobile Entertainment Market and I always thoroughly enjoy the event. Last year I moderated a panel and this year, I’m delighted to be moderating another one.

Here’s the subject:

The Apps Explosion: What Does the Proliferation of Apps and App Stores Mean for the Traditional Content and Media Industry and How Must Their Strategies Adapt?

No pressure, eh?

And here are some of the questions I’ll be posing to the panel:

– With fragmentation amongst handsets and now app stores continuing plague the industry, what are the key decisions rights owners need to make when planning their content distribution strategy?
– Will the Wholesale Applications Community create a new, open ecosystem which will reduce friction in the route to market?
– Changing consumer demands: How must your business plan evolve to cater for new content consumption habits and expectations?
– Can in-app advertising/ad-funded apps help increase the delivery of mobile media?

The panel comprises:

– Oded Ran, Head of Consumer Marketing, Windows Phone UK, Microsoft
– Mark Linder, Global Client Leader, WPP
– Philip Blair, Product Director, HTC
– Tim Raby, Managing Director, OMTP

Now I haven’t met any of these chaps — but I’ve interviewed Tim Haysom of OMTP quite a few times so I’m reasonably familiar with them. It’ll be nice to meet Oded Ran. Having spent the best part of 4 years publicly trashing the simply bollocks Windows Mobile platform here on Mobile Industry Review, I am hugely excited at the possibility of Microsoft delivering a super new service in the form of ‘Windows Phone’. I saw it at MWC and it does look very, very encouraging.

I can’t say too much about HTC on the basis of not really knowing them too well. I couldn’t tell you who their PR is. Nice devices though.

And WPP, well it’ll be fascinating to see what Mark has to say on the subject of apps.

The panel is from 1120am until midday tomorrow. I’m not sure on the ticket situation but I’m sure if you give them a call, they’ll be able to sort you out.

Check out the conference Agenda. I hope to see you there!

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

It’s the MEFFY’s tonight!

June 21, 2010

I’m looking forward to the MEFFYs tonight — the MEFFYs, hosted by the Mobile Entertainment Forum — have swiftly become one of the most prestigious ceremonies on the awards calendar, highlighting the best the mobile entertainment industry has to offer. It’s not just about winning awards or being shortlisted though (congratulations to those on the list!), the networking is simply phenomenal.

This evening I’m guest on RIM’s table. I shall be working hard to avoid anyone seeing my scuffed and well used 9700. (Having bought the phone about a month ago, I spent a whole day in Marlow dropping the phone on the pavement — literally 24 hours worth of ‘butterfingers’. I don’t know what was wrong with me. I really should have got a cover for it.)

I’m working too, though. Indeed I have explained to RIM that I might have to dash off now and again — for I am filming! Oh yes. Thanks to the gracious support of MEFFY’s sponsor, Symbian, We’ve arranged for me to be located in the green room. When the award winners leave the stage after collecting their awards, they will be ushered into the green room where I shall interview them on camera.

So even if you’re not going to the awards (a mistake, if you’re based in London or nearby Europe), you’ll be able to experience the excitement of the winners. They will be channelling it through the camera to you.

If you’re going tonight, look out for me and do say hi.

Kudos to the event’s other sponsors: Dolby, Buongiorno, Symbian, 7Digital, MTS, QuickPlay Media and Vodafone.

(My Original Blog Post: http://ping.fm/SpLY2)

Right then, hello Bada!

June 18, 2010

The last time I played with Bada, it was on a pre-release Wave at Mobile World Congress. So let’s see what it’s like then… I’ll give it a charge and report back soon.

Posted via email from MIR Live

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

What’s inside the bag?

June 18, 2010

Well, there’s a clue printed on the bag…

That’s right! It’s the new Samsung Wave handset. I shall be videoing it shortly.

Posted via email from MIR Live

(My Original Blog Post: http://ping.fm/ckN3w)

The queue of developers waiting to get their Samsung Wave

June 18, 2010

After a day packed full of presentations giving a super overview of the new Bada platform, developers queued in their droves to pick up a free test Samsung Wave handset. I’m pretty confident developers are going to take their handsets and rush home to test out their applications and ideas. I sensed a can-do attitude from the raft of developers who all appeared universally eager to get stuck into Bada. I’m interested to how they all react. I wonder how many will be entering the Bada Developer Challenge this evening. Quite a few, I’m sure, if I’m judging from the chaps pouring over API documentation on their laptops during the event.

Posted via email from MIR Live

(My Original Blog Post: http://ping.fm/V1soT)

Vodafone UK’s iPhone 4 pricing revealed (free on 60/month)

June 18, 2010

If you’re after a free iPhone 4 from Vodafone, you’ll need to get the 16GB version on the operator’s 60/month price plan. At any other price plan below, you’ll need to stump up some cash. On the uber-popular 35/month tariff, you’ll need to pay 119 pound for the 16GB device, or 219 pounds for the 32GB option. This, of course, is all based on a 24-month contract.

Here’s a quick look at the pricing table:

The full pricing details are right here and you can pick up a device from the 24th of June (that’s next Thursday!)

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