Author Archive for thibaut

Getjar unfolded! - Interview with Patrick Mork

On the 14th of January, just a few days after CES, I interviewed Patrick Mork VP of Marketing at GetJar, talking about the appstore boom at CES, the notion of openness in the appstore world, and the latest developer portal Getjar are launching.  So here’s a quick summary in words… but also the overall interview is available as a podcast, this is the first time we’re experimenting with audio so let us know what you think of it!

Download the whole podcast: podcast2

WIP: CES has seen the launch of numerous appstores (as a reminder the AT&T AppCenter, Samsung Apps TV, Intel AppUp, YourAppshop) do you think the future of  appstores lies in an increasing number of them  in 2010?

Patrick Mork

Patrick: The future of appstores is a bit like throwing a rock in the air, it will likely come and crash down! There’s a rush towards appstores at the moment following the Apple success and the failure of operators in the content space. Runn

ing an appstore is difficult and I predict a majority of them will die in the coming 12 months. Major difficulties in running an appstore lie in the ability to source good content and the ability to control the quality of the content.

Getjar CEO Ilja Laurs predicted that the future of appstore

would be in openness(slide 14). Is this something you’re acting on already?

Openness is about offering consumers the best possible experience. It should be about offering the application that was developed by the person with the best capability to write the content, not necessarily  the company who own and control the appstores. An open ecosystem is about having no barriers in terms of what content gets uploaded on Getjar and not forbidding a browser to be uploaded because there’s already a browser there   :D . Having said that Getjar is very mindful of protecting brands and developers as well as ensuring decency and integrity of content for end users but we do not want to play the role of king makers amongst developers we want to give end-users the choice.

A few other things we do is we do not enforce signing, we do not limit the number of updates, fast and guarant


eed submission time (48 hours)

Getjar recommendations are based on user recommendations and advertising, where does openness fit into this?

Openness can be seen in the fact that recommendations by end-users are the main drivers rather than a skewed recommendation based on a limited number of applications present in your store .

Obviously the recommendation algorithm, (based on reviews, downloads and rating) is not public, there are limit to openness. The second operating principle is advertising which is critical to give developers the chance to promote their apps, in this sense we’re unique not only because we allow promotion but also because the promotion is performance based on a pay per download basis.

So apps are free on GetJar today and on top of that I need to pay for advertising… so how I do I make money?

There’s a misconception in the market today that free means no money, there are quite a few examples there, Opera Mini (paid paid by Google for the search traffic they drive), Flirtomatic (virtual gifts) or games publishers putting free applications on GetJar and selling premium versions of their applications.

The paid for apps model we see as not being the most successful one. The statistics by Flurry  published a few month back shows that the average iPhone apps made $7500 on the appstore, it’s just not enough to make a living.

We shouldn’t forget that monetizing content on mobile is an industry challenge not just a challenge for GetJar. If you compare this with the Facebook economy there hasn’t been a single example in mobile of a developer growing to a multimillion dollar business and making an exit, when Playfish did.

Having said that Getjar will introduce paid for apps in the second half of the year in US and UK (interesting news!!)

Analytics and sharing of information seems to be key to allow developers to make the right development, pricing and distribution choices. How do you position yourself on Analytics?

GetJar developer portal

The new GetJar developer portal (I loved it!)

Analytics are a feature that Getjar provides increasingly more to developers through our new developer portal. Getjar now allows developer to see not only how many downloads you have per country, per device, per operating system but also to compare it with an average of all the applications on Getjar! Getjar also makes available trending on a per device basis and per operating system basis to allow developers to port their apps to new platforms. More importantly we provide opportunity mapping telling you the opportunity you could generate if you were present on certain handsets!You can also see top 20 apps per download per preceding day and week per country!

We believe this is pretty unique and we’d be glad to get feedback during the WIPJam session at MWC.

We will start organizing a weekly series of webinar Getjar to help developers access and use this functionality, and sharing our knowledge around using Getjar to promote your app.

What about malware? (this was recorded just after malware was reported on Android)

Smartphones are more associated with malware and with their current rise the the rise of malware is almost unavoidable.

Appstores are all about balance, ensuring fast approval AND quality insurance.. and this is a difficult balance to reach. At Getjar we guarantee that your app will be on Getjar 48 hours after submission (or at least to get a response) AND we try to maintain quality standards from this perspective we’re pretty unique among Android Market being fast (24 hours) and low quality on one side and Apple Appstore being slow (up to 7 months) and high quality on the other side.

Top countries for January 2010 downloads on Getjar

Country Current Period Previous Period Trend
Indonesia 14,454,167 13,736,562 5%
India 8,661,600 7,774,230 11%
United States 4,817,565 3,815,531 26%
United Kingdom 1,356,746 1,400,482 3%
Egypt 1,280,035 1,216,057 5%
South Africa 1,263,530 1,240,341 2%
Viet Nam 742,146 824,177 10%
Bangladesh 707,025 687,147 3%
Pakistan 691,005 632,533 9%
Turkey 659,932 455,913 45%

GetJar has traditionally been associated with Java devices is the rise of smartphones a bad thing for you?

GetJar stands for APPSOLUTELY EVERYTHING so we’re targeting all handsets wether Java platforms or smartphones.  Developers however shouldn’t forget that Java devices continue to be the majority of phones in the market and the only way for developers to be financially successful is to be cross-platform.

The positive news for developers with the increasing awareness of mobile apps is that it has had a hugely positive impact on the sales of apps on feature phones. As an example we now do about 50 M downloads a month compared to 14 M a year ago, with 50% of business still on Java phones. The US in particular has grown from nowhere on our top list to being number 3 in our download figures, developing markets like India and Indonesia have also grown 2 to 3 times faster than the US market. 25% of our North American consumers download content once a day, and globally the figure goes up to 36%.

Apps Apps Apps so what about the Mobile web, how does it play in your strategy?

Among Getjar users mobile usage we predicted the rise of the mobile web. In a survey done a year ago we saw that 65% of users were using their mobile more than their PC to access the web. We do encourage  mobile web development as we recognize it as a way to overcome platform fragmentation That’s why we introduced mobile  site shortcuts a year back, an icon that’s been downloaded onto the end-user phone and appears as an app even though it’s only a link back to a website. It allows developers to cut on developement costs. Mobile site shortcuts are now 10% of our traffic. Facebook for example  using this has 31M downloads on GetJar twice the amount of they’ve have done on iTunes!

PS: Obviously you’ll notice my somewhat hesitant pace… for my excuse I wasn’t drunk but just interviewing someone at 1AM my time after a flight ordeal…

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Forum Nokia jumps on the scene of the WIPJam @MWC.

Forum_Nokia_03_RGB_strap smallerYes! Forum Nokia is our new lead sponsor for the upcoming  WIPJam @MWC . Forum Nokia joins the impressive list of companies present at WIPJam and at the App Planet.  This year at MWC it looks like Hall 7 is going to be the place to be!

jure sustersic Jure Sustersic, from Forum Nokia will jam with the rest of our speaker line- up on the ”Spready or Sticky Redux”  Unpanel…

And I’m sure Jure and his team will have a few nice devices to show ’round!

Jure manages business development activities in the Nokia developer ecosystem around emerging technologies and innovation. His history with Nokia and developers began as a developer product manager for the S60 platform. Before settling at Nokia he was involved in several internet technology related consultancies, projects and startups. He holds and MBA in High Technology management at Helsinki School of Economics.

Forum Nokia is proud to be a sponsor of this year’s WIPJam Day for Developers during MWC App Planet! During your visit to WIPJam, stop by the Nokia device bar to see the latest Nokia devices and services, and get hands-on demos of innovative mobile apps from leading third-party developers. You will also have the opportunity to speak with experts from Forum Nokia to get answers to your questions and discover how easy it is to develop for Nokia platforms. Additionally, you will learn how to leverage the global scale and reach of Ovi Store to make your content available to the world’s largest market of mobile device users. We look forward to meeting you in Barcelona!

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Webify my apps?

As a preparation for our discussion group for WIPJam at Mobile World Congress on Getting Cool content from the Cloud, and to follow up on the various discussions on the mobile web we have invited Malik Saadi from Informa to share some of his views and thoughts based on his report Mobile Web Application Developement. In this article Malik explains how the emergence of a fragmented smartphonosphere will make native development incredibly more difficult to scale and thus less and less economically viable and why mobile web development might be the savior for developers and brands alike looking to target larger audiences.

Malik Saadi Informa

Malik Saadi Principal Analyst Informa

Mobile cloud computing will shift applications development to the Web

Despite the proliferation of smartphones and efforts of promoting native development and runtime platforms, Web-based services are emerging as cost-effective challengers that could take application runtime to the Web environment. Not only will this allow the development of cheaper and advanced applications, but it could also shift computing resources and their management from the device to the cloud, which could in turn lower the barriers for enabling advanced applications over non-smartphone terminals.

Smartphones are limiting the appetite for applications development

In recent years, the mobile industry has moved from proprietary to open, allowing for continued improvements in device hardware and more innovation at the application level through the creation of developer communities and application distribution mechanisms. This trend has attracted the majority of device vendors and operating system (OS) developers as well as the mobile operators, which are now eager to offer their own branded app store and subsequently an immersive user experience and advanced mobile applications to their customers. As a result, there has been a strong increase in smartphone OS handset shipments, estimated by Informa Telecoms & Media at 216.3 million units in 2009, up 34% on the previous year. By 2014, sales of smartphones will reach 572.5 million units, representing 40% of total handset sales.

This trend is actually encouraging developers to create applications that are targeted at different OSs and native runtime environments. There are many advantages in developing mobile applications natively, including better integration with the device functionality, high-performance, always-available capabilities, and access to greater support from device vendors through the availability of advanced tools and developer programs.

However, there are also many challenges facing native application developers, which include: code complexity, which could affect the cost of the application development and time to market; application portability across a wide range of devices to achieve economies of scale; and restricted application distribution to operators and OEMs’ channels. Moreover, in the case of Apple, application approval has been a contested topic that has alienated several high-profile app developers from Apple’s App Store.

The fragmentation of OSs, user interfaces (UIs) and runtimes and associated developer programs are also likely to hamper any advantage gained from open mobile applications development. Open OS platforms are often differentiated by their level of support to multimedia and graphical capabilities, network connectivity options, input methods and hardware performance. Chipset manufacturers will find it increasingly difficult to maintain a high-performance and enhanced user experience over different platforms and their associated versions because each platform requires a deep integration with the device hardware and a number of optimization cycles are needed to ensure overall system stability and improved performance. Porting an application to several OS platforms is can be a good reason for failure among independent software vendors (ISVs), but is necessary to achieve economies of scale and reach a wide audience.

Palm Ares, mobile web made easy, Yes! universal?

Palm Ares, mobile web made easy, Yes! universal?

In addition, development tools associated with different OSs often lack the cross-platform approach that could enable the developer to write the application once and distribute it across various devices powered by different OSs. Mobile native application developers are stymied by the extreme difficulty of writing mobile apps for multiple OSs, UIs and runtime environments, especially when there is no clear winner and diversity is just increasing with the mushrooming number of app stores. Then there is the challenge of finding the right placement for this content so that it can be discovered easily by the end user.

Native applications developers also need to bear the cost of testing, certification and distribution of their applications. The majority of OEMs, operators and mobile app store (MAS) owners are imposing their own test and certification programs on developers. Testing fees are based on the complexity of the application submitted and are between US$250 and US$4,000 per submission. If the application is meant to run over variety of devices and terminal platforms, the third-party developer pays the full test fee for one device and gets a rebate for testing the same application on a second device. Additional fees might also be required for network-based applications. In addition, different OEMs and operators have different criteria for application testing in their certification programs. Native applications developers need to comply with these additional programs if they want their applications to reach different MASs and operator portals, which translates into additional cost burdens.

Also, an obvious difference between desktop and mobile native applications is mobile connectivity. Compelling applications should make maximum use of the customer’s mobility, from mobile location services through to interactive games. Simply replicating the desktop experience will not be enough to sustain long-term growth; users will not pay for mobile versions of applications that are available either free or nearly-free on their desktop computers.

Widget vs Native appsFor these reasons, generating native applications that address the long tail of consumer requirements and different consumer groups using various OSs and UIs could be cumbersome, costly and time consuming.

The shift to Web runtime and cloud-based services

The mobile Web applications development environment is an emerging alternative to native applications. This shift is best illustrated by the rush of operators and handset vendors to provide their own widget ecosystems which use Web technologies to facilitate mobile applications development and lower the overall development cost. It could also enable mobile operators and vendors to tap into the wealth of the Internet and address their customers with contextual applications that are more relevant to them.

Until recently, a number of barriers prevented Web-based applications and cloud services from gaining ground in the mobile market, including: the cost of connecting to Web services; the low-bandwidth and latency provided by current mobile access technologies; the bad quality and performance of mobile browsers and related Web technologies; and security issues.

Despite their current shortcomings in terms of performance, power consumption, integration and always-on capabilities compared with native applications, Web applications have many advantages including: faster development, time-to-market and monetization; wider distribution channels; and adaptability for cross-platformization.

There are many changes in the mobile market that are likely to shift applications development to the Web including:

  • The accelerating migration towards mobile broadband services.

  • The dramatic improvement in mobile browser solutions and UIs.

  • The advances of Internet transcoding and multimedia transformation.

  • The emergence of widgets and widget runtimes as efficient solutions for easy content discovery.

  • Deep integration of Web services with the device capabilities and features to enable the creation of contextual applications.

In the past year, several trends have crystallized around mobile Web runtime technology which promise to transform mobile Web applications development, distribution, installation, execution and management. A number of new OSs, including Google’s Android and Palm’s webOS, and a number of mobile platforms, including Microsoft’s Silverlight, Nokia Web Runtime, Qualcomm’s Plaza Mobile Internet, Adobe’s AIR, Access Netfront Widget platform and Opera Widgets, are designed with Web connectivity and functionality in mind. The whole idea is to enable the easy transition of applications development from a native environment to the Web environment.

Widget framework comparisonA number of operators, including Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile, O2, Verizon, AT&T, KDDI, NTT DoCoMo, Softbank and China Mobile, have already developed – or are in the process of developing – widget stores and Web developer programs that will make the development and distribution of Web applications easier and content discovery and management simpler on the mobile screen. For example, the aim of the Joint Innovation Lab (JIL) initiative – founded by Vodafone, China Mobile, Softbank and Verizon – is to stimulate a new generation of mobile Internet applications around which they can build their service plans and value-added services. JIL’s first project is to develop a widget ecosystem with a single point of access to enable developers to tap into the combined customer base of the four JIL operators – estimated at 1.1 billion subscribers.

The trend towards the adoption of the Web as a mobile applications development environment is likely to intensify thanks to both the emergence of mobile cloud computing and the low latency of the next-generation access networks, which include LTE, HSPA+ and WiMAX.

Informa expects the Web to become the new ubiquitous platform for application development as more and more applications move to the cloud and allow users to access their personal information anytime from any device and over any access network. This trend is likely to remove “smartness” from the device to the cloud, which could potentially reduce the burdens of fragmentation that the native development environment suffers from and spur innovation through the involvement of the much wider Web developer community in creating contextual mobile applications. In addition, this trend will help to shift processing and storage resources to the cloud, which means advanced applications could be accessed by more resource-constrained devices. This could in turn widen the addressable market for the cloud applications beyond the smartphone market.

By increasing the reliance of end users on the Web and cloud applications, new business models will emerge and revenues will be diversified from multiple sources that include advertising, network API charges to third-party service providers and the creation of premium services for the enterprise market. In addition, the migration to a Web development environment could increase traffic around hosted services such as e-mail, VoIP, online office, calendar, online gaming and social networking.

Several device vendors have been pre-installing key widgets in their devices but the trend now is to reorient their software platform strategies towards the creation of widget ecosystems for the development, distribution, lifecycle management, discoverability and monetization of widgets and Web applications in general. These applications are generally easy to create, fast to distribute and serve a plethora of niche markets on the Internet.

Tier-1 operators are also realizing the potential of partnering with Web application developers to enable innovation over their networks, reduce costs related to building data services and build service plans around long tail of consumer applications that target different user groups.

The aim of major operators is to move away from pipe services based on flat rates towards the creation of content-based service plans that will enable them to address different consumer groups with relevant real-time contextual applications and services.

Operators that are not experts in mobile data services, notably Mobile 2.0, have now openly admitted that they will not be able to create these services on their own and expect to employ third parties in the value chain to create best-of-breed services with sustainable business models.

In this context, vendors of mobile widget solutions could facilitate the work of operators by enabling them to bridge the gap between the Web and mobile applications development. These vendors already propose a suite of applications that could include a widget player, idle screen replacement, ODP and a white-label application store. These products could be deployed either individually or as part of an end-to-end widget development, distribution, presentation and monetization ecosystem.

Informa’s report Mobile Web Applications Development looks at various solutions for developing Web applications and widgets, their respective deployment scenarios and the different features that could be requested by operators or OEMs that wish to add mobile Internet and branded services through widgets. Obviously, operators and OEMs have different requirements when choosing a mobile widget solution depending on which market segments and regions they want to address and which services they aim to deploy. The report also looks at the role of mobile widgets in providing a rich mobile Internet experience to help operators and OEMs create new service opportunities, increase customer loyalty and extend the value of their brand to new market segments. It includes a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the revenue opportunities and key trends in widget ecosystems, enabling technologies and the challenges facing operators and OEMs in implementing them.

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2010 Predictions for Mobile Developers

This year you are in for a double dose of Predictions for Mobile Developers, as Thibaut and Caroline team up with their views.

Swami Thibaut Rouffinuea weighs in on 2010Thibaut Rouffineau, based in London,UK is up first:

Predictions tend to be of this Nostradamus type that are not measurable and quantifiable… So let’s try to give actual measures and verifiable facts. Even if it means that each of them can be influenced … but isn’t it the goal too :D
So here we go for our 2010 predictions:

  • Android saves Google in Europe in the face of increasing legal & regulatory pressures.

Google will start the year with even more trouble on their hands in Europe with an increasing number of issues raised by European governments and regulatory bodies. Android will be at the forefront of their defense, as a proof that they are encouraging competition rather than stifling it. This can only and should  be accompanied with a relaxed approach to the way Google and the OHA manage Android throughout 2010.

  • Android becomes the de facto standard for enterprise application and devices

Android is cheap to own, cheap to port, easy to develop for, available in all sorts of form factors, and has an increasingly large workforce available… For these reasons lagging enterprise mobile IT sees a revival through Android as it ticks for the consumer needs (Unlike Windows) and the enterprise needs (Unlike Apple).

  • The mobile developer / marketing scene reorganizes

With mobile marketing taking front stage in 2010 the whole developer / agency / operator ecosystem will feel the need to reorganise to provide more transparency and proof points concerning its efficiency, increase the visibility and management of  data driven activities, to address the shortage of developer skills. The reorganization is likely to see the growth of operator and OEM based mobile marketing agency services.

  • Increasing importance of security and identity providers

I was really impressed to hear a number of regulators at the latest ITU World Conference comment that cybersecurity was their number one concern at present. This concern is matched by an increasing need for cross platform identity requirements such as mobile banking, social media, enterprise and e/m-commerce. This somewhat “unsexy” field is therefore bound to grow in importance in 2010 with mobile operator, social network providers, e/m-commerce players, cloud computing providers all fighting head-on to offer the service.

  • The first mobile application developed on a mobile device or netbook is published

With the increasing computing power of palmable devices (handheld and MID), the universalisation of development tools, we’re bound to see our first mobile apps developed exclusively on these devices. The origin is more likely to be from Asia or Africa but no doubt others will jump to the challenge.

Sage Caroline channels mobile developer predictionsCaroline Lewko’s (Vancouver, Canada) turn on 2010 Predictions:

2009 was a tough and tumultuous year in mobile development.  The economic downturn saw lots of layoffs, a tough environment to raise funds, and lower turnout out at the big tradeshows.  But despite these negatives, the mobile industry continued to grow, we saw new devices like the Palm Pre and the Motorola Droid; new platforms like Samsung’s Bada; lots of new Appstores (see Thibaut’s blog  below); and a growing love of mobile by consumers and developers.

So what’s ahead for 2010????

1.  More Android - here an Android, there an Android, everywhere an Android….

Google has done such a cracker jack job of cozying up to all the major mobile operators around the world; and with most device OEMs signed up as well, expect to see more Android phones released.   Android is going to be everywhere.

2.  More BlackBerryleading the party

I don’t agree with Thibaut’s prediction on Android becoming the de facto enterprise development standard.  BlackBerry still has a strong foothold in the enterprise space and there are many of us still holding tightly onto our crackberries.  Watch BlackBerry this year – I think you’ll see them everywhere too.  RIM is stepping up to the plate and becoming less Canadian, spending lots of money on a full-on promotional campaigns and sponsorships to both developers and consumers.  Expect big showings at CES and MWC.

3.  Less iPhoneconsumers get ‘smarter’ about Kleenex

So, last November in San Francisco I grabbed a cab to take me to  the Marriott, here was our conversation:

CLL:  Please take me to the Marriott on Fourth Ave
Cabbie:  Oh, you must be going to the BlackBerry conference
CLL:  I am, you really know what’s going on!
Cabbie:  Of course – that’s where they are talking about making cool stuff for the iPhones.
CLL:  ah, no….. and then I went into an explanation on how the iPhone is just a brand name and doesn’t represent all smart phones and cool applications

iPhone has become a genericized trademark. Given the increase in marketing for Android, BlackBerry and other handsets; and the striated distribution of the iPhone away from exclusivity; I think consumers are going to gain better understanding of the variety of smart phones with ‘cool stuff’ that is available with other really great trademarks!

4.  More Application Innovation just say Aaaaa PIs

Applications sure proliferated last year, and certainly there were lots of creative and useful applications.  However, the only truly interesting innovation was in Augmented Reality. Expect to see more AR applications this year – see Lester Madden’s Augmented Planet for the best information on AR platforms and applications.

WOW - more innovative mobile apps are coming! I believe 2010 will be a year where we get back to innovation again, the stuff that makes us go WOW. Here’s why:  investment is starting to flow again; a lot of new developers have tested themselves on the iPhone and are ready for something more to test their skills; access to operator APIs are getting easier thanks to the work of companies like Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson; other platform APIs are going prime time; there are lots of great cross platform development resources out now; and other platforms like Java in the form of MIDP3 is gaining new capabilities.  It means lots of opportunities to be creative; and more resources to streamline development.  I can’t wait to see what developers come up with!

Thanks to Teresa Ostman our resident expert on events, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention 4G as another technology to watch in 2010.  She is seeing a steady increase in LTE and WiMAX event worldwide.  With implementation of LTE and WiMax on the rise,  these will likely lead to additional innovation in app development too.

New Year’s Resolutions for Mobile Developers:

As last year  - continue to follow the money.  All these great new opportunities also continue to add to fragmentation, so smart decisions still need to be made in order to find success.  Check out the WIP Wiki Resources for some companies and tools that may be able to speed up your development.

Interested to see how we did with our previous predictions (not to bad actually!), check these out:  2009 2008 and 2007.

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32 appstores on the WIP appstore wiki at the end of 2009!

32 mobile appstores!

That’s what we finished 2009 with (see January report on wipconnector)! And luckily we do not list yet the various appstore announcements on the verge of the mobile sphere like the Ford SYNC enabled appstore or Sun Java Store otherwise our wiki would be on fire.

So 2009 was the year of the appstore glut maybe… however it was also a year that saw new forms / concepts of appstores rather than un-differentiated ones, addressing specific issues such as discovery and recommendation or specific markets which can only be favorable for developers and consumers. Have a look at the newcomers for December and judge by yourself.

If we are to judge future smartphone platform success by the number of appstores distributing their apps, Android has a slight lead with 53% of appstores distributing Android apps, followed by Windows Mobile with 50% (mostly for historical reason one could claim),  Blackberry with 40% and Symbian with 37.5% are forming a second group of established players, followed by iPhone and Palm with 19% closing the ranks.

What is even more interesting is to look at the fact that about 2/3 of these appstores were launched in the last 6 months… looking at the platforms targeted by these appstores the results are in line with the previous numbers. If we look at “new appstores” only… those created in the past 6 months… unsurprisingly a lot more fragmentation kicks in as the number of new appstores  players concentrating on a specific platform  counterbalances the large OEM / Operators coming in this space. So newer players but… the same trend can be seen with 40% for Android and Windows mobile, 27% for Symbian and 18% for Blacbkerry, 13% for iPhone, and 5% by Palm and Limo (for widget only).

One can only be surprised looking at these figures by the similarities between a long established (struggling?) player in the mobile platform space Microsoft and the new kid on the block Google’s Android. Both of them encouraging or generating fortuitously  the creation of somewhat fragmented appstores ecosystem around the platform . Sign of success or sign of failure?

New appstores in December:

Zanox : Simple concept of appstore including mobile, web code snippet, SAAS, looking to connect developers to brands and publishers. A B2B exchange place aimed at increasing on-line purchases by encouraging developers to produce interactive and addictive applications using Zanox affiliate APIs.

In a sense this appstore concept brings something rather new and interesting to developers : access to B2B marketing and advertising money without the need to build personal commercial relationships with brands and agencies… With the obvious drawback of getting a much higher share of risk and exposing themselves to copy.

Overall this is a good example of a web appstore and will be a good touchstone to see how revenue making can be associated with the mobile web.

MobileIron: Another good example of an appstore turning towards B2B to bring new revenue streams for developers. In this case by getting IS department within enterprises to select / pay  for / deploy applications for their entire workforce. This kind of solution could sounds like an obvious merge between traditional device management solutions and appstores. But in an era where the enterprise mobile IT agenda tends to follow consumer mobile  technology solutions, this could be a good way for enterprises to do a substantial leapfrog in their mobile IS policies.

It is also quite interesting to see how new appstores position  themselves around recommendation(see very good post from Visionmobile on the subject), generating revenue from affiliation (as per our previous post on ideal appstore). 2 examples there :

Mplayit an appstore entirely built as a facebook application

and positioned around facebook friend recommendation.

Specialised in iPhone, Blackberry, Java applications, and

recently Android . an appstore specialized

in social media / twitter / blogger recommendation for iPhone applications.

That’s it for 2009!

Now tell us! What will you remember of 2009 when it comes to appstores ?

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Finally after 2 months of inputting, cleaning up, asking for data about the various appstores in the market we’re finally at the stage where we can publish a summary pdf gathering all the data the wip appstore wiki holds about the 27 appstores inputted there at the beginning of December (and we have now reached 29…)

Our objective in publishing this information as a document is to make it easier for you to compare the various appstores by sitting them next to one another on a few sheet of paper. Whatever your purpose is : platform choice, country choice, pricing decision in a bird’s eye view you’ll have all the channels in the market. Going forward we will publish a monthly “dump” of the wiki  for you to keep track of evolutions and changes in this space.

Having put this together for the first time there are a few things that jump to mind:

  • The sheer volume of channels for Windows Mobile applications, with 60% of appstores do sell Windows Mobile applications. Quite interestingly this is also where the majority of “established players” come from, posing the question whether or not the new Windows Marketplace will change this state of affairs.
  • The growing support for widgets in appstores with the :  Android Market, Palm App Catalog, JIL, Vodafone 360 initiatives being the most prominent examples.
  • Despite the absence of “large players” (apart from Google)  in the Android apps market, the growth of the small and independent Android stores., driven by 3 factors:
    • Apparent and relative freedom to create appstores for smaller players… [PS: Just as I was writing this blog the news leaked that Motorola were looking at launching an Android specific appstore SHOP4APPS which would show that larger player are also getting involved... watch this space]
    • Working around the content filters imposed by the Android Market :  mikandi focusing on creative mobile adult content and AndAppstore
    • Focus on niche devices and applications reflecting the variety / fragmentation of the Android space with Camangi Market specializing in MID sized devices (5 to 9-inches Android device)

Now publishing the information in a doc is just a first step we’re after your thoughts, demands on how we can make this information more useful, more usable, more complete to you… if you have any thoughts you want to share please tell us, we have a few thoughts such as making the appstores  comparable online or searches based on platform but the if you have a few ideas of your own please let us know, whether it is it improve the quality, quantity of the data, the usability of this data and the ability to compare the various fields… all will be welcome.

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Interview with Victor Shaburov CEO of Handster

VictorTo accompany the launch of the WIPwiki appstore WIP’s been going around interviewing mobile Appstore providers of the kind you generally do not hear about. In this first interview we talked to Victor Shaburov, CEO of Handster. Handster provide a mobile appstore but more importantly specialize in white label appstores for OEM and Operators.

WIP: We love the name of your company does it stand for “Napster of the handheld device world”?

VS : Yes, the name originally had some hints to this, because we were doing SDK with direct payment and peer-to-peer sharing (with possibility to make a few dollars on sharing apps). Sharing was later dropped, but the name remained.

[Neat idea to get users to swap app directly with built-in billing and an affiliate scheme, this one score high in the ideal appstore (see on the left hand corner) discussion]

Handster launched pretty recently in a world where appstores are getting more numerous by the day. Why did you decide to start a new appstore then? What makes you different?

Project was actually started in 2004, so it is not that recent.
Right now we are focusing on providing more qualitative content:

  • we are adding screenshots to app descriptions.
  • we support 10 languages and  translated lot of program descriptions
  • we started making video reviews of applications with professional voice artists.  Video reviews explain the software and make it easier for customers to make purchase decision.
  • we are working on worldwide SMS payment integration, to make purchase simple for everyone.

And we have highly flexible white label AppStore platform for carriers, handset manufacturers and other distributors.

Video review of MiniTranscanada as found on Handster (don’t ask why we chose this one :) )

Unfortunately, though we have seen a lot of appstore launched lately, none of them seems to be getting the level of success that Apple and iPhone developers have. Do you think we’ll see such a success coming to other platforms?

Android already shows a similar success. Apple AppStore generates up to 9USD per user/month, Andoid around 8 USD as recent reviews show - so that is close.
We believe that other platforms will catch up with them after some time.

As you support multiple platforms on Handster, do you have any insights in terms of where should developers concentrate their efforts?

We are neutral and welcome success of any platform.

You say you work with HP and LG to give them content for their stores, how does it work? If more people get on the way doesn’t it mean less money for developers?

Apple has a special situation, where they own hardware, OS and are able to push their conditions to mobile operators.
But in general, you should make everyone happy - and mobile operators and handset manufacturers should participate in the success of AppStores.
We see potential for us in this area and offer white label AppStore platform for mobile operators and handset manufacturers.
That, of course, makes a developer’s share smaller, but what matters in the end is the paycheck that they receive.
We offer software developers stronger discoverability and promotion of their applications on AppStores of our partners - this is an additional revenue channel for them.

What’s your view on application testing and certification? How long is Handster certification process?

We test applications of new software developers, and once we are sure about their quality, we basically allow to publish updates and new apps live anytime.
Depending on a partner (carrier, handset manufacturer), we sometimes do re-testing for a particular handset and offer only compatible software.

Where  do you think appstores in general have to improve?

More payment options, better discoverability of applications, quality content.

And finally, what is going to be your challenge in the coming months?

We are actively looking for more partners among mobile operators and handset manufacturers from one side, to offer them a white label AppStore platform and aggregated content.
And we are looking for more software developers, to distribute their apps through our channels. Developers can register with Handster using this link:

Thank you Victor!

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Eclipse + mobile = PULSAR

Open source foundations are interesting organisms… they tend to blossom and conference in Autumn. In the last 3 weeks Apache, Eclipse and Symbian have all held their major yearly conferences, namely ‘con , summit Europe and Exhibition and Exchange. Leaving any open source follower with no option but to only taste one flavour of open source.

So… no Eclipse Summit for me this year, none of the Stammtisch fun, no occasion to hear and see Microsoft announcing support for Eclipse development in Azure, making a unprecedented move in open source and non .NET land.

No Eclipse Summit but  I had to make up for it by publishing our thoughts following a discussion with Ian Skerrett, Director of Marketing at Eclipse Foundation while at CTIA Fall around Eclipse’s initiatives in the mobile space.

Talking about Eclipse in mobile is rather paradoxical.  You can’t go to a proper mobile developer event without seeing someone flash it at a time (OK maybe at an iPhone or a Qt conference), when you see it you’re pretty happy “cause there’s gonna be code” , but you won’t spend much time talking about it… The uncomfortable friend in a way.

But the fact is that today Eclipse is everywhere in the new “mobile development” paradigm, from the hard core embedded engineers to the web kids.  Rare are the mobile platforms that cannot be targeted coding within Eclipse : Java, Flash, iPhone, Android, Qt, Palm , Blackberry, widgets … you name it! So isn’t it time that Eclipse becomes a bit more of a comfortable friend in the mobile discussion?

I have been saying so for a while (acknowledging my bias), and here is why… Traditionally mobile tools have focused on two strategies, either be an integral part of the “mobile platform” (aka tools + SDK + OS + phone = 1 vendor) or attack fragmentation (aka limit the fragmentation of the competing platforms 1 tool vendor = multiple device vendors). The results of this… “surprise surprise” is that the mobile tools space looks more fragmented than the mobile platform space. Furthermore a majority of the tools have focused on integration of the tool chain(s) over the years rather than focusing on simplifying and integrating the various tasks that constitute the development process (re-factoring, unit testing, instrumentation, performance management, debugging).  As a consequence.. most developers are stuck with poorly scalable tools and tool vendors have little to no interest in investing as their ability to target a large enough numbers of developer is restricted.

What Eclipse meant originally was simple. For tools vendors, open source code  means tools are cheaper to produce as they can focus on differentiators. For developers life is simpler, download vanilla Eclipse from then go shopping for ten different plugins I need to integrate in my company’s practice, to work on a specific project, to fit my personal habits! Easy!! But not so true in mobile as platform vendors continued to take the approach of bundling the whole platform, branching bits and bobs and basically creating silos of their own.

PulsarBut with open source rhyming with mobile these days, we were bound to see the industry tackling the issue! So here comes Pulsar!

  • A group of Eclipse member companies including Nokia, Motorola, Microsoft, Sony Ericsson, Ericsson committed to working on tools integration and
  • A flexible Eclipse distribution that allows mobile developers an easy access to a multi-vendor development environment, easy!

Pulsar has now been in existence for 6 months and so far has been mainly focused on Java development, but the future looks bright for Pulsar!

  • Mobile web development is definitely on the roadmap reflecting the number of solutions in the market today phonegap, BONDI, Palm. All showing Eclipse’s strength in css, php and javascript
  • Android
  • Symbian and Qt

So we look forward to a follow up discussion with Ian on the subject!

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What future for the mobile phone in a multi-platform world?

Customer journeys, such as finding new music or communicating with friends, no longer take place within the confines of a single device or service. Users may combine several devices or applications to achieve their objectives, creating a new set of challenges when designing user experiences which excel in this multi-platform environment. This essay brings together 5 of the leading thinkers in digital industry to explore the concept of multi-platform mobile user experience ahead of a major new MEX conference (2nd/3rd December 2009, London) on this same theme.

By Marek Pawlowski (PMN), Thibaut Rouffineau (Wireless Industry Partnership), Lisa Whelan (, Andreas Constantinou (VisionMobile) and Matt Lewis (ARCChart).

Marek Pawlowski, Editorial Director at PMN and founder of the MEX ConferenceMarek Pawlowski, Editorial Director at PMN and founder of the MEX Conference, begins by examining the role of the mobile phone in a future of multi-platform experiences:

There is an old cliche rolled out time and again at mobile industry conferences: “You never leave your house without your wallet, keys…and mobile phone.” It is, of course, meant to remind us how indispensable handsets have become to our daily lives (and, perhaps, by extension, reassure all those in the mobile industry that, not only are their jobs secure, but they are meaningfully engaged in providing a significant service to humanity!).

A recent BBC documentary about the lifecycle of mobiles (’The Life and Death of a Mobile Phone‘, BBC4, 5th October 2009) provided an insight into just how attached users have become to their phones, with many of the people interviewed confessing to never turning off their handset - even when they were asleep - and never letting it leave their sight. The level of attachment exhibited by the interview subjects was quite remarkable.

This places the mobile phone in an interesting position. By virtue of its ubiquity, it is the digital device we spend the most time with every day and the one we are most likely to trust and respond to. What then will be the role of the mobile phone in tying together the myriad digital platforms which fill our lives?

The number of digital assets and devices owned by the average human is growing daily. The volume of emails, texts, videos, photos and music files to which each individual can lay claim is exploding. So too is the number of places we store this information. If we look just at one type of data - say, photos - we find that an average individual may have a collection of photos on their camera phone, as well as several albums downloaded to their PC from their digital camera. If they’re truly at the cutting edge, they may even have some images stored on a network-attached storage (NAS) device and beamed wirelessly to digital photo frames around their house. The same scenario of multiple storage locations and multiple access devices is also true of other data types, from email messages to videos.

This model is both unsustainable and undesirable for the human mind. The complexity of keeping track of where we have stored what and how best we can access it will lead to an apathy induced by our natural fear of cognitive effort. We are already starting to see the first signs of this as digital pioneers, those who have led the charge into a world of multiple social networking accounts, PCs, MP3 players, consoles and phones, start to kick-back against the information overload they have brought upon themselves. When we undertook research with more than 700 people in digital industry during the planning stages for our next MEX Conference (2nd/3rd December 2009), it was eye-opening to hear how many people working in the technology business feel overwhelmed by the very devices they have themselves created.

As an industry which has developed the phone - the most widespread computing and communications device in this multi-platform future - the mobile business has a responsibility to sit in the driving seat of delivering great user experience across all of the digital platforms in our lives. Crucially, the industry faces the challenge of combining the diverse range of devices in users’ lives - from PC to phone to interactive TV - into an experience genuinely greater than the sum of its parts.

Thibaut Rouffineau of the Wireless Industry Partnership (WIP)Thibaut Rouffineau of the Wireless Industry Partnership (WIP), picks up the story and suggests possible strategies the mobile industry may adopt for delivering multi-platform services:

The rush of the mobile industry towards ’services’ rather than devices is a clear indicator of the solution most feel will become the glue between the devices, hoping for a good old style horizontal integration to solve the fragmentation.

Based on previous examples, the type of services to be offered are pretty obvious: single identity and single sign-on valid across all devices, universal storage to synch-up all devices and storage media, billing platform for universal one click payment, universal recommendation and preference engine.

Unfortunately the mobile industry has rather poor track records when it comes to reducing fragmentation, whether horizontally or vertically.

It basically knows 2 models: ‘king making’ and the operator association

King making is quite simple, the number one player in the space acquires or adopts a technology and sways the balance in the ‘right’ direction; for example, cameras, GPS and navigation. Simple but more and more difficult as the industry becomes more and more competitive, furthermore there is no killer technology to be adopted today that would solve the problem.

The operator association approach (e.g. UMTS Forum or GSMA) is pretty good at getting all to walk in the ‘correct and unified direction’, but the time involved, the size of the issue, the number of solutions to explore and the club approach would make such an association impossible.

And thus it’s no surprise to any observer of things mobile that most disruptions (or chasm crossings) in the past few years have come from outside the mobile world: Apple for touchscreen and application purchase, Google for open source & mobile cloud services. It thus appears, based on past analysis, that the only credible way forward is the arrival of a new player in the market to solve this issue.

So what kind of new player could this be…

  1. A vertical player moving out its niche… The name Apple obviously jumps to mind as a company which will solve this fragmentation challenge for you if you can pay the price to buy the entire Jobsfolio of ‘i-catching’ products. Can Apple now go mainstream with more than the iPod and the iPhone? Let’s not doubt it.
  2. A horizontal web service player extending into mobile… This sounds like a familiar reality called Google. In an industry known for its ability to constantly fragment and micro-segment, doubts are possible but isn’t Google too big to fail?
  3. A new universal remote control provider using a phone-type device… Previous attempts in TV / VCR / PDAs have shown the limits of this model relying on massive testing by the supplier, long set-up by the user and the general failure to encompass the variety of environment one interacts with.
  4. A neuro-controlled headset controlling standard interfaces on various devices… Hardware is now available from Emotiv for those willing to try…definitely promising.
  5. An identity service provider able to aggregate little by little all individual preferences, behaviors and automate activities such as payment, authentication etc in a secure way. An option sought after by many.
  6. A new digital ad agency specializing in multi-screen media buy. Once again, a sought after option…

However the past is not always a good adviser for the future…another famous saying at conferences!.

In a time of personalisation and increased multi-tasking, vertical or horizontal integration might not be the best way to deal with fragmentation anymore. Rather we could look to a world of standards, where defragmentation or user experience creation is a personal matter rather than an industry matter; where each individual is both in charge and empowered to make their own choices around what matters and what doesn’t; what they want to explore in its complexity and what they only want to deal with at a superficial level. From this perspective the industry winners will be those who can embed in their products standards, co-creation, a notion of variable complexity and the necessary need for multi-platform.

Lisa Whelan, founder of SocializeMobilize.comLisa Whelan, founder of and a business development, strategy and marketing consultant, delves deeper into what multi-channel services mean for user psychology and the desire for simplicity:

At the crux of this challenge for the mobile industry is finding a way to proactively address consumers’ needs, without overwhelming consumers with choice. Different people have different needs. And, yet presenting users with too much choice isn’t necessarily a good thing, nor is it even particularly advantageous to mobile companies.

From a user’s perspective, choice often means complication, and in the eyes of the consumer, simple often wins out over complex - even when it means fewer features.

As humans, we like the ‘idea’ of choice, but we often find it difficult to make decisions when were offered too much choice (a state known as ‘analysis paralysis’). In theory, more choice should be a good thing for consumers, but when it comes to mobile technology, I believe users buy a phone to reduce the complication in their life - not add to it.

When it comes to mobile phones, as long as our basic needs are addressed, most of us are happy - even if we aren’t offered a huge amount of choice about how that happens. By ‘basic’, I mean being able to communicate and share, be it through voice calls, emails, or social networks, organize (calendar), and to a lesser extent, be entertained, on the go, for an adequate period of time (i.e. long battery life). The rest is gravy.

Take for example the Palm, Inc. (at the time, PalmOne) vs. RIM battle of the early to mid 2000s. The Palm Treo could run thousands of applications - including a handful of 3rd party push email clients (Good, Seven, Visto and more). In contrast, RIM offered fewer mobile applications for the Blackberry and one push email client - it’s own, pre-loaded client. Which company ultimately saw better uptake of push email and remains one of the leading OEMs? RIM. In retrospect, it seems that Palm may have offered its users too many choices, rather than recommending a single push email app that executed well. The result was consumer ‘analysis paralysis’ and increased market fragmentation.

Take as another example the iPhone. Unconfirmed reports estimate the total number of applications on the Apple App Store at 100,000, but how many of those 100,000 applications are being downloaded more than 6 weeks after their initial release? Most of the developers I know are saying that the average app life cycle is just 4 to 6 weeks without a product refresh. Only a few apps continue to be popular after their initial launch, leading me to believe there are only a few apps that people consistently find they ‘need’.

According to research conducted by mobile analytics vendor Flurry, over a 90 day period, the apps used most frequently and for the longest period of time immediately after download fell into one of four categories - from lowest to highest - health and fitness, weather, reference and news. In contrast, entertainment, social networking, travel and sports apps were used the least frequently and were rarely used past 45 days.

So, what then will be the role of the mobile phone in tying together the myriad digital platforms that fill our lives? It all depends on which digital platforms become the most essential to consumers over time. If a large enough group of consumers decide that they need access to a specific group of digital mediums from their mobile phone, the growing eco-system of software developers will respond organically. As app store owners continue to improve merchandising, discovery, and behavioral targeting, more and more, consumers will be shown the apps and services that most effectively address their specific needs, rather than being burdened with too many choices.

Matt Lewis, Managing Director at mobile industry analysis firm ARCChartMatt Lewis, Managing Director at mobile industry analysis firm ARCChart, discusses what the architecture might look like for multi-platform services and expands on the role of the next generation address book in tying it all together:

At the heart of any strategy to improve the user experience in a multi-device paradigm sits the mobile cloud. While the term ‘cloud’ is a relatively new addition to the industry vernacular, it’s easy to understand the concept it references.

The range of devices and services with which users now engage often store information remotely, off-device. In essence, the cloud simply refers to the off-device storage of this information on a remotely located server, which can be tapped into with a variety of front-end applications - a browser, widget, dedicated app, picture frame or any client providing a window into the information and allowing data to be added, edited and removed.

Photos provide a simple example of the mobile cloud. Several digital cameras on the market now have the capability to automatically upload photographs directly to photo sharing sites like Flickr, using the camera’s embedded Wi-Fi capability. The user may then access these photos on their PC through a browser; or on their phone through a dedicated application (which may offer rich photo editing features); or their laptop screensaver maybe be configured to run a slideshow of the images held in their photo sharing account. All these devices and applications are accessing content by simply tapping into the cloud.

The cloud has grown organically and the approach to storing and accessing the data is more or less specific to each content/service provider. However, it is conceivable that as cloud services become more engrained, and consumers demand the ability to export and share files and media between different providers, the industry will move towards a more structured approach, defining specific storage, access and synchronisation standards. SyncML is one standard which already exists and which may evolve to address the entire cloud.

SyncML is commonly viewed as a method to synchronise contact and calendar information and the migration of the phonebook off the phone and into the cloud will perhaps be one of the most important user experience boosts in the multi-platform world - this is the advent of the Phonebook 2.0.

User are gradually becoming overwhelmed by the number of disparate lists of contacts, or phonebooks, they are now managing. A quick count of my own phonebooks shows the tally is eight:

  1. Mobile phone (on-device)
  2. Corporate phonebook
  3. Email address book
  4. Facebook
  5. LinkedIn
  6. Windows Messenger
  7. Skype
  8. Twitter

Throw in a couple more social networks or IM communities and it’s easy to see how some users are juggling in excess of ten separate phonebooks, and the number is expected to grow as more services promote the sharing of content within and across communities. Often, individual contacts are repeated across several phonebooks - for example, a close friend is likely to appear in the contact list on the phone, Facebook, LinkedIn, Messenger, Skype and Twitter. The same person is repeated in all phonebooks as if each instance is a unique contact.

All these services already exist in the cloud, in that they are accessible remotely from different devices and applications and can be updated and edited from each. The problem is that each phonebook exist as a separate silo.

The objective of the phonebook 2.0 is to aggregate all these disparate contact lists within the cloud, providing a single window into a user’s entire phonebook portfolio. The phonebook 2.0 identifies repeated individuals and amalgamates their credentials from each service into a single phonebook entry, providing a one-stop view.

It is easy to see how such an approach not only enriches the user experience by greatly simplifying contact management, but the aggregated information is of far greater value than in its disparate format

Take, for example, presence. Many social and IM networks provide an indication of presence, showing the real-time status of an individual in terms of their usage of the service (online, offline, away etc.). Aggregated in phonebook 2.0, presence supplies more granular information, identifying the services on which someone can, or cannot, be reached. Add to that a location facility, and the value of phonebook 2.0 ratchets up another notch. As social networks roll-out location tracking features to their users, the aggregated phonebook will become a vital tool for engaging with professional and social communities based on geography.

The question now becomes: who will become the phonebook gatekeeper, provisioning the aggregated phonebook service to end users? Will it be carriers, the handset makers or OS providers; or will it be the social networks or portal players like Google and Yahoo? Or will an independent third-party spot the opportunity?

Andreas Constantinou, Research Director and founder of VisionMobileAndreas Constantinou, Research Director and founder of VisionMobile, explains how multi-platform services will need a deep understanding of users’ total context and behaviour:

Information overload will necessitate more than filtering or search; intelligent, contextually relevant recommendations that take into account our long term habits and our short term topics of interest, to suggest information, music, events or activities which are relevant. Beyond recommendation, new forms of communication will allow us to interact with many more people in the same space of time - forms of communication that are today unimaginable, in the same way that Twitter and Google Wave were unimaginable 5 years ago.

What do you think? We’d love to hear your views on this essay and you can help to advance the debate on multi-platform user experience by contributing a comment to the blog.

For further reading…

  1. The MEX Manifesto & Conference for Enhancing Mobile User Experience in a Multi-platform World
  2. Mobile User Experience blog
  3. Wireless Industry Partnership blog
  4. blog
  5. ARCChart’s Rethink newsletter
  6. VisionMobile Blog

Twitter links for the authors…

  1. @marekpawlowski (Marek Pawlowski)
  2. @campbieil (Thibaut Rouffineau)
  3. @lisawhelan (Lisa Whelan)
  4. @andreascon (Andreas Constantinou)

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No ppt but loads of ties and panels at ITU

Launch of the App STore Wiki at ITU and CTIA

Launch of the App STore Wiki at ITU and CTIA

Came back from Geneva where I was 2 weeks ago for ITU Telecom World! And haven’t had found to finish this blog… but here it is now! In a self admitted mixed bag of thoughts and things seen.

For those of you who cannot remember ITU Telecom World, it used to be the craziest / biggest / unmissable event in the telecom space! Well of course it was in 1999, we were all going to be wheeling in our personal optical cable behind us to  get our necessary 100M/s dose of “bits”… Now we know better and have realized that carrying a mobile phone is much better than carrying a cable wheel… So the show had to rethink about itself… So the ITU Telecom World now concentrates a lot more on mobile than it has done before moving away from its fixed roots (can one have mobile roots :D ).

So it’s all mobile.. It’s all about cyberPicture 2security…  It’s all about about governance and standards… it’s all about ICT being a key driver for overall economic development especially in times of recession… It’s all about the next 1 Billion users and the deployment of mobile in developing countries… And… a lot of suits, lots of ties and lots of government representatives. (I even had to put a tie on to participate to a videoed Telecom TV debate on the subject on “Show me the Money” available here)

A different crowd then different discussions for sure but still mobile application and services development was at the center of many discussions, as the mobile phone becomes a quasi universal information, communication and computing device. So a lot of attention and demand for application and content providers which was also reflected in the official theme of the conference “open innovation” or more exactly “Open networks, connected minds”. Developers and content providers were praised by all as being the future of the telecom industry and critical to further economic development either through eHealth, sensors, mobile banking. Unfortunately examples of activities, exchanges, lessons learned in the field of open innovation were rather spurious.

WIP on the invitation of NGMN organized a panel to bring in those very practical examples: our objective being to cover the various aspects of “open innovation” with the developer community and how to deliver on this innovation in a sustainable way (scoring high at the ITU buzzword bingo here). Or in more down to earth terms “how can operators, OEMs and all platform providers work more collaboratively with developers rewarding risk taking more appropriately and facilitating decision making for developreneurs”. A great panel then covering a wide range of subjects from open source, to appstore, to end-user analytics sharing, to the importance of mobile to redefine customer relationships, to the increased importance of making mobile data available on the cloud. The panel available for NGMN members here , thanks a lot to the panelists :NGMNpanel

  • Joe Barrett, Qualcomm
  • Emiliano Ceraldi, Telecom Italia
  • Jérôme Lepeu, Mobile Distillery
  • Dr Toshitaka Tsuda, Fujitsu Laboratories
  • Mike Yonker, Nielsen Mobile

And for those of you interested in the geeky stuff on the show floor, they were sparse but here are a few cool things spotted:

  • The Docomo booth was rather impressive with 2 prominent demos of Augmented reality both given on HTC Android phones. (not so surprising when you see popularity of Layar in Japan)..With a couple of Blackberry’s added to their product lineups this made for a not so usual Docomo booth.
  • Augmented reality was hot among developers with a few more companies demonstrating their solutions. One that caught my eye was a demo by KDDI, because .. it was running on a mid-tier Brew device, basically stating that embarking the correct hardware on mid-tier phone could open a much wider market for Augmented Reality.
  • The OPhone and Mobile Market were massive on China Mobile’s booth. I could finally make a mental and real pictures of the OPhone OS and Developer Network as well as the whole collection of OPhones from 5 different manufacturers showing the impetus behind the platform. So mental picture is:

OPhone OS =  a variant of Android, -2 hardware buttons,  + China Mobile APIs and improved navigation + JIL widgets + Chinese character hand writing

Looking forward for your views on the mental pictures… In the mean time here are the physical pictures:

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