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Carnival of Mobilists #204

This week’s carnival is brought to the mobile world by London Calling. This last carnival of the decade is bursting with interesting reading. Including an article from Raj Singh, a regular WIPJam attendee and member of our Developer Advisory Team, entitled Geo-monopolies. Volker Hirsch has a post on “The Power of Open: Why Android is Big” and our own Thibaut Rouffineau provides a comprehensive comparison of app stores! Here at WIP, we are looking forward to another great year of Carnival of Mobilists in 2010!

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Comparetheappstores.com

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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Carnival of Mobilists #203

1230269_venice_carnival_2 This week’s Carnival, brought to us by AntoineJRWright, comes complete with a Carnival image from Venice. Featured articles including: Will Mobile Phones Replace In-Store Retail Salespeople? by Mark Jaffe, Mobile strategies for small business by Jose Colucci and an article from our own Caroline Lewko, Open Innovation Gets a FAIL with Mobile Developers.

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Open Innovation Gets a FAIL with Mobile Developers

Is Open Innovation Working?Put your money where your mouth is for open innovation.

I first wrote about the rise of ‘open’ and open innovation over 2 years ago (and one blog ago). The premise of Open Innovation is about dropping the mentality of ‘not invented here’; and to collaborate with outside partners. I said back in May 2007, “We are now entering the next phase of Open Innovation in the form of user input and the proliferation of communities. The challenge is how to identify the great opportunities and exploit them in a collaborative way.

We decided to benchmark Open Innovation to gauge if it is actually working for developers in our mobile and wireless community:

1. Open is Socially Acceptable = PASS

The term openness and the realization of collaborating with others is now mainstream. Even the big operators who had a tough time embracing it, and then implementing it are really starting to do a good job. A good example is the JIL initiative between Vodafone, Verizon, China Mobile and Softbank to create a platform for developers to initially distribute widgets between these operators.

2. Growth in Open Source = PASS (Conditional)
Open source along with being socially acceptable is truly seeing some great strides. The LIMO Foundation has launched their first device, Symbian has turned into an open source foundation, and even Google has since launched the Open Mobile Alliance and Android.  I give this a conditional pass, as there is still controversy with these initiatives as to how ‘open’ they actually are – time will tell.

3. Open APIs = PASS (and then some)
This is one area that I certainly didn’t predict would grow as large and fast as it has. It’s not just the APIs of our operators, and platforms; but the  proliferation of open APIs from most large software platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and many smaller ones as well – all looking to capitalize on the creativity of 3rd party mobile developers to grow the usage of their platforms and tools. It’s no wonder firms like Mashery, who provide the technical know-how to open the APIs, are seeing great success.

4. Creation and Rise of App Stores = PASS (Conditional)
Open Innovation has definitely given rise to the era of App Stores. The big companies are pushing innovation down the value chain and providing opportunities for the smaller companies to have a smoother path to market. The competition with App Stores has increased revenue share for developers, and the number of options go to market opportunities available. We are very pleased to see this happening, but there is still much work to be done on the submission process, discoverability, and billing to make it really pay off for developers.

5. Rise in Developer / Partner Programs = Pass (Conditional)
As open innovation demands the need to play nice with other companies, the need to provide programs to work with developers and partners has risen exponentially. We applaud those who have put programs in place – it’s an imperative. However, I don’t think that enough thought or resources go into most programs. As you push the cost of innovation down the value chain, you can’t expect the 3rd parties to bear the brunt of the technical/resource costs of creation and also try to sort out how to access your open door and interpret your rules.  You’ve got to play nice too.

6. Rise in Developers = PASS
Rise in Developers Making Money = FAIL

I predicted the rise in developers along while ago, which in part led to founding of WIP.  Since then, we have continued to see a rise in numbers of developers and types of developers (traditional and now more content/web developers joining the party). This is due to all the above points; and of course the rise in acceptance of mobility by the general public (about time! from those of us that drank the koolaid over a decade ago).

Certainly there are more opportunities now for developers of all types to innovate and find paths to market. As well there are many developers that do have a revenue stream. For these reasons we give Open Innovation a big PASS.

However, for developers’ own ROI we still give Open Innovation a FAIL for the following reason: the risk and inherent cost of innovation is being pushed down the value chain to the group that can least afford it. The mobile and wireless industry is a trillion dollar industry, one of the largest in history and the world. The operators and the OEMs are making very hefty returns. But it is very much a have/have not world. Developers still struggle to make sustainable revenue and secure investment.

We think there are ways for the developers programs to mitigate risk and increase opportunities for the dev program and developers alike as follows:

  • Sharing of more subscriber information with developers so they don’t have to guess if their applications are working or where the best opportunities are.
  • Stop charging developers to participate in your programs or conferences. It is already costly for them to travel to these events. As well, it is not a wise practice for developers to be exclusive, so you are not the only event for them to attend.
  • Engage and pay for co-creation of new applications and platforms.
  • Additional marketing/go to market advice for developers.
  • Create more variable revenue share  models based on developer participation and your additional value to promoting their applications (just creating a store front may not be worth 30%).

What did we miss?

WIP looks forward to working with the mobile developer community for better opportunities; and we look forward to your comments!

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Carnival of Mobilists #202

This week, the Carnival is hosted by Mobile Strategy where you will find thought-provoking pieces, inside scoops, tough questions and overall interesting posts on a variety of topics. Included is an interview that our Wipster Thibaut conducted with Victor Shaburov, the CEO of Handster, a company that provides a mobile appstore and specializes in white label appstores for OEM and Operators.

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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.

Handster_main_page
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: http://www.handster.com/developers.php

Thank you Victor!

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Carnival of Mobilists #201

clown noseThis week’s Carnival is hosted by Burning the Bacon with Barrett. It includes an interesting article from Francisco Kattan “Why Droid will hurt RIM more than the iPhone” where he predicts and outlines why he believes the new Droid will fail to impact the iphone and will instead take a bite out of the blackberry. Check out other articles including; the Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition by Volker Hirsch and C. Enrique Ortiz’ perspective on where the NFC industry is at and what it needs to do to start reaching its potential.

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Carnival of Mobilists #200 - Happy Bicentennial!

cotm-200 picMobilestance.com is host of the 200th Carnival of the Mobilists, the weekly roundup of the very best in mobile writings from across the blogosphere. On the mCommerce isle, check out Mobile Banking ROI tips from Bank of America from a newcomer to our ranks, David Eads of Mobile Manifesto - a mobile banking and commerce blog. On tap are also several perspectives on the Google AdMob acquisition.

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Mini WIPJam @ AT&T Dev Summit

We are pleased to announce the next stop on the WIPJam World Tour!

Mini WIPJam
January 6, 2010 (day before CES)
Las Vegas
at the AT&T Developer Summit

The AT&T Developer Summit offers a completely customizable experience based upon your unique needs. Exciting announcements will set you on track for the day during the morning General Session, including the Keynote by Ralph de la Vega, President and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets.

The afternoon offers breakout sessions with two technical tracks dedicated to Software Developers, as well as Commercialization & Marketing and Emerging Devices Organization for Marketing and Business professionals.

The evening is chock full of networking, delicious dinner & drinks, and Vegas style entertainment.

If you are a techie, join the AT&T Code Camp from 10 PM – 3 AM for a fun night of coding and other surprises!

Check out the Summit website for Registration and more information

Stay tuned for more details on WIPJam activities.

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WIPJam @ MWC Call for Speakers/Sponsors

WIPJam is back at Mobile World Congress. Make sure to save
Thursday, February 18, 2010 for WIPJam a Day for Developers.

It is going to be a great event once again!

In 2010, WIP is thrilled to be a Gold Partner with the GSMA Mobile World Congress. We are also a Partner with their new App Planet that is taking over Hall 7 at the 2010 Congress.

App Planet is an “event within an event” at Mobile World Congress 2010 that will present a unique opportunity to explore the many dimensions of the dynamic and critically important mobile applications market. By pulling all the key players together in one place at one time, App Planet will be new Center of the Apps Universe for the four days of Mobile World Congress.

Plans are well underway for WIPJam @ MWC so stay tuned.

Qualcomm has already joined us as a sponsor with more to come!

We are currently looking for speakers/sponsors. Please contact us if you want to participate. Jam On!

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