Back In The Saddle

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I’ve been away in southern Utah for a few days, visiting the Zion and Bryce Canyon (pictured above) national parks. If you ever have a chance to visit them, do it — they’re both awe-inspiring examples of natural beauty. In any case, I’ve been sorting through emails and unread RSS feeds this morning. More posts coming later, but wanted to share a few things that caught my eye.

Due to MobHappy and other work I’ve done, I’ve been very fortunate to meet a lot of really smart people who do a lot of cool things and write a lot of interesting stuff, and fortunately for you, many of them blog. A handful of them have written some great posts that you should check out over the past few days:

– Tom Hume of Future Platforms on the J2ME fragmentation that Google’s Android platform promises.

As a J2ME developer, my company isn’t “locked” into J2ME by Sun: it’s “locked” into J2ME by the owners of millions of devices out there which support Java, and when new platforms reach mass adoption (as WML did, XHTML has, and Flash may one day), then we’ll be “locked” into them too. For all of our consumer-facing work it’s audience size that counts, not licensing arrangements negotiated at the other end of the value chain. But what does look good about Android? The same things that look about the iPhone: a large business is entering an industry that’s beset by tradition, strategy tax and me-too thinking, and shaking things up a little.

– Dean Bubley of Disruptive Analysis on Vodafone’s data and content revenues, which he posits show a decline in mobile content turnover.

Now given those figure, that puts the 45% revenue growth in a slightly different light. It seems to imply that non-datacard/BlackBerry data revenues (content, Live!, consumer Internet, M2M etc) have actually fallen. It also probably means that the average costs for business data users have fallen, which makes sense as recent BlackBerries have moved outside the boardroom.

– Simon Judge, who I’ll admit I haven’t met, but still hold a great deal of respect for thanks to his excellent blog on mobile development, weighs in with his thoughts on Android. (If you’re a developer, you need to be reading Simon’s blog, by the way.)

Why would the mass market want to buy an Android phone? Why would a network operator sell an Android mobile phone over another? The phone may be 10% cheaper (estimate according to Google at Future of Mobile Conference) but I don’t see this as significant. The answer may lie in the Google engineering driven approach to everything. In one Google video I saw, the $10 million Developer Challenge is particularly looking for things that haven’t been done before. Maybe Google hopes new applications will cause people to want Android phones and, in turn, network operators to stock these phones.

And here’s some other stories worth noting:

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– Nokia officially announced the N82. 5-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, GPS, 2GB card included, 450 euros before subsidies, available immediately — Carlo likey. A lot. Perhaps this can replace my venerable N73, which is showing some signs of wear and tear. If anybody at Nokia has a spare N82, you know where to email me to ask for my address 🙂


Get On My Mobile - CLICK HERE!– Bango has launched the Bango Button, a widget publishers can put on their website, or on specific content. The button, which says “Get On My Mobile”, can be used to create tinyURL-like mobile links, or can be set up to sell content. So if you click on the one shown here, you’re given a URL to enter on your mobile, which is supposed to then take you to the MobHappy mobile site. I say supposedly, because it wasn’t initially working, though it seems to be now, to a point. The user experience, so far as I can tell at this point, is pretty terrible, especially if you’re just trying to give people an easy way to get to your mobile site, since the real point here appears to be to drive traffic to Bango’s wap.com portal. But there are some interesting possibilities here, such as this band on MySpace that’s using the button to sell ringtones of its music.

– Feature-Rich Mobile Phones Owners Generate Higher ARPU for Network Operators: A new study says US customers “who use a variety of features and services on their cell phone” spend $14 per month more on their mobile bill than… well, people who don’t. The authors of the report imply some causality that I’m not sure exists by suggesting that people with higher-spec’ed handsets spend more. But that doesn’t really seem to be what the data says, rather that people who use more services on their phone (particularly data services like e-mail, photo sharing and mobile music) spend more each month. Isn’t that rather obvious? It’s a bit like saying people who talk on their phones a lot tend to spend more per month for service than those who don’t. Giving people phones with a lot more features doesn’t automatically make them big spending power users, and to imply things are that simple is a bit foolish.

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