Archive for November, 2008

November 19th, 2008

Mobile Data Revolution Brought to you by Apple

Admob just published their October metrics report. First, I should say – congratulations to Admob. They are at nearly SIX BILLION (5.8 billion to be exact) ad requests per month. That’s a huge number compared to where they were a year ago. And, they don’t represent the entire market.

There’s a lot more mobile web browsing going on than they see.

And what is crazy – or not so crazy – is that the majority of it is still on your basic feature phone. An astonishing four percent IS on iPhones. You have to go down to #10 on the list to get to another mid-sized device with a larger than average screen. The RAZR ranks #2. This creates an interesting development dilemma for content providers, but more on that later.

Page three of the report is dedicated to the impact of the iPhone on the market. It’s definitely worth a read. I won’t steal their thunder by listing all the highlights here. Topline – they had nearly 150 million requests from iPhones in the US alone. The requests about doubled between end of September and end of October. (Can’t wait to see Apple/AT&T’s Q4 earnings … how many of these devices are you guys selling?)

How about 17 percent of ad requests coming out of Mexico coming from the iPhone? Can’t remember which carrier Apple launched with there. T-Mobile won’t tell me how much they are pricing iPhone data plans at in the US. (Kidding)

Admob and this industry are just getting started. Apple announced 200 million downloads a couple of weeks back. They haven’t said what percentage are paid and what percentage are free. Let’s assume the majority are free (I’ll use myself and go with a sample size of n=1). There is a tremendous audience there that will likely be served ads in the future to support the free download model. Admob has some cool ad formats they’ve developed for the iPhone that we’re just starting to see. Their report sites 400 iPhone apps and sites currently being served. I expect to see the traffic from iPhones continue to increase as more applications use their product.

The Safari browser on the iPhone is great, etc., but I only use it as a last resort if there isn’t a widget or app that will get me what I need.

This is getting to be pretty exciting.

Stay tuned.

November 13th, 2008

Facebook Phone Launches

3 launched their Facebook phone in the UK today. See Guardian.

I got the chance to see some early demos of the phone, but not the final version. Really liked the concept that I saw. Will be interesting to watch and see how this type of interface works on a phone. I think it’s more intuitive for the consumer than the PC analogies that have been carried over. Will be interesting to watch. I’m really excited about where phones will be in a few years when more of these social networking/graphing features are incorporated into the UI as 3 has done.

November 11th, 2008

Facebook – 15M ACTIVE Mobile Users

Wow. The number doesn’t surprise me, but it’s still a big milestone. I use Facebook on my iPhone and my Blackberry. I think this number will only continue to grow and everyone in the ecosystem will benefit. Reasons:

* More and more cell phones have larger screens/full key boards. The Facebook mobile site is good, but the applications are great. They didn’t say how many of their active users are on a converged or more advanced handset like an iPhone or Blackberry, but I’d be surprised if the traffic from these devices isn’t high. I tried to get Sam Altman to tell me yesterday – how Loopt was doing on the iPhone vs. a basic feature phone, but he wouldn’t tell me. All he would tell me is “way higher.”
* High level of overlap in the demographics of active data users on cell phones and those who use social networking sites online multiple times each day. They are one and the same.
* The more your friends post, the more reasons you have to check in more often and comment / respond. It’s circular … and gaining momentum.

I’ve published some research on how important I think social networking is to the mobile industry. See summary here.

See Facebook post.

November 6th, 2008

AT&T Makes Wi-Fi Play with Wayport Purchase

AT&T announced the purchase of Wayport today for $275 million in cash. See release.

First, Congratulations to the Wayport team! There were many in the industry who said that there was no money to be made in unlicensed spectrum or more specifically in public Wi-Fi. Wayport has built a large network and created an innovative business model.

What I like most about this deal is that it makes a lot of sense for consumers. Consumers simply want access to the Internet. They don’t care how so much. When it was just a few people with laptops traveling a few days a month, day use fees tied to a single device made sense. Now, however, expectations have changed. Consumers have more devices that they want to use in more places to access the Internet.

Fewer network owners will simplify this process for consumers. Already more than one quarter of online users use public Wi-Fi. As a home AT&T DSL customer, I’ve already had access to AT&T-owned hotspots for a while. I look forward to the larger footprint as I drink more coke than coffee.

The timing is good as well given the number of iPhones in the market. I look forward to the day that my iPhone doesn’t asked me six times each day if I want to connect to such and such Wi-Fi network as there are layers and layers of them here in San Francisco.

The recent announcement of free Wi-Fi on AT&T networks for iPhone customers made sense. It made more sense – at least for consumers – than simply having free access to iTunes at Starbucks. What will make more sense for consumers is using any application on any device as long as they are AT&T customers. Sure, exclusive content on a specific network and specific device is good for the business partners and benefits consumers, but those aren’t the most consumer-centric deals.

It’s been a long road for public Wi-Fi. The first launch in a McDonald’s – back before Wayport won the deal outright – was more than five years ago already. I can tell from how I look in this picture at the launch in this McD’s in downtown SF. And that’s not the latest Macbook.