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Content, strategy and creating value in a digital world

Apple – Big in all the right places

Say what you like about Apple fanboys, they do like to spend money.

This survey reveals that Apple now hoovers up almost half of all mobile market profits. Not bad for a company with just 3 percent of the total market.

Just goes to show that arguably the most powerful thing that Apple have developed is not a piece of industrial design or even a zippy interface, it’s a killer payment method that allows users to buy seamlessly from their mobiles, without even having to give their card details.

It’s simple, trustworthy, and seamless across multiple channels.

And it’s that which is the biggest challenge to the chasing pack…

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Welcome to the future of mobile advertising

Very interesting roundup from Mobilecrunch on the latest Apple roadshow, including the announcement about Apple’s new iAd platform.

In essence, in-app ads, but ads with really rich interactivity, and with access to all sorts of scary things like the phone’s location, accelerometer and more.

It’s worth reading this, quoated verbatim from here – http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2010/04/08/everything-you-need-to-know-about-iphone-os-4-0/

“In Steve’s words, somewhat paraphrased: ‘Developers [of free apps] need to find a way to start making their money. A lot of developers turn to advertising – and we think these current advertisements really suck. If you look at advertisements on a phone, it’s not like on a desktop. On a desktop, its about search. On mobile, search hasnt happened. People aren’t searching on their phones. People are spending their time in apps. The average user spends over 30 minutes using apps on their phone. If we said we wanted to put an ad up every 3 minutes, that’d be 10 ads per device per day — about the same as a TV show. We’re going to soon have 100m devices. That’s a billion ad opportunities per day! “This is a pretty serious opportunity, and it’s an incredible demographic. But we want to do more than that. We want to change the quality of the advertising. We’re all familiar with interactive ads on the web. They’re interactive, but they’re not capable of delivering emotion. We have figured out how to do interactive and video content without ever taking you out of the app.”

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Mobile Facebook and Twitter usage rockets

New figures out from comscore today confirm what most of us already knew – smartphone usage is growing, and that in turn is driving users away from PC internet, and onto the mobile web.

That said, the rate of growth really is quite something…

The survey found that over 30 percent of smartphone users accessed social networking sites via their mobile browser last month – that’s up by almost a third on the same period last year.

This comes on the back of Facebook’s announcement last year that 100m of their 400m users regularly access the site via their mobile phones.

It stands to reason that social media should be driving mobile internet usage, since they are all about communicating and connecting with friends – a utility already engrained in mobile use.

What’s going to be interesting is to see how much those services start to ramp up their offering in location-based services – utilising the unique strengths of mobile over PC.

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Mobile doesn’t have to mean phones

Just to demonstrate that doing mobile doesn’t have to mean targeting phones – Arsenal football club has developed a mobile app for spectators at Emirates Stadium – accessible through Sony PSP.

The Arsenal TV Matchday+ application gives fans access to a range of viewing options, including live action, video and slow-motion replays from selected camera angles, team sheets, player profiles, match stats and interactive options, such as voting for the Man of the Match.

Content is delivered wirelessly to anyone within the Emirates stadium.

It’s a nice piece of work, since your average Arsenal matchday punter falls squarely into the demographic of PSP owners. They probably play football games on the console too…

And it’s a great example of the power of context – mobile content isn’t just about a different platform, it’s about a different context. Where and when the content it is being accessed is arguably more important than how. In this case, it’s a live event, where time-and event-specific content and interactivity really enriches the live user experience.

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Google takes Facebook battle to mobile

Google’s newly announced challenger to Facebook, Google Buzz looks pretty similar to the blue giant of social networking.

You can see status updates, watch videos inline, get notifications in your inbox and more. So far so derivative.

But two things might just encourage people to switch:

1. It can incorporate feeds from external applications – such as Twitter, Picasa and Flickr

2. Google Buzz for mobile has some very cool location-based features – the ability to tag an update to a location, The ability for your followers to quickly see that on a map. And the ability to see other updates near you current location all look great. Check out the demo video below:

Will it encourage the a sizeable percentage of Facebook’s 400m subscribers to switch? Time will tell.

Perhaps Google Buzz needs to allow users to see their friends Facebook updates…

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Mobile + microscope = viral txts

Working in the creative/media industries, it’s all too easy to get caught up in high tech for high tech’s sake, or digital gimmicks and talk of ‘going viral’ – encouraging bored consumers to spend a minute or two of their time interacting with your content before moving on.

So it’s great to see how innovators are using consumer technology to solve realworld problems at a simple level.

Take the team at University of California, who have built a simple add-on for a standard Nokia cellphone camera to transform it into a microscope that is powerful enough for doctors in inaccessible regions to use in diagnosing diseases such as malaria and TB.

The microscope can pick out objects just 1.2 micrometers across – smaller than red blood cells – and when coupled with a cellphone’s ability to send images across the globe, doctors in the developing world could soon find themselves within a text message of a confirmed diagnosis.

New Scientist has the full story

Sure, iPhone apps like iFart and Bubblewrap have their place, but if we’re talking about quite literally going viral, this one gets my vote.

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Google voices its mobile intentions

Google Voice – the search behemoth’s answer to Skype, fired another shot across Skype’s bows this week with the launch of applications for Blackberry and Android.

Skype is still far and away the heavyweight in the market, with 405m registered users, while Google Voice is still only available to a select group of users in the US; but this move from Google should give Skype cause for worry.

Here’s their walkthrough:

The service offers the kind of intuitive, integrated features that you’d expect from Google: voicemail text transcripts, the ability for users to tie themselves to a single number across multiple mobile phones, seamless integration with mobile address books and the ability to use the service via a mobile network rather than relying on wifi connection.

Mobile is fast becoming the new battlefield for VoIP. Here in the UK, 3 is using it as a major driver in a new advertising campaign. While in Europe, Deutsche Telekom has threatened to block its iPhone customers from using skype’s new iPhone app – apparently due to compatabilityconcerns, but not hard to imagine an undertone of fears for revenue loss.

It’ll be some time before we get to try out Google Voice here in the UK, but I can imagine the prospect of hooking up your email, blog, photos, search and now mobile and voicemail to a single integrated service will be a juicy enough prospect for a sizeable proportion of skype users to consider the switch.

Competition is never a bad thing, I wonder how skype will fight back…

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