Sunday, December 9, 2012

NFC Payments Trial in London -some experiences

NFC is yet to become a mainstream technology option for payments, though interest remains high and, slowly but surely, an increasing number of points of sale are becoming NFC-compliant.

NFC chipmaker Gemalto recently conducted an NFC challenge, where they let loose two bloggers with a set of NFC challenges in London.

Here are their main conclusions/experiences:

  • Contactless is taking off! Both bloggers were able to survive for whole days at a time using only NFC, which would have been impossible even a year ago.
  • NFC has a strong urban bias: Contactless coffees and Coca-Colas are easy to come by in Central London, but the further from the city you get, the more difficult it is to use the technology. However, this is to be expected of any technology in its infancy.
  • Some vendors need educating on contactless as much as their customers. Occasionally, staff in stores that accepted NFC weren’t even aware of it.
  • There’s a real lack of signage around NFC. This means consumers may be missing out on the option to pay by contactless simply because they’re unaware their local sandwich shop accepts it, and a lot of people confuse the NFC logo with the symbol for WiFi.
  • There’s a lot of enthusiasm for NFC out there – the bloggers  saw thousands of tweets and plenty of challenges and advice from the Twittersphere.
If you’re interested in reading more about the project you can do so over at the Gemalto Blog or check out the video over on Mobile Industry Review. And who knows – next year the Contactless Challenge could be coming to a city near you!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mobile Offers for Retail & Restaurants -Infographic

Mobile is omnipresent. It also fits in very nicely with retailers and restaurants as a driver of footfall. Who hasn't booked a restaurant from their smartphone? Combine the practicality of making reservations "on-the-go" with benefiting from special promotions and discounts, and it is no wonder that apps like OpenTable, BookaTable and La Fourchette are taking the world by storm.

The Infographic below (courtesy of those good chaps at Milennial Media) gives some more facts around this. One key statistic is that over 60% of retails and restaurants brands are now using mobile location-based targeting for their campaigns. Food for thought...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Barcelona Mobile World Capital -the New silicon Valley of Europe?

BARCELONA -I recently gave an interview to Michael Tangeman from Media Mindshare and creator of the Barcelona Tech Talk blog about the up-and-coming tech scene in Barcelona, recently named Mobile World Capital by the GSMA (creators of the Mobile World Congress).

Here below is the full interview:
Barcelona has changed dramatically in recent years. What do you see as the key elements in that transformation?
There’s been a lot of improvement in Barcelona to facilitate the startup environment, a lot of support from public institutions and there’s now a fairly decent network of incubators on university campuses.
It’s also a good place to attract talent for a startup. When I interview people from outside, they already want to live and work in Barcelona. They’re attracted to the lifestyle here. It’s a more desirable location than other European cities. On that basis, I’d say if you were to choose where to set up a startup, Barcelona is the place.
Barcelona is now a major tech events hub. What kind of impact has that had on the tech scene here?
When I talk to people from elsewhere, they associate Barcelona most with Mobile World Congress. They know it’s based in Barcelona and is having a positive impact especially for the startup culture. More entrepreneurs are looking at Barcelona and increasingly startups are setting up here, especially mobile startups.
As head of Biz Dev for a global content publisher, you deal with developers of apps and content a lot … is there a strong and sizeable native developer talent pool here?
There’s a local talent shortage, but you’ll find good talent here if you look hard. One of the challenges is to get developers who speak good English. There’d be a big improvement if the school curriculum made English compulsory. At the university level, there are some good business schools and engineering programs, but there’s a long way to go to getting the overall educational infrastructure in place.
Barcelona is competing with other European cities as a tech and innovation hub … how does it stack up?
In terms of location, Barcelona is a great hub for European transport. We have the port and airport connections are great, but internationally we need to get better air connections to the U.S., that’s more challenging.
London, for example, has great energy and scale which Barcelona still doesn’t have. One of the things that could help change that would be more VC investors. Once we get local VC funds focused on mobile pure plays we’ll begin to see a rapid transformation.
Among VCs here, there’s still a perception that mobile is very risky. VC funds will invest in PC-based startups relatively easily — they’re more familiar, more comfortable with desktop-based technologies. But in London, as recently as 2008 they were also still wary of investing in mobile pure plays. That changed in London and it will change in Spain.
What’s lacking? What’s missing in the value chain or the tech culture here?
There are a lot of challenges. One is the bureaucracy, it’s very out-dated and there are still obstacles to creating an LLC, the process still tends to be very long. That’s why there’s this whole system of “gestores” in place, to deal with the bureaucracy.
The entire attitude to risk needs to change, as well. It’s a risk-averse culture and if you fail at something you can be branded as a failure. Entrepreneurs thrive on risk-taking and intelligent gambles and they need to know that when they fail they won’t be singled out as ‘black sheep’ for the rest of their lives.
In terms of talent, there’s a relatively low level of mobility of people, gaining experience by moving from one job to another or one city to another. People tend to stay put here. One way to change that might be for people to get experience in large companies outside of Spain and bring that knowledge and experience back here. But, getting them to return once they have that experience is another story …
How do you see Barcelona’s tech scene going forward, what kinds of changes do you see as necessary?
To help stimulate innovation and growth here, there’s a lot that could be done in terms of e-Government initiatives, digitalization of government services, an area in which local government seems to be hanging back. I’d like to see government take a leap straight to mobile — most people have smartphones and there’s a relatively high smartphone penetration here. So, it would make sense to focus on that area.
There’s also room for startups linked to industry verticals and e-government initiatives and incubator programs could help to stimulate that. There are extensive medical centers and infrastructure and large conferences associated with health care and medicine take place here. There’s a lot of health knowledge and there really is room for a health care incubator.
Another sector could be textiles and clothing, even room for a tourism and travel-related incubator – mobile is perfect for travel and tourism, the hospitality sector. Getting these industry sectors to understand how they can mobilize their services through mobile apps is the challenge. An e-government push to mobilize e-government services could lead the way and show how that can be done.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mobile Payments -the mobile payments jackpot

mobile payments infographic

Mobile Payments Today (web here) produced a great Infographic that summarizes nicely the current mobile payments ecosystem. From PayPal to Square, to iZettle, most of the current players are represented here. 

As I have covered in previous posts, this area of mobile is heating up and the stakes are very high. As Mobile Payments Today states "...the expectation is that a large percentage of the $6.2 trillion in credit card transactions is going to migrate to mobile".

Expect a new start-up to join the fray every week...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Responsive Design for Mobile-Tools, Techniques, Future Trends

(Guest post from Magnus Jern, CEO of Golden Gekko).

Next to the Mobile First philosophy (see previous article) Responsive Design (according to Wikipedia) also referred to as Liquid Design is probably the most talked about trend in mobile and web user experience design. The term was coined by Ethan Marcotte in 2010 and the principle is simply that you design one web site that adapts to any device using modern web development methods including CSS3 and image scaling.

Examples of Responsive Design
Although there are thousands of examples of web sites based on responsive design today there is only a limited number of big companies that have adopted it and usually more as an experience or only partially. The most mentioned being the Boston Globe which displays beautifully on devices ranging from a big screen TV to a Blackberry Curve. Other examples include Starbucks and Google News (partial). Ethan also has a list of other great sites here. To get a basic understanding of how it works simply open up one of these sites in a browser and reduce and increase the browser window and see how the page changes and try accessing it from your mobile. Then compare it to a traditional site such as (the owner of Boston Globe).

So is responsive design a hype or solution?
Opinions vary. At the moment the main proponents of responsive design are web front-end developers as it puts them in a powerful position and potentially removes the need for separate sites and teams and they can claim to support all channels. On the other hand only a few major websites have fully embraced the methodology and some like Linkedin simply believe that it delivers a bad user experience for their users according to an article in Venture Beat. So what are the pros and cons?

  • Easier and quicker to manage one project and web site than multiple
  • Reduces cost of development and maintenance by only maintaining one infrastructure and one team
  • Typically will work automatically on new devices, e.g. tablet without customisation
  • Simple technical solution to a common issue
  • Could improve SEO as all traffic will be directed to one URL rather than multipe, e.g., and
  • No need for device recognition
  • Read more pros in this article in Society of Digital Agencies

  • Complex to plan and design which may actually lead to a higher cost and longer time to market than separate channel
  • Data size of pages become very big for a mobile device both in terms of download time and memory used (see article about Mobile First)
  • Rescaling for mobile devices typically generates very long pages requiring lots of scrolling which is a bad mobile user experience
  • Difficult to generate revenue from ads Images are typically optimised for the device with the highest resolution
  • Use cases for mobile and a PC web can be very different
  • Most common denominator between browsers means you typically end up doing trade-offs to support all channels
  • User interaction between different devices is very different on a touch screen device from a screen controlled by a mouse or remote control (TV)
  • Requires the same amount of testing but needs to be done across a lot more devices every when you make an update.
So what’s lies ahead in the future?
The reason that most major companies have not embraced responsive design is that although it’s technically straight forward, it really complicates the layout of pages and information architecture a lot. Designers have to plan for most common denominator between different devices which will usually lead to a compromise. At the same time any website should be as responsive as possible without compromising the user experience for bigger screens. Both Amazon and Facebook are examples of partially responsive design that scales certain elements but not all. One of the reasons to separate mobile and web is also that the use cases are very different. If you are standing in a clothing store accessing their website then you are most likely to want to find out about something related to the customer touch points in the store such as price comparison, offers, where your size of a product is available, etc. If you are sitting at home browsing then you’re primary use case is more likely to be browsing through the products. I believe that the Mobile First methodology is a more important principle than Responsive Design as it forces you t
o focus on the core use cases and enhance over time.
 (Image courtesy of

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mobile Media -Portable Speaker Solutions for Smartphones

Spotify's Premium service extended the possibility (and popularity) of having all of your music available when and how you want it via your smartphone. For avid travellers (more and more of us) having a decent speaker solution to listen to your media (whether from your iPad, smartphone or laptop) when you are away from home is more and more important.

I had the pleasure of testing Vibe-Tribe's Troll and Troll 2.0 (pictured above) products recently and was impressed with the step forward portable speakers have made. But, first things first. 

The Troll (pictured below and priced EUR 59) is a portable speaker that connects via a USB cable to your media device and can be operated with a remote control. It includes a FM radio (ingeniously, the USB cable acts as antenna). 

The speaker weighs 330g and the output power is 3W. This is where the clever part comes. The Troll range uses patented vibration resonance technology (initially developed for the US Navy) that dramatically boosts the sound output from the speakers. The base of the speaker transmits the vibration emitted to the surface and object below, effectively converting the object below it into its own sub-woofer. Place the Troll on wood, and you get the bass sounds. Place it on glass, and you get the crisp high tones. I tried different surfaces, and what worked best was a wooden cupboard. The hollow interior created a rounded stereo effect to the sound. One word of warning: the Troll works using vibration. This means the speaker moves little by little. Watch out, or it can drop from the surface if placed on the edge.

The Troll 2.0 (priced EUR 89) has greater power output (10W) and comes with Bluetooth. I found the Troll 2.0 to be my favourite- connecting my iPhone via Bluetooth was very convenient, as the phone acted as a better remote than an infra-red since the Bluetooth doesn't need line-of-sight. But what about the sound you ask? The Troll speakers have a circumference of 5cm and a height of 5 cm. This is small. However, given the size, the speakers do a great job. Sure, you get sound distortion at high volumes but at medium volumes this is barely perceptible. Playback on movies works great and really helps convert your movie/viewing experience on your tablet or laptop.

Plenty of attention to detail has gone into Vibe-Tribe's speakers, and the quality of the packaging helps create a great first impression (see photo below).

 You can see a demo video at this link to see the products in action and hear their sound (Note: Video is in Italian): Vibe-Tribe Video. All in all, a recommended buy if you are looking for a mobile media speaker solution with a great price to quality ratio.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mobile Money and Mobile Commerce -is now the inflection point? PART 2

In the second part of this post, you can find the rest of the Infographics on Mobile Money produced by Sapient.

The first in the series (below) highlights how the world's "unbanked" are acting as a key driver globally for the rise of mobile banking services in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The trend is for more mobile banking services to be launched, providing key facilities like cash transfer and Point-Of-Sale payments, with big corporate players getting in on the act.

The final Infographic shows a dramatic increase in m-payment users in the year from 2010 to 2011 and the likely increase in NFC-enabled devices and m-payment purchases.Privacy remains a key blocker in adoption today, though as the generation gap shortens (eventually) between the digital-natives and the analog-natives, this is likely to change.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mobile Money and Mobile Commerce -is now the inflection point?

Back in 2008, I posted my very first entry related to mobile money by blogging about the rise of the mobile wallet here .

Progress has been painfully slow since then, both because of squabbling between the key stakeholders over who owns which part of the ecosytem and also because of the failure to address consumer concern over payment security.

It is inevitable though that mobile money will grow, both because of the increasing convenience of this payment payment (especially for the "unbanked population") and also because of changing consumer attitudes (electronic payment, even on mobile, is safer than carrying cash in your pocket).

Terrapinn produced this nice Infographic last month summarising the history of mobile payments from 1997 up  to today.2011 marked a significant turning point in the evolution of mobile payments with Google launching their Mobile Wallet, making payments simpler (See more in Google's video here).

There is a whole lot more to mobile money than just mobile wallets and a lot of talk is based around mobile payments, especially those using contactless or NFC technology. As Apple´s iOS6 gets set for launch and the new iPhone is tipped to be NFC-enabled, we will see a raft of new mobile payment players rushing to claim their stake in this space.

Sapient has produced a very detailed Infographic with some interesting background information about mobile payments. I have edited the graphic into readable chunks and you can see the first one below. Susbequent ones will follow in a next post.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Location Based Games poised for growth -Turf, Paparazzi and Shadow Cities lead the charge

Location-based gaming is once again being tipped as a significant area of growth opportunity, with the advances in popularity of both Foursquare and mobile games (driven by the inevitable Angry Birds) fuelling renewed interest.

I dedicate a chapter in Part 2 on my book "Location Aware Applications" on "Consumer Applications" to Location-based games and include reference to pioneers like MyTown.

San Francisco-based Turf plans to capture some new fans of the genre with a location-aware version of Monopoly set on top of Foursquare. Emily Price in describes the game dynamics as follows:

Purchases are made not by price and instead by chance. Buying a location involves spinning a virtual slot machine. Each spin costs a certain amount of coins. Stopping on a “Win” square will win you the location from its current owner; stopping on a “Lose” means you’ll have to try again.

The odds of winning a spin and the cost of a spin vary depending on the property in question and what its current owner has done to it.
Properties can be enhanced for instance with additional floors. Each floor makes your property more valuable, earns you more money in rent, and makes it harder for someone to steal it from you. Construction takes time though, adding a new floor to your acquisition will take at least a few hours.
According to founder Michael Tseng he plans to create a fully fledged gaming company based on the success of Turf, which he says as having a strong community element.

Shadow Cities and Paparazzi are other location-based games that are looking to cash in on the renewed interest in this area though some analysts believe that the greatest challenge for gaming companies is to build a sizeable community of their own. Success may lie in leveraging existing communities rather than recreating them from scratch.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Taking tablets into the workplace -new security paradigm required?

I previously covered the rise of enterprise tablet apps as the mobile computing solution of the future within my blog here: Tablets as the new PC.

This raises some very valid questions around data security, especially when personal tablets are brought into the workplace (a stopgap solution which is a reality today as companies gear up for the future).

Recent research by Gemalto shows that breaches of tablet security are one of the key things keeping CIOs awake at night. Other concerns include managing cost cuts as IT budgets are reduced, though lightweight mobile solutions adopting a SaaS model can provide some great value-for-money vis-a-vis traditional Pc-based over-engineered software systems.

You can see the full Infographic below with some interesting detail of regional differences in attitude to security in general and tablet usage in particular.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Post-acquisition Tuenti expands beyond Spain

MADRID - I originally blogged about Tuenti in April 2008 here. Over four years on from then, and things have evolved dramatically for the Spanish start-up (with international founders).

Tuenti now has over 13 million users and belongs to Telefonica (acquired in 2010). Far from maintaining its traditional approach of "acquire startup and shove under doormat", Telefonica has embraced the potential of Tuenti and has taken it under the umbrella of Telefonica Digital.

Make no mistake, with the new Telefonica Digital division, the European operator has big plans to drive revenue and traffic growth from its numerous digital assets (including Jajah, acquired in 2009).For example, it launched the "Tu Me" free voice and messaging app earlier this year. Now Tuenti is opening up to English,  Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Slovak, and Czech audiences.

Monetizing social networks is no simple task when a large part of the audience accesses the service via mobile instead of web (witness Facebook), but in the short term it can open up new markets for Telefonica and drive business across its digital asset. Also, Tuenti prides itself on its additional levels of privacy security, in terms of both sharing and identity, which will allow it to offer an edge compared to other social networking services.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Market for mobile apps in Spain

BARCELONA -With 51% penetration of smartphones, Spain holds the second position worldwide (after UK) according to Comscore (see chart above) in terms of smartphone share.Germany, with 37% smartphone penetration, lags behind not only Spain, but also, UK, France and Italy.

This may come as a surprise in the current period of economic uncertainty, and is certainly a reversal of the current ranking of financial strength within the European Union. However, as someone who is out in the field meeting existing and new Spanish customers for mobile app development, it comes as no surprise to me.

I have witnessed growing demand for mobile apps across the board in the last 12 months in Spain, from sectors as diverse as manufacturing, tourism and e-commerce. There is a concrete realisation that a mobile presence is essential for growth for bricks-and-mortar businesses as much as for web-based services. This was not the case merely 2 years ago, where mobile investment was questioned and often considered a "nice-to-have".

Admittedly, there is a long way to go still. Mobile Channel Manager roles within companies are extremely rare in Spain (I am yet to meet one) and few companies ring-fence mobile development spend within either their IT or marketing budgets. Additionally, there is the old chestnut of job protectionism in Spain still acting as a barrier to growth. In the case of mobile, it means that entire companies are hostage to their in-house development teams and find it difficult (due to internal politics) to use external suppliers. This is the case even where internal resources are clearly insufficient to meet the requirements of mobile development.

But change is coming fast, economic woes or not, as several companies are already making good on their investment in mobile and the debate is no longer "should we invest in mobile" but rather "when shall we invest". E-tailer Privalia is one such case, with their mobile channel growing within a short space of time from a few percentage points of overall sales to close to 15%. We are talking sales here, so the return on the investment is transparent for all to see.

Demand is strong for HTML5 mobile web development (either mobile websites or web apps) though there is still a gap  between what the customer expects and the reality. HTML5 appeals for its lower cost and across-the board availability. However, making web apps look and behave like native apps is costly and supporting a wide set of mobile browsers adds even further to this cost.

Over the last 2 years, companies' expectations of development costs have increased roughly by 100% and while we are still short of, say, UK mobile app budgets, I predict that in the next 12 months they will creep up further by 50%. Economic stagnation or not.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mobile Cloud Services for Location Services, Notifications and other animals

If you are starting to get a sense that companies are simply rebranding everything as cloud services then you are absolutely right. E-mail is referred to as cloud communication, web hosting as cloud hosting, APIs are cloud services, etc. Whatever you want to call them, software services are relying on cloud and web services more and more. This can have great benefits for businesses as well as consumers. Google App Engine and Amazon Web Services are giving us almost unlimited scalability at a very small initial cost, Google Docs,, Dropbox, and others are making sharing of information and documents easier and dozens of start-ups are creating platforms that allow companies to launch new services faster than ever.

This goes hand in hand with the rise of BaaS (Backend as a Service) companies, which are providing easy-to-integrate cloud-based services for mobile developers. App developers have a need for such backend cloud functionality as push notifications and location services, photo and file sharing, user management, chat, ratings, and reviews (as you can see from the Infographic above, courtesy of Appcelerator).

There are at least 20 companies that now focus on BaaS in one form or another:

Stackmob, Parse, Kinvey, Apple's iCloud, RhoMobile, Appcelerator (Cocoafish), FeedHenry Astrum Space, Scotty App, Webmynd, YorAPI, CloudyRec, Applicasa, QuickBlox, mobDB, Netmera, Kumulos,,,Tiggzi and Zipline Games (through its Moai platform).
There are also a couple of large companies that could move into this space very easily, including Amazon with its AWS products, Microsoft with its Azure Cloud, Google with App Engine, and Rackspace.
As Dan Rowinski in ReadWriteMobile comments, there are several things to look out for when picking your BaaS: 
Foremost is REST API creation and management. REST (representational state transfer) is a software architecture for distributing media from a website (or in this case, a mobile app). Any BaaS provider worth its salt should have significant aptitude with REST APIs.

Big companies are getting in on the mobile cloud services act fast.  Nestle Water recently announced their decision  to take up China-based e-Future´s mobile cloud service, Sales Force Automation, in what is likely to be followed by other corporates soon.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

AppWorks Oslo- Location Aware Applications

OSLO - In May last year I was invited to present an overview of Location Aware Applications at Norway's leading Mobile App Conference, AppWorks in Oslo.

I gave an overview of the transition from "Location-based" to "Location Aware" services and key issues for location aware apps (but relevant for most apps): monetisation and privacy management.

You can see my earlier blog post here: Post on AppWorks (May 2011).

You can now also check out the video of the live presentation on Vimeo with my on-stage performance -hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tablets as the new PC -mobile enterprise solution of the future?

Apple reported that 50% of Fortune 100 companies were using the iPad by the end of the second quarter of 2010, and 80% by the fourth quarter. According to Comtex/Reportlinker, tablet sales to enterprises will increase from 13.7m units in 2011 to 96.4m units in 2016.At the same time, Gartner forecasts that total media tablet sales were 64m in 2011 and will will reach 326.3m units in 2015 and by 2016 900m tablets will be in the hands of users. Many of these tablets will be used both at home and in the enterprise as the “Bring your own device” phenomenon continues.Researchers and businesses all indicate that tablets can really improve productivity output by providing access to information, internet, communication tools, enterprise IT systems and productivity software. But are tablets actually being used for business and productivity today?Current usage behavior seems to indicate that tablets are primarily consumer devices used to consume media and entertain. According to a study by Localytics most time was spent on news, music and health, whereas the most frequent usage was for games, followed by news and music.

There are three key trends that will drive uptake of tablets and smartphones in the enterprise:

1. Existing IT systems and online services get mobilised

Over the past couple of years, online companies such as Salesforce,, Linkedin and Basecamp, as well as traditional IT businesses including SAP, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and Filemaker, have invested heavily in mobilising their online services.

2. Independent productivity applications

The best mobile productivity tools today were created, built and designed by start-ups with mobile first (or very early) in mind. This includes amazing apps such as Evernote, Slideshark, Hourstracker, GoodReader, Pages, Omnifocus, Dropbox and Bloom, which help improve personal productivity through note taking, task management, presentations, file sharing, time tracking and more.The great thing with all of these apps is that you can use them completely independently of your IT department at a very low cost or even for free. At the same time, these benefits pose a major challenge to Enterprise IT departments that want to remain in control of the tools used for business and how business information is stored and accessed.

3. Vertical mobile solutions

The most critical success factor to succeed with mobile enterprise apps is to understand the employees’ needs and key use cases, and implement a user experience to address each business area need. Great examples include sector-specific apps such as:

-Salesforce solutions used by field sales teams to prepare and plan for meetings, access the latest marketing material, present at the meeting, record feedback, follow-up with material and report to CRM.
-Real estate agent solutions for registering new objects, recording information about the object including owner details, object information, photos and videos, monitoring and communicating with prospective buyers and updating records when a deal is closed.

(this post is based on an article written by Magnus Jern and published in The Guardian)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Android vs iPhone In-app payment solutions- a comparison

According to information and analysis provider IHS Screen Digest 64% of the total mobile application revenue will be generated by in- app purchases within three years from now. While in 2011 in- app buys accounted for $970m (39%) of the total revenue, this number is to increase to $5.6 billion by 2015.
At the end of 2011, Android had a market share of 25% vs 13% for iPhone. Despite this, according to the app market analyst Distimo, in the US in 2011, the top 200 apps in the App Store for iPhone generated four times more revenue than the top 200 apps in the Google Android Market..
So the question is why does Android generate considerably less revenue than iPhone? One reason is that the barrier of paying for apps and other content is still higher for Android than for iPhone. To begin with, Apple requires credit card details from the customer in order to sign up for iTunes.
However all of this is changing soon. Operators such as Vodafone are enabling operator billing for Android Market. WAC is gearing up to launch an in-app payment API linked to the billing systems of all major operators in the world. This solution enables users to pay for content and services through mobile apps by adding the amount to the monthly phone bill or charge their prepay credit. 
Third party providers like Zooz  are also launching their own SDK allowing easier in-app payments across both iOS and Android. Developers can integrate the Zooz in-app payment solution with "three lines of code".
When in- app payment is as simple as clicking “OK”, micropayments will explode.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mobile World Congress 2012 –Summary, Conclusions, Trends

MWC12 has come and gone –with attendance ballooning to approximately 67,000 visitors, the event is becoming as much a test of stamina and personal fitness as much as being a showcase of new devices, infrastructure and mobile lobbying (mostly by the GSMA).

Each yearly edition comes with its own unique flavor -3 years ago saw the rise in prominence of content providers (and the App Planet) ,2 years ago the industry was in crisis-mode and the mood was gloomy at the show. Last year, the Chinese manufacturers staked their claim on the mobile sector with force. This year, the ambition and determination of Chinese manufacturers ZTE and especially Huawei was made even clearer.

Of all the devices, the Huawei Ascend series with their quad-core processors, clear displays and crisp Dolby sound impressed, though HTC were not far behind with their line-up (even though it had less marketing pzazz).

Nokia made an astonishing comeback at the show, with a very large area in Hall 7 dedicated to showcasing their new 808 PureView 41MP award-winning Symbian phone and the new Lumia line-up that was created with a grassroots approach to design and has plenty of appeal to that key 25-35 socio-demographic with its stylish casing and colour combinations. It is clear that WindowsPhone has all the cards in place to become a serious Number 3 OS player, and it is now down to executing on strategy.

Perhaps disappointing was the lack of true innovation in devices at the show (I was showcased a 2005-style GPS app by NTTDoCoMo this year , which was a very bizarre experience). I was amused by the waterproof handsets and tablets by Fujitsu ( a good idea) and by NFC-enabled advertising billboards by SK Telecom, but overall, the term  “innovative “ was not the order of the day.

My personal best marketing award goes to Android/Google for captivating the imagination of congress delegates with different styled Android figures, a touch wall, an Android robot capable of making customized device cases and, of course, the Ice Cream sandwich ice-cream. Mobile is about having fun in a personalized way as much as it is about communication, and Google gets this, so hats off.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Content & Apps for Automotive Europe 2012

Ford (whose Evo concept car shown at the MWC is pictured above) was the first car manufacturer to ever give a keynote presentation at the Mobile World Congress and, with Machine-to-Machine (or M2M) communication emerging as a key mobile trend, we can expect more manufacturers to follow suit.

In the competitive (and high-value) care market, technology is seen as a key differentiator, with big ideas now being discussed to connect "intelligent" cars with mobile communication technology.

The Content & Apps for Automotive Europe 2012 conference in Munich is the highlight of the conference calendar for this year in the telematics area- you are still in time to attend and get a special $100 discount for being a blog reader of Ric Ferraro´s Blog!

Below you can see the latest press release on the event the organisers have sent me:

"London, UK (PRWEB) November, 2011

The mobile apps market is set to grow to a $25 billion marketplace by 2015 (Source Strategy Analytics).
Compelled by these figures, OEMs have spent the past 12 months launching their own content and app strategies. Influenced by enhanced smartphone and tablet capabilities many are introducing next-gen content and services through advanced platforms and cloud-based technology.

The content and apps market is at a crucial tipping point. If a real return on investment is to be achieved the automotive industry must decide how they want to work with app developers, the appropriate business models and develop workable open standards.

Content and Applications for Automotive Europe 2012, Conference & Exhibition (18-19 April, Munich, Germany) will provide key information and analysis and help you spot the revenue opportunities of in-car apps, meet key app developers, understand the potential app business models and predict future in-car content trends and capabilities.

Expert Speakers include:
Fiat, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo, Harman, Continental, Denso, QNX, Chleon, Telenor, GSMA, The Linux Foundation, Sony Ericsson, and many more.

For the complete Content and Applications for Automotive Europe 2012 conference program and speaker line-up, access the e-brochure at:, or contact the Conference Director."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mobile World Congress 2012 -MWC12 Parties and Events List

BARCELONA- Mobile fever is about to take over the city of Barcelona as we head into those crucial couple of weeks before the mobile kermesse of the Congress kicks off once again.

There are literally hundreds of networking parties and events being planned during the MWC week -too many to mention in one blog post, so here are some of the most popular ones below (courtesy of Lisa Whelan):

Sunday, 26 February, 2012:
  • About: “The seventh annual Mobile Sunday – the now classic meet-up of mobile influencers, developers, investors and entrepreneurs will be taking place in Barcelona on the eve of this year’s Mobile World Congress.”
  • Time: 26 February, 2012: 7pm CET
  • Location: City Hall, Rambla de Catalunya 2-4, 08002 Barcelona (right next to the Pla├ža Catalunya)
  • RSVP: Required. Please register here.
  • Cost: Attending Mobile Sunday is free. Registration required.
  • About: “GoMo  News will be hosting a lounge with the fabulous mobile advertising company Lumata on February 26th from 8pm at Mobile World Congress.  This is an invitation only event and is only for mobile marketers or highly connected gurus. It is going to be relaxed and chilled an ideal opportunity to do network ahead of the show with “same page” individuals.  If you would like an invite – please email bena at: benagomogmailcom”
  • Time: 8:00-11:00pm
  • Location: Provided with invitation.
  • RSVP: This is an invitation only event and is only for mobile marketers or highly connected gurus. It is going to be relaxed and chilled an ideal opportunity to do network ahead of the show with “same page” individuals.  If you would like an invite – please email bena at: benagomogmailcom
  • Cost: Free
Monday, 27 February, 2012:
  • About: “Don’t miss your chance to witness the best of the best from the AppCircus 2011 World Tour –  46 winners from 30 countries will take part at this year’s Mobile Premier Awards on February 27th.  You will have a rare chance to meet developers from all over the world competing for the best app of the year. The competition is the largest open and global cross-platform app competition in the mobile industry, it provides the point of reference for the startup and developer community during Mobile World Congress. Why attend?
    • Discover up and coming apps from all over the world
    • Learn how the app business ticks by watching our international jury of experts analyzing the apps live on stage
    • Profit from great networking opportunities  with an audience made up of developers, industry experts, investors”
  • Time: 4:00-8:00pm
  • Location: SALA APOLO, C/ Nou de la Rambla 113, 08004 Barcelona (a jewel of the classic dance hall design!)
  • RSVP: Sign up here.
  • Cost: Free! Registration required.
  • About: “After The Mobile Premier Awards – We aim to Party!  … and you’re invited! Come celebrate with us (from 8.30pm till midnight) at the AppCircus party supported by Mozilla; in the Beautiful Sala Apolo, Barcelona – a jewel of classic dance hall design.  Unwind, mingle and do your thing to some great music! Enjoy the hosted bar, delicious tapas, and be prepared for some live entertainment surprises!”
  • Time: 8:00pm – 11:30pm
  • Location: SALA APOLO, C/ Nou de la Rambla 113, 08004 Barcelona (a jewel of the classic dance hall design!)
  • RSVP: Registration is required, sign up here.
  • Cost: Free! Registration required.
  • About: “Join us for the Mobile Marketing Mixer powered by Smaato and sponsored by Adfonic, Celtra, Mobile Marketing Magazine and Poynt.  Come out and start Mobile World Congress with the first night out in a proper way!  Join us at the lovely and legendary Incognito Bar in Barcelona – we will have great drinks, open bar and the most important thing – fun people like you the whole night long!”
  • Time: 6:30-11:00pm
  • Location: Incognito Bar, Calle Fusina 6, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
  • RSVP: Required here.
  • Cost: Free
  • About: “New this year! Join the GSMA for casual “Networking by Moonlight” events at the Magic Fountain.  Included in all passes at no additional cost, these events provide attendees the opportunity to network and enjoy drinks & light bites before their evening plans. In addition to the spectacular fountain display, entertainments will include music and a stunning aerial dance performance taking place right over the audience.  Whether you stop by for a few moments before leaving the venue or stay until your dinner plans begin, don’t miss this fun opportunity to network with fellow attendees! More details coming soon.”
  • Time: TBA
  • Location: TBA
  • Cost: Free for MWC pass holders.
Tuesday, 28 February, 2012:
  • About: “Velti is the headline sponsor of The GoMo News BlenderFebruary 28th 2012 at Mobile World Congress.  Diffusion PR will sponsor the cocktails and the event will be a full on get down and excited about mobile marketing event.  If you are in mobile, keep your tie on; get your business cards out and make sure you do some great business!  We look forward to welcoming you to our open bar!  We start at 6pm local time!”
  • Time:  6:00-11:00pm
  • Location: Marmalade Bar Barcelona, Riera Alta 4-6, 08001 Barcelona Barcelona, Spain
  • RSVP: Register here.
  • Cost: Free
Wednesday, 29 February, 2012:
  • About: “We’re holding another one of our famous parties in a great new venue on the Wednesday night of MWC. Be sure to register now to get on the list — you won’t want to miss out on the great crowd and networking, free food and drinks, and of course, JAMEOKE. And this year the WIP party meets the Android Barcelona User Group!  One more year Mobile World Congress is coming and Android Barcelona User Group is ready for the Android party. This year inside the WIP party, join the Android corner to meet  all the major players of the Android ecosystem as well local developers.”
  • Time: 7:00-10:00pm
  • Location: Museu del Rock, 4th floor, Arenas de Barcelona (the big round building across the Plaza from MWC), Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 373-385, local PC2 CP08015 Barcelona
  • RSVP: Register here.
  • Cost: Free. Registration required.
  • About: “Like our previous events, this is a relaxed evening, no formalities, no presentations, no business cards thrust in your face as soon as you arrive. Just come with an open mind, be prepared to see friends old and new, talk nonsense, enjoy a drink or five and have yourself a good time. Oh, and leave the ties, the corporate personas and the sales spiel at the door please. The Swedish Beers crew will be on hand – Helen, Jenny, Gabriel, Shafiq, Cat, Sarah, Russell – and the friendliest bar staff in town are all waiting to welcome you.It is likely to get a bit busy at times. But don’t worry, people will be coming in and out all evening. That’s kind of the point as we know there’s always a lot going on and you might want to check out more than one party. If it’s very busy, there’s no need to queue to get in. Just check out one of the other bars nearby and come back a little later when it’s a bit less frantic.”
  • Time: 7:00pm-2:00am
  • Location: Dos Trece, 40 Carrer Carme, Barcelona, Spain
  • RSVP: No need to RSVP unless you want to. There’s no guest list, no tickets and there’s no guaranteed entry. Just come and go as you please.
  • Cost: Free
Thursday 1 March, 2012:
  • About: “You are invited to the second MLOVE @ MWC the final after work party!  So let’s paint the town RED and maybe even dance the night away, please check-in to reserve your space in the cool Incognito club in the hip El Born neighborhood.  SURPRISE:  We are preparing a launch of a new service together with TREND ONE that night – please stay tuned.  SPONSORED by Mobile Marketing Magazine & TrendOne.  To become a sponsor for this exclusive party event, feel free to contact:”
  • Time: 6:30pm – 2:00am
  • Location: Incognito Cocktail Bar, Calle Fusina 6, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
  • RSVP: On Facebook.
  • Cost: Free