In Cologne – speaking at Mediaforum

In Cologne – speaking at Mediaforum. Looking forward to meeting Tomi, Fee and for the first time Gerd Leonhard. We both follow each other’s work but have never met and I am looking forward to it

Samsung BADA developer day in London – by Robin jewsbury

Note: This post is by @Robinjewsbury of Alibro.

Thanks to Robin for this post. I wanted to attend this event but could not attend it since in Toronto for the keynote of the iP3 conference .

You can see more about Robin at alibro

I attended the Bada Developer event yesterday and here are my thoughts.

Samsung have created a complete eco system for their smartphone technology. This includes:

development environment in C++ for their phones

webkit browser allowing browser control in an app or external to app

appstore called samsung apps

ovi style services such as maps and storage (using Amazon S3)

side loader PC based store similar to desktop iTunes called Kies

Overall this has been a massive undertaking for them and it’s appeared in very impressive timescale. The phone itself is exceptional build quality and the screen colours are the best I’ve seen using Super Amoled tech. They seem to have based the system on an in house OS which has been heavily customised.

Incidently Samsung are also hedging their bets because they continue to develop with Microsoft Phone7 and Android. There is a rumour their upcoming tablet will be based on Android.

First impressions is that it’s a complete copy of Apple’s Eco system and a very valiant one. This includes the fact that I think its apps will only be installable from its own appstore after completing its own QA (this is an assumption not yet confirmed, since there may be deals with operators in this area too).

The conference went very deep into the programming approaches and personally I was put off by the level of complexity. C++ now seems very antiquated to me now after having used better languages for years and it seems they make the developer jump through hoops in order to optimise the performance. Considering there’s a 1GHz processor in the phone this is not necessary and making life hard for developers is not constructive. There are no UI building tools and programming a UI seems highly complex. However, if and when I do do some Bada apps I would probably rely heavily on use of the web control and create most of the UI in HTML/CSS; a technique used heavily on the iPhone.

Overall, very impressed. They claim to be selling 40M Bada devices by the end of the year (seems hard to believe that figure!!!) It’s a big play for Samsung and they are investing heavily in the developer eco system (eg most attendees got given phones yesterday).

Robin

Dean Bubley: Disruptive Analysis report – Happy pipes worth $416bn worldwide by 2020

disruptive analysis.jpg

Our friend Dean Bubley of Disruptive Analysis has released a report which says that Happy pipes will be worth $416bn worldwide by 2020 . I have seen Dean use the phrase ‘happy pipes’ before most recently at the LTE world summit in Amsterdam where we were both speaking. Overall, as the industry converges around the tiered pricing post AT&T’s changes, we are indeed beginning to see the ‘pipes’ being commercially happier and now they may have less to moan about the proverbial bandwidth hogs

The report predicts that wholesale market for broadband will evolve in three separate directions:

• “Bulk wholesale” is an evolution of today’s approach to MVNOs and data roaming in mobile, or loop-unbundling and open fibre access in fixed markets. The report predicts an acceleration of this type of wholesale provision, as governments force greater openness on telecoms licencees, and operators look to alternative partnerships to supply new market niches with capacity. There is also a possibility for parties other than the end-user to pick up the bill for subscriptions – for example, some local authorities are now providing free broadband to disadvantaged communities.

“Comes with data” business models have started to emerge recently, with devices such as the Amazon Kindle. Here, a product vendor or service provider contracts for data capacity with the broadband provider, and bundles it in a combined offer – the user does not have a subscription or direct relationship with the telco. The report expects this approach to be important for laptops, netbooks, tablets and various other new device categories.

• “Slice and dice” wholesale is more complex, and more controversial. This involves operators selling data capacity in fine-grained “parcels” to parties other than the user, who is typically also paying for some level of access. This type of “two-sided” business model could involve deals with consumer electronics vendors for extra high-quality streams over existing broadband lines, or to content/application providers where they pick up the bill for data transmission rather than the end-user.

Of these three, Slice and Dice seems more complex and I wonder how it would work.

Operators always speak of a mythical ‘turbo’ button where (say) a specific video could be speeded up for a fee. The problem with this scheme in a mobile context is the ‘under the bridge’ problem i.e. the customer could be paying more for the turbo feature and then ‘walk under a bridge’ i.e. lose coverage. They then ask the Operator(or in this case the electronics shop’ ) for their money back and it is impossible to prove why the coverage was poor(especially if the customer has paid a premium for it)

However, the overall concept of happy pipes seems to be on the mark.

You can see more on the Disruptive Analysis site

Carnival of the mobilists no 226 AntoineRJWright.com

Long time canival host AJ wright hosts Carnival of the mobilists no 226 at AntoineRJWright.com. always worth a read with some great contributions!

Sun Tzu, Android and water: Android is winning because it can evolve in many directions

Sun Tzu art of war.jpg

I was trying to explain this reasoning about why Android is winning although Apple seems to be getting a lot of mindshare ..

Android is winning simply because it can morph in many directions . This makes it a very powerful opponent to overcome since it is hard to fight against water ..

Sun Tzu compared military tactics to Water in the Art of War

Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards… Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing. Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions. He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain.

This is not merely an idealistic viewpoint and needs some explanation since it has profound implications for Apple, Nokia, LiMo, Bada and others

Last quarter, US sales of Android phones beat the iPhone by about 7 percent. Mobilecrunch says that The real reason Android is outselling the iPhone: Android is everywhere. Gigaom adds that Android is the hottest ticket in town

I agree and the reasons are because Android is (relatively) open than other platforms and it is designed to morph(transform) along many dimensions

The competitive positioning of ‘Open’ is often hard to gauge but the company which succeeds in this strategy gets very significant rewards.

Here is why:

1) Open means allowing others to add value to your platform or service

2) You need to be open since products and services evolve faster than you can plan for

3) They also evolve in unpredictable directions than the platform creator anticipated.

4) Once you accept this, then you have to consider that if products and services are evolving fast and in unpredictable directions (whether you like it or not), then it is better to have YOUR product evolve in the right directions (faster than a competitors)

5) Problem is of course: You don’t know the direction, but by being like water(fluid) you leverage the community to morph your product

Android can evolve in three directions(from the efforts of others):

- Hardware(handset vendors)

- Software(open source) and

- Services(apps developers)

Of course, Google maintains control over Android through the Android governance model. Thus, there is a tradeoff. But most people seem to accept the benefits of Android (in comparison to the Governance model)

The tradeoff has tangible benefits because:

- Google contributes code to Android. This makes a big difference

- The level of abstraction / differentiation has shifted to higher levels anyway. In other words, very few people are expecting to make money from software alone.

- Android provides a community of developers to those who adopt it

Thus, the platform is able to morph through existing handset vendors(ex 20 Android phones from LG ), new entrants to the handset industry(Dell), Operators. The evolution continues beyond handsets to tablets and even android TVs

The devices range from top of the range phones to 20$ phones on Amazon

This has profound implications for other platforms because the greater the community, developer support and rate of evolution – the harder it is to compete against. In other words, it is now a race for Nokia, LiMo and others to compete against the rate of change of Android and that will be hard.

And what about Apple and the iPhone?

The iPhone will always have a place and a value but it cannot scale especially considering the recent harsher/closed strategies of Apple. As Anil Dash says: Secrecy does not scale

Thus, I see that Android is already winning through a very fluid, Sun Tzu like strategy.

Image: Sun Tzu

comments welcome

Update

Android Catching Steam As Google Activates 2 Phones Per Second

Mobile 2.0 Barcelona June 17

mobile20 barcelona.jpg

Rudy and co are once again running the Mobile 2.0 event in Barcelona on June 17. As usual, it promises to be a great event. I am not attending this year but recommend it especially for its new developer focus

Keynote at ip3 conference – Toronto: Invisible touch: The invisible impact of Apple, iPhone and iPad in transforming the ecosystem and the opportunities and challenges it creates for designers, developers and marketers

iphone ipad ipod.jpg

I have been way too tied up with projects and forthcoming books, but the ip3 conference in Toronto was too interesting to resist. I am giving the keynote at the ip3 conference in Toronto on the 21st of June..

As far as I can see, the iP3 conference is the first conference based on the iPhone, iPad and the iPod and also Toronto is a centre of excellence for design. Both factors will make this conference interesting. I have spoken at Toronto before and have many friends. So, look fwd to this. If you are there, please contact me and we can meet (ajit.jaokar at futuretext.com)

My keynote abstract as below

Invisible touch: The invisible impact of Apple, iPhone and iPad in transforming the ecosystem and the opportunities and challenges it creates for designers, developers and marketers

On first impressions, the success of the iPhone could be attributed to it’s User Interface. But the User Interface(touch) was just the starting point. The ‘invisible’ impact of the iPhone has transformed the ecosystem and has extended beyond touch(UI). Apple started with the customer experience and then worked backwards into the value chain i.e. content(including professionally generated content and user generated content), applications, device and network. Traditionally, these elements innovated within their own silos but the new apple ecosystem successfully managed to unify all these elements and create a new value chain. This transformation continues with the iPad impacting the publishing industry.

This keynote will discuss what these trends mean going forward. It will span the ecosystem from UI, apps, content, iPad, iPhone 4 etc. It will also discuss the wider issues and challenges beyond the iPhone platform and the implications for designers, developers and marketers

Title inspired by the excellent album by Genesis – Invisible touch :)

Good news: Operators like Machine to Machine applications. Bad news: Operators like Machine to Machine applications ..

I believe that M2M (Machine to Machine) applications are an important part of the future of Telecoms. I spoke to a Telco exec who said that Operators are excited about M2M apps.

This was interesting for me .. Until I asked him for the reason why ..

He said something along these lines:

Machines consume less data. They don’t call the helpdesk. They pay their bills on time. Machines are ‘one to many’ connections (one person may have more than one connection). The end customer devices are simple (like Smart meters). This is all more revenue to Operators and less pain to manage it

But this is sad .. And in my view, very limited thinking ..

Should new applications and innovation be tied to limited date usage? If that’s the only criteria (as it appears to be), it will stifle innovation

I said before that: Now that the Data tsunami wars are over, the Operators will face more regulatory and customer pressure to deliver and there is no fallback(to the bandwidth hogs).

After all, spectrum is a national resource and the entire discussion of new services like Machine to Machine applications should not come down to limited data usage.

Connections to Operator are good but they are only the beginning and not an end in itself.

Thoughts?

AT&T, Easyjet and fixed rate pricing: Be careful what you wish for – you just might get it

wishing well easyjet fixed tiered pricing.jpg

Earlier this week, I was speaking to a telecoms exec who said that the biggest problem in the industry is lack of spectrum, the data tsunami etc etc etc .. (Same old story – seen mainly from the Operator perspective .. ). At which point, I interrupted him and asked him:. Did he not mean that it was LAST week’s biggest problem?

In other words, now that the industry has accepted tiered pricing last week with AT&T (and I don’t have any objections to it as long as it is transparent and specific applications are not banned) .. The data tsunami problem may be behind us ..

So, NOW, the onus is on the Operators to deliver .. Since the tiered pricing structures exist. (Or will soon exist) everywhere.

Ironically, this means that there will be MORE customer and regulatory pressures on Operators to be transparent and clear about their pricing

All networks have a very basic problem i.e. it is hard to price a network service since it does not follow a basic ‘cost plus’ model.

That simple reality is painfully apparent in another type if network.. Airlines ..

On a recent trip to Berlin, I realized that the airline easyjet charges 19 pounds for a single piece of checkin baggage (i.e.. the first bag we check in). This is very ridiculous and adhoc and there is no real justification for that price (The same idea applies to pricing tickets very expensively close to the time of departure i.e. the pricing is independent of the cost of the ticket and also to complex tariffs on mobile devices)

In fact, that’s why fixed rate pricing worked in the first place i.e. customers understood it (the option was pricing which customers never understood and that meant they never used the services)

Now that we have tiered pricing, we have the following effects:

a) Operators will see profits and returns from their network investments

b) But on the same token, they have now lost the excuse of the bandwidth hogs

c) This means, they need to be more responsible for their shortcomings(there is no one to blame)

d) Operators will need to be more transparent with their customer since there is an element of complexity

One effect of this scenario is: Operator may ACCEPT the ‘golden pipe model’(a money making pipe!).

In other words, they will see a steady income from the tiered pricing structure and not be motivated to compete on the services front (which they will leave to handset vendors and developers since carriage will be more profitable). They will EXTEND the network to domains where the network itself has an advantage since once the network investment is made, the incremental costs are zero. This means areas like Machine to Machine – Internet of things/ Smart Grids/Secure Cloud/Mobile healthcare/ Digital signage/ Smart cars etc will be a priority

Ultimately, this is good for the industry and also good for the Operator itself.

But now that tiered pricing is being accepted and it has implications as I indicate above, the Operators may well be reminded of that old adage: Be careful what you wish for – you just might get it :)

Image: A wishing well Source Stonehillgraphics

New handset classification: Feature phone – Sub Smart phone -Smart phone -and Super smart phones?

I have been thinking of this for a some time ..

The traditional ways of classifying a device include Smart phone vs Feature phone. That classification no longer works in the current, more complex ecosystem.

Hence, we could use the following classification:

Feature phones: Predominantly voice and messaging phones which run on an RTOS(real time operating system)

Sub smart phones: Phones which have a ‘feature phone form factor’ but have many ‘smart phone like’ features – Ex LG cookie

Smart phones : Phones which have a range of high end features but provide a great user experience, they provide ‘more’ but are not overwhelming. They score high on ‘out of the box experience’, personalization, efficiency and exploration. This includes the iPhone, Blackberry and the Nokia N95 because they provide more features but not so much more that it becomes overwhelming to the user

Finally, we now have a new class of phones (super smart phones – for the lack of a better word) – which could be described as ‘Unlimited functionality’ phones to the average user. This includes Nexus One, Nokia N8 etc

Maybe ‘super’ is not the best word

I mean more ‘generative

Generative technologies: Technologies like personal computers that have the capacity to produce unprompted, user-driven change. For example, on a PC any person can write code, run that code on a variety of platforms, and share that code with anyone who might want it. In general, generative technologies are useful for performing tasks, adaptable, easy to master, permission-free, and share-able. In the name of security consumers are increasingly moving away from generative technologies like the PC and towards tethered ones like the iPhone.

thoughts?

PS: I know it is easy to debate the use of ‘super’ in this context and I could not find a better word. But i am more keen to explore the idea of a smart phone as ‘more but not overwhelming’ because that categorization keeps the phone within the consumer electronics domain whereas the ‘super’ takes it more in the PC domain

Update

stan wiechers suggested ‘Experience phone’. I agree. Better definition than ‘super’. See The Rise of the Experience Phone