Economics Media

Ubiquitous Connectivity Means Mobile, and Mobile Means iOS and Android

In the wake of the announced Microsoft/Nokia partnership (Microsoft to pay out ‘billions’ as part of Nokia deal), Robert Scoble (@scobleizer) talked with Nick Long (@longsview), senior technical lead at Dreamworks Animation, and Paul Robinett (@renetto), his partner in a startup, AdApption. Key take-aways from this Silicon Valley mobile app start-up: they’re developing for Android and iPhone and don’t think highly of the Nokia-Microsoft partnership.

You go where the customers are and where the barriers to development are minimal. Of course, there’s the push and pull of the Apple app store: it’s hard to stand out but it’s where the customers are. A January 2001 survey suggests that the average iPhone customer has a whopping 108 apps and spends 84 minutes a day with them. A quarter of those are paid apps. A February 2010 study suggests that Apple iPhone and iPodTouch owners buy more apps per month than Android owners. Both markets are important.

As far as development barriers, Long was emphatic: iOS is easier. He’d need Microsoft to pay him (call it a bribe, perhaps) to develop apps for WinMobile7 because it’s a more expensive proposition than the iOS version. For example, to develop Windows Phone 7 on Mac OSX, the developer has to set up a virtual machine or run Parallels.

We’re moving to a world where connectivity to the Internet is ubiquitous, in large part due to mobile devices (some of them were once known as “telephones”) that are connected to the telephony network. Some are connected to other wifi networks.

Because the growth in mobile data use is mind-boggling, devices matter. Just how boggling?

Cisco Mobile Data Traffic Forecast
Cisco Forecasts 6.3 Exabytes per Month of Mobile Data Traffic by 2015
  • According to Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker (who has now left the firm), by 2015 “more users will connect to the Internet over mobile devices than desktop PCs.” Gigaom, Apr 2010
  • Global mobile data traffic in 2010 (237 petabytes per month) was more than three times greater than total global Internet traffic in 2000 (75 petabytes per month). Cisco, Feb 2011
  • Smartphone customers (526 million, 2010) use more data than non-smartphone customers, and iPhone customers use more data than other smartphone customers. According to Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker, the average cellphone customer usage pattern is 70-30 voice-to-data but the average iPhone customer is 45-55 voice-to-data. Gigaom, Apr 2010
  • Tablet customers (3 million, 2010) use more data than smartphone customers. In 2010, on average each tablet generated fives times more Internet traffic than the average smartphone. Cisco, Feb 2011

The big question for Nokia/Microsoft: can they catch Apple and Google?

Nokia has the global install base (hardware), hands-down. And because Android is hardware agnostic, it should have a larger market share than the iPhone (two devices) or even iOS (iPad, iPodTouch, iPhone). Google is the youngest kid on this block; Nokia is the oldest.

But Microsoft has been in the game a long time, since 2001 if you count PocketPC 2002 as a mobile OS (it was for smartphones). Windows Mobile rolled out in 2003. And although Apple’s iOS rolled out in 2007, Apple had twice Microsoft’s global unit shipment share in Q4:09. Subsequently, Microsoft launched and then promptly killed a phone (Kin) and later launched Windows Phone 7. It reportedly planned to spend as much as $500 million to “jump start” WinPhone7. If so, the results were questionable: in December, news reports showed Android phones outselling WinPhone7 15-to-1.

Microsoft is now spending billions in the Nokia partnership to buy marketshare a year from now.

But right now, today, mobile internet means iOS and Android. Only one-in-five Americans owns a smartphone today, so the potential market is huge.

How deep do those pockets really go and can money buy love and loyalty? Oh, and does this mean US carriers will start carrying and promoting (subsidizing)Nokia smartphones?

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By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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