Baidu is the leading search engine in China. Now it wants to extend that lead into mobile search. The company is working with Chinese operators to ready mobile search for 3G Chinese networks.
China Mobile is member of the Open Handset Alliance/Android but is mentioned in this article as one of Baidu's potential partners for mobile search. Medio is also working with mInfo on mobile search for the Chinese market. There are some 500 million mobile subscribers in China according to Chinese government figures.
There are only two mobile carriers in China so how all this plays out will be quite interesting.
The Sony Reader has been around for some time and is now getting a big marketing push, especially in airports where I see it. On Monday, according to the Wall Street Journal and CNET, Amazon is going to introduce its "e-book reader," Kindle. The price is expected to be $399.
But this is interesting, from the CNET article:
The Kindle is equipped with a Wi-Fi connection that taps into an Amazon e-book store, which users can access to purchase new electronic books--and Amazon has reportedly signed onto a deal with Sprint for EVDO access. Additionally, the device comes with a headphone jack for audiobooks, as well as an e-mail address.
Like many other devices introduced for other purposes (Sony PSP, etc.) what prevents this from becoming a mobile Internet access device with a large screen -- or at least larger than my mobile phone? I think the answer is nothing.
Except for business travelers and with selected others, these readers will generally flop. Reading a physical book is a lot more satisfying and not as hard on your eyes. But there's another scenario that involves providing Internet access as an additional reason to purchase these readers.
The price will hold many people back, but if it came with Internet access or a good deal for access, then it would be a much more interesting piece of hardware.
AOL put out some interesting IM-related research findings yesterday. Among the data were:
According to the second annual AP-AOL Instant Messaging Trends Survey, many IM users are spending time instant messaging from their cell phones. The survey, which examined instant messaging trends and usage habits among 1,246 IM users, revealed that 25 percent of respondents send IMs from their cell phones, including one in three (32 percent) teens.
Until there's true IM interoperability it won't replace text messaging. Anywhere from 50% to 70% of US mobile users text (to varying degrees). But over the long term IM could potentially replace SMS for mobile users, especially if people shift from text plans to Internet plans (unless they're bundled) as the mobile Internet becomes more important.
Ten national brands have reportedly signed up for Vodafone's "Mobile Marketing Discover Program". The Spanish wireless operator has contracted with Amobee Media Systems to insert "dynamic and interactive" advertisements into its wireless Web portal. Only four "brands" were mentioned in company press releases: Heineken, Nestle, Atrapalo.com (which is a travel site that enables bookings for travel, entertainment, restaurants and theme parks) and insurance carrier Linea Directa. There are also indications that the company will add advertising insertions to mobile, interactive games as part of the program.
In a related story Arun Sarin, chief executive of Vodafone Group PLC told analysts that the company would be looking at data services and advertising to grow both top line and bottom line revenues. The Mobile Marketing Discover Program will reinforce these efforts.
The fruits of work between Orange U.K. and Xiam Technologies have been made manifest as the wireless Operator serving over 16 million customers (including 1.2 million Internet users) launched a "recommendations service" as part of Orange World Portal.
Xiam's technology enables Orange to offer tailored search results, across several sources, based on the subscriber's past activity.
After I wrote a post on Google "definitely" participating in January's forthcoming wireless spectrum auction (based on this Forbes article), I was contacted by Google's DC-based spokespeople who said Google CEO Eric Schmidt was misquoted in the piece. Here's the original paragraph from Forbes:
Schmidt now says Google will definitely participate in the auction. The company has indicated it would still intend to open the spectrum to anyone willing to pay for it, flouting the feds' compromise. The company wants to use its savvy in running auctions of ad keywords on the Web to run real-time auctions of available spectrum to interested service providers.
Forbes updated and corrected the piece to reflect that Schmidt said Google "will probably" participate in the auction:
Google CEO Eric Schmidt said the company "will probably" participate in the 700 mhz spectrum auction. On Friday the company said that no final decision would be made on participation until the auction itself.
Related: TechCrunch reports on Google's Android pitch at the Future of Mobile conference in London.
CTIA reported yesterday that the number of wireless subscribers in the U.S. market has crossed the 250 million mark. That's up from roughly 55 million in 1997.
The 17 countries of Western Europe that we discuss in our Mobile Advertising Forecast report (being published today) have roughly 420 million wireless subscribers, a subset of whom have more than one handset.
Here's an interesting analysis of the financial implications for Apple from Silicon Alley Insider:
We estimate that a 2% share of China's 600 million mobile subscribers (projected 2008) with a $300 unit price tag and no revenue share would yield $1.8 billion in incremental annual revenue. (For comparison, after only three months of iPhone sales, Apple already has a 1/2% share of the U.S. market). A 5% share at the same price would produce $4.5 billion in annual revenue.
China Mobile is reportedly in talks to sell the iPhone in that market. China is the world's single largest mobile handset market, with some 500+ million mobile users.
China Mobile is also a member of the Android Open Handset Alliance.
As liquid MAPs are constructed directly within the handset with only meta-information (geometric descriptions) being sent to the handset it results in 10 times less data traffic each time the map application is used compared to a tiled raster map solution. This is especially beneficial for those users who do not have a flat rate billing for mobile data. In contrast, a tiled raster map solution is based on data-rich map image formats (e.g. gif) that are constructed on the server and are downloaded to the handset resulting in a considerable amount of data traffic.
Panning and zooming with liquid MAPs is also 10 times faster than with tiled raster maps. This is due to the fact that the map information held in the phone covers a larger area than what the user actually sees on the screen. When panning or zooming no additional information needs to be downloaded from the server.
The maps themselves support interactive advertising and are part of mobilePeople's "liquid" applications suite.
The entry point for these products is family security. But very quickly this sort of service will be the technological foundation for "friend finder" applications that will become popular as a part of mobile social networking.
Family Locator works on a mobile device or on a PC and locates connected phones/subscribers on a map.