Survey: Smartphone Market Still Up for Grabs

With many smug spinmeisters and pundits proclaiming that the "smartphone wars" are over (with Apple and Google as winners), a new survey from GfK (n=2,653 mobile users in UK, US, Brazil, Germany, Spain and China) suggests a much more fluid marketplace. 

The survey found that as many as 75% of current smartphone users are open to changing or will change mobile OSs when they get new phones. Overall only 25% were loyal to their existing OS. Analysis of the findings argues that consumers are "keeping options open" as new smartphones come out on a seemingly weekly basis. This is particularly acute on the Android platform.

The frenzy of releases and the fast-changing nature of the device market has likely created the "disloyalty" reflected in the survey data. However I would caution that the sample sizes break down and become very small on an individual country basis.  

Among individual operating systems, the survey found that loyalty was highest to the iPhone (59%) and lowest for Microsoft (21%). Android and Nokia didn't fare much better (at 28% and 24% respectively). RIM saw 35% of BlackBerry users saying they would likely stay on the platform.

Earlier this year Nielsen found that the iPhone had slightly higher levels of loyalty than Android. But these findings showed much higher loyalty levels for both platforms and especially Android. Indeed, these US-only findings are dramatically different than those from the GfK survey.

If Facebook Were an Ad Network, It Would Be the Biggest

Yesterday in the context of its mobile event Facebook announced (consistent with my prediction) that the company had more than 200 million active mobile users around the world. I earlier asked Facebook to break this out by US vs. international numbers, which they declined to do. But let's try and figure that out . . . shall we.

Facebook itself says that 70% of its usage comes from outside the US: "About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States." That means (assuming 500 million total users) that 150 million users are in the US. 

If we were to assume that mobile usage breaks down along the same US-international lines that would mean 140 million mobile users would be international, while 60 million would be in the US. My guess is that mobile usage doesn't break down along those lines exactly. Much of Facebook's mobile usage is likely to come from smartphones and its mobile apps in particular, although Facebook does operate sites for non-smartphone browsers and has a text only site at

The US doesn't have the highest smartphone penetration among Western countries, Spain probably does. But in absolute numbers the US has more smartphones than any other country. Let's say (based on a collection of third party data points) that are something like 60 million smartphone users in the US. How many of those people are using Facebook (probably not 100%). Yet Facebook's mobile usage doesn't come exclusively from smartphones. We don't know, however, how many non-smartphone Facebook users there are in the US or elsewhere in the world. 

Nielsen says there are 85 million mobile Internet users total. So one would need to assume that there aren't more US mobile Facebook users than 85 million. My guess then is that there are about 75 million mobile facebook users in the US. If we were to treat Facebook as a mobile ad network, where would 75 million users put them in the hierarchy?

According to the Nielsen data, Facebook would be the largest mobile ad network. Notwithstanding Facebook Deals, announced yesterday, it doesn't quality as a mobile ad network -- quite yet.

Opera State of Mobile Web for September

Opera has released its latest "State of the Mobile Web" report. Through data compression the company says its Opera Mini browser "saves consumers worldwide more than 2.2 billion USD each month on their mobile data bills . . . Consumers in the United States and Nigeria benefit the most from Opera Mini’s unique compression technology, which reduces the size of web pages up to 90 percent (%). Using prevailing metered rates, United States consumers could save 141 USD on average each month . . ."

Here are charts for China, the US and UK based on Opera Mini users' online behavior patterns. The top sites and leading handsets have remained relatively stable for months. 

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Ending the Myth of Asian Mobile Usage Patterns Coming to US

For several years I went to mobile marketing or technology conferences to hear speakers say something like the following: "X is happening in Asia or Europe, so it's only a matter of time before it happens in the US." Perhaps we can stop saying that now.

Asia, Europe and the US are distinct markets, influenced by their own cultures, PC and Internet infrastructures, carrier policies and technology adoption trends. Asia and Japan in particular were early adopters of mobile platforms and the mobile Internet, partly because of a less-developed and more challenging PC Internet infrastructure. Europe developed a culture of text messaging partly because it was more expensive to make calls.

However with the exception of Symbian/MeeGo, all the most advanced mobile operating systems are coming out of North America and mostly the US. This hardly makes the North America the mobile laggard that many have traditionally said it was/is.

Equally I do not see every geography racing toward some inevitable common mobile adoption paradigm: "As markets mature they will also look like X,Y, Z." I read new comScore mobile data comparing Japan, Europe and North America as confirming the distinctiveness of the regions rather than reflecting who's "ahead" or "behind" in specific mobile categories -- all racing toward a common outcome. However comScore does present its data through the lens of this ahead/behind scenario.

 Source: comScore The circled items in the chart are my addition to the original comScore data. While some patterns in Japan or Europe are bound to come to the US market (and vice versa) that's not guaranteed. 

For example, more than 50% in the US and Europe will likely become "connected" in the near term. However, text messaging in Japan may never reach European or US levels. And while TV watching in Japan is quite heavy by comparison, US and EU levels may never get to the same place.

Some patterns and adoption rates may turn out to be comparable over time across markets.

My point is that each market is distinct and may maintain distinctive features. The Morgan Stanley position -- because it happened in Japan it will happen here --  I believe is incorrect accordingly. Some things that happened in Japan will happen in the West, but not everything. 

At CTIA last week Millennial Media remarked that after 10 years of the mobile Internet in Japan 90% of ad revenues were in display and not search. That's a valuable and interesting data point. But it doesn't necessarily predict how the US mobile ad market will evolve. (Though I do agree display will play a significant role in mobile.) 

The larger point is that we need a more nuanced view of international markets and cannot simply make the assumption that Japan and Europe are "more advanced" across the board or assume that trends will play out in similar ways in "less mature" markets. 

Android-Based 'Facebook Phone' Is By INQ Mobile

First TechCrunch reported Facebook was working on a phone or mobile OS. Then CEO Mark Zuckerberg went on the record to dispel the rumor so as not to hurt the company's relationships with partners and would-be partners. He explained that Facebook was looking to work with everybody in mobile and be as deeply integrated as possible into mobile OSs generally and serve as the social platform or enabler for mobile.

But Bloomberg is out with more details of an actual quasi-branded handset, which turns out to be a new and improved (perhaps) version of INQ's "social mobile" handset introduced last year:

Facebook Inc. is working with mobile-handset manufacturer INQ Mobile Ltd. on two smartphones that may be carried by AT&T Inc., according to three people familiar with the matter.

The devices, which will feature Facebook social-networking services, are due to be introduced in Europe in the first half of 2011 and the U.S. in the second half, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans haven’t been made public. AT&T, the second-largest U.S. wireless service provider, is still considering whether to carry the devices and hasn’t made a deal, another of the people said . . .

The new phones are slated to run Google Inc.’s Android operating system and will probably carry the AT&T brand in the U.S., according to one of the people. Facebook hasn’t decided whether its name will be used on the devices, the person said. 

Here's what Zuckerberg says in his TechCrunch follow-up interview about INQ:

[D]ifferent people come to us with different ideas all the time, and we mentioned the example of the INQ phone in the past, and I think you appropriately said that it isn’t some massive big thing, but it is cool and actually a lot of people bought it . . .

The INQ phone, I don’t think we had any engineers work on it. And certainly HTC modifies all their own Android stuff — Sense. I think a lot of companies are trying to figure out how to differentiate on that. A bunch of them are interested in talking to us, I think it makes sense. Social is becoming more important to make all these applications better. If we can help them do that, that can potentially be very valuable, but that’s more them. I don’t know — it’s a very decentralized ecosystem and there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on.

It will be interesting to see how deeply integrated Facebook is on this device -- is it a "social layer" available to all the apps if you're signed in to Facebook -- and how prominently Facebook's brand shows up on the device. 

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Report: Deeper Mobile Internet Penetration in China

Nielsen offers some very interesting data on China's mobile market, based on almost 5,000 face-to-face consumer interviews, and compares it to mobile behavior in the US. The finding: a higher percentage of Chinese subscribers use the mobile Internet than their US counterparts. 

Just over 37% of China's 755 million mobile phone subscribers in China access the Internet on their handsets. That represents roughly 279 million people overall. In the US there are 77 million mobile Internet users, representing about 27% of subscribers, according to the most recent Nielsen estimates.

The size of the Chinese market is currently about three times larger than the US market. However there's much more growth potential in China vs. the US, which is already a mature market in terms of subscriber penetration. By contrast just over half of China's population has a mobile phone. And China is one of those developing markets where primary Internet access is very quickly likely to be via mobile vs. a PC. 

The mobile market in China is almost equally split between men and women and different age groups. Almost 90% (87%) are pre-paid subscribers. Below is the breakdown of mobile activities by category and then a comparison with US mobile user behavior. 



Opera: State of Mobile Web, June 2010

The latest Opera report is out. The focus of the report this month is on Africa and the World Cup. Opera said it had 59.4 million users of the Opera Mini globally. I'm now using it on my Android Evo at least as much as the native browser (which often tries to send me to the carrier portal annoyingly).

Below are the top sites and handsets for China, the UK and US. The iPhone is now the top handset in both the UK and US, while Nokia continues to dominate in the aggregate.

Compare the data from roughly a year ago, July, 2009. While there is some shuffling among the top sites (e.g, MySpace has gone from #3 to #10 in the US) the data reflect mostly the same top 10 in these countries over the past year. 

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iOS v. Android, but What about the Others?

The media keep focusing on the "battle" between iPhone and Android. But the mobile platform and handset market is not winner-take-all. There's room for more than two players to succeed in the US and internationally. This is a key point made by Google itself several times now. 

But how many platforms and smartphone operating systems can the market support exactly?

The following charts reflect OS representation on AdMob's global network. (AdMob does not equal the mobile Internet or mobile handsets more broadly, but there's a directional correspondence between mobile Internet trends and what AdMob shows in its metrics reports.)

If you consider the chart immediately above, what you see is that the "mobile Internet" (on AdMob's network) is dominated by iOS, followed by Android in North America and Western Europe. In other regions Nokia is a major player or dominant. Despite its large, installed base RIM is barely present on this chart.

RIM of course sells more smartphones than anyone in North America. However its mobile Internet usage data and overall user experience lag competitors. BlackBerry 6 seeks to change that.  

There aren't going to be five viable global smartphone platforms. There might be four, but it's more likely three. Those will vary, as the chart above suggests, on a geographic basis, with the two "constants" across regions likely to be Android and the iPhone.

Given the scathing criticque that an InfoWorld writer offered of Windows 7 (after a demo), it's quite possible that Microsoft might not be among the winners:

The bottom line is this: Windows Phone 7 is a pale imitation of the 2007-era iPhone. It's as if Microsoft decided in summer 2007 to copy the iPhone and has shut its developers in a bunker ever since, so they don't realize that several years have passed, that the iPhone has advanced, and that competitors such as Google Android and Palm WebOS have also pushed the needle forward. 

We'll have to wait and see how accurate this very harsh review is later this year when the handsets hit the market. But the Kin debacle is not a good sign for Redmond. 

In the US smartphone market, it's currently a three-way race between iPhone, Android and RIM. In Europe it's likely to be iPhone, Android and Nokia. Other platforms may simply not have the scale and (developer) mindshare to compete. Several developer surveys certainly suggest this as well. 

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 Source: Appcelerator (6/10)

inMobi Gains $8 Million, Challenges AdMob

inMobi announced earlier this morning that it had raised $8 million in funding for a total of roughly $15 million.The company began in India in 2007 as "mKhoj." It launched in the US formally last month.

Many people in the industry haven't heard of inMobi yet it's the largest ad network globally other than Google-AdMob. Now inMobil is seeking to take AdMob's place as the leading independent mobile ad network. 

The company says that it has "16.9 billion impressions monthly reaching 179 million consumers in 108 countries." Clients include Reebok, Microsoft, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Quaker Oats, Yamaha, Barclays, and Yahoo.

Source: inMobi internal traffic data

American employees of the company include former Yahoo VP Anne Frisbie, now head of inMobi North America and James Lamberti, formerly SVP of comScore, now VP of global marketing for the company. I spoke to both yesterday and they stressed to me that inMobi had a technology platform and scalability advantage over the majority of its competitors. They also said that it was best positioned among the independent networks -- inMobi is an ad network working directly with clients rather than a mediator or exchange -- in the Google vs. Apple advertising battle. 

Lamberti said that inMobi would be releasing some very interesting data soon, which caused us to talk about mobile data more broadly. Both Frisbee and Lamberti criticized the quality of the third party mobile data available and the comScore and Nielsen methodologies. They said that GroundTruth probably had the best data in the US market but that it was incomplete.

Frisbee said that once you get out of the US and Europe (to a degree) third party data are not available as a general matter. 

What's impressive is the way that inMobi has scaled globally in a relatively short time frame. Velti and Amobee, using somewhat different models, aspire to the same global scale and reach. 

With Google having bought AdMob that leaves Yahoo and Microsoft as potential buyers of ad networks. However, in addition, the major advertising holding companies, many of which have acquired small mobile agencies, are also potential acquirors of mobile ad networks and exchanges. Then there are the carriers . . . but they're unlikely to play directly in mobile advertising despite their past flirtations.

Nokia Should Fear Android More Than Apple

Apple and Google/Android have become the GM and Ford -- or Toyota and Honda, depending on what part of the world you're in -- of smartphones. Neither has the most unit sales or marketshare but they're both ascendant. Nokia, Microsoft, Palm (HP) and BlackBerry are either static or declining.

Nokia has largely focused on and been unfavorably compared to the iPhone and Apple by critics and investors. "Three years later the company still has no answer for the iPhone" is the refrain often appearing in Bloomberg or Reuters articles about the Finnish company. But in some sense Android may be a much larger threat to Nokia on a global basis. 

Take a look at the following chart showing smartphone marketshare distribution (based on AdMob network data). This doesn't exactly replicate the actual numbers in these countries but shows you generally where things stand.

Nokia/Symbian strongholds are Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe, Latin America to a lesser degree. The places where Nokia is strongest are largely developing countries in other words.

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The New York Times ran an article this weekend about Android's strategy for emerging markets. In it there was discussion of a range of new, cheap smartphones for these developing markets:

Smaller Chinese manufacturers, which account for about 10 percent of the global supply of mobile phones, are also adopting Android, seeking to gain market share with lower-priced devices.

Many pin their hopes on MediaTek of Taiwan, which supplies chips for lowcost phones sold in Asia, Africa and South America. The company has joined the Open Handset Alliance, the group that promotes Android, Google said. Devices based on MediaTek may cost carriers as little as $70 each . . . 

Apple can't and won't offer lowcost handsets to the market in these places; it's the premium brand and wants to ensure a uniform experience. Eventually we might see a single lower-cost handset from Apple (something like the iPhone Nano perhaps). But that won't be coming very soon, if ever. 

Google by contrast doesn't have any of those same brand-related concerns. If there are lousy Android handsets in the market it doesn't really diminish Android the OS as a whole. There's room for much more experimentation on Android.

Apple has charmed and captured the "high end" of the market. Google and its OEMs are competing there but can also compete at the lower end with lower price points as the Times article suggests. That's the area where Nokia is dominant. But for how much longer? 

Holy Crap: 1.7 Million iPhones Out the Door

Apple announced this morning that last week's launch of the iPhone 4 generated sales of 1.7 million, higher than the most bullish estimates:

Apple today announced that it has sold over 1.7 million of its iPhone® 4 through Saturday, June 26, just three days after its launch on June 24. The new iPhone 4 features FaceTime, which makes video calling as easy as one tap, and Apple’s new Retina display, the highest resolution display ever built into a phone, resulting in stunning text, images and video. 

According to survey data, however, more than three-fourths of these early sales (at least in the US) are from existing iPhone owners upgrading:

  • 77% of the iPhone 4 buyers were upgrading from a previous version vs 56% in 2009
  • Only 16% of buyers were switchers to AT&T from another carrier, down from the previous year 

If the device were available from other carriers sales volume might have been 2X this.

There are many surveys that indicate pent up demand in the US for an iPhone from carriers other than AT&T. Accordingly, a new online survey (n=4,000 adults in the US, Canada and UK) about features that iPhone owners would like to see revealed the following: 

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Among current and potential future smartphone users, 39% of US respondents indicated they wanted other carrier choices. It's not clear how many of these respondents are current iPhone owners. But it confirms the point I made above that Apple continues to lose sales by remaining faithful to AT&T in the US.

iPhone Mania Goes Global

From Tokyo to San Francisco, there are lines aplenty on iPhone 4 launch day. Here is some of the coverage and video:

  • TechCrunch with live video from the line in San Francisco.
  • An account of being online in London last night from CNet UK.
  • Business Insider has photos from different Apple stores around the world. 

In Paris at the Louvre Apple store:

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Credit: SAI

Video from New York and London:

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More coverage:

HTC Takes Another Step Toward Branding with Software Firm's Acquistion

HTC's slogan is "quietly brilliant." Maybe not so much longer.

The company, which has sought to move from a pure hardware OEM to a more recognized consumer brand, has acquired Abaxia, a French software company that specializes in mobile software development. The company basically has three products: a mobile portal, an idle-screen platform and search capability. 

The firm was founded in 2001. The transaction was valued at $13.2 million (Euro 11 million). The press release is fairly direct about the motivation behind the acquisition:

“HTC is committed to creating the best possible mobile experience for our customers today, tomorrow and into the future,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation.  “The addition of Abaxia deepen and broaden our software development capabilities so that we can innovate at an even faster pace.”

“HTC and Abaxia have worked closely together in the past and our businesses complement each other well,” said Cedric Mangaud, CEO of Abaxia.  “We’re excited to be joining such a significant and emerging mobile brand.”

All of this signals an effort to create a more differentiated (and consistent) user experience across Android and maybe Windows (7) Mobile handsets. This consistent user experience, now in the form of Sense, is a branding and loyalty play. 

Among all the Android OEMs the central challenge is how to differentiate from one other given the common software foundation and the very similar hardware designs. HTC thinks it has found the answer in software -- and it may well be correct. 

HTC and Motorola are vying for Android leadership and HTC may turn out to have the edge in the end. 

Will Microsoft Tag Mainstream 2D Barcodes?

In Japan and elsewhere in Asia 2D barcodes (QR codes) are widely used. They also have momentum in Europe. However, despite a range of efforts, they're largely unknown to mobile users in the US. I suspect that within two or three years, however, they will be mainstream in this country.

The virtue of QR codes is that they can connect "the real world" to dynamic information and the Internet. Magazines, outdoor ads, websites, real-estate signage and other marketing can use barcodes to provide offers, additional information and so on. The can also track performance of those media. It's very similar to how SMS can connect traditional media and marketing with the digital world. However QR codes only require that users capture an image of the code graphic. Yet they also require a software download. 

Consumers with smartphones are getting accustomed to scanning conventional UPC codes in stores for product information. It's just a hop, skip and a jump to QR codes (or some version of them). And Microsoft Tag could become the driver of that mainstream scenario.

Last week Microsoft said it was making the Tag technology available to anyone that wanted to utilize it for free:

Today we’re announcing that Tag is coming out of beta and that basic use of Tags will be free of charge. This means you will be able to generate and use Tags that link to our standard scenarios, such as linking directly to webpages, and use the reader application at no cost. By simply going to, you can create Tags and deliver rich interactive experiences on mobile phones, track your Tags, and read about how companies such as Conde Nast and others are using Tag. 

An interesting use case explained in the Microsoft blog post I quote from above describes how Tags are being placed on public monuments in Amsterdam:

Amsterdam became the second world city with a Tag-led tour, with Tags on monuments, museums, restaurants, bars, and other landmarks. The Mall of America, in Minnesota, has announced plans to use Tag to help enhance customer engagement and give retailers an interactive tool to promote their products. 

The challenge to 2D barcode adoption in the US is the lack of standardization; there's no single universal code in use and not enough installed users. It's a bit of the old "chicken and egg problem." Microsoft hopes to popularize Tags and overcome that problem by making them free, as well as the consumer software necessary to read them. 

Facebook is also potentially going to introduce QR codes (although the use cases aren't yet clear). But if any site has the capacity to educate users about a technology it's problem them. 

Just Dial: Another Attempt at Free DA

The free directory assistance business seems very compelling -- on paper. Almost 80% of the mobile market in the US doesn't have a smartphone. Directory assistance (411) costs $1.75 or more per call. Yet the market has failed to materialize despite repeated efforts by various companies, including Google and Microsoft.

Now a VC-backed, Indian company is trying it again with the US launch of 1-880-JustDial:

1-800-Justdial announced today the launch of its free, personalized directory assistance and category search services in the United States. Consumers can now dial 1-800-Justdial (1-800-587-8342) from anywhere in the country to obtain business listings and conduct category searches.

Justdial operators are available 24 hours a day and always provide one ring pickup service, enabling users to speak to a live person and obtain fast local search results or recommendations for nearby restaurants, movies, events, florists, plumbers, dentists, car rentals, or almost any other product or service under the sun.

Justdial offers more than simple local business search, making it quick and easy for people at home, at work, or on-the-go to receive information like listings and local recommendations, or even nearby hotels in a certain price range. Callers simply dial 1-800-Justdial (1-800-587-8342), reach a live operator that picks up within one ring and state what listing or category of product or service they are looking for by neighborhood, zip code or even intersection. Justdial sends callers relevant listings via e-mail or text message and also connects callers to the listing of their choice, all free of charge. Users can register their phone number and address for maximum speed and personalization when using Justdial, enabling the operator to recognize the user and provide recommendations and listings near their home, work, or any other registered address or location.

The service promises real people (probably Indian agents using the Internet) and flexible search parameters. We haven't tested the service yet so can't confirm or contradict any of the company's claims. Other services that offer "human-powered search" on mobile devices include kgb and ChaCha (although more and more queries are machine answered) -- and then there are myriad Q&A services such as Aardvark (Google) or Quora.

Just Dial said that it has proved the model in India, answering more than 70 million calls in 2009. 

A service like this behind a traditional 411 number would have a shot and customer loyalty and repeat usage. However I'm very skeptical that the service will break out and become a mainstream success. Jingle Networks' 1-800-Free-411 has been around for years and not been able to grow beyond a certain point.

There are two trends that conspire against these services:

  • The rise of smartphones (now about 23% or 24% of handsets in the US)
  • The inertia around traditional 411

New Facebook Mobile Site Will Cement Dominance

Facebook already has 100 million active daily mobile users. With the introduction of a new, faster and free mobile site it will likely double that number in six months. Here are the details on the new

Collaborating with operators from around the world, we developed this new mobile site with two main attributes:

  • It's fast: includes all the key features of our standard mobile site Users can update their status, view their News Feed, like or comment on posts, send and reply to messages, or write on their friends' Wall just as they do on Rather than making photos viewable on, we put the photos one click away so they don't slow down the experience. You can still view any photos on Facebook if you want but your regular data fees will apply.

  • It's free: Thanks to the help of mobile operators we collaborated with, people can access without any data charges. Using is completely free. People will only pay for data charges when they view photos or when they leave to browse other mobile sites. When they click to view a photo or browse another mobile site a notification page will appear to confirm that they will be charged if they want to leave

I've argued that it's only a matter of time before Facebook becomes a mobile ad network. When the company introduces location, together with all the data being collected via the distribution of Like buttons there will be many possibilities associated with mobile marketing and advertising. There's also a fairly massive coupons/deals opportunity for Facebook in mobile (as well as on the PC).

One way to think of Foursquare right now is as a mobile loyalty platform. The Like buttons and fan pages also make that a possibility for Facebook as well. 

IDC: RIM Bounces Moto from Top 5 OEMs

IDC has released mobile handset estimates for Q1, saying that the market is rebounding from last year with almost 22% growth. Smartphones lead the way:

Growing demand for smartphones also helped Research In Motion (RIM) move into the top 5 vendor rankings for the first time. RIM, which replaced Motorola in the top 5, tied Sony Ericsson for the number 4 position in IDC's 1Q10 vendor rankings. RIM shipped 10.6 million units in the first quarter while Motorola, which had been a top 5 vendor since the inception of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker in 2004, shipped 8.5 million units. Motorola, the number 2 overall vendor in 2004, registered a fifth place finish last year by virtue of its overall strength in the lower-growth traditional mobile phone category. Motorola has steadily lost share since 2004 when the market started its shift toward higher-end feature phones and smartphones. The ongoing shift has given rise to converged mobile device vendors such as RIM and Apple.

 Here's the global Q1 handset OEM hierarchy according to IDC (unfortunately there are no smartphone figures here):

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As mentioned Motorola was bounded from the top 5 by RIM.

Meeker: Mobile Will Dominate by 2014

When I first saw this GigaOM post about Morgan Stanley's Mary Meeker's mobile data I thought it was simply a rehash of the Q4 discussion she put out about the mobile Internet. But it's apparently based on some updated projections in a new "Internet Trends" slide presentation.

Below is the "money slide," showing that the global crossover point for the PC and mobile Internet is 2014 in the firm's estimation. In other words, when the two switch places -- when more people (on a global basis) will access the Internet via mobile devices than on PCs. 

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Given that in some developing countries this is already the case, it's quite a safe prediction to make. In the US or EU the crossover is unlikely to happen quite as soon, though it likely will happen at some point in the next decade and maybe earlier rather than later.

Right now companies like Google say that mobile devices complement and don't cannibalize desktop PC usage: night and weekends vs. during the day. In addition the iPad has emerged as something of a "weekend" device, at least at this early stage. (I use mine daily.) It might be more accurate to say it's something of a "lesiure" device, at least more so than smartphones and PCs. 

We agree however with Meeker's conclusion that mobile devices will be primary and PC devices will become secondary over the next decade. And, as faster networks kick in, that will only accelerate the trend. 

How Long Before FB Is a Mobile Ad Network?

There's a nice summary (and video) of Facebook VP Chamath Palihapitiya's speech at the Mobile World Congress (via TechCrunch) in which he discusses Facebook mobile growth and engagement and makes a pitch to work with carriers. Facebook says it already has relationships with 200 carriers globally (compare to Yahoo, which says it works with roughly 80 but with the potential reach of 800 million).

Here are some quick facts from the talk:

 Palihapitiya pitched carriers on the idea that Facebook would help them grow data revenues. 

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Facebook's mobile usage and growth are nothing short of amazing. But let's talk about what may be coming sooner rather than later: Facebook as a mobile ad network and one that offers location (and potentially demographics) as part of that proposition. 

There are currently no ads on Facebook's apps, mobile websites or SMS. I would almost bet my life that's going to change in the near-to-medium term. Facebook will be clever and careful about integrating advertising into mobile, mindful of the potential to alienate mobile users. However the mobile ad opportunity may be at least as big for Facebook as it is on the PC. 

Facebook is about to make $1 billion in ads on the PC; however neither I nor anyone I know pays attention to and/or clicks on them. However I do hear from marketers anecdotally that Facebook ad targeting does work. But offers and mobile advertising from SMBs and brands tied to location is a potentially huge opportunity for the company. 

I think it's just a matter of time before we see Facebook start to roll out an offering. And, on arrival, the company would be as large or larger than any existing mobile ad network. 

IDC Contradicts Nokia's Smartphone Claims

IDC has released its smartphone numbers and marketshare data for Q4 and FY 2009. After last week's discussion about whether Android had "tarnished" or slowed Apple's iPhone, these IDC numbers show strength for the Apple handset (growth outpaces competitors). Nokia remains number one followed by RIM and then Apple.

Here's what Nokia said about its own estimated marketshare in its most recent earnings release:

  • Nokia estimated mobile device market share of 39% in Q4 2009, up from an estimated 37% in Q4 2008 and 38% in Q3 2009. The full year 2009 estimated market share was 38%, down from 39% in 2008.
  • Nokia grew its converged device market share to an estimated 40%, from an estimated 35% in Q3 2009.

IDC contradicts that assertion with its own data and estimates, saying that the device maker's smartphone share is 38.9%, down from 40% a year ago. Here they are:

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The smartest thing that Nokia can do in the near term to restore growth is to cut prices, which it is doing. It has also made its Navteq-supported mapping and navigation software free, prompting a huge number of downloads (one per second) since the announcement.