Not a day goes buy without at least five or 10 stories being written about the iPhone 5 based on this "leak" or that rumor. Today's hearsay and conjecture is that the new handset will have a smaller than 4-inch screen. However earlier rumors said the opposite: that it would feature a larger screen, possibly with an "edge to edge" display larger than 4 inches.
One way to reconcile these two stories/rumors is by invoking yet another Apple rumor -- that there will be not one but two phones coming out: one for the post-paid and one for the pre-paid markets. It seems unlikely that there will be two new iPhones. Regardless the "flagship" probably isn't going to have a screen smaller than 4 inches.
Earlier this year NPD group found that handsets with screens measuring 3.5 to 3.9 inches had flat sales volumes (other than the iPhone). But those handsets with screens larger than 4 inches saw significant gains in market share in Q4 2010. According to NPD, the five best-selling handsets with screens over 4 inches were the following:
The iPhone currently has a 3.5 inch screen. So I suppose it's possible to increase the screen size and still come in below 4 inches.
Regardless, of the precise dimensions of the screen, the iPhone 5 needs to be a meaningful improvement over iPhone 4. There are too many Android phones coming out all the time for iPhone 5 to be merely a modest, incremental update -- given that it's only updated once a year.
Tim Cook & company don't have the luxury of messing up this one. They need to "hit it out of the park."
Forrester Research has released a report ("delayed a week out of respect for Steve Jobs") that argues Amazon's forthcoming Android tablet(s) will potentially sell 3-5 million units in Q4. This report, in "the works for months," can be boiled down the following:
Amazon’s willingness to sell hardware at a loss combined with the strength of its brand, content, cloud infrastructure, and commerce assets makes it the only credible iPad competitor in the market. If Amazon launches a tablet at a sub-$300 price point—assuming it has enough supply to meet demand—we see Amazon selling 3-5 million tablets in Q4 alone.
The analysis can be further distilled into two points that argue Amazon's got a shot at success:
I agree that Amazon's brand and marketing capabilities will give its tablet(s) a head start. But it's really price that will be the driving factor here. That's the lesson of the TouchPad buying frenzy: people are willing to buy an iPad imitator at the right price. In that case it was $99 and HP took a major loss on the inventory.
I own the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the user experience is woefully inadequate compared to the iPad. I won't enumerate the ways but the device doesn't hold a candle to the iPad (Apple shouldn't be so afraid of it).
Any tablet Amazon sells under its own brand, based on the Android OS, will also be inadequate by comparison. There are no tablet apps on Android, for example. Accordingly it will have to be very aggressively priced to succeed.
The most expensive "regular" Kindle is sub-$200. The larger "Kindle DX" is $379. Pricing a color Android tablet that doubles as an eReader (which they will have to) at less than the cost of a DX kills the DX.
If Amazon were to price a 10-inch Android tablet at $499 it would suffer nearly the same fate as all of Apple's tablet rivals to date: failure. If it goes down to $300 or $299 it will sell (especially with 3G built in). However, given the poor quality of the Android tablet experience in general at this point, it's far from certain that it will sell as many units as Forrester predicts.
We'll have to wait for the device and see how "good" it is. Regardless, price is going to be nearly the lone determinant of success or failure for Amazon.
Related: Changing demographics of tablet owners.
Just like that the "Steve Jobs" era is over at Apple. Institutional investors have been asking for a succession plan for a long time. Instead they got instant succession.
However it should be business as usual for Apple on the day to day level. It's unclear whether Jobs will play much of a role going forward and how that will impact Apple's product vision and pipeline. The abrupt resignation (which was some time in coming) suggests that Jobs' health may not be improving.
It's probably the right move, but nobody can replace him. The impact on Apple's stock could be immediate but perhaps short lived. Here's the full text of the press release:
CUPERTINO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Apple’s Board of Directors today announced that Steve Jobs has resigned as Chief Executive Officer, and the Board has named Tim Cook, previously Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, as the company’s new CEO. Jobs has been elected Chairman of the Board and Cook will join the Board, effective immediately.
“Steve’s extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world’s most innovative and valuable technology company,” said Art Levinson, Chairman of Genentech, on behalf of Apple's Board. “Steve has made countless contributions to Apple’s success, and he has attracted and inspired Apple’s immensely creative employees and world class executive team. In his new role as Chairman of the Board, Steve will continue to serve Apple with his unique insights, creativity and inspiration.”
“The Board has complete confidence that Tim is the right person to be our next CEO,” added Levinson. “Tim’s 13 years of service to Apple have been marked by outstanding performance, and he has demonstrated remarkable talent and sound judgment in everything he does.”
Jobs submitted his resignation to the Board today and strongly recommended that the Board implement its succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO.
As COO, Cook was previously responsible for all of the company’s worldwide sales and operations, including end-to-end management of Apple’s supply chain, sales activities, and service and support in all markets and countries. He also headed Apple’s Macintosh division and played a key role in the continued development of strategic reseller and supplier relationships, ensuring flexibility in response to an increasingly demanding marketplace.
Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced iPad 2 which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.
Related: Here's Jobs' letter (very short) saying that he "no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple''s CEO."
The iPhone vs. Android meme is getting very tired yet it persists. That's the thrust of the coverage surrounding Millennial Media's "Mobile Mix" report for July 2011. Among other data, it ranks handsets and market share on the Millennial network by device type and operating system. Here are the "quick facts":
The Windows Phone growth is noteworthy for the fact that that there is growth/life. By contrast comScore shows Windows/Microsoft losing share month over month. However high percentage growth from a very small base is, in actual handset numbers, not particularly meaningful. Several months of such growth would be significant however. We'll need to wait for the first Nokisoft phones to appear to see whether Windows will "make it" as an OS.
Unfortunately Millennial doesn't put much historical context into its individual reports. So I always like to take a look at the data from several months or a year ago to compare the figures. Accordingly here are several charts from this month's report and July 2010:
Top handsets on the network (7/10 then 7/11):
The iPhone has maintained its top position and RIM is holding on with three handsets in the top 20 vs. four a year ago. But otherwise it's all Android.
Operating system share (7/10 then 7/11):
As you can see smartphones have grown from 49% to 68% on the network. In the US market smartphones are about 40% of all handsets now according to Nielsen. As you can also see, the relationship between iOS and Android has flipped in a year with Android handsets now representing 61% of all impressions.
In terms of monetization and revenue, however, Android continues to underperform its share while Apple devices outperform their relative share.
Finally, as PaidContent has pointed out, one of the more interesting pieces of data surrounds "carrier" usage. Over the past year WiFi access has grown from 26% to 33%. This is probably a direct result of the use of "connected devices" (e.g., the iPad) more than any other variable.
However as carriers eliminate unlimited data and throttle speeds on their networks, on the go users will increasingly seek alternatives that offer cheaper and/or faster access to their applications and the mobile Internet.
Placecast announced today the availability of ShopAlerts push notifications for retailer mobile apps. Previously Placecast ShopAlerts enabled geographically relevant SMS or MMS messages after a consumer opt-in. This new announcement means that geofenced alerts can be integrated into existing retailer apps to boost the effectiveness of those apps.
In the conventional scenario, users need to launch a retailer app and affirmatively search or browse for content. The new program enables consumers to receive LBS alerts that use promotional messages to direct consumers to the nearest local store or outlet, once inside the geofenced area. It's not clear whether the app-based ShopAlerts would require explicit consent to LBS notifications. (On the iPhone notifications require acceptance in general.) Best practices suggest at least a disclosure if not an opt-in.
Push notifications aren't new but this combination of app + alerts could prove effective for retailers and help boost app usage. Examples of companies already working with Placecast ShopAlerts include North Face, Subway, Kohl’s, Kmart, Starbucks and JetBlue, among several others.
The efficacy of geofenced ShopAlerts has been demonstrated in the UK with O2 and in various tests and trials in the US.
Related Placecast posts:
Looking to move unsold inventory over the weekend, HP chopped TouchPad pricing down to $99.99 and $149.99 from $499 and $599. It ignited a well-documented buying frenzy that melted the HP servers. BestBuy and other stores are now sold out.
The way that people snapped up these devices reveals that for other than iPads consumers are highly price sensitive. As we argued early on and often, the way to compete with Apple's device was on price. (I also earlier argued that smaller tablets could succeed as well, though have reconsidered that position.)
Amazon is about to enter the tablet fray and it may be able to succeed where others have not. However to date all of Apple's main competitors (RIM, Samsung, HP, MOTO, HTC) have failed to generate more than token sales of their tablets. Part of the reason for that is that these non-Apple devices perceived as imitators. So far they also generally offer a poorer quality user experience -- this includes the Samsung devices -- and have priced their tablets at or above (e.g., Xoom) the cost of Apple's iPad.
E-readers Kindle and Nook have succeed in part because they are single-purpose devices, though the Nook has broadened its scope, and they're relatively cheap (sub-$250). It remains to be seen what Google can do for Android tablets after it acquires Motorola. Right now, however, it appears that nobody selling a $499 tablet is going to make inroads against Apple.
While the HP TouchPad $99 frenzy may not immediately impact the market, over the long term it will probably mean that Android and other tablets (regardless of size) will have to come in under $400 without carrier subsidies and much less with them (sub-$250). That also means that non-iPad tablets are likely to become very low margin commodity products -- like PCs today.
And that's not a very attractive market.
Last Monday, when I was out on vacation, Google dropped a bomb on the mobile ecosystem: it entered into an agreement to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. Everyone is more than familiar with the story and there's been a ton of analysis in the intervening seven days.
Here's the crux of that analysis:
The response to all of this is yes and yes. While I don't know the actual truth of the Microsoft acquisition rumor (I believe it) all of these motivations likely played a role. Now regulators must approve the deal, which I suspect they will do.
Google said that the acquisition shouldn't change anything among its other hardware partners or the Android ecosystem generally (Samsung, HTC, LG, etc). Here's the quote from the press release:
Our vision for Android is unchanged and Google remains firmly committed to Android as an open platform and a vibrant open source community. We will continue to work with all of our valued Android partners to develop and distribute innovative Android-powered devices.
But it clearly does change things. Hardware OEMs will be taking a harder look at Windows now to "hedge" and "diversify." But what about WebOS?
The other bombshell last week was HP's announcement that it's getting out of the PC business and potentially going to unload WebOS. In April last year HP (under a different CEO) bought Palm for $1.2 billion, chiefly to get WebOS. Now it may sell the software assets and it's possible to imagine several parties being interested.
It has been suggested by some that Facebook should buy WebOS. But one could imagine HTC, Samsung (even with Bada), LG and others -- including Nokia -- being interested the platform if the price were right. But what if HP were to hold onto WebOS and open-source it or license it on very friendly terms? Indeed, HP is now saying or clarifying that it will hold on to WebOS and continue to support and even license the software.
The platform, which was early on regarded as platform most competitive with iOS, could gain new life as an alternative to Android for nervous handset OEMs. With a post-MOTO Google competing with its partners in a new, more direct way the market could well be ready for a new "open-source" Mobile platform. It's a long-shot and HP could still sell Palm/WebOS to a single buyer. If that were to happen WebOS would likely continue to languish and ultimately disappear.
However open-sourcing the platform or offering friendly, low-cost licenses to various hardware makers could give WebOS new vitality and a future.
Google's purchase of manufacturing partner Motorola Mobility is about to establish itself as the most favored hardware platform for the Android operating system. Even though Google CEO asserts (in a press release) that the join endeavor "will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers," it is a tacit acknowledgement that today's status quo for Android provides a user experience that is uneven at best. Some of the work by its developer network is brilliant, but thanks to its free-wheeling approach to application development and delivery (when compared to Apple's terms and conditions for its App Store) the overall experience falls short of "amazing."
Google is paying a 63% premium over the current stock price for Motorola Mobility. It is a statement that the company expects direct ownership of the manufacturer to accelerate scales and promote proliferation of the Android OS. But Google's management is underestimating the impact of its action on other manufacturers who have endorsed and support Android as they must now regard Google/Moto as a direct competitor and not just a benign endorser of an "open" OS.
This post by long-time industry follower Mike Cane captures the probable outcome in the simple statement: "Google pulls a Zune." He refers to Microsoft's decision to begin making its own MP3 player after spending a few years endorsing and supporting the PlaysForSure digital rights management platform. Musicians and publishers who believed that Microsoft would stay "hardware agnostic" dealt with the news by understandably abandoning the product. HTC, Samsung and the other manufacturers in the Android camp must be looking more closely at alternatives.
I agree with Mike Cane that this will lead other manufactuers to evaluate their OS strategy. It is a disruptive move that could benefit HP, for example. I very much like the idea of it creating a new market for WebOS as a licensed product for manufacturers who are now concentrating on boosting their Android sales. Market share projections under the old regime are almost meaningless.
Some financial analysts expect that Apple's iPad will dominate the tablet market through 2020. Competitor after competitor, including Motorola, HP, RIM and Samsung, has launched tablets only to see disappointing sales to date. So why then is Apple so aggressively pursuing legal remedies against tablet OEMs?
Everyone reading this is aware that Apple has obtained a preliminary injunction in Germany (and throughout most of Europe) that effectively prevents the sale of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. It's also pursuing Motorola over the Xoom on the same IP/legal theories.
I believe that Samsung essentially copied the "trade dress" or "look and feel" of the iPhone with its Galaxy smartphones and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. However I also think that Apple is going too far with its attempt to bar sales of competing devices. By extension the question arises: would any tablet device that broadly resembled the iPad be vulnerable?
If so Apple would effectively be eliminating competition in this new computing category -- and that would be a very bad thing. I'm sure Apple sees it differently and would simply argue it's protecting its designs and IP.
What I believe is going on is the following: Apple feels that Android and its gaggle of OEMs have simply ripped off the iPhone and its app store and have reaped the benefits accordingly. As I just posted, Gartner estimated that Android devices gained a 43% share of the smartphone market globally in Q2 vs. 18% for iOS. The company feels badly burned by these "imitators" and probably vowed to not let that happen in the tablet market.
In addition Apple's profitability and sales are much more dependent on these mobile devices than even a year ago. However the case illustrates the problems and challenges of current patent law. There's a need to protect IP owners' rights but competitors must be able to make and sell their products. What degree of product and feature similarity should be prohibited?
I certainly understand Apple's viewpoint and the rationale behind its actions. But in seeking to ban the sales of competitive tablets Apple is simply going too far.
Much has quickly been written about the just launched Amazon HTML5 "Cloud Reader." It's a "web app" that could be used to replace the native Kindle iPad and iPhone apps. It's being widely read as a response to Apple's more restrictive App Store terms about in-app purchases/subscriptions. (Amazon has removed the button linking to the Kindle store from the most recent version of its iOS apps.)
I agree with John Gruber and others who believe this has been in the works for longer than Apple's more restrictive terms around in-app purchases. Cloud Reader does, however, completely side-step Apple and its App Store terms. The Financial Times and Walmart's Vudu also recently did something similar. More publishers and developers will follow, who don't want to give money to Apple or simply don't want to worry about Apple's rules.
An added benefit is compatibility with all mobile platforms. However developing native apps is relatively easy these days because, unless/until Windows Phones break out or BlackBerry stops its slide, only two operating systems matter: iOS and Android.
In contrast to some of the rapturous reviews I've seen Cloud Reader is not as strong as the Kindle native app. It works well and allows users to read books offline (e.g., on the iPad). But it's not as responsive or fast the native app.
Yet for certain types of sites or publications HTML5 will be fine and quite usable. However for higher functionality a native app is better, even necessary (e.g., games).
But now that several companies have "validated" the HTML5 strategy will we see the migration from apps to HTML5 that the industry has always anticipated? Not exactly. I think what we'll see is continued development of native iOS, Android (later maybe Windows Phone) apps and HTML5 from everyone else. However Apple doesn't help its cause with all its rules and restrictions.
<a href="http://opusresearch.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/westlogo.jpeg"><img src="http://opusresearch.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/westlogo.jpeg" alt="" title="westlogo" width="76" height="61" class="alignright size-full wp-image-2959" /></a>Enterprises around the world recognize the need to have "a mobile strategy" for customer care and self service. Yesterday West Interactive announced a partnership with <a href="http://www.syclo.com/">Syclo</a>, a company whose core products and services simplify and accelerate the process of extending applications to multiple mobile platforms.
Syclo, founded in 1995, has a history of working with SAP, IBM and other major enterprise infrastructure providers to extend corporate network services to mobile workers and customers. Its flagship "platform" called Agentry is now integrated with West Interactive's customer care platform in order to provide West's customers with ways to interact with mobile customers that has proven to be reliable, scalable and secure.
"Mobile fragmentation" (resulting from the existence of multiple operating systems on smartphones, as well as the staying power of feature phones) has been the bane of the application development community. Over the years Syclo's has created a software development tool that co-founder Dave Kleban told us enables programmers to create scripts or programs that run as "native apps" without writing any lines of code. Support for multi-modal customer care strategies is a clear benefit.
West Interactive's programmers can "orchestrate" the end-to-end customer experience across many touchpoints. For example, in the utilities vertical where they have many clients in common, the orchestration of a service call (truck roll) can be accomplished more smoothly when scheduling, notification, confirmation or facilitating changes can be carried out using the medium of the customer's choice.
The Syclo partnership comes on the heals of a deal with Radian6 (now part of Salesforce.com) to define a way for West's clients to incorporate feedback from social networks into the customer care loop. It shows that West is willing to identify and forge relationships with "best-of-breed" technology providers to bring its clients into the age of social/mobile aka Conversational Commerce.
Ad network Jumptap released its latest "MobileSTAT" data dive for July. This month's newsletter focuses on Android but also contains general metrics from the Jumptap network. There's a link to a write up of the June data at the bottom of this post.
In the latest issue of its newsletter Jumptap has created a map that shows where Android, iOS and RIM handsets "overindex" by state. This aspect of the report is getting lots of coverage. However the data are little more than a curiosity with few practical or actionable implications. These data may also not actually reflect the sales distribution of the various OS handsets because the Jumptap network is not necessarily representative of the mobile Internet as a whole or used equally by a representative group of mobile subscribers.
More interesting are the other metrics in the report. For example, Jumptap showcases Android handset CTRs by device type and by carrier. CTRs for Android devices are generally consistent across carriers (averaging about 20%). But there appears to be wide variability in display ad CTRs according to handset type. There's no satisfactory explanation offered for the variation in CTR performance by handset.
Jumptap says the following about why Android SonyEricsson handset owners generate the highest CTRs:
We speculate Sony’s relatively high CTR is due to their positioning as a premium brand, but don’t rule out the role that usability, hardware and interface may have.
By contrast I would speculate that LG and SonyEricsson handset owners are late Android adopters, while HTC and Motorola handset owners are earlier adopters and so less inclined to click on ads than Android neophytes.
The following is Jumptap's CTR chart by age, showing that those between 55 and 75 click the most.
Compare the data from June:
These data are likely impacted by a higher number of "unintended clicks" and/or lower mobile sophistication levels in these older age groups.
Jumptap also said that 61% of the campaigns on its network are targeted in some way (vs. 49% in June). The chart below shows the breakdown of targeting methods. Note that "location" is only used by about 18% of advertisers using any form of targeting.
Finally most advertisers on Jumptap's network appear to be sending people to mobile websites or landing pages. Jumptap speculates that this reflects growth in the number of mobile websites. It's a safe bet however that the entire "click to Web" group is not sending users to optimized mobile sites or landing pages.
A substantial number of these "click to Web" mobile marketers may be unsophisticated, however, and simply sending users to their PC sites -- incorrectly assuming that the smartphone browser does a good job rendering them.
There are two competing mobile handset stories running simultaneously in the tech press right now. The first is how Android is increasing its dominance over other operating systems including iOS. The second, which largely contradicts the first, argues that Android will potentially lose meaningful market share when the next iPhone comes out.
Below is the data that the "pro-Android" stories are built on; first Nielsen:
Google’s Android operating system (OS) now claims the largest share of the U.S. consumer smartphone market with 39 percent. Apple’s iOS is in second place with 28 percent, while RIM Blackberry is down to 20 percent.
Android, the number one platform by shipments since Q4 2010, was also the strongest growth driver this quarter, with Android-based smart phone shipments up 379% over a year ago to 51.9 million units . . .
Now the survey data on which the "pro-iPhone" stories are based:
Roughly two weeks ago ChangeWave came out with survey data that argued those planning to buy a smartphone in the next 90 days expressed a preference for the iPhone over Android 46% to 32%.
Then, earlier this week, Piper Jaffray released some survey data (which got way too much play for its tiny and unscientific sample) suggesting that most mobile phone owners would be buying an iPhone next. Indeed, the data argue that Android will see less than 50% retention:
No doubt many people are interested in the next iPhone but attitudes and survey responses don't always translate into concrete behavior. For the overheated claims to come true ("iPhone 5 could double iOS market share") Apple will need to unveil a true blockbuster.
Some analysts have likened the contest between the iPhone and Android to Mac vs. PC and concluded that Android will overwhelm the iPhone the way that the PC did the Mac in the '80s and '90s. Recent marketshare numbers from Nielsen and Canalys, as well as predictions from Gartner and IDC, suggest this analogy is not invalid.
There may be another way in which the analogy is also valid: security. A new Mobile Threat Report from Lookout asserts there are a variety of growing security threats to Android:
Absent jailbreaking the iOS environment is more secure because it's "closed" and "curated." The more "open" Android app ecosystem makes it more vulnerable to security threats, privacy invasions and identity theft, among other malicious activity.
Google is conscious of the security threats and has taken steps to remove malicious apps from the Android market when they've appeared, though this is generally after the fact. Yet the company will be unable to police the Android app universe as thoroughly as Apple can its app store.
Consumers are almost totally ignorant of the threats to their handsets, though will be much more publicity as more scams and outright criminal activity target smartphone in the years ahead. The question is: will security become a liability for Android in the way it has for some consumers with the PC (vs. Macs)?
US Carrier AT&T and OEM Nokia reported Q2 earnings this morning. AT&T, the corporation, earned quarterly revenues of $31.5 billion, which were up slightly (2.2%) over a year ago. The company reported its "best-ever second-quarter smartphone sales." Meanwhile Nokia had a worse-than-expected quarter. Overall sales were off 11% and profit declined 44%. Smartphones declined 34%.
Below is a summary of each of the company's numbers.
Nokia saw revenues of EUR 9.3 billion, which were off 11% from a year ago. The company reported a loss of nearly EUR 500 million. Nokia sold 16.7 million smartphones vs. 25.2 million during Q2 of 2010 for a 34% decline. By contrast Apple sold 20.3 million iPhones this past quarter.
Overall sales of all mobile devices were off 20% vs last year. And all regions saw sales declines, especially Europe, North America and China.
Nokia reiterated that a Windows Phone would be out this year but declined to be more specific.
A new US-centric ChangeWave consumer smartphone survey (n= 4,163) looks at mobile operating system preference and specifically iOS vs. Android. Accordingly those planning to buy a smartphone in the next 90 days expressed a preference the Apple product to Android 46% to 32%.
The perhaps most striking finding -- and grim news for RIM -- is that only 4% of respondents say they intend to buy a new BlackBerry device.
In terms of customer satisfaction the following graphic reflects the percentage of current smartphone owners who say they're "very satisifed" with their current handsets. Again Apple and Android lead.
However ChangeWave noted the following about improvement for Windows Phone 7 vs. Windows Mobile:
We continue to see a big difference between the high Very Satisfied rating for Windows Phone 7 (57%) vs. the much lower rating for Windows Mobile OS (14%). Even so, the higher Windows Phone 7 rating has yet to produce a sustained momentum boost for Microsoft in term of buyer preferences.
ChangeWave also said that demand for Motorola Android devices was down (8%; down 4-pts) after the iPhone had come to Verizon:
After benefitting tremendously in the years Verizon subscribers were barred from the iPhone market, Motorola is now seeing a loss of market share at least partially attributable to the Verizon iPhone release that occurred earlier this year.
Below are the substantive comments made by Google CEO Larry Page and other Google executives about Android and mobile from yesterday's Q2 earnings call. I've cut out all the bloat, PR spin and puffery.
Google CEO Larry Page:
I actually have a new metric to report in Android of 550,000 phones activated a day. And that's a huge number, even by Google standards.
There's over 400 such devices, 39 OEMs, 231 carriers in 123 countries, and over 78 open handset alliance partners.
[D]espite the efforts of some of our competitors, there hasn't been any slowdown in any of those things. And partners and developers are continuing to expand the Android ecosystem.
Nikesh Arora, SVP and Chief Business Officer:
One format which was launched by Susan's team called Click-to-Call or Click-to-Share has been particularly successful. Unilever is a great use case of these formats. They integrated our AdMob product into a very large campaign of launching a new product to use the banner to drive traffic to a campaign Mobile site and achieve unprecedented results with almost 700,000 unique visitors accessing their content.
Susan Wojcicki, SVP of Ads:
Voice Search traffic for Mobile devices is up 6x in the past year.
There are now 135 million Android devices that have been activated in total, up from 100 million just 2 months ago. There are also now over 400 different Android devices available globally. Android market is also picking up momentum. It has over 250,000 different apps, and users have downloaded apps over 6 billion times, which is double the downloads from just a few months ago.
Mobile Display is starting to take-off too with traffic on the AdMob network up more than 3.5x in the past year.
The comment by Larry Page above, "despite the efforts of some of our competitors," refers to patent attacks on Android. Right now Oracle is involved in Java-related litigation with Google over Android; and Microsoft is trying to force licensing deals on Android OEM partners.
Some financial analysts have suggested that Microsoft is getting about $5 per every Android device sold by HTC though such a licensing deal. Microsoft wants Samsung, now the largest Android OEM in the world, to pay up to $15 per Android device. There's speculation that the company is using that figure partly as leverage to get the Korean company to better commit to Windows Phones. Samsung has only tepidly embraced Windows Phones.
While both Nokia and Microsoft await the formal release of one of their jointly produced handsets both companies continue to suffer at the hands of Android.
Nokia's share is falling like a rock and Microsoft's handsets are selling here and there but not in big numbers. Licensing revenue for mobile devices is clearly "Plan B" for the company. And while it could pay off in revenues over time that's much less desirable selling actual mobile devices.
In addition the more Android devices sell, the more Microsoft loses its grip on the overall OS market. Indeed, it's less and less "important" to have a Windows-based device in the more heterogeneous cross-platform market that exists today than it was when there were only Apple Macs and Windows-based PCs.
Millennial Media's Mobile Mix monthly device report is out this morning. And once again I'll excerpt what I think is interesting. First here are some of the top bullets, representing trends the company is seeing on its mobile ad network:
The share of impressions being generated by smartphones is basically flat. In March 2011 smartphones were responsible for 64% of the impressions on Millennial's network. Today, in July, it's 65%.
So-called connected devices constitute 18% of Millennial's impressions. This month Millennial has included some InsightExpress data that addresses tablets. In the chart below are behaviors that have shifted to tablets or have been impacted by the acquisition of an iPad or other tablet device:
These numbers are lower but consistent with other data showing that tablets do cannibalize some PC usage. Below are data from a Google-AdMob survey on the same question:
Nielsen offers similar data (May 2011):
Now back to the Millennial data. In May iOS had a 27% share of impressions but was responsible for 45% of revenue on the Millennial network. This month, iOS's share is 26% but revenues generated are 49%. Accordingly from a revenue standpoint iOS continues to "outperform" its share percentage, while Android "underperforms": 54% share, 41% of revenue generated.
Among the top 20 handsets that Millennial sees, there are three RIM devices and the iPhone. Otherwise it's all Android. This is an amazing story.
Google CEO Larry Page said yesterday on Google's earnings call that the company was activating 550,000 devices a day. The company also disclosed that there were a total of 135 million activated Android devices in the market. There are a total of 400 Android devices in the market.
As of the end of Q2 2011 Apple had sold a total of 189 million iOS devices, including iPod Touches and iPads.
The Pew Internet Project came out with survey findings (n=2,277 US adults) focused on US smartphone ownership and usage. Previous Pew surveys about mobile have been flawed because they failed to distinguish between behaviors of feature phone and smartphone owners. This rectifies that problem.
Pew found that 35% of all US adults own a smartphone. However when you limit the base to mobile phone owners, 83% of all US adults according to the survey, smartphone penetration rises to 42%, four points higher than Nielsen's 38%. Then take a look at those in the 18-44 age bracket. The number rises to an average of 50% penetration.
If you then look at income segmentation, the more affluent the person is the the more likely to own a smartphone. Among those making more than $100K per year smartphone penetration is at least 57%.
Pew also found that 68% of smartphone owners go online daily. Earlier this year Google found (via Ipsos) that 53% of smartphone owners are online several times a day.
Yet here's the statistic that I find most compelling: 25% of smartphone prefer their phones to their PCs as a method of Internet access. (There was no published segmentation of this figure by age or income, however.) In practical terms this is roughly 22 million people. In 2009, comScore found that 40% of iPhone/iPod Touch owners (n=7,300) said they go online more often on their mobile devices than via PC.
These data reinforce that "mobile first" should be a mantra for many advertisers and brands.
There are a number of articles reporting recent European findings about smartphone ownership based on quarterly survey data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. They reveal some interesting insights into what's driving Android sales and the danger to Apple if it doesn't create a lower-cost iPhone.
The high-level data include the following:
It appears from the data that as users upgrade they're generally migrating to Android and RIM handsets (in the UK at least). Price is a significant consideration for many of these buyers.
This makes the iPhone a less attractive option than Android. The strong platform loyalty (at least for iPhone and Android) argues that Apple faces major challenges if it cannot grab some of these upgrading price-sensitive users.