It's always important to point out that AdMob's data come from its network, which is not the same thing as the mobile Internet as a whole. Certain trends may be exaggerated or underrepresented accordingly. But I believe that directionally the data capture what's going on in the broader market. With that caveat, AdMob has released its December, 2009 metrics report.
This report captures handset and smartphone operating system share around the world. Here are some of the regional bullets the company has released:
Here are the market share graphics . . .
Global manufacturer and smartphone operating system share:
Devices Western Europe:
Devices North America:
North America shows strong Android growth above (though it's off in Europe), while Palm is fading. In particular Droid showed significant growth vs. the previous quarter. In AdMob's data BlackBerry is flat or off (BlackBerry had huge international sales last year, which should show up at some point in AdMob's data). Finally Windows Mobile is MIA in these data.
Nokia should see these data (as well as others in the market) as alarming. Symbian will get an update and new UI upgrades this year but it may not be enough in the face of iPhone, RIM and Anroid competition. Nokia has a very strong position in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe but it's losing momentum everywhere else according to AdMob.
As was reported yesterday Google has added some new targeting capabilities to AdWords for mobile devices:
If you've chosen to show ads on iPhones and other mobile devices with full internet browsers, you can now target specific mobile devices or carriers.
This feature makes it easier for you to reach the right users if you have a carrier- or device-specific message. This includes landing pages that have been optimized for a specific device, billing relationships with certain carriers, or mobile apps developed for a specific platform . . .
We're also making sure that ads linking to mobile app downloads will automatically appear only on devices that offer those apps. Plus, the ad will display a 'Download' link instead of a URL. Simply include 'itunes.apple.com/' or 'market.android.com/' followed by the app name in the ad's visible URL, and it will automatically display as 'Download iPhone App' or 'Download Android App.'
Here's what the screen looks like:
As the Google AdWords blog points out this is helpful if the advertiser is targeting a specific type of handset or specific carrier's users for a promotion. But there's also proxy demographic information here too. Ad networks such as JumpTap that work directly with carriers actually provide that data ("by age, gender, context, demographics, location, ethnicity, finance, occupation, handset, and language") to advertisers at varying levels of anonymity. Presumably Microsoft is also getting access to some of that data through its deal with Verizon.
However, the profiles of users of MetroPCS and Cricket are going to be quite different than Verizon for example. Much of this information is out in public.
What's also interesting is that Google is adding carriers for whom there are effectively no smartphones. Boost/Nextel (Sprint) just added its first BlackBerry device and MetroPCS and Cricket have very limited smartphone selection. The prerequisite here for the showing of AdWords in mobile is the presence of a full Internet browser on the handset. This anticipates, in my view, Android devices for these carriers.
This list of check boxes in the screen above will likely become more elaborate and precise over time. For example, the ability to target BlackBerry users (ultimately) might be important for advertisers wanting to reach an enterprise audience or more affluent users in certain cases.
Google's mobile AdSense units have a range of targeting options, including location (which also exits for AdWords). AdMob, which Google is seeking to acquire, offers more elaborate targeting including by gender and age.
According to the Associated Press Google is holding off its formal launch of Android in China:
"It is postponed," Google Inc. spokeswoman Marsha Wang said. She said a launch ceremony planned for Wednesday was canceled but declined to give a reason for the decision or to say when the launch might be rescheduled.
I had thought incorrectly that there were already Android handsets in the market, the world's largest with an estimated 700 million mobile phone subscribers. (Dell's showed/demo'd its Mini 3i handset). When Google announced its bold new policy to no longer comply with Chinese government censorship, we asked how that would affect Android in China.
While Android and Google's search and services can be uncoupled, that hasn't happened on any Android handsets to date. Carriers China Mobile and China Telecom are part of the Open Handset Alliance that supports Android. And HTC had formally announced it intended to introduce two Android handsets into the market this year. Samsung and Motorola are also planning China Android launches. This "standoff" between Google and China is quite significant for Android's future there, as well as the fortunes of all these OEMs banking on the operating system.
Assuming no settlement between Google and China, this means that HTC, Dell and others will need to "strip out" Google search and other services from the Android OS (part of their appeal) in order to continue to operate in the market. Absent such a move it might mean that Android wouldn't enter China (except illegally). But a Google-less Android diminishes the handset/OS somewhat for users -- and certainly for Google.
The iPhone (with Google search) current is in China. The potential withdrawal of Google from China won't necessarily impact the iPhone, which can or could substitute other search and services on the device.
CBS is smartly launching stand-alone apps for local TV affiliates (for the iPhone/iPod Touch) that complement its several national CBS News apps. According to the release, the apps will feature:
Thirteen markets are covered:
WCBS-New York, KCBS/KCAL-Los Angeles, WBBM-Chicago, KYW-Philadelphia, WBZ-Boston, KPIX-San Francisco, KTVT-Dallas/Fort Worth, WCCO-Minneapolis/St. Paul, WFOR-Miami, KCNC-Denver, KOVR-Sacramento, KDKA-Pittsburgh and WJZ-Baltimore.
The analogy in a local directory context would be a flagship "horizontal" app complemented by more vertical apps covering specific categories -- as AT&T has tried to do with YP Mobile and its "Have2" verticals.
When is Windows Mobile 7 coming out? Is it 2011 or . . . next month? The rumors are all over the place. Just last week we heard that Windows Mobile 6.5.3 would soon be available. And now Bloomberg is speculating that in fact the new OS may be shown next month at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona:
Microsoft Corp. plans to unveil its new mobile-phone operating system next month, a bid to reverse market share losses to Google Inc. and Apple Inc., according to a person familiar with the matter.
The company may use the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to demonstrate the new software, called Windows Mobile 7, said the person, who didn’t want to be identified because the plans are confidential. The decision isn’t final, the person said.
Now there's a difference between showing and releasing the software, but showing it in February would probably mean releasing it no too many months later. Windows Mobile is in something of a race against time to generate more excitement among OEMs and consumers for the operating system. The OS's market share is clearly under tremendous pressure:
Source: StatCounter, Jan 2010
Source: AdMob, November 2009
There's also considerable speculation this morning that it's not 7 but "6.6" that will show up in Barcelona. Regardless, I'm hopeful that Windows Mobile X (next one) is enough of an improvement to get Microsoft back in the mobile OS game.
Mobile app and games discovery provider Mplayit published a comparative list of most-popular apps on the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry platforms. It's based on a survey "of 42,000 visitors to Mplayit on Facebook between 20 December 2009 and 5 January 2010." One question to ask is whether these apps are in fact intrinsically the strongest in their respective categories or whether other factors are fueling their popularity.
The Mplayit release doesn't attempt to answer the question or explain why certain apps may be popular across platforms. In the case of a Yelp, Facebook or Pandora, there's a strong brand there that transcends the mobile OS and that people are responding to, for example. But the fact that some "no-name" apps beat out brands such as "Buddy Mob" on beating Facebook or Aloqa beating Yelp on Android (during the survey window) suggests that a compelling or engaging app can drive adoption without substantial brand equity or recognition.
Here's the chart:
Google has said that its infrastructure was hacked in an apparent effort to get at Chinese dissidents' GMail accounts. The implication is that the Chinese government was behind the attacks. The company has taken a laudable and very strong stand and said it will no longer comply with Chinese government censorship. It also said that if it cannot operate in an uncensored way going forward it may exit the market entirely.
According to the Google blog post:
These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered--combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web--have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.
China is the world's largest mobile market with 700 million subscribers, more than twice as large as the US population as a whole. The Internet advertising market in China is less mature than in the US and Europe, but over time it would be worth many billions off dollars. Baidu currently dominates search on PCs with roughly 65% - 80% market share.
This is a very gutsy move on Google's part. There's no reason to believe the Chinese government will allow Google to operate on an uncensored basis. So that may mean -- if Google is true to its public word here -- that it must say goodbye to the world's largest Internet market.
Presumably Android handsets would still be available in China (e.g., the Dell Mini 3) but they would likely have to be stripped of Google Search and other services.
Windows Mobile 6.5.3 will reportedly be available soon. The OS is more "finger friendly" and adds some clear keyboard improvements. The video below offers a nice walk-through including the keyboard demo.
Many people were surprised that Windows Mobile was so little discussed by Steve Ballmer in his keynote at CES last week. It remains to be seen whether Windows 7 can address all the "issues" with the mobile OS that make it less competitive among consumers than Android and the iPhone. However the 6.5.3 upgrades appear to be moving in the right direction.
Here's an eWeek visual tour of "10 must see windows mobile smartphones from CES."
Microsoft believes that its three screens + cloud strategy will help it with consumer mobile phone sales. Microsoft's Robbie Bach also raised expectations for WinMo 7 in a recent discussion with financial analysts:
I have had the pleasure of seeing [Windows Mobile 7], looking at it and playing with it. I am certainly confident that we are going to see it as something that is differentiated and sets the bar forward, not in an evolutionary way from where we are today, but something that looks, feels and acts and performs completely different.
Separately LG, a WinMo partner, said that about 50% of its handsets will be Android phones going forward:
Nam Yong, LG's chief executive officer, said the firm's smart phones will focus on Android, an operating system for the mobile devices provided by Google. Smart phones, which allow access to wireless Internet, differ from traditional cell phones in that they require an operating system.
"We will have smart phones running on Windows Mobile, but about 50 percent of our smart phone models will run on Android," Nam told reporters at a trade show in Las Vegas.
As we've argued Windows Mobile and Android compete more directly than Android and the iPhone because of the positioning of the two operating systems. All of Microsoft's major handset partners, LG, Samsung, HTC, Sony, are making (or "diversifying into") Android phones as well. Former partners such as Motorola and Palm are no longer using the platform.
A great deal is riding on the success of Windows Mobile 7. Microsoft needs it to do what Windows 7 did vs. Vista: redeem the platform.
Mobile analytics company Flurry saw app downloads on iPod Touch devices far exceed those on iPhones on Xmas day, suggesting that there were a lot of new iPod Touch owners out there. This would also be suggested by Amazon's electronics bestsellers list, which featured two iPod Touch devices in the top five.
Now AdMob has posted data that seem to argue the same thing: there were a lot of iPod Touches given this holiday season as gifts:
In terms of actual devices, there was a 57% increase in the number of iPod touch devices used on December 26th compared to average daily usage of the week before Christmas. Device growth was strong across the top markets, particularly in the UK.
To the extent the iPod Touch is received as a gift by a minor, the argument goes, this is conditioning that person to become a later iPhone buyer.
Gizmodo has what look like screenshots of PowerPoint slides from a Google presentation about the forthcoming Nexus One, to be announced (in all probability) on January 5 at a special Google press event.
According to the Gizmodo report, which relies on a "tipster," the phone will sell unlocked for $530 and with a two-year T-Mobile plan for $180. Let's assume all this is true.
The post also says that there's a single rate plan available, the $79 "everything" plan. That's actually the best post-paid plan on the market in the US, beating Sprint's $99 "everything" plan. The Sprint network, however, is considerably stronger than the T-Mobile network.
Apparently there's a limit of five phones per Google account, which you must have to buy the phone online.
T-Mobile has the HTC G1, the HTC MyTouch 3G and the Motorola Cliq (with "MotoBLUR"). The Nexus One then becomes just the next in line for both Android/Google and HTC. Apparently if you buy the phone at the subsidized price and then cancel the T-Mobile contract you're penalized and must pay the difference between the subsidized and unlocked prices.
You could also buy it unlocked and use it with the AT&T network. However that's unlikely for several reasons, among them the $530 price and the battered reputation of AT&T's network. The GSM Nexus One won't work on Sprint or Verizon's networks in the US.
I could be quite wrong but I doubt that Google will sell many of these handsets for $530. One question I have is: Will it be avaiable to hold and test in T-Mobile stores. The rumors leading up to the announcement suggest it won't, which will also negatively affect sales.
In the end then this turns out to be not the one "Google Phone" but another HTC Android handset, among a growing number. Yet it has the distinction of being (for now at least) the best Android handset in the market -- better and faster than Droid.
Below are comScore data -- extrapolated from consumer surveys -- showing the breakdown of mobile operating systems and handsets in the US. The headline that many people are running with this data is "iPhone overtakes Windows Mobile for the first time." But the other thing to focus on is how many non-smartphones there still are in the market -- almost 200 million. Also note that Symbian has more users (although I remain bearish on Nokia's US prospects).
In discussion after discussion I just hear companies writing off non-smartphone users. They make the facile assumption that smartphones will be 50% of the market in 2011. That may not happen because of the cost of dataplans and replacement cycles (read: the availability of carrier discounts) taking a bit longer to kick in. We see smartphone growth and adoption too but it may not happen quite as quickly as people think or are hoping.
That said, smartphones will be where the growth and Internet action are; however non-smartphones (and SMS marketing by extension) will be around for a long time. SMS marketing extends to smartphones as well; that's the point: there's major reach in the segment.
I think there are untapped opportunities in this group (see MSFT OneApp, voice search) that someone will profit from or leverage. Certainly marketers should be looking at these numbers and thinking about a "diversified" approach to mobile advertising and marketing.
Consumers are going to want something that resembles an Internet experience (or at least access to Internet content), call it "Internet lite," on these handsets as well.
Compilation/chart is FierceWireless
No sooner does one "flagship" Android phone launch than another seems to follow in its wake just a month or two later. This is largely because so many hardware makers are now using the platform to develop phones: HTC, Motorola, Samsung, Acer, Dell, among others to come.
The most recent example is the Motorola Droid from Verizon in the US. It was last's months "iPhone killer," already superseded by the new Nexus One (at right), which just appeared over the weekend (from HTC). Here's the latest from my post at Search Engine Land. I also wrote a long story here over the weekend as the news was leaking out.
As an aside this is what we know about the Nexus One:
Poor Droid; only a couple of months old and already passe, yesterday's news, old hat, used up, etc.
It's kind of ridiculous that each phone seems to trump the next and there's no apparent coordination in terms of software updates and hardware rollouts. On the latter point one wouldn't necessarily expect that given the multiple hardware OEMs. But Google seems to be quite fickle in its approach to the market, working with one OEM and then the next in turn.
And now, Nexus One isn't even out and we may already have seen its successor, the HTC Legend:
Even if this particular phone doesn't trump the still unreleased Nexus One in terms of specs and performance -- it's reportedly not as fast -- it illustrates that the Android handsets just keep coming. One financial analyst says there will be 50 in the market in 2010.
So what the heck is going on? First you've got a bunch of OEMs competing for attention. But at a higher level I believe Google understood that by creating a strong OS and making it free (or mostly free) it would see this kind of frenzy in the market.
It's a kind of "shelf space" strategy -- hence the Campbell's Soup reference. Many of the varieties of Campbell's Soup are not widely purchased; we might call that the "long tail of canned soup." But the plethora of flavors means that the company takes up more shelf space than competitors.
This is what's starting to happen in the handset world: more Android handsets at more carriers means that competitors are pushed out or pushed to the side, literally and figuratively. There's also the frenzy of media coverage that surrounds Android, specifically the Google vs. Apple narrative that's emerged.
I suspect the iPhone will hold its own. But as I said previously what's not getting discussed in these stories is the way that Android is grabbing all the coverage and mindshare from Windows Mobile, Palm, Nokia and even RIM. Only the iPhone continues to star in its own articles and blog posts.
The iPhone is the most popular individual handset (as opposed to handset line like BlackBerry) in the US according to Nielsen. Outside the US the device is no longer exclusive to any single carrier (except in China I believe). But in the US it remains exclusively on the AT&T network for the at least immediate future. That exclusivity now represents a drag on sales and provides an opening for Android to become "good enough" to blunt the iPhone's future in the US market.
RIM is in something of a separate category because of its enterprise legacy and installed base.
Google has developed a phone that equals and perhaps exceeds the iPhone in many if not most hardware specs. That and other Android devices may be sufficient for most people if the iPhone doesn't become available to other US carriers next year. The Droid device, backed by a massive Verizon marketing campaign has seen some success vs. the iPhone in terms of brand perception among males.
Overall smartphones across the spectrum will continue to gain, driven by price competition, cultural visibility and cachet and by general competition that is making these devices more and more consumer friendly and powerful.
The iPhone has the potential to become the dominant smartphone and mobile computing platform on a global basis. The US market and non-AT&T exclusivity are keys to that momentum. But the unlocking needs to happen next year or the opportunity will potentially be lost.
Skyhook Wireless, which supplies location positioning to chipmakers, mobile hardware OEMs and apps publishers, published (.pdf) the results of an October survey of 30 mobile app developers. This is a follow-up of sorts to an early 2009 developer survey by Skyhook that sought to assess developer interest levels in the various smartphone platforms.
This is a small sample. But if these survey findings can be generalized or are representative of the larger developer community's satisfaction levels -- let's assume that they are directionally -- it's not good for Android as a platform.
Here are the top-level findings:
Source: Skyhook Wireless (11/09, n=30)
The question here is: how important are apps to the ultimate success of the Android platform? Android ultimately is about the browser and the mobile Internet as apps platform. However the failure to maintain a healthy apps marketplace will harm Android's reputation among consumers.
This is not the first time developers have griped about Android. I have heard some developers, however, discuss that they like the open platform and the ability to "iterate" accordingly without the need to get repeated approvals before pushing new versions live. Future versions of the Android Marketplace promise a better user experience, which may help with downloads and revenues.
Google, Verizon and Motorola have sure developed a flair for the dramatic. According to this post on a site operated by the Android's leading triumvirate, you can use "just your voice" to "search Time Square without touching a single button."
The claim is a bit overblown. What they mean to say is that after pressing 10 buttons to tap out 888-DROID DO (888-376-4336), you'll be able to speak your query terms for interpretation by the speech recognition resources of Google Mobile Search. It's part of an advertising and promotional campaign whereby Verizon will use the digital billboards that light up time square to prompt passers-by to dial the toll-free number "search for practically anything" and then see the results illustrated on those digital billboards rendered in Google Maps.
According to this post in Silicon Valley Insider, the companies launched the service earlier this month to coincide with the general availability of Motorola's Droid in retail stores. They didn't take into account the Yankees' World Series Victory Parade, so it was sparsely attended, making it the perfect shake-down cruise for the service. On November 27 (Black Friday) the billboards will be up and operating at 6 AM and stay active until 3 AM the following morning. While it is touted as a promotion for all things Droid, it amounts to a highly visible showcase for speech-enabled, multimodal mobile search. It embraces spoken input of query terms and visual rendering of results. Now all we have to do is convince the general public that they don't have to book all the digital signage in Time Square to use their voice to get turn-by-turn directions on their mobile phones.
This story is also posted on www.opusresearch.net
Postscript: This kind of marketing and promotion is what voice needs to become mainstream. We'll see how sustained this type of promotion is; however, it's a very strong first step to generate word-of-mouth and PR around voice search.
There's also more detail on the Google Mobile Blog.
AdWeek's Brian Morrissey writes a contrarian piece on mobile advertising: Mobile Ads: Wait Until Next Year. In it he catalogs the reasons why mobile isn't ready for most marketers:
I'm not going to try and refute any of these points, which are generally valid; although in terms of reach AdWeek doesn't really address SMS, which is nearly universal and has the potential to reach Internet-sized audiences. The article does acknowledge rapid consumer adoption, which is part of the point -- marketers need to address these audiences or miss out on an opportunity.
Yes, mobile is relatively new and complex. But in some ways that's what's interesting: the new options and opportunity to figure out the best way to engage consumers on these very "intimate" devices. What's already clear is that eventually mobile will be a more effective medium than almost any other. It may not offer the same "spray and pray" opportunities for direct marketers but it is already proving very successful across a range of use cases and scenarios. (See some of the case studies in our Mobile Marketing Summit.)
Now is the time for marketers and advertisers to test and experiment. Those that do will reap rewards later on as those that waited struggle to figure out how to best integrate and leverage mobile as part of their overall media mix.
Analyst polling and estimates put the Motorola Droid weekend "box office" at about 100,000 units a "good start." According to Bloomberg:
Verizon Wireless, the carrier for the device, had 200,000 Droid phones on hand, and most stores sold at least half of their stock, Mark McKechnie at Broadpoint AmTech Inc. said yesterday. Including other models, Motorola will sell 1 million phones based on Google Inc.’s Android software in the fourth quarter and 10 million in 2010, he said.
Motorola and Verizon are competing against a new version of Apple’s iPhone, offered in the U.S. through AT&T Inc. Apple sold more than 1 million of the latest model in its weekend debut in June. Motorola’s share of the global phone market dropped to an estimated 4.7 percent last quarter from about 5.5 percent in the second quarter, the company said last month.
Earlier today I wrote about Samsung's new mobile OS and its rumored adoption of Android (and its own OS) at the expense of Windows Mobile -- and Symbian. And speaking of Nokia, today it began shipping the much anticipated N900 "mobile computer," which is also a phone.
Om Malik gave a mixed but upbeat review of the device and in a blog post today GigaOM tentatively suggested that this Maemo 5 handset "may be a first step in reversing its fortunes." I'm here to say that assessment is incorrect and that the device -- in the US at least -- is very unlikely to succeed.
First it doesn't offer a strong enough user experience from what I can tell. And priced at €500 (almost US$750) there's absolutely no chance it will succeed as a mainstream device without a major carrier subsidy. The de facto price ceiling for smartphones (with operator subsidy) is $200. That figure will be used to judge the N900 when it makes it to the US. That means it must have a pretty aggressive subsidy to be competitive. Even with such a subsidy it will have difficulty competing.
The Nokia brand has limited value (after years of neglect) in the US and there are very few apps that Nokia's Ovi store offers:
Source: news reports and company documents
It doesn't matter that there are no apps; it's a handheld PC, a "mobile computer" right? Netbooks cost less than this device and thus people with that mindset ("I want a mobile computer") will likely buy a netbook before they buy an N900. As a smartphone it will lose to the iPhone and Android in terms of brand, UX and consumer appeal.
Accordingly, this is not the device that will turn Nokia's fortunes around in the US or probably at "home" in Europe. Indeed, at a conference in Europe last week I heard a number of people discuss how they had left Nokia for the iPhone and how Nokia was "falling behind." That was the phrase they used. These comments are isolated and anecdotal but I consider them to be significant because they were from people who had generally be loyal to Nokia until now.
I've argued in the past that Nokia's "way back" in the US market lies in cheap but reasonably high functioning smartphones to develop mass appeal, as a springboard for other product launches. However even that may be foreclosed to Nokia with the likes of the Droid Eris at $99 and a $99 iPhone, not to mention sub $200 BlackBerry devices). Because its operating systems are not as strong as competitors' it will have difficulty competing at the high end. A radical step would be to try and acquire a Palm and simply throw Symbian and Maemo away.
Nokia retains global handset and smartphone leadership but its share continues to erode.
Korean-based Samsung is the second largest mobile handset maker after Nokia. Today the company announced that it too is creating an "open mobile platform" -- bada. According to the press release out this morning:
The name ‘bada’, which means ‘ocean’ in Korean, was chosen to convey the limitless variety of potential applications which can be created using the new platform. It also alludes to Samsung’s commitment to a variety of open platforms in the mobile industry. Samsung bada also represents the fresh challenges and opportunities available to developers, as well as the entertainment which consumers will enjoy once the new platform is open.
Based on Samsung’s experience in developing previous proprietary platforms on Samsung mobile phones, Samsung can create the new platform and provide opportunities for developers. Samsung bada is also simple for developers to use, meaning it’s one of the most developer-friendly environments available, particularly in the area of applications using Web services. Lastly, bada’s ground-breaking User Interface (UI) can be transferred into a sophisticated and attractive UI design for developers.
Samsung will be able to expand the range of choices for mobile phone users to enjoy the smartphone experiences. By adopting Samsung bada, users will be able to easily enjoy various applications on their mobile.
It's not entirely clear but Samsung seems to be saying that bada will include smartphones and non-smartphones:
More and more people want rich and connected application-experiences that are currently available only for smartphone consumers. Samsung has developed bada to make these exclusive smartphone experiences available to everyone.
Another mobile OS doesn't make a lot of sense, given how many already exist and the market's willingness to only support a handful of them. Still, Samsung as the number two handset maker might find some success . . .
Separately there's speculation, based on an HMC Investment Securities report, that Samsung will dramatically reduce its reliance on Windows Mobile as a smartphone OS over the next several years:
While Samsung is the second-largest handset maker in the world, its smartphone share is 4th or 5th. The chart above (which again is speculative, based on the aforementioned report) shows Windows Mobile declining as a mobile OS from roughly 90% of Samsung smartphones to about 20% in 2012, with Android growing -- and presumably "bada" as well.
You're probably overwhelmed (and maybe even bored) by all the stories comparing Droid vs. iPhone, which usually include speculation about whether Droid will truly challenge the iPhone or whether it's finally the "iPhone Killer." It's not an iPhone killer. However an interesting angle that has not been extensively discussed is the gender angle of the two devices.
Droid (from Verizon) is definitely being marketed to "dudes." As a case-in-point see the following sci-fi-oriented commercial:
Now compare data from the "iPhone Moms" study by ad network Greystripe (based on US surveys collected between July and September, n=279):
Reflecting on these two devices, it's pretty clear that the iPhone has broader appeal to women (and perhaps moms in particular). Of course there are lots of men who have the iPhone -- in fact more men than women own the device. However the iPhone is much more "chick friendly" than "Droid," which by its name and marketing is cultivating male-geek appeal. I wonder if someone will try and develop an Android device directed toward women.
Thanks to Microsoft, Internet2Go was given an HTC Pure handset loaded with Windows Mobile 6.5 to play around with. There are a number of exhaustive reviews out there already describing the features and functions – and debating the platform’s improvements, or lack thereof – so I won’t go into much detail, but I wanted to provide a few quick thoughts about the experience.
The “Today” screen is a marked improvement in clarity and navigability compared to the home screen found in Windows 6.1. Icons for applications are arranged in a staggered layout -- theoretically to provide easier finger touchpoints – allowing quick access to contacts, messaging, camera, Office Mobile, and more. And not having to scroll through a Start menu or communications manager (as I do now with my T-Mobile Dash) was a breath of fresh air.
For mobile search, three separate options appear on the Today screen: Internet Explorer, Opera, and MobileWeb (which opens an Opera browser, landing at MediaNET, AT&T’s deck). In my testing, I found Opera to be a superior experience in terms of loading pages faster and became a preferred browser. While there is no multi-touch screen sensitivity, the navigation is relatively intuitive with obvious icons for possible actions and a suitable virtual keypad.
The addition of the Windows Marketplace app store is, of course, a simple necessity in keeping up with what’s expected in a smartphone experience today. Apps are appropriately arranged by “Categories,” “Most popular,” “What’s new,” etc. but inventory is clearly only a fraction of what’s found in the Apple app store. Interestingly, Microsoft’s own Bing app does not come preloaded on the HTC device and is included among the “Most popular” apps, but down a scroll or two. The free, downloaded app is essentially what Live Search is on the Windows 6.1 platform.
And as Greg Sterling pointed out, I could not find any reference to Tellme anywhere while navigating on the device, though the Bing app does provide a voice input option.