Mobile opportunities

GeeknRollaI had an enjoyable day yesterday at TechCrunch Europe‘s GeeknRolla event – a conference for techy startups. There was lots of discussion about what the next big thing might be (no-one really knows) and how to get funding from venture capitalists (it’s really hard).

One of the most interesting and useful sessions from my perspective was the one on mobile platforms, by Ewan McLeod of Mobile Industry Review.

Ewan really put into perspective the mobile landscape in terms of who is using what – with an emphasis on the fact that the iPhone isn’t the only platform developers should be concentrating on. Nokia, and their Symbian operating system, dominates. The problem is that it’s harder and more expensive to develop for, and doesn’t offer the great user experience that the iPhone offers.

For public services, where accessing as many people as possible is the major issue, platforms other than the fashionable ones need to be seriously considered when developing native mobile applications.

I took some rough notes during the talk, which I have reproduced below with some minor edits for spelling and tidiness. A much better written summary of the session is on TechCrunch itself, and I have embedded the slides too, which are full of goodness.

My notes

  • 4.6 billion mobile subscribers on earth (1.6 billion tvs for instance)
  • Nokia 36%, Samsung 19% of total sales
  • Smartphone OSs: Symbian 47%, RIM 20%, iPhone 14%, Windows 9%, Android 4% (last year)
  • UK – 19 million handsets sold last year
  • Only iphone and android seems to have most developer interest. Symbian etc less elegant but popular with consumers!
  • Is developing on iphone the new “buying IBM”?
  • Do a deal with a handset manufacturer – great way to get succeed. Alternatively the mobile operators.
  • Get a trad. media conglomerate onboard
  • Build on an existing brand – whatever it is, as long as it appeals to consumers
  • Advertise on admob and getjar – v popular tho there are others
  • A mention in the Times is good for 10k downloads or more
  • QT new nokia development platform
  • iPhone devleopment is easier than android.
  • Clients only ask for iphone and brands want consumers to have a great experience
  • Other platforms are more difficult and possibly expensive to develop for. User experience can be mixed. But the numbers! The numbers!
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Dave Briggs

I'm an experienced senior manager in digital and ICT, looking for interim engagements to modernise technology teams to help organisations transform.

2 thoughts on “Mobile opportunities”

  1. I think these figures can be a bit misleading really – while Nokia still dominates the handset market worldwide it does so mainly off the back of its lower end phones on which the mobile internet is a stretch at the best of times.

    iPhones and Android phones (plus Blackberry) make up a huge % of the actual amount of mobile internet activity that is happening according to most stats I’ve seen and that plus a successful infrastructure to distribute (and sell) their apps seems to be why developers focus on them.

  2. I dunno Matt… I suspect it might be a bit chicken and egg. Even in terms of smartphone OSs, Symbian is a major player in terms of numbers of users. As you say though, all these Nokia owners aren’t using it much to access online services.

    Now, why is that? Is there an argument to say that they don’t use apps because nobody has developed any good ones, and that the developers won’t build anything cool because nobody uses apps on Symbian?

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