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“Scotty More Power” – Users Love the iPhone Blackberry and Portable Devices and Applications January 28, 2009

Posted by John in Technology.
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by Anton Wahlman

With the Blackberry app store launching by the end of March 2009, a
dramatic new problem will emerge with full force: Where is the
application memory to run these new applications? In order to
understand the magnitude of this problem, we have to look at the
mother of all app store pioneers: Apple (AAPL) and the iPhone.

Ask almost any iPhone user what excites them about the iPhone, and
almost all of them answer immediately that it’s the app store, with
many thousands of apps available. Many iPhone users have page after
page after page worth of applications that they have downloaded. It
seems like iPhone users install dozens and dozens of applications, and
I don’t see any signs of abatement. We may be entering a situation
where most iPhone users love their platform so much because they have
hundreds of applications running.

The Blackberry app store is being launched for the obvious reason that
it’s becoming the critical tool in the competitive tool kit. Without a
vibrant developer community, it’s very difficult to compete. The
analogy with the PC world is pretty strong, and possibly even stronger
given that location-based services generate so many more application
possibilities that aren’t as meaningful in the PC world. Here is the
problem: An iPhone has 8 gig or 16 gig worth of memory, compared to a
Blackberry, which has 64, 96, 128 or 256 meg worth of app memory,
depending on the model. Yes, I know these numbers are not perfectly
“apples to blackberries” (no pun intended), because Blackberry has an
expansion card slot and the iPhone doesn’t, and so forth. But keep in
mind that the Blackberry’s expansion memory is for multimedia
(pictures, music, etc) storage, not for running apps or even
containing things such as the address book that synchronizes with
Outlook. One can also argue that an iPhone typically contains a lot
more multimedia than most Blackberries, but Blackberries also synch
with iTunes for DRM-free content, so that gap should narrow as
awareness of this ability grows.

Those caveats aside, the SMALLEST iPhone (8 gig) has 32x the
application memory of the LARGEST Blackberry (256 meg for the 8900
model). The manner in which most users will feel this dramatic 32x
difference is in the ability to install new apps. Clearly, while some
Blackberry apps have tended to carry a small memory footprint, one of
the attractions of the iPhone is that those apps are very rich in
their appearance and functionality, so in order to compete, Blackberry
apps may have to become larger in order to be competitive.

What does this mean? It looks like this clash of Blackberry’s app
store vs the very small app memory will mean many unsatisfied users
who will be lighting up the customer service switchboards like a
Christmas Tree. Many people aren’t likely to understand why they can’t
download/install/run all of these new apps, and their devices could
start to freeze up, and their old emails and instant messaging
conversation could be wiped to free up memory.

This is both a challenge and an opportunity for RIM (RIMM). The
challenge will be all the unhappy customers calling to complain about
the lack of ability of their current devices. The opportunity will be
to start selling new Blackberries with an app footprint equal to, or
greater than, the iPhone. Such a “forced upgrade cycle” is not free,
and it is unclear how consumers will react to this. Either way, for
Blackberry to go from 256 meg or less worth of app memory in its
devices, to 16 gig and more – a 64x increase – will mark Blackberry’s
most important generational shift in the company’s history.

The installed Blackberry base is now approximately 20 million. Ask
yourself: How many of these will use the Blackberry app store as the
excuse to go to another platform such as iPhone, Android and Palm,
versus how many will upgrade to another Blackberry containing some 64x
more memory than your current Blackberry?

Story About My Boy Alec – Kids Don’t Use The Phone Anymore November 4, 2008

Posted by John in social media, Technology.
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Today Alex Pham of LA Times wrote a story about the iphone and games.  She quoted me talking about my son (my boy) Alec.

She writes … Within days of buying his iPhone, John Furrier discovered that his 13-year-old son, Alec, was sneaking off with the device and downloading games. To reclaim his phone, Furrier had to buy his son an iPod Touch, which Alec quickly filled up with Pac-Man, Magic 8 Ball and dozens of other games.

“When he’s not playing on his Xbox 360, he’s playing on the iPod,” said Furrier, a 43-year-old entrepreneur and blogger in Palo Alto.

What I want to expand on is the new user trend for Digital Natives – they hate talking on the phone.  They are a generation of asynchonous users.  Screw talking just SMS or wait for the next incoming message or signal.  I polled 10 kids in middle school – 8 out of 10 admit they don’t use their phone – only to call their parents.

80% !! Granted this is Palo Alto, CA – but it is a leading indicator that the new definition of portable isn’t phone – opps sorry all you Unified Communications nutjobs out there.

It’s data not voice.  I’ll just leave it like that.  The iPhone phenom will continue to disrupt and now Android will accelerate it.

iPhone Apps – Plug and Serve from NewsGator October 21, 2008

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I’ve been watching talking to big media companies about social media for many moon and one thing is clear – they want the best capability to get their stuff out there. Except they don’t want to invest a ton of money to validate the business model.

This is why Jeff Nolan’s post about NewsGator’s new service makes sense. Now companies can leverage their content feeds (plus add others) to deliver a solution to users on the iPhone.
By private labeling Newsgator service companies can deliver a fast iPhone app.

IPhone apps and soon to be Android apps will be the standard for portable computing.

Here at Jeff’s two reasons why he’s excited

There are two reasons why this is an exciting development. First and foremost, media brands have an absolute requirement to extend their presence to the places where people are consuming content and mobile is just one of those places. Building a better website is by itself no longer a strategy for expanding audience and advertising revenue, moving out to mobile is a compelling option for any media site, large or small. The iPhone has dramatically reshaped the mobile marketplace and it’s because of iTunes more than any other factor, we now have a merchandising mechanism for moving apps down the pipe to end users and this is hugely important.

The second reason this is exciting is that developing iPhone apps, or any mobile app for that matter, is complex and expensive. Go out and try to hire iPhone app developers today, good ones are very difficult to find and the market is super competitive, all of which conspire to make iPhone app development a steep hill to climb for media companies. They will invariably end up going with custom development that gives them little in the way of content control and then carries with it the risk of alienating their audience with a less than compelling application that they also have to support.

Our branded iPhone application program not only overcomes the challenges that media companies face with mobile app development, but we also host it for them and that removes a big operational challenge from their equation. We host it, provide our proven content management capabilities and all for a reasonable cost of a one time setup fee and a monthly hosting fee based on the number of downloads per month. We also handle insertion into iTunes App Store and have a best practices approach that clients can follow for predictable success.

Crack Pipe Alert – Friendfeed iPhone Interface July 1, 2008

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Services like Twiter once again prove that addiction lives for Internet conversations. Then Friendfeed launches this year. Friendfeed is crack and now they launch the ‘crack pipe’ for their users. Friendfeed is addictive and their interface was mainly on PC. I’ve complained that their interface needs work and they have been busy on that but now they give us an iphone interface – the proverbial ‘crack pipe’ for internet conversation junkies.

Brett Taylor posts the news on the Friendfeed blog. He says “When you visit friendfeed.com in your iPhone browser, you will get the new interface automatically”

The FriendFeed iPhone interface looks a lot like the standard FriendFeed interface, but the font sizes, graphics, and forms have been tweaked to make it easier to use on the iPhone.

If you decide you want the standard FriendFeed interface on your iPhone, you can get to it by clicking the “Normal (non-iPhone) interface” link at the bottom of any page. Your preference will be saved, so it’s easy to stick with the old interface if you choose to.

Friendfeed has a ton of potential but it poses a ‘job risk’. In talking to normal web users they think that Friendfeed is to distracting to getting their jobs done. For me it is a great way to track conversations.

Friendfeed will play (I think) a valuable role in the emerging social media marketing landscape. If they get their data sets correct they can pose a risk to algorithmic content and conversation search.

MG has a great writeup.

Social Everything: Interaction and Integration – The Future of Social Networks and Media March 7, 2008

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For the past three years I’ve been working with over 40 corporate advertisers in developing, testing, deploying, and measuring social media. I’ve discovered many things and learning more everyday.  As I am documenting my findings I have to highlight Charline Li’s post from yesterday.

Charlene Li has a great post on her views of Social Graphs and business models. It’s about “Social Everything”.

The big trend in Charlene’s post is that social individuals, groups, networks, graphs are great, but they still don’t connect to real world value. This linchpin to real world benefits is where I have the vision for social everything – it’s about collaboration. Virtual activity is highly productive, but seems to dead end when translating and scaling to real world offline benefits.

If you have been one of the 10k people following my blog you know where I stand and have a sense of what I’m working on for my next venture- Social Advertising, Social Media, Social Graph, Social Everything.   Charlene’s post reasonated with alot of my findings and the direction that I’m heading.  Here are some nice gems in Charlene’s post:

“.. the idea of social graphs being “owned” by different social networks makes no sense. Yet, all of today’s social networks build their business model and competitive advantage on having the largest, most complete social graph. The result: I have a close colleague who enjoys exploring all of the new social networks and “friends” me on all of them, figuring I’m a pretty good person to have in his new network. In a world with a single social graph, he would be able to import his existing personal, social graph into any new service, and immediately begin enjoying the new service without having to wait for his friends to catch up. And I would be spared the insanity of having to accept his umpteenth “friend” invitation!….In a world of a single social graph, social networks will have to compete on the basis of creating the best experience for its members – not because it controls a unique social graph.”….

…”The brilliance of Facebook Platform is that it greatly expanded what people could do on social networks. The problem is that what people do is still pretty limited. Take a look at the top applications on Facebook – they can be roughly grouped into 1) managing/comparing/interacting with friends in a general context; 2) self-expression (FunWall, Bumper Sticker); 3) games; and 4) media preferences (iLike, Flikster). These are all fun and interesting, but they only begin to scratch the surface of what I do every day.”….

…”A business model where social influence defines marketing value. Today’s advertising models don’t work on social networking sites – that’s because simply targeting better on profile or social graph details is still the same old media model of CPM and CPC pricing. What’s missing is marketing value based on how valuable I am in the context of my influence. For example, Steve Rubel is a highly influential person because he is an authority on social media, the people in his social graph tend to interested in his views, and they in turn have a great deal of authority as well. (Several people came up to me after the speech and said that this is similar to a “PageRank of people”, a very easy way to crystallize the idea.)

This means that each person will have their own “personal CPM”, an idea I heard JWT‘s Marian Salzman discuss at a private event in February (here are more details on the JWT’s Top Trends for 2008). The idea is that marketers want to reach highly influential people, and hopefully curry their endorsements. This has traditionally been the province of public relations, where they reach out to key influencers. But in the world of social networks, this is influence writ large and wide – every person has their own network of influence, and hence, their own personal CPM or value that they contribute to a social network.

..”There are several start-ups as well as established agencies that are already looking at marketing, brokering, measuring, etc. social influence, so you can expect to hear more about this topic soon. But don’t expect advertising spending to quickly embrace social influence – after all, the vast majority of ad budgets are spent by media buyers who still cleave to the tried and true reach and frequency, CPM models.”

Why is this relevant? Because as pointed out yesterday by industry visionaries, the iPhone SDK announcement represents the biggest trend since the PC revolution – socially connected individuals, groups, and media are at the heart of this new revolution.

Social Everything includes devices (iphone) to connect to networks (open social + social graphs) to consume media and information (social media). Users love it and so advertisers will soon have solutions – hopefully provided by us entrepreneurs.

Apple iPhone SDK for Developers – Steve Jobs Presentation March 7, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
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Apple® today previewed its iPhone™ 2.0 software, scheduled for release this June, and announced the immediate availability of a beta release of the software to selected developers and enterprise customers. The iPhone 2.0 beta release includes both the iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK) as well as new enterprise features such as support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync to provide secure, over-the-air push email, contacts and calendars as well as remote wipe, and the addition of Cisco IPsec VPN for encrypted access to private corporate networks.

The bid deal here:  Answer to the Blackberry which dominates the enterprise. 

Apple announced that is targeting enterprise customers with a wealth of new feature on the iPhone. The iPhone will now support push email/calendar/contacts, global address lists, Cisco IPsec VPN, Certificates and Identities, WPA2/802.11x and remote wipe. In addition, Apple is bringing the oft-requested support for Microsoft Exchange via Microsoft ActiveSync — Apple licensed ActiveSync specifically for this purpose.

Another big bombshell is the KPCB $100 million dollar fund for entrepreneurs who build ontop of the iPhone SDK.   The applications developed by iphone 3rd party developers will be available for free or for a fee in Apple’s Appstore.  Great move by KPCB.  Lets just hope they don’t do what Facebook did – open up grant money and piss off every developer on the planet with high expectations.

Apple just continues to execute.  They are making Google’s android project look feable.  Note: the iphone VC fund is 10x the size of Google android.  Plus word on the street is that Android is all vaporware with Microsoft locking up all the intellectual property via the danger acquisition – I hope that isn’t the case.  I am a big fan of Google’s open approach across their businesses – another post for another day.

Today it’s all about Apple and Developers. 

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