Monday, February 28, 2011

WP7 gets games boost; increases free apps allowance for developers

No comments on professional proprietary grounds

Feb 25, 20111

Microsoft has announced a new lineup of games for Windows Phone 7 (WP7). According to the company’s Windows Phone blog, it will launch six new games for WP7-based handsets in the Spring. This includes Angry Birds, which has already proved extremely popular on rival smartphone platforms. The other five releases are Doodle Jump, Plants vs Zombies; Hydro Thunder Go; Sonic the Hedgehog 4, Episode 1; and geoDefense.  All will be available in the Windows Phone Marketplace from 6 April.

The company has pushed gaming hard as an attraction on WP7, trying to steal some of the casual gaming cachet away from the iPhone. At WP7’s launch, it offered 63 gaming titles. In addition, it is trying to leverage some of the strength of the Xbox brand into the mobile market. The blog mentions that the six new games are “all Xbox Live friendly, featuring achievements, leaderboards and more”.

Separately, Microsoft announced that it has increased the limit on the number of free app submissions developers are allowed from five to 100. The announcement was made in the developer newsletter for the Windows Phone Marketplace. “This should raise the quality of paid but cheap — as in $0.99 apps — while increasing the quantity of free applications in the marketplace,” concludes the Geeksmack blog.

Google tightens reins on in-app purchases

Finally we see Google enforcing some rules and discipline in its apps market place ! Monetisation on the Android market remains a challenge given the lack of operator billing and limuted support for Google Check-out internationally.

25 February 2011

Google pulled a visual voicemail app developed by PhoneFusion from its Android Market for violation of its terms and conditions, which GigaOm suggests may be related to the app’s use of in-app payments that are not processed through Google Checkout. According to the report, PhoneFusion was told it had violated “section 3.3” of the Android Market Developer Distribution Agreement, which covers pricing and payments and which clearly states that “all fees received by developers for products distributed via the Market must be processed by the Market’s payment processor.” While the app, Visual VoiceMail, is free, the company offers supporting services such as voicemail translation, an ad-free variant, and fax capabilities, through its own website.

The parallel was drawn with Apple, which has recently taken action to ensure that developers do not look to in-app purchases using alternative payment mechanisms to cut it out of the value chain. It has been reported that Apple is facing investigation by regulators on both sides of the Atlantic, to see whether its actions are anti-competitive.

Previously, Android Market has been perceived as a less regulated environment than Apple’s App Store. However, at Mobile World Congress earlier this month, a number of developers expressed their dissatisfaction with the options available for monetising apps sold through Android Market. Factors cited included the limited availability of operator billing support, and the limited penetration of Google Checkout internationally. This has led to developers investigating alternative options, even if this has meant cutting Google from the value chain.

One area where Google does not have the same level of control as Apple is that Android device owners are presented with multiple stores, which provide developers with an alternative path to subscribers – several high profile products have launched initially with independent retailer GetJar, for example, and this company recently stated that it will focus on expanding its Android activities moving forward.

India Fashion Retail Portals

Event-based online sales for a limited time period giving members an opportunity to buy fashion-wear, accessories, lifestyle products, sportswear and gear, electronics and even furniture at members-only prices that are up to 70% off label prices.

Fashionandyou, 99labels, Brandmile, DesiCouture and Privatesales are some of the portals with traction.

Investment action in the e-commerce space is heating up with several deals in the recent past. raised $8 million from Sequoia Capital India,, a flash sale website offering high-end products in areas like Indian fashion and home decor, raised $2.8 million from Accel Partners and Helion Venture Partners while Jasper Innovative Marketing Solutions, which owns the group buying portal, raised $12 million in a series B financing from Nexus Venture Partners and existing investor IndoUS Venture Partners among others.

FB = "Start" button for the internet ??

With OEMs like HTC now having a Facebook button on their phones is FB almost becoming a “start” button for the Internet with chat,photoshare, news,social games,ecommerce,etc. rolled in. 

FB is delivering everything & the way it has not been done before!

Caris Analyst Sandeep Aggarwal On Me-Too Internet Models, Group Buying

Deepening and widening of internet usage + coming explosion of mobile internet triggered by 3G, aggressive data pricing, more capable & affordable handsets. This will create a plethora of opportunities for start-ups across verticals = India is about to hit the Internet Tipping Point!

India Internet offers the India growth story, very favourable demographics, rapidly growing middle-class, and under penetrated Internet economy — these are too compelling themes to ignore!!

Video Streaming Enabler Jigsee Raises Series A Round From Indian Angel

Challenged to see the uniqueness currently. What is it on YouTube that I cant do for example that this would enable ? Whats the content aggregation plan - formal or UGC ? Social Network integration - Scope ? What the proprietary tech that makes this unique in terms of serving up on lower end phones and poor data connectivity ?

Rajan Anandan, 2 Others Invest In Dating Site Ignighter

Challenging model in India given the junk we see on chatting and SN sites. Apart from monetization and settlement, the bigger challenge here lies in filtering the audience.

MIH Group Naspers Arm Buys Majority Stake In Auto Portal Firm Gaadi

The online auto classifieds space continues in overvdrive ! 

My view is that while there exists tremendous potential, it will take 2-3 years for businesses to significantly scale. Other issues to deal with are settlement and the fact that in India this is a category with high consumer involvement

EBay India Launches “Super Optimised” Mobile Site; SMS Price Check Facility

Needed but would be good to see the traction this receives in India in terms of additional biz via mobile transactions.

My view is that the mobile will initially largely be used for discovery and notification.

February 24, 2011 | Preethi J, VCCircle

Humans Are The Routers

Amazing to see the internet and SN in particular starting to wield the power of the crowds to bring down well entrenched repressive regimes

Shervin Pishevar 

On January 7, 2010 I was ushered into a small private dinner with Secretary Hillary Clinton at the State Department along with the inventor of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google and a few others. We were there to talk about technology and 21st Century Diplomacy. As we mingled I noticed next to me the small table that Thomas Jefferson wrote the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence. I was inspired by the history around us as we discussed the unfolding history before us. I was sitting in front of Secretary Clinton and when she asked me a question I said, “Secretary Clinton, the last bastion of dictatorship is the router.” That night seeded some of the ideas that were core to Secretary Clinton’s important Internet Freedoms Speech on January 21, 2010.
Fast forward almost exactly one year later to January 25, 2011—a day that shall live in history in the company of dates like July 4, 1776. Egypt’s decision to block the entire Internet and mobile telecommunications network was one of the first salvos in a war of electronic munitions. In this new frontier humans are the routers and armed with new technologies they can never be blocked or silenced again.
I was staying up for days sharing and tweeting information as they happened. I had two close personal friends of mine in Egypt who were passing me information when they could. The day Egypt blocked the internet and mobile networks my mind went back to what I had said to Secretary Clinton. The only line of defense against government filtering and blocking their citizens from freely communicating and coordinating via communication networks was to create a new line of communications technologies that governments would find hard to block: Ad hoc wireless mesh networks. I called the idea OpenMesh and tweeted it.

Within hours through crowdsourced volunteer efforts the OpenMesh Project was alive complete with domain name, website and forum. One volunteer, Gary Jay Brooks, a tech entrepreneur from Michigan, stepped up to lead the effort as a volunteer Executive Director. Another company from Canada volunteered to donate their specs for a tiny mobile router, that could be hidden in a pocket, and would cost only $90 per unit for us to make. Another well known communications pioneer stepped up to donate some important patents in this space.
OpenMesh’s basic idea is that we could use some new techniques to create a secondary wireless Internet in countries like Libya, Syria, Iran, North Korea and other repressive regimes to allow citizens to communicate freely. By creating mobile routers that connect together we could create a wireless network that mobile phones and personal computers can connect to. The first priority would be to have the people connect together and the second priority is for them to connect to the world. One the second front, we could use intermittent satellite internet connections so people in those nations could upload and download information with the rest of the world. Openmesh aims to be a clearinghouse for the best ideas out there to connect and get products out into the hands of people.
Open Mesh networking is a type of networking wherein each connected node in the network may act as an independent router or “smart” device, regardless of whether it has an Internet connection or not. Mesh networks are incredibly robust, with continuous connections that can reconfigure around broken or blocked paths by “hopping” from node to node until the destination is reached, such as another device on the network or connecting to an Internet back haul. When there is local Internet available, they can amplify the number of people who can connect to it. When there isn’t, mesh networks can allow people to communicate with each other in the event that other forms of electronic communication are broken down. Devices consist of most wifi enabled computers and run on existing Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X, and Linux systems along with iPhone and Android mobile devices. An open source mesh network further offers a scalable solution that retains low costs while avoiding path dependencies and vendor lock-in. Combined with open hardware, these networks facilitate long-term maintenance flexibility and improvements.
We will be establishing, building, maintaining, and distributing a common Open Source Mesh software/firmware that will allow citizens of the world to commonly communicate without telephone or cable companies. The raw product will free to download and free of charge. The technology will be released and maintained as Open Source GPL V2 project. This means that anyone can use or change the software. Our job as a community will be to maintain this project. We will help to build standards. We will help communities build mesh networks. We will lobby equipment manufactures to join the Open Mesh Project initiative. The idea all revolves around wireless technology that will allow us to connect and communicate with each other without telephone lines, cable, or fiber. We will build private networks that can span countries. We will empower the citizens of tomorrow. At the end of the day a grandmother might find this disk on the street, walk into the house, install a CD on her laptop and join the mesh cloud with 2 clicks. After joining the mesh she starts to see others in her network, clicks to call others in the mesh, joins group calls, or searches for friends online to dial. We as the community will facilitate the building, offering, and support for this project. We will all build 1 common mesh. We invite people to participate and to offer new innovations. Working together we can secure tomorrows communications needs.
Free communications is an essential human right. The 21st Century will be defined by the idea that no Government, no power shall ever block or filter the right of all men and women to communicate together again. It is my dream that within my lifetime that dictatorship shall be banished from this planet and unfiltered and true democracy shall flourish everywhere. It is time that our Faustian bargains with brutal dictators for short-term concerns end and a new covenant directly made with citizens everywhere seeking freedom will take its place. OpenMesh is a first step to help create a world where such a covenant can take hold in a world where brave people armed with new electronic tools can never be blocked or silenced ever again.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Groupon India’s Strategy Revealed, And It’s A Big Deal

The group buying model in India while holding out tremendous promise faces several challenges, amongst them being -

  • Retail and the services sector being largely unorganised in India
  • Lack of retail chains
  • Lack of key verticals/segments (toursim, activities, theater, etc.) in India
  • Both of the above affecting the deal's funnel as the last thing you want to do is also have to promote the brand
  • Settlement due to limited proliferation and usage of credit cards particularly online

Monday, February 21, 2011

Facebook's Web of Frenemies

Februrary 15, 2010

Facebook Inc.'s growing ambitions are redrawing battle lines in Silicon Valley.

As the seven-year-old company ramps up its hiring and adds new features to its social network, it is disrupting the businesses of established companies like Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc. and putting even more Internet firms on notice.

Facebook, which has more than 600 million users and was valued at $50 billion in a recent funding round, is grabbing online-advertising from Yahoo, Myspace and others. The social network is a potential rival in electronic payments to eBay Inc.'s PayPal, while partnerships Facebook is cementing with smartphone makers set the stage for competition with Apple Inc. and Google in mobile services.

Facebook's growing ambitions are re-drawing battle lines in Silicon Valley, with big established companies and startups alike considering how to work with -- yet maintain some independence -- from the tech juggernaut. WSJ's Geoffrey Fowler talks with Stacey Delo. Image courtesy of AP.

More @

Mary Meeker (KPCB) : Top Mobile Internet Trends

The 1st internet report by Mary Meeker in her new avtaar @ Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
  • Mobile Platforms Hit Critical Mass
    • iPods Changed the Media Industry…iPhones Ramped Even Faster…iPad Growth Leaves its “Siblings” in the Dust - 14+ Mn in three qtrs
    • iTunes Changed the Media Industry…App Store Growth Leaves it in the Dust - 10 bn download of apps from iTunes in first ten qtrs
    • Android has Hit Critical Mass - Cumulative shipments of ~ 75 Mn since launch
    • Smartphone + Tablet > PC Shipments Since CQ4:10
  • Mobile is Global
    • 5 Countries = 46% of Internet Users – China, USA, Russia, Brazil, India
    • 35% Y/Y Global Mobile 3G Subscriber Growth to ~726MM, CQ3
  • Social Networking Accelerating Growth of Mobile
    • Different Types of Platforms = Facebook (Social) + Apple (Mobile) + Google (Search)
    • Emerging Types of Social Networks - Gaming (Zynga), Info Sharing (Twitter), Commerce (Groupon)…More to Come
    • Zynga Proves that Great New Social Products for ‘Old’ Users Can Ramp Extremely Quickly
    • Real-Time Social Features Accelerating Mobile Usage Growth - Sharing + Location + Friending + Communication...
  • Time Shifting to Mobile Usage
    • Japan Social Networking Trends Show Importance of Mobile – Mixi Mobile Page Views = 85% vs. 14% 4.5 Years Ago
    • 60% of Time Spent on Smartphones is New Activity for Mobile Users
    • Global Mobile Data Traffic Should Grow 26x Over Next 5 Years with video contributing to 65=% of the total
    • Strong Mobile Trends for Leading Social Companies
  • Mobile Advertising – Growing Pains But Huge Promise
    • So Far, Difficult to Build Consistent Mobile Ad Revenue Owing to Lumpy Buys, Need for More Premium Advertisers
    • Yet the Efficacy of Mobile Ads vs. Other Media is Compelling
    • Media Time Spent vs. Ad Spend Still Out of Whack
    • Advertising $s Follow Eyeballs – Ad Revenue per User = $46 in 2009E vs. $0 in 1994E
    • Google Paid Clicks & Cost-Per-Click Continue to Accelerate…Mobile Search as a Key Driver?
    • New & More Powerful Ad Units are Rolling Out Quickly in Mobile…\
    • …And Many Brands are Testing
    • Branded Virtual Goods & Sponsorships are Impactful
    • Smartphones Can Make TV Interactive
  • mCommerce – Changing Shopping Behavior
    • Online Commerce Gaining Share vs. Offline – Online at ~5% of USA Retail, Mobile Should Get to Same Level Much Faster
    • Mobile Revolutionizing Commerce – With Constant Product Improvements
    • Mobile Shopping Apps - Changing Behavior + Driving Revenue & ROI For Retail Partners
    • Mobile Devices + Services Driving New Ways to Shop
  • Emergence of Virtual Goods & In-App Commerce
    • Virtual Goods = $2B Market in USA
    • What Are Virtual Goods Anyway? - In-game currency, subscription codes, weapons, wearables, power-ups, virtual gifts, maps/levels
    • Monetization Shift From Paid Downloads To Virtual Goods Has Been Profound For Many Developers
    • Powerful Shift to Ad & Virtual Good Monetization from Initial Pay per Download Models
    • Gaming Elements = Key to Success For Many Mobile / Social Applications
  • Not All Platforms Are Created Equal
    • Global Smartphones – Huge Android + iPhone Growth
    • Differences in Platform Engagement – Internet + App Usage Massively Higher on Android + iOS
    • Platform Differences Can Significantly Impact Monetization - Built-in Billing & In-App Commerce are Key
  • Change Will Accelerate, New Players Emerging Rapidly
    • Global Public Internet Companies – Reflection on Changes Over Last 6 Years
    • New Computing Cycle Characteristics Reduce Usage Friction Via Better Processing Power + Improved User Interface + Smaller Form Factor + Lower Prices + Expanded Services = 10x More Devices
    • Technology Wealth Creation/Destruction Cycles - New Companies Often Win Big in New Cycles While Incumbents Often Falter
    • iPhone + Android Apps for Nearly Everyone – Lots of Disintermediation Already…More to Come
  • Summary Trends to watch
    • Ubiquitous Computing – Real-time connectivity / 24x7 / in palm of hand
    • More Affordable – Device and data plan pricing falling
    • Faster – Networks and devices improving (owing to Moore’s Law)
    • Personal – Location / preferences / behavior
    • Fun to use – Social / casual / reward-driven marketing
    • Access nearly everything anywhere - “Stuff” in cloud
    • Explosion of apps and monetization – More and making more money
    • Measurable real-world activation - Driving foot traffic to physical stores
    • Reward / influence behavior in real-time - for exactly the right people
    • On the horizon – 2011 and Beyond:
      • HTML5 vs. downloadable apps
      • NFC (Near Field Communication) for payment / offers / loyalty
      • Consumer led mobile health for monitoring / diagnosis / wellness
      • Rapid enterprise adoption of tablets for productivity
      • Tipping Point – > 50% population in developed markets will have Smartphone
      • “SoLoMo” – Social / local / mobile converging
      • “Gamification” – Ultimate way to engage a new generation of audiences
      • Empowerment – impact of empowering billions of people around the world with real-time connected devices has just begun...

                                                                      MWC Update : Mega operators back LTE convergence

                                                                      Good initiative to align  the two LTE standards so as to derive further scale benefits and lower costs particularly in the case of TD-LTE

                                                                      15th Feb, 2010

                                                                      The world of LTE has undergone change with the announcement by a group of the world’s largest operators that they will support and promote the convergence of the two LTE standards, TD-LTE and FDD LTE.

                                                                      Speaking at the LTE TDD/FDD International Summit in Barcelona this afternoon, the chairmen of China Mobile, Bharti Airtel and Softbank outlined their enthusiastic support for an industry initiative to bring about the convergence of the TD and FDD variants.

                                                                      Commenting on the formation of the Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI), the chairman of China Mobile, Wang Jianzhou, said that converging TD and FDD would bring about an economy of scale that would have support from the global industry.

                                                                      The goal of GTI is to align all partners to build a strong and thriving TD-LTE ecosystem, promote the commercial deployment worldwide and provide the most economically mobile internet product.” Wang added that it was very important that the convergence followed a synchronised development path for both TD and FDD-LTE. “Therefore, we’re here today to initiate an open platform for TD-LTE for the global industry.”

                                                                      These messages were echoed by Sunil Mittal, chairman of India’s Bharti Airtel, adding that the formation of the GTI was a historic moment, but absolutely necessary. “This announcement may put the final nail into WiMAX’s coffin,” observed Mittal.

                                                                      The success of this planned convergence, according to Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of Softbank, would be due to lower costs and higher speeds. “That’s why we’re supporting TD-LTE for the next generation – it has lower cost, provides higher speeds and is more frequency efficient.”

                                                                      Son also pointed towards the importance of volumes when it comes to deciding what standard would gain acceptance. “Asia has two-thirds of the world’s population – so you can guess where the biggest volumes will be of the future.”

                                                                      The GTI, which is designed to run for two years and will work closely with the GSMA and NGMN organisations, also has the support of Vodafone, US WiMAX operator Clearwire, Area2 and E-Plus. Other operators and technology vendors interested in joining the convergence initiative would be welcomed, stated the GTI.

                                                                      MWC Update : NSN talks up TD-LTE for 2011

                                                                      Absolutely agree. 

                                                                      Feb 15, 2010

                                                                      TD-LTE technology will be a big industry driver this year, according to Rajeev Suri, CEO of Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), speaking at a press event intended to highlight the company’s turnaround during the last twelve months.“ We believe it [TD-LTE] will be bigger than most people think.  If you look at the globally available spectrum, there is a huge amount of unpaired spectrum available,” he said. The “great thing” about the technology he said is that it enables “WiMAX and TD-SCDMA operators to join the 3GPP family, and they can do so by utilising their existing spectrum.” FDD and TDD are “90 percent” harmonised in 3GPP, said Suri with resulting benefits such as common chipsets, roaming and networks sharing

                                                                      MWC Update : GetJar Secures US$25M

                                                                      Is the only independent app store with some traction

                                                                      Feb 16, 2010

                                                                      Independent app store GetJar yesterday announced it has raised US$25 million in Series C funding from Tiger Global Management, cash that it says will spearhead the company’s plans to “help publishers acquire Android users profitably.” GetJar plans to expand its offering to Android publishers in order to secure what it claims is its position as the “premier ‘open’ Android Market alternative,” while continuing to support other smartphone platforms such as BlackBerry and iOS

                                                                      MWC Update : HTC and Huawei announce tablets

                                                                      Both Huawei and HTC announced upcoming Android based tablet launches with HTC differentiating via skin (HTC Sense) and integration of video and online gaming service

                                                                      MWC Update : HTC forays into mobile services

                                                                      Feb 1, 2010

                                                                      HTC has announced HTC Watch, a video download service it said “enables low-cost on-demand progressive downloading of hundreds of high-definition movies from major studios.” It will also support cloud-based gaming services from OnLive, a company HTC recently made a significant investment in.

                                                                      MWC Update : Sorrell (WPP): app revenue “tip of the iceberg”

                                                                      Its an app world ! Who wouldnt want not to be speaking about apps !!

                                                                      February 16, 2010

                                                                      Martin Sorrell, CEO of advertising giant WPP, told Congress yesterday that “in terms of revenue generated through apps, we are still only touching the tip of the iceberg. The opportunity for growth is huge as smartphones get into the hands of masses.” According to Sorrell, the growth of mobile apps reflects changing media consumption habits among consumers. “Apps are a classic example of the shift from broadcast to multi-faceted engagement. They enable brands to connect to consumers at numerous touch points, whether in the home, when they are on their way to the shops, when they are in the shops, when they are standing at the shelves, and when they are standing at the tills.”

                                                                      MWC Update : Apps use second only to mobile messaging

                                                                      Interesting aggregation of stats (though not really new at least from my perspective). Apps are increasingly becoming a means to personalise your phone or represent your life's dashoard and hence distribution channels like apps stores to cater to individual including long tail requirements

                                                                      13 February 2011

                                                                      Mobile apps attract almost as much mobile device use as messaging, and exceed the totals for voice calls and web browsing, according to a January 2011 survey by Zokem Research.
                                                                      According to the study, commissioned by Wireless Intelligence, the research arm of the GSMA, mobile apps are responsible for 667 minutes of use per user each month, almost as much as messaging (671 minutes), and far more than voice (531 minutes) and web browsing (422 minutes). 

                                                                      The research revealed some interesting distinctions between apps pre-installed before shipment and apps downloaded by the users. User-added apps dominated in categories including entertainment (including gaming) and social networking. For 'commodity’ functionality such as browsing, messaging and voice, people are more likely to use the pre-installed software.

                                                                      Add-on apps made up to 20 percent of total face time, but accounted for 30 percent of data traffic. Social networking represented 32 percent of total traffic with multimedia being the biggest chunk of mobile data usage at 57 percent.

                                                                      Almost 10 percent of all smartphone “face time” is through the use of social networking apps. In terms of actual usage, only two third-party apps have greater than 30 percent penetration: Facebook and YouTube.

                                                                      The research also noted differences between the major smartphone platforms. iPhone and Android device owners use an average of 15 different apps per month, whereas the number is eight for BlackBerry and Symbian OS. iTunes and Android Market Place have a monthly reach of 95  percent of their user bases, whereas Blackberry App World reaches 50 percent of Blackberry users, and Nokia Ovi store only 26 percent of Symbian users.

                                                                      During January 2011, the average user added 2.5 apps, and nearly half of all users had more at the end of the month than in the beginning. One-in-five users had less at the end of the period, however.

                                                                      iPhones generated  more than 200 percent more traffic per month on average than Android devices. Wi-Fi usage was about 11 percent of total traffic to/from devices.

                                                                      Overall smartphone usage dropped at weekends but generically averaged more than 70 minutes per day with apps capturing more face time than any other activity at weekends.
                                                                      The findings showed that SMS usage was higher in the mornings than voice and usage of social networking apps built up through the day and peaked at 9-10pm.

                                                                      MWC Update : Tech giants map mobile Internet future

                                                                      Two of my favourite topics - Video (dominating internet traffic and being integrated with most if not all forms of  communication) and battery technology (which clearly has lagged behind)

                                                                      GSMA Business Breifing
                                                                      February 17, 2010

                                                                      The CEOs of Intel and Cisco this morning highlighted how the mobile Internet is driving fundamental changes in the mobile industry, business, individual lifestyles and society at large.
                                                                      “I would not have thought that technology would change politics or democracy. But it changed the American electoral cycle, it just changed two countries and it’s not going to stop there. It’s a liberating technology,” said Intel’s Paul Otellini in a keynote yesterday.  “So who’s going to win?  Mankind is going to win.”

                                                                      During a Congress dominated by the news of the alliance between Nokia and Microsoft, when asked what he said to Steve Elop during the now-infamous telephone conversation on Thursday 10 February, Otellini said: “I understood why they did it. I guess if I were in the same position, I would have made the same, or similar, call.” But, he warned: “You change your company when you do these things and you change peoples’ lives. One shouldn’t do these things quickly or capriciously.  I think they need to be thought out.”

                                                                      Noting a parallel with the computing industry, Otellini observed: “What you are seeing is the last fully integrated phone manufacturer become horizontal.”  More positively, he concluded: “The net result is that over time you will see more innovation, more competition and more players.”
                                                                      Cisco’s John Chambers, picked up on theme of industries in transition. “Each time a transition happens, you have to bet five to ten years before it’s obvious, or you miss your window,” he said, before recalling the incredulity that greeted Cisco when, at Comdex in 1997, the company predicted all-in-one data-voice-video networks.

                                                                      Chambers is convinced that video provides the key to encouraging consumers and enterprises to pay more by fundamentally changing the way they communicate.  “If you can drive productivity by one to two percent a year, you don’t need to ask how you charge for that as a service provider,” he said.  “It won’t be 60 percent of loads on networks five years out that will be visual.  It will be 80-90 percent .  Everything you do will have visual capability.

                                                                      During questions, the speakers agreed that a step-change in battery technology is long overdue. Otellini suggested that anyone investing in a successful silicon-based solution would make a fortune. He also revealed that Intel’s labs are already capable of powering a lamp using wireless electricity.  He thinks the technology might start to appear commercially in around five years.

                                                                      MWC Update : Yahoo targets personalised mobile content delivery

                                                                      Yawn !

                                                                      GSMA Business Briefing
                                                                      February 17, 2010

                                                                      Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz outlined this morning at Mobile World Congress how the Internet giant was planning to deliver content to its 630 million monthly users via mobile devices. Yahoo’s new mantra is “content and context,” a goal to deliver highly personalised content to users. “Everything that it served up to you must be relevant; noisy content is yesterday’s Internet,” she said. “Content and context is the sweet spot for Yahoo.”

                                                                      In a demonstration of Yahoo’s approach, Bartz showed off a new product called ‘Livestand,’ a so-called ‘digital newsstand’ that aggregates content specific to the user. “We have a massive audience, and all the publishers want to get to that - but they’re not software developers. They need to have someone doing their aggregation”

                                                                      Yahoo’s mission to become a conduit to mobile content is backed by its huge network of publishers, writers and other content providers. Bartz said that Yahoo delivers 45,000 Internet pages every five minutes garnered from 450 licensed news sources, a network of 400,000 writers and “thousands” of advertisers.

                                                                      MWC Update : Verizon to launch RCS and VoLTE in 2012

                                                                      Finally timelines to VoLTE !

                                                                      GSMA Business briefing
                                                                      February 17, 2010

                                                                      Verizon Wireless plans to combine VoLTE with RCS (Rich Communications Suite) technology to offer a range of multimedia services, including video telephony and video chat, in 2012. Bill Stone, Verizon’s executive director of network technology, outlined the operator’s voice over LTE and RCS plans to MWC delegates at yesterday’s regional focus conference session on the US. “We will also offer enhanced voice services using AMR [adaptive multi-rate] wideband,” he said. 

                                                                      Sunday, February 20, 2011

                                                                      MWC Update : Huawei claims WAC store first

                                                                      The verdict is still out on likely success of WAC

                                                                      GSMA Business Briefing
                                                                      February 17, 2010

                                                                      Huawei announced what it said is “the first global commercial WAC-enabled app store and mobile phone,” available through Philippines operator Smart. The Chinese company said the solution is fully compliant with the WAC 1.0 specifications. 

                                                                      MWC Update : Eight operators connect to WAC platform

                                                                      I reiterate my view that this is unlikely to succeed. The developers still don't trust the operators + this joint initiative offers little differentiation in offerings of participating operators many of whom are fierce competitors. Proof of the pudding would be to see how many of them fold their own offerings into WAC.

                                                                      GSMA Business Briefing
                                                                      February 14, 2010

                                                                      Exactly a year on from the formation of the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC), today saw eight major operators announce they are now connected to the WAC platform. 

                                                                      China Mobile, MTS, Orange, Smart, Telefonica, Telenor, Verizon and Vodafone are the carriers ready to offer services. “We are looking to add at least another eight operators to the platform this year,” WAC CEO Peters Suh told a press conference at Mobile World Congress. 

                                                                      The early WAC apps are based on the initial WAC 1.0 specification launched last year, while yesterday also saw the launch of the new 2.0 spec, which supports HTML5 web applications with multimedia capability. The initiative promises in-app billing support and user identification in version 3 of the spec, available this coming September.

                                                                      At a press conference which featured representatives from Vodafone, AT&T, Ericsson (launching a white-label storefront already offered by Telenor), Orange, KT, Samsung and Telefonica, it was COO Julio Linares from the Spanish carrier who was the first to attempt to counter any cynicism from the attending press. “There was a lot of doubt a year ago that so many different companies in the industry could move at speed,” said Linares. “We are all moving at the right speed.”

                                                                      Other areas of debate at the press conference focused on whether operators with multiple app offerings will begin to merge their stores into a unified WAC service. Vodafone Europe CEO Michel Combes said that its app offerings are now WAC compatible in all its countries, while Telefonica’s Linares noted that the operator has started implementing WAC in its home country of Spain and plans to roll out across all its operations in future.

                                                                      The representatives were also keen to stress that the 12,000 apps currently available via WAC were focused on both the feature phone and smartphone markets. “We really want to extend apps to feature phones and unlock data usage in that space,” said Vodafone’s Combes.
                                                                      Meanwhile WAC’s Suh stressed that the initiative has the support of the device community, including Huawei, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and ZTE. In a statement, it was noted that both Samsung and LG “will be further driving uptake of WAC by ensuring that all devices produced by the two companies that are capable of supporting the WAC runtime will do so.”

                                                                      Re-farming 2G spectrum for LTE

                                                                      Incumbent Indian operators could also look to refarm their existing 2G spectrum, deployed for GSM & CDMA, for 3G/LTE. No specific guidelines in this respect yet though.

                                                                      Telstra’s high 3G penetration opens door for LTE 1800

                                                                      Very high 3G take-up is a key factor in Telstra’s plans to deploy LTE in its 1800 MHz band. With 82 percent of its user-base now using 3G, the Australian operator has sufficient 2G capacity headroom to be able to re-farm its 1800 MHz spectrum from GSM to LTE. On Monday, Telstra announced it would overlay LTE on the world’s first HSPA+ dual carrier network - announced here at the GSMA Mobile World Congress last year. 

                                                                      Wednesday, February 16, 2011

                                                                      Goodbye cash, hello airtel money!

                                                                      No comments on professional proprietary grounds

                                                                      Press Release

                                                                      • India’s first mobile wallet service by a telecom operator- airtel money now launched in the millennium city of Gurgaon
                                                                      • Now, airtel mobile customers can use the power of the ubiquitous mobile platform to make payments the easier way – at anytime, sitting anywhere!
                                                                      • airtel money gives mobile customers in India have another reason to join the country’s largest network -airtel

                                                                      Gurgaon, January 31, 2011 : Have you ever wanted to buy tickets for the evening movie show without visiting the theatre, pay your electricity bill without waiting in a long queue, buy yourself a coffee without the need to take out change - or wished you could magically pay for groceries after forgetting your wallet at home? Your wait is finally over. bharti airtel today announced the launch of airtel money - India’s first mobile wallet service by a telecom operator. Aimed at offering customers with an efficient alternative to cash transactions, airtel money will provide millions of airtel customers across the country with a convenient and secure way of making payments through the ubiquitous mobile platform. Now available in Gurgaon, the service will soon be launched across several other key cities in India in a phased manner - thereby presenting another compelling reason for mobile customers in India to join the country’s largest network -– airtel.

                                                                      So what are you waiting for - get airtel money, simply load cash on your mobile phone and start transacting the easier way!

                                                                      Announcing the launch of the service, Mr. Atul Bindal, President - Mobile Services, bharti airtel said, “The mobile phone is fast emerging as a device that enables our lives in more than many ways. Taking this a step further, we are proud to launch airtel money as a first-of-its-kind service from a telecom operator, that transforms the mobile phone into a secure and convenient wallet which customers can use to load money and use it for shopping and making payments. We see a huge potential for mCommerce services in India and are confident that the launch of airtel money will facilitate a paradigm shift in the way consumers transact”.

                                                                      Where can you use airtel money?
                                                                      • Load cash: Load cash on your airtel mobile by visiting your nearest airtel retail outlet.
                                                                      • Pay bills & recharge: You will be able to use this cash in your mobile for making bill payments (electricity, gas, financial services, etc.) and recharge.
                                                                      • Shop & make payments: Instead of cash, pay over-the-counter merchants such as your nearest kirana store, chemist, etc using your mobile phone. You can even sit at home and pay for services like booking movie tickets online.

                                                                      In 2010, bharti airtel was granted the license to use the Semi Closed Wallet by the Reserve Bank of India. The company has designed a secure and robust backend system to offer India’s first mobile wallet service by a telecom operator - airtel money - as a safe, convenient and user friendly medium for customers to make payments.

                                                                      In Gurgaon, airtel has already established partnerships with several merchants (including coffee shops, restaurants etc) to accept payments via airtel money – which will gradually be scaled up to over 3,000 merchants across the city. airtel money will subsequently be launched in Delhi NCR and several other key cities in India. Customers will also be able to avail airtel money exclusive discounts and attractive offers that will be offered at various merchant outlets in the market - and save money as they shop!

                                                                      airtel had recently announced a JV with State Bank of India to provide banking and financial services to millions of unbanked Indians using the mobile platform. With this launch of airtel money - airtel now offers a complete suite of financial products on mobile devices for the banked as well as unbanked population of the country.

                                                                      To use airtel money
                                                                      • Register by filling in the application form and submitting KYC documents (2 photocopies of proof-of-identity, 1 copy of proof-of-address and a passport size photograph).
                                                                      • After the above, your existing airtel SIM will be upgraded to the new 64K airtel SIM with airtel money
                                                                      • Activate your airtel money account by choosing your MPIN.
                                                                      • Load cash into your airtel money account by visiting your nearest airtel retailer
                                                                      • You are now ready to send commands through the airtel money application on your phone and transact anytime, anywhere!

                                                                      To know more about airtel money, customers can dial 12121 (toll free) from their airtel mobile phones and get started. For more information, non-airtel mobile customers can dial 88000121 or simply visit

                                                                      MWC Update : For Emerging Markets, Facebook & Twitter on the SIM

                                                                      Great way for FB to expand reach though SMS charges at least in emerging markets like India are not always cheap!

                                                                      By Sarah Perez, ReadWrite web
                                                                      February 15, 2011

                                                                      Social networking services like Facebook, Twitter and Instant Messaging have been turned into SIM-based applications that work via SMS text messages. For users of low-end devices, sometimes called "feature phones," "messaging phones" or even "dumb phones," these new technologies will soon enable them to keep up with their smartphone-toting counterparts by expanding access to the most popular social networks in use today.

                                                                      Gemalto's Facebook for SIM

                                                                      From Gemalto, a new product called Facebook for SIM is being touted as the "world's only Facebook-certified SIM based application," which provides access to the social networking service over any GSM handset without the need for a data plan. Instead, the embedded software resides on the SIM card itself and uses SMS technology to access Facebook's core features like friend requests, status updates, wall posts and messages. Users can also access their phone's address book from the app in order to send them friend requests.
                                                                      In addition, Facebook for SIM lets people sign up for Facebook for the first time using the SIM application. Since everything works over SMS, when new messages appear, they pop-up on the phone's screen.
                                                                      The technology doesn't require a monthly fee, but works on a subscription model where you have unlimited access to Facebook for a set amount of time. The service also doesn't require your phone to be paid for via monthly contract - it can even work on prepaid devices.
                                                                      "Facebook for SIM enables operators to leverage two of their main assets: the SMS to communicate with the Web application and the SIM for application distribution to the masses," said Philippe Vallée, Executive Vice President, Gemalto. "Over 200 million people already use Facebook on handsets and those are twice as active as non-mobile users . By providing anytime, anywhere availability to the social network, Gemalto delivers on the growing demand for mobile connectivity all over the world."
                                                                      Facebook for SIM joins another Gemalto product which brings Instant Messaging from Windows Live Messenger to SIM-based handsets as well.

                                                                      SIM-Based Facebook & Twitter from Oberthur Technologies

                                                                      Gemalto isn't the only company with this idea, either, despite its claim. Also at Mobile World Congress was Oberthur Technologies, a company which, too, is offering social networking and Instant Messaging services via SIM-based applications. The service supports Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo Instant Messaging.
                                                                      From one menu, a user can access either of the three supported services and then find friends, update their status, chat, reply to messages, read friends' new posts, and more. Like Gemalto's solution, new messages come through immediately, even when the user exits the SIM application.
                                                                      While these SIM applications aren't as sexy as a new iPhone app, the technology could lead to a massive influx of new users on Facebook and Twitter as they enable a large market to participate in social networking without the expense of a smartphone phone or monthly plan.

                                                                      Tuesday, February 15, 2011

                                                                      Foursquare stats update

                                                                      Foursquare now has 6.5 million users doing 2 million check-ins per day. Since inception Foursquare has had a whopping 420 million check-ins. Their growth during 2010 was 3400%!

                                                                      Monday, February 14, 2011

                                                                      Zynga Valuation Rises to Over $7 Billion -

                                                                      Zynga Valuation Rises to Over $7 Billion -

                                                                      Social-gaming company Zynga Inc. is holding discussions with potential investors about raising around $250 million in new funding in a deal that could value the three-year-old start-up at between $7 billion and $9 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

                                                                      The huge audience for its games—Zynga has a total of 275 million active monthly users across all its titles—helped Zynga generate about $400 million in profit last year on approximately $850 million in revenue, said another person familiar with its finances.

                                                                      Qualcomm launches a screaming-fast 2.5 Ghz mobile processor

                                                                      The battle of cores and GHz. Did apple trigger this processor battle with its A4 chip ? Unfortunately battery technology hasn't kept equal pace !

                                                                      Dean Takahashi, Venture Beat
                                                                      February 13, 2011

                                                                      Qualcomm just announced it has launched a new version of its Snapdragon mobile processor that can process data at a speed of 2.5 gigahertz. That’s as powerful as many laptop and desktop computer processors, but Qualcomm’s chip with as many as four cores, or brains, is aimed at smartphones and tablets.
                                                                      For users, that means that mobile devices sold this year and early next year are likely to have just as much, if not more, computing performance as a lot of computers out there. It will thus enable a whole new generation of smartphones and tablets that can do everything from cool 3D games to displaying video from a phone on a big screen in full high-definition resolution.
                                                                      Code-named Krait, the next-generation Snapdragon promises to deliver speeds of 2.5 gigahertz per core, with options for one, two or four cores. The Snapdragon family will also include four wireless capabilities — WiFi, global positioning system (GPS), Bluetooth and FM radio — in one device. It will also support near-field communications, a hot new technology that lets you wave a phone over a reader to make a purchase. And it will support stereoscopic 3D video, photo capture and playback.
                                                                      Qualcomm claims that the Snapdragon has 150 percent higher overall performance and 65 percent lower power consumption than currently available ARM-based CPU (central processing unit) cores. Qualcomm is able to make the big leap to this new generation because it has made a big manufacturing leap to 28 nanometer technology. Qualcomm released its 1-gigahertz Snapdragon chip with a single core in the fourth quarter of 2008 using a 65-nm technology.
                                                                      The 28 nanometer technology is like a finer pencil, which can be used to etch smaller circuits on a chip. By cramming more circuits on a chip, Qualcomm is executing on the phenomenon known as Moore’s Law, named after former Intel chairman Gordon Moore, who predicted that the number of components on a chip would double every couple of years.
                                                                      Qualcomm also announced its new Adreno family of graphics processing units (GPUs). The new quad-core Adreno 320 can deliver 15 times the performance of the original Adreno chip it replaces. Qualcomm says the Adreno 320 performance is similar to the quality of graphics on today’s game consoles, but at a much lower power consumption level.
                                                                      The single-core Snapdragon MSM8930 chip has built-in LTE modem technology, which means it can deliver data networking speeds for mainstream smartphones at relatively low costs. The LTE technology (short for Long-Term Evolution) enables data speeds of 24 megabits a second or more in mobile phones. That’s as fast as the speed of cable modems in many homes.
                                                                      The MSM8960 dual-core chip will be available in the second quarter, while the MSM8930 single-core chip and the quad-core APQ8064 chip will be available in early 2012. The APQ8064 chip in particular is aimed at tablet computers. Qualcomm made the announcement at the Mobile World Congress 2010 event in Barcelona. We’ll have to see how rivals such as Marvell, Broadcom, Intel and Nvidia come in with their own new products this year to see who the winner will be