Andreas Constantinou

Carnival of the Mobilists #97

Carnival of the Mobilists #97

Welcome to the 97th edition of the Carnival of the Mobilists! This week’s Carnival is hosted at the VisionMobile Forum.

Carnival of the Mobilists #97

It’s been another busy week for mobile industry observers. Om Malik analyses the volume of LBS deals in 1999-2007 and shows how the number of deals is really peaking in 2007; not a coincidence given the numerous GPS-capable handset models on manufacturer roadmaps for 2008. Openwave, once the unshakeable market-share leader in mobile browsers, revealed its 1Q08 revenues and a steep drop in license and service revenue. Mozilla announces Prism, a tool that gives web applications its own window/desktop presence and shows that “the desktop isn t dead at all and that a hybrid approach is a successful way to go”, according to ZDNet’s Ryan Stewart. The blogosphere has also been buzzing with debate as to how soon will Java ME eclipse or become superceded by Java FX Mobile (aka SavaJe).

So let’s look at what’s in store at this week’s Carnival of the Mobilists.

One of my favourite analysts, Chetan Sharma has written a very detailed and analytical CTIA Wireless IT and Entertainment 2007 Roundup. Chetan writes about the openness touted by Facebook, Microsoft and RIM, the progress in mobile advertising, WiMAX picking up steam, the anachronistic pitches of US operators and how mobile video has (not really) changed. Chetan also comments on the recent activity on the LBS landscape: “I have been working in or following this space since 1995 and it finally feels that there is going to be some activity in this space after years of posturing, delays, and hype.”, which strikes a chord with my thinking; it seems that built-in GPS support by major handset manufacturers in 2008 is acting like a magnet for a horde of LBS startups and deals.

On the subject of location services, Tarek Abu-Esber talks about how Google Maps still has minor glitches. Tarek puts his engineering hat on and Fixes GPS for Google Maps on the HTC TyTN II.

Abhishek Tiwari postulates the structure of Google’s rumoured mobile OS in GPhone If I Built It. His analysis suggests that the OS would consist of three layers; base OS (where the OpenMoko distribution may be used), messaging/productivity/media (where we ‘re likely to see an integration of Gmail, Gtalk, Orkut and GrandCentral) and application ecosystem/revenue enablement. Abhishek writes thoughtfully “I see a lot of power within the contacts list. The contact list is the user s true social graph, which can offer much more than just phone numbers. “ – I totally agree that the contacts list will become the centre of the user journey, and Google might just show us how.

C. Enrique Ortiz at the mobility weblog writes about Interaction Triggers in Mobile Applications. He breaks down triggers into dial + voice, texting, URL, visual tags (2D codes, etc) and radio tags (NFC, etc). Somehow I feel there is an important learning on Enrique’s abstraction for interaction, but the article is very terse.

Martin Sauter writes about a popular topic in the mobile industry, IMS vs. Naked SIP. Martin analyses the features and capabilities which the Naked SIP protocol lacks, but which exist in the ‘operator sanctioned’ IMS architecture. Interestingly, Martin notes that Naked SIP is “already implemented in some 3G phones such as Nokia N-Series and E-Series S60 phones”, continuing to say “I have yet to see an IMS capable terminal in the wild”. This is yet another reminder that mobile operators always finish the innovation race last.

Dennis Bournique at WAP Review writes about Opera Links, Opera Mini 4 Beta 3 and Opera 9.5. Dennis attended the Rock Opera party at San Francisco (sounds cool!) and writes about how Opera Link can keep your web surfing activity synchronized across all the browsers you use, on multiple desktops and mobile devices, even if they aren’t all running Opera browsers. Dennis explains how Opera Link works and discusses the many new features in the latest versions of Opera Mini, which according to Dennis “delivers a mobile browsing experience rivaling the best browsers on the latest smartphones”.

Jason Devitt at Skydeck writes about how Sprint Will Start Unlocking Phones. Following a class-action lawsuit, Sprint Nextel has agreed to unlock customers phones at the end of their contracts and to activate non-Sprint phones on the network – however all is not lost for Sprint. Jason’s short analysis talks about how Sprint could benefit from this change, in terms of net adds and lower CPGA. I like Jason’s realistic view of the repercussions: “Data services may not work, but those looking for the cheapest option in the market won t care that they can t subscribe to VCast.”

Steve Litchfield at All About Symbian writes in fury why Motorola and Sony Ericsson need to ‘get’ it. Steve recounts his frustrating experiences from visiting the first Sony Ericsson store in London and trying to snap a picture of the Motorola Z10 at the Symbian Show.

“Motorola are appalling, quite appalling at keeping journalists informed and resourced. While, in contrast, Nokia consistently go out of their way to keep a flow of press releases coming, to provide all press materials needed, to run a sumptuous blogger relations program, to think of new and innovative ways to fire peoples imaginations, and so on.”

I was also at the Symbian Show and I have to agree with Steve: what on earth were the Motorola PR/AR people thinking when they put these basketball jugglers there, especially in London of all cities ?

My friend Ajit Jaokar at Open Gardens writes about Widget once run anywhere and Opera Widgets on KDDI handsets. Ajit makes a thought-provoking observation when he says “widgets are a much more likely driver of client side service convergence”; in other words if operators can ensure that the same widgets are available across handsets and terminals, they have a better chance of delivering service convergence and reducing churn.

Antoine RJ Wright deliberates the relevance of Web/Mobile 2.0. Antoine pauses to think out of the box of the ‘2.0 hype’ and concludes “that is where I see a lot of the web/mobile 2.0 movement failing. There are a ton of services and applications out there. But very little that has made Joe and Suzie Consumer run out and try it.”

And finally for the fashion-consious reader, Doris Chua asks What s your favourite colour for a phone?

The post of the week award goes to Chetan Sharma’s very detailed and analytical CTIA Wireless IT and Entertainment 2007 Roundup.

And if you are still reading, stop over to read our lengthy analysis on Motorola s UIQ: Diversion or U-Turn ? which postulates why Motorola’s Linux strategy has been facing an uphill struggle and why theUIQ investment does make sense as a medium-term diversion.

Next week tune in to Michael Mace’s excellent Mobile Opportunity for the 98th installment of the best of the mobile blogging! Which reminds me that it’s only three weeks until the Carnival hits the magic 100 number!

– Andreas

3 weeks to go!

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