Tomi Ahonen Almanac 2009 A comprehensive statistical review of the total mobile industry, in 171 pages, has 70 tables and charts, and fits on your smartphone to carry in your pocket every day.
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I liked this thinking very much. Taptu did not just ape the standard apps apps apps - app stores - apps apps apps hype that all seem to be obsessing with touch screen smartphones nowadays. They thought of it with a 7th mass media mindset and noticed that a touch screen enabled mobile web experience will be distinct, different from 'typing and mouse' metaphor 6th mass media web. Very clever. They also noticed that the web services opportunity on specifically mobile touch web is bigger than the apps opportunity. So they prepared a very sharp, thought-provoking slide set. You may well enjoy that set, it is totally in line with 7th Mass Media thinking. Good job Taptu !
At the Picnic event last week, where I gave a keynote in Amsterdam, saw a great presentation by Vodacom of South Africa, which quoted numbers of South African internet use. The ratio of mobile users vs PC based users was about 6 to 1. The ratio of mobile users vs internet cafe users was about 5 to 1. Yeah, this figures.. mobile mobile mobile eh..
I just twittered about the 30 minute and 30 second metaphor. Here is a bit longer version of the story, obviously from the book Mobile as 7th of the Mass Media:
There are 30 minute tasks, and 30 second tasks. Considering digital interactive services, content and applications, the two will continue. 30 minute tasks are more suited for PCs including laptops and netbooks and 30 second tasks for phones, not just smartphones but any modern mobile phones.
30 minute tasks are planned activities. We prefer to be seated doing them, with a good screen and keboard and mouse. We create this way and we concentrate on our activity.
30 second tasks are unplanned activities. We do them suddenly, walking and standing. We use the available technologies often meaning the small screen and tiny keypad of the phone. We consume more than create this way, and we often mult-task with 30 second tasks.
I saw a brilliant, thought-provoking and full-of-evidence slide presentation about the real mobile internet. Not copying the 6th mass media legacy dumb PC based internet to mobile; but utilizing the 7th mass media assets to make a better, magical experience. Who did this? A New York based advertising guy, Razorfish's John Pettengill. If you are not sure "should it be the real internet on the phone", or something else, and want a fresh angle to it - or if you want to show a slide presentation about this opportunity, gotta see Pettengill's slides. (Thank you to Jonathan MacDonald for pointing me to the presentation, yes it really made me smile..) Here is the link: How to Save Mobile Web
Yes, this was bound to happen. We have dogs tracked by mobile, we have cows brought in for milking by mobile, we even translate dog barking to human via SMS, and yes the forestry managemnet systems in Sweden and Finland embed GSM-GPS chips to something that is as immobile as trees (you betcha!). So why not plants. Now a Japanese company called AgriHouse offers chips for plants, to let their owners know when they need to be watered (I could have used one of those many times in my youth, attempting to keep some plants alive ha-ha). Thanks to my friend Russ McGuire at McGuire's Law blog for this discovery.
Related to the previous posting, wanted to point out that UK based Webcredible report on UK mobile internet usage levels found that 52% of UK subscribers access the internet on a phone. As UK mobile phone penetration rate is 130%, that means 68% of all UK population already use the mobile internet. Compared with latest ITU 2009 stats for UK internet penetration nate at 72% per capita, we are very close to the tipping point for the UK as one of the first European countries to see this happen.
Obviously in Asia in most markets the majority of internet use (browser use including WAP and i-Mode) is from mobile, not from PCs and the fixed internet and the world went past the tipping point last year as I reported in the Tomi Ahonen Almanac 2009.
I'm continuously bumping into the phenomenon of people using two phones at the same time. I think this is one of those not-well understood aspects of mobile as a mass media channel, that compared with the PC based internet (as we call it, the 6th mass media channel) is very well optimized for stationary large-screen two-handed operation. To consume the PC based internet, we have a large keyboard and a mouse to help us navigate the big screen. And the screen is able to capture most of our attention and viewing space.
Mobile (the 7th mass media channel) is very different. On mobile we have a small screen and we tend to be walking or moving when we use it, and we often have other things we also do, so we often multi-task while we use mobile. But now, as half of European phone owners have two phones, and worldwide over 30% of all mobile phone subscribers have two or more subscirptions (often meaning two phones - think iPhone owner who also has a Blackberry) - we see the phenomenon of two phones used simultaneously.
This was not expected. But think about how often this happens. We listen to the music on one phone, receive an SMS on the other phone, and happily respond to the SMS while still wearing the earphones and not pausing the music. We were consuming two services on two separate phones simutaneously. I often in my workshops talk of being able to consume two telecoms services simultaneously, for example while talking to one person, our other phone rings. We see who is calling, decide not to take that call - and the call is diverted to voice mail. What happened? We were on one voice call, while the other voice call was directed to voice mail. No problem at all, for anyone to consume two telecoms services simultaneously.
In my fourth book Communities Dominate Brands, Alan Moore and I introduce Generation C for Community Generation. We talk about Gen C being able to multitask. Since the book, we found that a UK survey by Carphone Warehouse in 2006 that revealed that 48% of British youth admit to sending text messages while talking to someone else. This can be a real person, talking to mom and dad, while holding a phone in the pocket and sending a text message to the best friend. That is multitasking yes, but not using two phones and services. The more amazing part, is to see youth absolutely conveniently carry on one phone conversation on one (mobile) phone while simultaneously carrying on an SMS text message conversation on the other phone. Now we do have two uses of two phones and two mobile services simultaneously.
There are many more examples. Using the mobile internet on one phone and sending text messages on the other. Talking with one person on the phone while voting on American Idol on the other, etc. The point is, that the phone is optimized for one-handed operation. This is actually a very old idea, first suggested by Matti Makkonen (the retired Finnish mobile pioneer who was an executive at Telecom Finland (now TeliaSonera), Nokia and Finnet Group, who recently won the Economist innovation award for inventing SMS text messaging). Matti suggested this over 20 years ago, and I remember he mentioned it to us, when I worked at Nokia and seeked Matti's guidance for my Consulting Department, and he gave lessons to us about what makes mobile distinct from existing channels and tools.
Optimized for one-handed operation. It means we can rather easily learn to use two phones in two hands. This gives the mobile a powerful advantage over other digital mass media, whether the PC or Playstation or Digital TV - we tend to only consume one of those at a time. But we can rather easily consume two distinct mobile phone based services - on two separate phones - from two competing networks even - simultaneously. Or, we can consume mobile services while we are supposedly paying attention to the other older media such as our broadband internet (sixth mass media) or TV (fifth mass media) or a video game (ie recordings, the second mass media channel).
This changes the comparison to "apples and oranges". There are single-use mass media, like all legacy mass media (print, recordings, cinema, radio, TV and internet); and now the newest innovation, there is multi-use mass media, of which mobile is the first (and no doubt, will not be the last mass media channel).
So yeah, mobile is very different from the legacy mass media channels. And the joke that I have on the back of my seventh book, Mobile as 7th of the Mass Media, where I say "...On the other hand, you have your other cellphone." (and the cover illustrations too have me holding one phone in the front cover, while hiding my second phone behind my back, on the back cover) - this is increasingly becoming a reality, not only a joke. Yes, more and more young consumers are fully prepared to consume two separate mobile services on two phones, simultaneously.
Also - if anyone is interested in consumer insights into mobile, remember I have a free "thought piece" on understanding mobile consumers. It is a short white paper, only 2 pages long, but packed with stats and facts. Its fast enough for any exec to have time to read. And you can have it by return email if you send me an email to my regular email address at tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com.