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July 13, 2009

Comments

Colin Crawford

>> Today the smartphone market is being shaken by the sudden fad of apps stores Yet truth be told, most smartphone buyers worldwide will never install an application onto their phones. Not even the majority of iPhone users install apps, and they're the most fanatical lot of all apps users.

Tomi - where is the data to support that ?

I'm working with several mobile analytics firms and I think you are incorrect - it's hard to find an iPhone or iTouch user who has NOT installed an app. Today's smartphone are software platforms - the ability to view well formatted web pages via mobile browsers, via native applications and via hybrid apps is defining the new world of mobility. But, I think the volume of apps has to be winnowed down if developers are to make serious money and users can find the gems See http://bit.ly/q9jIb

Johan Ragnevad

I also disagree specifically with that statement and have similarly yet to meet an iPhone or iPod Touch user who has not installed an app. I indeed believe that a majority of iPhone users install apps, whereas the opposite is true for Symbian users - a result of scale and user friendliness.

With regards to data, Compete published research in November 2008 stating that "iPhone users are more likely to have added a number of different applications to their device: 72% had more than five applications on their phones, compared to only 23% of other Smartphone owners". Of course, iPhone volumes have changed significantly since then but so has the number of downloaded apps.

Tomi Ahonen

Hi Colin and Johan

Thanks for the comments. I'm surprised, I thought this (my claim that majority of iPhone users didn't download apps) was very "consistent" data with the industry. I saw it in an article earlier this spring and didn't think for a moment to store it, as I felt it was relatively consistent with the industry and also as the Apps store was so new and trivial in size at the time.

I hear you guys, and respect your views. I am now unsure of the numbers myself, and will try to go find the article I had seen, or other independent validation of that position. Thanks. Obviously if I don't find it (or facts prove opposite) then I'll correct the story.

My only comments now, remember it is global data throughout my blog and this story, except where specifically mentioning given countries or reginons, so I meant obviously iPhone users globally not just US, and that means all the legacy 2G and 3G iPhone users not just 3GS users, but yes, if both of you think that is off base, I'll go dig and see if I find any "truth" ha-ha, and ajust the story accordingly.

Thank you both for writing. Will go for a stats search ha-ha (I wish every stat I ever saw, was automatically collected, including all analog resources too, ha-ha..)

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi Ahonen

I'm back

Yeah, the ComScore data was rather easy to find, you guys were right, thanks. Sorry about that. If there had been some "conflicting" data that I seem to recall, it was not obvious and easy to find, and regardless, ComScore is a good source, have no reason not to trust that finding. So I corrected the story. Luckily apps stores were not the actual point of this blog, so at least the error was in the - shall I say - "advertisement" part referring to future blog ha-ha, but yeah, I had been under the impression it was about a quarter. Maybe I had seen some "paid download" data or maybe it was early Apps store data or maybe I've just been too caffeinated to correctly absorb the info. Anyway, the ComScore data is good, have it in the blog. Thank you to both of you.

Tomi :-)

Johan Ragnevad

Great, Tomi,

Agree that app stores were not the actual point of the blog. Scale was, and I agree with your main points, e.g. Nokia is definitely not going to die because of N97 mishaps. However, as it is a posting about scale I am surprised that you single out a detail such as the number of camera pixels as the illustration of how smartphone competitiveness evolves and ages. Hasn't the iPhone, among other things, shown that feature specs are being pushed aside by matters such as brand, "coolness factors" and user friendliness?

Anyway, with regards to scale - What about the price? I agree that the lower end of the smartphone market is more important, and interesting, than the higher end. So, what's then the implication of Apple pushing last year's iPhone user experience at a lowered price? Do you see an impact on the bigger picture when the iPhone competes in the USD 79 & 99 brackets (US, AT&T, refurbished & new 8GB)?

Maybe these are topics for your next installments in this series? :-)

Johan

Jerome Brussee

The 'big picture' of Nokia selling 67 million smartphones does not seem to be very valid to put the iPhone/Pre/Android platforms into perspective.
Nokia S60 platform may technically be considered a smartphone OS (open OS, advanced messaging etc) but judging the spike in iPhone originated mobile data and Flickr uploads I'm pretty sure the majority of the handsets have hardly been used as such.

Most people I know just bought S60 phones because they looked nice and had a camera in them. The 'smart' features were too much hidden away behind the one-hand-operation interface.

Jason Bowers

I want to like your blog but the willful ignorance of software on the smartphone platform is hard to swallow. The gist of your position is that scale of hardware manufacturing is the measure to judge phones on but there's no analysis of profit margin or software. It's windows that makes all the money in PC's not DELL....

Tomi Ahonen

Hi Johan, Jerome and Jason

Thank you all for the comments, will respond to each individually

Johan, ha-ha, no reading ahead! Yeah, I'll cover those issues in the next editions. Thanks.

Jerome - I am not arguing usage of a smartphone here, it is not the point of the blog. I am using the commonly used definition of what is a smartphone, and you know that. If you argue that not all users of Symbian phones don't use their "smartness" then neither do iPhone users according to the ComScore stats. Its only a matter of degree. And please do note that smartphones and specifically Symbian existed for nearly a decade before the iPhone and Android, so if today you observe some peculiar behavior that is not typical of Symbian (an original smartphone) but is typical of iPhone and Android, then YOUR reasoning means THEY are NOT smartphones. You can't say that the original concept is not valid. Then the iPhone and Android are something else, perhaps "beyond" a smartphone. I'm ok with that. But you can't bring in a new device and then say it invalidates the previously existing category.

But I'll discuss usage of smartphones in an upcoming edition to the realism into the smartphone discussion. This first edition was only about scale. Usually my followers complain that my blogs are too long, so am trying to cut it down into parts that are easier to digest..

Jason - I hear you, thank you for the comment and yes, this first part of the series did not discuss the apps or software at all.

Please note that your argument "willful ignorance of software" .. and "your position is that hardware manufacturing" suggests that my blog posting should rather focus on the software side of the handset making industry. Data vs Hardware? I find it rather amusing, as I wrote the book on mobile data, literally, first book on services for mobile telecoms; and most of my postings about mobile are not about handsets, but about the data and services. But obviously you are not a regular reader, and could not know that. But it does strike me as funny that now I'm accused of not discussing the data side..

Note the blog title was realism to smartphone hysteria. PHONE hysteria. Not "applications hysteria" or "mobile data hysteria" or "wireless apps hysteria". I can discuss all those, but this blog kind of HAS to mention the hardware, if it is to focus on the "phone".

But you are not wrong, software is an important consideration. I promise I will discuss it in an upcoming part to this series.

Separately, you also say you are unhappy I didn't discuss the profit margins. Again, you make a good point, but its something I've discussed at lenght, my second book is still the only book in teh world to discuss how the mobile industry earns its money (M-Profits) and again, I do this regularly. I did not want to repeat the usual stuff for regular readers. Furthermore, it was not hte aim of this first installment. I'll get to the profits later in the series.

Thank you all for writing

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Troed Sångberg

(posting an exchange me and Tomi had on Twitter since it seems quite on topic judging by the discussion - Tomi, feel free to edit the post if you want)

***
troed @tomiahonen I would not immideately put Symbian smartphones in the same category as iPhone/Android. Some, but not all. Used differently.

tomiahonen @troed if that is your argument, then u cannot count iPhone, Android at all, because Symbian is 1 of original smartphone OS's ha-ha..

troed @tomiahonen ;) True - "Internet windows" describes iPhone/Android better. Not focused at being "phones", smart or not. Different use case.
***

I'm trying quite hard to separate "phones" from "mobiles" when doing talks myself. The iPhone is clearly a MID. Trying to group all "non dumb-phones" into the "smartphone" category makes a mess of statistics.

/Troed

Tomi Ahonen

Hi Troed

Thanks for repeating that Twitter discussion ! Yeah, very relevant to this thread here and yeah, thats very accurately what we discussed ha-ha.

We do seem to be witnessing the birth of a "next generation" of smartphones perhaps, all while Nokia now sells more mid-range consumer smartphones than N-Series, signalling the downward migration of more basic (and older OS based) smartphones.

Lets see how this plays out. Thanks for your comment and really, thanks for reposting that discussion here for our readers, Troed.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Rockstar Sid

All I can say is this is one heck of an exhaustive research. I would always go with Nokia Phones.. NOKIA FTW!

Tomi Ahonen

Thanks Rockstar Sid

Tomi :-)

orangeman


Thank You Tomi for your - as always - insightful views!

I agree that Nokia won't die. the same way IBM did't die because of the personal computer.

>> But the battle is not going to be fought in the top-end of the smartphone market. The battle is won at the lowest end of the smartphone price range. > Similarly most smartphone users will not particularly use the "smartness" of their phones. > Android will not have more 1% of the installed base this time next year, they have to fight for their market share and they won't be as successful as Appple was with the iPhone, which only after 2 years sells 1% of the world's phones. Give Android time. I mean years, not months. > I've said many times that this is the most competitive industry. <<

orangeman

sorry for double posting
somehow misformated the first try


Thank You Tomi for your - as always - insightful views!

I agree that Nokia won't die. the same way IBM did't die because of the personal computer.

"But the battle is not going to be fought in the top-end of the smartphone market. The battle is won at the lowest end of the smartphone price range."

Very true. After all the masses go for cost-effectiveness. MacOS/WebOS/Android devices out so far (try to) compete in the top-end. Budgetphones are yet to be seen. Maybe marketshare should be compared to Nokia top-end devices like the E90.

"Similarly most smartphone users will not particularly use the "smartness" of their phones."

The 'smartness' is much needed and appreciated as smartphones take over tasks of the more expensive laptops. But it has to be easy to use and easy to develop...

"Android will not have more 1% of the installed base this time next year, they have to fight for their market share and they won't be as successful as Appple was with the iPhone, which only after 2 years sells 1% of the world's phones. Give Android time. I mean years, not months."

Yes it needs time
but does two thing already very well:

* "ease-of-development"
available apps make the platform
people will! download and install
that's what apple showed the world
and that's the problem with symbian

* "allowing anyone to build cheap hardware"
every manufacturer (except nokia) experimenting
900% growth prognosis (not 50%)

"I've said many times that this is the most competitive industry."

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Available for Consulting and Speakerships

  • Available for Consulting & Speaking
    Tomi Ahonen is a bestselling author whose twelve books on mobile have already been referenced in over 100 books by his peers. Rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in December 2011, Tomi speaks regularly at conferences doing about 20 public speakerships annually. With over 250 public speaking engagements, Tomi been seen by a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people on all six inhabited continents. The former Nokia executive has run a consulting practise on digital convergence, interactive media, engagement marketing, high tech and next generation mobile. Tomi is currently based out of Helsinki but supports Fortune 500 sized companies across the globe. His reference client list includes Axiata, Bank of America, BBC, BNP Paribas, China Mobile, Emap, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, IBM, Intel, LG, MTS, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Ogilvy, Orange, RIM, Sanomamedia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Three, Tigo, Vodafone, etc. To see his full bio and his books, visit www.tomiahonen.com Tomi Ahonen lectures at Oxford University's short courses on next generation mobile and digital convergence. Follow him on Twitter as @tomiahonen. Tomi also has a Facebook and Linked In page under his own name. He is available for consulting, speaking engagements and as expert witness, please write to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com

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