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« Update on the mobile phone check-in: Finnair finds half of passengers using it | Main | Second Life at 16 million users, says CNN today.. »

February 06, 2009



We are living in an unprecedented social experiment.

Never so much technology has been available to everyone.
From a very young age, children start with a computer connected to the Internet then graduate very quickly in the name of parent security with mobile phones, they are the new generation of connected kids.
For these kids social interactivity is happening through emails, SMS and of course what it is called “Social” sites with the likes of Facebook and others.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi didier

Very good point, yes. An unprecedented social experiment. We did start to explore that with the Generation C chapter of our book with Alan Moore, and have followed it from time to time here at our blog. I still am regularly amazed when I meet up with "real" sociologists who specialize in this area, and give us amazing stories about how different the young true digital natives are from the rest of us digital immigrants.

So yeah, for example now Twitter. I still can't get myself to do regular Tweets of my own activities - guilty pangs, gotta go do a Twitter update again today (ouch) - but yeah, young people, who already are on Facebook and send 50 or 100 SMS per day, Twitter is a total natural to them.

Then as they upgrade from basic phones to mid-range feature phones and hand-me-down one generation old smartphones from their parents, suddenly they have good resolution cameraphones and video recording - now upgrade from Twitter to Qik and start to do video blogs and broadcasts - and join video clubs like SeeMeTV in Britain, where the average creator of a user-generated video, earns 12 UK pounds per video. Upload just two average videos, and get free calls and messages for a month. How cool is that?

So yeah, this is a big changing social experiment, bigger in fact than what the internet brought us. I like to say, the internet is a necessary half-step, the networked world, like steam power was to the industrial age. But it wasn't until we got electricity, that the true power of the industrial age took off, and everybody, even the common housewife, could have "industrial age" power gadgets (ie the vacuum cleaner for example) at the home to help with chores.

Similarly, the internet was necessary to get the ball rolling, but its now mobile which is truly bringing digital online interactive - and social networking - benefits to the total population.

Thanks for writing didier, we keep tracking this phenomenon, and please do send us anything you find...

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Alex Kerr


Any stats on total number of J2ME/MIDP (any version) capable phones? Fragmentation and delivery issues only slightly undermine the fact this is the most prevalent 3rd-party-programmable platform in the world today, which I think is a highly important stat! :)


Great Leaders

Thanks for all this useful information.

The mobile payments stats are interesting - it would be interesting to see more stats on the value of the transactions and what proportion of the user's spending they represent, and what are the most common uses of mobile payment.


Frankly amazing. There's no other way to say it really. But the scale of mobile is just incredible. Thanks for those numbers, you'll be getting links back from me pretty soon.

Mariana Oliveira

Hey, Tomi!

Some points caught my attention:

* Someone at Mobhappy blog compared penetration of cell phones to toothbrushes. No doubts we're getting there. :)
* Recently emarketer released a research about mobile phone subscriptions and penetration worldwide. The conclusion shows that "as developing mobile markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China (the “BRIC” countries) add more subscribers, worldwide mobile revenues are expected to jump 56% to $1.03 trillion in 2013 from $769 billion in 2007".
* Personally, being at Brazilian market is living this development. National Agency of Telco just released the total number of mobile subscribers by the end of 2008: 150 million devices. That's much more than some European countries, including the big ones. I'm not talking about digital inclusion at all, I'm talking about mobile marketing. I must say the perspectives are optimist.
* Maybe mobile is beyond mass media. In mass media devices we have just one message to million of people, but in cellphone we can personalize the messages the way we like. Maybe it's another level.

Besides, Congratulations on the post, Tomi. It's a very complete report.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Alex, GreatLeaders, ARJ and Mariana

Thank you all for the kind comments. I'll respond to each individually

Alex - great question. Actually we do track the Java/Brew capable phones, not quite the stat you want, but close, and in the about-to-be-released Tomi Ahonen Almanac, I report that the total installed base of Java/Brew capable phones is 44%. You make your guess how that splits Java and Brew and you've got your number..

GreatLeaders - good question and comment about the value of the transactions, and its something I do discuss from time to time in presentations and also occasionally here at the blog. I feel the total mobile commerce and payments part of mobile is so small out of the total pie, that the kind of detail is not yet relevant. I do have a chapter on mobile money in the book Digital Korea and lots of stats there and the summary answer for you is that there is no limit. They have the single transaction limit set in Kenya at one million dollars so yes, you can pay your house with your phone. In many countries you get your whole paycheck on mobile. People will happily pay airline tickets, hotel payments etc on mobile, it just takes a bit of time to adjust to the new payment mechanism. Its not only micropayments or coca cola vending machines and lotteries and parking. It can be big ticket items too.

ARJ - thanks!

Mariana - ha-ha, very funny the Mobhappy comment about tooth brushes, yes. Many good comments and thanks for all that insights into the Brazilian market. Yeah, you're now at about 80% penetration, chasing the USA and only slightly behind Latin American leaders like Chile, Colombia and Ecuador for total phone penetration rate. Considering Brazil's immense size of population and geography, that is quite an achievement..

Finally on the mass media vs personal comment, very very valid and I totally agree. Mobile is yes a mass media channel like TV, radio, newspapers, internet etc, in that you can offer your media content and find an audience. But exactly like you say, mobile is more than that, it is also the first truly personal media so we can get far more personal content as well. That is for example the idea behind Blyk's advertising, far more compelling if its truly personalized for each user. Even two best friend girls will get different messages that they will love.

I discuss that dimension a lot in my current "real" book ie printed hardcover book Mobile as 7th of the Mass Media, as I explain, the personalization is the first of the seven unique benefits that make mobile different from legacy media including TV and the internet, and allow creating new and BETTER media experiences via mobile than on legacy media.

Very good, we totally agree Mariana. Also my new Pearls ebook has several good examples of that in the mobile advertising space. See the Pearls ebook and some sample pages at

Thank you all for writing

Tomi Ahonen :-)


Gr8 article, thanks for sharing.


cape town, south africa

Alex Kerr


Sun are saying with the release of Java FX Mobile in the last couple of days that there is a current installed base of J2ME on phones of 2.6 billion, so even better than your forecasts!

Kind regards,

telecom provider

Navigation from people to people is easy just using Mobile telephone .


nice article

Motorola Cellphones

Now people can increase their network by using cell phone.Thanks



شات صوتى

Thank you all for writing


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Players can play the game as one of 16 playable civilizations with multiple difficulty levels. The iPhone version of the game has gesture based controls that use the potential of the platform. The game also has an integrated tutorial to teach users how to play. To more visit


your blog is cool.

Thank you for the great post.


its really informative blog i like it. i love to play games and i love the iphone version of the game.

Cheap Flights to Sydney

Yes , This really a great story..rally fantastic..

العاب فلاش

The world's largest individual mobile operator is China Mobile with over 500 million mobile phone subscribers. The world's largest mobile operator group by subscribers is UK based Vodafone. There are over 600 mobile operators and carriers in commercial production worldwide. Over 50 mobile operators have over 10 million subscribers each, and over 150 mobile operators have at least one million subscribers by the end of 2009.
In mobile phone handsets, in Q3/2009, Nokia was the world's largest manufacturer of mobile phones, with a global device market share of 37.8%, followed by Samsung (21.0%), LG Electronics (11.0%), Sony Ericsson (4.9%) and Motorola (4.7%). These manufacturers accounted for over 80% of all mobile phones sold at that time.

Other manufacturers include Apple Inc., Audiovox (now UTStarcom), Benefon, BenQ-Siemens, CECT, HTC Corporation, Fujitsu, Kyocera, Mitsubishi Electric, NEC, Neonode, Panasonic, Palm, Matsushita, Pantech Wireless Inc., Philips, Qualcomm Inc., Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM), Sagem, Sanyo, Sharp, Siemens, Sendo, Sierra Wireless, SK Teletech, T&A Alcatel, Huawei, Trium, Toshiba and Vidalco. There are also specialist communication systems related to (but distinct from) mobile phones.

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    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 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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