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MICROSOFT BUYING NOKIA’S SMARTPHONE BUSINESS

Microsoft announced tonight that it will buy Nokia’s devices and services division.

This is the part of Nokia that makes smartphones (and soon) tablets.

Microsoft will pay 3.70 billion Euro for Nokia’s devices business. That’s nearly $5 billion is U.S. dollars. Microsoft will also pay an additional 1.65 billion Euro ($2.2 billion U.S.) for the rights to Nokia’s patents.

All together, the deal will cost Microsoft about $7 billion U.S.

Microsoft will also take on about 32,000 Nokia employees. Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop will transfer to Microsoft too. (Elop used to work at Microsoft before becoming the Nokia CEO.)

The joining of Microsoft and Nokia isn’t a huge surprise. Nokia is the only manufacturer that exclusively uses Microsoft’ Windows Phone 8 operating system for its top-tier smartphones. Meanwhile, Microsoft has struggled to gain significant market share for Windows Phone as Android and the iPhone continue to dominate.

Nokia’s flagship Lumia phones are most likely the best-selling Windows Phones today. The company sold 7.4 million last quarter. A lot of those sales are due to the fact that Nokia attacks the low-end of the smartphone market with cheaper devices. It also makes high-end phones like the Lumia 920, 925, and 1020.

This can also be another sign that Microsoft is taking its transition from a software company to a “devices and services” company much more seriously. Until last year, Microsoft did not make any major products (besides the Xbox) itself. That changed with its line of Surface tablets that run the new Windows 8 operating system. The company announced that it was making the transition to a company that provides both devices and services.

But Microsoft has yet to make a smartphone of its own, despite numerous rumors that it had plans to. By buying Nokia, Microsoft now has its own manufacturer that it can work closely with.

Microsoft’s purchase isn’t likely to annoy other manufacturers that make Windows Phones either. Most of those manufacturers (Samsung, HTC, etc.) have been able to make more money from Android devices than an alternative operating system like Windows Phone 8. Nokia is the only manufacturer that relies almost entirely on Windows Phone 8.

Finally, there’s Elop. He’s one of the names that have been floating around as a potential replacement for Steve Ballmer as Microsoft’s CEO. Ballmer announced last month that he plans to retire within a year. A special team of Microsoft board members is now on the hunt for a new CEO.

 

HTC is reportedly developing its own mobile operating system targeted specifically at Chinese consumers

Taiwanese phone manufacturer HTC is reportedly developing its own mobile operating system targeted specifically at Chinese consumers, the Wall Street Journal cites people familiar with the project as saying.

The mobile OS is said to align closely with Chinese apps such as the Twitter-like microblogging platform Sina Weibo, and is scheduled to launch before the end of this year. Certain smartphones running the OS are reportedly being tested now, with some prototypes already sent to the Chinese government.

HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang is said to be in talks with Chinese government officials, which plays well into a wider government policy encouraging the development of a local software ecosystem, as China’s technology ministry seeks to reduce its dependence on Western companies — in particular Google, as the Android operating system has dominated China’s mobile market.

The WSJ report says it isn’t clear whether the mobile OS will be entirely proprietary or built on top of Android — as just like Acer, HTC is part of Google’s Open Handset Alliance, and that means it needs to abide by certain rules laid down by Google.

The ambitious reported move by HTC comes as it has been struggling financially. CEO Peter Chou said in the company’s recent second-quarter earnings call that HTC is expecting Q3 revenue to decline as much as 29.3 percent from the amount of revenue it posted in Q2.

The company has also noted that in China, competition at the mid-tier sector of the smartphone market intensified despite improved sales of its high-end models, which could be adding a sense of urgency for HTC to diversify its product range — and the development of a mobile OS is clearly an attempt to boost its overall strategy.

Consumers Addicted To Apps For iPhones And Android

Native apps are built expressly for a single mobile operating system like Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android, and marketed and downloaded through proprietary app stores.

In contrast, mobile Web apps are written in HTML, they exist online, and can be accessed and used from any kind of phone or tablet.

In the newest report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s paid research service, we explore why consumers still seem to overwhelmingly prefer native apps.

Native apps dominate mobile usage, account for the lion’s share of developer revenue, and perhaps not surprisingly, spark the most interest among those same mobile developers.

Is it too late for HTML5? Will the native app tidal wave overwhelm it and relegate HTML5 mobile Web apps to permanent second-class status?

In this report, we state our case for why HTML5 —  the latest mobile-friendly version of the Web’s publishing language — is in better shape than it appears to be.

HTML5’s advocates see its current stasis as a temporary speed bump, before mobile audiences and developers see the light and embrace apps on the more universal and less closed-off mobile Web.

Another advantage: Native apps are written in the difficult programming languages used for specific operating systems, while mobile Web apps are built around HTML5 and related Web technologies, which are more widely known.

Of course, it doesn’t help that consumers, and even many app publishers, remain confused about what a mobile Web app is, and how it differs from a native app and a mobile website. (A mobile Web app offers app-like interactive experiences, while a mobile website just serves up content and has a thin user interface.)

HTML5 Is Down But Not Out

Native apps are built expressly for a single mobile operating system like iOS or Android, and marketed and downloaded through proprietary app stores.

In contrast, mobile Web apps are written in HTML, they exist online, and can be accessed and used from any kind of phone or tablet.

In the newest report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s paid research service, we explore why consumers still seem to overwhelmingly prefer native apps.

Native apps dominate mobile usage, account for the lion’s share of developer revenue, and perhaps not surprisingly, spark the most interest among those same mobile developers.

Is it too late for HTML5? Will the native app tidal wave overwhelm it and relegate HTML5 mobile Web apps to permanent second-class status?

In this report, we state our case for why HTML5 —  the latest mobile-friendly version of the Web’s publishing language — is in better shape than it appears to be.

Access The Full Report And Data By Signing Up For A Free Trial Today >>

Our report includes downloadable charts and spreadsheets and over a dozen datasets from our ongoing coverage of HTML5 and mobile.

HTML5’s advocates see its current stasis as a temporary speed bump, before mobile audiences and developers see the light and embrace apps on the more universal and less closed-off mobile Web.

Another advantage: Native apps are written in the difficult programming languages used for specific operating systems, while mobile Web apps are built around HTML5 and related Web technologies, which are more widely known.

Of course, it doesn’t help that consumers, and even many app publishers, remain confused about what a mobile Web app is, and how it differs from a native app and a mobile website. (A mobile Web app offers app-like interactive experiences, while a mobile website just serves up content and has a thin user interface.)

How Location Data Is Collected To Power The New Generation Of Mobile Marketing Campaigns.

With over 770 million GPS-enabled smartphones, location data has begun to permeate the entire mobile space. The possibilities for location-based services or LBS on mobile go beyond consumer-facing apps like FourSquare and Shopkick. They’re powering advertisements and new cutting-edge local-mobile marketing, as well as many other services — from weather to travel apps.

In a recent report from BI Intelligence on location-based data, we analyze the opportunities emerging from this new local-mobile paradigm. LBS have evolved far beyond smartphones and basic proximity marketing. Throughout this report, we’ll look at the new LBS frontiers such as profile targeting and audience-building.

We specifically examine how location-enabled mobile ads have generated excitement, recommend the top local-mobile strategies for mobile marketing, look at how location-based features have boosted app engagement, and finally: we demystify some of the underlying technologies and privacy issues.

Access The Full Report And Data By Signing Up For A Free Trial Today >>

Take a look at this infographic: 

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A pure GPS approach and the “lat-long” tags it generates is considered the gold standard for location data, but that’s not the only method in use. There are at least four other methods, sometimes used in combination, for pinpointing location:

  • Cell tower data: When GPS signals can’t reach the device’s GPS chip, which often happens indoors, the device will often report its location by communicating with the cell tower it’s connected to and estimating its distance. It’s less accurate than pure GPS data.
  • Wi-Fi connection: It’s an accurate method but requires an active Wi-Fi hotspot. Wi-Fi locations are matched with GPS coordinates. It can pinpoint a user to a specific storefront, which is why many retailers are rolling out free public Wi-Fi to enable in-store mobile ads.
  • IP address: Location can be gauged by the IP address associated with the data connection. The accuracy of this approach varies between carriers, and is far less reliable than the above methods.
  • User-reported: When users sign up for emails or register for mobile apps and services, they often enter their addresses and zip codes. This data can be translated into GPS coordinates to build a geolocation profile of a single user or user base.
The ability to collect user location data and track it has raised some concerns over privacy. However, Android and iOS give users the ability to opt out of location tracking altogether via their settings.

As we detail in our report, there are many opportunities emerging from this new local-mobile paradigm, including location-enabled mobile ads, search, and features that boost engagement for apps.

Mobile Engagement Providers Will Be A New $32.4 Billion Market By 2018

Building and delivering great mobile experiences will be the beating heart of your customer engagement strategy for the next 10 years. The challenge of making a simple, intuitive app that fronts a complex system of engagement will stretch the abilities and swamp the resources of most firms. For help, firms increasingly turn to vendors that possess a connected portfolio of engagement competencies and management skills.

The result will be a new market for mobile engagement providers that will grow to $32.4 billion by 2018 (see Figure 1 below). No vendor can do all of this today, but suppliers from six categories — digital agencies, management consultancies, mobile specialists, product development specialists, systems integrators, and telcos — are chasing the prize. The payoff for vendors that make this investment will be to earn a seat at your table as a long-term partner in your engagement success.

Figure 1 Mobile Services Will Soar Globally To $32.4 Billion By 2018

Version one of your mobile app was just a standalone pretty face. But in versions two, three, and four, your mobile app will be the new face of systems of engagement, with a goal of helping people “take action in their immediate context and moments of need.”

Fulfilling this mission – and reaping the benefits of a close service connection to your customers and employees – means solving a much bigger problem than shrinking down your Web site or screen-scraping your SAP system. It means serving customers and employees whose minds have shifted to expect anything, anywhere, at any time.  If version one of the app cost $250,000, it’s not unusual for version two to cost $2 million.

You’ll spend that money deciphering what your customers really want to do on the mobile devices then building dramatically simplified mobile experiences on complex systems of engagement. You’ll also re-engineer your core processes, systems, and products to help people in their “mobile moments.”

This new $32.4 billion market is comprised of three kinds of services:

  1. Mobile engagement services: This includes the complex services for building a full system of engagement: ethnographic research, experience design, mobile strategy, business process re-engineering, redesigning middleware, analytics, system consolidation, and upgrades to back-end services. Cloud delivery, third-party services, and platform operations are not included.
  2. Mobile device and app management services: This includes the per-device fees for managing devices and the apps that run on them: mobile device management and mobile app management. It could include the setup and management of a corporate app store to manage app and policy updates. It does not include monthly telecom or wireless broadband expenses.
  3. Mobile app development services: This includes developing and maintaining native and hybrid apps for smartphones and tablets as well as mobile websites, including responsive design. It also includes using existing APIs to provide connections to the back-end systems. It does not include experience design.Ted Schadler is a Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research serving CIOs. You can follow him on Twitter @TedSchadler.

The Fast-Growing Mobile Payments Market That Will Convince You It's Not Hype

Consumers gravitate to convenience. That’s as true with payment technologies as it is with anything else. A prime example is the decades-old trend away from cash or checks and toward credit cards.

Now, the mass adoption of smartphones and tablets has set the stage for a new move — away from fixed-point, card- and cash-based transactions and toward those completed on mobile. The old dream of the “digital wallet” is coming true in a very particular mobile-led fashion.

In a recent report from BI Intelligence we explain the main types of mobile payments, analyze the state of the mobile payments race, examine the matchup between card readers and near-field communications (NFC), look at how traditional banks, credit card companies, and card processors are responding to the mobile payments threat, and detail who is furthest along in developing the all-in-one solution for merchants and consumers.

Access the Full Report By Signing Up For A Free Trial Today >>>

Here are 5 data points that help underscore the explosion:

Android's dominance of the smartphone market continues

Android Now Controls A Breathtaking 80% Of The Smartphone Market

According to the latest data from IDC, Android now controls 79.3% of the global smartphone market, up from 69.1% a year ago.

Apple, meanwhile, 13.2% of the market, a drop from 16.6% a year ago.

In terms of unit growth, Apple was up 20% on a year-over-year basis, while Android was up 73.5%.

These numbers are just astounding. Google’s search business isn’t even as dominant as Android. In the U.S., one of its strongest markets, Google search only has ~67% of the market.

Here’s a look at the market share:

 

Screenshot
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/android-now-controls-a-breath-taking-80-of-the-smartphone-market-2013-8#ixzz2bNuBmumZ

 

 

Is it worth it for me to have a mobile app (or should I just have a responsive site).

You know your business needs a mobile presence, but how to best offer that experience — without breaking the bank — is something tons of companies, both big and small, continue to struggle with.

Carl asks: Is it worth it for me to have a mobile app (or should I just have a responsive site)? How do I know whether I’m getting bang for my buck?

If Carl had asked this question back in 2009 or 2010, it would have been phrased, “Do I need a native app or is a mobile-optimized website enough?” In 2011 and 2012, the question again would have shifted to “native app or mobile web app?” Today, “responsive” is the buzzword du jour.

As a result, it’s an increasingly popular option for companies that are looking to move into mobile, but that lack the budgets to support separate apps for each mobile platform and without the needs of something more complex such as a mobile web app.

The first thing you need to do is forget about buzzwords and lingo and focus on the actual needs of your business.

The first thing you need to do is forget about buzzwords and lingo and focus on the actual needs of your business.

App or Website

The basic question any business owner needs to ask himself is, “Do I need an app at all?” If you’re a law firm who primarily interacts via in-person consultations or over the phone, then no, you probably do not need a mobile app. The same is true for a restaurant owner with one or two locations.

Conversely, if you offer an existing web service for users logins and account management, a native mobile app is probably going to be a worthwhile investment, as it will provide tremendous performance benefits over using the mobile web.

Mobile Commerce as an Edge Case

There are, however, some edge cases in the app-versus-website debate. The most common to my mind is the area of commerce. Mobile commerce (mcommerce) is absolutely exploding, with more and more transactions taking place on tablets and smartphones every single day. In April, eMarketer predicted that by 2017, 25% of online retail transactions will take place on mobile.

Commerce is a tricky area for the mobile versus app debate

Commerce is a tricky area for the mobile versus app debate because the answer can really vary depending on the type of products being sold and the audience for the products.

I explored the mobile versus native debate in regards to ecommerce apps back in 2011. Although the shift to mobile shopping has greatly increased, the considerations for choosing mobile web (or in today’s parlance, “responsive”) over a native app are largely still the same.

I wrote then:

It isn’t just about choosing native apps or choosing the mobile web — it’s also about looking at who your customers are and what devices they use. For retailers that have lots of iPhone users, the fact that 50% of users can come from a native app and the conversion rate can be 30% higher makes a strong argument for creating a native app. Meanwhile, if conversion rates for native BlackBerry apps are subpar, it might make more sense to focus on optimizing the mobile commerce site to work with the BlackBerry browser.

This is all still true. Mcommerce companies should look at who their users are — what platforms they use, the average transaction price (studies continue to show that users feel more comfortable making large dollar purchases using a native app rather than the mobile web) and how well their current web solutions work with features such as shopping carts, time outs and more.

For mcommerce, you should absolutely start with a mobile friendly site and make sure that it is frequently updated to be fast, efficient and work well on multiple devices. Then, factor out how many sales will need to take place each month through a native app to pay for its development. If that seems feasible, building a native app to offer alongside the responsive experience is a great idea.

Responsive Is Not a Shortcut

On the surface, it’s easy to say that creating a responsive site will be less expensive than developing an app. Still, it’s important to consider the costs, especially if your existing site is not responsive.

These costs include not just the design itself, but also any upgrades that need to take place with your existing websites backend or infrastructure.

Responsive design is not just about fitting on a mobile screen

Responsive design is not just about fitting on a mobile screen, it’s also about making sure that functionality works in contexts and scenarios ideal for mobile.

That means that if you are a restaurant, your responsive site can hook into geolocation APIs to offer easy access to directions. It means that phone numbers are dial-able. It means that buttons and text entry fields are touch-friendly.

How India , China and Brazil is Tracking The Next Massive Growth Wave In Smartphones

Many emerging markets are already mobile-first economies where mobile phones are more ubiquitous than either land-line telephones, PCs, or fixed Internet connections.

Mobile statistics are specifically impressive in the BRICs — Brazil, Russia, India, China. China is poised to overtake the United States as the world’s largest smartphone market, and new Chinese app data suggest it has already done so.

In a recent reportBI Intelligence interviews a half-dozen mobile industry leaders and entrepreneurs on opportunities in the BRICs, breaks down how mobile-focused companies can pursue those opportunities, analyzes key mobile statistics (smartphones, app downloads, app revenue) from the BRIC countries, isolates and analyzes the four lessons that are essential to any mobile project in these markets, and looks at a case study of a successful music streaming service focused on Indian and Bollywood music.

Access the Full Report By Signing Up For A Free Trial Today >>>

Subscribers also gain access to our library of over 100 in-depth reports on the global mobile industry, and hundreds of charts and datasets they can put to use in their own research and presentations. 

Here’s an overview of the 4 essentials to mobile projects in BRIC countries:

In full, the special report:

For full access to the report on Mobile In The BRICs sign up for a free trial subscription today.

BII_BRICs2
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/mobile-in-china-india-and-emerging-markets-2013-8#ixzz2bIYEm4iU

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