Search and Discovery is a rather obvious problem if you have ever tried to shop for mobile content on your phone. The analogy I like to use is this: Think about a Walmart store that’s about 50,000 square feet in size. Now take that size and fit it into an alley that is 5 feet wide. You have an alley that is 10,000 feet long! And each time you shop, you have to walk the entire length of the alley to find what you want and buy a game or music.
Distribution for mobile content is also a strange one. In retail, there is lots of competition as large “big box” stores compete with the local “mom and pop” family-owned businesses for the same consumer products. Brands like Coca-Cola, Frito Lay, and Clorox win because the number of storefront where their products are sold are enormous! Even if we look at where Playstation, Wii and Xbox games are sold, it’s everywhere! But why isn’t mobile content in the retail chain? Some have tried to bundle mobile content on SD flash cards, use scratch off cards, but why has no one been successful? Part of it has to do with a clumsy method of buying the rights to the content, then loading it onto your phone. Most people have a hard enough time navigating around their phone, so installing software better be easy. Other methods of sideloading have been popular with mp3s, but with games, the OTA (over the air) channel is still popular, but slow. In an attempt to streamline the process, there are shortcodes and WAP push links. But this is still limited since marketing must be done in broad way to get people downloading content. I remember seeing Thumplay and Playphone commericals on TV to download music and games, which is a start. But honestly, the games need to be in the same section where Playstation, Wii and Xbox games are sold. The storefronts are massive in number and forego the need to revenue share with the mobile operator. What this can also do is start to drive mobile publishers to start branding their company to the consumer. I am sure that most people have heard of Electronic Arts (EA), but what about I-Play or Guppy Games? They have some pretty good titles, but lack consumer mindshare. Going retail could drive consumers to their brand.
Lastly payment. This is also a sore subject since most publishers go through the mobile operator and that involves a revenue share. Sometimes, it’s a rather hefty toll to pay with a 70/30 split (30% towards the mobile operator). At to this the cost of the data download and things feel really pricey! Some publishers have opted to go the route of selecting off-deck portals or even ad-subsidized models, such as Greystripe but there is still a revenue share and few other alternatives. Few mobile game companies are breaking through $5M in annual revenue and even fewer pass the $10M mark. Alternatives such as side-loading and other methods need to evolve so that game publishers can get unshackled from the revenue share potential.
Finally, if we can resolve a lot of these issues, and quickly, we can get past what I’d like to call the Golden Nickel. The Golden Nickel is the 5% adoption rate for mobile content. Nothing stifles innovation more in an emerging market when there is an average adoption rate of 5%. Even if there are over 2B mobile subscribers, even thinking that 100M mobile subscribers are playing games would be generous. It’s certainly the few representing the many.
Sorry to those who use RSS to read my blog. I have been trying to get it to a steady state, but wrangling with my web host, dealing with DNS issues, etc. has been nevertheless, very tedious.
It’s all working now, so hopefully you can subscribe with the following URL:
Thank you for your understanding, sorry I keep changing it on my readers!
Next up was John Chasey from Finblade. He had a bold prediction that: “A mobile phone connected to your TV will replace your PS3 in two years time. He argued that it’s a fundamental principle for portable devices is the need to play games. The Sony PS3 is a luxury item in India and China and in comparison, the mobile phone is an essential tool and revenue generator.
Here are some of the stats he presented to proof his argument:
To be honest, while I agree that this device improves the quality of game experience, I want to see how this can apply to other uses in business and entertainment, beyond gaming. Another fact that I have to content with is carrying around a separate device from my handset. I typically remember keys, wallet, mobile when I leave my home, but I often forget my bluetooth headset which I need when I drive (I can use my speakerphone function as backup). I also am skeptical the device might get too small; this increases the chances of misplacing it into the land of Lost.
Moderator: John Szeder, Co-founder, Mofactor
Panelists (Left to Right in picture below):
Rich Moran, Partner, Venrock
Rich Wong, Partner, Accel
Mitch Lasky, Partner, Benchmark
Brad Farkas, Partner, iHatch Ventures
Q: What are the VCs looking at when it comes to mobile content and services?
A: The model where content goes through the mobile operator with a revenue share is well-understood. Emerging are a few Off-Deck Portals, such as Thumplay and Limelife. There is also a third category which is “To Be Defined” for distribution of mobile content. There are a few models, but none that has gain maturity.
Some of the reasons why this currently in focus is because quite a few mobile content companies are struggling to sustain a business. At last I checked, EA made around $40M in revenue *annually* from mobile games. Glu is around $20M. There are a few that are making single digit millions, but they inch along trying to increase their revenue year over year. Creating original content is expensive and you need rather deep pockets to survive. Part of the problem is attributed to the current model for: Discovery, Distribution and Payment (discussed in more detail in a separate post). There desperately needs to be a new model that is outside the carrier in order to get the mobile content industry into better shape.
Q: Are VCs funding mobile? And what are some of the challenges?
Inside the Venture Firm, mobile gaming is competing for dollars against completely different industries, such as CleanTech, BioTech, Enterprise software, etc. It can be a difficult value proposition if you are deciding between a cancer curing drug treatment, a new clean energy source, and a mobile game.
Mobile is an international play, so it’s hard to start small. There are lots of teams across the different geographies with lots of handsets to address, since there are few standards.
The obstacle is complexity in mobile. There are large leaps of faith when it comes to seeing how the market will receive new content. There is a timing issue since content has a potentially short shelf life of 4 to 8 months for mobile games on a carrier deck. Getting noticed with respect to deck placement is a constant battle for mobile publishers. The effect can be 3x for strong brands which can breakthrough to the customer and get higher revenue.
Surprise that no one directly said: “Dealing with carriers are hard. Avoiding them is good.”
Q. What is the outlook for small to medium game publishers?
UGLY. Carriers are getting harder to deal with. Getting on deck, proper distribution and simple access to carriers is becoming a nightmare. Carriers freely admit that if you are not a top title, selling in the millions, you will need to go elsewhere. Off-portals destinations have cropped up, but you still need to get the consumer to search and discovery these portals not pointed to on the WAP browser without some cumbersome tapping on the mobile keypad.
DANGER. Consolidation with mobile publishers may happen sooner than later. Strong multiples from investments are hard to find — meaning that the return on investment from mobile gaming may be below expectations. Those who are in the market, the next 24 months will be difficult to see an exit. If mobile publishers can control their burn rate, through more favorable revenue shares, looking for less expensive skilled labor, can potentially see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I’m curious to know if this is a warning sign that VCs have over-funded mobile and are moving to other investments? Bad experiences, lower than expected ROIs, not a whole lot of great exits, it could be the telltale signs that it will get harder to fund a mobile content idea.
Q: Who are you watching in the mobile content space, but is *not* in your portfolio?
Venrock – Electronic Arts
Accel – Greysripe
Benchmark – Twitter
iHatch – Admob
This is interesting to note that Greystripe and Admob were mentioned. I’m somewhat puzzled why Mitch Lasky from Benchmark mentioned Twitter. Much less to do with mobile content, other than micro-blogging.
Q: What does Google and Apple have an effect on the mobile content space?
It will be a long time before Android makes money. Getting these large players involved is hard and coordination will be a challenge.
Apple has pushed the technology envelope with the handset, but temporarily crippled since you still need native applications for the device.
Apple has more promise for the consumer with respect to delivering a better data experience.
Apple is able to cut deals with carriers that are not as onerous. This is important because it proves that it can be done.
Hey, how come no one commented about Google’s other mobile initiatives besides Android? Nothing about mobile search, advertising, maps? I know that they were speaking at GDC, but I would think some of these services play into building interesting mobile gaming content?
Q: What’s better – Native Applications vs. a Browser-based phone?
Native applications are important. We are becoming a “Caffeine, ADD, snappy society for mobile,” said Rich Wong from Accel. I think what he meant was that the focus should be on making things look good and the user experience be great. Whatever technology it takes should be utilized to make it happen.
I think Apple might have gone a bit overboard with a browser-based phone. It’s odd that I would always be “in-band” or connected to access everything. Sometimes, I need to be offline, either by choice or mandated, like on an airplane.
Q: What happened to the MVNOs?
It sucks to be a reseller.
ARPU must be very high to sustain.
Innovative services were created, but some basic fundamentals are hard to overcome.
Short term value chain derived vs. getting stuck in the middle
I think just like mobile content, mobile operators want control over even a reseller channel. I would think a better model would be to have the MVNOs build brand and some unique services which can then be brought back into the carrier from which they lease spectrum and bandwidth.
Q. Where to invest in mobile?
Warning signs for a VC is when development is in multiple places like Brazil, China, India, Eastern Europe, etc. There is a significant challenge in the coordination of teams.
If a company’s product has low friction, that is interesting to a VC.
If a company has a glimmer of greatness, that is worth investing.
The company has a fundamental viral distribution.
VCs will *not* invest in “take the existing web portal, service and make it mobile. That phase is long over.
Regarding the warning signs comment, it’s somewhat contradictory of what was said earlier in the panel about mobile is global. Having teams in different geographies is required to lower burn rates, but also insure localization and building relationships locally with the mobile ecosystem and its distribution model.
Q. Technologies to Watch?
90 nm to 45 nm conversion for chips
QVGA (320×240) to VGA (600×400) displays on a mobile phone
LTE (Long Term Evolution)
While not explicitly stated, but ODFM which is part of LTE is interesting. I would also put femtocells and mobile search and discovery.
Q. Showstopper Questions that VCs want to hear or what you should avoid
- Stay focused and nail the best user experience
- Recognize that the bubble around mobile content is cooling, the need to improve quality is high.
- Qualify yourself and the team
- Our company will change the world
- Forget to say: “What is it?” This should come first.
- A good business but bad venture investment [discontinuity] will be hard
- Don’t say you company is the next Jamdat
VCs still live in a land of Missouri. “The Show Me” effect of having a proper demo as well as crisp presentation will get you ahead of the pile of ideas that a VC hears. And from some experience, it’s also nice to show that you have some revenue coming in; this basically proves that someone wants to buy what you built!
Michel Guillemot, CEO and President of Gameloft covered quite a few topics, but I wanted to highlight a few. He narrowed down two myths about the Mobile Gaming market.
Myth #1: There is a long term slow down in the mobile games market
I tend to agree with this one. If you parallel just the console market, who would have thought that kids in the ’70s and ’80s would stick with playing games into their 30′s and 40′s. And with the Wii, people in their 70′s and 80′s are even getting into it. So if currently mobile gaming is appealing to those born in the ’90s and ’00s, just give it some time. Compound that with the fact that there is still growth potential with so many more people with the capability of playing games on their mobiles in comparison to buying a console and plugging it into a television.
Myth #2: Mobile games will never reach mass market
I also agree that this cannot be possible.
He does not believe that is will be $20B (it will be far greater). He further said that mobile gaming does not completely replace other types like console or PC; it will be a separate business for growth.
During the Q&A it was ask if licensed games is good for deck management. The answer: It is hard to make money, but it is good for traffic. This is because the price point is low, but you have the potential to rotate game titles in order to try and gain traffic.
I also think this is good if you are also trying to build a brand that mobile consumers are seeking out. Associating with known titles from outside mobile can get some pull for for fledging mobile game business.
Another question that was asked is the 40MB mobile game then evolving to porting hard core mobile games to mobile. The answer: There will be and can be a model to support both.
I tend to agree since all software tends to get larger over time. PC games went from floppys, to CD-ROM and now DVD-ROM. Irrespective of the price increase, the size had grown exponentially since game publishers are utilizing more and more of the available compute space and power from the PC. Why shouldn’t they try and maximize the same with a mobile device?
SanDisk has a new campaign called: “Wake Up Your Phone”. It’s basically a way let people know that an SD slot exists is their phone. It’s estimated that by 2010, there will be about 900M mobile phones with an SD slot, which makes SanDisk want to fill in all of that empty space with their card. A way to get people to know more about the SD slot is to see what they can do with it. So SanDisk at MWC08 displayed a kiosk which accepted all types of flash memory cards (they happen to actively sell all types, of course) and have video content downloaded to it.
It took about a minute or so download the movies from the kiosk onto the micro SD card from my phone. Pop it back into my phone and open one of the three video files. Simple and easy. Hmmm, maybe the concept of side-loading could work…
No need for downloads. No need to try and find the mobile content I want on the small screen. Wait, didn’t Apple do this with the iTunes store? Well, if you can’t beat them, join them. Perhaps that’s what SanDisk is hoping to do by building a similar model. Perhaps the next time I go into a Best Buy, I might be seeing one of these kiosks staring at me to get some mobile game or music.
While I was in Barcelona attending Mobile World Congress, Starbucks launched big news about how it was dropping T-Mobile’s HotSpot service and selecting AT&T to provide WiFi service. As a HotSpot subscriber, I was a bit worried since it was an inexpensive add-on to my T-Mobile plan for my Dash. For a long time, T-Mobile’s HotSpot deal was the only game in town and it worked well. The shock to the system is that T-Mobile is already struggling to get its act together for 3G and just trying to keep its monthly subscriber base growing and now this.
â€œToday’s announcement regarding the Starbucks Wi-Fi operations will not impact T-Mobile HotSpot customers’ ability to use Wi-Fi services at Starbucks locations for years to come. In fact, the Wi-Fi network operations transition will not begin for several months. Even after the transition, T-Mobile HotSpot customers will continue to enjoy Wi-Fi access at Starbucks locations for at least the next five years under a roaming agreement between T-Mobile USA and AT&T. There will be no additional charge for T-Mobile HotSpot customers at Starbucks associated with this transition.
Source: T-Mobile HotSpot
Well, after reading that bit of news, it’s good to know that I can keep using my existing account until my 2 year plan runs out. As I am also an AT&T subscriber, I am curious to find out what options I can have to get a competitive plan that can be bundled into my other services.
Here also shows the timeline for the transition plan:
Q: Should I cancel my T-Mobile HotSpot account because I mainly use it at Starbucks?
A: Before, during, and after the transition, you can continue to use your T-Mobile HotSpot account at Starbucks at no additional charge. T-Mobile will transition network operations to AT&T on a market by market basis starting this spring  and ending in early 2009. We plan to continue to expand our HotSpot footprint with new and existing venue partners to provide even more places where T-Mobile HotSpot can access our Wi-Fi services.
Source: T-Mobile HotSpot
I guess it’s the same kind of sharing when T-Mobile first started and was sharing infrastructure with, then Cingular.
Q: Why did Starbucks enter into a partnership with AT&T?
A: According to Starbucks, it is has made a new communications services agreement with AT&T. Under this agreement, Starbucks is streamlining all its communications services under a single provider. This includes all its store operating systems, as well as Wi-Fi services. However, you will be able to use your T-Mobile HotSpot account at Starbucks for years to come.
Source: T-Mobile HotSpot
Well, this certainly makes sense. Triple play for consumers is heavily being pushed, why not for the enterpise? And on “home turf” in the US, AT&T can certainly undercut T-Mobile with other services. The question is for Starbucks in Europe, will T-Mobile still have a foothold? That is their “home turf” to offer that same type of services like AT&T can.
Earlier this week, I met Bill Tam from eqo at the GoMo News – MyStrands party.
The website has this short description of what they do:
EQO (pronounced â€œechoâ€) is a FREE application that brings free instant messaging, cheap calling and cheap texting to your mobile phone. Chat on the go using MSN, AIM, Yahoo, Google Talk, QQ (NEW!), ICQ and Jabber, or call and text anyone in the world at super-low rates. Invite your friends to join your EQO network and you can use EQO to call them at 50% off EQOâ€™s regular calling rate, or send them an EQO Message for free.
While I have been using Skype on my mobile device for a while, I have also been looking for a way to also have all of my IM accounts accessible on my phone. I have tried the software from OZ Communications, but it’s limited since I have to log into each one separately and not have all of my contacts available at one time. Perhaps it could be the version of the software that I have on my WM6 device, but Bill showed me how I want to switch to eqo. First, unlike my OZ client, which charges me each IM as a text message, eqo using my mobile data plan. OK, but if you don’t have an unlimited data plan, how much does it use? Here is the answer from their Help section about the service.
The application uses about 1 or 2 KBs every time you start it up. Each call is only 200 bytes (the data connection is used to initiate the call–so the 200 bytes is the same regardless of call duration of call type). The application will use more data if you have lots of contacts or lots of IM accounts with lots of contacts.
Wow, simple honesty. Instead of hiding these facts and getting the phone company to gauge you later, this really helps set expectations for people who are thinking about using this service.
Another thing that is nice is that eqo also provides the ability to do long distance calling. This is accomplished using VoIP. Now provided that you have good reception, calls should be just as clear as a normal call on the cellular network. Pricing is fairly competitive to Skype and similar long distance calling rates, but it’s nice to have an integrated communications application.
Abbie from Telematics Update has invited me to speak on a panel at the upcoming Navigation Day @ CeBIT 2008 in Hannover, Germany. The event which takes place on March 7th, 2008, will hear how to deliver and deploy off-board services that transform your navigation products this year.
My particular panel will be covering Mobile Social Networking, Search and Advertising with respect to Navigation. These topics are particularly interesting because now, people can begin to take advantage of navigation as a service molded into a higher level offering towards being social, finding places and potentially getting targeted adverts based on their activity.
The PDF brochure for the event can be found here.
You can get a â‚¬ 50 discount by using the code: SPK1367 for online registration.
Amongst some of the stands that I visited whilst at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was United Mobile. In speaking with Manfred Wyck, Senior Vice President Sales for the company, he explained how their MVNO enables people to roam in over 80 countries with a single number. Their service is based both in the UK as well as Liechtenstein (country code +423) and the main benefit is that incoming calls and texts are free to the receiver. And voice calling and sending text costs â‚¬ 0,29 or about $0.45 USD per minute and text, respectively.
Well coming from the US, not having to pay for incoming calls when I am roaming is already a huge advantage. However, if I get a prepaid SIM while I’m in Spain, isn’t that just the same thing? In looking at the Orange and Movistar websites, it appears that the price is pretty competitive with â‚¬ 0,23 per minute. The downside with these prepaid cards is that calling internationally and roaming to more than one country starts to be quite expensive. This is where the value of United Mobile starts to be convenient.
Finally, Manfred also told me that later this year, they will start to offer data plans where you can use the same SIM.
Last night, I spent some time at the GoMo News party sponsored by MyStrands. I got to meet quite a few people who are involved in mobile search as well as fellow mobilists, Rudy De Waele, Jane Kwak from MyStrands, and Bill Tam, CEO of EQO.
And after some wrangling with my device, I was able to extract a short clip from the event and post it up on YouTube. It was good to talk with fellow people about mobile search and shopping, amongst other things. Funny thing about this event was I was having beer and pizza, didn’t quite feel like home, but it was a nice change from all the tapas that I have had this week.
As I tend to travel quite a bit Internationally, I had to one of those multi-country adapters that work in most countries to charge up my notebook and mobile phones I bring along the journey. So I recently compiled a list of countries and their adapter types with pictures.
http://www.mobileslate.com/blog/powerplugs is the link I setup for reference.
Back in October 2007, Ballmer, Venturebeat reported that: “Microsoftâ€™s plans to acquire 20 companies per year for the next five years, ranging from $50 million to $1 billion.”
While Yahoo was many orders of magnitude larger than $1B, it seems like Microsoft’s voracious appetite is getting larger. The latest news is that Microsoft is acquiring Danger, most well known for making the Sidekick operating on the T-Mobile network. While all the details have yet to be solidified, it’s clear that Microsoft is playing a “winner take all” attitude. Software, Services, Content and now Hardware. Perhaps a new phrase should be added to the list of companies in technology.
A long time ago, the mantra was: IBM. You can’t go wrong/fired/etc with choosing IBM.
Now, perhaps the new one is: Microsoft. Always count on them for competition.
Well, let me take a moment to try and understand this one. You want to buy a handset maker who also has a server backend inside the carrier and has a rather closed environment for content? The hardware is pretty slick, the content and services are pretty cool too. But with only one carrier install and several rounds of burnt VC money, one might want to take a second or third look before pulling the trigger.
So what’s the deal here? How does this fit into the overall strategy? Well, here is a guess. People thought the Xbox was a crazy idea. But if Microsoft is going to push into the home and be aligned by Bill Gates’ mantra of “a computer in every home running Windows” the Xbox could certainly represent that. And why not offer an Xbox mobile to compete with Sony PSP, Nintendo DS, and Nokia n-gage? So this might be an extension of the mantra: “a mobile in each person’s hand running Windows.” And the numbers don’t lie. While WM (Windows Mobile) still represents a small percentage of the global totals, it is significantly increasing by leaps and bounds.
OK, well what about the server backend? Well, Microsoft has traditionally been an underdog in telco infrastructure in comparison to Sun, Oracle, BEA, and even Linux. But Microsoft getting their hands on Danger’s server backend could provide ideas and moreover a strong client, T-Mobile, which is one of the Top 5 carriers by total subscribers worldwide. Getting into telco infrastructure furthers the agenda of Microsoft in every vertical.
Lastly, the content and services side. This one might be a toss up. With Xbox, MSN, ad services, location and mapping services as well as a myriad of other content relationships, it may be better to fill the channel with all that Microsoft can bring to the table.
Furthermore, the acquisition of Danger, puts the handset guys on notice. Similar to Oracle buying Peoplesoft, then Siebel Systems, and the latest, BEA Systems, I sense a similar pattern will happen in the handset space. I won’t go so far to say that RIM is next, but it *has* to be on the radar screen. HTC, Pantech, SonyEricsson?!? Who knows! One things is for sure: Microsoft moves are become regular topics in management team meetings.
And I can’t wait to see what’s next.
While this isn’t my first time at 3GSM er, Mobile World Congress, I am still amazed every time I go and start hearing people speaking in native tongues about mobile. German, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Finnish, English, Dutch, Arabic…I think I even heard Klingon? (Just kidding) From Mobile gaming, Social Networking, User Generated Content (UGC) and more, people are really talking about how software and services are driving the demand, expansion, and innovation for mobile. The handsets are shiny and colorful and the demos are full of Flash and mp3 audio.
Over the last few months, Apple has launched its iPod touch with WiFi access, with rumors flying that it will include WiMAX future products; Google is participating in the 700 MHz auction, and Sprint has cancelled and reaffirmed its commitment to WiMAX through Xohm, and the ITU embraced WiMAX is a 3G standard.
WiMAX is a relatively unproven technology promoted largely by Intel, Sprint and the WiMAX Forum. It has yet to be deployed on any significant scale by large network operator. Technically WiMAX includes broadband wireless products using the IEEE 802.16 standards. While it has some technical advantages over WiFi (IEEE 802.11) and is very different from the UMTS standards, it addresses some of the same user needs for untethered high-speed network access. It is one of several broadband access technologies – Why then does WiMAX capture so much industry interest and media attention?
What is more significant about WiMAX is not so much what it can provide as who it can enable to provide it. WiMAX is coming into the market at a time when the FCC is seeking to expand broadband access, when mobile, wireline, and wireless partners are merging and networks converging, and when popular Internet applications would push the bandwidth boundaries of UMTS networks as they turn mobile. WiMAX provides an opportunity for computing and Web 2.0 companies to enter the broadband access markets, potentially bundling computing products with network access, and compete against incumbent wireline and mobile network operators. WiMAX could become the building block for a new vision of personal broadband services provided on technology and spectrum independent access platforms.
Personal broadband reflects the user expectation that whatever they can do in one environment should be translatable to other environments. The personal broadband market can be characterized by an increasing consumer demand for bandwidth, broadband services and various degrees of mobility. It includes all the enabling network technologies (such as UMTS, WiMAX, WiFi, DSL, cable modem, and others) into a single unified and personalized access. The personal broadband vision would allow, “any device, anywhere, any application, any time” access to individuals and businesses.
The 700 MHz auction’s supports the FCC goal to make broadband available to all Americans through a â€œthird pipeâ€ to the home (in addition to telephone and cable company broadband service). The Auction requires licensees to allow the use of any device or application on a specified portion of the 700 MHz spectrum. In doing so it takes a step towards greater freedom of broadband access. If companies such as Google are successful in acquiring spectrum, it opens the doors for new business models and players in the personal broadband services market. WiMAX technology is a likely choice for deployment.
WiMAX and UMTS both provide high-speed wireless access, so while there are areas of market overlap, there are significant differences in the technology approach and therefore customer segments and applications served. WiMAX standards come from the computing industry with faster product cycles at online approaches to service provisioning. It is data centric progress on devices and local area coverage, with proprietary technologies often competing for de facto standardization in the use of unlicensed spectrum. UMTS has evolved from a voice centric network oriented approach that delivers services over wide geographic areas. The need to ensure interoperability requires comprehensive standardization, prescriptive regulation and the use of licensed spectrum. UMTS networks, designed for high mobility and wide area coverage can provide mobile Internet access, though not necessarily at the highest data rates enabled by WiMAX. Similarly, WiMAX can provide high data rate, but not necessarily with full coverage and mobility. The figure below illustrates the areas of overlap and differences.
Source: WiMax Forum, Adapted from KT and Samsung 2005.
Given the higher uplink and downlink peak rate possible in WiMAX, (7 Mbps and 46 Mbps) applications building on bandwidth enabled activities on the desktop such as multiplayer gaming and Internet access will almost always be better served by the data rate performance capability of WiMAX and other compatible technologies. On the other hand, applications requiring the highest mobility will almost always be better served by the wide coverage of 3G.
The higher data rates offered by WiMAX enable the mobilization of some highly popular Web activities, such as IPTV and other streaming video or audio media. These types of applications can consume up to 7x more bandwidth than other mobile data applications. With this type of bandwidth, even small numbers of simultaneous users within the same 3G metro area can put a strain on spectrum resources and impact network capacity. WiMax provides a capacity solution to the offered traffic spikes that IPTV can introduce. In addition, applications such as VoIP deliver â€œgood enoughâ€ voice and are increasingly attractive to price sensitive customers at the low end of mainstream markets. There is also still a large segment of users without any kind of broadband Internet access. WiMAX provides a higher data rates required for video streaming services, and in some geographic areas may be a lower-cost broadband access alternative band than deploying a 3G network.
If UMTS can be considered the mobile industry’s vehicle to add Internet access to mobile services, then WiMAX can be viewed as the computing industryâ€™s strategy to add mobile access to Web 2.0, Internet and computing services. The combination of WiMAX and the new spectrum released by the FCC removes some of the barriers for non-telecom companies and virtual network operators to bundle wireless access with their services. In short, WiMAX is coming at a time when the regulatory environment is amenable, service convergence and end-user demand for converged mobile and Internet services is more defined, network convergence makes more economic sense, and industry players are looking to expand market presence.
WiMAX technology paired with available spectrum can deliver bandwidth for today’s popular media applications. That functionality in the hands of Internet services companies with market reach equivalent to the largest mobile carriers can be a powerful force of disruptive change.
For those of you who are subscribing to my blog via RSS feed, I recently made some changes to the URL to simplify everything into one feed.
Sorry for the inconvenience. Please update your links accordingly.
By my calculation, with the launch of the latest iPhone, Apple is still stuck in the 2nd Generation (2G network and model version). Here is my supporting argument:
I really hope that Version 3 can add more of these features while maintaining battery life. Apple has really tried to master the power consumption equation quite well in notebooks and iPods.
Would love to hear your thoughts about Apple iPhone feature rumors.
More than 12B text messages will be sent during this week of Chinese New Year wishing friends and family a prosperous and productive Year of the Rat. Not to be outdone, sites like Facebook, Hallmark and others were offering icon messaging for the billions who celebrate. No doubt sending and receiving greetings, particularly around a holiday can prove to keep people connected. But how can we advanced SMS into MMS? Eventually we can get to the point where SMS and MMS can be integrated together? Certainly improving the experience by sending pictures of red envelopes can certainly gain the attention with the recipient. The sender can also chose from the various designs to further provide customization.
So why is this so hard? my guess is partially due to simplicity. Texting is easy, even with double-byte pinyin character input. It can be cheaper in comparison to MMS. SMS has been 99.999% fixed for interoperability; MMS has yet to reach that kind of connectedness across carriers. Hopefully we can get interoperability solved to the degree that SMS has so we can start using it!
Just a quick post.
For the past couple months, each time I have posted to my blog, I have been using the Share Links feature on Facebook. It was a bit cumbersome but felt that it was useful to get the word out. Then I found a tool that I bookmarked in my browser where I could add Share Link without logging into Facebook. This eliminated one more step, but still a bit of a klugde.
So after a bit of search for a WordPress plugin for Facebook, I ran across Wordbook. This will automatically update my Facebook profile each time I post to Mobileslate. Ahh, finally the automation that I was looking for. So the Share Links will be featuring interesting pages that I find, instead of my blog posts. But now you should also see the Wordbook update kick in. Let me know what you think!
In addition to Wordbook, I also installed the Sociable plugin to allow readers to easily tag my posts and pages into some of their favorite social tagging sites. Let me know if your favorite social tagging has is not there – I can comment to the author to add it.
Back in 2005, I posted information about how recycling phones can help battered women by providing them a mobile phone to call for help. Now it seems that there is another campaign for recycling phones, American soldiers. When I ordered a new notebook computer, I sifted through all the styrofoam peanuts and saw all the marketing collateral and came across this plastic envelope.
I went to this website Cell Phones for Soldiers and am to hear that people are raising millions of dollars to keep people in touch. I remember a few years back hearing about how soldiers in the Middle East were racking up huge phone bills calling their loved ones.
But to be honest, wouldn’t it make more sense to focus that money on a technology such as a Cisco VoIP phone? The cost savings from the calls alone are significant and the money raised would go a lot further. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the men and women are using these phones to call friends and family while at the base or during some downtime, right?
I guess times have changed when care packages meant some photos, a T-shirt and some knickknacks from home to now, mobile phones and long distance phone plans.
I know that a few people who read this are in the Armed Forces, perhaps, if willing share some of points of view on Recycling Phones for Soldiers?