Friday, May 26, 2006

Making mobile payments work 101

Little Springs Design an American based mobile design and usability firm have written a good starter on how the phone could replace the wallet. This is something that this week has become more important to my work with a number of developments.

The first was a mail shot from PayPal asking me to activate my mobile phone. Now I am not a big user of PayPal, as I do not have a big eBay habbit. Thus I have to think that the marketing people are expanding the offer to the casual user having seen a good take up by the regular users.

The other little gem that popped up on my radar was the developments of BT in launching Click&Buy for the wholesale market. With the service WAP site owners will be able to identify the users browsing their sites, this allows them to bill without using reverse SMS. The interesting element is that 60% of users of click&buy do not have a credit card.

The reason that these slow developments in mobile payments are becoming more interesting is that the Networks are opening up their portals to advertising, something that is already common in the States. Orange will allow agencies to place brand adverts as banners and text links, later they will allow content firms to advertise. When the content firms are able to enter the market then we could see more requirements for mobile payments.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The summer is coming and I am feeling blue

Over the last few weeks I have been like a little child again waiting for Chrismas.

For the last month I have been able to upgrade my handset with Orange here in the UK. Ever since the GSM bash in Spain I have been waiting for the first sight of the M600 from Sony Ericsson. I have been watching the Central London stores that are business centres who have new handsets before they hit the web.

Well guess what the date has slipped ever back. The latest story is that it will be over three months before we can see the QWERTY based UMTS handset in London with an Orange logo. The guys in the stores are saying that we will get the upgraded P990 before we have the M600. Indeed ask someone in an Orange store for an M600 and they at first think that you are talking about the SPV and not the Sony Ericsson handset. If I were a different type I would say it is the fact that Orange are selling such a device faster then they can get them in a store, and these Orange handsets are lower in price to buy than a Sony Ericsson handset.

Talking to someone in the handset market he tells me that the M600 is in production ahead of the P990. Thus I should be able to get my new handset faster than I can get a HDTV receiver from Sky but both now look like I will wait until after the Summer holidays before I get my gadget fix.

I am upset with Sony Ericsson that it has created a market that it cannot serve. I am more upset with Orange that it has lost sight of the fact that I am the customer and as such I should be able to buy what I want rather than what they sell. What Orange was know for was excellent customer service and since it changed hands it has lost this edge. The only saving grace is that all of Orange's competitors are as bad as it is when it comes to customer service.

I guess that I will have to use LinkedIn to see how many degrees of seperation I have from a senior Product Manager at Sony Ericsson so that I may once again have access to the test handsets so that I can get my fix.

Friday, May 19, 2006

WeeWorld gets $15.5M funding

Red HERRING reports that one of my favourite companies WeeWorld has managed to secure the money needed to take it on to the next level. Celia Francis tells me that she has another big deal in Legal at the moment and that she hopes to beef up the staff.

Cannot wait to see what new functions are coming, looking forward to the animation services that will mean that I can use WeeMe for MMS rather than just send others photos of what I am upto.

Well done Celia on an excellent first year and I know that the next year will see yet more success.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

28th Carnival of the Mobilists

Rod McLaren kicks us off this week with a question on what happens when Operator's replace devices because it is cheaper than repairing them. This is something that happened with me when my 3G handset started to disconnect from the network. The problem I had was that all they replaced was the handset and ever since I have a problem with battery life!

Mike over at mymobilephoneguide takes a look at the Motorola PVOT which could solve my battery problem in that its hand cranked to charge the battery. At the moment it is just in design phase so might not make it to market, but the good news is that it does not look like a RAZR.

Regular Troy Norcross looks at how Mobile Culture affects Mobile Marketing which looks at the if we are to get mobile marketing to work we could remember that its phone and the return path it best if we call rather than go to a wap site. Justin Oberman over at mopocket looks at how the US is using text messaging for Mobile Politics, which is another look at how they do things differently in the States from over hear in the UK. Continuing the theme David at Mobile Marketing Magazine points us at Kathryn Stevenson's post on how together, we're beautiful which chimes with a lot of what Troy is saying.

Russell wrote Mobhappy's post on Adding Value to MMS which is a great follow on on Troy's post. Russell looks at a new start-up from Israel that allows you to annotate your picture before you send it. This is the Mesh Up solution that a number were talking of at the last MoMonday event I went to in London.

Mike Evans asks will Dell be the next competitor for Nokia as it starts lists N-Series terminals as "multimedia computers". Xen Mendelsohn has a reply that says that if Nokia want us to think of the N-Series as a computer she wants a keyboard and mouse!

Jordy is the newbie this week, of his two submissions I went for his analysis of Facebook's entry into mobile. In his email Jordy says that he was motivated to launch his blog after reading MobHappy for a couple of months. Not sure if it was a complement or he just thought he could do better than Russell and Carlo, but good luck hope that he manages to post frequently.

Daniel Taylor over at mobile enterprise gives RIM a cheer for finally getting a version of the software out that works for the field force professionals who don't use e-mail on a day-to-day basis. Having read the post I felt like emailing some of those I know who work in messaging to get them to comment, but hopefully they will see it here and comment on Daniel's post.

Martin's excellent blog has a look at how the deployment of GSM and UMTS networks are doing. All I would want to add is although the map says that I have 3G coverage at home it only works if the trees behind my house don't have wet leaves on!

Dave Beers has a look at how Motorola has gone open source of its Java ME. He has done an excellent job of looking as just what can be done with the software which has given me some interesting insights for my chat with Symbian.

Moonsider looks at banning phones in school, in which he gives a good analysis of the pros and cons before saying that like fire we cannot take it away so learn how to use it responsibly. Judy Breck's blog tells us how the Metropolitam Museum of Art lets visitors get Queen Hatshepsut on the phone.

OK that's me done, I don't have a post of my own put while your here why no look at the other posts? I have enjoyed reading the submissions and sorry if you did not make the cut. Its been interesting to see behind the curtain, and it would be great if some of my favorites started submitting posts. Next week the Carnival moves onto Open Gardens and I hope that Ajit will have as much fun as I have pulling together the weeks news from the Mobile Bloggers.

The photo comes from the RBKC website on the Notting Hill Carnival sorry cannot credit the photographer.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

IMobile phones as a tool of social change in Africa

In todays Independent I read a feature on how mobile phones are giving hope to a new generation of African people. Diane Coyle writes about how the rise of mobile telephony has helped those in the most poverty to pull themselves out of the gutter. After hitting us with the stats about how the continent has been the fastest growing in numbers since the late 1990s she goes on to repeat the good news stories from the GSMA's outreach programmes of fishmen in Tanzania able to find the best price before landing there catch.

The article then goes on to talk of the resent resaerch project undertaken by the LBS paid for by Vodafone on the economic and social effects of the rapid spread of mobiles. Indeed in some areas communities are lobbying for their own mast and celebrate its arrival, how Vodafone wish that the same were true in the UK.

The only thing missing is a fact that I picked up on last year at the time of Make Poverty History when one of the speakers said that Mobiles were a tool of regime change. The speaker said that in countries were penetration was greater than 20% it was no longer possible for a dictator to control the media and so they were kicked out by the people. I guess that a large number of African states still have very low penetration rates!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The 27th Carnival of the Mobolists is at 3G portal

Steve Jones, has pulled together the 28th Carnival with the usual collection of new and regular posters covering all things mobile.
Next week it is my turn to host the Carnival, hopefully this honour will also stop me being lazy and write more about what I think it happening.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

My phone's internet experience just got a lot better

I have spent the last two days doing a lot more surfing on my phone. The reason for this is that I have upgraded my browser from Opera Mini 1.2 to Opera Mini 2.0 and the difference is that I am now even happier with the experience. The new browser is even more pared back than the first with very little clutter on the screen. So not only do I have a fast browser I have a simple reading experience thanks to Opera.

over at Mobhappy is also a fan.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

15th Edition of Vodafone's receiver ezine

Vodafone has a little know ezine called receiver, which is published four times a year. The ezine this time is about that yearning factor that comes with using the mobile phone, about the meta-message which is always present: 'wish you were here'.

Off the articles that I have read the one that strikes me the most is "The duality of effects - the mobile phone and relationships" by Joachim R Höflich. Part of his piece looks at the why that the telephone is a radical tool as demonstrated by its use in East Germany. I remembner being told by someone that the mobile phone has been shown as a key tool for revolution in that once the population has a mobile penetration rate above 20% it becomes very difficult for governemnets to control the media.

He goes one to write, Not all communication experts were initially convinced that the mobile phone would be a great success. The private nature of telephoning was seen as a barrier. People would not want to let others gain too much insight into their private lives. At times I just wish that the sociologists were right, but it is amasing just how fast mobile's have become eccepted.