Mobile Phones offer More Than Just Voice

October 15, 2008

Almost every day someone presents a new idea or use for mobile phones. The size of the mobile market has become so vast that it is increasingly more difficult to identify those mobile business ideas that will work & those that won’t. In the last 12 months the mobile space has opened up new business verticals that few would have ever imagined.

The mobile space is still relatively young. It was only 25 years ago (October 13, 1983) yesterday that Bob Barnett, President of Ameritech Mobile Communications (what is now AT&T Inc. & Verizon Wireless), made the nation’s first commercial cell phone connection from Chicago’s Soldier Field.

When Barnett made that first commercial cell phone connection he used a Motorola DynaTAC handset that weighed 2 1/2 pounds & retailed for $3,995 USD. Fast forward to 2008 when most mobile phones weigh less than 1/2 a pound, they retail for around $50 USD, & even the most basic mobile phones offer address books, calendars, games, text messaging, music players, & cameras.

Just three weeks ago I read an article in the Canadian Press describing how a new Japanese mobile phone built by Sharp Corp. will be used in place of a traditional car key. This new phone uses a technology developed by Nissan Motor Co. called “Intelligent Key”. As reported by the Canadian Press, “Cars equipped with the system sense when the correct key is nearby, automatically unlocking their car doors, and allow the engine to be started once the key is brought inside the car. Nissan said it has shipped about a million cars with the technology in Japan since 2002.” NTT DoCoMo Inc., Japan’s largest mobile operator, will provide the mobile network that this new service will run on.

It isn’t a surprise to me that a Japanese company is the first to introduce this type of technology. The mobile phones available in Japan are some of the most sophisticated in the world. Most of the mobile phones you will find in Japan come standard with digital TV, music players, Global Positioning Service (GPS), & cameras that double as barcode scanners & wireless credit cards.

The mobile phone is no longer a device for business men & women or the elite. The mobile phone has become a ubiquitous device for all income levels & demographics around the world.

Today, the mobile industry is nearly a $150-billion-a-year industry. As data speeds continue to increase & mCommerce solutions gain popularity the mobile industry will only continue to grow.

Brian Kirk
VP Business Development
NetworkIP & Jaduka


Why Google Chrome?

September 10, 2008

Since Google released its new web browser, Chrome, last week there has been so much chatter on the web about its features, how it stacks up to Internet Explorer (IE), Firefox, & Safari, & maybe the most important question on everyone’s mind is why has Google developed its own web browser.

I immediately downloaded Chrome when I read about its release. I’m not an application download junkie; however, for a long time now I have been looking to replace Internet Explorer (IE) because too often I have a single browser tab that crashes & then I loose the five to ten active browser tabs I had open. Chrome promises to fix this problem by treating each browser tab as a separate application. When one browser tab crashes, the rest of your tabs should not be affected. After a few days of using Chrome, I was able to test this “functionality” for myself & it worked like a charm. I am forever a non-subscriber to IE & now a happy Chrome user. I’m also a big fan of Chrome’s one stop shop (a single text box) to type in known URLs & do my web searching. The auto completion feature when typing URLs & doing Internet searches is also a great bonus to me.

The BIG question though isn’t what feature do you like or don’t like; rather, why did Google release its own browser? My opinion points towards the mobile market space for web browsing. According to research conducted by Nielsen Mobile, in 2007 mobile Internet use generated over $5 billion in revenue for companies & in the first quarter of 2008 mobile Internet use accounted for a total of $1.7 billion in revenue. Nielsen’s research strongly suggests that we will see a rapid growth in consumer adoption & mobile marketing in the years ahead.

Chrome fits this mobile Internet niche well. Chrome is a very light weight application. The total size of the browser is just 7-megabytes, making it a good fit for the relatively small hard drives that exist in today’s mobile devices. Chrome’s small size makes it a quick & easy application to download to most mobile devices. Chrome also has a minimalist user interface & it nicely accommodates the display size of mobile devices with Internet access. Lastly, when Chrome is running it uses very little memory, making Chrome an ideal application for mobile devices that have limited memory size.

The market research firm ABI Research sees the mobile web browser segment of this market accounting for the vast majority of growth over the next five years. They predict that the number of highly functional mobile browsers shipping per year will grow from 76 million in 2007 to nearly 700 million in 2013. From where I sit Google is quickly putting all the pieces together to dominate this mobile market space. They have already released a number of API’s that will further enable the development of mobile applications & mobile mashups, they have now released the mobile browser (Chrome), & soon they will release the mobile operating system called Android.

The way I see it, Chrome was just one of the few remaining pieces that Google needed to position themselves as a leader in this new mobile market.