Sunday, May 20, 2007

3G + Skype = Killer App?


Hutchison 3, a European mobile telecommunications company has formed an agreement with Skype to allow Skype communications on Hutch-3's 3G network. Mobile carriers have so far been reluctant to allow VoIP over their networks -- in the past, some wifi-enabled phones have had their VoIP capabilities disabled by carriers.   From observing my European classmates, Skype is a very popular application within that group. Perhaps this agreement helps Hutchison 3 differentiate itself from other carriers (with the potential risk of losing  revenues from international call revenues). It'll be interesting to see whether other carriers follow suit with their own VoIP services, as is the case with T-mobile in the US.N95 VoIP Disabled

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Monday, May 7, 2007

Village phones?

Nokia announced two new phones recently, the 1200 and 1208, designed specifically for the shared phone market. It is primarily geared towards low-income areas where mobile phone ownership is a challenge. These devices have a call-time tracking application and multiple phonebooks to facilitate sharing.

"In order to help manage airtime costs, the call-time tracking feature allows consumers and village phone entrepreneurs to pre-set a time or cost limit on individual calls, automatically ending the call after the limit has been reached."

More at mad4mobilephones ...

Nokia 1200 and Nokia 1208 are phones for sharing

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Is mobile VoIP finally here? n95

Nokia's brought wi-fi capability with new phone releases. Nitzan mentioned that he expects a significant number of phones (upwards of 50m?) to have wi-fi by end of 2007. This seems like a game changing play but there might still be some obstacles.

Mobile Business Magazine reports that VoIP functionality has been disabled on network-sold n95's in the UK. The phones are probably subsidized by the networks, so don't expect them to subsidize their own cannabalization (and shift away from tariff-based revenues). If history is any indication (as we have seen with the digitization of music), companies that embrace new shifts in technology tend to fare better. And those that resist miss key opportunities. iTunes is an excellent example.

So what's going to happen in this scenario? Hard to say ... my guess is that if one network allows VoIP calls, the others will have to follow suit. In the US, we might see this happen with t-mobile with their "The only phone you need" campaign", where t-mobile is testing out VoIP services.

I wonder if it makes sense to buy an unlocked n95 (at $750), and go with a prepaid plan. I hardly use my minutes and spend 98% of my time near a wi-fi hotspot. How quickly could I recoup the phone costs? Stay tuned.

Mobile Business article:
Mobile Business Magazine - N95 VoIP Disabled

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Nitzan / IDG talks about the success of Skype, at MIT Sloan

Skype was launched at a time when there were many IM networks and VOIP offerings, so how did it become the leading VoIP network?

1) Keep it simple (stupid!)

While there were many possibilities for features and concepts, Skype focused a few key things, namely high quality voice calls and low price.

2) Target influencers

Skype sought out early adopters who were also able to influence others. Identifying key players in the blogosphere who were satisfied with Skype helped spread the word and created viral marketing.

3) Listen to customers

Skype also met with customers regularly to get their input on new features and capabilities. There's a belief that those internal at Skype are "the worst people to define Skype features".

4) Skype org culture:

-"It's not the big who beats the small -- it's the fast who beats the slow"

-Being humble

The future ... partnership with iSkoot helped Skype branch to the mobile arena while protecting the original Skype brand.

Skype finder -- Yellow pages over skype: using reviews from Skypers on your buddy list; an opportunity to also talk to them directly.

IDG plugs: -- offers a  service  that provides customized content to your phone

Jingle -- 1800-Free-411 ... ad sponsored 411

BzzAgent -- WOM marketing network/marketing services for large brands

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Sunday, April 1, 2007

Nokia's own Mobile Search

While exploring Nokia's N series phones, I stumbled upon Nokia's Mobile Search service. You have to first download some software, which is available for free. It features local search, web and image search, as well as content search for the phone. It also supports "media roaming" -- where the search application switches search providers to give you localized content.

Mobile Search & Maps - Nokia


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Thursday, March 1, 2007

Verizon launches *Live* Mobile TV

Verizon Wireless launched a broadcast TV service today for mobile phones in about 20 markets. The pricing is between $15 to $25 a month for up to 8 channels (Mobile TV is available standalone or as a bundle).

I found the selection of launch cities to be a bit strange. The VCast Mobile TV will not be available in many of the major cities such as New York, Boston, San Francisco, Houston. The initial launch cities are:

  • Chicago,
  • Dallas-Fort Worth,
  • Denver,
  • KansasCity,
  • Las Vegas,
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul,
  • New Orleans,
  • St. Louis,
  • SaltLake City,
  • Seattle,
  • Portland, Ore.,
  • Tuscon, Ariz.,
  • Omaha and Lincoln inNebraska,
  • the Albuquerque-Santa Fe region of New Mexico;
  • Palm Springs,Calif.,
  • Colorado Springs, Colo.,
  • Jacksonville, Fla.,
  • Wichita, Kan.,
  • theNorfolk-Richmond region of Virginia,
  • and Spokane, Wash.

The eight 24-hour channels are CBS Mobile, Comedy Central, ESPN, Fox Mobile, MTV, NBC 2Go, NBC News 2Go and Nickelodeon. But how similar is it to your regular TV programming? According to the Wired article, "the MTV broadcast will be identical around the clock; CBS Mobile willshow some daytime soap operas at different hours, but featuresimultaneous showings of the "CBS Evening News," "Survivor" and the"Late Show With David Letterman"; On Comedy Central, "The Daily Show"and the "The Colbert Report" will be shown at their normal hour, but"South Park," "Reno 911," and "Chappelle's Show" will be time-shifted."

Now on to the more tech-oriented stuff. The Wired article says that the Mobile TV service is delivered over a separate wireless network not operated by the telecoms. Apparently it is operatedby Qualcomm Inc., and requires a new handset with dual capabilities of receiving thebroadcast signal as well as the regular cellular signal for voice and data.

The official site: Verizon Mobile TV

Original story: Wired: AP Technology and Business News from the Outside World on

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Thursday, February 8, 2007

MS unveils Windows Mobile 6.0

Microsoft is about to release the next version of Windows Mobile (6.0) on Monday at the 3GSM conference in Barcelona. MS has certainly been busy with recent launches of Vista and Office 2007. According to the article on The Tech Chronicles, devices with the new OS will start to appear in three to four months. Apparently customers using T-mobile's Dash will also be able to upgrade from v5.0.

Windows Mobile 6.0

Some of the more notable improvements include:

-A Vista-like interface (?)

-An improved e-mail experience (view email with HTML, tables), set their "out of office reply" remotely using their phone.

-New Office Mobile Suite. All Windows Mobile 6.0 devices will come with Office Mobile, which will enable people view and edit documents.

-Windows Live will allow users to easily perform searches or instant messaging.

-ActiveSync will be replaced (when paired with Vista)

The improvements include a more flexible calendar program, better security options and Internet telephony built in.

See Full Story ...

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