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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