Mobile Fix – November 18

Amazon – new phone?

Some very interesting speculation from analysts has got everyone buzzing around Amazon producing their own smartphone. Based on conversations with component suppliers the thinking is that they would launch in Q4 next year – just in time for Christmas.

With the Kindle Fire now available – in the US anyway – and with generally good reaction, there is a lot of logic in Amazon extending their hardware range. Whilst tablets may be the device of choice to consume all that content that Amazon sells, most people use a smartphone so Amazon need to play there to maximize their chance of being the vendor of this content. And its worth remembering that Amazon have some record of working with operators – for the GPS Kindle they negotiated data deals with over 120 operators to provide free global coverage so users can downloads wherever they are.

Whilst the Kindle Fire has already been hacked, there are some great apps available and we expect to see lots more.

We’re big fans of Amazon and always have been – and we’re proud to have handled all the digital marketing for the .co.uk launch in a former life. This lengthy interview with CEO Jeff Bezos is fascinating – well worth reading in full for both the insight into digital but also how to run a business. By the way if you had bought $100 in Amazon shares the day they IPOd that stake would now be worth $12397.

Google

All of GAFA are focused on music and the Google cloud based music store is finally open for business. It’s hard not to see this as a me too, with the free access seemingly the key differentiator. But Google are using their other assets like YouTube which should help – YouTube is probably the number one music site; when people want to share music on Facebook they always add the YouTube clip. (Does anyone have any data on this?).They also have a integration with Google +.

One area that could be interesting is their play for unsigned artists (of which there are more and more) where they will sell artists music and take just 30%.

Talking of YouTube all the very successful ad formats on the desktop are now available on the YouTube mobile service – pre rolls, roadblock and brand channels. With YouTube doing over 200 million views a day on mobile this opens up a lot of inventory and it will be interesting to see which advertisers step up.

And it turns out that Google have a secret lab dreaming up new stuff – we imagine something like Qs lair in James Bond movie but probably with less emphasis on killing people.

First Mobile Christmas

We are more and more convinced that this Christmas is going to be huge for mobile and the big players are gearing up.

IBM analytics firm Coremetrics has released data suggesting mobile traffic for retailers will be much higher than last year.

Of course as we pointed out a couple of weeks ago many stores are still not optimised for mobile and risk missing out.

Money

iZettle – the Swedish Square – has raised more money for international expansion. And Square investor (and the man behind Virgin mobile) Richard Branson has now bought UK bank Northern Rock, so we should expect to see some high street disruption early in 2012.

Speaking at a very interesting Platforum event talk yesterday, with a financial services audience, we talked about the amazing success of mPesa. And today we saw new figures showing just how big they are – they move more money in a month in Kenya than Western Union does globally in a year.

These new business models demonstrate how disruptive mobile can be – and we expect Virgin and Tesco to leverage their knowledge of mobile to drive some real innovation in banking.

Quick Reads

Facebook now have a great demo of mobile Facebook apps. The news about how Facebook will fully embrace mobile is emerging bit by bit. Meeting with Amsterdam’s smartest agency this week, we all agreed that the merger of mobile and social with this evolution by Facebook is the most exciting opportunity for brands right now.

MediaWeek did a good round up of how UK agencies see mobile, where we shared some of our thoughts

This is an interesting look at how HTML5 is changing the web

And this is a very cool idea – start your own wifi network on the subway – we expect to see this in Europe soon.

The buzz around the new Nokia Luma – their first Windows phone – is building. Lots of good reviews and stories about high pre orders. And their next device has been leaked – along with stories of a tablet. Are they back?

Given the resurgence in email due to mobile getting email marketing to work on mobile can no longer be a low priority – this is a good summary of what is needed.

New research from Flurry shows the big problem with mobile today – that whilst getting apps downloaded is hard, most apps just aren’t used much once they are downloaded. On all our projects we try to solve a problem for people – because is you’re not solving a real problem then you are not going to get used.

Finally

The Muppets are back. This is a great demonstration of how branded content can be brilliant.

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