Graham Christie
Oct 31, 2013

Mobile development finds another gear

The Mobile Hub: Graham Christie, partner with Big Mobile, offers his monthly tour of significant mobile news.

Graham Christie
Graham Christie

Amidst a backdrop of Twitter IPO rumblings, Google and Facebook collaborations, Instagram ads, and positive digital industry forecasting by analysts, I can’t help thinking somehow mobile has found another gear. Perhaps it’s the stuttering US economy post fiscal cliff reprieve, or China’s sustained 2013 GDP growth, but there seems yet more buoyancy around mobile and digital.

Mobile monetisation and effectiveness

Like most, comScore is pumping more and more resources into analysing and measuring mobile.  A couple of months ago it shared (US) insights with a ‘$20 million pot of gold’ attention-grabbing title. In the study, comScore revealed that mobile has doubled the time spent online in the last three years and cited Facebook’s mobile business having grown to now account for 41 per cent of its earnings. Hot on the heels of this then, the company has analysed and aggregated its Mobile Brand Survey Lift projects across a mix of vertical sectors, comparing 2012 and 2013 data sets to create mobile advertising effectiveness benchmarks on mobile.

The research shows statistically significant lifts for the test group vs. the control group in aided awareness (+20 per cent), favorability (+4 per cent), likelihood to recommend (+22 per cent), and purchase intent (+28 per cent). comScore concludes that mobile ads do work in influencing consumers' brand perceptions. 

Hardware segments update and forecast

Gartner released some updates around what it sees happening with hardware across the globe. The Report called ‘Forecast: Devices by Operating System and User Type, Worldwide, 2010-2017, 3Q13 Update’ is available at

In summary, sustained trends in the PC format decline are now terminal, with contrasting lifts in mobile and tablet, as well as so-called ‘ultramobile’, devices that combine attributes of notebook and tablet, in continued steady growth (see table). The report also carries some results from a survey Gartner carried out in Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, the UK, the US and Japan, observing that smaller is better in terms of screen size on tablets, with the sweet spot ranging from 8.3 inches to 9.5 inches, with this size considered good for content consumption.

In smartphones, the growth is seen as coming from mid-level devices in established and advanced markets, and more entry-level units in developing markets. As highlighted in this column before, this is one reason that Android, as an OS, is dominant globally, and completely ubiquitous in some Asian markets. Gartner has Android pegged to account for almost 40 per cent OS share worldwide by end of CY 2013. Apple will be hoping its newer, more affordable models, launched last month, can dent this.

Talking of Apple Inc

Apple’s event in mid October saw a slew of new products across hardware as well as a sizable Mac software release for free. The teased iPod Air was announced, and this seems to have generated a fair amount of excitement. Its been given a decent shave as it’s now 7.5 mm thick—that’s 20 per cent thinner than the iPod, and now under half a kilo in weight.  Under the hood, so to speak, it’s powered by Apple's new 64-bit A7 chipset, and the graphics are apparently 72x better than the original iPod from 2010.

Google Glass seeded trials

Launch proper is 2014 of course, but Google is getting ready for another wave of Glass, upgraded it seems, to be put into the hands of users to test, give feedback, and (it hopes) evangelise about. The invites are going out now, but you need to be a Glass owner, adult, and a US resident with an address in NY, San Fran or LA.  If you are and successful, you can yourself invite three friends. I understand that trials need to be tightly managed and that often means close to hand, but it’s odd to me that a decent number of trialists from APAC aren’t in the full program already. Maybe this is for a later wave? 

Messaging on mobile

With so much talk about how paid media could or should co-exist with the owned media space as a marketing channel, I’ve seen more activity this month around messaging, specifically in the MMS space from the US. The direct marketing dudes are unsurprisingly zoning in on this as an opportunity to reach consumers, as email faces challenges to stay relevant.

The reality of course is that MMS is in many markets not about reaching target consumers but about reaching actual customers given that, to lawfully contact them, some sort of opt-in is required. And in markets that have looser privacy and spam type legislation, top organisations are creating more responsible contact regimes anyway as a way to future-proof themselves.

So whilst MMS feels more like traditional mobile marketing, (if there is such a thing), within a framework of an integrated mobile approach that blends, advertising, social and messaging, and also combining smart-device technology, MMS could be the big brand engagement opportunity that’s been overlooked, and one that should play a part in an owned-media strategy.

Bitcoin and an ROI of 30,000x

You may have seen this, and although not mobile, is too noteworthy to go past. In 2009, Norwegian Kristopher Koch bought $26.60 of the virtual currency Bitcoin. As the value of Bitcoin increased so did Kristopher’s investment, so much so it’s now worth $885,000.  He’s bought a lovely nice apartment in Oslo with some of it, and says he’s sitting on the rest for now. Who can blame him?

Lastly, about Tile

A crowd-funded mobile product is shipping and it’s rather interesting. Tile (, is, well, a small square tile that can go a keying, in a bag, attached to a bike, and even kids or dogs that are given to roaming.

The paired iOS Tile app allows you to find your Tile(s) wherever they are in relation to you up to 50 meters away, remember where it last mapped your Tile, and can command your Tile to emit a sound to help you locate it.  Plus as the Tile community increases, so will the network location coverage increase—so somebody else’s Tile can pinpoint yours. Tiles run out of life after 12 months, and I can’t help think there are marketing opportunities aplenty in leveraging this concept.

Graham Christie is a partner in Big Mobile, a mobile media and creative solutions company with offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Singapore, and Jakarta.

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