Who is going to win the Mobile OS battle?

We live in an interconnected world, and first we should mention that our communication world is changing in several ways:mobile_os_array_jan2010

– We are using more and more mobile devices,

– We are using phones less for voice and more for data and Apps, or phones are getting smarter,

– On internet, we are moving quickly from “searching” to “getting”, meaning from using a browser or search engine to using Apps.

Therefore mobile Apps are the future, and the impact is huge on the Operating Systems (OS) technologies and market as smart phones OS may be competing or threatening traditional OS.

A recent survey conducted by IDC and Appcelerator about the mobile device market reveals some very interesting facts and opinions, please note this is not about devices shipped but about Apps developers interest as Mobile OS platforms:IDC mobile OS platforms

– Today: Apple iOS leads the way as the platform of choice for Apps developers, followed by Android, and others rivals are far away that order: RIM Blackberry, Windows Phone7, WebOS, Symbian…see chart “Very interested”

– 88 percent believe that Apple offers the best app store

– 74 percent feel that iOS is the least fragmented platform

– Being an open platform is an advantage for Google Android vs Apple iOS (however being Open does seem to be such an advantage for Symbian!)

– Despite being presently the leader in shipping smart-phone units, Symbian OS generate very low interest for developers.

– It is also interesting to note the tight link between the Smartphone and Tablet OS perception and results for a same vendor.

– Recently: During the last six months, developer support for Android and iOS IDC mobile OS opportunityiPhone has been relatively stable, while interest in iOS iPAD has grown sharply, BlackBerry & Windows Phone 7 are recessing, Symbian is lagging.

– Tomorrow: Android appears as the OS with the best potential and is “best positioned to power a large number and variety of connected devices in the future,”

– Android is also leading the way beyond mobile smart-phones and tablets (i.e. home entertainment platform, Connected TV). See chart “Windows of opportunity”.

There is a lot of uncertainty in the smart-phone market and even more on the tablet market, as new products are being announced but not yet deployed, and new players may be emerging and therfore there is a lot of questions in the air:

1- With Apple and Google clearly leading the way, can RIM keep up the pace ?

With the launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, the announcement of Blackberry Advertising Service, its future BlackBerry Messenger Social Platform, and a new web based platform for developers, not to forget RIM’s strong customer base on the large enterprise market, for its security and its integration to corporate applications and middleware, RIM is expanding its strategy but also expanding the battlefield on a mass-market ground, and it will be a hard and challenging fight.

2- Will Symbian survive ?

Once the Eldorado of the Open Source OS platform for mobile devices, attracting developers to develop on a common platform across multiple systems, Symbian Foundation seems to be on its way out, with Samsong and Sony-Ericsson abandoning the sinking ship, leaving only Nokia as a top tier vendor to support it.

One way to survive may be for Nokia to purchase it, which would be a win-win.

Meanwhile Google Android has the support of all major device manufacturers and is now the leading Open Source Mobile platform.

3- Do we want or need a facebook OS ?

With rumours floating around about Facebook working with INQ on the development of two smart-phones supposed to be running on the Android OS , but really customised to integrate closely with Facebook, the questions raise: does it really make sense for Facebook to launch its own smartphone and does the market really needs another mobile OS ?

Certainly developers do not want another mobile OS! And what about you, Facebook fans and me ?

As a Facebook user I can just open an app on my smart-phone and directly contact my friends and social network, and by the way, the more it goes the more I do that instead of calling or sending an email or an SMS…Times are indeed changing.

But in the future Facebook may want to compete with Google Voice, Apple and Microsoft on the Voice and Video over IP, and Location-Based-Services for mobile ads for a more complete offering…which is why they are investigating this option.

What plays in favour of Facebook is their 500Millions+ users (and growing quickly) and the incredibly rich profile information they have on their users as any information they share becomes a component of Facebook database which they can access, analyse and leverage, a dream come thru for any marketer. And that game is all about leveraging user information to target marketing campaigns and sell ads, right. But that’s another story.

Add-on Apps facetime4- Who is leading the “add-on apps” and usage?

A recent study from Zokem shows Android clearly leading the way with 42 minutes per day spent (or face time) on “add-on apps” as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Skype etc Please note Apple iOS was not part of the survey and user still spend more time on core apps than add on apps. See chart.

5- What are the most demanded APIs ?IDC mobile OS APIs

Based on IDC/Appcelerator study:

For Social Networks: Integration of mobile apps with Facebook is THE key priority (65%) , followed by Twitter (60%), way ahead of Foursquare (22%).

For Mobile Advertising: Apple iAd is dominant followed by Google AdMob (36%)

For Mobile payment: Apple iOS (49%) and Paypal (48%) payment are most supported as mobile commerce enablers.

Other trends: Geo Location based services are more demanded than Google Maps, and push notifications more than mobile web browsing.

In conclusion, based on developers feedback and on the way mobile device market is evolving, I see clearly AnMobile-OS-Logosdroid winning the mobile OS market.

However Apple iOS will remain strong, thanks to its loyal “fans” base and its innovative spirit, and RIM will survive, thanks to its enterprise customer base and technology driven culture. Symbian will be out of the race –except if took-over by a manufacturer as Nokia-, and others players as Microsoft, MeGoo, Kindle etc, and others Linux OS will have a hard time grabbing any significant market-share.

 There is no room for more than 3 mobile OS on a mature market.

The remaining question is When?  IDC predict Android will be #2 most popular mobile OS by 2013, I would guess #1 by 2013, but who am I ?

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Like in Real Estate, the future of Mobile Advertising is in “Location, Location, Location”

Latest Facebook announcement  launching its new Geo-Location feature, “Facebook Places”, which will enable you to share with your friends where you are, check who is also there, find out what’s interesting to do around, read some tips from your friends about the place you are checking-in etc…was expected and is a major move.Facebook Places iPhone App

 To me this announcement just emphasizes the importance of Location-Based-Services (LBS) for online advertising. Even if for now Facebook is not announcing, yet, mobile advertising capabilities for “Places”, I am sure they plan to do it in a near future as it is such a big market opportunity for local businesses.

In my mind, there is no doubt Facebook is running after competing Location-Based-Social-Network-Services (LBSN) as Foursquare, Gowallas, Brightkite and others Yelp leading that space for now, and when you know that “Places” will include Localeze directory of 14 Millions local business listings, that people will be able to share and consult on their mobile Facebook, and when you have Facebook’s  500 Millions users base, (and just a few Millions users for Foursquare and Gowallas) it’s easy to figure out who is going to win that battle, and grap the advertising business opportunity attached.

Localisation is a critical addition to Facebook as it provides valuable contextual content to the already rich Facebook objects database. (Each action you take in Facebook, each information you add, each comment you write, each link you click on etc, become an object in Facebook database, what a mine of information for marketers, and how SCARY, isn’it!).

Mobile: Life is LocalWith this new feature Facebook is moving from a basic Social Networking space for friends to a business-oriented tool for local businesses, and that is indeed a BIG business.

This will also clearly position Facebook to compete more and more with Google.

Any Marketer dreams of reaching customers where they are, where they can buy their products or services, and that is what Location-Based- Services enable them to do, by pushing a targeted and localised online ad to the consumer on his device, nothing can be more efficient, this is Powerful Next Generation Marketing, as we conceive it at MarCom-NeXt.

Latest Mobile Marketing Association report shows that Location-based mobile ads outperform all other formats, with nearly 50% engagement rate.

LBSNS intensifies the relevance between social networking and geographical location. By dint of check-in record and behavioral responses in different geographical positions, LBSNS users can generate corresponding relationship with  local enterprises, which enables the local enterprises to identify targeted consumers and improve the correlation degree and accuracy of advertising service so as to raise the value of local advertisement marketing.

So, how big is the business opportunity? May be not huge right now, the local advertising market of LBSNS shows a promising development outlook, but this market is still in the early adoption period and it will grow quickly and expand from US to Worldwide.

Facebook and Twitter access via mobile phones has grown by triple digits in the last year.

Apple iAd LaunchFacebook advertising revenue forecast from advertising is around $1.3 billion in 2010, and $1.7 billion in 2011, and has not yet penetrated the Mobile Ad market, which they will do with “Places”.

Google generates 90 percent of Google’s revenues with AdWorks advertising.

Apple with its iAd platform Apple required its first advertisers to spend as much as $1 million to start and pay both a $10 Cost-Per-Thousand (CPM) and a $2 Cost-Per-Click fee (CPC). Please note: Apple announced last week that it’s winding down Quattro Wireless, the ad network acquired earlier this year, to focus on Apple’s iAd program.

Location-Based-Services once integrated via APIs to services as Facebook are going to change the Internet over-all, as the internet will become “less about the searching and more about the getting“, less about Search Engines and more about Apps, which is why Google may be starting to worry.Google Compass

Like in Real Estate, the future of Mobile Advertising is in “Location, Location, Location