From the brink of death to threatening number three.
I remember when I thought Sony Ericsson, just after the merger, had only a few months to live. And indeed, they basically fell off the map.
But, wow, they've methodically delivered and amazed folks with their devices. Now, they are like the Apple of the mobile world - leaders who have fallen so low, only to keep their chin up and become someone who is the model in design and style.
Way to go.
- Year-on-year volume & sales growth of over 60%
- Income before tax up 144% year-on-year
- Hit products drive market share gains
- Volume & sales grow to 74.8 million units and 10,959 million Euros respectively, double the global market growth rate
- Income before taxes grows to 1,298 million Euros
- 60 million music enabled phones, including 17 million Walkman phones sold
- Strong growth in Latin America, Asia Pacific and Europe
Miles Flint, Sony Ericsson President: "The fourth quarter saw Sony Ericsson finish a strong year with record volumes, sales and net income due to the soaring popularity of our imaging and music phones. Earlier investments in R&D and marketing have enabled us to expand the portfolio and strengthen the brand to increase consumer and operator appeal. Our target is to become one of the top three players in the industry, and the momentum we established in 2006 makes this an achievable ambition."
Where did this one come from?
Content - This word just seems insufficient and ambiguous (it can be a noun or adjective). It's so clinical and sterile. Ok, so it's in the same category as 'media', but 'media' is a word I happen to like, is attached to nice things,and is soft and round. Kontent is not really a Kingly word, isn't a word that is used in any regular context outside of some industry-speak, and isn't really something that lends itself to writing, such as these not so smooth phrases: 'download content to phone' (yes, quite happy) or 'manage your contents' (my bowels?) or 'user generated content' (sounds like a disease). I think it's just our own laziness, to lump so much into this word.
You can review all my previous 'Tired Words' here on this page.
Sure makes me drool.
And whose devices do you think they are picking up the most, and with what functionalities? Nokia. Nokia Nseries, too. Quite interesting.
India added close to 74 million new mobile telephone subscribers last year, making it one of the most attractive markets for mobile telephone operators and wireless equipment vendors.
The number of wireless subscribers grew 97 percent from 75.94 million at the end of December 2005 to 149.5 million subscribers at the end of December last year, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in Delhi.
I read this manifesto (link below) around the time it came out, but I totally missed the amazing discussion that came after. Indeed, at least two people pointed me to this discussion, it was so gripping.
Looking at the participants, it reads like a who's who of the mobile 2Dcode world [hat tip to Paola]:
Way to go Tommi (whom I know, as well)!
Anyway, here's my 10-point manifesto about 2D barcodes, mimicking Guy Kawasaki's famous presentation style. I wanted to publish this post on the day that the app becomes available, but I'll be on vacation during 13-26 December. I hope the app becomes available during this time.
If I may summarize a bit one key thread in the discussion, since this is how I came to revisit this post: Dave and Roger were debating how one processes the URL shot from the code. Both companies make it easy for users to create websites and then generate 2D codes that contain the mobile site URL. I've written about this before.
The difference was that Dave, of WINKsite, believes that the reader needs to go straight to the URL without any intermediary, either a redirector or any sort of transcoder. Roger, of Kaywa, in contrast, has created a reader that first sends the phone browser to one of their sites after which the user selects to open the site (obviously, I'm not too clear on the concept). But, what is clear is that the user goes through an intermediary step via Kaywa. I think this intermediary step is a potential focal point for leveraging some business.
Which is better, I cannot say, since there are plusses and minuses to both, and one's predilection balances a bit on where one is extracting the value, if I may put it that way. I say let the markets decide.
And I hope to revisit this fascinating topic soon, even though I'm just a spectator. :-P
Twitter basically asks you one question: What are you doing? It then broadcasts your answer via Web, SMS, or IM to the folks that 'follow' you.
That's it. Very simple.
And I think the strength of Twitter is not in being able to broadcast your answer to everyone in the world or just publicly. I think it works great with small (how small?) groups of folks who know each other reasonably well.
A twitter message is like a touch - like when two folks are next to each other and talking separately to others, they glance at each other and smile or touch in a 'Hey, there' recognition of proximity, just a friendly gesture. With that in mind, I have set my updates to go to only 'followers' I have listed as 'friends', so it's a private, friendly, close gesture.
The really cool thing is that you can interact with Twitter solely via SMS (yes!). I know someone who is so into Twitter that they upgraded their plan to be able to receive unlimited messages. And I would not be using Twitter if their SMS use and sign up process were not so simple and useful.
And while receiving SMS updates from your circle is great, it was offputting for a while since the incoming message, which is more of a background noise of your social space, beeped the same as some regular SMS that needed my attention. My solution was to actually tone down my message tone or mostly use Twitter when I was in silent mode (you can easily turn on or off the notifications).
Now, I use Twitter to have that background noise of what folks I am interested in are doing. But, we are so trained by SMS to be compelled to send a direct response. I've kinda overcome that reflex, but also incorporated that understanding into my own Twitter messages.
Which leads to the question as to how folks use it.
Understanding that it's a background status message, I write simple notes that express something that is directed specifically at my 'followers' - something we share, an inside joke, a common feeling, or just something I want to share with them (they are a witty bunch). And now, an issue for me is how to partition different circles (more on that below). Nonetheless, I wonder how much folks communicate via updates, updating with the 'followers' in mind and previous updates in mind, rather than just an isolated update (kinda like a never-ending story, 160 characters at a time).
Another question is if one update causes of flurry of updates, kinda like a nudge from the others (you can send nudges to get others to update).
I asked my wife what she thought of it. She kept picking up my phone and telling me I was 'twittered'. She wondered if the bulk of the answers were 'I'm sitting at my computer', since she figured that the bulk of folks would be doing just that. She did think the SMS part was cool, but still didn't see any value in trivial status messages from folks she knows - she has enough info overload.
But, when I asked her if should would be interested in updates from her children, she asked me to set us all up. As a mother, and living in another city, such info is of high value to her.
Which brings me to the partitioning of circles - the kind of update I will do for the current crop of friends in my circle is very different from the updates to my wife which are wholly different from the updates to my children (who might not care what _I_ do but surely care what their mother is up to).
That about covers the thoughts that Twitter has set off. Ok, and I also wonder how finding folks who are on Twitter could be made easier (I end up following a string of connections from the folks already on my list, but that keeps me in a certain domain). I also wonder about the cost of broadcasting those SMS - it really multiplies fast.
In any case, give it a try, let me know what you think.
I get the feeling that DRM is at the moment closest to death, but it will not die. Yes, Apple is making folks wish they had never invented DRM, but removing it is not an option publishers are willing to consider. They likely rather do something that requires more effort than remove DRM to make it easier.
Nonetheless, both comments make you think about what the DRM story will be by the end of this year.
Link [external]: this is sippey.typepad.com: they call it garbage collection
I keep reading about how DRM will eventually go away, that it's days are numbered. The strategic rationale for this is that Apple's dominance of the digital music market will force the labels into action that attempts to leverage distribution of other players (Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft, Real, etc.) to break the iTMS stranglehold. (E.g., sell it in non-DRM'd MP3 format so that people can buy it wherever they want and still play it where they want. Like on their iPod.) This very well may happen, but it might not have that much of an impact on Apple's position in the market, since there would be nothing to prevent them from offering those songs in a non-DRM'd format as well, and they'd still be able to leverage the iTunes hardware-software connection.
And a response from David Jacobs to this:
I am also totally unconvinced on this point. If you look at the trend of music production, from 8-track, vinyl, audio tape, cd, dvd, mp3, they trend both towards "cheaper/easier to manufacture" and also "easier to encrypt/compress content." There's no force I can imagine that would roll back 30 years of that momentum.
BTW, we in the mobile world have always dealt with proprietary stuff, content locks, network locks, and all other form of lock-downs. The fate of DRM in music is huge, but stands as a bellwether for other types of locks.
Kristian (a really bright and interesting guy) from IDEO and a bunch of us had a laugh when he told us about T9nonyms. He then went ahead and made a page on Wikipedia (link below).
I've added a list of my own. Feel free to add more!
A T9onym is a word that shows up on mobile phones that have T9 text entry that is equivalent through T9 to other words. T9onyms appear by pressing number keys while in T9 mode. For example, Bus and Cup are T9onyms. Other examples are If and He, Book and Cook, Sophie and Roshi. T9onyms can usually be reviewed and selected by placing the cursor at the end of the word and pressing the * (star) key to select an alternate T9onym. T9onyms are slang for those words generated through T9, in general these are referred to as textonyms.
I wanted to go to CES.
I wanted to go to Macworld.
I wanted to go to DLD.
I wanted to go to LIFT.
But I can't.
The story is not all that sad, really. I'm missing all these opportunities to rub elbows with smart folks to do something I am passionate about with some really energetic and smart folk. That counts for something. Nah, that counts for a lot - hence missing all these cool conferences.
Anything else exciting I'm missing?
Sippey, thanks so much for finding this snippet of insight (see link and quote below). This whole idea of widgets, bookmarklets, badges and such has been near and dear to me for some time now.
Over the past year and a half, at least, I have been working myself along this line of thought, picking up tidbits from various areas - Fabio Sergio giving me the name I use to describe this ('morsels', from a presentation of his), talks with Dave from WINKsite (some relevant stuff I wrote here and here), great stuff from Rich McManus (my summary article here) and Marc Canter (some relevant posts of mine here and here), and playing with Netvibes, Google Personal, Widsets, and so on.
Indeed, on and off over this time period, I have been trying to actually 'do' something about it (and there are many reasons for nothing happening). I think this 'splintering' or 'morselization' of the Web is well-suited for the mobile lifestyle - snippets delivered in mobile-savvy sizes in mobile-savvy appropriateness.
Yeah, this whole thing gets me shiverin' in excitement and I've been able to meet some kindred souls here at work who, without my prompting, revealed that they also see this trend, it's relevance to the future of the Web, and its role in the fusion of mobile and Web and desktop.
Maybe, together, we can actually make something happen.
The reason Web widgets are important is because they are the most concrete manifestation of something else that is happening. The Web is splintering. Centralized portals don't matter anymore in an era when Google and Digg will filter the ever-changing Web for you much more efficiently. Or you can filter it yourself with a few well-chosen widgets, and bring it to your own particular corner of the Web.
It stinks to lose a phone. Here's Suw Charman's story of the loss of her trusty E61. Suw is well known in the tech world.
But, to cap it all, I was just starting to really love that phone. 19 days is just enough to start to get used to the way a new OS and a new phone works. I liked the shortcuts that made using the phone simple, I liked the Symbian OS which allows you to run more than one process at a time (in stark contrast to Palm, which has to fake it), I liked the form of the E61, it's QWERTY keyboard and its nice, bright screen. More than anything, I loved having Google Maps on it, and Google Mail. I adored the web browser which made surfing the net on a phone actually doable. I was totally in love with the wifi.
We've all been in this business for so long and know that small mobile devices are lost and stolen in droves. And the market has the right solution out there, so that's not so bad. I am just wondering why there are not better solutions than plain insurance - where's the data backup, the data transfer, the clear understanding of what to do (she guessed and hoped and lucked out)?
Yup. A biz opportunity that has been left on the table for a long time. And I think many of the ideas I have heard in this space are not thinking the right way.