Devices are hot and getting hotter, but it is still all about the iPad. Sales of media tablets were up 88.9% in Q2 2011 over the previous quarter and up a staggering 303.8% from Q2 2010. Manufacturers shipped 13.6 million units worldwide in the quarter, says IDC. As a result of this acceleration in market expansion for devices, IDC is raising its projection for full 2011 sales to 62.5 million units, up from the 53.5 million previously projected.
Everyone in the mobile industry seems to love the iPad wunderkind Flipboard for its forward-leaning approach to interface, eagerness to partner with media and advertisers, and brilliant, socially driven aggregation. So how is it really playing with the civilians?
Yesterday we reported on a novel mobile app promotion for this week's premiere of "I Don't Know How She Does It," which targets a potential fashionista audience with flash sales. But what if your target is much younger and doesn't know a Nike from a Manolo? You make a game instead, of course. In advance of Alcon Entertainment's "Dolphin Tale" release, the film company partnered with entertainment marketing firm Trailer Park Mobile to create a cross-platform "Dolphin Tale: Fling a Fish" game.
QR Codes are like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get when you go through the bother of pulling out your cell phone, snapping a 2D code of any kind. This is especially true when it comes to the various apps that scan "1D" UPC codes on packages. Many apps from online retailers and other search engines will push you to their own deals involving the product or local availability and pricing. At no point does the original manufacturer come into play, however.
See that lady at the mobile conference with more apps on her iPad than logos on a NASCAR racer? You know she's not using all of them. In fact, according to Gfk MRI, marketers and app makers should not go out of their way to target the heavy tablet app downloaders one might assume are the platform's heaviest users.
How many times have you gotten that puzzled puppy-dog look from a cashier when you presented him or her with a mobile coupon? "Um, let me call my manager," they might say. Or they pull out a phone-book-sized set of rules and news from the home office searching for that lost directive about how to handle an SMS savings code.
Who wants to watch lean-back, long-form video content on a mobile device? More people than we think, and certainly more than wanted to just a few months ago. According to ad network Rhythm New Media, which serves major TV brands on mobile like CBS's TV.com, CW and Sony's Crackle, full-episode views were up 200% on their network in Q2 2011 from just the previous quarter. The company tells me the lift comes from a combination of more video being available on mobile as providers come onto the network, and fast growth in usage among existing TV-powered apps.
Any doubters left that Apple and the smartphone gaming market it jump-started is eating Nintendo? In something more than a simple sign of the times, nationwide games retail chain GameStop just started taking used iPods, iPhones and iPads for credit at store, apparently in preparation for full-scale Apple retail push. Call this yet another clear indication that mobile media is carving much more than a niche from an existing market.
With Amazon poised to enter the tablet fray with its own much-anticipated device, the category popularized by the iPad is likely to get another boost. Not only is the Apple tablet likely to face its most serious test to date, but a lower-cost Amazon model also could help accelerate tablet adoption overall and establish it as the "third category" between PCs and mobile phones Steve Jobs described at the iPad's launch last year.
Considering that recent market turmoil may delay the initial public offering of even a hot property like Zynga, this isn't the most auspicious time for an unprofitable mobile company to go public. Nevertheless, MobiTV Wednesday filed for an IPO to raise up to $75 million.