For about as long as Amazon has been selling Kindles of any sort, those of us who cover and comment on the company's foray into mobile hardware have been trying to nail it down on actual sales. The guys in marketing over there must stay up nights trying to figure out new and twisted ways of indicating the device's success without actually quantifying it.
Whatever platform positioning has gone on thus far between Google Android and Apple iOS will seem like pre-game warm-ups compared to the next year. As Google gains massive scale with its fragmented but open model for Android, Apple continues to leverage that special brand-love and the joy of integration.
If there was ever any doubt that smartphones had become a mass medium in the U.S., then Christmas Day 2012 should end the skepticism. We have been watching many metrics firms estimate that penetration lurks somewhere south of 50% in this market all year, with predictions that the needle will edge past the middle by 2012. Christmas may have given the numbers the push they needed. Everyone and their brother's metrics startups are issuing flash reports this week about just how dramatically holiday 2012 is impacting the market in advanced handsets.
Now that eReaders are into double-digit penetration rates, publishers' attitudes towards the platform are maturing as well. In the beginning book makers were trying to figure out distribution strategies, pricing and revenue models. Which books could be sold on which devices, in what window and at what discount from print, were critical issues for the content providers in the first stage. But as the dam has pretty much burst, and most new and popular titles are on digital storefronts near their hard-copy street date, publishers are focusing on the reading experience itself.
I can't remember a time when the prospect of episodic gaming was not part of the video game to-do list. Some part of the industry always wanted gaming to mimic the forms of television. It made sense on many levels, aesthetically and financially. After all, most games are marathon experiences if played all the way through. Games advertise their longevity; "40+ hours of gameplay" is a common selling point. And yet few of us have the time to devote to such depth. Parsing the experience into episodic chunks is a more accessible way for mere mortals to work their way …
A new and weird holiday ritual has emerged in recent years as a result of the new app economy. Developers are rushing to gain advantage in the battle to grab customers on the biggest app day of the year. Traffic to app markets, especially the Apple App Store, will likely spike to record levels as people unwrap their shiny new iPhones and iPads.
Here he goes waxing nostalgic for the old days of wireless. Yes, but it is still worthwhile putting the fast evolution in mobile into some historical perspective, no matter how short that history has been. I recall a day in the mid-2000s when carriers went a-courting the name media brands, trying to get their wares into the burgeoning portals of content. The pitch went something like this. Unlike the Web, which is decimating your old media business models, mobile is a platform where people are used to paying for goods and …
The emerging economy of in-app purchases and virtual currency may be relatively recent phenomena, but the old and expected rules still apply. Kids are always looking for free fun because they just don't have money to spend, and older consumers sometime just have money to burn. Youth has time, age has money.
This past week Sony came into the fray when it launched the tricked-out and pricey Playstation Vita in Japan. With a 5-inch OLED display, multiple modes of touch interaction (including from the back of the device) and the promise of games comparable to living room consoles, Sony is going big.
One of the weirder byproducts of mobile technology is that it normalizes behaviors that a decade ago would have been mistaken for mental illness. Talking into thin air without a visible partner would have been considered unbalanced in 1995. In 2011 it is just a guy on a Bluetooth headset. Likewise, let's not be too anxious for the day when NFC-enabled phones, payment terminals, movie posters, vending machines and parking meters register our presence with a mere wave of the smartphone. The streets could start looking like a dance party at Ken Kesey's famous Acid Test parties.