Video will dominate mobile data traffic by 2015, and why that will probably cost you more

My new CNN Tech mobile blog post is about Cisco’s prediction that video will comprise 2/3 of mobile data traffic by 2015.

See: Video will dominate mobile data traffic by 2015, forecast says

The catch: Thank to lax net neutrality rules passed by the FCC last December, wireless carriers are free to charge users extra for any kind of mobile content they choose — even if it’s available for free via wired connections.

Finally! Now you now can find Android apps on the web

Last July, as I was preparing to ditch my iPhone for an Android phone, I complained on my CNN Tech mobile blog about how hard it was to find Android apps without an Android phone. There were some workarounds and third-party directories, but still it was much harder than it needed to be.

Why does this issue matter? Prospective Android users (especially people contemplating switching from another platform, like iPhone or BlackBerry) often want to know which apps are available on Android before they commit to that switch.

Today, Google finally corrected this oversight…

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Apple shows how to undermine its ecosystem for content apps

Earlier I wrote about how I thought it was a mistake for News Corp to invest so lavishly in The Daily, the first-ever iPad-only newspaper.

This morning, as I listened to the streaming audio of Rupert Murdoch’s official unveiling of this publication, I saw a headline that made me think Murdoch — and any content publisher or retailer — should be especially wary about depending too heavily for revenue delivered via iPhone or iPad apps. It was: Apple blocks Sony e-book app. Is Kindle next?

In a nutshell, Apple recently rejected Sony’s new e-reader app from its app store because it jumped users out of the app and into the browser to buy new e-books. This strategy skirts Apple’s considerable 30% cut of all in-app purchases, and it’s how Amazon has handled e-book sales for its popular Kindle iPhone and iPad apps since the beginning.

I did some research this, and it looks like Apple is sending some potentially destructive messages to the iOS app ecosystem they’ve worked so hard to create. So I wrote about this today in my CNN Tech mobile blog…

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“The Daily” iPad-only newspaper: Courageous risk or wishful thinking?

UPDATE FEB. 2: Apple rejected Sony’s new e-reader app from its app store — a move that makes Murdoch’s lavish investment in The Daily look even riskier…

On Wednesday morning, News Corp. will hold a press event to unveil the first-ever iPad-only newspaper, The Daily. The little that we know about this project raises some pretty big questions, and I suspect that after the announcement most of those questions will remain. Here’s what I’d like to know:

How can this possibly be worth such a massive up-front investment?… Continue reading

Why unlimited smartphone data plans will probably vanish

In my latest CNN Tech mobile blog post, I riffed on the recent mixed signals Verizon and AT&T have been sending about whether they would offer unlimited data plans for the iPhone. But unlimited data plans may not be around long for any smartphone (or tablet, or mifi device, etc.), simply because of the difficulty of managing a growing proliferation of data-hungry mobile devices on wireless broadband networks.

See: Unlimited data for the iPhone? Don’t bet on it long term

Just after I filed that story, I noticed a relevant Jan. 25 post by Kevin Fitchard on Connected Planet:

Will bill shock be the death of tiered data plans, or the other way around?

Some key exerpts… Continue reading

Making links work for news: Mobile

As part of my research on mobile strategies for news, I subscribe to text alerts from several news organizations around the country. I do this from a cheap little Samsung Freeform candybar-style feature phone, so I can get a feel for what this experience is like for the vast majority of mobile users.

In general, this has been a pretty mixed experience…

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Mobile/social media and politics: Why news organizations should care

Recently the Pew Internet and American Life project published two reports about how Americans are using new digital communication tools to learn about, discuss, and engage in politics — particularly around the Nov. 2010 elections.

I wrote two posts for the Knight Digital Media Center at USC explaining how news organizations can use this information to create more effective ways to engage and grow the audiences for their political coverage — and why they shouldn’t wait for the next election season to do this:

Exploding some common myths about the role of feature phones in the mobile media market

Yesterday I noted that on Poynter.org, Damon Kiesow picked up on my call for news organizations to pay more attention to feature phones in their mobile strategies.

See: News publishers need to reach the 74% of Americans on feature phones

But some of comments from journalists who read that story indicate some pretty common misunderstandings that people in the media business often have concerning feature phones.

I’m not faulting my colleagues for these misunderstandings. It’s understandable — they’re as drenched in smartphone/tablet hype as anyone who gets tech news. So I hope no one takes this post as disrespect.

However, since news orgs ostensibly have a mission to serve their entire communities (not just the people who can afford high-end mobile devices), and since advertising and similar revenue models generally work better when you reach more people., I thought I’d point out and clear up some of these feature phone fallacies…

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Mobile innovation must embrace low and high end of mobile technology

In my latest CNN Tech mobile blog post, New Facebook app shows why feature phones still matter, I wrote about how smart a business strategy it is to provide compelling mobile offerings that play nice with feature phones.

Granted, the new Facebook app is aimed at markets in the developing world. But way before it launched this app, Facebook offered a pretty decent lean mobile site, m.facebook.com. This is a company that knows how to go where the people are — and most of its potential mobile users are on feature phones, in the US and around the world.

At the end of this post, I note:

In the big picture, turning a blind eye toward the technology choices of the majority of mobile users is unlikely to spur the most useful and constructive innovation. That’s why the current myopic hyperfocus on smartphones and tablets is starting to feel a bit like steering from the side-view mirrors.

I suspect that in the coming decade, the most innovative and influential mobile developments will embrace devices all across the mobile technology spectrum. Also, ventures that continue to focus solely on the highest-end devices may start losing ground.

There will always be a low end of mobile tech, and it will always matter. Facebook and Twitter — as well as Nokia, LG, Samsung, and many other players

Thoughts?