Mobile World Congress: Day one

Ovum Analysts
17 Feb 2009

Nokia launches context-aware Ovi Store - by Tony Cripps

No real surprise here. However, Nokia's Ovi Store is not simply a "me-too" take on the barnstorming iPhone App Store, although its concept undoubtedly owes a great deal to Apple's success. For one, Nokia's version is aimed at a far broader user demographic, with both mid-range Series 40 devices and high-end S60 handsets being catered for. For another, Nokia will use location and other personal information (with user buy-in) to enable it to deliver a more personalized buying experience than its rivals. "Context" is something of a Nokia obsession of late, so this could prove interesting, but is as yet an unknown.

That said, the Ovi Store is not guaranteed to emulate the success of the Apple App Store. Nokia plans to use operator billing and credit-card processing for content purchasing. However, neither means is as natural to users as Apple's fully integrated experience. Nor does it seem that Nokia is supplying the means to update content and applications on the device, let alone the firmware itself, as Apple has done. Perhaps Nokia is saving that for a premium offering where there's less need to kowtow to operators‾

GSMA study provides measurements for mobile advertisers - by Eden Zoller

The GSMA and an operator task force made up of Telefonica, Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile International and 3 have released a UK study on mobile browsing that they believe will make mobile advertising more appealing to brands. The study, which is part of the GSMA's Mobile Media Metrics program, tracked trends such as the most popular sites by number of visitors, page impressions and duration.

The study shows that 68% of UK mobile users visit operator portals, making them the most popular destination. Google is the top off-portal destination and Facebook is the top mobile site by time spent browsing. Others in the top ten include Yahoo, Apple, Microsoft, Sony Online, AOL and Nokia. Although operator portals still have good traction, the study underscores the fact that online players and their services are becoming increasingly popular among mobile consumers.

The study also includes a wealth of other user behavior data and demographics, provided on an aggregated basis, and this is exactly what the mobile advertising market is crying out for. The industry needs to create a defined, well-understood commercial framework for mobile advertising that makes it easier for brands and media players to do business and see clearly where they can get a ROI. The GSMA Mobile Media Metrics initiative and this study are a step in the right direction.

Alcatel-Lucent announces next-generation service initiative - by Emeka Obiodu

Alcatel-Lucent has cranked up the debate about 4G and the services it will enable. In a statement today, the French-American vendor said it has founded the ng (Next Generation) Connect Program, a group aimed at promoting future mobile and fixed broadband services, devices, applications and content. Since its conception, the ng Connect Program has attracted several members including HP and Samsung.

While the idea of an industry-wide initiative to promote future services is laudable, a lot more needs to be done to craft a coherent framework for future mobile services.

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