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Volker Hirsch
Co-Founder, Blue Beck

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  • With Facebook Mobile reaching up to 100 million users, where do you think mobile social networking is going?6th WEEK

    Volker Hirsch - Co-Founder, Blue Beck

    Volker HirschCo-Founder, Blue Beck

    03.02.10 at 11:22

    Social networking - whether on mobile or not - and social mobile interaction are not necessarily the same thing. On the former, it is natural that there will be an expansion of usage to existing networks from mobile devices (as there is an expansion of usage of mobile devices all over the place) but, on the latter, I think we will be seeing many different and original solutions to come. Early examples of what people are doing with augmented reality browsers (which only really makes sense on a mobile device) shows a small glimpse, little apps like FourSquare do, too. Mobile has a number of unique distinguishing factors (location-awareness being one of them) and it will be much, much more than a mere extension of \"ordinary\" online services.

    I\'ll be speaking about this at a number of conferences this spring. Watch my Slideshare (http://slidershare.net/hirsch30) for copies of the presentations.

    What do you think about the recent backing of EA from developing apps for Android?50th WEEK

    Volker Hirsch - Co-Founder, Blue Beck

    Volker HirschCo-Founder, Blue Beck

    02.12.09 at 07:57

    It is obvious. Android is (or appears to be) a big platform on the rise, which has a lot of the ingredients to succeed (strong sponsor in Google, potent OEMs and carriers signed up and deploying, etc). EA certainly cannot afford to ignore it, be it - from today\'s standpoint - only for their carrier and OEM partners who offer it (nor can, for that matter, Gameloft as the scramble following their ominous PR showed). And, after all, should it fail as a content platform, will they be able to reverse their decision? Of course they will...

    What do you think about the Google/Admob acquisition? What comes next?47th WEEK

    Volker Hirsch - Co-Founder, Blue Beck

    Volker HirschCo-Founder, Blue Beck

    11.11.09 at 07:23

    Four views:
    1. It shows Google\'s commitment to \"mobile, mobile, mobile\", which in itself is encouraging for the sector that is - despite a number of larger players evolving and despite the still relatively recent paradigm shift initiated by the iPhone - still fledgling. That in isolation makes it great news for the mobile sector.
    2. Great for Admob (congratulations to Russell Buckley in particular!).
    3. Short-term a smart move by both players: Admob will be able to bulk up and cement its leadership position in the segment. Its inventory and back-end ad management will be able to dip into Google\'s vast resources, which is great for them. Google probably realized that Admob\'s strength meant that they would be difficult to beat. And who you can\'t beat, you shall join (or, in Google\'s case, buy) them. For Google, it is a smart move as it gives them critical mass in an ad format where they have not nearly been as dominant as for other formats and gives them access to a lot of eyeballs.
    4. Long-term probably a little more complex: if the future of advertising is in engagement (which I believe it is), then adding eyeballs is only a very, very small step to this. Google is in danger of becoming a victim of its own success: 97% of its revenues from one source. Milk it as long as you can, yes. Long-term viable strategy? I am not so sure.

    But, hey, both Google and Admob are smart companies. And to be able to build on the base they have may also be a luxury problem. All good! ;-)

    What is the impact of google's entry in the navigation business?46th WEEK

    Volker Hirsch - Co-Founder, Blue Beck

    Volker HirschCo-Founder, Blue Beck

    03.11.09 at 08:12

    Does anyone remember what happened when Nokia entered the camera phone business? It nearly killed lower-end cameras. The sales curves were literally mirrored: camera sales decreased to the same degree camera phones rose. I suspect the same may well be happening with Google and stand-alone \"sat nav\". I have been using my iPhone\'s (fairly crude) Google Maps/sat nav functions at times (i.e. not any of the expensive clients) and it is, whilst not perfect at all, enough to keep me from buying anything. With Google now adding \"proper\" sat nav, including voice directions, etc, this would appear to being a no-brainer.

    The overall take-up will take its time though: when Nokia went for the cameras, it was the world\'s market leader (and growing), so that it did not take any change of user behaviour to aide erosion of the camera market. This is different with Google\'s initiative: if a user will buy such a phone will depend to a large extent on the actual handset, too. But with cooler devices like Moto\'s Droid starting to hit the market, this may only be a short-term issue.

    Good move for Google, bad news for Tom-Tom et al.

    Will mobile software licensec influence buying the next mobile device, and choosing the same platform?41th WEEK

    Volker Hirsch - Co-Founder, Blue Beck

    Volker HirschCo-Founder, Blue Beck

    04.10.09 at 00:48

    Users are not (and, I would pose, have never been) hung up about the OS a device runs. They do care a lot though about if and how \"their\" applications, programmes, etc run. If this is, all of a sudden, unfamiliar, works, handles and indeed feels different and alien to them, they\'ll much rather stick to what they are used to. Whilst this generally applies to any device or service, this is even more important on mobile devices because of input constraints, etc.

    This described ease will pose challenges to OS makers (and their ego when it comes to wanting to give it their particular operator X or OEM Y touch, for which no one other than themselves cares much about). And it is here where Apple (1 OS, 1 UI across very few devices) is strong. This is where RIM and Microsoft could be strong. And it is where open source platforms (Android, Symbian, Linux) are more prone to failure because of the temptation of having a gazillion different iterations which destroys the warm, fuzzy feeling of familiarity to the user.

    What do you think about Nokia entering the netbook market?36th WEEK

    Volker Hirsch - Co-Founder, Blue Beck

    Volker HirschCo-Founder, Blue Beck

    28.08.09 at 11:18

    It seems something like a natural move: with processing power and usability of high-end phones and netbooks nearing, it is a somewhat logical extension of their product portfolio, in particular they had been dabbling in the segment before there even was a name for netbooks. Apple showed nicely how its computers liaise with its phone. So Nokia will want to show that it can do the same or better.

    Will it be the game-changer? I doubt it.

    The exciting developments are elsewhere: Comes With Music (despite its seemingly limited success to date), services around Navteq (maybe), and - in particular - the newly announced mobile payment are much more likely to set them apart (again) from competitors. Nokia\'s market footprint is theoretically capable of opening a huge addressable user base and it is in these areas where true innovation could come.

    Should any phone manufacturer have declining / banning rights apart from legality from its appstores/marketplaces?33th WEEK

    Volker Hirsch - Co-Founder, Blue Beck

    Volker HirschCo-Founder, Blue Beck

    03.08.09 at 22:07

    It\'s a free world and each manufacturer (as any operator has been doing for ages!) has the right to draw up their own guidelines and decide on who to contract with about distribution of content. It is not a ban. The decision to decline some carries certain PR effects but I doubt it has legal implications. I would wish that manufacturers apply their measure them evenly but only anti-trust/competition laws would appear to rule and I do not see market dominance (as a key benchmark for most applicable regulations) in anti-trust terms by any app store provider so far. It is important to note that it is not a ban but a refusal to enter into a distribution agreement (freedom to contract)! This would change if one (monopoly) or a few (oligopoly) of the players would become dominant in anti-trust terms; they would then unduly restrict competition by refusing access. That\'s a long shot though in respect of most manufacturers (Apple included).