Category Archives: Mobile Marketing Magazine

Spotlight: Phonebloks, an ‘App Store for Hardware’

Just as the European smartphone manufacturing market was starting to look a little empty, a young designer called Dave from the Netherlands has cause quite a stir with a concept called Phonebloks.

The idea behind Phonebloks is that users will be able to customise their handset by attaching component ‘bloks’ – whether it’s a processor, battery, camera or even a display – to a pin-based motherboard.

Concerned that consumers are too quick to throw electronics away when they stop working, Dave Hakken’s idea is that each blok could be replaced or upgraded when necessary. In a swipe at the large OEMs, already critcised forsourcing components from conflict zones and having questionable manufacturing processes, Hakkens also points out that current mobile phones are not designed for repairs or upgrades.

Termed an ‘app store for hardware’, third parties would be able to build their own components for the Phonebloks blokstore, everyone from startups to traditional tech players, with the proceeds split between the store and the developer.

Hakkens is not seeking to crowdfund Phonebloks, or rely on a single investor, and is instead using ‘crowdspeaking’ platform Thunderclap to coordinate a wave of individual support for Phonebloks across Twitter, Facebook and Google+, making any potential investors aware of the demand. The number of supporters has already reached 639,298 – 98 per cent of the target – but the R&D on this rather ambitious idea is likely to take far longer.

The Phonebloks site outlines potential subscription services so Phonebloks owners can get regular updates to hardware and send back their old parts. People with specific needs – solar batteries, a high-end camera or large screens for the visually impaired – can choose their components accordingly. And more blocks means a larger device, so tablets are also on the horizon too.

“The market of electronic devices is growing rapidly, but it feels like we are building disposable stuff,” said Hakkens. “Every time we make something new we completely throw away the old one. Imagine all the good displays, bluetooths and speakers we have thrown away. I love the connected world that we live in and it’s time to set up a universal modular platform that companies work on together.”

It’s unclear whether this technology could actually come into production, at least any time soon, but the idea behind Phonebloks – and Hakken’s mission statement of ‘trying to make the world better by making things’ – is a breath of fresh air for the industry. See an explainer video from Phonebloks below.

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and first published here.

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A Car is Bought Every 3 Minutes in the UK Using eBay on Mobile

A car is bought every three minutes by someone using eBay on their mobile in the UK – totalling more than 175,000 vehicles sold every year – making motoring the third most popular mobile purchase. 

Fashion is the top mobile purchase on eBay, with a pair of shoes snapped up every 15 seconds and a handbag sold every 30 seconds. Tech is the second most popluar purchase for mobile eBayers in the UK. 


eBay has revealed that Birmingham is the top mobile shopping city in the UK, followed by South London, Sheffield, Nottingham and Belfast. The 21 per cent of cross-platform shoppers on eBay make up 44 per cent of total global sales, the company also said. 


eBay forecast at the beginning of the year that the value of its mobile transactions in 2013 would be $20bn. It also revealed in July that it had seen 197m downloads to date worldwide.


Top 20 destinations 


  1. Birmingham 
  2. South London 
  3. Sheffield 
  4. Nottingham 
  5. Belfast 
  6. North London 
  7. Leicester 
  8. Peterborough 
  9. East London 
  10. Bristol 
  11. Newcastle 
  12. Manchester 
  13. Cardiff 
  14. Portsmouth 
  15. Doncaster 
  16. Coventry 
  17. Derby 
  18. Brighton 
  19. Reading 
  20. Chelmsford


Read more at http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/car-bought-every-3-minutes-uk-using-ebay-mobile#4md5aFFEEZJadX0I.99


Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/car-bought-every-3-minutes-uk-using-ebay-mobile#4md5aFFEEZJadX0I.99

Mirror’s Mobile Traffic Reaches 73 Per Cent at Weekends

The Mirror has relaunched its website using responsive design, managing to significantly condense and declutter its content for mobile browsers compared to those accessing via desktop.  

Advertising currently running on the site when accessed using a mobile device is limited to banners for the company’s PaperPay app, while those using desktop will see a full takeover advertising Mirror Bingo. 

The publisher has also revealed that its UK mobile traffic now beats desktop at every hour of the weekend, according to stats shared with The Media Briefing.  On Sunday mornings, mobile’s share grows to 73 per cent of traffic, while weekdays see mobile traffic plummet as workers move back to their desks. 

Trinity Mirror is currently pushing its credential’s as a free online newspaper, aiming to fight off its main rival The Sun, which has moved behind a paywall. The Sun does not have a mobile-optimised website.  Trinity Mirror made a pre-tax profit of 2.5 per cent in H1 2013, reaching £49.3m, although ad revenues declined by 12.6 per cent to £132.1m.  

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/mirror%E2%80%99s-mobile-traffic-reaches-73-cent-weekends#d00OyigUl1iXR39r.99

Going OTT: Messaging Apps Stats Roundup

Following our roundup of the key features and user numbers of the most popular messaging apps around the world, we’ve gathered together some more detailed stats shared with Mobile Marketing by Onavo

Gender and age 

Using messaging apps, perhaps unsurprisingly, is a slightly more female-slanted pursuit than male, with highest usage among women seen on MessageMe, KakaoTalk and Snapchat. Men are slightly more likely to use Skype and Viber, while WhatsApp is an even split.

Messaging apps are nearly all most popular among 25 to 34-year-olds, particularly MessageMe, LINE and KakaoTalk. Snapchat was the only app that bucked this trend, being most popular among 18 to 24-year-olds, who take a 39 per cent share of the app’s global iOS audience. The most popular app among 55 to 64s and the over 65s is trusty Skype. Usage of MessageMe among 55 to 64s was the only instance where where activity exceeded those aged 45 to 54. 

US, UK and Canada compared 

When comparing the usage of messaging apps by iPhone users in the US, Canada and the UK, the largest stat is that WhatsApp is used by 49 per cent in the UK – the highest reach of any app in any of the countries we looked at. In contrast, it reaches just 12 per cent of US iOS app users. WhatsApp is followed rather distantly in the UK by Skype at 22 per cent reach and Snapchat at 21 per cent. 

In the US, Snapchat has the greatest reach, used by 26 per cent of iOS app users, followed by Skype on 21 per cent and Facebook Messenger on 17 per cent. This is the only time Facebook Messenger appears among the top three – and it has only been downloaded by 19 per cent of Facebook users worldwide. 

In Canada meanwhile, Skype edges into number one, with 22 per cent reach, closely followed by Snapchat, with 20 per cent, and WhatsApp on 18 per cent. Across the three countries, Skype enjoys the most consistent reach in all countries. 

WhatsApp is a success – whatever its limitations 

WhatsApp is clearly hit and miss, with a number of limitations, including a lack of voice calls, but does directly link in to Skype if both have been downloaded. That’s probably why, worldwide among these three apps, 44 per cent of WhatsApp users also using Skype as well. Viber supplements WhatsApp’s service for 28 per cent of users. Just 23 per cent of Skype users also have WhatsApp. 

Whatever WhatsApp’s limitations, among messaging app users on iOS worldwide, it is present on 99 per cent of handsets it Spain, along with 96 per cent in Hong Kong, Columbia and Argentina, showing it has achieved international fame.

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/going-ott-messaging-apps-stats-roundup#Kc1J7muol4QBaLe8.99

Going OTT: Messaging Apps Roundup

We’ve taken a comprehensive look at the features of some of the most popular OTT apps worldwide, which will be followed by an article which takes a good look at who’s winning where, using data shared exclusively with Mobile Marketing by the analytics firm Onavo

Facebook Messenger

Platforms: iPhone, Android and BlackBerry  
Started: August 2011 after buying group messaging startup Beluga  

Facebook created the Messenger app so chats with friends were just one click away, rather than having to load up full-fat Facebook. But in practice, having the two running in tandem is proving unsuccessful. Especially as your Facebook messages were already just two clicks away. 

Today, just 19 per cent of Facebook’s iPhone users worldwide also have the Messenger app. Facebook shut down and integrated Beluga’s group messaging, location sharing and mapping functions into both apps, but group chats in particular are better signposted in standard Facebook. You can message friends of friends in both apps, but can’t yet, despite claims in its blurb about Messenger, message handset contacts via Facebook or send SMS messages using the Android and iOS handsets we tested.  

Users of either app can Bing search for pictures to send to friends, as well as adding photos from their phone, can take a picture and record audio. You can make ‘free calls’ – warning that data charges may apply – and provided your friend has linked Facebook with their handset. Which is by no means everyone. If this spin-off was intended to create a new revenue stream, namely around in-app stickers, which works well for other messaging services, then the plan has gone awry. Although paid-for stickers are yet to go live, a shopping basket on Facebook proper indicates where purchases will be made, which already contains some freebies to get people hooked. But this is feature that hasn’t yet made it to Messenger.  

KakaoTalk Messenger 

Platforms:  Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows OS, Bada 
Started: Launched by South Korean IT company Kakao in March 2010 

Although the company initially focused on South Asian markets, the app in now available ‘anywhere in the world’, with translations into English, Spanish, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Indonesian, Japanese, Thai, Turkish, Italian, French, German and Portuguese. It reached 100m users worldwide in July. 

Users can make free calls, including to groups and with ‘fun voice filters’, send messages to anyone else with the app, including celebrities, with users able to group chat to an ‘unlimited’ number of people. You can also add appointments and schedule reminders, share videos, photos and voice notes. 

The company has created a wide range of monetisation opportunities, including a sticker and themes store, where in-app purchases go up to $3, its own free games, which are linked to and downloadable from the relevant app store, with a host of in-app purchase options here too. KakaoTalk is certainly big in South Korea, with 95 per cent reach for iPhone users. It has nine per cent reach in Japan, three per cent in Hong Kong and two per cent in China. Outside of Asia, however, the app appears to have had little impact. 

LINE 

Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry, Nokia Asha, Windows, Windows 8 or Mac 
Started: Created by South Korean internet content provider NHN Corporation in July 2011 to help Japanese people communicate after the earthquake there  

LINE claimed 200m users in July this year, and along with 71 per cent penetration among iPhone message app users in Japan, is used by 46 per cent of those people in Hong Kong, along with 44 per cent in Spain. It also has a significant presence in Latin America. LINE supports free calls on iPhone and Android to app users. Other handset users can get LINE on their Windows, Windows 8 or Mac computers to access this feature. Users can have group chats with up to 100 participants.   

To get started in the LINE shop, you have to purchase the virtual currency, which starts at £1.49 for 100 and goes up to £32.99 for 3,400, plus 1,000 bonus coins for spending your cash on nothing. Coins can only be spent on the operating system they were bought on. It also uses banner ads in its apps to advertise new stickers that people can buy. 

Similarly to Kakao, LINE offers simple, free ‘match three’-style games to download in-app with paid-for bolt-ons and the opportunity to play with other users to earn rewards. It also has a number of other proprietary apps, including LINE Camera, LINE Card and LINE Brush. LINE is going beyond messaging to creating an in-app social network of its own with its Timeline feature. 

Skype 

Platforms: Windows 8, Windows and Windows tablets, Mac, Linux, Windows Phone, Android phones and tablets, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Kindle Fire, Skype-ready phones and TVs, Playstation Vita 
Started: 2003, bought by eBay in 2005 $2.5bn, before Microsoft finally bought the platform in 2011 for $8.5bn  

Skype offers free instant messaging, terrible emoticons and Skype-to-Skype video or voice calls in its ad-supported, free version, along with international calls at cheap rates. The premium, ad-free version, charged at £2.99 per month, offers group chat and unlimited calls to a region of your choice.  

Skype had a 34 per cent share of international calls made last year, up from 13 per cent in 2010, but is no doubt facing stiff competition. 

Snapchat 

Platforms: iOS and Android  
Started when: September 2011 at Stanford University by a group of students 

Snapchat is a photo and image sharing app, a residing place of the #selfie, where users also have the ability to add text and imagery to their masterpiece before sending to other app users, as well as groups of users.  The key USP of Snapchat, and potentially the reason it’s been adopted by so many young people, is that the images have a time-limit and then disappear from both the sender’s and receiver’s phone.  

Controversy has swirled about whether the images really disappear from existence after this, and the team explained last month: “If you’ve ever tried to recover lost data after accidentally deleting a drive, or maybe watched an episode of CSI, you might know that with the right forensic tools, it’s sometimes possible to retrieve data after it has been deleted.” Essentially confirming that any compromising images are not gone-gone. People have also been known to take a quick screen grab before the message self-destructs.  

Although the team was nearly laughed out of the classroom when they pitched it to classmates, it received $13.5m in funding back in February and a further $60m in July. The app doesn’t have a price tag for users or any ads yet, but does have an $800m valuation ‘pre-money’. The founders are working on using the platform for product teasers and flash sales. It had 8m US users back in May but is also doing very well in the UK and Canada.  

Viber 

Platforms: Android, BlackBerry OS, iOS, Series 40, Symbian, Bada, Windows Phone, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, and a Linux version is in development 
Started: 2010 in Israel 

Viber has spent the last three years waging war directly with Skype and has made significant effort to make itself available across an equitable number of platforms. Although the company has not yet reached the same heights, its CEO revealed in May that it has passed 200m users. Viber enables voice calls, group messaging, doodles and recently localised its service into 16 languages and added desktop platforms. 

Neat USPs of Viber include the ability to share your big-fingered masterpieces on Facebook, as well as a handy quick reply function via a lockscreen takeover. Viber also enables users to transfer calls from its desktop to mobile apps if you are on your way out the door.  The company doesn’t currently generate revenues but will, like KakaoTalk and LINE, start to sell messaging stickers this year. The company has received $20m investment.  

Whatsapp 

Platforms: Android, iOS, BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10, Series 40, Symbian and Windows Phone  
Started: 2009 by Yahoo veterans Brian Acton and Jan Koum in California 

Although more limited in functionality than some of its messaging competitors, currently offering instant and voice messaging, some loveable emoticons, audio, image and video sending, this is by far and away the most popular messaging app among iPhone users in the UK. The company’s CEO has always come out hard against ad-funded services and offers his app free or a year before charging $0.99. It reported more than 300m active users in August, with 325m photos shared each day.  

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/going-ott#GHzDhx755VYG4szu.99

O2 Reveals 4G Tariffs and Perks

O2 has unveiled a range of tariffs and a few perks that it will offer come the big 29 August 4G switch on, although the operator appears to have struggled to match Vodafone’s fanfare. 

O2’s 12-month 4G SIM-only packages start at £26 for 1GB of data –  that’s one less than Vodafone’s opening deal –  and go up to £36 a month with 5GB of data. Vodafone’s top SIM-only plan offers 8GB for £36. Additional bolt-ons will cost £6 for 500MB and £10 for 1GB from O2. 

Standard 4G plans include the opportunity to switch your phone at a whim, called O2 Refresh, and for a 24-month contract, prices start at £22 a month for 1GB of data and go up to £37 for 8GB. There are ‘additional charges’ for the different devices on offer of between £10 and £25 per month – so people will end up paying upwards of £32 per month for the cheapest 4G plan. O2 says it will have 10 handsets to choose from, Vodafone has just three, with neither currently offering 4G on iPhone.  

If people sign up quickly for an O2 Refresh contract of 3GB or more, they will get additional free data for the duration of it. Existing O2 customers that don’t have a 4G handset but want to upgrade will get 25 per cent of the contract buyout cost paid by O2. O2 customers can also trade in their old device for up to £300. Vodafone says it will knock 75 per cent off the remaining contract charges if people have an iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3 or a Galaxy Note 2 and want to upgrade.  

O2 hasn’t managed to secure the launch partnerships that Vodafone has  – which include Sky and Spotify. It does however offer 12 month’s free access to O2 4G Tracks, with music and video from the top 40, as well as Priority Sports content. The company has also secured a deal with Gameloft for O2 customers to play some popular mobile games without using up their data. 

O2 customers also get free access to 9,000 O2 wi-fi hotspots and can sign up for Priority Moments. O2 will launch 4G for pay-as-you-go customers before the end of the year.

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/o2-reveals-4g-tariffs-and-perks#ArWvYk5BZeCJoVUS.99

Evernote Goes Free for 250m Telefónica Customers

Telefónica has signed a global deal with Evernote to give its iOS and Android subscribers free access to the productivity platform for a year, which usually costs $49, starting with customers in Brazil. 

In a deal brokered by the operator’s innovation arm, Telefónica Digital, the operator hopes to offer the app to 250m subscribers in more than 20 countries in the coming months. This is likely to include all of the markets where Telefónica operates, except for Germany, where Deutsche Telecom already sealed a deal with the productivity company. 

This is “one the first of many things Telefónica is doing to differentiate its service,” said Wayne Thorson, VP of global partnerships at Telefónica Digital, speaking to Mobile Marketing from California. A deal that “wouldn’t have happened” without the existence of such a body within Telefónica operating at the heart of the Valley. These kinds of partnerships are being created, he said, to take the operator “beyond connectivity and help innovate in different ways to move beyond the challenges of being an operator.”  

The smartphone penetration in Brazil was 36 per cent in January of this year, according to Nielsen, with the Evernote deal likely to be a sweetener for those yet to come on board. Likewise, a legion of hooked mobile productivity fans in this fast-growth market should be very attractive to Evernote. 

Telefónica has 76.2m mobile subscribers in Brazil, and although Thorson could not reveal exact figures for smartphone penetration, said the country had been chosen because adoption is “climbing a curve at a rate that no one has ever seen before. Decreasing prices of entry for smartphones, giving many people their only access to the internet, plus the rapidly growing middle class and economy, make it a perfect storm for smartphone penetration.” 

He said that the customer relationship with Vivo, Telefónica’s Brazil operation, is a lot deeper than those seen in EU, as fewer than 40 per cent of people have official financial relationships. “You mobile phone is your connection to the digital world here, which means mobile marketing via operators is used by a wide margin to get things done.” 

For Evernote, he said: “This deal allows people to try the very best version, the premium version, which will become very sticky, and introduces it to people who might not have trialled it on their own.”  Thorson called the company a “unicorn” of the digital world, “there’s no on like them” he added. 

“If you believe the future is the digital meeting the physical, this deal puts us into a place to not just benefit now, but lays the railroad tracks for the ecosystem of the future. We’re really playing chess by working with these guys.”


Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/evernote-goes-free-250m-telef%C3%B3nica-customers#myQ8wgzTfDezzrM6.99