Monday, April 25, 2011

A-Fund Arrives - It was Only a Matter of Time!

DCM, an early stage VC firm, in partnership with GREE, KDDI, and Tencent, just launched an Android focused fund to take advantage of the explosive growth potential of Android. It's not like Android wasn't growing like gangbusters earlier; throw in a few hundred million dollars (we foresee this being the first of many such funds) and the market will ramp even quicker.

Check out the DCM press release:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

No Lockdowns on Customizing Android

Andy Rubin, SVP of Mobile at Google, comments on the recent buzz surrounding Google's locking down of Android. He makes the case that Android is still Open and will continue to be so. Even though others are free to customize Android, we'll have to wait and see if the distribution that Google ships will have greater limitations or dependencies that discourage customization.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

AT&T to Allow Amazon App Store for Android

AT&T, who till now didn't allow any other App Stores other than the default Android marketplace, announced that they will now support Amazon's new store for Android.

This is good news for subscribers as it provides more options. The question is that will AT&T now also allow other Application Stores beyond Amazon. It would make sense as long as the Retailer agrees to screen applications for quality - something the Android marketplace should probably start doing as well.

Perhaps AT&T would benefit from launching a meta store that can search across all the App Stores on a given device,to find the user the most trusted applications with the best deals.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Amazon’s Android App Store – Good for Amazon. Is it Good for Subscribers?

Amazon released their long awaited Android Application Store last week and is all the buzz. It has a lot of bells and whistles including recommendations, test driving of apps, and prescreened apps that won’t fry our phones. It also features some exclusive titles like Angry Birds Rio and some of the titles are cheaper than in the Android Marketplace.

All in All, the Amazon Marketplace is being hailed by all the Pundits as being good for the consumer. After all, competition is a good thing and should drive innovation. We hear that Google will be rolling out a new version of their Marketplace with some exciting new features too. However, this increased fragmentation may not be the best thing for the Android platform. There are already several dozen app stores available on Android and Amazon’s success will just bolster that number. We hear that lots of Operators and Retailers are planning their own.

As consumers, we don’t want to drive to Walmart, Costco, and BJs individually to find the cheapest items. That seems to be the direction in which Android is heading and each of these stores have about the same number of applications as Costco has items for sale, making fragmentation a huge nightmare for subscribers. Makes Apple’s walled garden not look so bad.. huh?

Meta stores that can search across App Stores might be the new big thing. Hopefully, a lot of the emerging App Store retailers will offer APIs to access their content, making it easy for consumers to search across them and pick the best selections possible. It would be similar to how we use Google today to search out the best deal before buying a music system. We expect some creative start-ups to emerge out of this opportunity...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pixatel Announces Subscriber Equity Management

In order to maintain and grow market share in a highly competitive Wireless market, all players have to better understand their customer base and deploy strategies to maximize subscriber equity. With traditional telco services becoming commodity in many markets, the opportunity for growth lies in maintaining satisfied customers and offering innovative value added services to current subscribers.

Subscriber Equity Management (SEM) is Pixatel’s vision to maximize subscribe lifetime revenue and gain a competitive edge. SEM methodology provides marketing and customer facing teams the ability to normalize and model information from data sources across the enterprise to gain real-time insight into subscriber behavior and identify trends across the subscriber base. Simultaneously, we help to aggressively deploy value added solutions that utilize existing data and provide contextual and personalized services to subscribers. Not only will this approach help increase top line revenue but also increase customer satisfaction.

SEM enables telcos to develop in-depth insight into customers and leverage that insight into a substantial competitive edge, enabling them to:

REACH THE MARKET OF ONE – offer contextual personalized services that are meaningful to each subscriber.

MAXIMIZE SUBSCRIBER REVENUE – maximize subscriber revenue and profitability by introducing new monetization channels across customer segments.

DEVELOP SUBSCRIBER RELATIONSHIPS – leverage retail, online, and device presence to enhance existing subscriber relationships and protect against disintermediation.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Three Most Important Criteria in Selecting a Mobile Platform

Selecting the right Mobile Platform solution, either as a OEM or an operator, is no easy task. Mobile Platform solutions can serve a number of functions, such as providing the capability to deliver, customize, and manage assets on a mobile device, personalize user content, or enable social networking via mobile devices. Such systems provide device manufacturers substantial flexibility and efficiency in their software maintenance processes and enable Operators to deliver new services to their entire subscriber base to take advantage of market opportunities and gain a competitive edge.

There are a number of factors that must be weighed to determine the right Mobile Platform for your requirements. The biggest factor, of course, is the functionality required by the system but regardless of the system's requirements, there are three criteria that universally hold true.

  1. Delivery Model - Selecting a SaaS Delivery model is low-cost way to obtain rights to use a platform as needed versus investing expensive data centers with large application farms. On demand licensing enables the benefits of commercially licensed use without requiring in-house expertise, potential high initial and operating costs of running systems inhouse, and avoids distractions from the core business. It is important to ensure reliability in up-time and performance so that the system is available when it needs to be accessed.
  2. Pricing Model - Simple is best. Go for a pricing model that charges you for what you use but isn't convoluted in a way that it requires complex formulas to determine cost. At the same time, pricing model's should encourage usage of systems rather than charging extra for transaction volume or releases depending on system functionality.
  3. Integration - Its important to select a system that augments existing functionality and can integrate with systems that already exist. This is extremely important so that you can leverage your current investments and get the most out of your spend. Even if you are selecting a system to do an isolated task, its important to ask the question: "How can this system be integrated with existing systems."

As mentioned earlier, there are a number of criteria that are important to consider. The above are the ones Pixatel feels are most important. In the coming weeks, we'll discuss best practices and desired functionality for some representative mobile platforms. They will include:
  • Gift Card Systems
  • OTA Update Systems
  • Mobile Storefront Systems