Yesterday I attended and participated in a subsection of the CTIA show organized by Jai from Open Mobile Solutions called developer pitch sessions. There were some interesting presentations in there, and some great conversations. Here are a few of the bits I thought were worth mention:
- Paul Nerger shared some info about monetization and promotion efforts for the Hollywood Walk of Fame set of content they’ve been experimenting with. He said the desktop web version is generating a $1.83 ecpm, but they’ve gotten the mobile version only to $0.17. He also said they had tried out QR Codes to see if that would drive some traffic and help on the distribution side, but they haven’t seen good results at all so far.
- The folks from xAD pointed out that while 4 of the top 10 advertisers in the US are carriers, none of them are spending significantly on mobile advertising currently. Mobile ads is perhaps an industry that could use with a little more dogfood eating.
- There was some commentary, positioned as pure speculation so I won’t attribute it to anyone, that the uptake of iPads in the financial services industry is actually helping out Blackberry. Lots of financial services folks were replacing their BB devices wit iPhones to get access to the realtime finance apps. However now folks seem to be picking up iPads and keeping their Blackberry devices. Carlo said he heard from a panelist at another event that enterprises are buying up iPads by the thousands. There’s a lot of argument on both sides of the tablet debate, but justified or not it seems to be shifting dollars for at least some people.
- Discussions around distribution tended to say supporting multiple platforms is necessary. “Why would you bet on only one horse?” I think was the way the question was phrased. I called into question the value of that advice. There are some business models where it makes sense, there are others where statistically speaking the expected payout is far below the cost of porting. I think this remains one of the most fundamentally misrepresented set of discussions in our industry, cause everyone wants to shift attention away from Apple and try to frame their attempt to attack the iTunes platform as some kind of generic good business advice. It’s normally pretty transparent however.
From the set of presentations that I sat on the panel for, my favorite was Phone Halo. They have an application and service up and running where you can attach a small bluetooth dongle to something you don’t want to lose (your keys for example) and your phone will watch and alert you if the phone gets to far away from the dongle. They also have an online component where you can track a GPS snapshot of the instant where the two devices went out of range so that you can go back and check online if you miss the instant where the devices disconnect. I liked the idea not so much for just the set of things they’ve put together so far, but because the concepts lie very much inline with the service avatar principles that Mike Kuniavsky laid down at Mobilize. A simple single purpose device that fronts for a larger service up in the cloud. It’s the kind of idea that I suspect will have broadening instead of narrowing applications if technology keeps progressing in the direction it has been.