New mobile phones hitting the market

It has been a busy week in the mobile market this past week.

3 announced a new social networking handset called INQ Mini 3G that went on sale Thursday, October 8th. It is aimed at the younger market who spend a lot of time on the social networks and has a built in Twitter application, shortcuts to facebook and skype. The handset comes with a choice of 8 different colours some say they look like “candy” phones. The mobile is small at just 2.2 inches with a 320 x 240 display and 2 mp camera. It can sync with iTune or Windows Media Player through a third-party application

INQ mobile phones

It has free skype to skype calls and msn and is available on 3’s £15 Internet Texter plan and on the Mix and Match tariffs. And for those Pay as you go customers, you can pick it up for £59.99. The photo above also shows the INQ Chat 3G which has a QWERTY keyboard, 3.2 mp camera and built in GPS which is out later this year.

T-mobile also announced last week they will be offering the BlackBerry Bold2 as well as Nokia’s new flagship the N900 and another Nseries handset. T Mobile will also get the Motoroal CLUQ and the Samsung Behold 2, increasing its range of smartphones.

Will update more soon, but in the meantime, have a read of the following:

Source: INQ,mobilenews, Tech digest, Guardian, Gsmarena

Orange pockets the difference

Orange have teamed up with ASDA to sell mobile phones in its stores. The first ASDA to trial the Orange concessions will be in Eastlands, Manchester earlier this month. There are 100,000 customers a week, so the 7 full time Orange staff in the ASDA store will be very busy. If this concession is successful, it will be rolled out to 30 other ASDA superstores. It may even be rolled out to the smaller ASDA stores.

October is an exciting time for Orange as this month they also opened their first ever multimedia store last week. The store opened in Midsummer Arcade in Milton Keynes and is aimed at encouraging more engagement between customers and mobile multimedia technology. The opening came at the same time as the launch of the Motorola’s DEXT mobile. The store has all the multimedia technology you would expect. There is a 70-inch cinema-style screen and seating for product demonstrations, workshops and film previews.

I wonder if Orange are trying to compete with Apple in the space for the most coolest and interactive mobile/app stores. If the reviews of the store are anything to go by, they are certainly making headway in this area.

Vodafone making headway in social media

Ok so this post is a little late, but better late than never. Vodafone announced a new service last month to connect all social network contacts called Vodafone 360. Vodafone are reinventing themselves as a software and social networking provider. Seem familiar to Nokia and its Ovi product? Vodafone 360 includes a cloud-based address book, full-track music downloads, app store (called Vodafone Apps shop which will launch with 1,000 mobile applications) picture geo-tagging, and integration with social communities such as Facebook and Twitter.

This service is available on a wide range of handsets and to make this launch even more special (or more marketable) Vodafone will have two new exclusive 360 handsets developed by Samsung that syncs automatically with the PC. The H1 followed by the M1. There will also be four Nokia Symbian smartphones pre-loaded with Vodafone 360 but these have yet to be announced.

The famous tag line “make the most out of now” will be replaced with “power to you” as Vodafone sets to rebrand itself as a communications specialist. (words from Vittorio Colao CEO of Vodafone). The new mobile internet service is expected to launch by Christmas in 8 different European countries.

As you are well aware of since the explosion of the mobile apps, all mobile operators have been jumping on the bandwagon and Vodafone is no exception. For those aware of mobile sync and back up, Vodafone bought Zyb last year for £28.5m. Zyb was a small mobile start-up that had developed software that lets mobile phone users share information and messages between their contacs in their address book. This was the start of Vodafone 360.

One year later and the 360 internet service has developed further to include gathering all customer’s friends, communities, entertainment and personal favourites such as music, games, photos and video in to one single place. It brings together all contacts from the user’s mobile phone, social networks and their gmail, hotmail and any other internet account. What is great about this service is that it is automatically backed up and synchronised, regularly and wirelessly, between the mobile and PC and yes the mac as well.

Some interesting articles:

SEO is Business As Usual (BAU)

Grand CanyonSEO is Business as Usual

SEO in the search world is an acronym for Search Engine Optimisation. But I also like to think of it as the Simple Easy Option. People over complicate things a lot and website optimisation is no exception.

A friend of my sister’s who owns a dress agency in the high street asked me for help with her website. She did not understand why her site wasn’t coming up and how she could increase traffic to her site.

The trick is to keep it simple, one step at a time. As the owner did not have the files for her site, we could not amend the content or the code. So the only realistic and effective option was to build links to her site. Create a buzz about it .. too easy. Her shop is different to the other clothes shops in the high street. It is a dress agency where women sell their designer clothes which she then sells in her shop to other women looking for a good deal.

After we checked if the site was indexed (which is wasn’t) and checked for the number of links to her site (which was 0), we worked on the keywords. We decided to optimize for only three as it has just three pages, simple. We looked at her competitors as well. She is lucky as there aren’t many, and the competitors didn’t have well optimized sites but they did have links. Easily done.

So let the link building commence….Did we do directory submissions I hear you ask? No no, we did not, well only to one business directory. What we concentrated on, was good old fashioned press releases. In a press release we can build links back to the site, have our key terms and even include an image which will appear in the search results. In addition, the owner had contacts with the local councils, both in her residential area and where the business was located. So one press release, sent to two councils published on two websites and in two newspapers. Easy…

Financial cost = nothing Resources = time.

So you don’t need to have a lot of money or be some tech guru to get involved with seo. You just need some patience and think of SEO as the acronym for the Simple Easy Option.

Hello moto is back

To hit the Orange shops next month, Motorola is entering the Android arena with its CLIQ phone. So will this be the comeback of all phones? Will Motorola now be able to claim back some market share? It only has 2.19% according to getjar so has a long way to go.

Motorola have been out of the game for so long and now there are so many other competitors in the market.
Apparently the mobile phone is supposed to be for the young teen market instead of business users. So what is so special about this smartphone? Well to start with, it uses Google’s Android, packing 3G, there is a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, GPS, 5mp camera, but what is really amazing is “Motoblur” which is a new social networking-oriented user interface/service.

Motoblur as the name suggests blurs everything into one. It allows you to access all your different networks and account from the front page of the mobile phone. So your email, twitter, facebook can be accessed in one fell swoop. What is exciting about this phone is the “happenings” widget, which is a live feed of all your friends’ activities from whichever social networking sites you belong to. You can also update your status across these sites in one go. You can choose which widgets you want on the default screen, allowing instant access. You can also litter apps including YouTube and Google Maps around the widgets for a more personalised experience.

What is most surprising is that it doesnt have Wi-Fi connectivty and it only has 2GB MicroSD card. It can be expanded to 32GB but that is a bit of a pain. But I suppose the new features for the phone as below make up for it:
• Customisable home screen with Happenings, Status and Messaging widgets deliver status
• Customizable RSS news widgets keeps you up to date
• Messaging with Facebook, MySpace and Twitter Direct Messaging
• Address book synchs personal and work contacts, and connected social networks
• Caller ID shows caller’s name, number, status and profile pic
• Photosharing in MySpace, Photobucket, Picasa, Facebook

Plus if you lose your phone or it is stolen you can also restore everything automatically in the new phone and wipe all the info from your old phone. (remotely wipe it). So no need to have any of those back up and restore software solutions that seem to be saturating the market place – eg zyb, mobileme….. So what are you waiting for? Get down to the Orange shop and put your name on the waiting list. Orange have exclusitivity on this phone in the UK, France and Spain.

The simplest mobile phone is the most popular

Sometimes the simplest handsets are the best.

When I went into the Orange shop over the weekend, I was surprised to see one of their most popular PAYM (pay monthly) handsets was the Nokia 6700. Is it a new smart phone? No….. it is apparently the successor to the ever so popular 6500. The main reason this has been selling so well is because of its simplicity. When Nokia first came into the market, the simple, easy to use interface caught the attention of many and its followers began.

Ofcourse there are some updates to the mobile phone, there is the GPS, Nokia Maps, 3G with HSDPA and a 5mp autofocus camera. The Nokia 6300 only had a 2mp. The Nokia 6700 is reliable and easy to use and is a traditional classic style mobile but not old fashioned in any way. The keypad has well-spaced buttons so you will be able to quickly text without making mistakes.

Oh and I forgot to mention the camera also has an LED flash and the video camera is pretty good you can record at up to VGA resolution. And yes there is an MP3 player but it can just handle a limited number of formats. You can tune into the FM radio and with RDS can see what you are listening to.

The memory is quite a lot too, there is already 170 MB of built-in memory, enough for 40 MP3 tracks, but there is also a microSD card slot which can hold cards up to 8GB.

So next time you are looking for a new phone, you might just want to have a look at those mobile phones that aren’t as flashy and as big as the others. Sometimes the best things come in small packages. Those sticking to a budget will be pleased to know it is free on pay monthly contracts of 20 pounds per month.

How do I start mobile SEO?

We all are aware of SEO on websites, but what about SEO on mobile phones and handheld devices? With the increasing number of smart phones with access to the web, more and more people are accessing the internet on their mobile.

According to comScore M:Metrics reports, in June 2008, 20.8 million U.S. mobile subscribers and 4.5 million European mobile phone subscribers accessed search during the month. This was an increase of 68 and 38% from June 2007, respectively. The U.K. had the highest penetration of mobile subscribers using search at 9.5 percent, followed closely by the U.S. at 9.2%.

Number of people using search on their mobile

Ok so what exactly is mobile SEO?
Search engine optimisation for the mobile client. Which means making sure that a business is as visible as possible on the mobile web and therefore helping that website get as much traffic as possible from search engines.

The market is still early so now is the time to get on board and start developing a mobile seo strategy.

Here are a few things you should put in place on your website
1. The screen size is a lot smaller on handsets than on a pc and many WAP browsers strip out CSS (the style sheet) and therefore the page displays as text. (hence not a nice look)

2. Use valid code. Mobile search engines are unable to digest invalid code.

3. Adhere to best practices, look at W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative.This will ensure that your content is accessible to anyone regardless of their platform — including mobile users and mobile search engines.

4. Follow traditional on-site SEO best practices.
Write short, concise titles.
Link to legitimate and popular Web sites.
Make sure you are not disallowing mobile crawlers from spidering your site.
Keep the URL structure as simple as possible
Keep links descriptive

If you have a mobile page or pages have a link to the PC-based website.

Many believe that Mobile SEO is the future. In an ever-growing industry worth $3.8 billion dollars, it is expected to triple by the year 2012. The number and variety of mobile searches tripled in 2007 and 2009 is already in the works of being the year of the mobile search. But in order to benefit from this latest trend, prominent placement on the mobile Internet is vital. And that’s where Mobile SEO is so important.

A good example of how mobile SEO has taken off is in China. They have the world’s largest mobile market with more than 600 million mobile users. source More people have mobile phones than PCs so they do their browsing on their handsets. According to Reutersthe number of Internet users in China jumped nearly 42% to 298 million by the end of 2008 from the previous year and China now has the world’s largest Internet population. The number of mobile Web surfers surged 113% to 117.6 million in 2008 and mobile Internet is expected to grow agressively in the next few years after the recent issuance of third-generation (3G) licenses.

Case Study of Skin B5
Australian Skin Care company selling vitamin and acne treatment products online wanted to aggressively market its new products in Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China. However they were having trouble as there was an over-saturated market, using keywords such as “Vitamin B5” and “Vitamin for acne treatment”.
They also had to deal with the Chinese-language search engines where you have to optimize the site for both English and Chinese search engines.
The company turned to Mobile SEO and was able to get higher rankings on keywords that the company wasn’t getting in traditional search engine optimization. Skin B5 executives understood that with more than 200 million mobile users, tapping into this market would be vital for not only their short-term, but long-term success. The result was a 30% increase in sales and today the has more than 100 top 10 search engine rankings.

Now people surf the internet from their pcs but with the advancement of mobile phone technology, more people will be accessing it from their handsets so we better start optimising our websites to be mobile seo friendly.

Mobile applications are the way forward

Microsoft and Nokia are teaming up to create an application called Microsoft Office Mobile on Nokia handsets it was announced last month. The deal will give Microsoft leverage against Google and others that are attacking its Office business with free or low-priced, Web-based productivity applications.

The companies are going to design, develop and market productivity applications for mobile professionals. They are going to work on an application called Microsoft Office Mobile and install it on Nokia’s Symbian devices. They will also do the same for other Microsoft communications, collaboration and device-management software. Even though Microsoft already had its own Windows Mobile platform they have realised that they have never really established itself in the mobile market while Nokia’s Symbian handsets is market share leader for midrange handsets.

With the launch of google docs, this venture is sure to create a cause for concern in the google offices. Google claims 1.75 million businesses use Google Apps, which is a small number compared with the amount of businesses and customers at hom using Office. According to Forrester who undertook a survey of 152 IT decision-makers, nearly 92% per cent support Office, while only a little more than 3% use Google Apps. This year, Office is forecast to generate about $20bn (£12.2bn) in revenue.

The new Microsoft app will first be available on Nokia’s Eseries phones, which are optimised for the business market and then will be extended to other Nokia handsets marketed jointly by both companies.

This alliance shows that sometimes competitors have to work together to beat the bigger rivals. By installing the Office applications on Nokia handsets, Microsoft and Nokia will be competing against Apple and Research in Motion (RIM). The iPhone as we already know has radically changed the smartphone market and the RIM Blackberry OS is very popular for business users. However, both companies will still be competitors in the mobile market. Microsoft already offers Office Mobile on Windows Mobile handsets and plans to put a new version of the application on mobile phones next year.

The first application to appear on Nokia phones will be Microsoft Office Communicator which will appear in 2010. The Communicator is the company’s instant messaging and Web presence client for business users.

Microsoft has also been working on its own apps what it calls “Office Web Apps” which includes Web-based version of Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote and will be availble on PCs when they release the next version of Office 2010. The apps will work on Safari and Firefox browsers on the Mac.

If you would like to find out more please visit the source of this post.

The smartphone market under the microscope

Since Apple launched its iPhone in November 2007, it has pushed the boundaries of what consumers want on a mobile and the demand for the smart phone has increased dramatically.

According to Gartner, global sales of smartphones for 2008 reached 139.3 million devices, up 13.9% compared with 2007. In the Q4 2008, worldwide sales of smartphones to end users reached 38.1 million units, up 3.7% on Q4 2007.

Worldwide: Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor, 4Q08 (Thousands of Units)

What is interesting about this table is that Samsung entered the top five vendors ranking for the first time replacing Sharp. RIM recorded an increase in sales year over year. (RIM stand for Research in Motion makers of Blackberry). Nokia maintained its No. 1 position with 40.8% of the market, but in Q4 2008 its smartphone sales declined by 16.8% year-on-year. Garnet says Nokia’s smartphone range offers good value for money but they are more exposed to the competition in the market place as their Nseries loses its appeal. However they have recognised this and Nokia is set to work with Microsoft in deal set to rival the google and iPhone apps market. See my other post.

Apple is globally ranked third and they built an inventory of 2 million iPhone units in the Q3 2008. But they better watch out as there have been new smart phones launched in the market such as the RIM Storm, the T-Mobile G1 (the first product based on Google’s Android platform), and good performance from Samsung’s touchscreen products (The Tocco series). HTC had a very good quarter and grew nearly 20% year on year thanks to its sales of HTC-branded devices and operator-branded devices.

The iPhone changed market requirements for mobiles overnight and now everyone who has a smartphone expects smooth delivery of digital content, applications and Web 2.0 services. The iPhone and Android share many common features. Both have been designed and made as multi-purpose devices allowing them to use the phone not just for business but outside the office for music, games, video and picture recording. With their touch screens, state of the art Web browsers (which is based on the open source WebKit engine) and the ever growing number of applications, the services you can get from these smart phones are endless.

BlackBerry OS, Windows Mobile and Symbian/S60 were designed with different product objectives, as a business productivity tool or a unified platform for wide range of high-end phones. If they are to compete with the creme de la creme (Android and iPhone) they have got a lot of work to do.

Google Wave

On September 30th this year, Google will release yet another product, but this time it is set to be bigger and better than any of its predecessors. Google first demonstrated its functionality at the IO conference last May in San Francisco. The service was restricted to just those at the conference and developers. From the end of next month, 100,000 members of the public will be able to test the product for themselves.

The new product is called google wave and is described as a communication and collaboration tool. Personally I think this is a big understatement, it is so much more than that and you will see why.

Having viewed the demonstration recorded at the conference I cannot wait to try out the beta version next month. There are so many functionalities, it is hard to begin to describe how this tool will revolutionise blogs, email and IM as well as photo and file sharing. One area which will bring a smile to IM fans is the live transmission which they have introduced on Wave. This means when you are talking to your friend “Jo” on line, instead of seeing “Jo is typing” you can see the characters appear as the she writes them and so you can start replying straight away. You can also invite other people into the IM conversation and they can use the “play back” functionality to see the conversation from the beginning, from before they entered the chat.. You can also share photos easily through Wave. Simply drag and drop the photos you have in to the conversation. With Wave you can also create a group album so that everyone in your group can see your photos. It is a much simpler way to create a group album than with Picassa. Some expect Wave will replace some of Google’s older applications.

If you would like to view the demo yourself, check out Google’s blog