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Year 2010

Half of US population to use smartphones by end of 2011

60.7 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in October, up 14 percent from the preceding three month period, representing 1 out of every 4 mobile subscribers.[...] Despite losing share to Android, most smartphone platforms continue to gain subscribers as the smartphone market overall continues to grow.

via comScore Reports October 2010 U.S. Mobile Subscriber Market Share – comScore, Inc.

Separately, Nielsen reports on the same market:

29.7 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers now own smartphones that run full operating systems.

The most popular smartphones are the Apple iPhone and RIM Blackberry, which are caught in a statistical dead heat with 27 percent of smartphone market share in the U.S. Twenty-two percent of smartphone owners have devices with the Android operating system.

via U.S. Smartphone Battle Heats Up: Which is the “Most Desired” Operating System? | Nielsen Wire.

I’ve been tracking the Nielsen data and using it as a basis for forecasting the penetration of smartphones. While most coverage of this data focuses on splits between current OS platforms, I will look at competition with non-consumption and the impact on operator services.

I see no major acquisitions in Apple's future

Yesterday I attended the first meeting of the Forum for Growth and Innovation. It’s an initiative where practitioners of Clayton’s Christensen’s theory of innovation can review new academic research before it’s published.

The Forum has another goal: to disseminate and propagate key learnings and ideas. As a keen student of the theory and a blogger, I am eager to provide a gateway for you, my audience, to this management theory.

My modus operandi has been to discuss an industry or a set of competitors in great detail while occasionally stepping back and suggesting a cause for the patterns of behavior we are witnessing. More often than not, the causes are described very well by the theories in Christensen’s writings.

There are cases where the theory does not seem to match. That’s actually the most exciting part of this process. Exception (or anomaly) handling is what allows the theory to evolve and improve.

Android is accelerating smartphone adoption

According to Morgan Keegan analyst Tavis McCourt Chinese consumers purchased 8 to 10 million smartphones last quarter–implying 400% growth from the 2 to 3 million last year.

How quickly things change. According to McCourt, Android now represents nearly 50 percent of smartphone volume in the country, up from zero last year. And Apple’s iOS, while a niche player with less than 500,000 iPhones sold last quarter, is ramping up quickly, thanks to the successful launch of the iPhone 4 in the country last month.

via 50 Percent of Smartphones Sold in China Last Quarter Run Android | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD.

The growth of Android is far beyond what a single company can engineer. It represents the effect of uncoordinated and uncontrolled distribution. Google does not have to market, license or write contracts for Android. It also does not necessarily benefit from this work. It enables excess device manufacturing and distribution capacity to embrace browser-enabled devices.

The companion screen: will TV learn to be social?

I’ve been traveling the past few days and did not have access to substantial enough bandwidth to make meaningful contributions to the blog.

However, I will be online for the next few days and will catch up.

One observation I had while visiting App World is how apps are affecting the future of television. The notion of single screen viewing is rapidly receding. In the UK among certain demographics, half of the viewers watch TV while interacting with a “companion” screen. This figure is significant in other markets as well.

The consequences of this dual-screen experience could be profound. More profound than what PVR technology enabled. What I would like to think about is whether the dual-screen experience enables new jobs-to-be-done for TV (e.g. “social” TV) vs. what PVR did which was make TV watching “better”.

The key question is whether solitary TV viewing is a different job from accompanied viewing.

The iPhone is not superfluous, not easily copied, not revolutionary and not a premium product

The release of the iPhone is rightly acclaimed as a watershed event in the history of telecom. It was a sensation. But it was also a product that was widely underestimated and dismissed. Even today expert opinion is divided. The critics of the product transitioned directly from labeling it a superfluous bauble to an obvious and copyable sustaining innovation. Advocates of the product describe it as revolutionary and dazzling with the potential for capturing significant profit share due to premium pricing and positioning.

So which is it?

I'll let you in on a secret: insider info is bogus

So the SEC is investigating analysts who peddle “channel checks” for violation of securities laws. Former SEC chairman Paul Atkins summarizes the law as follows:

“Insider trading basically comes down to where you know or ought to know that the person from whom you’re getting this information has a duty to someone else to keep it confidential. If you go in and pay the mail clerk to give you special information, that’s not proper.”

This is perhaps newsworthy. But the real news is that information that comes from sources that cannot be verified should not be trusted and certainly not valued.

Here’s why: if someone holds information that is non-public they automatically treat it as more valuable. It’s more valuable because it’s not something everyone has. It’s not valuable because it’s accurate. By definition, that accuracy cannot be proven so the assumption of its value is based entirely on exclusivity. So valuable perhaps that you can even sell it, and surely many do.

However, simply not being public makes is no more likely to be accurate. You have a situation where people ascribe more value to something that is equally (and sometimes even more) inaccurate as background noise.

Beware of anyone offering non-public information to a larger audience. The data and the person’s ethics are both suspect.

The proof comes every quarter: those who rely on inside info are no better and often worse in predicting fundamental performance.

Measuring iPad enterprise use

I’ve noticed that there is a lot of speculation on the prospects for iPad use “in the enterprise”. Business users could sure benefit from the device and anecdotal evidence does point to many cases of use in business.

But anecdotes are not conclusive evidence. How can one make a better guess? Based on reader input, I thought I’d test this hypothesis directly on my own stats.

As pointed out a recent posting on my stats, the iPad has been a popular device in accessing this site. 102k out of 1.06m views came from iPad users. A statistically interesting number.

[Help Wanted] CTO for a new startup

I’m trying something new.

A reader presented to me what I consider it to be a disruptive opportunity. In order to help, I offered to use the Asymco podium to solicit applications for a leadership position in this startup. As I consider this audience to be of the highest possible competence and sensitivity to the subtle shifts in the mobile industry, I consider posting this Help Wanted ad a win-win for all involved.

So, without further qualification, here is the pitch:

A new company is being formed that will build the next generation of sports products and services. Traditional sports products have been predicated on business models dependent on old media and advertising. The opportunity exists to enter new, non-consumption markets where new audiences, new performances and new ways of making money are made possible.

Professional sports is one of the last bastions of broadcasting. It’s time to lead the charge.

As CTO you will be responsible for building and managing a team of developers, designers, systems/network engineers, and product managers. You will be expected to have a roll-up-your-sleeves mentality and be able to work extremely closely with the engineering team to design and build out new products and services.

If you have proven leadership and management experience and have operated a mission-critical technology environment while maintaining a climate of rapid innovation, this new company will give you the reins and compensate you handsomely.

If you are interested, please send your resume to Help Wanted.

The integrated iPad news daily: Read all about it!

When I wrote my opinion on the future of publishing (Citizen Publisher), I focused my lens on books and magazines. Published works that have relatively low time-sensitivity and hence relatively long shelf life are quite different from newspapers which package material with very brief temporal relevance.

The print-based news industry has suffered much more than print-based books and magazines. The primary cause is that “print” plays a far larger role in newsprint-based newspapers than in books.

To give you an idea of how important the printing plant is,

Stats update: Asymco reaches one million pageviews

I began writing in February of 2010 but I moved to my own domain in June. More than 95% of my traffic came after June 1st (during which time 284 articles were written.)

Since then 270,036 visitors came to visit 592,351 times and saw 1,063,355 pages. 65,331  stopped by more than once. 337,270 of the visits came because someone told them about Asymco. 27,113 visits came because a search engine sent them. 1,548 of those who came had something to say and they said 5,273 things. Over 2,500 asked to keep in touch.

Here is the less lyrical breakdown of that traffic as reported by Google Analytics:

1,063,355 Pageviews

270,036 Unique Visitors

  • 269,167 New Visitors
  • 65,331 Returning Visitor

592,351 visits

  • 337,270 from referring Sites (56.94%)
  • 227,277 direct traffic (38.37%)
  • 27,113 from search Engines (4.58%)

Views by operating system (top ten of 25):

  1. Macintosh 433,624
  2. Windows 271,938
  3. iPhone 201,940
  4. iPad 102,870
  5. Linux 19,898
  6. iPod 14,033
  7. Android 12,191
  8. (not set) 3,954
  9. SymbianOS 1,399
  10. BlackBerry 1,196

5,273 comments from 1,548 readers

1042 Twitter followers

248 Facebook “Like”

Approximately 1000 active RSS feeds