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Year 2011

The curious case of slowing US growth for Android

The latest data from comScore MobiLens is showing an uncharacteristic slowing in smartphone growth. In the survey period ending November, the number of smartphone users in the US was 91.4 million. This is equivalent to 39.1% penetration, an increase of 0.6% (i.e. up from 38.5% in the last period.)

The growth is equivalent to 1.4 million new smartphone users (i.e. users who switched from a non-smart device for the first time.) The problem is that this is half the growth of the previous period. The following chart shows the growth as the weekly add rate.

As you can see, the growth has fallen to a level not seen since 2010. The cause may be seasonal as last November was also a slow month. I added a three month moving average which shows that although there seems to be seasonality, the last period did not show the peak of previous periods.

To better understand what happened, I looked at the performance by platform. The following chart shows the net user gains by platform.

Sponsor: OmniGraffle (A quick start five step guide to building a site mockup)

Last week we gave a quick start guide for using OmniFocus. This is a great way to get started with a free trial.

Today we provide the same quick start for creating in OmniGraffle: a five-step introduction attempt in less than 140 words.

Let’s say you wanted to design a new Website. Here’s how you create a mockup:

  1. Start it up. Download OmniGraffle here. Choose “Blank” from the template window.
  2. Frame it. Stencils→Software→Konigi Wireframes. Designing for an iPhone? Drag out the iPhone browser. Lock object in place with ⌘+L.
  3. Build it. Check out what else the Konigi stencil offers: position placeholders, buttons, and forms on your canvas. Turn on Snap to Grid (Arrange→Grid→Snap to Grid) for quick alignment.
  4. Fine-tune it. Replace Konigi elements with real copy or graphics if ready. Add labels for the benefit of others.
  5. Share it. Email, show off to colleagues via AirPlay, and more.

And to top it all off, it can all be done on the iPad.

You can also explore a bit more about this process. Visit OmniTools for more info about OmniGraffle and and all the other products that they offer.

5by5 | The Critical Path #19: The hiring and firing of milkshakes and candy bars

In this episode I talk with Bob Moesta, a pioneer of Job To be Done research. We go over the theory and process of understanding what products are really hired to do and ask why this understanding is so hard to come by.

In a discussion rich with examples from multiple industries Bob illustrates how marketing, design and engineering are all dancing around the question of how product should be developed.

Could the universally accepted compartmentalization of corporate functions be a root cause of product failure?

via 5by5 | The Critical Path #19: The hiring and firing of milkshakes and candy bars.

You can follow up with Bob here: The Re-wired group.

Discerning Apple's international product positioning through the big Mac index

Thanks to all those who contributed to the big Mac index there is a substantial amount of pricing data available in one location.

The analysis that I hoped to perform on the data was to see if Apple was pricing specific products differently in international markets. It was prompted by some apparently anomalous pricing of the iPhone 4S in Brazil.

To summarize, the idea is to calculate the “expected” price of an Apple product by taking the untaxed US price and adding duties and tariffs and taxes to determine what that product “should” cost in another country. Then taking the difference between this “expected” price and the actual price to determine if Apple is using pricing to signal in a particular market.

The analysis basically eliminates the effect of government on price and leaves currency and actual pricing signals from Apple as variables.

The analysis is not simple because there are many obscure tax rules. Some products are taxed differently in the same country. I have not completed the country-level analysis but have been able to see some averages over the countries reported (total of 45 reports.)

The following chart shows the average deviation from “Expected” as a percent:

Here are some potential interpretations of this data:

The TV store

The following map shows the countries where iTunes Apps are available.

It represents 123 countries. It also shows where the iPhone is currently available.

The following map shows the countries where iTunes music can be purchased.

5by5 | The Critical Path #18: Who's Paying for My Lunch?

Dan and Horace ponder why some companies are more mysterious than others. We ask whether transparency and simplicity of business models is a sign of strength or weakness. We compare the measurement, creation and capture of value and why we should celebrate the mortality of businesses.

via 5by5 | The Critical Path #18: Who’s Paying for My Lunch?.

Notes:

Who is being reasonable now?

Last week Horace wrote about the apparent “reasonableness” of analyst Apple estimates. He explained how the consensus for Apple’s growth was always deeply pessimistic because its performance could be argued to be anomalous. It was just too good to be true. We reproduce the chart here:

The estimates look like characteristic “tell-tales” of a company running strong into the wind.

This conservatism in the face of rapid growth sounds “reasonable” but is it always practiced? And what about the ability of this conservative strategy to predict dramatic changes in growth? To test, we started to look at the predictions for RIM. RIM has also enjoyed strong growth over a similar time frame as Apple. How did analysts predict its performance? The following chart was prepared using the same technique as the one for Apple[1].

Sponsor: OmniFocus five step jumpstart

My thanks to the Omni Group for sponsoring the site again this week.

Today we’re highlighting the OmniFocus task management software again. We are hoping you are going to take advantage of the free trial available.

To that end, here’s a quick 5-step jumpstart.

  1. Capture everything. Take 15 minutes to move things out of your head and in to OmniFocus. Anything from long-term goals (earn pilots license) to quick errands (card for mother).
  2. Define next actions. “Earn pilots license” deserves its own project. Move it to your library and decide what to do next.
  3. Organize actions with contexts. “Research area flight schools” might be assigned to a Mac context for googling, “card for mother” to Walgreen’s.
  4. Now do stuff. If you’re at the office, focus on work projects to get stuff done! At home, take care of errands.
  5. Review mode. Take time to consider each active project. Does it need more work?

Find out more about OmniFocus here, and don’t hesitate to ask questions.

 

5by5 | The Critical Path #17: Working with Clay

Horace interviews James Allworth, author, Fellow at the Forum for Growth and Innovation at Harvard Business School, and a former Apple employee. James describes what it’s like working with Clayton Christensen and takes us on a journey through the latest academic and applied research being conducted on the theories of disruptive innovation.

via 5by5 | The Critical Path #17: Working with Clay.

How many Android phones have been activated? (Updated)

The following chart shows the reported (circled points) and estimated (lines) for Android activations. The resolution of the sampling is every seven days.

If we take these estimates and then compile a cumulative total of activations we get the green line in the chart below.