Tag Archives: windows mobile

Selling in mobile markets (TOCCON 2010)

O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference 2010I’m at the O’Reilly’s Publishing Tools of Change (TOC) conference in New York. Twitter hashtag is #toccon. Everything I learn here I’ll be applying to the m4Lit (mobile phones for literacy) project that I head up in South Africa.

Day one is workshops day, and first up is Selling in Mobile Markets, presented by Rana Sobhany, author of Marketing iPhone Apps.

The big question: How can publishers stay relevant in a digital world?
Great content. Curation. Quality. Subscription?

What’s special about mobile content:

  • Mobile phone is readily available
  • Engagement on the user’s terms
  • Short bursts of usage

Questions we need to ask ourselves:

  • How do you make your content most appealing?
  • How much is your content worth?
  • Apps? Mobile Web?


  • Small screen
  • Short attention span
  • So, very high demand for quality
  • Development costs ($20K-$100K dev costs for an app on any platform)
  • Gatekeepers (e.g. Apple for their App Store)


  • Immediate
  • Personal
  • Custom (e.g. you can publish a whole book, or chapter by chapter)
  • Measurable
  • Fast

PLATFORMS for mobile apps …
iPhone/iPad platform:

  • Coexists with Apple’s iTunes Music Store
  • Divided by category
  • >2bn downloads to date
  • Approx 200,000 apps available
  • Dev language is Objective-C (must be developed on a Mac)

Android platform:

  • Android is an open source operating system for mobile
  • Dev language is Java
  • Android market:
  • Payment is a recent addition to Android Market
  • Self-service model for developers to publish their apps; no iTunes gatekeeper scenario
  • No friction, but no quality control either

BlackBerry platform:

  • Dev language is Java
  • BlackBerry App World:
  • Expensive apps (=>$2.99)
  • Limited functionality
  • Multiple handsets
  • No centralised payment system (need to use PayPal)

Palm platform:

  • Market stronghold has dropped off
  • Dev language is C, C++, webOS for newer Palm devices
  • About 1m webOS devices out there, more women than men own one

Windows Mobile platform:

  • Dev languages Visual C++, .NET, Java
  • Windows Mobile 7 recently launched to much fanfare
  • If wanting to reach business users, seriously consider Windows Mobile 7

Symbian platform:

  • Very popular abroad; Nokia+Symbian relationship makes it more compelling for the global market
  • Nokia is Symbian’s biggest customer
  • Dev lang mostly in C++
  • Traditionally it’s the most expensive to develop for

STRATEGY: Pitfalls of each platform …
In her opinion, there are 4 primary mobile development platform.


  • Most attention from users and media, but very crowded space
  • Apple is a gatekeeper and it’s very difficult to plan launches
  • Hardware is expensive and there is a “application etiquette” to adhere to on App Store


  • Open platform, pros and cons associated with this
  • Not very high adoption rates
  • Hardware fragmentation

Windows Mobile:

  • OEM relationships make it harder for developers


  • Don’t dilute your app too much — choose the platform that your target audience is using
  • Also, committing to one platform can give you leverage/support from them
  • Pricing is key; $4.99 on App Store is the sweet spot
  • Adhere to the pricing guidelines of the platform you choose
  • Launch day: Speak to press 1-2 weeks before launch. Provide them with screenshots and value prop to users.

MEASURING success …

  • 1:1 mapping of mobile phone to user (this very unusual (think of TV and radio) (My note: Maybe in the USA, but not in developing countries)
  • Have someone on the team be responsible for analytics. Not necessarily the developer.