Saturday, May 19, 2007

Nokia N75 Hits US Markets

The great slim looking Nokia N75 has just been released into the wild on ATT (Cingular) network and is the first high-end, UMTS 3G, Symbian S60 3rd Edition smartphone to launch on ATT's (Cingular) network. The news on the street says that these very cool looking N75 phones are selling like hotcakes. It looks like Nokia may have a hit here in the USA market with a series 60 smartphone.

 

 (Source)

149.5 mln Mobile Subscribers In India

India, I would rather say, fast catching up in the Wireless telecom market by quickly adding new connections. Naturally, India will become the second largest wireless market in terms of Number of connections, it is interesting to see how it fares in revenues.  While 484mln is very optimistic number by any standards, 300 mln is quite reachable.  

India in 2006 emerged as one of the world’s fastest-growing wireless telecom markets, with the number of mobile-phone service subscribers in the nation growing to 149.5 mln, up from 85 mln in 2005. And the number of new subscriber additions continues at a torrid pace. Monthly mobile subscriber additions averaged 5.5 mln in 2006, and exceeded 6 mln per month by the end of the year. iSuppli projects that the wireless service subscriber base in India will rise to 484 mln by 2011, more than three times the 149.5 mln in 2006. The growth in wireless subscribers is fueling explosive growth in demand for new phones in India.

Source: » 149.5 mln mobile subscribers in India | IT Facts | ZDNet.com

80% Of New Mobiles Sold (in UK) Are Camera Phones

No surprise, in UK 80% of new mobile sold in UK are Camera Phones. Bundling of new functions like MP3 Player and Camera is the way to go for Mobile Phones. Consumers don't prefer to carry a device for each function and carry them all along. Instead they prefer to have all those functions in a device that they ALWAYS carry anyways.

85% of UK consumers are using text messaging to stay connected to their peers at all times and more than 80% of new phones sold are camera phones, Telephia reports. MySpace is the site receiving content from the highest number of mobile consumers, with 21% of mobile uploaders saying that they have sent content there.

Source: » 80% of new mobile phones sold in the UK are cameraphones | IT Facts | ZDNet.com

Mobile Content Revenue Yet To Pickup

As per an IDC report, in US Mobile Content and Application Downloads still accounts to only 13% of Content revenue for Q42006. About a half (48.8%) of  this revenue is still coming from Messaging. 

There were 236 mln US wireless subscribers by the end of 2006. Wireless data revenue totaled $4.8 bln for Q4 2006, which equates to roughly 13.5% of average revenue per user (ARPU) or $6.74 per subscriber/customer per month. Of the total data revenue, 48.8% came from messaging in comparison to 13.0% from content and simple application downloads and 38.2% from other business- and consumer-oriented services and content, IDC says.

Source: » 236 mln wireless subscribers in the US in 2006 | IT Facts | ZDNet.com

25% of Young Adults Have Just A Cellphone

 As per a report by CDC, 

More than a quarter of young adults have only cellphones, making them the leading edge of a strengthening move away from traditional landline telephones, a federal survey showed Monday.

One in four people aged 18 to 24 had only cellphones, as did 29% of those aged 25 to 29, the study showed. The percentages declined with age after that, with 2% of those 65 or over having only cellphones.

The trend away from landline phones affects the telephone industry, 911 emergency service providers, and government and private polling organizations, which rely heavily on random calls to households with wired telephones.

Source: Cellphone-only use growing among youths - USATODAY.com

Friday, May 18, 2007

Web2.0 Business Models : Beyond Google Ads?

How are many of the Web2.0 companies (hoping of) making  money out of their products? Quick and honest answer is : 'Nobody knows for sure, including the companies'. And predominantly there is only one business model: a free service and place ads on the pages.

Here is nice study on current Web2.0 business models, from VTT - Technical Research Centre of Finland : PDF File

Social media is becoming more and more attractive to Web users. However, the majority of social media services do not have a clear business model. Typically an innovative idea gives birth to a service, which people can use free of charge. The most common way to create revenue is via advertisements: Google ads appear in many services. In the long run, however, social media has to adopt alternative means for making money.

Why most web2.0 services are free?

I think, despite the hype in the media, many web2.0 companies (excluding a few) are NOT looked as providing any VALUE to its users. Most of them do not appear to solve  a problem' or create a 'service' that users MIGHT need, if not essentially needed at the moment. Evidently there is no conceivable market for revenue. So most of them base their revenue on 'ads' placed on webpages. More users checkout what the site is about, more will be the revenue. I don't think, any reasonable entrepreneur is looking for these visitors to get sticky on their websites. They, most probably,  already know the TRUE value of their service. If they had believed that it is TRULY VALUABLE to users, I guess they would have charged the service based on some kind of subscription model or pay per use.  Why not?

The Litmus Test

I think that every Web2.0 business (I am already excluding enthusiasts' Web2.0 websites without any business models) should ask the question on what is the VALUE they are bringing to the community. The litmus test will be asking themselves, if they would pay for the service? If they do see VALUE in their service, answer would be a definite YES. 

But..

You might cite 10s of Web2.0 products that are completely FREE but provide a good value and they all generate revenue on Ads (for example most Google products are FREE), you are missing the point. (Google sells Ads and serve them to users) They are many products created that are purely dependent on 'number of page views' and there are only a few products that are built to charge for the service. You can choose whatever you want.

Most News Channels are FREE. But NONE of the movie channels are. You pick your market. If I have to pick between YouTube and BaseCamp, I would pick BaseCamp as my Business model. If YouTube start charging how many will use it? You might already know answer to this question when it comes BaseCamp.

If you provide A VALUABLE SERVICE (atleast you believe so), why not charge for it?

Update: Received a few emails explaining whey this FREE model might work for some of them. Just summarizing the view points here:

  • If Service is Free, there will be more users tend to try it out and Application gets popular quicker. Once it reaches a critical mass, it can offer Value Added Services at a fee.
  • There is no web application that can not be cloned in a fair amount of time. So even if you created a brand new service and charge a premium for the innovation, pretty soon copy cats with similar services offer FREE service and you will run out of your business, if not forced to offer it for FREE. So why not start free.
  • In today's market, FREE not necessarily mean 'no or less value'. Particularly on the Web, 'FREE' has no qualitative meaning. It is always taken for granted.
  • It is easy for Entrepreneurs to signup for Google Ads/similar provider than getting the first paid customer. Its FREE even for them to signup.
  • Though number of users is not proportional to amount of revenue generated out of ads, Marketing teams from Large organizations favor more user base than a Quality Service with lesser user base. So MASS wins for advertising. In contrary, small businesess focus on niche groups.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Thought Garage tops Google Search for H1B 2008

I never intend 'Thought Garage' to be a source of information on H1B visas. But regular readers of my blog and frequent visitors made it a prime source of information for H1B visas this year.  One of my colleagues left a message that Thought Garage tops Google search results for H1B 2008 ahead of the most famous immigration portals including Murthy.com. I looked it up on Google and below was the screenshot of the search results.

There is no reason for my blog to appear at the top of Google search results for information regarding H1B visas, without your turning to my blog to get the updates and sharing your experiences for the benefit of other guests. I understand for some of you, getting a H1B and working in US will be a turning point in your careers and I am quite thrilled that you considered Thought Garage as one of your sources of information. 

Thank you all.

I could not answer all questions asked by you on posts concerned with H1B 2008 Visa process, particularly certain legal aspects.  But I am sure that I shared my experiences that might provide you with some pointers. When I get some time, I will post all questions I received in emails as a blog post so that all other readers can benefit from our discussions.

I understand that still quite a few of aspirants are waiting for their final confirmation on their petitions,  I wish all of you All the Best. I will post any updates as and when available.

Thank you very much.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Cat fish and Basket Ball

One of my colleagues forwarded this amazing Cat fish (real) story. Read on.

Fish Story

A guy who lives at Lake Conroe (50 miles north of Houston ) saw a ball bouncing around kind of strangely in the lake and went to investigate.

It turned out to be a flathead catfish who had obviously tried to swallow a basketball which became stuck in its mouth!!

The fish was totally exhausted from trying to dive, but unable to because the ball would always bring him back up to the surface. The guy tried numerous times to get the ball out, but was unsuccessful. He finally had his wife cut the ball in order to deflate it and release the hungry catfish  You probably wouldn't have believed this,
if you hadn't seen the following pictures..

Thursday, May 10, 2007

In search of Maximizing Mindsets

Seth Godin shares about his recent visit to Indian Consulate in Newyork and its bizarre state of affairs. Thats not a big surprise for me and fellow Indians who have been living through it for years. But it is quite interesting to read his fresh suggestions to treat it just like a business and leverage the unique opportunity and maximize benefits. He argues that problem is not lack of ideas to change but lack of a mindset to do so.

The problem is that this bureaucracy, like most bureaucracies, has an attitude of minimizing, not maximizing. They want to minimize expense, not maximize benefit. There isn't a single person there who has as part of his job, "change systems to increase the satisfaction of people we deal with." Nobody who is charged with, "increase revenue opportunities for us and for the people we work with." Or even, "employ more people in Delhi."

Same thing happens at my village zoning board, at most schools, at many churches and even, believe it or not, at most businesses. It's not that difficult, but it requires a very different mindset.

Source: Seth's Blog: Even governments market

Traditional wisdom says, to maximize your profits, spend your energy on minimizing the waste. It looks so reasonable and seems to make sense to 'almost' everybody. And may be, then, that also explains the fact that  only 1% of people control over 90% of wealth and prosperity, in any part of the world.

I remember attending a series of Financial Education brown bag sessions, called 'Wi$eup'  at my workplace an hour a week for about 8 weeks. The sessions are full of how cutting down one Starbuck coffee a day can take you to Disneyland and how cutting down on your daily expenses make you a rich person. At first it looks reasonable and logical and true in concept. But think about it. Say, if you are an employee making 100K gross a year and want to make a Million dollars in say 10 years, how long would it take you by cutting down a coffee a day and opting for car pools. I tend to believe, it requires a totally different mindset to come out of this 'Saving and cutdown' ratrace and start making MORE money and invest wise. 

There is a reason if we go to any bookstore, we will find 100s of books that are trying to help us becoming Rich or more productive by 1000s of tips on 'Saving', not necessarily on INVESTING.

Traditional wisdom 'traditionally' sells a lot.

Monday, May 7, 2007

106M Camera Phones in US, still behind Europe

Number of Camera Phone owners in US climbed to 106 Million in United States as per a press release by M:Metrics accounting to around 51% of total cell phone owners. So one in two have a phone equipped with camera.

In terms of % of subscribers, US is still behind Europe where as high as 75% of cell phone owners have a phone equipped with a Camera.

 

Cameraphone Penetration and Graphics Purchases: February 2007
Country Penetration % Subscribers Who Purchased Screensaver or Wallpaper % Subscribers Who Saved Cameraphone Photo as Screensaver/Wallpaper
US 51% 3.3 16.7
UK 75% 2.0 28.3
Germany 70% 2.0 20.4
France 63% 2.1 26.6
Spain 74% 2.6 31.2
Italy 69% 2.9 31.7
Source: M:Metrics, Inc., Copyright © 2007. Survey of mobile subscribers. Data based on three-month moving average for period ending 28 February 2007, n= 102,267 mobile subscribers in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and US.

Top 10 Mobile WebSites in US

Top 10 Web domains accessed on Mobiles for US and UK for the month of March have been announced by M:Metrics. Google tops both geographies.

United States Top Mobile Web Domains: March 2007 United Kingdom Top Mobile Web Domains: March 2007
Rank Domain Audience Domain Audience
1 google.com 1,894,143 google.co.uk 348,873
2 yahoo.com 1,315,801 bbc.co.uk 298,016
3 msn.com 903,158 orange.co.uk 215,353
4 microsoft.com 734,664 three.co.uk 210,286
5 live.com 697,589 o2.co.uk 202,373
6 go.com 571,469 google.com 148,722
7 cnn.com 509,772 t-mobile-favourites.co.uk 108,463
8 weather.com 460,564 ebay.co.uk 106,386
9 myspace.com 435,910 msn.com 93,386
10 passport.net 434,050 yahoo.com 89,668
Source: M:Metrics. Reports for the month of March are projected to represent the universe of smartphone owners and are based on in-tab panel sizes of approximately 500 panelists in the United States and 600 panelists in the United Kingdom.
 

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

iGoogle - Themes that change with you !!

Wow!! Another cool feature from Google. Now, You can personalize your Google page with a theme that changes with you, precisely your time and climate. Another simple concept that defines what personalization could mean and why you can't ignore Google.

    >> iGoogle

It is raining in Dallas and here is what my theme looks like. I will update this post tomorrow in the morning, so you will see the difference.

See you tomorrow then. And a Big Thank You to Google !

Here is how the theme looks today morning. Funny that I missed my cute girl in red in the second one.

I love it. The theme always looks fresh and quite refreshing. Here is another theme. This is wonderful in bright colors. Did you observe the Bagles and Coffee in the picture? Ofcourse, it is breakfast time.

NDTV.com : Fact or Allegation ? Just another twisted title for sensationalism

This is yet another example of NDTV.com’s sensationalism twisted titles. The title says, as if this was a fact, woman made to urinate in pub...