Archive for March, 2008

carnival-logo-copy.jpgWelcome to Carnival of the Mobilists #117, the greatest posts on mobility from across the blogosphere – hosted for the first time on mobilestance.com.

With so many excellent posts this week it was difficult to pick a favorite, but after much hand-wringing and great gnashing of teeth, we’ve chosen Matt’s post on gaming over at AllAboutiPhone.net.

Honorable mentions to Open Gardens and Andrew Grill’s blog.

Post of the Week: Matt at AllAboutiPhone.net heaps a healthy dose of contagious entheusiasm in “Awesome and innovative games are coming” – a look ahead at a not-so-distant future that includes “innovative gaming” and “Apple” in the same sentence! Goes to show you that if you live long enough anything can happen…

Over at Tarekesber.com you’ll find a highly comprehensive list of mobile web design and development resources, including specifics on designing for iPhone, Blackberry, Nokia handsets, as well as overall style guidelines for the both WML and XHTML mobile websites.

Speaking of designing and coding for the mobile web, Denis at WapReview reviews Nirav Mehta’s new book, Mobile Web Development. Least Common Denominator Design, Mobile AJAX, “Web Rich” apps and Widgets are among the topics covered.

Bernardo Carvalho over at rawsocket dot org writing a writes an amusing and educational piece on the potential of QR codes. Extra points for the CueCat reference.

Mark publishes a roundup of papers focused on education and mobility over at Ubiquitous Thoughts, along with (the now infamous) clip highlighting safety measures that may one day protect us all from the dangers of WWTM (walking while text messaging).

Judy at the GoldenSwamp uses an instructional video to make an interesting case against banning mobiles in schools. File this under “Another Reason Why Carbonated Beverages and Education Don’t Mix.”

And what exactly is this thing we’re calling “Open?” Find out this week on Open Gardens, where you’ll get fully briefed on the “It” subject in mobility just in time to impress the ladies (and gentlemen) at this year’s CTIA Wireless, which kicks off tomorrow in Vegas.

Regular carnival contributor Andrew Grill looks at how mobile social networking meets crowd powered media on the back of his experience at the new Heathrow Terminal 5 on opening day. It is amazing how a simple set of photos taken during a live event can become distributed around the world – thanks to the power of mobile social networking applications.

And over at Smart Mobs be sure to catch up on Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #208, and see what happens when social networking meets the human genome.

Last but not certainly least, this week Chetan Sharma posts a hugely informative End of Year (EOY) 2007 Global Wireless Data Market Update. Check it out and find out which nation usurped the US as the number two wireless market last year… the answer might just surprise you.

That’s it for this week’s carnival. Thanks for reading! While you’re here check out some other posts here at mobilestance.com.

Be sure to visit Mobile Point View, who will be hosting Carnival of the Mobilists #118 next week. To learn more about the Carnival, or to submit or host, go to Mobili.st.

scanbuy-citysearch-discovery-copy.jpgScanbuy, Discovery Communications and Citysearch Establish the First Permanent QR Colony in the New World.

In a truly monumental moment in (US-based) mobile marketing, New York-based Scanbuy has teamed up with Discovery Communications and Citysearch to launch by far the largest, most useful and altogether impressive application of QR Codes ever deployed on the North American Continent.

The program focuses on two key areas of QR Code activation: Restaurant reviews and other location-based user generated content (supplied by Citysearch), and “walking tour” audio guides that relate to specific San Francisco landmarks (courtesy of Antenna Audio, A Discovery Communications company). Consumers access both services by scanning an “EZcode” (Scanbuy’s 2D barcode format) with Scanbuy’s “Scanlife” QR Reader. Those without the reader installed on their handsets (read: most people) will first need to download the reader to their device, which is done via a simple text-message / WAP-push mechanism.

  • Restaurant / Business Guides (Citysearch). Scanbuy announced that “more than 500 restaurants and businesses in San Francisco will display ScanLife 2D barcodes” by way of window clings (see image, below). Scanning the codes will then “deliver Citysearch’s original and consumer-generated reviews directly to a user’s phone, allowing immediate access to relevant information and eliminating the extra steps of typing lengthy website addresses into mobile browsers.” Citysearch is distributing the window clings to San Francisco businesses, inclusive of the prominent EZ Codes specific to each restaurant or business.
  • Audio Guides (Discovery / Antenna Audio). Visitors to the City by the Bay will have the opportunity to access “walking tour” style content in the form of audio clips, images, maps, and other information relating the city and its more noteworthy landmarks. In this case the EZ Codes are being promoted in posters, bus shelters, street teams and other outdoor media (see images, below), with eventual plans to place the codes on or (most likely) near the city landmarks themselves. Scanning any of these codes will automatically launch the Discovery Audio mobile site in the phone’s browser, a snappy little portal that renders quite well in tested handsets. Content is organized by first neighborhood (Downtown, North Beach, and The Wharf / Marina) and then by landmark. The brief audio clips are quite good, framed as an “insiders view” to the city, and are rendered in the .3GP format. A few samples of the audio clips are as follows: sanfranciscoferrybuilding.3gp, palacehotel.3gp, baybridge.3gp and chinatown.3gp.

Commentary. While 2008 was the year that many anticipated mass use of QR codes would begin in the US, it is doubtful that anyone would have predicted an implementation approaching this scale or utility. Many thanks to Shab, of whom I owe $5 for giving us the heads-up on this. This is a big one, folks…

Click on the thumbnails below to view images:

sf-bus-shelter-copy.jpgalex_scanbuy_024.jpgcs-cling-copy.jpgdiscovery-audio-home.jpgdiscovery-audio-bv-cafe.jpgdiscovery-audio-bv-cafe-map.jpg

boost-amobee-copy.jpgAmobee, Winstar and Quattro Aim to Boost Position, Profitability.

Boost Mobile, the self-proclaimed “lifestyle-based telecommunications brand” focused on the prepaid (pay-as-you-go) US market, announced that they are partnering with Mobile Ad Serving Firm Amobee to bring their on deck mobile web advertising inventory to market – effective immediately – with Acura and Fox Searchlight Pictures already on board as advertisers.

Initially the Boost Mobile advertising inventory will consist of mobile web banner units, although it is well-known that Amobee’s “carrier grade” mobile ad server is fully-capable of serving far more interesting ad units, such as SMS sponsorship, mobile video ads and other enhanced units. Whether Boost ultimately decides to bring additional mobile ad formats remains to be seen.

In addition to the usual mobile web targeting parameters, such as content category and handset targeting, Amobee will leverage its direct carrier-relationship to provide more sophisticated mobile advertising services, including the highly sought-after “session-independent frequency cap.” No plans have been announced regarding more controversial approaches to mobile ad targeting, such location-based or behavioral targeting.

quattro-winstar-copy.jpgIn a noteworthy move, Amobee has chosen to augment its current mobile ad sales partner Winstar Interactive with US-based Quattro Wireless. Our regular readers will recall that back in December of last year mobilestance predicted that Winstar alone would be unable to sell enough ads to satisfy Amobee’s business objectives, and that additional sales partners would ultimately be needed.

It is unclear how ad accounts will be divided between these Winstar and Quattro, but clearly Amobee will need to actively manage this process to avoid any awkward channel conflicts that might arise with multiple (and independent) sales organizations selling the same product to an overlapping customer base.

Analysis. As Boost Mobile is a wholly owned division of Sprint Wireless, Amobee is well positioned to unseat current US legacy “on deck” mobile ad serving companies – specifically Enpocket (now Nokia), who currently manages all the on deck WAP inventory on Sprint – as well as Third Screen Media / AOL, who manages (and sometimes sells) the Verizon Wireless on deck inventory.

Quattro Wireless, who will be celebrating its first birthday in May of this year, has already impressed many with a series of strong moves – including their launch with P&G and Univision Movil, their long term / tail GetMobile platform, and the securing of key talent. Together with Amobee’s well-distributed technology and Boost’s highly attractive audience, these players just might have what it takes to achieve the ultimate (and so far elusive) goal in the mobile advertising marketplace: serious profitability.

gartner-mobile-shopping-research-mobilestance-2-copy.jpgMobile Banking Finds Some Success in the US, While Payment Services Face Mounting Concerns.

A new study by Harris Interactive finds a virtual glass half full/empty scenario developing in the US mobile commerce space. Depending on which way you look at it, the domestic m-commerce market is either poised for explosive growth, or is doomed to follow in the footsteps of other “once hot, now not” slow growth areas… such as mobile video or Bluetooth marketing.

First, the “good” news: US consumers are increasingly taking to mobile banking services for activities such as balance inquiries and fund transfers. The survey “finds 16 percent of mobile phone subscribers already use mobile banking services, with 60 percent of these people using the services at least once a week.” Of those not currently engaging in mobile banking services, 35 percent expressed interest in “checking bank account balances and transferring funds via their mobile devices. A third of those surveyed (33 percent) also said they would like to receive text message alerts from their financial institutions.”

However, US consumers draw the line at conducting actual financial transactions via mobile. A mere 19% of those surveyed had any interest in “mobile wallet” services, while only 16% expressed interest in “mobile shopping.” Consumers cited three core reasons behind their lack of interest in the channel:

  1. Security Concerns. 66% claimed “Security / Encryption” was their primary concern, while 63% cited “Exposure to Fraud”, and 61% were concerned they “Might lose device with valuable information.”
  2. Price Sensitivities. 58% of those surveyed identified “Cost” as a reason for their lack of interest in mobile commerce services. 33% were either “very” or “extremely concerned” with how “price per transaction” would affect the overall cost of mobile transactions.
  3. Quality Issues. “Usability”(43%), “Reliability” (37%) and “Speed of Network” (23%) rounded out the top reasons for lack of interest in m-commerce.

Joseph Porus, Vice President, Harris Interactive, remains optimistic on the potential of mobile commerce while also cautioning against taking a consumer’s “expressed interest” in future products too literally. “Payment is where we’re all the applications are headed,” said Porus “[but] there’s also a halo affect with all of these studies when it comes to interest levels. Once a consumer actually sees the [product or service], along with the price, you can usually cut the ‘Interest’ number in half. Still, these numbers are very encouraging.”

You can find some of the raw data here: .pdf link.

cotm-button.jpgThis week’s carnival is up and live over at Situational Marketing.

In this week’s carnival you’ll find features exploring the finer points of permission-based marketing, the future of mobile advertising, a fantastically complete summary of what “openness” means to Verizon, and some eye-popping mobile web traffic numbers from MocoSpace. Many thanks to Situational Marketing for hosting, as well as for picking our submission (Anything but Anarchy in the UK) as “runner-up post for Best Post Of The Week.”

Go Check out the Carnival Here

As always, bloggers can submit stories to: mobilists [at] gmail [dot] com.

AndroidWho Among Us Can Argue with the Time-Tested Wisdom Of “Whoever Denied It, Supplies It?”

There are few gadgets, mobile or otherwise, more eagerly anticipated than the release of the world’s first handset running on Google’s Android operating system.

So when leaked details from HTC’s upcoming Android handset hit the web late last week many were quick to take notice. The handset, dubbed “Dream” by HTC’s Philip K. Dick-loving creative team, includes “a large touchscreen and a full (flip/slide out) QWERTY keypad,” this according to Infoworld. According to an unidentified source “close to the situation” the “HTC’s Google handset is just over 5 inches long and 3 inches wide, with a keypad underneath the screen that either slides out or swivels out… Internet navigational controls are situated below the screen on the handset.”

The source claims that “the handset will likely hit the market near the end of this year” and that the handset may be the first “Google Android” phone on the market. HTC would not comment on any specific details of the handset, other than to confirm its existence.

The HTC “news” comes on the heels of a string of related Android-related rumors of variable accuracy. Back in January Dell was rumored to be working on the world’s first Android phone that many speculated would be announced in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress the following month. This rumor ultimately turned out to be false, as not only did Dell officially deny any such handset or future Android-related products were in development, but it was also a no-show at 3GSM.

Not to be left out, serious rumors began swirling around Samsung’s Android designs following a Robert X. Cringley post claiming that the Korean handset manufacturer would be releasing two Google-branded Android handsets in 2008; a high-end model in September and a lower-end device around the holidays. Cringley also cites an unnamed person (“you know who you are”) as the source behind the leaked information, who goes on to claim that “both [devices] will include WiFi… The high-end phone will look somewhat like a Blackberry Pearl, but the screen flips up and there is a keyboard for texting. No word on pricing for the high-end phone, but the second model is intended to be less than $100 — AFTER Christmas.” The post identifies both T-Mobile USA and Verizon as potential carrier partners.

We find it curious that the Samsung handset described by Cringley is eerily similar to the leaked details of HTC Dream (including the swing out QWERTY keyboard), perhaps giving more credence to the adage “Whoever Smelt it, Dealt it.” Regardless, mobilestance.com will continue its Android Watch series until an actual sighting appears in the wild. In the meantime, please send us any unsubstantiated rumors, gossip or just pure speculation relating to what will likely be the biggest moment in mobile for 2008: Day one of the Android Invasion.

 

 

mobilestance-dot-com-anarchy-in-the-uk.jpg UK Operators Try a Radical Approach to Tackling Thorny Issues Like Commerce and Advertising: Cooperation.

It’s obvious that the mobile marketing industry must resolve several key issues if mobile is ever to emerge as a legitimate marketing channel. These overreaching issues, mostly relating to a lack of standardization and of market access, are simply far to broad to be solved by any single entity within the space, regardless of their size, technological prowess, or market share. These big issues must be addressed by the industry as a whole, and unfortunately too few global markets possess the maturity to put aside their competitive instincts and collaborate on market solutions that benefit all members of the mobile value chain.

Thankfully, operators in the UK seem determined to buck this trend.

Looking back, clearly one of the first truly significant examples of (mobile marketing-related) industry-wide cooperation was the achievement of “intercarrier SMS” functionality, or the ability for consumers to send text messages to anyone, without regard as to whether the sender or the recipient are on the same wireless network or not. Obviously this challenge could have only been met on an industry-wide basis, with all the carriers in a particular territory coming to agreement on the base technologies and economics of the system. The results speak for themselves: Text message volume increased 350 percent in the first seven months after interoperability was introduced in the UK in April of 1999, and a similar effect was seen after interoperability was introduced in the US in 2001. In hindsight, most in the industry agree that text messaging would have remained a niche service with fairly limited appeal had this key milestone not been reached.

In further gestures of industry cooperation, the British operators appear keen on tackling sticky issues like mobile commerce and accountability in mobile advertising with a similar unified approach. Both areas, commerce and advertising, face key hurdles that can only be addressed by the industry at large… and leave it to the British to continue to set an example to the globe on how cooperation and civility has the potential to “elevate all peoples” –or in this case, all peoples looking to monetize mobility.

  • Easy Billing on the Mobile Web. Starting back in May 2006, the five largest UK operators (Vodafone, Orange, 3, O2 and T-Mobile) created the Payforit organization – with the goal of standardizing and launching the necessary systems to enable “seamless and secure” (off-deck) WAP commerce of digital content. From an organizational perspective, Payforit builds upon the successful “Aggregator” premium SMS model in that the m-commerce standard establishes a group of “Accredited Payment Intermediaries” who utilize a common set of API’s to connect directly to all five carriers… in this case for the purposes of authentication, and (ultimately) carrier managed billing. The system officially launched in September of 2007, and early results indicate the standard represents a marked improvement over existing premium SMS billing systems. In the two months following the launch, Bango reported that “92 percent [of Payforit transactions] were completed successfully with an error rate of less than 1 percent… with refund levels at below 0.01 percent,” representing a “significant reduction in the need for costly customer care” Furthermore, Bango found that the average transaction speed “across all five networks [was] five seconds” – another significant improvement over premium SMS. Additionally, mobile game developer I-Play reported a near “15 percent conversion rate” on its mobile web site following their implementation of Payforit

It should be pointed out that although these results are highly encouraging, Payforit is not (as of yet) the “m-commerce” silver bullet we all desire. Unfortunately Payforit is limited to small transactions of less than 10£, and only for soft (digital) products. The organization has made no public statements indicating that the carriers intend on expanding the program to include larger transactions and/or to accommodate non-digital (physical) products, unsubstantiated rumors and overzealous public comments notwithstanding. The reasons behind these limitations was likely driven by carrier unwillingness to accept the risks associated with essentially “vouching” for larger-sized, physical purchases. Additionally, a complex regulatory system in the UK’s financial sector presents significant hurdles for carriers wishing to (directly) facilitate large transactions. Currently the carriers do not fall under the UK’s (banking) regulatory system due to the low Payforit purchase price ceiling of 10£, but any increase would likely land the operators into this undesirable (read: the reddest of tape) direction.

Still, Payforit represents a tremendous leap forward in the evolution of mobile commerce. With this platform the critical obstacle of authentication via the mobile web has been overcome, and with it the comes the very real potential for secure, unrestricted mobile web-based transactions of any type of good – at any price point. In order to reach this ultimate goal we would need to see a supreme display of cross-industry cooperation, where the carriers agree to share their authentication data with the banks and credit card companies (either directly or via an intermediary). One can only imagine the tedious negotiations that this type of complex (and lucrative) arrangement would entail.

  • Eying Real Accountability in Mobile Advertising. As with commerce, the UK wireless operators are displaying a similar willingness to band together to take on the most significant challenge impeding the long term success of the mobile advertising market: accountability. In a joint release issued at this year’s 3GSM in Barcelona the very same five leading UK carriers announced that they had “formed a working group to define common metrics and measurement processes for mobile advertising.” The working group will be focused on drafting a feasibility study examining “the deliver[ry] of cross-operator metrics to the media and advertising communities” in the UK. No timetables were revealed other than that the group planned on releasing “recommendations” before the end of 2008.

It is no secret that there is a profound need for drastically improved mobile advertising metrics (cross-carrier or otherwise). Many industry leaders and publications have become increasingly vocal on the lack of real accountability in the mobile ad space and how this will ultimately hold back the industry if it is not seriously addressed. As cookies and page scripting aren’t viable options on the mobile web, our only real hope for true accountability in the immediate future lies with the carriers.

Ultimately, it will be interesting to see what approach the working group recommends. If history is any guide they will probably suggest a scenario similar to the aforementioned SMS and Payforit model, whereby a select few companies will be “given” (the right to purchase) preferential access to (in this case) key mobile web tracking data. This data is necessary to calculate crucial (and rudimentary) campaign stats such as unduplicated audience/reach and frequency, over multiple and overlapping wireless networks. These companies will then either act as data brokers and/or serve directly as providers of campaign and publisher-side metrics. This scenario begs some follow-up speculation, should the working group indeed decides to go down this well-worn path…

  1. Which companies will get the nod? Traditional fixed-line internet ad serving companies and networks (Atlas, Doubleclick, etc) and their mobile cousins (Amobee, AdMob, et al) will likely be competing with the site metrics specialists (Overture) and data brokers (Telephia, M:Metrics), as well as some of the more ambitious SMS aggregators and Payforit Accredited Payment Intermediaries looking to make a more aggressive push into advertising services. Serious spoils to the victors no doubt.
  2. What Data Points will be Passed by the Carriers? It would fair to say that at a minimum the carriers would need to pass an anonymous Unique Identifier to the ad server or other 3rd party. Other highly coveted data points of interest include subscriber IDs (mobile phone numbers), location and subscriber data. The former stands a good chance of inclusion in specialized cases should a real need be identified (such as a m-commerce extension), while the latter two seem too controversial for immediate consideration.

The Opacity of Hope? Undoubtedly the mobile marketing industry faces tremendous challenges if it is to realize its great potential as a promotional channel. While it’s commonly known that these challenges will only be met if the companies making up the mobile industry can put aside their differences and agree on common goals and approaches, it is encouraging that markets like the UK are taking a leadership position in this area. We can only hope that other markets will soon follow suit.

cotm-button.jpgThis week’s carnival is up and live over in the UK at Andrew Grill’s Blog.

Many thanks to Andrew for the top position this week for our piece on the iPhone SDK. Other topics in this week’s carnival include personal mobile TV channels, “MySpace disease”, some encouraging stats on the US Mobile market, an examination of Nokia’s new strategic focus on services, an alarming look at how Sprint is hamstringing the mobile web for its users, a peek at Yahoo!’s new “Fire Eagle” location aware service, and even more on the iPhone SDK and of the developer community it spawned.

Check out the Carnival Here

As always, bloggers can submit stories to: mobilists [at] gmail [dot] com.

sxsw-2008-groundhog-day-mobilestance.jpgIf this year’s SXSW is any guide, we all may have to wait a little while longer before the arrival of Springtime for mobile marketing.

SXSW. Four letters that have come to stand for authenticity, innovation, and unrequited cool.

Yet unlike last year’s festival, mobility and mobile marketing at this year’s show seemed content with recycled tactics pioneered at other festivals, some of which are now more than three years old.

On the consumer facing-side of the festival, ringtones, SMS mobs, giveaways, mobile blogging and the ubiquitous “mobile festival guides” ruled the day, while the mobile-related panels at the industry-focused SBSX Interactive Festival seemed equally content with sales-heavy “forums” and other the conference mainstays.

Mobile marketing-related festival highlights are as follows:

  • Festival Guides. Several SMS and mobile web-based apps provided attendees with a “mobile guide” to the countless panels, parties, performances and film premieres punctuating the hipster-friendly event. eZee, creator of WebClip2Go, created the most robust of the mobile show guides in their “SXSW Interactive Companion” mobile-web service, aggregating numerous show-related feeds into an easy-to-navigate festival portal. Other notable mobile show guides included SXSW’s official mobile site, sxsw.mobi (including a version formatted for iPhone), and an impressive offering of SMS alerts, indexed by close to thirty keywords correlating to specific festival topics such as “musicparties”, “pizza” and “wifi.”
  • Mobile Marketing. As if the above mobile festival guides weren’t enough, Toyota and Urban Outfitters also offered SMS show alerts as a compliment to their sponsorship of “Free Yr Radio”, which touted itself as “an online resource to make your SXSW 2008 better than ever.” An online promotion also featured a “Win YR Way to SXSW 2008” sweepstakes, as well as an online form to sign up for mobile alerts from Toyota and Urban Outfitters. An “Airport Pickups” service rounded out the Toyota sponsorship (a glamorous ride in a Toyota Yaris, no doubt).
  • Panel Sessions. There was no shortage of mobility-related talk at the SXSW Interactive Festival. Hats off to anyone willing to brave the hours of laborious sales pitches masquerading as info sessions in order to glean the occasional “key learning.” Mobile marketing-related panel topics included “Video Production for Mobile Devices” (Jason Meil, Sr VP, Current; David Todd, VP Content & Strateg, Eyespot; and Hank Blumenthal, Program Mgr of Emerg, Schematic), “Increase Revenue by Mobile-Enabling Your Services” (Shawn Bose, Director of Prod Strategy, uShip; C. Eric Smith, Pres, UnWired Nation Inc; and Bill Flitter, CEO, Pheedo Inc), “Mobile Media You Can Move To” (Michael Epstein (Founder, Untravel Media Inc; Silvia Vergani, Untravel Media), “Mobile Phones: International Devices of Mystery” (Nathan Eagle, Research Scientist, MIT; Jonathan Donner; Neil Churcher, Head of Design, Orange) and “Using Entertainment to Create Effective Mobile Advertising” (Adam Zbar, CEO, Zannel Inc, Lathan Hodge, Co-Founder, Rapstation; and Eric Eller, SVP Prod/Mktg, Millennial Media).
  • Awards. In the “11th Annual SXSW Web Awards” Mosio took the top prize in the “Sites optimized for handheld and portable devices” category, which is odd in that Mosio is a text message (rather than web)-based application. Similar to ChaCha, Misio features a human-powered search engine whereby helpful Netizens happily answer your mobile queries (this, unlike ChaCha, which utilizes paid human “search responders”).
  • Miscellaneous. Location-based mobile social network Loopt teamed up with Filter Creative Group to provide original, geo-specific editorial content to Loopt subscribers, this according to Fierce Wireless. The service “deliver[ed] real-time, location-based broadcasting from [SXSW]… Eight correspondents from Filter magazine provid[ed] location-specific mobile commentary to alert attendees to the most promising bands, events and parties.” Finally, Opera debuted version 9.5 of its mobile browser, releasing it at their “Rock Opera” party, an event which seemed to be noted more for its swag than for the software it was promoting. While cherished by some, it seems that at this pace Opera will finally be ready for mass use around the same time as full HTML-capable, cookie-supporting mobile browsers become commonplace (thus making Opera altogether obsolete)

Analysis: While unfortunately none of the aforementioned mobile applications (other than the Loopt piece) seemed to break any meaningful new ground in terms of functionality and consumer application, what is truly disappointing is the lack of innovation displayed by the festival’s sponsors with regard to their application of “mobile marketing.”

While giveaways and alerts have their place, how many “show guides” does a consumer really need? None of the mobile web applications referenced had any real mobile advertising component to speak of, other than “The Interactive Show Guide”, which gave a half-hearted mobile adverting effort in that it was running Google Mobile AdWords ads. Perhaps it was a simple lack of sales effort (or desire) on the part of the application developers to integrate marketing offerings from the festival’s sponsors (or competitive brands looking to ambush the show), but either way this was a real missed opportunity to extend actionable, relevant, branded messaging to festival attendees and fanboys alike.

qualcomm-xiam-mobilestance-logo-lock-up-copy.jpg Somehow this got by most of the mobile news aggregators, but earlier in the week Qualcomm announced it was acquiring Xiam Technologies for $32MM (US).

Ireland-based Xiam Technologies is known as a provider of SMS messaging platforms and (of late) a mobile ad server branded “My Personal Offers System” or “MPOS.” In a increasingly crowed space, Xiam’s mobile ad server features no obvious differentiator in its claim of “enabl[ing]mobile operators and brands to make personalized recommendations to individual consumers that are tailored to their unique tastes and preferences using advanced profiling techniques. MPOS also leverages demographic, contextual and behavioral profiling to enable true one-to-one mobile advertising.” Sound familiar? Well it should, as it seems we’ve nearly heard this same pitch here, here and here (just to name a few).

Analysis. Although it is still somewhat unclear how Qualcomm, known primarily as a supplier of chip sets for mobile devices, mobile content management, and for its steady stream of intellectual property lawsuits, will integrate the Xiam products into their current offerings, they are likely to be packaged to their current carrier customers as either an “integrated, one-stop-shop” mobile advertising solution (sort of like what BREW attempted in the mobile content / transactional management space), or as a stand alone, “carrier grade” mobile ad server.

Either way, it is notable that Qualcomm is placing such a significant investment in their mobile advertising capabilities, as the chip giant seems to be recognizing that advertising services will be integral to their ability to maintain their leadership position their core (operator services) business.