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Simon Andrews 

Mobile Fix: The Brits love tech devices

Simon AndrewsSimon Andrews, founder of the full service mobile agency addictive!, on all things mobile - app development, web apps, Facebook, QR codes and 4G...

New research from KPMG confirms that peoples appetite for all things mobile continues to grow. In the UK, smartphone ownership is up by a third to 36% while ownership of tablets has doubled - albeit from just 2% to 5%. Half of tablet owners watch TV and video and 62% have paid for content versus just 24% on smartphones.

One fact that jumps out is that listening to CDs is down to 60% of the sample, from 72% in September 2009.

A new report from Nomura builds on their comments we reported last week, and suggests that Nokia will slip from the top smartphone brand in terms of sales - with either Apple or Samsung poised to take the lead.

And one final thing on devices; with just 25 million iPads sold we are already seeing new players emerging to challenge established content players - Flipboard is getting over 11 million pageviews (which they call flips) every day.

App development

The task of building content and services for mobile devices - whether that's apps or mobile web sites - remains a challenge. It's a complicated process and many of the people involved are making it up as they go along (which is why we partnered with LatAm mobile giant PontoMobi - hugely experienced and very well resourced).

But new ways of reducing the burden are emerging, and Kinvey are making the web services partly easier with a plug and play way to organise the backend of the app - the data feeds and business rules.

Mobile web apps

Talking of mobile web, FT.com have shaken things up by launching a webapp - neatly sidestepping the Apple Tax and their controversial rules on selling subscriptions. And of course they can now reach anyone with a smartphone rather than just those with an iPhone.

We're big fans of webapps - the mobile site for Addictive is a webapp, so give that a try if you haven't already - and we see them as an essential part of any smart mobile strategy.

Facebook in decline?

Lots of people who should know better got excited about a story that Facebook usage was declining. Guess what? Completely wrong.

Henry Blodget nails it on SAI using Comscore and Nielsen data - pointing out that the data that drove the original story was advertiser focused - and given that Facebook don't have ads on their mobile service, mobile usage is excluded.

So you still need to sort out your Facebook strategy - a major opportunity for most brands. (And we're happy to help)

QR Codes - bigger than iPhone?

We pitched QR Codes in a Dragons Den session at the IAB Mobile Engage this week. Unfortunately the audience got carried away with then promise of NFC. We're big believers in NFC but there is a long way to go before its anywhere near mass market, whilst QR codes are ready for prime time. As part of the preparation for this session we found some new research from YouGov, showing that 40% of the population knew what a QR code was and 12% have snapped one with their mobile.

Now 12% doesn't sound that many people but it's not far from the number of people who have iPhones in the UK.

We think QR codes have great potential as a marketing tool - brands just need to explain what QR codes are (our QeasyR.com site is designed to help) and then delight people with what the QR leads to.

4G

The auction of spectrum that will enable 4G in the UK is about to get started - but one operator is poised to take legal action claiming the auction isn't fair. It's pretty common knowledge that the operators are concerned that they invest in infrastructure while the majority of the revenue goes to the 'over the top' players like Google and Facebook etc, so these auctions are always going to be an opportunity for some complaining. But a leading US analyst now says that operators have plenty of cash and can easily afford these investments. We loved the headline on the article reporting this - Analyst tells operators to quit whining.

Instagram to be pushed out of the picture?

If a picture is worth a 1000 words, the recent boom in social mobile photo apps suggests a picture is now worth 140,000 characters. Instagram Hipstomatic, Path and Colour are just some of the social apps that let people individualise photos through effects and then share them with friends and followers.

A rumoured new service from Facebook may be about to take this behaviour mainstream - and make life a little tough for these apps. One staggering fact; Facebook have nearly 100 billion photos on the service and 6 billion more are uploaded each month.

Finally

There are some interesting events coming up. The MMA have a good session on Wednesday evening at RIBA - with Global Radio, ITV and the Telegraph speaking. It's free for Brands and Agencies and there are a few places left.

We're in Scotland on Friday to talk with ISBA members about Mobile, Facebook and emerging media. If you're an ISBA member, get in touch to find out more - and if you haven't already done so, get a copy of the Mobile Guide we produced for ISBA - it's had very good feedback.

And if you are lucky enough to be off to the Cannes Lions next week, our dev partners in Brazil have created a lovely app about the Lions, in partnership with PHD. The only thing missing is a guide to which Rose to drink.

Click here for your full Mobile Fix (complete with links to background articles).

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