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AT&T SMS Notification. Alerts Me of Improving Service...

I received the following SMS from AT&T.First, they alert me that it is a free message (great!). Second, they notify me that my local cell tower has been "enhanced" so I should expect "improved" cell and data quality. One part of me admires the effort to improve quality... and the communications are also admirable.

Another part of me thinks it is a little hokey to deliver an alert via SMS, tell me its a free message, conclude with an exclamation mark, and describe the SMS as a "mktg msg".

AT&T Pushing Additional iPhones Between Android & Apple Announcements?

My day of short blog posts continues....

The below email from AT&T ('Add an iPhone today') is interesting because:

- it arrived in my inbox a few days ago (May 15) - is in advance of the supposed June launch of the newest iPhone ... which will also supposedly be on AT&T

- it comes just a couple days after the announcement that, for the first time, Android devices are outselling the iPhone (see here) ... and AT&T's Android offering is weaker than Verizon's or even T-Mobile's

- there is no incentive whatsoever to add an iPhone - no discount, family plan, etc

- it was sent in advance of Google's I/O conference - which would obviously focus on Android

It strikes me as an attempt to squeeze in sales between Android growth, Android news and the forthcoming iPhone. Of course you could argue it is an indication that perhaps the next generation iPhone, as many hope, is available beyond AT&T???

AT&T or the iPhone: Does it Matter Who's to Blame?

"AT&T and Apple could both gain by swapping talent. Apple, send your marketing wizards to lend your partner a hand. It sorely needs help.

AT&T, send some engineers to redesign the iPhone to make better use of the country’s fastest wireless network."

That's from "AT&T Takes the Blame, Even for the iPhone's Fault" in today's New York Times. It's a very relevant article considering:

- the current marketing blitz / war between Verizon and AT&T - the announcement of the forthcoming Google Phone - the recent AT&T outage (and worsening coverage) All of this also comes at a time when consumers (like me) are getting fed up with dropped calls, slow connectivity, and so forth. No matter how much I love my iPhone (and I do!), it has to function reliably as a phone and web-connected device.

Regardless of who is to blame - based on the New York Times article - both AT&T and Apple stand to lose if these issues continue. Hoards of unhappy iPhone fanboys are a great device away from switching... for many, the Droid represents that. Or the Google Phone... or any of the other forthcoming Android, Blackberry or other devices.

att coverage

Verizon & AT&T: Second & Third Largest Advertisers

If you're reading this blog:you likely either own an iPhone or an Android device ... and you've likely read my coverage of the marketing blitzes around Droid and around Apple's iPhone ... and you've probably seen the recent commercials from Verizon and AT&T around 3G maps:

But did you know that Verizon and AT&T are the second and third largest national advertisers respectively? Together, they spend nearly $7 billion each year - more than 3x the spend of Coke and Pepsi... combined.

And as Verizon attacks AT&T Apple with their new Droid lineup, you can bet that advertising will play an integral role both online and offline. And as you saw with their recent Luke Wilson campaign, AT&T is capable and willing to respond both aggressively and quickly:

The combatants this time around—in case you hadn't noticed—are Verizon Wireless and AT&T, the respective No. 1 and No. 2 U.S. wireless carriers. That's the nation's second-largest advertiser (Verizon's marketing war chest is $3.7 billion), up against the third largest (AT&T spent $3.1 billion last year according to the Ad Age Datacenter). Those budgets dwarf Coca-Cola's $752 million or even PepsiCo's $1.3 billion.

From AdAge's 'Verizon Vs. AT&T: Blistering Battle Raging Over Map'

att vs verizon

Also worth noting, the advertising figures from AdAge do not take into account the tangential spend from related brands, developers and/or manufacturers. For instance, Apple advertisers heavily for the iPhone (on television, in the New York Times, etc) and brands with successful applications frequently use their TV spots to, in part, promote their mobile presence.

2010: The Year of Android?

Just a couple weeks ago, I wrote that an article named "Android is About to Explode" - citing recent growth rates (up 17% from 13% in a single month, according to AdMob) and the forthcoming line of Droid devices.

This continues to be a hot topic and I participate in related conversations almost daily: - Will Android match iPhone's marketshare by end of 2010? - If you were starting today, would you begin developing on Android or iPhone first? - Is there a greater advantage to being one of the first developers on Android or being within Apple's massive distribution store?

Today, TechCrunch has run a similar article written by Kevin Nakao, the VP of Mobile for Whitepages: "2010: The Year Android Will Shake Its Money Maker".

It lists a variety of reasons that Android can (and will) succeed this year... Most importantly is that Android itself is a carrier and hardware agnostic platform - whereas the iPhone, as great as it is, is a single device on a single network. Big difference. And one that enables Android to compete - and even win - without having the best device.

T-Mobile Got It Started Right, Verizon Will Unleash the Beast

T-Mobile launched the first Android phone in the U.S., and embraced the open platform. Any other U.S. carrier might have been tempted to meddle, but T-Mobile proved that an open platform would not be riddled with malware and abuse. With Verizon now going big on Android, we will start to see significant uptake. Verizon has 89 million customers with an average Data Revenue Per User of $15.69 to T-Mobile’s 33.5 million customers and $10 in Data Revenue Per User. Sprint has the highest data revenue per user of $19 and 48.3 million customers. In short, Verizon and Sprint will attract many more customers willing to spend more money on Android applications.

... After a week in New York City, I can say that, were I NY resident, I would turn my iPhone in for a Droid device on Verizon instantly. I would easily sacrifice some hardware and software quality for network quality (which was unbearable). That said, things work perfectly fine in San Francisco!

Android is About to Explode: 17% of Smartphone Traffic, Droid Launching

On the eve of Droid's much anticipated launch on the Verizon network, Android is poised to take off and grab challenge the Apple's recent dominance. Even with Droid's launch, Android saw significant market growth in September - representing 17% of smartphone activity vs. 13% in August. According to AdMob's September 2009 Mobile Report:

Devices running on Android accounted for 17% of smartphone traffic in the US in September 2009, up from 13% in August 2009. The HTC Dream (G1) was the number three device and the HTC Magic was the number 10 device in September 2009 in the US. As with the iPhone OS, much of the Android traffic in AdMob’s network came from applications.

The iPhone still represents 48% of smartphone activity, but Android has moved ahead of RIM (14%). And the future for Android is bright considering:

- Droid's rave reviews - Droid's multi-handset product line and low prices - Android's carrier agnostic approach (while Apple is currently tied exclusively to AT&T)

android vs iphone

Also noteworthy, the iPhone now represents a staggering 60+% of AT&T's smartphone activity. If Droid, for instance, reached even a fraction of that dominance on Verizon (which is dominated by RIM AT ~35%), Android will realize serious growth.

att iphone

iPhone App Store: Top 25 Game Developers Evenly Distributed

Great blog post from Flurry about the ecosystem of iPhone Application developers and how it differs from other mobile storefronts: "Rise of the New Middle Class - Indie iPhone App Developers, Part I". If you are interested in the iPhone App store and/or mobile game development, it's a great read. The high level takeaways:

- The ecosystem of game developers is much different between app stores - The iPhone App store is very balanced: 24 of the 25 top paid game developers each represent 3%-4% of the publisher share - In contrast, AT&T's Media Mall is very unbalanced: EA represents 36%, Namco 12% and Gameloft 12% - Similarly, the balance of developers is different between platforms... what Flurry is calling the new "middle class" on iPhone Apps - Finally pricing and inventory (...and developer communities) differentiate the platforms and top game developers:

EA Mobile is notably absent from the App Store Top 25 snapshot. However, this can be somewhat attributed to the fact that several of their titles are priced at signficantly higher price points, between $4.99 and $9.99

Gaming is the dominant category within the iPhone App store - representing 19% of applications. It would be interesting to see if these trends hold up in other major categories like Books (14%), Entertainment (10%) and Utilities (7%). I assume that is coming in Part II of Flurry's post.


After iPhone 3GS Upgrade, Apple Asks me to Insure my 3G

I have criticized Apple's email marketing efforts before (here and here)... but this one takes the cake: Your iPhone 3G hardware coverage is about to expire Don't say good-bye. Extend your coverage with the AppleCare Protection Plan.

This email is laughable since I purchased the iPhone 3GS this weekend and used the same email address to pre-order it. And I activated the 3GS through iTunes - effectively replacing iPhone 3G.

I understand that Apple has these emails systematically scheduled; but, you would think they would scrub the recipient list on a weekend when 1,000,000 new iPhones were sold.

Considering I just extended my AT&T contract and upgraded my hardware, I really enjoyed the ironic "don't say goodbye" tagline.


iPhone 3GS Launch: Advertisers Join the Consumers

Early indications are that the iPhone 3GS launch has been a success - there were "100,000s of pre-orders" and, thanks to Apple's pre-launch reservations and purchases, the experience was clean and efficient. But just as consumers waited in line for their shiny new iPhone, advertisers prepared the launch and the marketing onslaught is everywhere. Visit any tech blog and you'll see a swarm of ads for: - iPhone 3GS-compatible accessories (ie skins and cases) - iPhone competitors (namely the Palm Pre) - Phone carriers (Sprint and T-Mobile are trying to capture attention)




My personal favorite:


This is good too... as *everything* comes off as an ad: