Mobile Cloud – Not Always On

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Few years ago I was in charge of marketing and selling services to Telecom providers. It was a business that generated tens of millions of dollars, with one guarantee – Uptime of “Five  nines” – 99.999%. To those of you that are not familiar with this terminology, it simply suggests that a system can have no more than 5.26 minutes of unscheduled downtime a Year!  Yes, in a world that tolerates 3-5 minutes of PC boot, 2 minutes of smartphone boot and more, this requirement  suggests  that the system should  never go down. Many noted  that this requirement actually generates cost with no clear value. Deloitte for example called for “Nixing the nines” with the argument that even traditional cloud services can perform well at 99.9% (43.2 minutes/month) of downtime saving significant amounts of money on infrastructure and services.

In the mobile world, lack of access to services is part of the territory. I am not suggesting that the issue is with Wireless Networks coverage, rather than the reality of mobile medium. Simply said, having slow or no connectivity is part of the mobile landscape.  In this reality, what is the value of guaranteeing  service availability of 5.26 minutes/year, when individual users have more than that in slow or no access minutes  in any given day?  Indeed, when examining the key quality criteria for mobile services, most users will point out to different set of requirements that are important to them. Gomez as example found out that 71% of users expect the mobile web will load as fast as desktop web or 60% of users will wait no more than 3 seconds for a web page to load. Obviously for applications that are installed on the device the connectivity issue can be mitigated by clever software design, but still, if users  are searching for an item on eBay or Amazon they  would like to see similar response for applications as well. One other important consideration is the value to the user while there is no connectivity, specifically what the client application or web service provides and what does the back-end on behalf of the user, when the user is not connected or experiencing slow connection.

So here are some important criteria that can be measured and are more relevant to mobile cloud experience than always on:

  1. Response time – how  fast the cloud service responds to user requests.
  2. Task completion – what percentage of users completed key task on the cloud service.
  3. Uptime by component  – Back-end Cloud/Mobile Network /Client application.

Obviously all of these have to be measured on various devices, since these performance factors dramatically change for different devices. This important issue deserves a separate post..

Exploring Mobile Cloud

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Mobile CloudIn the real world, clouds are always mobile. In the technology world, not so. Only recently, there is a growing attention to the intersection of cloud technologies and mobile computing. The result in this case is more than 1+1. In the next few posts I will explore some of these unique aspects and innovations that make the Mobile Cloud space so interesting.

Here is my short list:

  1. Not Always on
  2. Telephony in a cloud
  3. Mobile Speech
  4. Mobile Commerce
  5. Synchronization, Storage & Security
  6. Pictures & Video
  7. Mobile WebApps
  8. Cloud identity, personalization & Advertising
  9. One screen size doesn’t  fit all
  10. Virtualization of reality

Choosing a Browser on Android Device

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It seems these days, that Android Browser war is heating up. There are established players and new entrants in the market. To name (in Alphabetical order) the few:

  • Angel Browser  – Which claims to be a  a multifunctional, convenient browser.
  • Bing – Microsoft’s Browser on Andorid – which claims to make decisions and get where you need to go.
  • Boat Browser Mini  – Which claims to be  fast,clean and easy to use.
  • Chrome Browser  – Which is Google’s pre-installed  Andorid device
  • Dolphin Browser HD – Which simply claims – Powerful, Fast & Elegant web browser … Browsing made wonderful.
  • Dolphin Browser Mini – Which claims to be  something fast, something simple, something new!
  • Firefox for Andorid – Which promises to go from desktop to mobile without interruption.
  • Maxhton Mobile   –  Which claims to  Seize Your Web!
  • Miren Browser – Which claims to bring the most intuitive browsing experience.
  • Opera Mini – Which claims to offer fastest speed
  • Opera Web  – Which claims to offer “Premium experience”
  • Skyfire  – Which promises to make your mobile web experience richer, smarter and more fun!
  • xScope Browser – Which claims to be  the  fastest way to browse the web and manage files

and I probably missed some..

So what are the key criteria to choose a browser?

1. Price – most are free but not all. Paying $2.99 for a browser, although not much is a consideration
2. Speed – few claims to be the fastest. I have not seen comprehensive speed test to define which is which.
3. Ease of use – this is a little bit of a personal choice. Many claim to be this way. I guess the most important thing is use of screen space, tabs, and bookmarks.
4. Sync with Desktop Browsing  – neat feature if you switching frequently between desktop and mobile.
5. Social networking – If you want to share your browsing experience with your social network.

and there are also more technical issues to consider:

A. How well the browser handles video and audio.
B. Support of HTML5, flash etc.
C. Memory
D. Security & Privacy

In the next few posts I would develop more detailed criteria and share some of the browsing experience.

Please let me know if  I missed any browser or important selection criteria.

NFC Forum N-Mark and recent NFC devices promising hot 2011 for mobile commerce

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If you haven’t seen this yet, the NFC Forum has developed the “N-Mark,” a trademark which will allow consumers to easily identify NFC (near field communications)-enabled devices.

This mark will be used to communicate two messages:

1. The N-Mark lets consumers know that NFC services are available.

2. Variation of the mark, specifies that the device is NFC Certified.

These are all  baby steps towards creating NFC based mobile commerce.There are few devices in the market including Google Nexus S,,  Nokia 6212 Classic, Nokia 6131 NFC, Nokia 3220, Samsung S5230 Tocco, Samsung SGH-X700 NFC, Samsung D500E, SAGEM my700X, LG 600V, Motorola L7 (SLVR), Benq T80.

There are also rumors that iPhone 5 will use NFC. .. and there are recent announcement from Verizon, ATT and T-Mobile backing up ISIS mobile payment system using NFC technology.

The next two years (2011,2012)  will be critical timeframe for this technology to mature in applications and business models. I hope that this time  the promise of mobile payments will be finally materialized.

iPad Will Generate 2 Percent of North American Net Traffic by End of 2011, according to Chitika Forecasts

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According to Chitika iPad will surpass 2% of Internet usage in 2011. The difference in user experience creates new format for advertisers. This format is different  from Web based  and mobile ads. This trend will only increase the interest in advertising on iPad applications and Videos.

Chitika forecast for iPad Share

There are over 300,000 Android phones activated each day.

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According to a recent  tweet from  Andy Rubin, 300,000 Android phones are activated each day. This number  has  increased from 200,000 just a few months ago. This posting might be a reaction to recent article published on AppleInsider claiming that Google hit a plateau at 214,000  activations a day. Whatever the right number is, a few things are clear:

A. Apple and Google positioning themselves to be the only Smartphones in town (Remember Blackberry, Nokia, Microsoft-Windows-Phone?).
B. Smartphone shipments are quickly approaching the PC shipment volume of about 88M units (Q3/2010 according to iSuppli).
C. Mobile Internet is tracking to become bigger than traditional Internet.

What are the implications of this to the consumption of information and social media?