Google's New iPhone App/Interface

Last night Google upgraded and changed its iPhone application/interface. TechCrunch and Search Engine Land have some images. The range of Google services, including GOOG411, are accessible from a horizontal menu at the top of the screen.

There's additional discussion at Techmeme and CNET.

iPhone Sales in France

French carrier Orange reported to the BBC that 20% of the iPhones being sold in the country are unlocked. The contract phones sell for 399 euros, while the unlocked phones reportedly sell for 749 euros, almost twice as much. The latter translates to $1,098 at today's exchange rate!

According to Reuters, Orange sold 30,000 iPhones in the first weekend, which is .0006% of the market of 51 million. That compares with initial weekend sales in the US equivalent to .001% of the market (243 million).

Right now the iPhone is the biggest selling smartphone in the US. However, Nokia is a much more formidable competitor in Europe and has many smartphones that aim to compete with the iPhone.

More on Google for iPhone

That Google has tailored its suite of services for a specific device - albeit it's the iPhone - is tremendously noteworthy for members of the Local Mobile Search community. The trend recently has been for content providers to treat the mobile Web as one of the emerging mass media. It's an approach that puts emphasis on audience size, "impressions", CPM, click-through's and the like. The mission is to choose a distribution mechanism that reaches the largest footprint possible which, in the mobile world, has kept SMS and voice-based services in the mix.

You don't see TV production houses tailoring their offerings for specific brands of television based on the quality of the tuner, even in this age of home theater and HD TV. By contrast, iPhone and its non-conversational iTouch counterpart offer a user experience that is so different from other products in their category that search leader Google found sufficient cause to tailor its suite of services "for iPhone only."

The salient differences are summed up as "speed" and "ease-of-use." It is the visual analog to 1-800-GOOG411, the automated, enhanced directory assistance service that keeps its prompts brief and response times short. The iPhone-optimized greeting screen includes very prominent presentation of the search box, but features a banner across the top that includes buttons that provide single-touch access to popular Google services like Gmail, Calendar and the RSS "Reader". A button that simply reads "More" adds quick access to Goog411, Blogger (for sharing) and other services. As for the ever-popular GoogleMaps, the original iPhone already featured an optimized version of the map-based service. The next phase in its evolution will be the addition of location-awareness through GPS.

Google for iPhone is a great example of addition by subtraction. While it appeals to a smaller audience, it shows how an improved user interface will spur innovation both by service providers and mobile subscribers. In the coming year a flurry of iPhone clones and imitators will hit the market and service providers will be well advised to go to school on the preferences of iPhone users. Keep the display clean, interactions speedy and sessions short.

Mobile Phones to Become Boarding Passes Too

In addition to your mobile wallet and general, everything device, wireless phones may soon double as airline boarding passes. As USAToday reports:

Continental Airlines passengers in Houston will be able to board flights using just a cellphone or personal-digital assistant instead of a regular boarding pass in a three-month test program launched Tuesday at Bush Intercontinental Airport. The program could expand to airlines and airports nationwide.

Instead of a paper pass, Continental Airlines and the Transportation Security Administration will let passengers show a code the airline has sent to their cellphone or PDA.

Nokia's Ovi Seeks to Integrate PC and Mobile

Nokia has launched Ovi.com, a desktop site where users can access general Internet content, share photos and purchase music. It's a kind of personal "dashboard" and somewhat out of character for the Finland-based mobile OEM, which is the largest in the world. Whether or not the Ovi site becomes an Internet destination is in a way immaterial. Rather it's important in a larger sense for what it suggests about the increasingly integrated relationship of the two screens: PC and mobile.

Medio Systems takes the position that mobile is an entirely separate animal and the leaders in mobile will be different than those who are winning on the desktop. That's both partly true and not entirely correct. The potential is certainly there for new companies and brands to emerge in mobile content and search -- and undoubtedly they will. However we believe that existing Internet sites (if they're smart) will leverage the desktop to enable users to manage content and deliver a customized mobile experience (think MyYahoo) that minimizes keystrokes and permits easier mobile content access.

Right now Yahoo! itself is missing the boat on this strategy big-time. But Nokia is quickly recognizing the strategic importance of the desktop to its future as a mobile content provider. Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Nokia's CEO, was quoted by IDG News as saying "Ovi will enable people to access social networks, communities and content. It's the foundation from which we'll expand Nokia in new directions." Nokia has been particularly aggressive in expanding beyond its status as a mobile OEM, buying Navteq and Enpocket this past year.

With this desktop site Nokia will seek to compete more directly with Apple and Google, among others, as they expand their mobile domains.

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Related: Nokia rolls out "green" phone. Everybody's doing it.

RESEARCH: Verizon Wireless Opens Up to Larger Possibilities

Local Mobile Search Advisory
Mobile America will be subject to a "Coke-versus-Pepsi" like battle pitting a newly "open" Verizon Wireless against the locked-down AT&T Mobility/iPhone combo. Last week, Verizon Wireless reversed its hard-line stance against "open access" to its network. Creating terms for certifying third-party applications, devices and software amounts to a radical change in its business model. Or does it?

Advisories are available to registered users only.

For more information on becoming an LMS client, please contact Pete Headrick (pheadrick@opusresearch.net)

[protect]Registered CAS Clients - Click Here to View the Full Advisory[/protect]

Verizon Wireless Opens Up to Larger Possibilities

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Precis

Local Mobile Search Advisory
Mobile America will be subject to a "Coke-versus-Pepsi" like battle pitting a newly "open" Verizon Wireless against the locked-down AT&T Mobility/iPhone combo. Last week, Verizon Wireless reversed its hard-line stance against "open access" to its network. Creating terms for certifying third-party applications, devices and software amounts to a radical change in its business model. Or does it?

Featured Research is available to registered users only.

For more information on becoming an I2G client, please contact Pete Headrick (pheadrick@opusresearch.net).


iPhone Growth: Queries and Browser Share

Google User Experience VP Marissa Mayer revealed the "fastest growing" search queries from 2007 on the NBC Today show yesterday. Here's the list: 1. iPhone, 2. Webkinz, 3. TMZ, 4. Transformers, 5. YouTube, 6. Club Penguin, 7. Myspace, 8. Heroes, 9. Facebook, 10. Anna Nicole Smith.

By contrast, the iPhone was #6 on Yahoo!'s list of top tech queries in 2007. And it doesn't appear on Ask's lists anywhere.

Another popularity metric: According to Net Applications, "total web browsing on the iPhone has topped the web browsing on all Windows Mobile devices combined." This is an amazing thing considering that the iPhone has only been in the market since June of this year and versions of Windows Mobile have been in the market for roughly a decade.

NIM Develops App for YellowPages.com

Networks in Motion has reportedly developed a new mobile application (download) for YellowPages.com, which provides maps, turn-by-turn directions and local business listings from the site. It's currently only available on AT&T phones. The application is free.

Networks in Motion is also behind various LBS applications from AAA, Verizon and Sprint, among others. The company claims that its platform is the "most widely used mobile phone navigation service in North America."

Verizon Now Planning to Support Android

As we discussed and argued previously, Verizon's open access inititative was partly a response to Google's Android and the announcement effectively made Verizon a de-facto member of the Open Handset Alliance. Now the company, according to BusinessWeek, is formally embracing Android:

Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam says it now makes sense to get behind Android. "We're planning on using Android," McAdam tells BusinessWeek. "Android is an enabler of what we do."

Not only did the company decide to support Android, but McAdam says the new platform was a key influence in adopting open access. "Android really facilitated this move,"says McAdam.