The Consumer Matters is the blog of Leslie Grandy, aka Gearhead Gal.  My passion is creating and delivering compelling products that delight customers through simple and elegant user experience design.

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Entries in mobile web (6)


Will Google TV Change The Way We Enjoy the Web?

Article first published as Will Google TV Change The Way You Enjoy The Web? on Technorati

Google’s announcement this week of the launch of its Google TV service comes after several attempts - and slightly different approaches - by Apple and Microsoft to converge online video viewing with broadcast television watching. Although the company identified several partners – Intel, Sony and Logitech - who will be deploying the Google TV service on set top boxes and home entertainment hardware like Blu Ray players and Internet-connected televisions, it remains to be seen how consumers will actually experience the service.

Google’s primary objective will be to monetize the Google TV content through targeted advertising and expansion of its audience for existing online services by making video more discoverable through search. Search has been a key component of online programming guides like and Yahoo TV, that help aggregate television and video content from across the web. However, search behemoth Google is also the owner of You Tube, and has a lot to gain from creating more opportunities for consumers to experience video on new platforms.

How Google will facilitate the way a consumer traverses media from different sources, and the many ad networks those sources represent, is unclear largely because the service will be embedded with other solutions and services on branded game consoles and DVD players, some provided by hardware manufacturers that may have a designed a brand user interface already.

“It's too early to tell how Google TV will be received in the market, and there are many unknowns about the product including price. But Google TV's openness is key,” said Mike Pohl, CEO of Jinni, one of the Google TV partners featured in the announcement. “Developers will create the apps that will make Google TV useful and unique for consumers. Jinni, as an alliance partner, is developing a smart guide for Google TV that will be crucial for seamlessly combining web and TV content."

Clayton Morris of echoed the questions of many end users who heard the announcement but didn’t yet know what to make of it. He wrote, “Will Google TV allow me to press play on an Internet episode of Lost — or will it force me to watch the broadcast version with more commercials? [Or] does that mean I can simultaneously watch UFO Hunters on The History Channel while searching the Web?”


Favorite Tweets of the Day

RT @DesignerDepot: The Dos and Do Nots of Mobile Applications Sez don’t mix mobile app and mobile web

RT @ tonyadam My thoughts on the hot topic - A resume doesn't tell the whole story - Well said.


The 'Tapas Trend' in Mobile Continues

Last year, at Mobile World Congress, I had the displeasure of eating a precious multi-course meal of nouvelle tapas at a pretentious restaurant referred by countless culinary experts. Sadly, I wish I had known you can get some of the best tapas in the city tucked away in passages only the locals can guide you to discover. Tapas, for those who don't know, are little snacks of - well, pretty much anything. They can be cold or warm, and be composed of fish, meat and vegetables.  These bite-sized little morsels of flavor are the currency of chefs in Spain, but these tasty bits may be best served by underset expectations.

On the night of the first day of announcements from this year's MWC, therefore, it may be easier to forgive me for making an analogy between tapas and apps, and butchering a metaphor far longer than I could at other times. Since, like tapas, apps can be anything - they can be games or utilities, feed readers or miniaturized applications, it seems a small leap of faith. Apps are often bite sized versions  (see how this will go?) of bigger web properties, kind of like snacking versions to keep a mobile consumer's appetite satisfied until a bigger serving is available.

Most of the headlines from today's show focused on apps, so it appears that the 'tapas trend' will continue to be on the menu for mobile consumers for the near future.  The creation of a new alliance, the Wholesale Applications Community, is intended to create a common approval process across multiple OEMs to facilitate access to the world of mobile consumers for application developers.  But should application developers be able to use one recipe to appear on any device  with any carrier?  And can all of the chefs in the WAC kitchen ever agree on a standard recipe? Imagine getting Wolfgang Puck, Tom Douglas and Ferran Adria all to agree on a single preparation for salmon tapas.

The combination of Maemo and Moblin to create MeeGo may not create enormous benefits or greatly enlarge the app world for consumers any time soon, but the news does provide another proof point that app stores likely won't just be a phone phenomenon since the combined OS is targeted at in-vehicle infotainment systems, connected televisions and consumer electronics. This Nokia-Intel platform, however, may simply be a mash-up of two lagging open source projects, with each ingredient still needing the proper plating on a killer piece of hardware to break through with consumers.

Adobe's announcement that it has joined the LiMo Foundation shows how badly it wants in on the mobile app business, having been absent in any meaningful way from smartphones till now.  In addition to that news, though, Adobe announced its Air for Android, which in conjunction with AIR on the desktop, gives web web developers familiar tools to build standalone applications that run on the devices using Google's Linux-based mobile operating system. With the exclusion of support for Flash on the iPad, iPhone and iPod, and the failure of Flash Lite to have a notable impact on mobile development to date, Adobe has been trying to get a seat at the app store table for a while.  As an ingredient brand in websites,  Adobe has not had as much leverage to date with device manufacturers and carriers as they may have anticipated with the popularity of the mobile browser.  Apple has preferred to think of Adobe as the "trans fat" ingredient in mobile applications and browsers, positioning it as the enemy of performance and an ally of viruses.


Minutes, Messages and Megabytes - Making Sense of Wireless Pricing

First published on Technorati

On a recent visit to the concessions counter at the local Cineplex, my husband and I debated about the size of the popcorn tub to buy. He often argues that the best value is in buying the biggest bucket, while I maintain that it’s not a value because we consistently leave half of the bucket uneaten, since the portion size could feed a small village for a month. Inevitably when we have this debate, other couples join in and take sides, but in the end it is hard to argue that the small bag is a “good buy.”

Wireless carriers appear to have learned a lot about marketing to consumers from movie theater concessionaires. And the recent round of announcements about new unlimited wireless plan pricing from AT&T and Verizon continues the tradition. Intuitively, consumers feel good when the per-unit price of an item seems smallest. Unlimited voice plans give you the smallest per unit charge imaginable, since your phone bill is capped but your usage is not. Wasted minutes – known as “breakage” - are like uneaten popcorn in the bucket under your seat. It’s still the better deal per unit, even if you don’t take the benefit from the extra units. But some consumers wonder, is leaving a monthly pile of unused minutes and messages really a better deal?

There really is no risk that unlimited plans will drive voice consumption higher, because the truth is that voice usage is flattening and voice revenue has been declining. While carriers are hoping to spur the utilization of their voice networks and extract more revenue from their existing network assets, a minute of voice is no longer worth what it used to be to the average consumer.

Text messaging has followed the same bundled pricing strategy, although unlike voice, messaging has grown substantially in the past few years. To protect their margins, US carriers control the messaging costs by leveraging existing voice networks to control message size and offer no specific delivery time frame for messages.

While carriers appear to be giving away unbounded aciPhone mobile webcess to their mature voice networks with unlimited minute plans, they are much more miserly about giving away data. The accelerated adoption of web-enabled phones, app stores, and downloadable media has shown carriers where the demand is heading. Within 3 years, analysts believe the number of Internet-compatible mobile phones will be 1.82 billion, exceeding the number of PCs, and drive the majority of website accesses. Within 5 years, these same analysts predict mobile devices will become the main mode of accessing the web.

To protect against an overwhelming demand for data that may precede the build-out of their mobile broadband infrastructure, US carriers are much more defensive on the broadband side, and have been creating additional pricing tiers for data plans. These plans will introduce a new unit of cost for mobile consumers to assess: the megabyte (MB). Verizon, for example, will be charging all 3G phones users a mandatory $10 per month for 25 MB of web access. Unfortunately, most consumers don’t actually know how to gauge the number of megabytes they may consume while scrolling or surfing any particular site’s web pages. To help consumers prevent overages, most carriers provide a way to gauge remaining, unused megabytes, but these tools don’t give users an easy way to predict how visited sites may consume them.

Vodaphone MB Usage Calc 

Vodaphone introduced a MB Usage Calculator to help people pick a plan up front, but it isn’t specific enough to allow a customer to budget the number of pages you might be able to view, or how long you can spend on any web page. When Apple coined the phrase “1000 songs in your pocket” to describe the capacity of a 4GB iPod, they defined a unit of storage, a gigabyte, in terms any consumer could understand. To aid wireless consumers in understanding the new billing measure, Bill Shrink created a nifty graphic that applies the same approach to megabytes and data, translating these digital units into recognizable measures of usage. Bill Shrink


Favorite Tweets of the Day

I've been doing some holiday message cleaning. And I found some gifts to start the year, which I am glad I didn't throw out with the gift wrapping.

@JasonSpector We need to be aware of why as much as how systems should be designed.

@exectweets "The man who does things makes many mistakes, but he never makes the biggest mistake of all - doing nothing."--Ben Franklin

@edwardboches Comment to Millennial Marketing re: Will 2010 Be Digital Media Breakout Year

@gigaom How To Present Like Steve Jobs

@OpenHQR: 2010's Key Evolution: The Next Generation Web: To build something new, one may have to...


Could Amazon buy Hulu? WTIA Predicts for 2010

The Washington Technology Industry Association 2010 Predictions Dinner was held tonight in Seattle and that meant an entertaining evening of crystal ball reading and supposing. Is Twitter mainstream enough to make revenue and a profit in the next 12 months? The Seattle technology community is skeptical unless someone acquires it. That prospect was not wildly expected. Is Google going to end up with a stock price north of 700? The sentiment was much more favorable. The panel thought Google was poised to continue it's innovation trajectory with Internet services driving their technology across mobile and home electronics, going way beyond the PC.

One area the panel avoided was VoIP and wifi, which given their mention of Google's phone plans, and the momentum locally around Clearwire and nationally around free wifi, it was a little surprising not to see the topic emerging as a more mentionable factor in the panel's 2010 vision.

But no surprise, folks in Washington Technology are pulling for Microsoft to come through on Windows Mobile and Amazon Fresh to succeed where Home Grocer before had failed. A prediction that Amazon will acquire Hulu, was based on a belief that paid content is inevitable.

The common thread through this evening's postulations and hypotheses is the consumer. In past incarnations of these dinners, IT managers ruled. Today it is about the market for end users. Irrational as these business predictions may seem to you, the fact is the thing that matters most is the consumer.

Kudos to John Cook for corraling and unleashing the panelists using the right balance often lacking in moderators.