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What everyone missed about mobile phone OS desirability reports

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This week, Nielsen reports were released and bloggers and media outlets alike clung to two or three basic and overly obvious talking points and missed the golden nuggets in the data reports about cell phone operating systems (OS). While it was overly obvious to the media (traditional and digital) was that ladies lean toward Apple for their next smartphone while Apple iOS and Android tied for the “most desired operating system.”

Okay, that’s good to know, but what details in the sexy charts did everyone ignore while they were busy repeating everyone’s Twitter-sized talking points?

First, take a look at all of the beautiful data charts:


The first point that everyone missed is that only 30% of the current market uses smart phones. If you’ve spent more than five minutes reading blogs or logging on to Twitter, you’d think that one hundred and thirty percent used smart phones. If you have an iPhone and you’re chillin’ in your front yard with two of your neighbors, they’re probably sporting flip phones.

The second point most overlooked is that of that 30% of smart phone users, shockingly, a little over 1% use the Palm OS. Now, because you’re in the real estate industry, you know that Palm has been dominant because of the infrared technology that opened up lockboxes and seems to be everywhere, but with a shift in vendors like Supra becoming compliant to non-Palm operating systems, and an acquisition of Palm by HP, this 1% could go up or down given the market.

The third point that was very overlooked is how undecided “Featurephone” (or dumb phone) owners are compared to Smartphone owners. 25% of featurephone owners are undecided as to their likely smartphone upgrade whereas only 13% of current smartphone owners are undecided. The world of mobile phones is rapidly changing and even my grandma knows what an “app” is, so consumers are more educated on the topic although the amount of information available is overwhelming to many, especially those who do not currently own smartphones.

The fourth point that everyone missed is that of featurephone owners, 25% indicated they plan on upgrading to an Apple while 28% plan to upgrade to an Android. The reason this is noteworthy is that iPhones have been around for several years now and Androids are comparably new to the market, so a nearly 30% indication of consumers firmly stating they want an Android is impressive- that’s a lot of progress in a short time.

The fifth point that was wildly overlooked is the age preferences. The older the respondent, the less likely the were to have decided on their next phone and as the age of the respondent goes down, so does their preference toward a Windows Mobile OS. The undecided nature of older respondents is predictable, but Microsoft clearly has a choice to make as to take the challenge to appeal to a younger demographic or to embrace the older demographic and try to chip away at the rising preference for Apple and Android.

The sixth point I want to address is OS preference by gender. There were nearly 40% more women that were undecided than men. Women traditionally research more and mull over their decisions longer than men, so it’s no surprise, but the media’s insistence on focusing on a third of women leaning toward an iPhone missed the obvious fact that nearly 33% of men indicated an Android OS preference- the poor guys were left out of coverage altogether!

There’s a lot more to the data above, but these are just six things that immediately jumped out to me. Now that you’ve read between the lines of the reports, what do you think? Have you recently upgraded or have plans on upgrading? Tell us in the comments!

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Rob McCance

    December 2, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Way to dig into the data Lani.

    I’m not picky. I just want my phone to be able to do everything (quickly) and for the battery to last forever.

    That’s all.

  2. Benn Rosales

    December 2, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Amazing, and thank you for actually discerning data points that matter. It will be interesting to see what the 30% looks like after the holidays. This will be a sure test of demand. Even Apple knows it cant maintain marketshare, however, factor the ipad, and they’ll appear ahead again. We expect no less than 11 tablets to hit the market over the holidays and into 2011 loaded with android, again, Apple will not dominate in market share for long there either. They’ll either continue the proprietary approach or they won’t, and it’s that decision that has always held Apple down, but believe me when I say, they prefer to appear as an underdog, it keeps people spending twice the price. I can’t ever tell if they are dumb or smart as hell, my money is on stubborn.

  3. MH for Movoto.com

    December 2, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    great analysis – esp good to keep in mind as more and more web-based businesses start worrying about their smartphone applicability.

  4. rebekah metz

    December 3, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Really interesting (and overlooked) insights Lani. It makes me wonder whether too how support for devices by the various mobile networks impacted preferences in the US mobile/smartphone market?

  5. Cheryl Johnson

    December 4, 2010 at 6:47 am

    I own an iPhone. And while I love it as a handheld computing device, and a video-player, the truth is that as a ~regular ol’ PHONE~, it sucks.

    It is uncomfortable to hold against the ear; and if your ears have been challenged by decades of high decibel rock and roll, it is extremely hard to position the tiny speaker opening in just the right place against your ear to actually hear anything.

    I will keep it as a PDA-type device, but I am seriously considering a Jitterbug flip phone (designed especially for seniors 😛 ) to use only for making PHONE calls.

    So, I will become an entirely different demographic on the piechart. A person with BOTH a smart phone and a feature phone. Bet the young turks didn’t investigate for ~that~ one!

    • Lani Rosales

      December 9, 2010 at 1:26 pm

      CJ, that is a really interesting point, I have no idea how they accounted or will account for overlapping devices. I wonder how big that demo is…

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Tech News

Nate app: $38M Series A fintech startup you should keep an eye on

(TECHNOLOGY) The nate app combines the best of social media and shopping into one platform, streamlining the check-out process for hassle-free purchases.

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African American woman holding iPhone scrolling through the Nate App homepage.

No one likes to hop around from store to store searching aimlessly in aisles for all of their necessary items. That’s why the big guys win, like Walmart, Amazon, and Target – they have all you need in one swoop! Users choosing to shop online feel the same way. Having to reenter payment, billing, and shipping information over and over again becomes a pain – or worse, a deterrent to purchase, resulting in cart abandonment- that’s where the nate app comes in.

Nate combines the best of social media and shopping into one platform.

The well-funded, series A startup utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to complete purchases seamlessly without all of the fluff a user discovers when checking out at various online retailers. Once a user inputs shipping and payment information into the app during sign-up, nate keeps the data on file for subsequent purchases, virtually eliminating the time-consuming check out process. If a user sees a product they like from an online merchant, they simply have to “share” the item to the nate app, and it will take care of the rest.

Unicorner’s startup analysis states, “In essence, nate is bringing the benefits of shopping on a centralized platform like Amazon to a decentralized shopping ecosystem.”

Brown leather wallet with tip of credit card sticking out next to a iPhone showing a shoe purchase on the Nate App.

With a nod to Pinterest and LikeToKnowIt, the platform allows for users to create visual product lists on a personal account that can be shared with followers. If a follower likes an item they see, they can purchase the item in-app in just a click or two.

In contrast to the big wigs of the social media world, the nate app hopes that users will purchase based on true inspiration and not a targeted algorithm suggesting what they should buy. Instead, the app runs its business model on a $1 fee for each transaction which covers the ability to issue virtual cards, protect online privacy, and apply available discounts.

The nate app simplifies gift giving as well. Users are able to select a gift item and enter the recipients phone number – if the recipient is a nate app user, it can be shipped directly – otherwise, they will receive a text asking them where to send their new gift! This makes it a perfect choice for the upcoming holidays (yes, 2021 is almost over…whew).

To stay up to date on everything nate, download it now on the App Store.

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Tech News

Facebook deletes developer over ironic browser extension invention

(TECHNOLOGY) Think a muted week for a nipple shadow is bad? Facebook just permabanned this inventor for…helping others to use the platform less.

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African American hand holding iphone on Facebook's login page.

It must be true that corporations are people because Facebook is pulling some seriously petulant moves.

In a stunt that goes beyond 24hr bans for harmless hyperbole, and chopping away at organic reach (still bitter from my stint in social media management), Facebook straight up permanently banned one of their users for the high crime of…aiming to get people to use the platform a little less.

Developer Louis Barclay came up with Unfollow Everything, an extension that basically instantly deleted your feed without having you unfriend anyone or unlike anything. Rather than have users manually go through and opt out of seeing posts, they’d now opt IN to keeping who they wanted front and center.

In his own words on Slate: “I still remember the feeling of unfollowing everything for the first time. It was near-miraculous. I had lost nothing, since I could still see my favorite friends and groups by going to them directly. But I had gained a staggering amount of control. I was no longer tempted to scroll down an infinite feed of content. The time I spent on Facebook decreased dramatically. Overnight, my Facebook addiction became manageable.”

Since more time spent on Facebook means more ads that you’re exposed to, means more you spend, the add-on started slowly making headway. I myself pretend to be a ranch owner to keep ads as irrelevant to me as possible (though my new addiction to hoof trimming videos is all too real), and Unfollow Everything probably would have been a great find for me if it hadn’t been killed by a cease and desist.

Law firm Perkins Coie, representing the internet giant, let Barclay know in their notice that Unfollow Everything violated the site’s rules on automated collection of user content, and was muscling in on Facebook trademarked IP.

They also added, in what I can only assume was a grade-school narc voice, that the add-on was “encouraging others to break Facebook’s rules.”

Barclay, not having the resources to fight a company with the finances of a small country, promptly ceased and desisted. Practical.

Officially speaking, Facebook might have actually have some ground to stand on vis-à-vis its Terms Of Service. The letter and legal team may have been warranted, not that we’ll ever truly know, since who’s taking Facebook to court? But then they followed up with a ‘neener neener’ deletion of Barclay’s 15 year old account – which was still very much in use.

Look, Facebook is the only way I connect with some of my friends. I don’t take enough pictures to make full use of Instagram, I fully hate Twitter, my Tumblr is inundated with R-rated fanfiction, and any other social media platform I’m happy to admit I’m too haggish and calcified to learn to use. So a complete WIPE of everything there with no notice would be pretty devastating to me. I can only imagine how Barclay felt.

And in light of the fact that the browser extension wasn’t hurting anyone, taking money, or spewing hateful rhetoric, there’s really only one thing to say about Facebook’s actions…they’re petty.

Sure, they may have the legal right to do what they did. It’s just that when you notice every fifth post is an unvetted advertisement, their high ground starts to sink a little. I mean nothing says ‘We’re being totally responsible with user information’ like the number of add ons and user tactics popping up to avoid seeing the unnecessary. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Facebook put up a fight against losing ad traffic.

We all know all those stores with amazing deals aren’t actually going out of business, or even using their own photos right? Right?

Barclay added in his article, “Facebook’s behavior isn’t just anti-competitive; it’s anti-consumer. We are being locked into platforms by virtue of their undeniable usefulness, and then prevented from making legitimate choices over how we use them—not just through the squashing of tools like Unfollow Everything, but through the highly manipulative designs and features platforms adopt in the first place. The loser here is the user, and the cost is counted in billions of wasted hours spent on Facebook.”

Agreed, Mr. Barclay.

Now I’m off to refresh my feed. Again.

 

Graffiti wall with image of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, with the saying "You've been Zucked."

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Tech News

Glowbom: Create a website, using just your voice

(TECH NEWS) Talk about futuristic! This app allows you to create quizzes, surveys, an online store, and even a website in minutes–without typing.

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Colleagues looking at Glowbom website homepage

In the past, we’ve discussed things like simplified coding and no-code app creation. Now, a San Francisco startup has taken the process a step further with no-type app creation.

Glowbom is a voice app that allows you to dictate steps to an AI – from adding information all the way to exporting code–in order to create a simple app, survey, or game. While the built-in options for now are limited to four simple categories, the power of the app itself is impressive: By asking the Glowbom AI to complete tasks, one is able to dictate an entire (if small) program.

It’s an impressive idea, and an even more impressive product. Glowbom founder and CEO Jacob Ilin showcases the power of Glowbom in a short demonstration video, and while he only uses it to create a simple survey, the entire process–up to and including the exportation of the API–is accomplished via voice commands.

Furthermore, Glowbom appears to process natural inputs–such as phrases like “Let’s get started”–in the context of an actual command rather than the colloquial disconnect one tends to expect in AI. This means that users won’t need to read a 700-page manual on phrases and buzzwords to use before jumping on board–something the Glowbom user base was probably hoping to avoid anyway.

As of now, the options one can use Glowbom to create include a quiz, a survey, an online store, and a website. It seems reasonable to expect that, as support for the app grows, those categories will expand to comprise a larger library.

Glowbom certainly opens a few doors for people looking to take their businesses or ideas from an offline medium into the digital marketplace. As coding becomes less centralized in computer language and more contingent on processes such as this, we can expect to see more products from folks who may have missed the coding boat.

Perhaps more importantly, Glowbom and products like it make coding more accessible to a wider base of disabled users, thus taking a notable step toward evening the playing field for a marginalized demographic. It’s not true equality, but it’s a start.

This story was first published here in October 2020.

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