U.S. Smartphone

U.S. Smartphone Sales Up RIM Widens Lead – j tech sales

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According to an NPD survey, 9 million smartphones were sold in the U.S. between January and July of this year, representing an 84% increase from the same period a year ago. Smartphone revenue increased 71% to nearly $1.7 billion.The survey showed 19% of all handset purchases were smartphones compared to just 9% for the same period last year. RIM’s Blackberry led the way followed by Apple, Palm, Samsung, and Motorola. Market share for specific manufacturers was not tallied and the survey did not include sales of corporate mobile phones.Meanwhile, IDC says that RIM accounted for more than half of the smartphones sold in the U.S. in the second quarter of this year, as iPhone and Palm both lost market share.

The IDC numbers show that RIM, maker of the wildly popular BlackBerry wireless device, held 53.6 percent of the U.S. market for smartphones in the second quarter, up from 44.5 percent in the first quarter. IDC’s numbers show that Apple’s share of the U.S. smartphone market tumble to 7.4 percent in the second quarter, from 19.2 percent in the first quarter. Palm saw its market share fall to 10.8 percent in the second quarter, from 13.4 percent in the first quarter.

Competition between the BlackBerry and iPhone has been heating up as RIM attempts to add features and functionality that appeals to consumers.

AdMob Expanding iPhone-Specific Ad Network – j tech sales

As the iPhone has seen its fortunes rise, so has mobile ad network AdMob. The company developed a range of specialized ad units for the iPhone and an iPhone marketplace. The company is even giving money to iPhone developers.

This morning AdMob is announcing deals with a number of high-profile iPhone apps, including

  • Loopt
  • Tap Tap Revenge
  • SportsTap
  • BubbleWrap

Not unlike the Quattro-Where deal, it involves brand advertisers seeking exposure to engaged iPhone users via these applications. Ads are both performance-based and CPM based. Some of the participating advertisers include “EA Mobile, Herbal Essences, Universal Studios’ The Mummy 3, Land Rover, Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Fox Searchlights’ Choke, MGMs’ College, Summit Films’ Sex Drive, Toshiba, CBS News, Luxor Hotel, and DirecTV.” The explosive growth in both mobile Web usage on and application downloads for the iPhone has fueled the growth of this marketplace. More than 1,000 sites, including AccuWeather, CBS News, MovieTickets.com, and CNET, and applications, including TapTap Revenge, SportsTap, PegJump, and BubbleWrap, have joined AdMob’s iPhone advertising network and run ads since it launched just over a month ago.

 

Quattro in Ads Deal with uLocate for Location-Targeted Ads on iPhone – j tech sales

Mobile ad network Quattro Wireless announced a new ads deal with uLocate’s Where iPhone application. According to the press release out this morning:

WHERE, one of the most popular location-based applications in Apple’s iPhone App Store, will utilize Quattro’s dynamic ad serving platform to enable highly targeted in-application ads to be served to iPhone users based on contextual, demographic, behavioral and location information. WHERE’s location-based service will be added to Quattro’s industry leading Video, Call, In-Application, iTunes and Popover iPhone ad units. Under the deal, ad inventory for the WHERE application on the iPhone is available exclusively through the Quattro In-App Network and for Quattro’s flagship advertisers such as Toyota, Herbal Essences, Sony, Comcast and LionsGate.

While uLocate/Where has some of its own brand advertiser relationships, it appears that Quattro will be “repping” all the Where.com ad inventory on the iPhone. It also appears that this is a brand LBS play. As with the Internet, most small business advertisers will gain mobile distribution through existing “aggregator” relationships  (e.g., yellow pages).

 

Dial Directions First to Launch Voice for the iPhone – j tech sales

Beating out a host of other, larger companies working on speech for the iPhone, startup Dial Directions has introduced “Say Where,” a speech application for local business search, reviews and maps & directions. Using the Safari browser it can tap into sites like MapQuest, Google Maps, YellowPages.com, Yelp and so on.

Arguably the greatest weakness of the iPhone is the keyboard, which takes considerable “getting used to.” Say Where by-passes the keyboard entirely. Here’s a video demo of the application in action.

Dial Directions began as a way to speak locations into any handset and get SMS based directions back. However what the company has really built is an impressive speech platform that transcends maps & directions. That’s what the new Say Where application showcases — the broader speech capability of the company’s platform.

 

Yahoo  oneSearch Gets Boost As On Deck Search Provider for AT&T j tech sales

Yahoo! and AT&T have launched the former’s oneSearch as the default search engine on the carrier’s handset deck. This puts Yahoo!’s search and brand in front of a potential 70 million mobile AT&T users. The deal was announced earlier in the year and is part of the broader, long-term relationship between the companies. Yahoo! oneSearch will provide customers who search AT&T MEdia Net with access to news, financial information, weather conditions, Flickr(TM) photos and Web images, as well as Web and mobile web sites. Yahoo! oneSearch will also display relevant ringtones, wallpaper, games and other content available in the AT&T MEdia Mall within search results, eliminating the need for customers to search within a separate window for downloadable content. AT&T’s YELLOWPAGES.COM will provide local search information to customers as part of the agreement.

Note that YellowPages.com will be providing the local results. It’s not clear how those will be presented (probably as a layer.) As a general matter, however, YellowPages.com’s results aren’t as rich or complete as Yahoo!’s. For example, the reviews coverage is much more limited. It’s also not clear whether events (part of YellowPages.com’s mobile iPhone app [from Zvents]) will be there as well. I’m guessing they won’t.

The companies announced that mobile search advertising will be provided by Yahoo! as part of the deal. The exception to the above is the iPhone, where there is no “carrier deck.” Service on the iPhone is provided by AT&T.

The formal launch of this deal could provide a big boost to Yahoo!, which trails Google in mobile search market share in the US. According to Nielsen Mobile (6/08), US mobile search market share breaks down as follows:

  • Google: 62%
  • Yahoo!: 21%
  • Microsoft: 9%

LMS found the following market share in a recent North American mobile user survey (8/08, n=789):

  • Google: 55%
  • Yahoo!: 16%
  • Microsoft: 13%
  • Carrier’s Search Engine: 9%
  • AOL: 6%

Yahoo! has 60 carrier relationships globally, which the company says make a potential market of 800 million users around the world. Google has been in talks with Verizon to become its default search provider.

Currently AT&T is the largest US carrier, but Verizon will surpass it if its acquisition of Alltel is approved by regulators. Related: Alltel has a deal with ChaCha, which may or may not be affected or expand to Verizon when the Alltel transaction closes.

 

Yelp 2.0 for the iPhone Coming Soon – j tech sales

Right now Yelp is number 93 among the top 100 free iPhone apps. I received an email over the weekend from CEO Jeremy Stoppelman about some upgrades and feature additions to the Yelp app (version 2.0). These features aren’t live yet but Stoppelman expects the upgraded app to become available (after Apple approval) at some point next week. Here’s the list:

  • Map now links to Google Maps for quick directions, zooming, etc.
  • Complete attributes about each business now included (good for groups, reservations accepted, etc).
  • More photos Link to official business website (opens Safari)
  • Business Hours

Stoppelman said in the email, “My favorite new feature is the ‘Hot on Yelp Nearby,’ which tells you the most noteworthy businesses near your current location.”