27 May 2015

Facebook and Google: Mistaking Narratives for Business Models

Asymmetric Business Model
Source: VisionMobile

Digital and mobile business models are a tricky beast. Many refer to them and analyze them, but few truly understand them. This is because successful business models in the digital era are markedly different from from the simple, direct, "make and sell" models prevalent (for now) in most consumer industries. This is why some very smart people who have studied and worked with direct business models tend to falter in digital and on mobile.

6 May 2015

Benchmarking the Apple Watch Launch

iPhone vs. iPad vs. Apple Watch

Now that the Apple Watch's launch is behind us, we may finally have the opportunity to study its (early) impact. The lack of data certainly poses a challenge as Apple has declined to reveal sales figures of its new wearable. However, there are public resources, notably Google Trends, that could give us some measure of insight about how this launch compared to those of the iPhone and iPad. While Google search volumes may not necessarily reflect real-world sales with any degree of accuracy (my own work proves as much), it does give us some directional insight.

14 Apr 2015

Meerkat & Periscope: Features, Not Products

Meerkat vs. Periscope

Over the past couple of months, the tech world has become fascinated with live video broadcasts. Meerkat was the new live broadcast sensation until Twitter acquired and re-launched a competing app, Periscope. Since then, some tech observers have devoted themselves to tracking every detail of the competition between them. In my opinion, there are other facets here that may be far more interesting.

13 Apr 2015

Analyse Asia Podcast: The Apple Watch Conundrum in Asia

In this episode, we discuss the following topics:

  1. Apple Watch in Asia
    • Who's buying it? Why is there no smartwatch market?
    • Understanding the luxury business from the perspective of Apple and LVMH. 
    • The problem with Apple competing with Tag Heuer in a luxury watch market.
    • Misconceptions of western analysts on the Apple Watch in China.
    • How can developers invent new kind of apps on the Apple Watch platform if they are subject to the same constraints?
    • What kind of new interaction models could we conceive for smartwatches?
  2. Mobile in Asia
    • Firefox OS – Should they build a desktop version to compete with Chrome OS?
    • Web app vs Native app world – the indexing proposition for Google.
    • Google’s lacklustre Android growth – why are OEMs ganging up against them by working with Microsoft? Why has Micromax adopted Cyanogen?
    • The next billion problem in Tech (including Google and Facebook): Why apps like Duolingo are better suited to monetize the next billion. Also read Google and Facebook’s vision for mobile.
  3. Facebook and Social
    • Facebook cloning WeChat
    • What is Facebook’s strategy for Whatsapp?
    • Content is being commoditized on Facebook and the future of news and media.
    • Meerkat vs Periscope (with Twitter's backing) and why Facebook has not made a move on Meerkat.

26 Mar 2015

Comparing Facebook's and Google's Vision for Mobile

Facebook Messenger

On the first day of the F8 developer conference, Facebook finally pulled the trigger on something we had expected for months. Facebook messenger is now a platform along the lines of WeChat and other Asian messaging apps. While this isn't necessarily "novel", it tells us something about Facebook's vision for mobile.

10 Mar 2015

Understanding the Potential of Watch Apps

Apple Watch Home Screen

I have been a bit of a wearables skeptic ever since Android Wear was unveiled at Google I/O last year. Following that, Apple's original announcement of the Apple Watch just added to my list of questions about the category. Hoping to find some answers, I watched yesterday's Apple Watch keynote with great interest. Curiously, what I found were more questions. 

27 Feb 2015

Google, Mobile and the Next Billion

Google - Revenue vs. Growth

The change in Google's narrative over the past few months has been very interesting to watch. The recent "Peak Google" proclamations remind me of Facebook's post-IPO narrative in 2012. Conventional wisdom back then was that Facebook's decline was imminent as mobile was not a meaningful part of their revenue. Of course, Facebook's app install ads and other mobile initiatives disproved that narrative in short order.

12 Feb 2015

There is No Smartwatch Market

Smartwatch Shipments

A few months ago, I wrote a post comparing the early sales of smartwatches to those of tablets and modern smartphones (early iPhone and Android models). As I expected, the numbers didn't bode well for smartwatches. Now that we have another year's worth of data to play with (from Canalys this time), we have an opportunity to test the validity of my previous analysis.

2 Feb 2015

The Next Phase of Search

Last week, Google announced that it would integrate third party apps into Google Now. While this may seem like just another update to Google's contextual search offering, it has the potential to deeply influence interaction models and app discovery in the mobile age. But in order to understand its potential, we first need to understand how search evolved on the web.

22 Jan 2015

The Potential and Pitfalls of HoloLens

Minecraft on HoloLens

Microsoft made some long expected announcements today -- the return of the start menu, one version of Windows 10 across all devices and an attempt to make Windows apps work across those same devices. Unfortunately, the limited overlap between Windows PC developers and mobile developers makes the latter a weak proposition. On the other hand, Microsoft's HoloLens headset may have some potential.