Mobile World Congress: HTML5, Monetization, and Smartphone Price Points

Posted on: March 10th, 2012 by thetechmuse No Comments

Last week 67,000 members of global mobile industry descended upon Barcelona for the annual Mobile World Congress. Amidst a city of delicious tapas and mind-boggling art and architecture from the ranks of Gaudi, Dali, and Picasso, industry leaders came together to announce the latest in mobile tech and to connect with one another. The conference is organized by the GSMA (GSM Association) which "represents the interest of mobile operators."

I’m very thankful for the chance to attend the conference. Chrome for Android was among the 50 demo pods within Android’s whimsical booth, and also demo-ed at the start of Eric Schmidt’s keynote.

After having the chance to let the dust settle from the conference and synthesize the innumerable headline announcements, I’d like to share a few key takeaways in 3 themes. The bullet points each link to the conference's own coverage, a subset of the same summary articles sent out to attendees during the conference.

From these you can definitely see interconnectedness of the global mobile ecosystem and the level of coordination needed to drive change at scale, e.g. for carriers in emerging markets to grow revenue from increased data usage, hardware/software providers need to create smartphones below a certain price point so more people in the emerging markets can buy them.

1. HTML5 and the mobile web

  • Telefonica Digital and Mozilla announced "an “ambitious strategy” to create a new platform for HTML5-based devices, with the intention of positioning HTML5 as “the next major ecosystem for smartphones” and enabling the delivery of smartphone-features to devices at low price points." (Read more)
  • Facebook announced it was "working with “over 30” device makers, operators and developers through a W3C community group called Core Mobile Web Platform, with the intention to “author and evangelise and prioritise” the development of HTML5 mobile web standards." (Read more)

2. Monetizing the mobile web

  • Facebook “announced a partnership with “operators around the world to improve both the user and the developer experience of operator billing.” " (Read more)
  • Panel of mobile operators, including execs from Telefonica, VimpelCom, and Bharti Airtel Operators article, "said the industry needs to change user perceptions and the way mobile content is paid for after giving too much away in the past... this practice has led to operators being viewed as the “bad gatekeepers” when services don’t meet expectations." (Read more)
  • "Executives from Juniper Networks and ZTE today discussed the way in which networks are evolving in the face of changing customer demands, highlighting approaches operators can take to support growth in new services while offsetting flatness in legacy businesses." (Read more)

3. Driving down costs of smartphones to increase use in emerging markets

  • From Eric Schmidt's keynote, "as Moore’s Law drives down prices: “A mobile experience at least at the level of today will be available to almost everybody, at a fraction of the price. In 12 years, handsets are going to be 20 times faster, which means phones that cost US$400 now will be available for US$20..." "  (Read more)
  • "The CEOs of Bharti Airtel, VimpelCom and Telefónica Latin America have called for the industry to drive down the cost of smartphones to trigger the greater use of mobile data." (Read more)

P.S. For you mobile nerds, here's a handy list of mobile acronyms of all those ever-evolving mobile-related acronyms you pretend to know and look up later : )