The Audit Bureau of Circulations’ interactive unit, ABCi, will audit newspapers’ mobile content in a partnership with Verve Wireless, ABC announced last Thursday. “With all the buzz around the iPad and with use of mobile browsers exploding, newspapers and their advertisers are increasingly interested in seeing mobile metrics detailed in ABC reports,” ABC President and Managing Director Michael Lavery said in a statement. Newspapers that use the Verve publishing platform can provide independently verified mobile usage data generated from apps, e-readers, and browsers on mobile devices. Verve clients will be able to include in ABC’s Consolidated Media Report (CMR) mobile audience by device type, day and day part, unique visits, page views and audience access points by app, mobile browser or e-reader. Verve works with about 600 newspaper publishers in the U.S., Canada, and Europe
British state broadcaster BBC has delayed launching mobile applications delivering its news and sport free to devices like Apple’s iPhone after newspapers expressed concern about direct competition. The Newspaper Publishers Association had asked the BBC’s governing body, the BBC Trust, to examine proposals it feared could harm efforts by commercial rivals to succeed with their own mobile offerings. The BBC Trust will now examine the proposals. It did not give any timetable, but the earliest it was likely to discuss the matter is at a meeting late next month. The BBC, which receives a guaranteed GBP 3.6bn each year (USD 5.4bn) in license fees paid by householders, has come under fierce attack from broadcaster BSkyB and other commercial rivals exposed to a severe advertising slump. The amount of free content the BBC already makes available online has discouraged many newspapers from attempting to charge readers for content on the Web. Earlier this month, the BBC signaled a retreat from some commercial operations to focus on core services, bowing to pressure from rivals and ahead of a general election almost certain to result in public spending cuts
Microsoft has made an application that works with Google’s Android phone.
Called Tag, the free software uses a handset’s camera to turn it into a mobile barcode reader. It is the first application Microsoft has made for the Android operating system – one of the key rivals to Windows Mobile. Android is among the last to get the Tag application which is available on Windows phones, the iPhone, Blackberry and Symbian handsets.
Using Tag and similar programs, barcodes can become coupons that link people to websites, pass on information or give visitors a discount in an online store. Releasing the application for Android continues Microsoft’s program of making software for rival phone firm. In December 2008 it produced its first iPhone app, called Seadragon, and followed it up in early 2009 by releasing Tag for the Apple handset.
Apple has the most mature mobile apps store. In early January, Apple said more than three billion applications had been downloaded from its store. Microsoft’s launch is made against a background of greater co-operation among operators on phone software. In February, 24 of the worlds largest mobile network phone operators banded together to create the Wholesale Applications Community. This will try to make it easy for application developers to make and sell phone applications.
It is widely seen as a move by operators to wrest control of the lucrative apps market away from software firms and phone makers. Microsoft recently unveiled a revamp of its mobile operating system called Windows Phone 7 Series, which will be publicly launched later in 2010.
A new Europe-wide rule to prevent mobile phone users from building up large bills for surfing the internet via their handset has come into force. Customers can now require their phone firm to cut them off when their bill reaches a certain level after accessing the internet in other European nations. If users do not put in place a limit by 1 July, it will automatically be set at EUR 50. The phone firms will have to warn users when their bill hits 80 percent of the limit. Accessing the internet via your mobile phone while abroad is called “data roaming”. European Commissioner for Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, said: “Protection against data roaming bill shocks is a useful step towards building customers’ confidence to use mobile networks to surf the internet when travelling around Europe. “Such confidence is essential if people and businesses are to use the internet to its full potential.” The Commission added that if service providers did not honour people’s set spending limits, national regulators would deal with complaints and impose any necessary sanctions. Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd said the move was likely to reduce the cost of data roaming across Europe
Google’s much-hyped Nexus One smartphone is set for UK launch in April, according to a new report in The Daily Telegraph, with the web giant no doubt hoping the device will make a bigger splash than it did on its US launch. At present UK consumers can purchase an unlocked version of the phone from Google’s website, although Google has been in discussions with network operator Vodafone for some time now about providing the device on contract to its customers
However, despite Vodafone being keen on a March launch, sources close to both companies confirmed to The Daily Telegraph that April is the more realistic time frame for the UK launch. According to the official Google site for the Nexus One, the device is still listed as “coming soon to Europe” in spring 2010.
Despite huge expectations of the smartphone, Google’s first own-branded device has met with a fairly luke warm reception from commentators and been beset with support and 3G connectivity issues. Many users complained that it is unclear which company is responsible for customer support; the phone manufacturer, HTC, the US network carrier, T-Mobile, or Google itself.
Others complained about the slow response times from Google to complaints and the lack of a manned customer service support line, although this latter problem has now been addressed. The web giant also released an over-the-air software update for the handset to enable new features and fix the widely reported connectivity problems, although sales still remain sluggish compared to the huge numbers of iPhones that Apple shifted on its launch.
Cellphones and the internet are muscling in on more traditional media as ways to see the Olympic Games, and the trend will only deepen, organizers said on Tuesday. Timo Lumme, head of TV and marketing for the International Olympic Committee, said non-traditional media had already matched the 20,000 hours from traditional broadcasters so far these Games, contributing to a total audience he expects to reach 3.5 billion – or half the world’s population. “We’ve had a continuing digital explosion,” Lumme told a news conference. “We now have the same amount of hours covered globally on digital media – internet, mobile – as we have on the old media broadcasting, and a quarter of that is mobile.” “People are accessing this in different ways during different times. It does mean more is being consumed.”
The world’s biggest social network has revealed details of a stripped-down, text-only version of its mobile site called Facebook Zero. The low-bandwidth site is aimed at people viewing Facebook on their mobile and will launch “in the coming weeks”. The social network recently said that more than 100 million people now access Facebook from their phone. Analysts at CCS Insight said that the new site could help operators free-up critical bandwidth on their networks. Data from industry body the GSM Association recently revealed that Facebook accounts for nearly half of all the time people in the UK spend going online using their phones. The data showed that people in the UK spent around 2.2bn minutes browsing the social network during December alone. Facebook said the new site “omits data intensive applications like photos”. Facebook already offers a slimmed down version of the version of its site – called Facebook Lite – for people with slow or poor internet connections. It is aimed at users in the developing world. The site was announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which runs from 15-18 February.