LightSquared Prospects Dimming. Concerns by government and the private sector about GPS interference from LightSquared’s proposed wholesale LTE service accelerates. Government experts just reported that interference with GPS occurred in high portions of LightSquared’s spectrum bands and little in the lower spectrum. The National Space-Based PNT Advisory Board’s tests showed that some GPS receivers lost signal strength while others were fully disabled by LightSquared’s signal. FCC Chairman Genachowski, under fire for granting LightSquared a conditional waiver, has reiterated that he will not permit LightSquared to begin commercial service without first resolving concerns about potential interference to GPS devices.
Genachowski hit back at the GPS community in a letter to Sen. Charles Grassley, “It should be no surprise to anyone involved in the LightSquared matter that the company was planning for some time to deploy a major terrestrial network in the spectrum adjacent to GPS.” Members of the National Space-Based PNT Advisory Board have stated that they and the GPS community were not properly notified when the FCC removed the limit on the number of base stations deployed on this spectrum. And so it goes on. (See also LightSquared, FCC Rebuttals Distort Record.)
Getting Intimate. Mobile phones are the most personal computing devices. How personal? iPass conducted a study of 3,700 mobile employees at 1,000 enterprises worldwide. Sixty-one percent of these mobile workers sleep with their smartphones and 43 percent of those within arm’s reach. It gets worse. 58 percent of those that sleep with their phones at least occasionally, check it during the night. Not surprisingly, almost a third of mobile workers say their relationship with their smartphone causes friction with their partner. I’d say.
Frienemies. In a newly extended agreement, Google will continue to provide archrival Apple with map and search capabilities. This kills rampant rumors that Apple will have a home-grown mapping database ready in the near term. In March, AppleInsider discovered an Apple job listing for an iOS Maps Application Developer to “radically improve” Apple’s location-based services. Even for Apple, a mapping database will take time to develop.
App Stores Aren’t the Holy Grail. App developers whose marketing strategy starts and ends with getting onto app store “shelves” need a reality check. With more than 200,000 apps on Google’s Android Market and 350,000 on the Apple store, it is hard to stand out. According to Distimo, 20 percent of free applications and 80 percent of all paid applications have been downloaded less than 100 times in the Google Android Market, worldwide. Ninety-six applications have been downloaded more than 5 million times, with Google Maps the winner, with more than 50 million downloads in the Android Market.
Traffic Targeted. Navteq will begin delivering its traffic services in Transport Protocol Expert Group (TPEG) standard format to enable location-targeted traffic services with radius search capabilities and user authentication and session management. The format allows more targeted data to be delivered in smaller file sizes.
Mobile Advertising Flying High. Many of the location content providers are counting on monetizing with mobile advertising, and things are looking good. AdMob is receiving more than 2.7 billion mobile ad requests daily, spanning more than 80,000 mobile applications and websites. Now they are introducing ads for tablet formats. Ad Mob was purchased by Google last year for $750 million.
- Nokia is ending the confusion of its dual names by killing the Ovi brand. Ovi maps, Ovi e-mail, Ovi music, Ovi store, and other Ovi products will continue to operate under the Nokia brand name.
- Industry-backed Future of Privacy Forum is launching a new ApplicationPrivacy.org website to help developers create their own privacy policies. Location privacy concerns have so far been focused on the big players like Apple and Google, but app providers have a critical role.
- Firefox for Android now includes a “do not track” tool that signals all web pages, images and advertisers that the user doesn’t want to be tracked.
- Taipei officials are ordering Apple and Google to offer free seven-day mobile app trials in alignment with Taiwan’s Consumer Protection Act.
- Google is raking in more than 97 percent of U.S. mobile search spending. Yahoo and Microsoft’s Bing share the remainder.
Monetizing with Nothing. The Inside Virtual Goods report estimates $1.6 billion dollars was spent by game players on virtual goods last year and is predicting a 40 percent increase in 2011. There is a gender factor. MocoSpace, mobile entertainment provider, reports that although the percent of male players (53 percent) is only slightly higher than female, men account for 90 percent of all virtual goods purchased in their games. Can you lend me your sword, sir?