Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Tablet optimized websites at NAB

Written by Jon Arne Sæterås

Product Director

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Mobiletech is joining Vizrt and Escenic on NAB this year. For this year we have made a real killer! In addition to the usual mobile phone optimized presentation, we now also offer iPad and tablet optimised presentation and interaction.

The difference between a “regular web site” in iPad and an optimised one, is getting quite some attention at NAB:

See a video here:

Mobile Web vs. Native Apps. Revisited

Written by Jon Arne Sæterås

Product Director

Friday, April 9th, 2010

It is about time to revisit the “native app or mobile web” question. I wrote a blog post on this a while back explaining the differences between these two ways of entering the mobile. Since then lots have happened in our business, both with regards to hardware and software. And not to forget, the usage of mobile web and apps.

As you know, Mobiletech believes in the mobile web as the platform for pretty much everything on mobile. We love iPhone apps, for sure. Mobile web and native apps can live happily side by side. Read this blog post as an advice where to make your future proof investment, and you can still create native apps for other cases.

Some background statistics

According to Informa market data there were 666 million mobile internet users by the end of 2009. This number is excepted to grow to 2.13 billion by 2014. According to Admob smartphones accounts for close to 50% of all mobile web traffic. Of the ~330 million smartphone users 50% have iPhone, 24% have Android, 18% have Symbian and 4% have RIM OS * (We know that these numbers are way to high since smartphone penetration is extremely high in Admobs markets. Some say that iPhone accounts for 2% globally and smartphones 15%). Feature phones are loosing terrain,while “internet enabled devices” (iPad, PSP, Nintendo DS etc) are gaining.

Globally the smartphone sales from 2009 is dominated by Symbian:


Source: CloudFour.

The Mobile Web – worlds biggest app-store!

The numbers above points out that surfing the internet on mobile is popular and will be much more popular in the future. Many different sources suggests that web on mobile will be the dominant channel in the near future. Google says desktop web will soon be irrelevant. Search is also one of the most popular activities on mobile web according to Novarra. All in all, the potential discoverability on the web is very good! In addition to search you also have a stronger presence of social media on the mobile web. So for mobile web applications the audience is 666 million, smartphone native apps 330 million, iPhone apps 165 million.

Get the users to your site or app.

According to MocoNews, the New York Times iPhone application has reached 3 million downloads. How many regular users is that? If the numbers from Pinch Media are correct, this means 30000 users on a regular basis. Again, it is difficult to compare this number to the equivalent on mobile web, but the number of returning users on mobile web sites is way higher than 1%. If I look at the numbers Mobiletech has access to the lowest percentage I could come up with is 10% when it comes to regular users over time. From a big North-American customer of ours I know that most users are regulars, and that the number of page views has increased threefold the last year.

Different services, different medium.

According to a report from Taptu there are differences between what type of content or service fits best on web or apps. Obviously, games works best as native apps as they often use heavy graphics and benefit from not having to access resources via a browser. However, shopping (mCommerce) and services prefer the mobile web. According to Taptu this is because many of the mCommerce products do not fit into the static iTunes content oriented billing model. This fact is true for other sectors as well. On the mobile web you have the freedom to create what ever business model you want.


One thing that we have learned from the apps is that they are great for marketing. Once you got an app, you get potentially lots of attention since the “app phenomenon” is so hyped and hot these days. So from a marketing perspective apps are great!

Usability; Native apps vs. mobile web

However, user testing of people attempting tasks on their mobile devices shows that the apps have much higher usability than the websites. For an “average” mobile site, compared to a glossy native iPhone app that is very true. As Jakob Nielsen points out; awkward input, download delays and badly designed sites are the main reasons. But remember that the iPhone app is tailor made for iPhone. The average mobile site is not. Therefore it is extremely important to adapt the presentation and interaction model to the device and browser you are serving. Gartner believes this will be the case in the near future as well:

“In mature markets, the mobile Web, along with associated Web adaptation tools, will be a leading technology for B2C mobile applications through 2012, and should be part of every organization’s B2C technology portfolio.” (Gartner, 2010)

Maintenance of mobile web apps compared to native apps.

If you have a good system for doing adaptation of content and presentation to mobile devices and browsers, you only need one codebase to develop and maintain. This will then work across all devices, feature phones as well as smart phones.

On the app side, however, you have a number of platforms you have to support. First you have the iPhone. The iPhone platform was pretty straight forward (even if you had the iPod with slightly different capabilities), but now the iPad has arrived. Now, you need to create an iPad version of your app as well.

The other big one is Android. Andriod is growing fast and gaining market from Apple rapidly. So you might want to create an Android app as well. But one version of the Android app is not good necessarily enough. Due to the nature of Googles Android project there might be fragmentation among Android implementation on devices as well. A similar issue as with the good old Java applications.

Symbian is the next big one. Even if the market share is decreasing it is still significant. RIM is also so big that it makes an impact. We should also mention Java, Windows Phone 7 / Mobile and WebOS from Palm.

Editorial control and freedom

To be able to control the content and presentation is very important for any content provider. Due to the cumbersome maintenance and update routines in native applications and appstores this process can take several weeks. The work includes programming, testing, approval process and then the end users have to actively choose to update the app. On mobile web apps you only have to do limited programming and testing. The users will then always get the latest content and experience.

Business models

Yes, most app-stores comes with a ready-to-use business model where the end users pay for the application, upgrades or access to content or services. In the iPhone case Apple is calling all shots; IF you will get business, HOW you will get business, and HOW MUCH revenue is shared with you. Currently 30/70. This seems to be a small price to pay to get access to a working payment scheme. But I have not heard of a single case from the media- , content-, services industry about anyone actually making money on this business model. We will probably get the proof when the iPad has been in the market a while. The media industry is hoping that the iPad will be the saviour of the badly hit business sector, but it is not looking good according to early numbers.

“One big trend that’s apparent: big media and entertainment companies are doing very well in top free apps, but are barely present in top paid apps, whether by number of apps downloaded, or by the gross revenues from their apps”

Frankly, after testing a few of these “iPad magazine apps” my self, I am not surprised.

So how about the business models on the mobile web? Well, there are none. In my experience in the mobile space this seems to be the main issue compared to native apps. Content owners and publishers don’t know how to make money on mobile web. This can be a show-stopper, I fully understand that. On the other hand we don’t know if the app-store model is working either. Further, on the positive side, no out-of-the-box business model means that you are free to create your very own where you get all revenue and the direct customer relationship. You probably have some business models from your desktop web offering you can reuse and adapt to mobile as well. Reuse is good.

Before you can get any business model to work, you need eye balls. As a part of the web, the eyeballs are closer and many more than just the “iPhone segment” or “app segment”. Next step would be to make sure the users who found your mobile web site come back again. Then we need to make the user feel happy and satisfied. This is where usability and optimised presentation and interaction comes into the picture. Now you have what you need to start exploring business models on the mobile web. The mobile industry is just at the breaking point of entering this stage now. Some have found working business models, other haven’t. Probably the business models will vary from case to case. There will not be a common mobile web business model. Even the mobile advertising business model is still immature. Still too close to desktop advertising. Hence, not utilising the unique aspects of the mobile channel.

My advice for the right direction would be: Think social media, think CRM, think mobile uniqueness, think rich media. There is a business model in there somewhere.

Owen Gloss spent $32,000 developing the iPhone app Dapple and made a total of $535 in revenue during the first month of sale. To break even, Owen needed to reach 9150 downloads. Read more of the interesting story here and a follow-up here.


Owen concludes with “I hope that this article might serve as a counter-point to the articles that seem to go around the web about devs making hundreds of thousands of dollars off an iPhone app. Everyone within the dev community understands that the odds of that happening are very slim”.

Best from both worlds

The Norwegian case “Meny” is a great example on how to get the distribution and business model from the app-store, and get the flexibility and the integrated workflow from the mobile web. The native app is only a skinned browser showing an optimised mobile web site. The same site as can be viewed through the web browser. Other approaches to such hybrid solutions include Appmakr and a hand full of others.


HTML5 apps

The term “HTML5 apps” was introduced to me by Peter-Paul Koch. HTML5 apps are applications using the features of HTML5 in different wrappings. The app can run in a browser or it can be a standardized W3C Widget which is for all practical reasons a native application. I won’t dive into details on HTML5 here, but HTML5 includes many new features that makes it possible to create web based applications behaving like native apps. chose HTML5 apps over native iPhone apps. This video explains the concept:


The Morgan Stanley mobile report states that HTML5 capable browsers and run-times are increasing rapidly. Further, Google have announced that they now put mobile before desktop, and the platform they have chosen is the web. For example Google Voice is a HTML5 app.

The W3C Widgets is a standard that allows web applications to run on the device like a native app. These widgets can even run on the desktop when the phone is idle. Moreover, widgets are not limited to phones. Widgets can run on desktops, kiosks, Macs, and more will come. Currently, you can run widgets on some Nokias, Vodafone S60 and Samsung phones, Opera desktop and mobile , the Bolt browser , and Windows Mobile 6.5. The future for widgets and apps based on web standards is bright, especially considering the work W3C is doing with the JavaScript APIs to sensors and services on the phone.

Here is a video explaining how the Facebook widget works on a Nokia N97:


So, you can easily create an augmented reality app like Layar using HTML5 and device APIs in the very near future. Good thing about that is that the HTML5 codebase works on more devices than the iPhone codebase.


I will try to sum this up in a table for your convenience:

Native apps (iPhone, iPad, Android, RIM, Symbian etc)HTML5 Apps (Mobile Web, Widgets)
OpennessOpen to anyone who signs an agreementOpen for real
Entry Cost$99/$299/$200 etc.0
Revenue split70/30 (Apple) or similar100% to you
Releases1-2 weeksContinuous
MicropaymentsYesNot good enough
PortabilityDevelop for each platformThe web covers all platforms capable of browsing
Discoverability You will need a very well defined strategy to break into the top list for your category in order to make it (AdWhirl estimates $1875 per day advertising budget can get you there , Pinch Media says the impact of being in the top 100 is a daily increase of 2.3x in the number of users)The web is known material, and one big appstore. Search, hyper linking, advertising are common and well known methods.
Market size and reachOnly selected platforms (smart phones are about 50% of the market ).All internet enabled devices. Cover 100% more end users than a full blown app approach.
Usage of device APIsAccess to most APIs like GPS, accelerometer, address book etc.Access to some. Like GPS. With HTML5 even more, and soon standardised by Device APIs and Policy Working Group
MaintenanceDifficult to support and maintain after app is downloaded. Multiple codebases to maintain.Users always gets the latest version. You are in control. One single codebase.
User interfaceClose to full controlLimited to the device/browser capabilities and the experience will vary.
Offline usageYesYes. With HTML5, Google Gears etc.
Distribution via appstoresYesYes + the web
Icon on desktop/home screenYesYes, and even the application running on the desktop.
Handling of heavy graphicsVery goodNot good for gaming. HTML5 provides functionality that is more than good enough for inline video and as a “flash replacement”.
SexynessVery sexyThe average is not very sexy. Depending on the device and how it is designed.
Icon on home screenYesYes. As a bookmark opening the browser, or as a widget running directly in the desktop.

Sources; Mobiletech, CloudFour,

*) The stats here is not very comparable, I know. But good enough to give a picture. Informa has had a closer look and compared different sources in this PDF report.

Video demo of Escenic Mobile Solution

Written by Jon Arne Sæterås

Product Director

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Escenic Mobile Solution demoed by Alexandra.


Thank you all who visited us at MWC in Barcelona

Written by Jon Arne Sæterås

Product Director

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Barcelona is the perfect place for meeting interesting people with a passion for mobile, as your self. We got many new ideas and projects from you and we are eager to get going! Thank you for taking your time to meet us!

Did you miss us or did you not go to Barcelona this year? No worries, have a look at our activity calendar and book a meeting with us at one of the conferences. Closest up is mediaXchange in Orlando.

Here are some videos from the conference as well:

Michael interviewed by


John Arne interviewed by (in Norwegian)


Is the iPad a mobile device like any other mobile phone in terms of browsing?

Written by Jon Arne Sæterås

Product Director

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Well, then the iPad is launched, finally. The internet is full of reviews and opinions, so I will not replicate that. iPad_times_42245a

I am sure this device will satisfy some needs out there (I will get one, for sure! Me and my sofa have the need), but the main question concerning us there at Mobiletech is; Is this a mobile device that we should enable support for in our software- and service offering?

We have said earlier that we are not sure, yet. Until now the tablets have been the magic device everyone talks about but no one have seen or tried. Some said it would be the silver bullet and the missing link, other more sceptical. We are still not sure about if, how or when we will enable support for such devices as the iPad. We would like the feedback from you to help us make this decision.

Let me explain how we consider our role: We make digital content fit into the mobile browsing context so that it is easy and enjoyable to consume and interact with. So the question we ask our selves is “can we do anything to make the browsing experience better on the iPad based on the dimensions in mobile that are our core?”

Below is a simple pros and cons table from the top of my head.

Yes, its a mobile device that should be treated as any other mobile phone or handheld deviceNo, this device does not need any adaption.
  • iPad has an interaction model that is not ideal for sites built for the mouse and keyboard as the input devices.
  • The average web site out there today will not be fully compatible with the context the iPad provides.
  • The iPad has a “mobile phone operating system”, same as iPhone.
  • The device comes with a SIM (some devices).
  • The device is mobile.
  • Preferred device for surf and read email and other “30 sec tasks” you wont use your PC or laptop for.
  • Does not support flash.
  • No multitasking.
  • The screen size is close to other high end devices (N900 etc) that we do consider mobile devices and hence support.
  • Low bandwidth using 3g, demand optimizing of data sent across.
  • Wap billing and other network services may work and be value adding if 3G is enabled.
  • The screen is big enough to browse and read sites made for desktop/laptop devices.
  • Powerful processor compared to many “classic mobile phones”.
  • Do support html5 fairly well, in addition to other “desktop mark-up standards”.
  • iPad is not “the new mobile phone” and will not replace mobile phones. Its a new “device class”.
  • The browser handles web sites very well (except flash, Adobe says its around the corner).
  • No GPS, cant utilize location fully.
  • Not necessarily as personal a device as the mobile phone is.
  • It is not a pocket device, that is “always with you”

So there are definitely many features we currently offer through our software that the iPad could benefit from. Our finger-tip-touch-friendly widgets (like for the iPhone), billing, identification and location, mobile metrics services are just a few. There is no doubt that our Mobiletech Frame product already support the iPad and can produce a site that utilises all unique aspects on the iPad, much better than a “regular web site”! On the other hand there are some points indicating that this device should not be treated as a handheld or mobile device as it does not share all capabilities a regular mobile phone holds. The iPad will not replace the PC, laptop or the mobile phone. If you have the time, use our framework to create a iPad optimised site. You will be amazed about the difference.

So we have not yet decided our position. We need to try and evaluate the device before we can recommend anything. The most important thing for us is that our offering fits into your workflow and value chain. We can do both or a little bit of everything. Hence, we would like to invite you to give your opinion on the iPad. Would an “iPad optimised browsing experience” be something you would except from Mobiletech? Please comment this blog post, send us an email, tweet us or call us.

The Mobile Web traffic is increasing rapidly in Norway

Written by Jon Arne Sæterås

Product Director

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

During 2009 there has been an incredible growth in the usage of mobile web in Norway. I have compiled an illustration below from TNS-Gallups data. The graph shows number of unique users. The winner is with a growth of 111%. When it comes to number of page views is the winner with an increase of 177% (!) but “only” 66% increase in number of unique users.

In total across all measured sites we have and an over all growth in number of page views by 110% in 2009.


Mobiletech believe this trend will continue in 2010 as more and more sites and portals are being adapted to mobile.

The mobile highway in 2010

Written by Jon Arne Sæterås

Product Director

Friday, December 18th, 2009

It is finally time to look ahead into the next year of mobile. 2009 has most certainly been “a year of mobile”, but 2010 will be even bigger. You can read the our blog post of predictions for 2009 and you will see that most of it actually happened. 2009 was the year when the world finally realised the potential of mobile and how freaking huge it is and how much it will grow! There are 3.8 billion mobile phones out there. 2009 was the year where more people were surfing mobile web than desktop web. 1.2 billion mobile web surfer vs.. 1 billion desktop web surfers. So Mobiletech agrees with the CEOs of Google, Microsoft, Apple and Yahoo: Mobile Internet Is and Will be Bigger Than Most Think! (Morgan Stanley).

So what about 2010? You think stuff happened quickly in 2009? Brace yourselves for 2010! The content owners have just learned enough about how mobile web works to make decisions, but during 2010 the basis of these decisions will already be old fashioned, wrong and will lead to many failing investments and efforts. Below I will explain shortly a few areas worth following.

The handsets

The iPhone is a game-changer. Hence, many have focused on the iPhone by creating iPhone sites. Mobiletech has been shouting since iPhone was launched: “IT IS NOT ABOUT THE IPHONE!”, and 2010 will prove that. iPhone will still be a popular device, but there will be others. We see some of these devices today, but 2010 will show us more. Google will launch a phone, new Android devices will come, Nokia is looking for the holy grail. So for those believing that the mobile technology market will soon be defragmented, sorry, but the fragmentation will be worse than ever. Even among Android devices. Even if iPhone is still going to be the most important device on the mobile web in 2010 you will exclude most users if you choose to go for an “iPhone site”. So, it’s not about the iPhone, it is really about the new interaction model introduced by the iPhone. This interaction model will be the dominant for most new devices in 2010 but the implementation of the interaction model will be fragmented due to different handset capabilities and browsers. And not to forget e-readers. Is the Kindle a mobile device? what about tablets? Take a look at this YouTube video, and this digital magazine.


Is this a mobile device? Can you publish your desktop web to these kinds of devices you think? No you can’t. So, fragmentation is still the keyword for 2010 when it comes to handsets and devices.


So what about the 2009-famous iPhone apps? 2010 will be the year of maintenance cost of applications. In 2009 applications have been funded of the marketing budget is my judgement. But that does not make sense for long term maintenance of software stuff. Apps are still important as “app stores” pop up all over that place and some of them are good distribution channels. The mobile web will however be the basis of the most successful applications of those that survive the year of maintenance cost of iPhone apps.

Widgets, the new apps.

Widgets, small web apps running on your home screen, will start to emerge in 2010. We have seen a preview this year already on Nokia N97 for example. Widgets are built on web technology and behave exactly as an application, or even better in most cases. The beauty of widgets is that they are built on web technology; mark-up, JavaScript and css. That means that there is a synergy to what you do on your “general” mobile web presence.

But what about accessing the GPS, camera, address book and all the other cool stuff applications can a website can’t? Well, in 2010 support for HTML5 will be implemented in mobile browsers more widely than today. HTML5 provides many features that will really enrich the mobile web. Offline storage, and many of the features you find in Google Gears, will be implemented. I addition, W3C is working on device APIs that enables access to camera, address book, calendar etc. from the browser. This work will not finish for some time yet, but we see already that for example the iPhone has implemented access to the GPS from the browser.

The mobile operators role

What is the most popular mobile operator in terms of connecting to the internet you think? It’s Wi-Fi. In US close to 30% are surfing the mobile web over Wi-Fi. In Norway the number is 46%. This change happened mainly in 2009 and will continue into 2010. This means that mobile internet services that traditionally have relied upon value adding services from the mobile operator, such as billing and location will be useless during 2010. Be sure to adapt to how the users use your mobile web offering. Some mobile operators will also start evaluating their need for a mobile web portal/walled garden for their users. Maybe some bold and smart operators will discontinue their current portal efforts as well.

Another evidence of mobile operators loosing power in the mobile industry is that Nokia will not have a presence as usual at the Mobile World Congress in 2010. Further, handset manufacturers will want more control with their handsets, as Nokia with their Maemo, leaving less options for the mobile operators.

Mobile = Social

I wrote last year that social networks will be big. And they have become! Really big! 25% of all Facebook users are using their mobile. And there are lots of other examples. This is not such strange thing when we know that mobile is first and foremost a social thingy. The lesson is still don’t try to create a social network, join others. I still use the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet as an excellent example of adding value to this service by connecting to Facebook Connect. It is on mobile web we will see “Web 2.0” materialising. The biggest mistake to make in 2010 is probably to NOT include the mobile in new internet projects!

Closing words

From a great and massive report by Morgan Stanley. They put it very well by saying:

Mobile Internet Is and Will be Bigger Than Most Think

And following up with:

Rapid Ramp of Mobile Internet Usage Will be a Boon to Consumers and Some Companies Will Likely Win Big (Potentially Very Big) While Many Will Wonder What Just Happened.

Book time with the Mobiletech’ers at MWC 2010

Written by Jon Arne Sæterås

Product Director

Friday, December 11th, 2009

As usual Mobiletech is attending Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February

You can already now book time to meet us. Fill in the form below.

Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, on mobile

Written by Jon Arne Sæterås

Product Director

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, is embracing mobile. Watch this video on youtube.

As we Mobiletech’ers have known for years, Schmidt says that a mobile connected with the cloud can do “magical things”.

“The mobile platforms, Android and the others, are so powerful now that you can build client apps that do magical things that are connected with the cloud. This is I think the most visually obvious example of that…don’t limit your imagination to this set of problems. Anything where you can produce this phenomenal customer benefit when you have a mobile device broadly defined connected to the cloud….Obviously we like the price of free because the consumers like that as well and we can figure out ways to use advertising to pay for it.”

Mobiletech-article in Finansavisen

Written by Mobiletech

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009
Monday 26th of October Mobiletech was featured in the Norwegian financial newspaper Finansavisen.

Below is a scan of the article. The article is in Norwegian.

From Finansavisen 26th Oct. 2009


Washington D.C.