3 with dedicated Skypephone

Hutchison's 3 has had a Skype service under its X-Series for a while now but they have now announced the launch of a dedicated Skypephone, which they developed jointly with Qualcomm (to make use of some specific CDMA features) and Skype and which has dedicated Skype buttons. It is said to being produced by Chinese manufacturer Amoi. The service rolls out in the UK and Ireland from this week and will move to 3's other territories (Austria, Australia, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy and Switzerland) thereafter.

The move manifests where 3 sees the future value, and it is not in being paid by minute of voice used. The value clearly lies in mobile data. Now, granted, this is easier for 3 to achieve than for many other operators: 3 started as a 3G operators straight away. Their entire network is high-speed, they don't have any old black-and-white devices hanging around anywhere, etc, etc. However, what it does show is a gutsy approach to break with tradition amongst network operators.

Can the situation be compared with the change from dial-up, pay-per-minute Internet to unlimited broadband? It probably can to an extent. What was the result of that? The change of a commodity-driven business model (bandwidth) to a service and product-driven one (e-commerce, advertising, etc) with the subsequent reduction of previously mighty ISP to mere bit pipes that delivered the data but were otherwise largely interchangeable. This is also the sore spot for network providers because they fear that this will happen to them, too. According to reports, a Skype spokesman reported that Skype was usually told to "go away" by operators, noting "obvious tension".

I would submit though that there is actually less to fear for network operators than there was for the traditional Internet ISP because the billing relationship is - as yet - harder to replace for mobile customers than it was for the Internet customer. I believe this to being the case because of two reasons, namely a) the perceived security (perceived because it does not necessarily reflect reality), and b) the limited input mechanisms of mobile devices (punching in credit card details via your mobile's number pad is a proper pain in the neck and nothing consumers will like to do). Due to restrictions of the screen and device size, this remains the case even if one uses smartphones with a Qwerty keyboard or touch-screen devices.

The above will not guarantee the operators' spot forever but it will certainly make life easier for another couple of years. But then? Well, you better be well-positioned for when the inevitable happens: with most operators already starting to open data services, it can surely only be a question of time until a more liberal approach to what their customers are and are not allowed to use will appear; consumers may well ask what added value an operator had to offer.

3 UK CEO, Kevin Russell, does then expect initial "detractions" from its revenue but hopes to make up for it by adding incremental customers, not only through new additions but also reduction of churn and increased loyalty.

3 does what it has shown to be good at, namely leading change from the front: it has shown that it can sell more content than competitors with many times its market share, and whilst it might all be born frmo sheer necessity (where else would 3 turn to survice), it is good of them to again putting pressure onto the others.

Focus on Nokia

This is less of a commentary of the way you would normally find here but more a reference to a rather good Forbes article on Nokia. It is a glowing review for one but it also recapitulates Nokia's changing fortunes in particular in two areas, namely its various attempts to converting itself into a media company (or a hardware company with a powerful media side to it) and its dealings in the US market (where Nokia has fallen to an astonishingly low market share of only 10% by failing to realise that US Americans love clamshells; its global market share is 39.2%).

On the media front, Nokia has been rather busy recently, both on the buy side (Enpocket, Navteq) as well as with another internally conceived programme (Ovi) and some new investments through the fresh Nokia Growth Partners fund, such as Vollee (streaming rich PC games to mobile phones) and Kyte (in short a multi-platform YouTube). And, as Forbes reports, it now also seems to make strides in the US market: it has entered a deal to supply phones to AT&T (starting with the 6555 tailormade for the US market), and also seems to work with Verizon on improving its footprint there.

Nokia will apparently ship 430m units this year alone. In doing so it grabs 80% of the industry's profits on 39.2% of the market share. Going from strength to strength, it seems.


End2End buys Terraplay

Not too much is being divulged about the latest deal in the consolidation of the mobile sector other than that it happened: The Danish mobile platform company End2End has acquired the Swedish multi-player enabler Terraplay. If well-managed, this could be a smart move: End2End has shown some strength recently in managing the mobile content platforms for a couple of operators whilst Terraplay had quite a few wins in the early land-grab to becoming the operators' partner for the facilitation of multi-player gaming. Combining the two propositions is an imminent win: the true value of mobile games (beside killing time) is its always-on, anytime, anywhere nature. A mobile phone is a communication device, and connected gaming makes use of just that - communication.

Given that most operators/carriers seem to choose an outsourced solution (presumably because they have no internal bandwidth for this - relatively speaking - niche opportunity), the combination of a platform provider with a connected applications enabler is a great move. End2End had a need to ramp up their footprint to avoid becoming a little shadow player in the big land-grab. They have just added this little extra now!

Facebook for Blackberry

At CTIA, Facebook, the new $15bn company, and Blackberry maker RIM presented a downloadable application that powers Facebook on Blackberry devices. This is noteworthy for two reasons:

1. It shows the significance Facebook as gained in older age segments. Facebook is recording incredibly high numbers of new users from "older" segments, and these coincide nicely with Blackberry users who traditionally tend to come from the group of "mobile professionals". At the same time, RIM will certainly try to add to its cool factor for non-business use, and what better thing to waste your data allowance than Facebook?

2. The really noteworthy thing however is that the Facebook app for Blackberry shows how connected mobile applications should work: it is slick, quick, with good UI and works. This should be a wake-up call to OS providers, OEM and carriers alike: the Blackberry has a very close environment, and it controls much of the in and out. It is therefore comparatively easy to build an application that actually does what it says on the tin. This however is not god-given. With a unification of the crucial APIs on the carrier side and the platforms on the OS and OEM sides, it should be possible to create a basis for this to happen with all sorts of applications. I am very keen to see the first usage data for this app, and I really hope that FB and RIM will divulge this. They could do the whole industry not only the "next frontier in social networks" (Facebook's Moskovitz) a huge favour!


GSM Association is on the Money; with Western Union

A lot has been said and heard about the role of mobile telephony to boost the economies of developing and emerging countries, and the same is true for micro-finance, so perhaps this should not come as a surprise: the GSM Association, an umbrella association for 700 GSM operators, has announced a project with Western Union, the money-transfer specialists, under which they will roll out a P2P (peer-to-peer) framework that mobile operators can use to deploy services that enable consumers to send and receive low-denomination, high-frequency money transfers using their mobile phones. The first commercial services that make use of the framework are anticipated to be rolled out beginning in the second quarter of 2008.

Similar services have also been developed by private sector start-ups, such as P2P Cash. However, the combination of a giant like Western Union with more than 300,000 "cash points" around the globe and the dominant trade association of operators shifts the focus, in particular as the project is driven by a host of operator groups with interests in countries that will be on the forefront for such projects. They include Bharti (India), MTN (Africa and Middle-East), Orange (Europe, Caribbean, Africa), Orascom (Africa and Middle-East), Smart (Philippines), Telenor (Norway with interests in Europe and Asia, including a majority stake in Grameenphone in Bangladesh, more of which below) and VimpelCom Apparently, already 35 operators with a reach of more than 800 m customers in more than 100 countries have confirmed their participation in the programme.

The significance of small amounts of money for the development of poorer nations has last but not least been highlighted with the award of the Nobel peace price 2006 to Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank from Bangladesh: it was awarded for "their efforts to create economic and social development from below". One of Mr Yunus'/the Grameen Foundation's projects was the so-called "Village Phone". A sister company of the bank holds a 38% stake in Bangladeshi mobile provider Grameenphone. And thus the circle closes...

The idea is simple: combine the two major development drivers, namely communication and money transfers and you're on to a potentially very powerful lever for economic growth. Great effort!


Motorola loves UIQ

US handset maker Motorola acquired half the shares in UIQ, the smartphone software unit, from Sony Ericsson. Sony Ericsson had bought UIQ from handset OS maker Symbian last year. UIQ is essentially a graphic interface adding components to the Symbian OS. Symbian in turn is 47.9% owned by Nokia. Under UIQ, native programming can be made in C++ although the software does support the - in the mobile games space - ubiquitous J2ME standard. Motorola's new flagship Z8 (nicknamed "MotoRzr" as in "riser") is running on it already. The battle of the OS giants begins...

It is an interesting move since Moto has been the most active OEM for the use of Linux Mobile: it has released a whole range of phones for the open source OS featuring the penguin. It is also one of the founding fathers of the LiMo Foundation, an initiative it embarked on together with industry heavyweights NTT DoCoMo, Vodafone, Samsung, NEC and Panasonic (and which was recently joined by LG, McAfee, Broadcom, Ericsson and others). Now, I understand that Linux and C++ work together but must admit that my knowledge is more than limited here. It is in any event noteworthy that Motorola goes with a UI based on Symbian rather than straight-forward Linux. Motorola was quick to state that UIQ would only be "one of the actions to support [a] strategy" adding more investment in multimedia product segments.

With hundreds of millions in development cost at stake, it is probably too early to tell but it certainly is a new twist in the quest to uproot Nokia's top position with the Symbian s60 platform. So, what's next?

Oasys out of Chapter 11

Oh, the bliss of creditor protection... US mobile publisher Oasys emerged from Chapter 11 after defaulting on a rather sizable $8m debt earlier this year. They had $2m in assets versus $11.8m in debt. Not good. Now they apparently managed to persuade investors to convert debt into equity and off they go again. It was all - more or less - pre-arranged: their investors Associated Partners and Rock Hill Partners had apparently agreed to swap debt for equity, and agreed some interim funding, which apparently allowed them to continue product development. Sitting tight in the interim, they now managed indeed what they had told, namely to emerge as the Phoenix from the flames. For how long? Heaven knows. They have announced a couple of titles but will find arguably not find it easy to compete against the ever tightening battlefield that is mobile game publishing. They had been quick to assure that they would continue "business as usual" and - in particular - would pay licensors pre- and post-restructuring, which will be crucial if they want to see the light of day.

UNO and Phil Hellmuth poker are good titles. Will they be enough though? Their investors seem to think so: the restructuring plan, which the investors apparently supported, foresaw to turn away from their attempts in the D2C market and want to run as a "normal" ASP and publisher. If they can win the carrier decks, this might just work. However, in the poker category, my dear employer's WPT Texas Hold'Em and Glu's World Series of Poker titles go strong, and Oasys will face an uphill struggle with their title. UNO could be cool though it won't be a home run either. Nonetheless: competition is good though! Go on, guys!


Motricity acquires Infospace mobile assets

Now, this is a big deal: Motricity puts $135m in cash onto the table of the under-pressure Infospace people to acquire the remains of the Infospace mobile business, including search, storefronts, portals and messaging. The deal was financed by existing investors Carl Icahn and VC Advanced Equities (see reporting from MoCoNews here and here).

The acquisition marks the end of an odyssey into mobile by Inforspace, in which it first acquired and then effectively destroyed some of the brightest stars on the mobile content sky, including game developers Atlas (bought for $6m, sold for $1.5m), Elkware (bought for some $26m and then closed) and IOMO (bought for $15m, then closed in August 2007) as well as ringtone giants Moviso. They lost people, money and ultimately the businesses (e.g. IOMO's founders have recently opened their new shop, Finblade). What a battlefield...

Motricity's, so far predominantly a platform and storefront provider, entrant into the increasingly competitive content publishing space comes at a time where more and more players try to extend their reach on the value chain: one sees platform providers expanding into master content provider relationships, one sees publishers (e.g. Player X) seizing the same position, and all are in a quest to concentrate enough revenue and margin in order to be able to run a profitable business in an environment where still the majority of players are losing money.

The challenge for Motricity will be to grow its business outside the US, and this is arguably where the risks are hiddedn. In the US, the company claims to have now grown their distribution footprint to 11 of "top 13" North American carriers (which leave another 10 that are apparently not top), which however seems OK since they add two of the biggies which they couldn't reach before, namely mighty Verizon and AT&T (I still prefer the name Cingular!). The gamble is arguably being mitigated by the presumed synergies through the search, portal and messaging business, and this is where I suspect the balance of risk lies in respect of the financial considerations: because it harnesses Motricity's existing business, the venture into the publishing side of things appears somewhat less risky. All in all, a deal that might just make sense; if the money is adequate? Who could say? What proportion of growth will come through which part of the business? Hmmm. There have been deals that, on the face of it, looked more reckless in the past (remember the seemingly atrocious $145m Jamdat paid for Blue Lava [incl. $8m non-breakup fee to Tetris, LLC])? It paid off for them as then EA bought them for a rather sweet $680m. I would not suggest that the same will happen to Motricity although, looking at the monies invested into them to date, it will just about have to be the exit its investors are looking to.

Fishlabs nets fresh catch

The wonderful people from Fishlabs from the beautiful city of Hamburg announced the close of their first round of funding by VC Neuhaus Partners. Fishlabs, who are specializing in high-end 3D mobile games want to use it to add connectivity to their games. Wonderful coincidence then that "best friends" Exit Games are also an investee of Neuhaus.

Whilst I am not sure if the words of the Neuhaus Partners Managing Partner according to which 3D games are about to become mass-market are true just yet, the addition of connectivity to the beautiful titles of the Fishlabs guys will make for a very powerful proposition. And it might not matter when the mass market sets in because the niche for these high-end gems might just about become large enough for a gifted development house. The perceived value of such games will be higher and, with Exit Games' connectivity suite, this value can be extended even further.

This seems to be confirmed by a couple of deals they have done in the past months where they extended distribution to highly evolved regions like Korea as well as with some tier-2 publishers like Player X, which has a larger reach than Fishlabs could have mustered themselves.

In any event, I wish them a good catch!

Disclaimer: yes, I have lived in Hamburg and love the city. Yes, I know the guys from Fishlabs and Exit Games and really like them. No, I do not benefit in any way.


SendMe off portal: adding buzz (or rather mbuzzy)

The fine folks from SF-based SendMe Mobile have acquired mbuzzy, the latter allegedly being the "first US off-portal community" (it always is in the definition of the terms, I guess). Whatever the marketing spin might be, it is impressive how the small start-up seems to assert itself into the US mobile content market. They had recently announced a deal to distribute Glu Mobile's games and have also closed deals with Sony Pictures and UK game aggregator Telcogames.

mbuzzy has more than half a million mobile users who have downloaded over 15 million pieces of videos, wallpapers and ringtones (they don't call it personalization, which would be uncool as others stop that offering altogether but social media instead) to their mobile phones. It allows sharing of content and consumption both on your mobile and the PC. Pretty much up to scratch then. They will add the viral element to SendMe's content offering, which is effectively a mix of generally available hit games, imagery and music and simple text-based trivia games. They also run SoLow.com, a reverse auction site.

It is good to see that there does seem to be a market outside the carrier decks in the US after all. After the recent announcements (here and here) from Jamba/Jamster and Zingy/Vindigo, one could have started to doubt: Jamba is rumoured to re-focus on Europe (perhaps surprising after their Simpsons coup) whilst Zingy announced a name change and the closing of its personalization business. However, it seems to be the content mix that makes it. If the viral mbuzzy guys leverage that further, even better. Rock on, SendMe!


Zed's community is precious!

Zed announced that it "will unveil a bunch of hugely ambitious community services at CTIA". The new stuff was apparently previewed at a closed press briefing in Madrid today, to which, alas, I was not privy... Test services will apparently go live in two weeks’ time during CTIA.

Zed had announced it had invested a whopping EUR50 million in a web 2.0/mobile 2.0 strategy to drive subscriptions around community services "such as multiplayer gaming, IM, blogging and so on".

After former owner Sonera had sunk legendary fortunes into developing Zed into some monster brand, most people thought it was more or less doomed. When Spanish group LaNetro took them over though, it re-positioned itself and, with 85% in-house produced own content (no royalties) and sometimes contested subscription bodels grew revenues to a rather impressive $320m in 2006.

Now, in the community area, Zed is said to contribute some of the cash it invested into statiOn, an application for PC and mobile that consolidates all these services in one place for Zed subscribers. Version 2 (what a fitting version number for a web 2.0 app) will apparently be launched at CTIA.

Whilst I believe it is entirely on the money to predict that "the mobile market will go the same way as the wired internet in the direction of community services", I am not sure if a - arguably complex-ish - PC-mobile application is the way out; this does not give anyone anything new. In fact, a lot of social networks and communities already today seamlessly evolve into platform-agnostic things: Jaiku uses mobile as a major part, Facebook Mobile sees more users, MySpace and, again, Facebook have announced recent deals in the mobile space, Yospace (acquired by Emap; see also here) is serving 3 and O2 UK, my fine employer Hands-On Mobile has launched Yatta-Video on SFR and soon on other carriers, and everyone else has a "social network" or "community" suite on offer. So will we really need a specific application (downloadable?) that will help connect the two media? Isn't it much rather about seamless -- dare I say it? -- convergence WITHOUT the need for additional (complex) application layers? Isn't this one of the public secrets of web 2.0, its incredible ease of use?

Zed concludes its analysis that "the future is certainly not in solo personalisation products". Well, yes, that might be true but is it really well enough positioned to capture users on their quest into the social networks, too, in particular in the light of the above? I will never ever discount Zed again, so I am truly intrigued by what they will announce and I really hope it is something exciting and innovative. Go on!

Nokia pushes content: deal with Telefonica

Nokia is a lot in the headlines (and this blog) these days, but the good folks from Espoo are very busy, it seems. Today, they announced a deal with Telefonica concerning Nokia's content solution. This includes customizing the multimedia menu on Nokia's devices as well as cooperation on billing and some other technology issues. Whilst Ovi, Nokia's new open doors solution to the world of content, was not expressly mentioned, it very much feels like it, and this will be welcome news to Nokia that is said to be slightly miffed over the carriers' recent devotional tour past Apple and the monstrance iPhone; understandably, since Nokia never got a revenue share from carriers in spite of having carried a lot of the weight in developing device capabilities.

This would then be fantastic news for Nokia: finally a mobile network operator that does not throw the NCD off the Nokia devices. Telefonica said, it wants to ensure that customers have access to the best in Internet services. The goal is to drive a "dramatic" increase in user uptake of these new services over the coming years.

The press release mainly focuses on ease of use, easy access, etc, and this is indeed an area of concern for many carriers hindering a larger uptake of mobile content. Nokia natually intends to make sure that any multimedia experience will be best on its own phones rather than competitors' and this, coupled with its respectively designed Ovi service shall further solidify the Finnish giant's lead on the handset market. Carriers on the other hand have continuously struggled to deliver content to consumers in an enticing and exciting way. It became all too often painfully clear that content was not the stuff carriers knew well...

Besides the pretty obvious goals of both parties, it is a noteworthy deal as it may be one step in a shift of the "home of content" from operators/carriers to third parties: D2C has often struggled. On-device-portals were largely marred by carrier reluctance to support them (and often requests to wipe them off the devices), etc. With Nokia moving in, this might change: if this cooperation would indeed result in superior content experience (including the resulting increase in revenue for all parties concerned), this might trigger follow-on deals on both sides: the large OEM will be watching as will be other carrier groups.

Watch this space...

Emotional attachment to mobile content...

Yay, another study is out! This time, we are being told that users have "strong attachment to the content on their devices, which includes address books, ringtones, text, pictures, music, games, and other applications". Ah, it includes the address book and pictures - presumably those primarily taken themselves with the phone's camera. Astonishingly, users reported that losing their phone is far more painful than [...] breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend. Hello? Did they only ask specialists in speed-dating? Over half said that losing their phone would cause their social life to suffer. Well, yes, your evenings can be pretty lonely if you don't have any number of any friend anymore...

66% of the users re-enter new addresses manually into new devices. Have they never heard of the software suites delivered with every phone these days that make this a piece of cake?

There is of course some truth in this, such as the grown significance of mobile phones and mobile-created/stored content, and, yes, because people tend not to use the tools readily available, it can be a pain in the neck when you need to swap the beauties. However, much of the findings appear to be slightly distorted by the above mentioned contacts and pictures. 70% of the users find it extremely or very important to back their contacts up. Doh! Why don't they? This already goes down to 30% for photos - and these are arguably as personal. No word on ringtones and games. Whilst I can see people sweating over having lost 450 telephone numbers including the one of the rich auntie, I struggle to see a user weeping because his Tetris highscore is no longer available on his shiny new phone (although then, they just might). This is in spite of the cost of mobile content, which can be significant when you add up content purchases over the lifetime of the device.

Who commissioned the study you're asking? A company called FusionOne. And what does FusionOne do you say? Well, in their own words: "mobile applications that help consumers protect and manage the personal content on their mobile phones, including contacts, calendar, photos, music and messages." There you have it.

Google goes "livestreaming", acquires Jaiku

Now, this is not strictly mobile BUT then it is considering that the target of which I report here today is heavily using mobile as a tool to feed its community, namely SMS (plus web and IM). It morphs online and offline worlds (nicknamed "bothline"; see here), and mobile is a huge component of this.

Anyway, Google, it was announced, has acquired the good folks from Jaiku. For those not that familiar with the radically new web 2.0 applications: Jaiku is a Twitter competitor where you basically "speed-blog" or "live-stream". Jaiku adds proximity settings: users in the same area can/will be able to get in touch with each other and interact.

At PICNIC'07, I recently had the pleasure of listening to Jaiku's co-founder, Jyri Engestrom (plus the good guys from Twitter, Plazes, Dopplr and Hyves), talking about the relevance of applications such as Jaiku. There is a video of the session available here.

It is (still) all about relevance and context. Jyri observed that context evolves around objects (such as office, Manchester United, kite-surfing, babies, red Bordeaux, and, yes, location...). The object defines the (social) context: you might be interested in the capability of webservers in your professional environment and discuss this wholeheartedly with someone else with who you would not have a single point of mutual interest outside of work. Change the object, change the context. Jyri (in his rather interesting blog) calls this object-centered sociality (yes, he is a sociologist).

Jaiku supposedly helps making focus on any object easier as it provides quick and universally accessible tools to see the activity streams of your contacts. The mobile version does this by getting those streams directly into your phone's contacts. Cool stuff.

However, why would Google buy them (apart from it being cool and Google being cash-rich)? Relevance and context, again. These are the core pieces around which Google's core business evolves: put ads in a relevant context and you improve click-through. Jyri characterized this by drawing the history of content discovery from catalogue (Yahoo!) via pagerank (Google) to what he termed "facerank", combining the power of the search algorithms from Google with the power of the social network from Facebook. The latter is e.g. a search result that would take the social context of the, say, search string (the object). Friends, people close to you, colleagues, other fans of your club, etc are more likely to have come across something that is relevant to you than someone who has no touch-point with you whatsoever. You don't have to know them personally: connoisseurs of Bordeaux wines might only have "met" in the virtual world. Still, since the context evolved around a common object (Bordeaux wine), it is more likely that you will hit a relevant spot through them. The higher the socially-enhanced rank of a search result, the more relevant it is likely to be... Compelling and rather inspiring!

So this is what Google may have in mind: bring the context to the people -- again! Well done, guys!


Nokia maps it out, buys Navteq

Nice thing if you can get it: for a modest $8.1 bn ($7.7 bn if you discount the cash the company has in its coffers), Nokia acquired the provider of digital maps, Navteq. Even though this marks Nokia's largest acquisition ever, it is a hardly surprising move given the recent activities of the company to flex its muscles in the content space. Its Nokia Maps application cried out for something like that (it ran on Navteq-supplied maps anyhow). To combine GPS-equipped phones with the people who power loads of todays digital maps seems smart, in particular when one fairly apparent new competitor in Nokia's courtyard runs a fairly successful digital mapping solution itself, namely Google: If the proprietor of Google Maps enters the handset market with the already somewhat fabled GPhone (another article here), Nokia is arming itself to withhold and defend its still impressive market share of c 1/3 of the global market for mobile handsets, errh, multimedia devices. Last year's acquisition of Gate5 seems to not have been enough for that. No other big OEM has come out with GPS-enabled devices with force yet, so Nokia's move would also cement its positions amongst its current peers.

So what will we see? Easy, huh? After turning mobile phones in multimedia computers and slashing away on the digital camera and music player market along the way, navigation systems (or "sat nav" as your ubiquitous salesman affectionately calls it) will apparently be the next victim: who needs them if one has a GPS-equipped Nokia N95 (which, yes, also comes with a digital camera powered by a prestigious Carl Zeiss lense and has 8GB space to accommodate your music and videos).

This is the near-sighted and easy bit and I am all for it: if I can have the quality of specialist devices merged into one, then that is my device of choice even though the challenge is that you then have to beat every leader in the segment. But the history of camera and music phones shows that there is a niche that is rather a gaping cleft, in particular when also cleverly branded, and one that is apparently growing. So why not for sat nav, too?

The magic word however is context-awareness. It can probably be called the holy grail of service and product discovery and the provision of relevant offers: if I am being offered something in a context that makes the offer relevant, I am much more likely to be lured into using/buying it. This is exactly how Google's famed AdSense works (and advertising is an area Nokia recently focussed on, too, i.e. with the acquisition of Enpocket).

The principle of context increasing relevance naturally applies to everything: if I am hungry, I am more likely to visit a restaurant. If I am at an airport, I am more likely to be interested in flight times, or travel offers, etc, etc. So combining a device that adds an important context parameter, namely location with a platform like Nokia's Ovi that adds an array of different services (games, music, maps, etc) looks like a model that should increase the likelihood of a purchase - because it can offer the user a more relevant offering in the context in which he uses the device. Nokia seems to be finding it easier to get its content-loaded multimedia devices past the carriers' doors, too, that is if Graeme Ferguson, ex-Vodafone Content Meister, is to be believed...

However, I will continue to call it a mobile phone...