Samsung Device InfographicThink about the last time you visited a mobile store, you probably noticed that Samsung is offering the most devices (phones and tablets).

If you have been feeling that Samsung is releasing a new device every week or month, you are not alone. Take a look at this infographic created by British mobile news website Which? illustrating how many mobile devices have been released in the UK this past year.

With 26 devices released in one year, it is like a new device every two weeks! The good thing about this is that they offer many screen sizes at different price points, allowing all customers with any budget to find the right mobile device for them. On the other hand, it may be super confusing for the user to understand the real differences between all these devices.

Comparing with Samsung’s main competitor, Apple has released only four devices in the past year (iPhone 5, iPod Touch 5, iPad 4 and iPad Mini). With this huge contrast (26 vs. 4) and knowing that Apple made a choice to make only a few devices, we can really say that these two companies have two very different approaches in this market. Though, we can’t help but wonder if Samsung’s strategy isn’t working a bit better given the significant increase in Android sales we have been seening lately.

What do you think? Is the Samsung’s Galaxy getting too big? Let us know! Tweet us @PlasticMobile.

Patent graphBeing a mobile agency, we tend to think mobile is a big deal. According to numbers coming out of the U.S. patent office, we are not the only ones. Nearly 25% of all patents in 2013 will be related to mobile. That’s up from just 5% in 2001!

There are a lot of dollars being spent on mobile R&D, but who is leading the way in this patent stampede? Samsung.

The South Korean tech giant was granted the most mobile-related patents last year. This strong showing helped them overtake IBM for having the largest stable of mobile patents. This doesn’t even include all the pending patents they have.

There are a number of reasons Samsung finds itself with more patents than any of its competitors. Most importantly is the breadth of operations they are involved in. Not only do they make handsets, they also produce transistors and many other components found in their competitors mobile phones. This coupled with their close relationship with South Korean telecoms in producing mobile networking technology means that they have their fingers in more pies, producing more patents.

With all this money being spent technology is moving at lightning pace. Can you keep up? Let us hear about your favourite mobile inovations on twitter @PlasticMobile

benchmarkBetween all the big annual technology conferences (CES, MWC, SXSW, ect.) and manufacturer launches introducing new smartphones, this year started pretty well.

The first big announcement was BlackBerry with two new devices, the Z10 and Q10. HTC followed with their HTC One and most recently Samsung with the Samsung Galaxy S4. The Galaxy S4 will be the fastest smartphone on the market (once released) according to benchmark scores we are seing on the Internet (see picture above).

Mobile World Conference also introduced a few dual-screen smartphones, but only the one having an e-ink screen on the back looked interesting to me. It will be probably better to wait to see a better implementation of e-ink on other future devices.

Two other mobiles, even if not boxing in the same category as the heavyweights, also appeared recently. The first one is an emergency phone called SpareOne, which can keep its charge for 15 years on a single AA battery. The second one is called Phone Strap 2 and it’s pretty funny in a time when our phones keep getting bigger, this one is the smallest phone in the world.

Even pay phones might get greatly improved very soon, starting with New York City and their pay phone of the future project.

Back to smartphones, we also saw bunch of new different accessories for iPhone in the last few weeks. The Breathometer connects to your phone and will help you check if you are too drunk to drive. The Thermodo will give you the temperature anywhere you are and the Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner is the perfect accessory if you need to save your 35 mm films.

In the near future, we might also see the Talking Shoe concept from Google, but the electronic tattoo or this medical implant should be more useful for Humans by sending information from your body to your smartphone, alerting you of issues like a heart attack and maybe even saving your life.

Tell us if you’ve been excited about any of the amazing announcements this year! Tweet us @PlasticMobile

BW: A Galaxy of Rumours

By on March 13, 2013

GSIV

The official launch of the new Galaxy SIV is this Thursday. Despite Samsung doing a remarkable job keeping the juiciest details (including what it looks like) from leaking, nothing can stop the rumor mill from spinning.

The Launch of Samsung’s flagship phone is big news in mobile and has been the talk of the office lately. We rounded up some choice rumours for your consideration. Keep in mind that this is all speculation and we will not know until tomorrow if any of this is true.

- Eye-tracking tech, so when you are looking at your phone it will be looking back at you. The GSIV will track your eye movements and scroll pages for you when you are at the bottom of the screen. Useful, yes. Creepy, perhaps.

- Eight-core processor with a separate eight-core graphics processing unit and 2gb of RAM. The top of the line hardware rumoured to be inside the GSIV will make it the fasted phone on the market. This could lead to battery issues unless. . .

- 4.99inch, 440ppi, Green PHOLED display. Screen technology has not evolved nearly as fast as the rest of the industry. This rumoured new tech will increase screen efficiency by up to 33% wile providing a sharper image than the Super AMOLED screen currently found in the GSIII

- 13 megapixedl rear facing 3D camera. 3D has had a hard time getting off the ground. Could putting a 3D camera on what promised to be a hugely popular phone be the catalyst it need? This seems like an odd match, but Samsung makes 3D televisions and has a hard time selling them so this dark horse rumour may be more credible than it looks. Very interesting.

Are you looking forward to the Galaxy SIV launch? What features do you hope to see in the new GSIV? Let us know on Twitter @PlasticMobile

2012 For Mobile’s World

By on February 15, 2013

It seems like Samsung finally became “the king” of the mobile space in 2012 by selling over 384,631,200 phones. Surprisingly, for the first time in 15 years, Nokia is finally not the biggest mobile distributer in the world. Nokia followed behind Samsung, only selling 333,938,000 units, with Apple in third, only selling 130,133,200 phones. Even though Samsung is not as appealing as the iPhone in the US, Samsung still ended up getting 80% of Android device sales for 2012.

Another important fact is worldwide sales for mobile phones declined by 1.7% last year. This sounds realistic because more and more people already have a mobile device, and not everyone purchases a new phone every year. For more information, see Gartner’s article here.

In terms of Internet usage on mobile devices, Apple took the lead for the first time with 25.86% of total usage, ahead of Samsung (22.69%) and Nokia (22.15%). For further information click here.

It seems that the year of mobile for 2012 consists of several episodes of the series “Apple vs. The World” which you can review through a really interesting info-graphic on this website.

What are your predictions for the mobile world of 2013? Do you think Apple might get more market share by starting to launch “low-cost” smartphones? Or maybe Windows Phone or the new BlackBerry might switch up the game? Let us know what you think! Tweet us @PlasticMobile.

Yesterday, Samsung released another new device called the Galaxy Grand.

The smartphone’s screen is a solid five inches, which puts the Grand in the middle between the smaller Galaxy S III and the larger Galaxy Note II. According to reviews, many other things about the Grand make it mediocre as well. One major low point is the surprisingly low resolution of the screen which rests at 800×480 pixels. Resolution on the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note II is 1280×720.

Despite the lacklustre screen, the smartphone impresses with an optional second SIM-card slot. This feature is especially handy for users that travel internationally or for people that need two separate phone numbers. The Galaxy Grand juggles time zones and phone numbers for you so you don’t have to.

Although the Grand isn’t quite as impressive as other smartphones released this year (iPhone 5, Galaxy S III, HTC One X, Window’s Phone or the Nokia Lumia) let’s take a step back and appreciate just how COOL any smartphone is.

After all, the holidays are upon us and it is important to remember all that we take for granted. So with Christmas just one week away, Plastic Mobile is here to help you appreciate the smartphone you’ve got – whether yours is two years old and faulty or you just couldn’t afford the iPhone 5.

So take a minute and remember all the little things your smartphone did for you this year:

1. Reminded you how much better Google is at Maps

2. Caught a thief

3. Bought you a coffee at Starbucks

4. Got you a cab at rush hour

5. Kept in touch on FourSquare from Mars

Let us know what your smartphone did for you this year @PlasticMobile!

BW: Flexi-Phones for 2013?

By on November 21, 2012

It has been over a year since Samsung released a flexible smartphone prototype. The Galaxy Skin looked really cool and very bendable but we haven’t heard much about it since.

Until now.

The Wall Street Journal posted a video with an editor from Asia Today, which discusses the durability and light weight specs of the Galaxy Skin prototype. This display technology will differentiate them from other large competitors – a.k.a. Apple – if they can pull it off. Currently, mass production is set to happen in mid 2013, but so far they aren’t having much success.


There is no doubt that this would be one of the coolest mobile releases of the decade. Even if the flexi-phone turns out to be a bit of a gimmick or a failed fad, a product like the Skin would show incredible engineering and technological innovation.

Either way, we can’t wait to see Samsung role the Galaxy Skin out in 2013.

Would you buy this? What are some interesting ways you would use a bendable smartphone? Tweet below to let us @PlasticMobile.

BW: An Android World

By on November 14, 2012

In the past months there has been a lot of tension in the world of smart devices. We’ve been kept on the edge of our seats. Apple vs Samsung. The fall of RIM. Misleading maps in iOS 6 and new Jelly Bean 4.2.

Well, the consumers have spoken and the numbers are in on mobile device purchasing. It looks like Samsung and Android are in the lead.

Q3 results show that while the total sales of cell phones fell 3% from this time last year, smartphones are still booming. In fact, smartphone sales have risen 47% to 169 million units this quarter and accounted for 40% of total mobile sales! That is a serious percentage. These stats show that people aren’t spending quite as much on phones these days, but when they do they are very likely to invest all the way and get a new smartphone.

Amidst these results Samsung holds the top spot in devices sold, and Android is the most used operating system. Samsung holds 22.9% of the market share, with Nokia following behind with 19% and Apple with 5%. Of course it makes sense then that Android is the leading operating system since Samsung and Nokia are both big users of the Android OS. However, it is almost shocking that 72% of smartphones operate on versions of Android, while 13.9% run on iOS.

It’s easy to forget about Android with all the Apple buzz, but these numbers speak for themselves.

On a similar note, the Nexus 4 8 and 16 GBs sold out in 30 minutes in the US during it’s first day on Google Play yesterday.

Are these numbers what you expected? What type of phone or OS do you use? Let us know @PlasticMobile or comment below!

Finally, a Bagel Wednesday that’s not all about Apple.

Today the Japanese telecommunications operator KDDI introduced the new HTC J Butterfly. Google’s latest offering is halfway across the world and is quite a few miles ahead of devices in North America.

Underneath the HTC J Butterfly’s exclusive 5-inch 1080p HD “Super LCD 3” screen is a device jammed with great features. Running on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the Butterfly has 16GB and microSDHC expansion, an eight megapixel camera is set up for NFC and can be used globally. And, oh yeah, it’s waterproof. The only speculated problem so far with the HTC device is its battery which may be too small to power the only 1080p screen on the market.

Battery issues and tech bragging aside, it is refreshing to see waterproofing included as an integrated feature and not as a hokey marketing position. We’ve seen waterproofing before from phones like the Samsung Rugby Smart, which is as durable as it is unattractive and low-tech. Sony’s Xperia is better looking and more capable as a smartphone but is still relatively mid-range and lackluster.

Why can’t we get high performance and all around UX at the same time? It seems that consumers have been sacrificing some common sense for the latest and greatest technology. Waterproofing seems like the biggest no-brainer necessity for consumers who are investing hundreds of dollars in something they rely on all day, every day. Improvements in durable UX that fix your phone’s phobia to water and prevent its screen from shattering are functions that companies should be making standard.

Just like us, our smartphones are exposed to wear and tear. Companies from HTC, Samsung and Apple alike claim that with their phones you can have it all. But the HTC J Butterfly seems like the first of its kind that really does.

The Butterfly will not be released in Japan until early December and there is no word so far on its arrival into the North American market. But when it does get ready for the whole package: a high-operating smartphone with durability to boot.

In case you’ve been living underground, in a bomb shelter, with no access to the outside world, the Apple / Samsung case was finally decided in a Californian court room. Apple was awarded more than $1Billion and their Korean rival was found to have infringed on six out of seven Apple patents. It was ruled that Samsung’s designs conflicted with interface specs such as the “bounce-back” feature, which occurs when one reaches the end of a page, zoom finger tapping, finger pinch zooming and scrolling patterns, as well as design features like the grid icon setup, edge to edge glass and rounded corners. All of the infringements were deemed willful with the exception of the rounded corners – so, just an honest mistake?

Finger scrolling? Grids? As a company that prides itself on making accessible and intuitive designs, it seems odd that Apple would be so adverse to other companies using the same or similar functions. Why not go after the engineering or mechanics? Because this fight is not about interior it is about exterior, and for Apple the biggest part of its brand identity is its appearance. While a lot of these patent infringement claims may seem a little farfetched and petty, they are key elements to the Apple brand.

Apple is now seeking to set immediate bans on eight of Samsung’s mobile designs that are in blatant use their patents. Popular models such as the Galaxy S2 and the Droid Charge are in the line of fire for shelf removal in the US, though Apple is sparing Samsung’s top seller, the Galaxy S III (for now).

Despite the fact that the company recently won a battle on its home turf in South Korea, the ruling for the American market is, of course, a serious setback for Samsung. The Korean company will now have to work with US carriers to modify existing designs, and will have to head back to the drawing board for redesigns, and postpone any upcoming releases.

While the short term for Samsung may look bleak, the new restrictions set by patent law may serve to open up new doors for the company. In an industry that seems to be moving by the guiding force that is Apple, there is definitely room for more innovation, more design and new ways to use technology in our lives. Now it is just up to Samsung to create something great.

This week, the Internet marketing research giant and data specialist, comScore, released its MobiLens service data, revealing key trends in the Canadian smartphone industry. As of September 2011, eight million Canadians owned smartphones – a figure representing 40% of the total mobile market in Canada. The highly anticipated data reveals that the Canadian smartphone adoption rates are increasing aggressively; with a seven per cent increase in just the past six months! One surprising fact to come out of the comScore data was that RIM still leads the pack with a 35.8% market share, albeit, followed closely by Apple’s 30.1%. Also, although Google’s Android is sitting in the number three spot with only 25%, it is important to note that Android has doubled its market share during the last six months; corresponding fluidly with the global surge in Android device purchases within the past few months. (FYI: Android gobbled up more than half of all global smartphones sales in Q3 alone!) The dying fossil Symbian is ranked at the fourth spot, with 4.2%, followed by the new kid on the block, Microsoft (at 3.2%).

Top Smartphone Platforms in Canada (As of September 2011) Source: comScore MobiLens
% of Smartphone Subscribers
RIM 35.8%
Apple 30.1%
Google 25.0%
Symbian 4.2%
Microsoft 3.2%
Total 100.0%

In terms of content use, it seems Canadians are using the phones to consume a very wide and diverse range of content and information, and of course to no surprise, the smartphone users are outdoing the feature-phone users in every form and aspect of mobile content consumption, as shown in the chart below.  With such a fast pace of smartphone adoption and such diverse and broad range of smartphone use, the Canadian market is shaping to be the perfect place for businesses to embrace mobile technology and provide the added comfort and value that the Canadian consumers are soon going to automatically expect.  Instead of waiting for mobile access to become a mainstream consumer service before you invest the necessary resources, which you will inevitably have to do, we suggest hopping on the mobile train in its relative infancy, and taking advantage of its current indie and avant-garde profile to garner some serious respect and up your street cred, or as we say in the marketing world “gain some competitive advantage by becoming and early adopter.”  For being so forward thinking.

Mobile Content Usage (As of September 2011) Source: comScore MobiLens
% of Mobile Subscribers % of Smartphone Subscribers
Sent text messages 67.4% 88.1%
Used downloaded application 40.9% 84.2%
Accessed news and information 39.5 % 79.3%
Used browser 36.9% 74.8%
Used email (work or personal) 32.7% 69.3%
Accessed Social Networking Site or Blog 29.2% 60.7%
Played games 28.0% 53.2%
Accessed weather 27.5% 60.2%
Accessed search 24.2% 51.2%
Listened to music on mobile phone 20.8% 40.7%
Accessed maps 20.1% 44.4%
Accessed sports information 14.8% 31.5%
Accessed entertainment news 14.2% 29.5%
Accessed bank accounts 13.5% 28.8%
Scanned QR/bar code with mobile phone 8.1% 18.1%
Total Mobile Subscribers 100.0% 100%

The news everyone has been waiting for has finally come out today: Nokia, the biggest handset maker in the world, both for “dumbphones” and “smartphones” announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft using its Windows Phone platform.

Based on Nokia and Microsoft’s latest deal, Windows phone will be the primary operating system for Nokia’s smartphones. This news shook up the mobile world, especially Intel that has just been thrown under the bus. The Nokia/ Intel strategic partnership a while back to create the MeeGo platform for smartphones was Intel’s effort to partner with the handset maker, but with Nokia dating Microsoft right now, it seems that Intel was just stood up!

Stephen Elop and Steve Ballmer announced the news on Nokia’s blog in a post. Below is the detail from the blog:

»  Nokia will adopt Windows Phone as its primary smartphone strategy, innovating on top of the platform in areas such as imaging, where Nokia is a market leader.

»  Nokia will help drive and define the future of Windows Phone. Nokia will contribute its expertise on hardware design, language support, and help bring Windows Phone to a larger range of price points, market segments and geographies.

»  Nokia and Microsoft will closely collaborate on development, joint marketing initiatives and a shared development roadmap to align on the future evolution of mobile products.

»  Bing will power Nokia’s search services across Nokia devices and services, giving customers access to Bing’s next generation search capabilities. Microsoft adCenter will provide search advertising services on Nokia’s line of devices and services.

»  Nokia Maps will be a core part of Microsoft’s mapping services. For example, Maps would be integrated with Microsoft’s Bing search engine and adCenter advertising platform to form a unique local search and advertising experience.

»  Nokia’s extensive operator billing agreements will make it easier for consumers to purchase Nokia Windows Phone services in countries where credit-card use is low.

»  Microsoft development tools will be used to create applications to run on Nokia Windows Phones, allowing developers to easily leverage the ecosystem’s global reach.

»  Microsoft will continue to invest in the development of Windows Phone and cloud services so customers can do more with their phone, across their work and personal lives.

»  Nokia’s content and application store will be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace for a more compelling consumer experience.

Here is the video where Stephen Elop announces Microsoft partnership. Nokia & Microsoft partnership

Elop and Ballmer didn’t give any more details of the partnership so we don’t know what’s going to happen to Microsoft’s other partnerships for devices, such as HTC, Dell, and Samsung; or what’s going to happen to Symbian and MeeGo. We don’t know the answers to our questions yet, but we know one thing for a fact. As all the eyes are on the Nokia right now, if the company doesn’t get it right, this could send the company into freefall. We believe for Nokia, this is going to be tough; so let’s await the future and see!

 

While consumers’ expectations of smartphones are rising everyday, the mobile industry hasn’t educated consumers about the limitations of mobile devices and this has led to idealistic expectations of mobile phones and mobile ads. A part of their unrealistic expectations is that smartphones can do just about anything and everything for them.

Before the Smartphone’s boom, most cell phone owners were satisfied with only clear voice calls, fast texting, and simple games. But times have changed and consumers have great expectations from their mobile devices; they want the best smartphones at the lowest possible prices. They demand more features, better performance, the coolest apps, and indirectly the best mobile ads.

The competition in mobile OS market is intense and bloody! Everywhere you go, you see Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, or Symbian devotees trying to make their friends switch or upgrade; marketers and advertisers are adding mobile to their strategy; manufacturers and app developers fight for increased market presence; wireless carriers try their best to attract more customers, and basically everyone in the mobile industry is fighting for more profit, higher market share, or stronger presence.

As a result of this hype, today more than ever before, mobile advertising is up swinging. Mobile advertising campaigns have become the key to making money with mobile marketing. This means that the opportunities for making money are endless, but the question is how can you turn mobile ad campaigns into successful mobile marketing that puts money in your pocket?

How to best turn mobile ads to dollars?

Cell phone adoption rates, especially smartphone adoption rate are rising everyday, so is the importance of mobile advertising; therefore, marketers should keep in mind the necessary qualities in creating successful mobile ads.

Marketers should also bring into consideration that many consumers are still less than thrilled about ads on this very personal device. In order to increase the usefulness of the channel, mobile marketers must cater the features and formats of their mobile ads to their consumer’s preferences. Meaning that they should understand not only do consumers expect mobile ads to inform, but also they expect the mobile ad to provide relevant information tailored to their preferences.

According to a survey from Yahoo! and Nielsen Company, being informative was the most important quality of mobile ads for a wide variety of products and services. Relevancy was a relatively close second in most categories. Respondents cared relatively little about the graphical and multimedia elements of the ads. This contrasts with research on iPad advertising, which has shown that tablet users pay more attention to the look and feel of the ads and care more about the colors.

According to the InsightExpress “Digital Consumer Portrait” published in 2010, the heaviest mobile users generally did not find mobile banners annoying, while full-page ads were seen less favorably.

Based on the research that has been done on mobile ad campaigns and our expertise in this arena, we recommend marketers to focus on relevant information for their mobile ad. A smartphone user’s satisfaction of mobile ads will only improve if the mobile industry releases flawless, informative, relevant mobile ads that truly offer excellent value and choice for the user.

As mobile ads are getting millions of clicks and eyeballs, it’s important to create an ad that meets users expectation. Time on a mobile ad with a brand is a great deal for a retailer; it is a very intimate experience exploring a brand on such a personal device; isn’t it?

There’s a teaser out today for Motorola‘s Tablet, Motorola Everest, to be released and announced at CES 2011.  The ad promotes the tablet as the latest and best tablet in the history of Tablets, claims the iPad is just a big iPhone and the Galaxy Tab as just running Android phone OS.

The device apparently runs Android (3.0/2.4) Honeycomb and was demoed by Google’s Andy Rubin at D:Dive into Mobile at San Francisco last week.  Be sure to check out the interview with Andy or view the portion of the interview with the demo below:

With the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) now passed, we saw yet another wave of new app store announcements.  Following in the footsteps of Apple, these app stores provide developers relatively easily to build and distribute apps while also giving them an opportunity to monetize on them.  To the end-user they are giving them an endless list of of applications and things to do on their devices.

It ‘s great to see that with this wave of app-stores the focus was not just smartphones but much wider.  One which caught our attention was an announcement from Samsung:

Samsung Apps Logo

Samsung introduced Samsung Apps as the platform to download and use apps across all Samsung devices such as HDTVs, phones, blu-ray devices, cameras, printers etc.   So imagine using some of the apps that you’ve come to love on your iPhone directly on your HDTV while watching TV!

Although the concept of an internet-connected TV (or any of the above devices) is not new at all, empowering developers to build and distribute to these broad range of devices is truly innovative and I am sure we will see many interesting applications that will captivate end-users.

This is particularly interesting to us at Plastic as we will be able to help our clients expand their applications beyond mobile devices and truly everywhere the consumer is!

Check out the presentation at CES by Samsung:

Want to read more on Samsung Apps? Check these out:
Gizmodo Coverage
Engadget Coverage