News

Monday, 31 December 2007

Publisher Power

It has been an exciting Christmas period at Mippin despite the coding freeze to give the developing team some time to relax - we have seen a couple of significant milestones notched up (about which more later). But, for this post, something I noted going through some of the stats this morning.

I am struck again by how persuasive and powerful some publishers can be in promoting their mobile sites. We posted on this previously but thought that it would be worthwhile giving a name check to Computec, a highly professional, independent outfit based in Germany. A number of their titles are available on Mippin and read by German speakers all over, notably in the UK and US which is a testament to their consistent promotion of their Mippin mobile sites. The titles consistently gain high ratings.

Reviewing the figures from the Christmas Period I can see more than 500 new customers for these titles with an extraordinarily high retention rate.  Those publishers which consistently promote a simple and high quality offering, will generate a healthy return. The benefit of the user being introduced to the service through the publisher is a high degree of context which means that the user already knows in advance what he is going to get and whether or not he then wishes to make the effort.

Thanks to Fabian and the team.

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Thursday, 20 December 2007

We reign on...?

I was sad to hear that the Nokia Forum Pro Awards were cut back this year as Nokia focused or reorganising the business around its new internet strategy. This has had no discernable impact on the strength of the Software and Services unit which is gathering momentum but the awards are good for the start-up community - we certainly had a warm glow from winning the Developer of the Year Award last year for Mobizines.

We wonder if - considering that no such award was given out this year - we can still legitimately claim to be the reigning Developers of the Year?  ;-)

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Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Cheats and Tricks #3

You may not have seen them yet but it is worth clicking on the Mipplet link on your home page. Mipplets are small little widgets that allow you to squeeze more out of your phone.

You have a growing selection of toys to choose from and our ultimate ambition is to open it up to you to be able to create your own.

Almost every user sees a Mipplet but do not realise it. Both the Featured Stories and Latest Read stories are actually Mipplets and as with any Mipplet if you do not like these you can click the x to send the Mipplet back into the Mipplet folder and away from your home page.

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The weather mipplet has certainly proven popular. You can set a three day forecast on your home page for any major city worldwide by using the Advanced Settings (and Opera Mini users this is how you change it from Bergen!).

The Flickr mipplet is good fun, allowing you to view the latest stream of flickr posts according to any tag that you care to enter.

You can also use Google News to deliver to your home page news from your selected country - great for ex-pats!

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...and so on. Check them out within the Mipplets category.

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Thursday, 13 December 2007

Two Month Anniversary Release

We did a two month anniversary release this week which you might find interesting. We used Christmas as a peg for the release but there is some interesting data within it which we will expand upon in the blog in future posts.

Things to look for: the top 5 devices in each of India, US and UK; a buried announcement of going through another page impression milestone - 3m since launch on October 10th; some guidelines on the type of usage we are seeing from people on the service and so on.

If you'd like to request data for Stat Attack #2 which I'll probably write this weekend, please let me know.

 


Mobile web service Mippin reveals users’ most popular mobile internet phones this Christmas


Upgrades to Mippin made in line with consumer demand

Mippin, the free mobile web discovery service from Refresh Mobile, which connects you to your favourite web content on the phone, has revealed their users’ top handsets for accessing the mobile internet in the run up to this Christmas this year. Nokia is the most popular and accounts for over 50% of all Mippin.com access, whilst the iPhone is showing great momentum, already breaking into the US top 10 Mippin handsets. The Motorola RAZR, KRZR are also proving popular.

The top 5 handsets by country:












UK



US



India



1. SE 800 series


2. Nokia N95


3. Nokia N73


4. SE 810 Series


5. SE 610 Series



1. Motorola V3


2. Motoroal KRZR


3. Samsung A870


4. Nokia 2865i


5. Motorola W385m



1. Nokia 6030


2. Nokia 6600


3. Nokia N70


4. Nokia 2626


5. Nokia 3220



“The range of handsets on this list reveals that users with all types of handsets are using the mobile internet.” comments Scott Beaumont, co-founder of Mippin. It’s not just about users with smartphones on 3G networks. One of our key promises and challenges is to make sure every user, regardless of handset type, gets the best possible experience.”

Mippin gives you quick and easy access to thousands of news, blogs, information and lifestyle websites directly from your phone has added a number of new enhancements. The service has been upgraded in response to consumer demand for features, (which is encouraged through a click link accessed from each Mippin.com page). These features include:

- Integration with Facebook allowing you to post your favourite articles directly to your profile page
- The ability to define your own favourites list (rather than rely on the recent history)
- A tailoring for your own country of use – so that you see the titles most popular in your country first in the categories or featured titles, or even in the latest read Mipplet
- Enhanced search functionality improving the quality of matches from the Mippin catalogue

For those trying to find the right mobile handset as a Christmas gift Mippin has created the Mippin mini-gift guide. Just point your phone’s web browser to:
http://mippin.com/giftguide

The gift guide makes it easy to find mobile phone reviews and other gift inspirations right on your mobile phone.

In just the two months since the launch of Mippin, over three million page views across a wide variety of topics have been consumed. The most popular individual titles include the BBC News, New York Times and also less highly branded sites such as Click Music, Perez Hilton or Blogs on Mobile are gaining significant traction.

The service is being actively used in 124 countries on 1,200 plus types of mobile device. Countries making most use of the service include the UK, US, South Africa, Indonesia and India.

Mippin is subscription free (funded by advertising). On average, people are consuming 15 pages of information at each ‘session’ when they log in to use Mippin.com and the company has already seen advertising campaigns from top tier early-adopter brands such as Citroen, Renault and Sky.

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Sunday, 9 December 2007

Ovi - the door to the future

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Nokia had  a host of announcements last week at their annual shindig in Amstersdam.  Whilst it was the music announcements which captured the press interest, its was the talk of Ovi that got my interest.  Ovi was announced ages ago and still no-one has actually seen it (its still on internal Nokia beta).  This time the announcement was that Ovi will interwork with PC Suite in a smoother way copying many Mac features like the dashboard features.  Its great they want the smooth integration you get with the iPod and the Mac.  PC Suite has been historically the worse software Nokia have ever produced.  However, slowly version by version it has got better and now they reckon they are over their troubles. 

So what is Ovi -  is it a portal? a mobile Google killer? is it a Sling-box for mobile? is it a mapping/locating application? is it i-Tunes look-a-like? is it your one stop social network (Nokia's facebook)? is it a one stop games platform (N-Gage)?  is it Mippin? is it some or a mixture of these?

Ah here's the answer from Anssi Vanjoki  "Ovi is not a portal, it's a complete environment which resides on the web, is on your personal computer, and serves your mobile device. It's a door to your digital life, and really is a dashboard to your life"

So we still don't know then, but just like Google is trying with Android to be a phone software developer, Nokia is trying with Ovi to be  a Google homepage for mobile - the single place where users will start their multi-media social networking experience. 

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Saturday, 8 December 2007

Cheats and Tricks #2

Want to put some of your favourite content into Mippin but daunted by the prospect of typing the url into the search box?

Use Mippin via the desktop sidebar. Simply login to Mippin with your email and password; copy the url from the navigation bar and paste it into the search box. This will create the mobile version of the site (as long as a feed is available - look for the RSS logo if you are unsure). Simply tag the site as a favourite and it will be on your phone waiting for you next time you hit Mippin.

We did not design the toolbar for this purpose but have begun to use it ourselves in this way. Neat!

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Friday, 7 December 2007

Le Web 3, Google Blog Search and Mippin

Next week we're going to Le Web 3 in Paris. Scott and Prashant will be there both days showing off Mippin and handing out invites to the Mippin Maker private beta. Scott is going to be on a panel discussing mobile and web convergence on Wednesday afternoon at 2:30.

There is sure to be a lot of conference blogging going on. To help you track the blog activity from your mobile, we've created a little Le Web 3 mippsite based on a Google blog search feed. To check it out just point your phone's browser to: http://mippin.com/leweb3

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This is a great example of Mippin's flexibility which anyone can take advantage of to track topics of interest on the go. Here's how you can set up your own Google blog search mippiste:

  1. Do a search on Google blog search.

  2. On the search results page you can select a sort order by relevance or date. The default is by relevance. For the Le Web 3 example, we decided to sort by date to always see the latest updates first.

  3. On the left column you can choose to subscribe to the search results via ATOM or RSS. Copy either of these links.

  4. Install the Mippin Sidebar for Firefox

  5. In the sidebar, paste the ATOM or RSS link in the Mippin search box and hit go.

  6. Voila! You now have your own Google blog search result mippsite. Click Add to Favourites to login/register and then all you have to do is visit mippin.com on your handset and login to see your site on your new mippsite.


By the way, this method will work for lots of web sites. At Mippin.com on your mobile browser or in the Mippin sidebar you can always enter web sites addresses in the Mippin search box and if Mippin can find the associated RSS feed, it'll create a mippsite on the fly.

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Mashup Demo



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The Mashup Demo was on Wednesday night. 

In all 16 companies did demo, all very interesting.  Despite technical difficulties with Internet and projector it was a great success. 

For me the most interesting company apart from ourselves, of course, was Blyk.  Yes, they are yet another MVNO and with the world littered with failed MVNOs you might think badly, but their difference is that they are "free" with ad-funding.  We applaud free ad-funded services such as ourselves and the individuals involved are certainly dynamic and very confident of success and they like Mippin so we definitely like them.  I really do think they have a good chance of success, their issue is to get known by the public and be "cool" for their customers (only aged 16-24).

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Thursday, 6 December 2007

“It’s Christmas but Retailer's Blogs don’t seem to be ringing.”

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Getting in to the spirit of Christmas here and we’ve realized that Mippin might be a really useful tool for people doing their Christmas shopping! Here at Mippin we know it can be tough to decide which presents to buy your work colleagues, family and friends, and though online retailing performances may already breaking last years records, there are always plenty of shoppers prepared to face the carol music of crowded high streets and shopping centres searching for the elusive gift.




So for the season of goodwill, Mippin looked up some of the blogs of high street retailers, to provide a compendium of last minute, fast-selling out, inspirational ideas for all you generous Mippin users out there. But low, there are very few retail blogs available, and even then many seem to provide only Press Release information. This seems surprising given that Christmas is such a competitive month and retailers are usually keen to embrace ways to pull in customers. Surely a directory of retail blogs featuring pictures, pricing information, store opening hours, special gift ideas etc, all in one place on everyone’s mobile phone would make sense when navigating a bustling high street ahead of Christmas? I know there'll be plenty of last minute shoppers, mostly men no doubt, who’ll find themselves in the midst of a mild panic as they struggle to find the presents they don’t know they’re looking for. Mippin is the answer. So this is a call to all you retailers who haven’t got a good blog in place yet – we’re pulling together some great gift suggestions for our users from the likes of www.Firebox.com, and even www.Tesco.com. I’m really keen on that iPhone for Christmas, but you need to let me know if you’ve got it in stock!

 

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Why not start a blog?


Blogs have long been associated with geek-dom but, as with many new technologies, their use if potentially far more mainstream than originally thought. Blogs can be used as a journal, as a means of communication between families, as a small community newsletter, as a destination to post details of big nights out, a place to rant and so on and so on.


They are also very easy to create. Your de facto web site, which with Mippin can be accessed from any mobile device as well anywhere, can be set up quickly and easily without any need to program or even understand what is being done.


Here are a number of links to sites that allow you to do this:


http:/www.blogger.com


http://www.typepad.com/


http://www.vox.com/


http://wordpress.org/ (though this is for the more tech savvy)


All these sites have great tutorials too.


Bear in mind that some of you might already be blogging - everytime you update your facebook profile or status or your myspace page - you're blogging. There is no mystique about it.


For the ambitious, you should take a look at Japan where a number of blogs have been published into books or even used as film scripts; closer to home the recent series Secret Diary of a Call Girl was based on a blog called Belle Du Jour. News programmes now frequently feature citizen journalism (bloggers) and the BBC has a show dedicated to them.


If you wish it to be so, it can be a money spinner or a fame generator. For the more modest, it can be simply a means to communicate to family and friends.


Remember that through Mippin any of these sites provide the automatic ability for you and friends/family/people in general to view your content on mobile too.


In building Mippin, we have noticed a large number of independent blogs or sites which are every bit as reliable or insightful as established brands. For example, take a look at:



Boing Boing - News and already sufficiently mainstream perhaps not to qualify for this list

Filmsy - Movie Reviews


Shoewawa - the world of shoes, remember you can blog on anything


King Cricket - an alternative and sometime less serious take on cricket


The Superficial - unashamed gossip


There is nothing that you cannot blog about - someone out there is going to be interested. Get going!


 


 






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Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Full feeds please - a postscript

The Full Feeds Please post certainly polarised publishers between the established old industry and the new wave of publishers; there is a clear philosophical divide between them.

I thought the following was a good twist:

Reported from an event organised by Jack Myers in the US, a senior NBC exec said that "it turns out full-length streaming of TV series drives incremental viewing of the series [on TV]."

Now, I cannot help thinking that if providing the full feed/programme works for old media like TV, surely it is as clear a signpost as possible to the laggards in the internet world?

Credit to Simon Andrews and his Big Picture blog for bringing this to my attention.

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Sunday, 2 December 2007

N95 Re-born (it now works)

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So I've been playing with the Nokia N95 Version 20 software for a whole week now and its wonderful.  I was on version 11 - the GPS took minutes to startup, if I ran an application everything else closed down and worst of all the browser was full of bugs (often crashing with my experimental versions of Mippin because of lack of memory). 

 Stephan has explained how this version fits in with the other versions of the N95 and other Nokia models.  As he says Nokia has finally delivered the multimedia computer they have promised for the last 2 years and its finally works well.

All sorts of new features are there, but for me the highlight is that if you are listening to a podcast and get a phone call you no longer loose where you are in the podcast - what's better it remembers where you stop in any podcast. 

And what I was really pleased about was that I had been trying to get our iPhone variant of Mippin working on the N95 for months and finally without a code line change it worked - it no longer randomly crashing out from time to time.

Now we have to decide if we can release this great version of Mippin (as we would only be able to allow it to work on this software release).

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Saturday, 1 December 2007

Cheats and Tricks #1

Found a story than you want to read in more detail later? send to a group of friends? want to keep because it has something useful in it? want to keep it as a reminder of something to do at a later date?

You can do this quickly, simply and at no cost by emailing yourself through the send via email link - you can then read it or forward it later at your leisure.

For most users, once you have entered your email once it will always be there, pre-populated, making it even easier still.

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