Tuesday, February 5, 2013

72 Percent International SMS Delivery Rate in Worldwide Test

Over the years Mob4Hire has had many customers approach us about the issue of SMS testing.

We heard questions like:

                 Are the SMS’s I am sending making it to my end customer? 

                 How long did it take to get to my customer? ( Latency will be an issue with new LBS ad campaigns)

                Was the SMS received the same as the SMS message we sent? ( there can be issues with characters such as accents etc.)

Mob4Hire collaborated with our customers and came up with Mob4Hire SMS Lab. It is an automatic system that tracks delivery of coded SMS messages to our testers worldwide.

We were curious… 

Within the last 3 months, We tested a few providers of SMS on our system.

We tested to 90 carriers in 58 countries worldwide. We used a carrier, a worldwide online SMS chat system and a SMS provider via their API. We only tested 3, and there are thousands of carriers, SMS chat providers and SMS providers around the world, but we think these are representative of typical SMS use cases.

These services were not free services. In every case we waited up to 3 days for results to come in.

The results are below, and surprised us. 

                              Sent via          Worldwide         SMS Provider 
                              Carrier            SMS Chat           via API
                              (PtoP)              System              (AtoP) 

Number of             133                  133                   133
SMS Sent

Number of              78                   103                   107

Percentage            58.9%               77.4%               80.5%

Total Percentage received by all 3 methods - 72.2%


 1. test results are only shown where at least one SMS was received by a tester (ie there were more testers shown that did not receive a SMS at all)

 2. all SMS were sent within 5 minutes of each other

3. of the 133 testers, 41 received all 3 SMS sent (31 percent)

4. of the 133 testers, 70 received 2 of 3 sent (53 percent)

5. of the 133 testers, 22 received 1 of 3 sent (16 percent)

 We believe that SMS is one the most effective ways of getting to customers.

 We are not the only ones.




But…. If SMS is critical, what assurance is there that the SMS was delivered? 

The Mob4Hire SMS Lab system tests mobile SMS functionality over a wide range of networks. Clients (those who wish to test SMS functionality) can access the mob4hire service through an API to launch tests and gather results. Details on the delivery success / failure are tracked. The results of the tests are collated and made available to clients.

API documentation is available at http://developer.mob4hire.com

What do you think? Let us know with your comments.

If you want more information, please contact us at bd@mob4hire.com

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mob4Hire Labs – the newest lab is born!

Mob4Hire Baby App was launched on December 3rd in the wee hours of the morning.  

CTO, John Carpenter, told us this was “a really tough R&D project” and that not everything went as planned.  But, the team pulled through and delivered a working prototype "on time and in spec at 54cm tall and weighing 3.23Kg."

Alpha version, featuring Goo Eee testing ™ -- comparing real world devices for teething quality -- is closed due to high demand.  We’ll keep you posted on version 2.0.

Congratulations to John and Pascale!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

SMS Testing Worldwide

Check out the writeup on SMS testing on TechWell magazine. Thank you to Jonathan Kohl and all those at Techwell for making this possible. http://techwell.com/articles/original/one-expert-another-paul-poutanen-mobile-testing-sms


Jonathan Kohl: Why do we need to test SMS messaging?

Paul Poutanen: Unfortunately, in a lot of cases it does not work. Again, according to Wikipedia, “… around 1 percent to 5 percent of messages are lost entirely, even during normal operation conditions, and others may not be delivered until long after their relevance has passed.”

The way it works is not simple, especially when looking at international SMS routing. There are over 1,000 carriers and network operators in the world. (No one ever seems to know how many.) If every one of those carriers had to make a contract with every other carrier, it would be very difficult (say, 1000!, or 4.0239 x 102567 contracts required). So, they make deals with SMS aggregators. For instance, in one country, a carrier may have a deal with five aggregators that agree to send and receive SMS to every country and carrier in the world. Those five aggregators may have agreements with twenty other aggregators that then have agreements with one hundred other aggregators. By the time the SMS gets to the end carrier, it may have gone through ten servers of aggregators. That would be considered the “route” of the SMS.

You think your SMS has made it through, and you have confirmation of that from the last link in the chain (the carrier). Hurray!

Hold on!

The end carriers are very cognizant of spam SMS. If they think an SMS might be spam, they may not let it through. However, they have sent a signal to the last aggregator that the SMS has been received to the carrier gateway. The aggregator believes this to be a signal that the SMS has been received and their service-level agreement (SLA) has been agreed to.

So, if you roll the dice and your SMS makes it through the last part of the chain, the carrier might block it but not tell you. It isn’t a black hole; in some cases, the carrier tells you the SMS made it to their gateway. That is what most SMS SLAs aim for.

You can see it is a mess, but it gets worse. This process of getting an SMS to the end handset is dynamic. SMS aggregators may change their routes every day, meaning a message that was successful when sent in the morning may not work in the afternoon.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 Wrap-up: Review of Last Year's Mob4Hire Predictions

First off… a SUPER BIG THANKS once again to our customers, mobsters, partners and investors for another year of keeping us on the leading edge of mobile quality assurance. We'll unveil our mobile trends 2012 predictions in the next week.

Now, it’s time to reflect on 2011’s predictions… In 2010 we gave ourselves a B+ with a few notable highlights, even if we do say so ourselves.  This year, we’re closer to a B:

The Platform Race is Far From Over.  We said – ‘Apple and Android would not be the “winners” because the marathon will continue to play out over the next 5 to 10 years’ (wow – talk about hedging your bets, when you think about it - neither of these two platforms were here 5 years ago!). Vision Mobile’s Developer Economics 2011 told us Java ME and Symbian have the highest developer attrition rate, but Mobile web as a platform has moved in to third position. We just may have to wait out the next 5 to 10 years to see if we’re right…

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth.  We said – ‘There will not be enough talent for everyone... and people who CREATE software experiences decide what platforms to support’.  Problem is we didn’t really have a metric for this one. We’re basing our score on the ‘vibes’. See also prediction #1.

App Stores Will Continue to Explode.  We said – ‘There will be over 200 app stores at this time next year.’ Based on the wipconnector.com count it’s closer to 125 – We thought the carriers and online retailers would be jumping on board, but we’ve learned that the sheer volume of apps combined with the lack of capacity to screen and market apps is slowing things down.

The Cost of Developing Mobile Experiences Will Increase Significantly.

The Number of Ad Networks Will Explode.  ‘We'll expect to see many carrier-specific ad networks pop-up this year.’ Seems like Mobile Network Operators are missing the boat on some great opportunities as we saw very little increase here. Attractive, with ad revenues expected to hit $3.3B (up from $1.6B in 2010 -- Gartner via mobiThinking) and the Networks own the local customers.

Microsoft Regains Share.  IDC (March 2011 via mobiThinking.com) reported Windows Phone/Mobile had a 5.5% market share and more telling an expected 67.1% CAGR from 2011 to 2015.

Brands Will Embrace Mobile for Advertising and Engagement. While Brands saw a decline in engagement due to the recession, comscore’s “Do you buy the brand you want most?” index fell from 54% in 2008 to 43% in 2011 and have responded more on-line advertising (23% increase, according to comscore Oct 2011. The distribution has been all media and Mobile is starting to attract attention… see also mobile Ad Network prediction.

RIM and NOKIA Dance the Dance of Disruption.  We said – ‘RIM and NOKIA are arguably the biggest of handset and O/S manufacturers that are threatened by the new wave of mobile… and have ben successful because the know the value of a good Telecom relationship’. Sadly their dance was not as good as we thought.

Enterprise Embraces Mobile as a Productivity Tool, not just for Communications.   According to iPass 2011 Mobile Enterprise Report provisioning of smartphones and tablets in the next year continues to increase significantly.

HP and DELL Try, but Stumble in the Mobile and Tablet Space.  The HP TouchPad launched in July, 2011 – pulled in August, 2011 and the Dell Streak was pulled in December 2011– RIP…

So, what will happen in 2012? Stay tuned ... we'll post our thoughts soon.

Cheers from the team!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

We need people in New Orleans on Iphones

This is a Mob4Hire project - We have more than 50,000 registered testers who are paid to help us test everything mobile.

We need 150 people who live in New Orleans to participate in this test. ( only a few spots left - Hurry! )

Information you provide to us is considered private and confidential (we don't share our contact information).

You can get a $50 gift certificate* if you qualify and complete this test.

Stil interested? To qualify for testing you must:

1. Live in New Orleans
2. Own an iPhone and be activated with a carrier
3. Be able to open the app that will supplied to you for a week
4. Fill out an online survey (15 -20 minutes) Please register, below, if you qualify.

Go here to register REGISTER HERE!!!

And you can also refer your friends for one of two $100 in gift certificates*

Given to the two people who refer the most friends who complete the test. To qualify for referral bonus: Send your friends' email address to ps4@mob4hire.com (please, let them know we'll be contacting them) *

To see the list of store you can use your gift certificates go to: gift certificate list
* Required

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Featured Mobster - Ben Moore


Meet Ben Moore; Featured Mobster.
Q: When did you join Mob4Hire?
December 2009

Q: What kind of handset(s) do you have?
My current "daily driver" is an HTC G2 on T-Mobile, I also have a Blackberry Bold 9780 on hand for business/personal use and for training. Gotta keep up on as many mobile platforms as possible these days. There is also a Blackberry Tour 9630, and Curve that can frequently be found hiding on my desk. I'm a big believer in the Android platform and Blackberry still commands enough business users that it's also a must have. Picking up an iPhone and a Windows Phone 7 is on my list of to do's.

Q: What's your favorite app?
Tough question! I probably have 80 apps installed on my G2, but the one that I would be the most distraught without would have to be Launcher Pro. Aside from being a fantastic third party launcher, the inclusion of additional widgets (most notably the calendar widget) come together to give HTC's SENSE a run for it's money. This is a well thought out, well executed, and extremely functional system tool for Android users, and it's only $2.99.

Q: Why did you join Mob4Hire?
I've been beta testing applications (mostly games and occasionally business productivity software) for twelve or thirteen years now. Never in a professional, paid capacity, but as an avid fan and tinkerer who likes to see things first and try to contribute to their commercial release being as positive and bug free as possible. Mob4Hire allowed me to expand into mobile platform testing and offered compensation for my time! A real win win, especially if you ask my wife. It's much much easier to justify playing with a phone for hours and having a small mountain of handsets on your desk if you're generating at least some income!

Q: How many individual handset / carrier tests have you done?
By my count, I have completed 12 tests

Q: How many projects have you completed? What's your favorite one?
I have participated in six or seven specific projects. My favorite, to date, has probably been the LMI project. It was a mountain of work to be sure, but the aspects that I enjoyed the most was working with both the Mob4Hire team and the developer to really flush out some of the details of the testing and preparing the results in a meaningful package. Most tests are very straight forward, use this application, fill out this questionnaire and then you're done. The LMI test felt like there was a higher level of input and interaction with the testers which was very welcome.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mob4hire and Crowdsortium

Mob4hire has been the leader in the crowd sourcing mobile space for a while and it is time we gave something back to the industry. Mob4hire just hit 55,000 Mobsters and we are now in 154 countries (not many left) on 354 different carrier/network operators.

We are very thankful to our Mobsters and to the developers and brands that have given us a chance.

So we would humbly like to thank.....

Crowdsortium is a great organization that helps out crowd sourcing companies by organizing people together and solving some very interesting problems.
Such as
• What crowd sourcing model should we use?
• How do we handle intellectual property rights?
• How do we logistically manage international participants?
• How do we fairly reward participants for their work?
• What are the benefits of monetary versus non-monetary rewards?
• Should the crowd be anonymous or individually identified with their real names?

Crowdsourcing businesses tend to share the same problems. The Crowdsortium is designed to use the very mechanism the industry is built upon – crowd sourcing – to solve these problems. Applying the collective wisdom of our experiences benefits all members. Currently there are more than 75 members of the Crowdsortium. Members contribute new thoughts, ideas and solutions that benefit every part of the ecosystem, helping it to continuously evolve and grow.

We salute them! We honour them! Being a member now , we salute ourselves.

Go Crowdsortium!!!

Help us spread the word and we could win a great opportunity to participate in CrowdConf 2011! Please retweet this with the tag @crowdsortium

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mob4Hire’s Crowd Flies Continental’s Android App and it’s a winner!

CALGARY, July 27, 2011 Mob4Hire’s usability product, MobExperience has given Continental Airline’s android application a thorough review and it’s a winner! That is no surprise for the best-rated airline app in North America. Attributing the success of the mobile app to their straight-forward mobile strategy approach, Jeff Ulrich, Sr. Manager, Emerging Technology at United Airlines, states “Before developing the mobile app, we spent time really understanding the customers’ needs and looking at what the app needed to do to be successful. Commenting on the development process, Ulrich shares the team’s secrets for its app success – develop on your strengths and seek assistance for the rest: “We developed what we know best, the airline business, and we sought expertise for areas like mapping, that were not our core.”

Asked what MobExperience brings to the already successful development practice, Ulrich replies, “We think we set the bar for airline applications but we were curious about a couple things, and there’s always room for improvement. We thought there were a few areas that would benefit from having real user feedback from MobExperience, pointing us to areas for focus. This will definitely help our team.”

Many brands have focused their testing efforts on functionality, but it is equally important to ensure good usability and customer experience, which is what MobExperience brings to the table. Its advisors, like Bob Hayes, PhD, ensure Mob4Hire provides excellence in mobile application quality assurance. “We developed methodology to diagnose the mobile user experience to improve user loyalty to the app and brand. We adopted the RAPID loyalty approach so brand managers can assess the mobile app’s impact on different types of user loyalty.”

Meanwhile, Mob4Hire knows that the process of field-testing any app can be difficult, and for Continental’s android app there was no room for error: “We used live data, creating mock flights to give testers a chance to use live features like check-in and seat selection” Sarah Paprocki, Senior Staff Rep, Emerging Technology Applications.

To ensure that the testing went smoothly, Mob4Hire uses its professional services team to ensure high quality results. “With a crowd of over 53,000 Mobsters around the world, we can recruit for our customers specific needs.” Bruce Chrumka, Vice President, Professional Services.

United and Continental merged and the team continues to lead: “We just launched the integrated United application on iPhone and plan to do the same for android.” Ulrich

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mob4Hire CTO John Carpenter hosts Mobile User Experience panel at Nokia Developer Day in Barcelona

During the largest global mobile event of the year at MWC Barcelona, the buzz regarding the Microsoft / Nokia agreement is palpable, bringing yet another significant shift to the mobile industry.

Mob4Hire CTO, John Carpenter, hosted a lively panel discussion at Nokia Developer Day on Day 1 of the conference: "Why is my app getting rated 2 stars" with panelists Marek Pawlowski, founder of MEX (www.mobileuserexperience.com) in London, Carin Campanario (Freelance Flash Developer), Vassili Philippov (SPB Software), Vladimir Savchenkop (SoundMotion) and Peter Lindgren, CEO of Visiarc.

Special thanks to Thibaut Rouffineau, VP Developer Relationships, WIPJam who helped put the Nokia Developer Day together, and made the panel a great success!

Whatever the platform (and Mob4Hire can help you with user experience research on ALL of them!), the fundamentals of mobile development remain. Designing a great mobile user experience is at a feverish pitch in the industry as companies vie for users attention. As Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovia (makes of the uber-popular "Angry Birds" game) said during his breakout session at MWC, "Apps need to be optimized for the end user. That is very, very important. That is our drive, always thinking about the end user and what gives value for them. We make a "buck off them" because that is a natural side-effect of doing our job well."

Stephen King, Laura Sullivan and John are at MWC Barcelona all week. Join them at the Canadian Pavilion, Booth 2A97, Hall 2.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Innovators Poynt, Mob4Hire and Momentem Discuss Closing the Gap on the Mobile App Ecosystem at MWC

For Immediate Release: Calgary, Canada and Barcelona, Spain — February 14, 2011

The App marketplace has become a competitive stage for developers, content producers and App store market place operators. Closing the gap on the App ecosystem are three Canadian companies who are leading the way in building sustainable business models in pursuit of creating a “Best in Breed” App experiences for a growing customer base. Poynt, Mob4hire and Momentem all based in Calgary, Canada are a driving force in Canada’s Emerging Technology landscape.

For the full press release, see: http://tinyurl.com/4dz9j8h

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Motorola Features John Carpenter (Mob4Hire CTO) on Motodev Developer Network

Mob4Hire CTO, John Carpenter, sat down with the Motodev team and shared his thoughts on development, best practices, quality apps, location development and Android tools

Mob4Hire is a Motorola Motodev partner ... when we presented at a Developer Network summit in fall of 2009, they were announcing their first Android handsets and showing off the first look at their development tools. This marked a turning point for Motorola in the mobile space, who had seen their fortunes sliding since their success with the last of the great feature phones, the Razr.

What a difference a year and half makes! Motorola has embraced Android across many great handsets, has seen success with Verizon with the first Droid ever released (plus many subsequent models), have created a great ecosystem for developers to be successful with Android development as well as global app distribution, and now are poised to release their new Xoom tablet which debuted at CES; the first with Android 3.0 (Honeycomb).

Motorola Mobile = Great partner, great devices, great tools, great developer ecosystem and support.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mob4Hire Top Ten 2011 Mobile Predictions

Last week, we posted our “2010 report card” on how well we did with last year's predictions.

Now, let’s turn our attention to 2011. Our customers (mobile developers, product and brand managers, ad agencies, telecoms, handset manufacturers) are taking advantage of Mob4Hire’s mobile usability testing and market research services to make sure they lead the world in the mobile revolution. So, with that in mind, we put our rose-colored glasses on, and identified these top 10 opportunities / challenges that will effect our customers the most in 2011.

The Platform Race is Far From Over.

We don’t know if it’s wishful thinking or what, but there are lots of people out there saying, “The race is over, and the two winners are Apple iOS and Google Android.” No way! We’re in km 2 of a 42 km marathon which will unfold over the next 5 to 10 years, and there’s still lots to happen in the other platform camps such as RIM, Nokia, and Microsoft.

Android will continue to fragment, but this fact alone won't cause the platform success to slow down ... as long as Android phones are aggressively sold to hosts of mobile users as they were in 2010, developers will still flock to the platform.

According to Vision Mobile (see chart below), there are 13 mobile platforms of note (but of course, this doesn't include tablets, TVs or other devices, nor does it include Carrier specific platforms/API's or middleware like Flash which causes further platform confusion):

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth.

I've been a software developer for 25 years, both as a coder and a brander. One thing is absolutely certain in 2011 … the need to develop excellent mobile experiences in the face of rapid change and fragmentation is more important than ever!

If you check out CNN's top tech trends of 2010, seven out of ten require those who CREATE a mobile experience.

So, the importance of people who CREATE apps, mobile websites, mobile ad campaigns is enormous. There is a GREAT deal of $$$ invested and at stake. The tsunami of change that mobile has brought will make many companies no longer viable, so developer attention is crucial to growth. A quick visit to the Computer Museum in Mountainview will show you a graveyard of computers from the PC Wars of the '80s and '90s: Atari, Kaypro, Commodore (Vic20, 64, Pet, Amiga), Amstrad, Tandy (TRS-80), Sinclair, Coleco Adam. All went the way of the Dodo bird because people who CREATE software experiences did not support the platforms.

This is, of course, why we're seeing such increased activity for developer networks and developer events. Everyone is trying to get the attention of developers, and there's just not enough good developers for everyone.

App Stores Will Continue to Explode

According to WIPConnector.com, there are currently over 100 app stores worldwide. We expect this number to be 200 next year at this time. Who will start these new app stores?

- There's over 800 Carriers in the world. Only about 30 have app stores so far. The GREAT thing that carriers have that handset manufacturers don't is the direct client relationship. Carriers who figure out how to leverage that relationship (with API's for example) will have very successful app stores.

- Online retailers ... any company who sells software on the web, and most that sell lotsa other stuff will need to be in the mobile app store game.

- Enterprises and those who serve enterprises as mobile becomes part of corporate IT integration strategies

The Cost Of Developing Mobile Experiences Will Increase Significantly

See prediction # 2. There's not enough developers for every platform to succeed. There's not enough GOOD developers to make every single app drop-dead fantastic. The complexity of creating apps across multiple-platforms is increasing. More is expected from apps. It will be much harder to have a hit with just 3 guys in a basement doing development. More integration (with carriers and enterprises) will be expected. Mobile programming consulting firms are in high-demand.

All of this points to a good thing for the mobile development community, who will finally start seeing industry salaries on par with their web and cloud development cousins.

If you are a mobile programming consultant, raise your prices!

The number of Ad Networks will explode

With the success of mobile marketing in 2010, and more importantly, with the multi-billion dollar advertising opportunity in front of us, we will see many, many companies getting into mobile marketing and ad networks.

Telecoms, with the billing relationship with all the customers, are in the best position to deliver targeted advertising since they already "KNOW THE CUSTOMER." Handset manufacturers and others are at a disadvantage, as collecting information may infringe on the privacy of the users, and thus may end up being restricted. We'll expect to see many carrier-specific ad networks pop-up this year.

Savvy app creators have started creating their own ad networks; Poynt, for example, uses a proprietary ad engine to serve ads to it's over 5M (and growing rapidly) users.

For ad agencies and brands, this is a good thing because it gives more reach and inventory.

For mobile developers, this means more opportunity to make money IF the app networks figure out how to share significant %'s of revenue with them. iAd gives developers 60% of the revenue from advertising ... in Mob4Hire's humble opinion, this revenue share should be in the 70% to 80% range, just as it is in revenue share for apps.

Microsoft Regains Share

Just like we said last year, never, ever count Microsoft out. Their release of Windows 7 last year was the come-back-kid story of 2010 technology. We think the same thing is happening in Windows Phone, although it's still too early to tell since they delivered later than we expected in 2010.

What we DO know for sure, is that:
- Both Windows 7 and Windows Phone have been received well.

- Microsoft has legions of developers already using their tools and developing for their platforms. See prediction #2.

- Microsoft has XBox to leverage in both the living room (as an XBox gaming controller / interface, as your house's remote control), and in the sales channel.

Despite this technological re-boot, success of Windows is dependent on their hardware partner relationship, who all seem to have lined up to support it (for now, anyway). So, things look ok for Microsoft, but they don't have a lot of margin for error ... they'll need to execute flawlessly.

Brands will embrace mobile for advertising and engagement

There have been dozens, if not hundreds, of brand success stories. Brands are now asking themselves, "what % of traffic to my site is from mobile" and are being shocked by the answer.

The good brands will reach to engage users, and drive an integrated strategy across mobile apps, SMS messages, QR Codes, mobile websites, mobile banner ads and traditional forms of advertising such as print, TV and web.

Retail "Bricks and Mortar" companies will CELEBRATE mobile as a way to bring people back into the stores with GPS locators, coupons, and geo-locate games and social networks.

RIM and NOKIA Dance the Dance of Disruption

RIM and NOKIA are arguably the biggest of handset and O/S manufacturers that are threatened by the new wave of mobile.

Just like Microsoft, don't count either of these guys out.

Despite “pundits” who argue that "Blackberry's aren’t even a smartphone," RIM continues to post good numbers quarter after quarter. They’ve made good progress on their touch-screen form factors while maintaining the BB keyboard and feel everyone loves. They’ve got a good tablet strategy (love tethering!), although getting to market sooner rather than later would be a good thing for RIM (we predict it will be later .. maybe even the fall) ... they'll need to figure out how to make the Playbook (editors note: shoulda been called the "Blackbook"!) more than BBMessenger and email, which means developer support. They’ve shown good direction on their platform and developer tools, but still make things pretty difficult to release apps ... that's why we only see about 10,000 apps available on Blackberry App World. They'll need to figure that out.

And, while they are weakening a bit in their dominant enterprise space, their secure data back-end is a killer-app feature for large companies who just won’t look at anything else. Oh, and by the way, they have over 500 network operator partners around the world. However, because RIM makes it harder than others to deal with from an app developer point of view, and because it’s not open, RIM will never be #1 in this space. But, they'll continue to enjoy a great ride.

NOKIA? One of the guys at Mob4Hire suggests that Nokia will embrace Windows Phone as a primary operating system ... he even went so far as to suggest that the two companies will merge. Others of us think that Nokia will embrace Android; but then again, Meego is simply a Linux O/S, so that wouldn't make sense. Because Nokia will want end to end O/S and Hardware, the Meego strategy is the most apparent ... i.e. status quo. This means continued loss of market share UNLESS!!!!

Unless they are able to deliver a great Meego experience for an inexpensive hardware footprint. Europe is key to their strategy, and the quicker they get to having a smartphone experience on a featurephone (a.k.a. "dumbphone") price the better off they'll be in sustaining their position. This will spill over into their success in Africa and Asia. And, since Android is so cheap, it will be very interesting to see who gets this vital competitive edge. If they don't get this right, NOKIA is in for a lot more pain as marketshare will dwindle in the dumpphone space just as it has in the smartphone space for the last couple of years.

Finally, like RIM, NOKIA has been successful because they know the value of a good Telecom relationship, who again, in the end, has the billing relationship with the customer. This will create great leverage for them moving forward, but only if they can block the new kids in their strong markets.

Enterprise embraces mobile as a productivity tool, not just for communications

As Mob4Hire buddy, Tomi Ahonen, has said many times ... mobile phones are good for 5 minute tasks (vs. 50 minute tasks on the computer like doing spreadsheets). In the enterprise, thousands of five minute tasks are killing the productivity of corporation managers ... imagine being able to approve expenses, vacations and review metrics on the train on the way home. The Velocity platform from Kryos is a great example of the way enterprises can easily implement enterprise tools and metrics on mobile.

Many people have a "work" cell phone and a "life" cell phone (which is typically nicer!). Corporations will do a better job at figuring out how to leverage the "life" cell phone, reduce complexity and improve productivity.

For Telecoms, we see them getting involved in enterprise apps and solutions, and be able to deliver end-to-end solutions that not only include hardware and network connectivity, but also software productivity.

Look for RIM to provide BETTER tools to enterprises for this integration, or risk losing more ground in their coveted Fortune 500 space. Also, Microsoft should do well in this space, due to their big developer base already doing tons of corporate work.

HP & DELL try, but stumble in the mobile and tablet space

It has been argued that there is a commoditization of handsets and tablets coming. What separates one high-end smartphone from the other, especially if their both running the latest version of Android? Being able to order custom phones and tablets is something that Dell should be pursuing aggressively, but they seem to be happy to be just a channel for selling other manufacturer's phones.

Poor HP buys Palm last year, and finds out that they don't know what to do with Palm either. We predict HP will use Palm patents rather than Palm technology to extract value out of mobile ecosystem. Like Oracle with Sun patents, HP has to be reviewing the many, many Palm patents looking for both the opportunity and timing to join in. This has got to be the only strategy that the executive suite is pondering, since NOTHING has really been announced or produced out of the combination of products and technology. “Let’s BUY webOS and then IGNORE it for our devices in favor of Windows 7.” Ok … well, maybe we’ll see an HP Slate with webOS on it this year, but HP is certainly taking it’s time with it.


Mobile Acquisitions Will Accelerate

Large companies and brands will look around and say "WOW, this mobile thing got very huge, very quickly, and we don't have a strategy!" ... acquisitions will accelerate as mobile development companies become attractive not only for their technology and traction, but also because great mobile teams are hard to put together and it's faster / easier to buy them.


That's it for this year!

Good wealth, health and prosperity to all in 2011.


Stephen King, CEO
Mob4Hire Inc.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mob4Hire Spiffy Award Nomination Rounds Out a Great 2010!

We were pleasantly surprised last week to be named one of the finalists for a Spiffy award from the Telecom Council of Silicon Valley (Love the award name!): San Andreas Award for Most Disruptive Technology http://tinyurl.com/2emsm3c

This is icing on the cake after an incredible 2010. With our v4.0 platform release in April, our business turned a corner ... well, many corners to be exact. We ran hundreds of projects for mobile developers and brands around the world, and most recently in November, announced Mob4Hire v4.5 with the expansion of our mobile product line for brands entering the mobile space.

I ESPECIALLY love what we're doing in mobile usability, as it's recognized as world-class leadership in this leading edge space. For mobile app creators, it's become increasingly hard to get noticed, so GREAT mobile usability is a must ... and our tools not only help you get a GREAT mobile app, but we can also guarantee you'll receive four or five stars in the app stores once you release and iterate your product. Good stuff.

With great respect and sincerity, I give MANY THANKS and Holiday Wishes to the Mob4Hire team, our customers, our investors, our partners, and of course, our spouses and families who, along with us, live and breath the roller coaster ride of being a successful global startup.

Peace and Joy to all.

Stephen King
CEO, Mob4Hire.com

P.S. 2011? It's going to be an AMAZING year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Wrap-up: Review of last year's Mob4Hire predictions

We hope everyone is enjoying their holiday season, and like many others, want to pause to reflect on the bigger trends in the industry that reveal the opportunities and challenges for all of us that are on the leading edge of the mobile revolution.

As we reflect on the barn-stormer of a year that 2010 was, we’d like to shout out a BIG BIG thanks to all our customers, mobsters, partners and investors for making this such as great year for Mob4Hire. Mob4Hire has morphed from a mobile testing company to a full-featured mobile usability and market research community, serving not only mobile developers, but product and brand managers as well as ad agencies. We’re very proud of our role in helping to bring excellent mobile experiences to users around the world.

We'll unveil our 2011 predictions in the next couple of days. For now, let’s see our report card for how we did on last year’s predictions (overall B+, we think!):

Google launches their own phone. In January 2010, Google released the Nexus. Now, they have a Nexus S. We thought, however, that this would turn into a new significant product line and therefore would be seen as competitive to their current partners HTC, Samsung, Motorola, etc… It turns out the manufacturers don’t care, and embraced Android in a tremendous year of growth for the platform.

Android will stall. Yah, well, we got this one wrong. We were right (like many others) that there would be wide spread adoption, but would see difficulties in the latter half of their year because of the anticipated fragmentation of the Android O/S making it difficult for developers to maintain code across different handsets and carriers. We also thought other handset manufacturer would NOT choose the platform because Google was introduced their own competitive handsets (see #1 above) … the opposite came true, and many handset mftrs and telecoms have adopted Android. Thus, fragmentation has become an even bigger issue for Android developers, but it has not slowed the enthusiasm for the platform. Finally, we also thought Windows Phone would be released earlier and have a bigger impact on 2010 ... the future is still bright for Microsoft, we think (as you'll see in our 2011 predictions), but Android was the platform story in 2010.

Get ready for lots more devices. PNDs, Netbooks, Tablets, TV's, M2M devices, u name it … they all appeared on the scene in 2010.

By Christmas, 2010, it will be all about Microsoft in mobile. As we thought, they got Windows 7 right for mobile phones. They released late in the year, and while the numbers aren’t in for Q4, 2010 yet, they made a great debut with their advertising position and technology. However, Microsoft did not affect Android penetration as much as we thought, and will have a hard time gaining marketshare, so we’re giving ourselves a B+ on this one.

Palm will be acquired. We thought Nokia or RIM would be the most obvious. HP was the acquirer.

M&A in telecoms will accelerate. Global M&A in telecoms has been sliding every year since 2005, but 2010 saw a turning point. According to The New York Times, M&A in Telecoms will be up 50% in 2010 over 2009.

The need for a better Mobile 2.0 web experience happens WAY quicker than anyone expects. Apps are playing an important part in the way brands and companies relate to their customers. And, with the explosion of app stores, this seems to be the primary channel to get discovered. Mobile 2.0 web is still important, but apps are leading the way. HTML5 created a buzz, and will drive the urgency to mobile web over the next few years.

Mobile advertising will be somewhat disappointing in 2010. 2010 will be remembered as the year brands tried out many types of mobile advertising (QR codes, SMS campaigns, AdMob banner ad click-through campaigns, apps and mobile web). Brands have had varying success with all types, and much has been discovered about the potential of mobile ad / appvertising. And, while there were successes, the web and traditional media still play a more important part of advertising spends. The best is yet to come for mobile (and it's also inevitable).

RIMs service woes will continue. The late 2009 event of RIM’s Messenger brown-out was quickly forgotten and not repeated. We were dead wrong on this one.

Apple will surprise us again. With tongue-in-cheek, we predicted an iFridge would invade our kitchens. They didn’t do that, but they did pretty well everything else and their stock price soared because of their vision. Next will be the iKitchenSink.

So, what will happen in 2011? Stay tuned ... we'll post our thoughts soon.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

iPad Winner announced from Mob4Hire Mobile Developer Survey

We just completed running a MobSurvey project that was looking to get opinions from Mobile Developers. Our client, a global marketing leader, was interested in the mobile applications development community's opinion on a wide range of topics related to Developer Networks and specifically, related to developers who have done work with U.S. Carriers.

It was very successful. We're super happy with the results and so is our customer. Makes us very proud to be part of the mobile industry ... 'cause it's not a bunch of faceless companies out there ... there's real people working real hard, so ... THANKS to everyone that completed it and took time out of their day to promote it (u know who you are).

The winner of the iPad is :

Rob Oshima from GameStop / Kongregate. http://www.kongregate.com/ (where there are currently 39,671 users online playing 35,836 free games!).

Congrats, Rob.

On a related note, it's interesting how many companies are (finally) look at asking Mobile Users questions about their software development ... doing some market and usability research. WHICH IS A GREAT IDEA!

Why? With over 400,000 mobile apps out there, more than 100 app stores, and more than 100 developer networks available to join, it's very important to understand your customers BEFORE you spend a bunch of money developing apps, websites, corporate programs or whatever. That's where Mob4Hire comes in.

The danger of not understanding your customers it that you'll end up creating something, but it may be a something that your targeted users don't care about!

THAT'S WHY we've created user feedback tools for every step of the development cycle: "From Concept to Commericialization":

1) Use MOBSURVEY to figure out what to make. How do users view your brand? How can you best take advantage of mobile?

2) Use MOBEXPERIENCE to test your alpha builds. We can help you focus on making killer features that users actually care about.

3) Use MOBTEST to test your beta builds. Does it work on all handsets and in all carriers/countries you are targeting?

4) Use MOBACCELERATOR to gather post release feedback. What resonates with users? Is your marketing working? How is discovery of your app?

Get the full "Ten Steps of the Mobile Development Cycle" here in .PDF format.

Hope everything is going good for you!


Stephen King

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

With release 4.5, Mob4Hire expands line of mobile usability products

Great big things are afoot with the MobTeam!

As of this morning, version 4.5 of the Mob4Hire went live across the network. The release of this version marks another big step in the Mob4Hire story. We've made a number of exciting changes to the site that will make the process of mobile crowdsource testing and market research a whole lot easier.

First, we made a number of big changes to Mob4Hire infrastructure. A faster site means a better experience for everyone. We have finished the migration over the the Amazon AWS servers and started to use the Scalr.net cluster for managing our growth. What this means is that more servers will automatically become available according to our demand. This means more capacity for running tests but more importantly it gives us a much better fault-tolerant and scalable system.

Second, we are launching 6 new products with this release. MOBTESTSUITE, MOBSTAR Certified, MOBSIMTEST, MOBSMSTEST, MOBA/BTEST and MOBTASKS join our four other services to round out the Mob4Hire catalog. You can get the details for these services here along with the rest of the Mob4Hire products. These additional services give developers a greater scope of testing they can perform and give our Mobsters a bigger chance to get more involved. Look forward to more information about each of these services in the very near term. The new services are a great extension of the power of the mobile crowd and can really help out in reducing the cost and effort of doing it yourself.

Finally, and probably the most exciting part is all Mob4Hire projects will now include dedicated Project Manager to guide you along with your testing. The Project Manager is an expert in both executing projects and managing the crowd, so developers will be able to leverage that experience to get their projects done faster and often at a lower cost. This means developers can focus on being experts in their field and we can help by being experts in ours!

We look forward to all of your feedback on the new site and the new products.

Trust the Mob

John Carpenter, CTO.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mob4Hire Launches MOBSTAR CERTIFIED Program to Guarantee Mobile App and Website Quality

Wow ... talk about coming out with a timely message. During CTIA Wireless in San Francisco, we announced our new service, the MOBSTAR CERTIFIED program to great acclaim. See full press release here.
I was talking to one of our customers yesterday ... they told us that after putting their app through a MobExperience research study (and making recommended changes), they got accepted by the Apple iPhone App Store ON THEIR FIRST TRY. The best praise we get is when we help you succeed. Contact us to ask for a quote.
Having the MOBSTAR CERTIFIED logo on a mobile product or service means that it is a high-quality premium product with exceptional growth potential. A MOBSTAR rating reflects the users’ overall loyalty toward the how a business’s app or web mobile experience. Specifically, the MOBSTAR rating indicates how much people will recommend it, what they will say about it … all of which leads to more downloads from repeat business / word-of-mouth through viral and social media.

A MobStar rating is no different than the 5-star rating system found in most app stores (accompanied with twitter-length comment fields that sometimes say "This sucks!") ... except that it's not public, and more importantly, in our survey, it's correlated with other customer satisfaction/loyalty questions as well as 7 software dimensions such as Stability, Install / Launch, User Interface, Language etc...

The MobStar rating comes as part of both our MobExperience and MobAccelerator products.
MobExperience: Pre-release usability and user experience study that helps mobile firms and media publishers make great mobile apps and websites

When doing a mobile usability study, there is only one goal. How do you make an app that will get four or five stars in an app store? If you don't, no one will download it.

But, within that one goal, there are two important dimensions:

1) What do we need to improve in the software that REALLY matters to users?
2) Of ALL the stuff in the software, what's most important for our marketing messages?

Thanks for being part of the Mob,

Stephen King, CEO

Mob4Hire Appoints Laura Sullivan as VP, Operations

We are very pleased to welcome Laura Sullivan to the "MobSquad" team as VP, Operations.

“It’s vital that we grow our management capabilities to help drive Mob4Hire’s accelerating international growth,” states Stephen King, CEO of Mob4Hire. “Laura is a world-class management consultant; we’re very lucky to have her deep experience, knowledge of the local tech economy / government relations, and startup expertise. She’s a great compliment to the rest of the management team.”

Since 2008, as a Program Manager at Calgary Technologies Inc., Laura has provided coaching and mentoring services to almost 100 early stage technology companies, helping them access $ Ms in funding and development.

Laura brings broad experience in operations, finance, project and risk management, in a number of industries including Manufacturing, ICT, Retail and Health. As a Management Consultant, Laura’s clients included TransCanada Pipelines Ltd., Calgary Health Region, Bethany Care Foundation, C-mach Technologies, FoundPages and ITSportsNet. Laura’s experience in governance and advisory includes being a Director, and Chair of the Audit Committee of a $1B retail organization, Calgary Co-operative Association Ltd., as well as sitting on a number of advisory boards including the Operations Management Advisory Council for BC Institute of Technology, and International Business Advisory Council for University of Calgary. Laura currently provides governance training as part of the Alberta Board Development Program.
“Mob4Hire is an exciting global company with limitless potential,” says Sullivan. “As a micro-multinational, establishing cloud-based operations is essential to scaling as we serve customers from 84 different countries. I’m looking forward to turning my focus solely to Mob4Hire’s success.”
Here's the press release: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/10/prweb4652204.htm

Thursday, October 7, 2010

John Carpenter presentation of "The Power of the Crowd" at Starwest in San Diego

Check out this SlideShare Presentation that our CTO, John Carpenter did at the recent Starwest Conference in San Diego: "The Power of the Crowd: Mobile Testing for Scale and Global Coverage"