Archive for September, 2007

Look Inside The Power of Mobility

Monday, September 24th, 2007

Maybe this has been up there for awhile, but I just noticed that Amazon has enabled the “Look Inside” and “Search Inside” features for The Power of Mobility. Click here for a peek into the book. Amazon also indicates that the book is in stock and apparently shipping.

If anyone who placed a pre-order has received their copy, please drop me a note.

Now playing: Sarah Laughing – Eye Of The Storm

Converged Products: Week of 9/23/07

Monday, September 24th, 2007

The most convenient way that mobility is getting built into products is through the convergence into the cellphone of capabilities that previously existed as standalone products. That way, those products are now with you and available for your use whenever you need them wherever you go.

Complete list here.

Now playing: Jimmy Needham – I Am New

The Power of Mobility: The Unboxing

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

The first “author’s copies” of my new book, The Power of Mobility, arrived this weekend. So, in the spirit of my favorite technology blogs. Here are pictures from “the unboxing.”

PoM unboxing 1PoM unboxing 2PoM unboxing 3PoM unboxing 4PoM unboxing 5

Click on the thumbnails for larger versions.

Final Case Study Preview: Rand McNally, MapQuest, and TeleNav

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

The Power of Mobility should be hitting store shelves within the next couple of weeks, so it’s time for me to wrap up my previews of case studies included in the book.

To highlight the opportunity to build mobility into products, I featured case studies of three companies all in the navigation space, but approaching it from very different starting points. My original plan had been to feature four companies: one that dated back to pre-PC days; one that was born from leveraging Moore’s Law into navigation; one that was created in the Internet revolution; and finally one that been formed as a pure-play mobility company. However, my neighbors down the street, chose not to participate in the book. I’m still pleased with what we can learn from the other three.

I recommend reading the full case studies in the book, but here’s my key takeaway from the exercise. Mobility creates new and unique value, no matter from where you’re starting.

Take Rand McNally & Company, for example. When I think of paper maps, I think of Rand McNally. The company’s been around for more than 150 years and their maps are used in 98% of schools in America. Most of us grew up navigating using Rand McNally products. We know how to look up a destination, find the grid coordinates (e.g. B-3) and find the destination on the map. As Rand McNally has continued it’s leadership into the PC era (their StreetFinder products), the Internet (, and now into Mobility, they have found the strengths of each and leveraged their starting point. All of their products use the familiar grid system as a common reference point, enabling customers to easily move from research on the web, to charting a cross-country road trip in the road atlas, to finding a restaurant in an otherwise unfamiliar town on a mobile phone. Bottom line, the company has found ways to capture the new power introduced in each technology revolution, while extending the value of their existing products. To Rand McNally, “legacy” is a good thing.

Similarly, MapQuest – launched in 1996 – is the leading web-based navigation service with 54 million users. The company recognizes the new value represented by Mobility. The challenge is in how to interconnect those 54 million desk-bound users to a mobile experience. MapQuest has focused on the different ways that their audience uses different tools. Sitting at a desk with a big web screen is a great place to plan a trip. MapQuest has made it easy for users to transfer that planned trip to their mobile device and then get real time directions and additional information while actually on the go. Of course, one of the new challenges for Internet companies like MapQuest, is how to translate their ad-based business model into the mobility age. Limited screen real estate certainly creates challenges, but mobility provides context-based opportunities that are intriguing to the company. You can read more about it in the book.

Finally, TeleNav. H.P. Jin, the company’s founder and CEO, likes to tell the story of the founding of TeleNav. For years he had believed in the promise of GPS technology. But it wasn’t until the FCC ruled in favor of including GPS chipsets in mobile phones to support E911 that H.P. translated that belief into a business plan. What TeleNav introduced was a product that was functionally comparable to expensive standalone navigation devices (from companies like Garmin and Tom Tom), but with a disruptive operating model. For starters, much of the hardware cost was being covered by someone else. The cellphone subscriber was already buying an electronic device with a GPS chipset, a microprocessor, a display screen, a speaker, and a keypad for entering information. TeleNav’s only cost contribution was the software that ran on the device to turn it into a navigation system. So, while consumers had to wrestle with spending hundreds of dollars to purchase a standalone device (wondering whether they’d really use it), TeleNav introduced a pricing model with no upfront cost and only a $10/month service fee – which could be cancelled at any time. Suddenly, the decision for consumers became much easier. Furthermore, since a cellphone, by definition, is a networked device, TeleNav’s products benefit from the most up to date maps, construction delays, traffic updates, and even the location of the cheapest gas. Standalone navigation device manufacturers have worked hard to bring down their prices and integrate similar real-time information, but for TeleNav, built on the principals of the mobility revolution, pushing the model forward comes naturally.

Keep a watch out for the book. It should start appearing everywhere soon!

Very Impressed with BlackBerry!

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

This week I bought a new device. My PPC-6700 had seen better days and I was ready for a change. I considered the Mogul, but I was tired of messing with on-screen keypads and wanted a device with the QWERTY thumboard on the front, rather than as a slide out. I was also looking forward to benefiting from the value created through context with location based applications, which the 6700 lacked and the Mogul doesn’t support.

All of these requirements led me to the RIM 8830 Blackberry. I may never take advantage of the phone’s international capabilities, but I love the size and form factor. The 8830 features RIM’s new trackball interface and works over Sprint’s EV-DO mobile broadband network.

My biggest fear was learning a new operating system. I bought the very first Palm Pilot, introduced by US Robotics back around the time USR was getting acquired by 3Com (remember all that?). It was a cool device, but when Microsoft introduced the Windows CE operating systems, I bought one of the very first devices to support it. I’ve been a Windows Mobile user ever since. Several years ago, when I joined Sprint, I switched to a Treo because Sprint didn’t yet have any Microsoft devices. But the pain of relearning the Palm OS was debilitating and as soon as Sprint introduced a reasonable Windows device, I switched back.

Amazingly, there was no learning curve for me on the BlackBerry. The trackball makes selecting applications and moving around within them as simple as any point and click interface. All applications consistently use the menu button, the “back” button, and the exit button.

The first application I purchased for my BlackBerry was TeleNav’s navigation software. It’s great. The turn-by-turn directions are as helpful and accurate as the expensive system built into my wife’s car, but at $10/month, TeleNav is a bargain. Not to mention that I’ll have my navigation with me even when I travel or am in a friend’s car.

Bottom line – I’m loving my new device!

SprintCut for the Week of 9/16/2007

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Sprint has introduced a web site called that is intended to help you live life at “SprintSpeed.” Although the site has little to do with mobility, they are fun ideas. So, every week I’ll share one.


Enabling Technology: Week of 9/16/2007

Friday, September 21st, 2007

The Law of Mobility talks about value increasing with mobility. The impact of this law is being felt because the barriers to building mobility in are being obliterated week after week. Here are examples of technology advances enabling this to happen:

Full list here.

Now playing: Timber – You Are

Indicators: Week of 9/16/2007

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

More and more, the world around us reflects the growing assumption of the law of mobility. Each week we will track indicators of Mobility’s growing importance in our businesses, our lives, and our society:

Full list here.

Now playing: Harrod And Funck – Worry Too Much

Capturing the Power: Week of 9/16/2007

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Mobility is a wonderful thing. As mobility gets built into all products and services, businesses need to learn how to both capture the power of mobility and manage the dangers introduced through mobility. Here are some examples of how the power of mobility is being applied to create competitive advantage:

Complete list here

Now playing: Chris Taylor – Jesus Is Alive

Managing the Danger: Week of 9/16/2007

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

Bonus: Information Week provides Mobile Security 101

In order to be winners in the new mobile era, businesses will not only need to capture the power of mobility, but also manage the danger. Highlighted below are recent examples of the danger of mobility and how some firms are beginning to manage it:

Full list here.

Now playing: The Downing Family – King of Babylon