Information services migrating to mobile

image The news today about TomTom’s iPhone package and the upcoming release of the Vodafone 360 social address book service left me reflecting on how quickly the mobile is becoming our central point of connectedness.  Beyond voice, it is now key to messaging, both SMS and email, and a host of other web services are fast gaining traction.  Now SatNavs are moving onto the phone and integrating social networking into the address book gives us something we have never had before and can’t readily get elsewhere.

On top of this there is of course the blizzard of iPhone apps and a browsing experience that is much improved over the last couple of years.

This amounts to a very powerful trend, and will be a fertile ground for startups.  That said, in mobile there is always the caveat that it is a trend everyone has seen coming for 10+ years now, and many of the incumbents who might be disrupted are better prepared to defend themselves than in other areas where change is happening this quickly.

(For those that are wondering, Vodafone 360 is based on technology from Zyb, a Danish company they acquired last year.)

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  • RichardForster

    Hi Nic – I agree, in fact I'd go far as far as to say the mobile device is becoming the central point of our lives. It's been coming since Captain Kirk and his communicator !

    I think TomTom are an interesting case in seeing the trend coming. TomTom has been available on Windows mobile phones and pda's for several years, but really it has been a secondary market for them and I don't think they have positioned themselves to take advantage of their market dominance. They will lose a big chunk of the iphone market to someone like CoPilot with their current pricing model. CoPilot software is less than half the price of TomTom. Why would you pay £160 for TomTom software and a cradle when you can buy CoPilot for iphone for £26 and a cradle for about £10 ? The TomTom iphone software alone at £60 is only marginally cheaper than buying a standalone GPS unit.

    TomTom's model is definitely being disrupted and it could be to their advantage if they can convince the market their software is worth more than a cheaper competitor because they are no longer manufacturing, distributing and supporting hardware or if they can win the battle to be the pre-installed GPS software of choice for mobile device manufacturers.

    However CoPilot have been competing on mobile devices for a while now with TomTom and that competition has just heated up to a level that will seriously dent TomTom's revenue going forward as more and more people move away from buying standalone GPS devices and expect their single mobile device to do that job. With the current pricing differential CoPilot is going to take a great deal of market share from TomTom on the Iphone at least.

  • I agree TomTom et al will struggle as a) their market shrinks, b) their product changes from hardeare+software to software, and c) their distribution changes from physical to digital.

    Not many companies survive that much change.

  • I agree TomTom et al will struggle as a) their market shrinks, b) their product changes from hardeare+software to software, and c) their distribution changes from physical to digital.

    Not many companies survive that much change.