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PhonePublish: Reaching the Massses


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Alex Kerr's presentation for the 2011 Mobile Ministry Forum Consultation. Understanding the context of those not using smartphones, numbers of non-smartphone vs smartphone users worldwide, and introduction of PhonePublish - a publishing platform for Java-based mobiles and the mobile web

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PhonePublish: Reaching the Massses

  1. 1. Reaching The Masses - On “Non-Smart” Phones Alex Kerr
  2. 2. Who Do You Want To Reach? e.g. - - country? - demographic? - a question for each church and ministry But ultimately we (the church) want to reach everyone (keep in mind!) And How Can You Reach Them? (Assumption: already considered or used missionaries and printed publications) What “information receiving devices/channels” do they have? Radio? TV? PC? Internet? Phone? Smartphone?(End of 2010 Figures) Industrialised World Developing/Emerging WorldPopulation 1.2 billion 5.7 billionMobile Subscriptions 1.7 billion (141 %) 3.5 billion (61 %)FM Radios 2.7 billion (225 %) 1.3 billion (23 %)TVs 950 million (79 %) 750 million (13 %)PC (laptop/desktop) 750 million (63 %) 550 million (10 %)Mobile internet users 550 million (46 %) 850 million (15 %)
  3. 3. What Phones Do People Actually Have?Media & developer (& thus understandably often corporate/organisation) perception: & maybe: iPhone Android Blackberry Windows Phone Note: All great devices for ministry! – Powerful, wonderful user experience, total sales: 250 million (Apple iOS) + 190 million (Google Android) etc. Actual reality: (End of 2010 Figures) Industrialized World Developing/Emerging World Smartphones ~ 29 % 11 % (6 % of pop.) “Non-smart” Phones ~ 71 % 89 %
  4. 4. Smartphone Nokia Blackberry Android iPhone Windows Split Symbian Mobile Western European 60 % 7% 5% 18 % - (2010) Advanced Asia Pacific 61 % 2% 4% 10 % 6% Emerging Asia Pacific 75 % - 4% 3% 4%Emerging Latin America 50 % 25 % 3% 4% 10 % /Dev. World Eastern Europe, Africa, 78 % 10 % 3% 3% 4% Middle East Crunching the (2010) figures gives: 94 % of the population in the developing world do not have smartphones! ~40 % to ~70 % of the industrialized world do not have smartphones! Pulling out an example stat… e.g. taking the two most talked-about phone platforms, iPhone + Android together are owned by roughly 0.5% of the developing world, so… Roughly 99.5% of people in the developing world (~5.4 billion) can not be reached with iPhone + Android!
  5. 5. Hang on, everyone’s buying smartphones these days, - so this is all going to change rapidly, right?...Cisco report Feb 2010 (sources: Cisco VNI Mobile, Informa Media and Telecoms, In-Stat, Gartner, 2009, 2010 Smartphone Growth 2011 (projection) 2014 (projection) Asia Pacific 10 % 16 % Central & Eastern Europe 9% 16 % Latin America 2% 3% Middle East & Africa 4% 7% North America 37 % (accurate - Comscore) 54 % Western Europe 32 % 49 %Globally, ~ 1 billion smartphones today, best prediction ~ 2 billion by 2014. Still only 28% ofall phones in use though! And notice above, percentages much higher in industrialisedworld… Source:
  6. 6. So, most phone users in the world won’t have the popular smartphone brands for a long time or ever … situation bleak? No! … just requires a mindset shift / change of perspective “Non-smart”-phone?• Actually far more than just a “phone”, “featurephone” or “dumbphone”• Can often do pretty much everything a smartphone can do, but to a lesser spec.• Even many older phones still in use can run software apps, even with limited specification are still perfectly viable targets for ministry ...The potential is HUGE, and exciting
  7. 7. How To Reach The Masses On “Low End” Phones? • SMS – Just a short text string. How? Sent via Telco SMS provider, or Frontline SMS type system (just PC/laptop & a phone). All phones • Phone Call – e.g. Interactive Voice Response. Interact by phone keypad, or voice commands. How? Various IVR providers online.Some phones • (Mobile) Web Page – easy to make but user requires continuous (roughly 1 internet connection. User experience good enough for lots of things.billion in dev. world?) How? Write a XHTML-Basic web page, put it on your website. • Audio/Visual file – easy to play back on many phones if file format Potentially ~3 billion+ carefully chosen. Easy for users to spread, via Bluetooth wireless. Suits phones? those who primarily communicate orally rather than via writing. Zero interactivity. Variable user experience depending on phone capability. 1 billion+ ? (how many • Flashlite – medium-level interactive user experience. Need Flash skills! non-smart Uncertain future? tho?) • Software app (Java Mobile) – best user experience and functionality, Potentially ~3 billion+ internet only required at installation if at all. How? Learn the Java phones? Mobile language and understand the multiple caveats of the platform!! Or… ???
  8. 8. Apps on low-end phones (in Java) … a real prize, if you can overcome the pitfalls!• Not just reach those potential 3 billion or so low end phones• Also reach the ~300 million Nokia Symbian smartphones as-is• Also, with minor conversion can reach most, if not all, Blackberries and AndroidsBut…• Mobile Java is technically complex, increasingly (very) challenging as you try and cater for older and less powerful phones (fragmentation, bugs, lack of memory and power). Significantly more challenging than developing apps for e.g. Android or iPhone.• 3rd party user interface add-on (LWUIT) enables great user experiences (almost smartphone- like) but requires a relatively powerful (/newer) low-end phone, that leave out many older or less powerful phones.Do you have to make your own Java app (or get one made) ? Alternatives…• Bible? E.g. can use GoBible Creator• Simple eBook? Publish in EPUB format, users can use an Ebook reader. • Advantages: Simple to publish, various free and paid ebook readers • Disadvantages: Biggest is phone capability (memory requirements) usually quite demanding so lots of older or lower powered phones left out. Inflexible – limited to Ebook capabilities. Data format for publications is relatively inefficient (XML based).• Other publishing solutions…?
  9. 9. Another solution…PhonePublish (.org)• Takes your Christian pamphlet, guide, course manual, Bible, audiovisual clip, and makes it available as a software app for featurephones, and optionally as a mobile website• #1 priority was making it able to run on literally as many phones as possible. Much work has gone into making it very efficient! App (without data) is currently only 17 Kb in size (vs. e.g. 600Kb for Ebook reader, >732Kb for LWUIT apps). Important because some older phones can only run max. 62Kb apps (or less!). And have only 96 X 65 pixel screens! But should someone with a phone this limited be denied your Christian content…?• Free – to content owners, and users.• Rich text – text styles, pictures, bullets, tables, box-outs, etc…• Notes - Users can make and store notes tied to each page in a publication• Feature requests - Happy to discuss what content owners (or their users) may need• Coming soon(ish): audio and video playback (including interactivity, e.g. fully audio IVR-style publications; multiple users on one phone each with their own notes (and settings), multiple publications on one phone (so a personal library), richer text, “secret believer” sensitive, full touchscreen support, Android and Blackberry versions (already works on Nokia Symbian), iPhone via auto-generated mobile website, feedback forms etc., plug into your website.• PhonePublish is a “delivery mechanism”, like a printing press. Not about just giving all your content away unless you want that!
  10. 10. PhonePublish (.org) Unique features, currently in R & D: • Bluetooth copying of the entire app and/or content – not officially possible with Java apps, but has been demonstrated by 2 or 3 experimenters (+Nokia for 1 app). Would solve the problem of needing internet access – whole app (and your content) could spread virally and indefinitely with zero need for internet on the phone, or even any phone signal. • Cracking the language problem – currently apps can only use the languages built into a phone. On featurephones this is usually one or two, or very few, and no minority languages. After 2 or 3 months research, looks like I have a feasible solution. Would make the dream of “any language on any phone” possible – assuming there’s a digital font available that allows rendering on a PC. • Brainstorming about tracking Bluetooth copies – very very early days (!) but looks like something might possibly be possible! About to be piloted by the Alpha Course, Tearfund, DS Media (Door43), talking to some other organisations…
  11. 11. (website up very soon) Email: alexkerr@usa.netThis presentation available now at