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Skype Gets into Group Texting

Skype, who is in the processing of being bought by Microsoft, just did a little buying of their own. They plunked down a rumored $85 million for group texting company GroupMe.

The GroupMe app was designed to solve a very basic problem — group decision making. If you’ve ever tried to plan a night out with four different you understand the issue. Fred calls Joe and suggests sushi, Joe calls Mary who says she doesn’t like sushi, so Joe texts Fred to say pick somewhere else, but in the meantime Fred is on the phone trying to talk Louise into coming out for sushi with him, while Mary texts Louise telling her Fred’s a loser and they’re all going for pizza. Next thing you know it’s 10:00 at night and no one has left the house yet.

Groupon to Congress: We’re Tracking You for Your Own Good

Groupon has an exciting new idea. They’re going to track you through your cell phone at all times so they can send you the most relevant deals exactly when you need them. Out to lunch on Main Street — get 50% off a sandwich at the deli on the corner. Buying tickets at the movies? Here’s a discount on popcorn. No matter where you are. No matter what you’re doing, Groupon is going to find you. And did I mention you don’t have to have have their mobile app running at the time?

Two congressmen, and possibly several thousand mobile users, want to know more. According to an article in Reuters, House Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus: Joe Barton from Texas and Edward Markey from Massachusetts have asked Groupon to clarify its data collection and privacy policies. Some of their curiosity stems from Groupon’s recently filed $750 million initial public offering. After that, it’s mostly sheer amazement that Groupon would be so cavalier about wholesale tracking.

The Android Diet: 1 Hour Per Day, Consume 67 Percent Apps and 33 Percent Web

Think of all the things that are advertised as being done in just an hour a day. In the Internet marketing space there are books about just about any subject like SEO, social media, you name it, that can be done in an hour a day.

Well, Nielsen has given us a look into the life of the Android device user and found that even the mobile habit is handled in an hour a day. The first reported finding shows that of that hour (it’s actually 56 minutes but we round up for link friendly reasons :-) ), 67% of that hour is spent with apps while the rest of the time is spent on the web. What constitutes web time is a question that would help us understand this a bit better but we’ll save that for later.

Something Old, Something New: Google Catalogs for iPad

When I was a kid, flipping through the newly delivered Sears Christmas Catalog was one of my biggest joys in life. My sister and I would work our way through from beginning to the toys, playing “pick” on every page. (We did allow ourselves to skip the men’s clothing section and the tools.) When we were done, we’d each sit down with pencil and paper and make a wish list with page numbers and color options.

Fast forward to now where Google is breathing new life into the old catalog, via their new Google Catalogs app for iPad.

It begins by choosing the catalogs you want to receive. LL Bean, Williams Sonoma, Urban Outfitters. . . the catalogs update automatically just like when you used to get them in the mail.

Home is Where the QR Code Is

QR codes are popping up on everything from magazine ads to bus shelters and slowly but surely, Americans are learning to point and click.

comScore has just posted the results of their June 2011 survey regarding the funky, black and white squares and here’s what they found.

14 million mobile users in the US have scanned a QR code. That sound like a nice number until you put it in perspective. It represents only 6.2% of all mobile users.

60.5% of the code scanners were men, mostly between 18-34 with an income of over $100k.

Where did they find these codes? Nearly half said a print magazine or newspaper. A close second with 35.3% was product packaging. Posters, business cards, flyers and storefronts also made the list. The two strange choices were websites (27.4%) and TV (11.7%).

After the Amazing Success of Nexus One (Not), Google to Acquire Motorola

This time last year, Google was licking its wounds after the dismal failure of its Nexus One phone.

You know, the one designed and sold by Google. A complete Android package from the search giant.

So what better way to celebrate the one year anniversary of that failed experiment than by coughing up $12.5 billion, in CASH, for Motorola and jumping feet first into the handset manufacturing business?

I know, you’re checking to make sure it’s not April 1st, but this is hot off the wire:

Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: MMI) today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Google will acquire Motorola Mobility for $40.00 per share in cash, or a total of about $12.5 billion, a premium of 63% to the closing price of Motorola Mobility shares on Friday, August 12, 2011. The transaction was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

Millennial Media’s 50th Mobile Intelligence Report: That was Then, This is Now

Millennial Media released their 50th Mobile Intelligence Report today which covers Q2 2011 and includes a look back at where we were in 2009.

One of the biggest changes is Apple’s rise to dominate the top of the mobile device charts. In 2009, they were number 3 with 11.35% of the market, but in 2011, they’re number one with 30.76%. Samsung dropped down to number two, but 2009′s second place LG has dropped all the way to 6th place.

Going along with Apple’s supremacy is the rise in touch screens. Currently 60% of devices have them, as compared to only 33% back in 2009. The mobile phone biz has changed so radically that only two phones made the Top 20 list both then and now, the iPhone and the Blackberry Curve. In 2009, it was all about the T-Mobile Sidekick and the Samsung Instinct. My, how times have changed. Of course, compared to the first portable phones, the Sidekick is a true marvel.