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Mobile app investment accelerates

by Scott Bicheno on 25 August 2010, 15:28

Tags: RIM (TSE:RIM), Motorola (NYSE:MSI), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM)

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Apps are where it's at

We've already remarked that the level of acquisition activity seems to be quite frenzied right now and this is especially true of the mobile app sector.

Everyone knows that, with the exception of Apple, there's relatively little money to be made in mobile phone hardware - it's the incremental revenue from apps, advertising and m-commerce that is the real Holy Grail. So it comes as no surprise to see three more companies in the mobile sector investing in app companies.

RIM - the maker of BlackBerrys - has acquired app store and mobile DRM outfit Cellmania, which perhaps tellingly seems to be especially strong on Android. Meanwhile Techcrunch is reporting that Motorola bought 280 North a few months back, which specialises in making tools to create rich web apps.

Finally Qualcomm, which already has its fingers in many m-commerce pies, has announced the launch of a mobile service and app incubator - Qualcomm Services Labs. It will serve as an environment in which mobile products can be developed and commercialised.

"Powerful new mobile devices and high-speed networks today make it possible to introduce entirely new categories of mobile services, and to give consumers new capabilities that enrich their lives," said Isaac Babbs, GM of QSL. "As an incubator, QSL is structured to help fast-track these new capabilities. We are focused on developing innovative new mobile applications and service models and getting them to market quickly."

QSL has already launched four products. Neer is a location sharing service along the lines of FourSquare, but with a claimed greater degree of control over who you share your location with. There's a vid explaining it below.

Qilroy allows ‘peer-to-place communication', which appears to mean geographically influenced social networking. Tapioca has produced a URL shortening service called Magic Link that is specifically geared for viral multimedia distribution across social networks. Finally Vive is a recommendation service with a strong social networking element.

We have to be honest, it's hard to identify any gaping voids in our lives that will be filled by any of these new services, but then again, maybe we're just old and past it...


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