You're probably already convinced that you should be thinking about mobile advertising. You can't read any tech blog these days without hearing about Apple buying Quattro Wireless, Google buying AdMob, and smartphone buzz galore. With the Nexus One, Google tried to go one step further by building a "superphone" that will change... everything. But before you buy into the hype, let's take a step back for a second. The Nexus One has some nice new features such as noise cancellation, a light sensor and an LED flash camera, but it isn't a generation beyond the current smartphones. Right now, the key question for mobile advertisers is whether to focus their efforts on the iPhone or Android. I'll jump in and tell you the short answer: it's both.
Advertisers are concerned with a few critical metrics: reaching a large engaged audience and ensuring a high level of brand equity. The iPhone has been one of the most important game changers for mobile marketers.
As a single device, the iPhone's reach is unparalleled - allowing advertisers to engage anyone from soccer moms to technology mavens to college students. Plus, the iPhone App Store is well-developed for brands given the initial layer of quality control that occurs through Apple's rigorous app approval process. Furthermore, the iPod Touch has opened the door to a new audience of kids and teens who can drive their elders to make purchases on their behalf.
The Android App Marketplace, on the other hand, is currently much smaller and has less visibility than the iPhone App Store. Random people on the street can name top iPhone apps even if they don't own an iPhone, but it's much harder to do the same for Android. The multiple devices make it tricky for developers to test their apps on multiple platforms and build their apps to fit different screen sizes and features. With that said, the only real pain point for developers is reach. As more devices and carriers jump over to Android, increasing its popularity, expect the developers to quickly follow the rush. The Nexus One is Google's model phone for the Android OS, but it's clearly not ready for the masses as pricing and carrier options handcuff the reach of the phone. Currently, most Android phone owners are early adopters, the gadget-crazed crowd and users that hate AT&T. Down the line, expect Android to reach markets largely untapped by the iPhone such as a greater percentage of women, tweens, PC lovers or those in lower income brackets.
The bottom line is that the Android is definitely not an iPhone killer, but the iPhone is not going to remain the lone dominator of the mobile market forever. So although Apple's iPhone is quite a few strides ahead of the pack, this is a market with room for multiple contenders. As such, you should plan on getting involved in multiple platforms instead of making a bet on one when you look into mobile advertising.