Monday, September 17, 2007

Utterz: speak your blog entry

1.8 billion people on this planet have mobile phones. Finland*, Italy, UK, Sweden and Hong Kong have already exceeded 100% market penetration and the Chinese wireless mobile market is expected to grow by 65% through 2010. Even though globally, after rising by an average of 25% in 2004, 2005 and 2006, the over all mobile phone subscriber growth is expected to decelerate in 2007, mobile phones are being used for new purposes every day, including for blogging and social networking.

While some companies are already doing their best to capitalize on the increasing popularity of this Mobile 2.0 phenomenon mobile phones are becoming more significant as internet connectivity devices as they now allow not just consuming of the content but also producing it. Even Linux based phones are becoming more popular with over 20 million units.

Podcast voice messages directly from your phone

Taking my first steps as a mobile phone blogger recently I bumped into this article by Kristen Nicole reviewing a new mobile blogging platform named Utterz. I have heard about and done some mobile blogging. It's pretty obvious that if people send so many sms messages to each other they can also send messages directly to their blog, making them walking bloggers. But Utterz take this idea one step further. They allow you to podcast voice messages directly from your phone. now that is cool.

The Utterz stream was implemented similarly to the way it was done by the Twitter guys, only, naturally, they made it smaller and obtained support for spoken blog entries, appearing as audio files as part of your stream.

Having a Utterz account you can call 712-432-Mooo any time and speak your mind, voice an opinion or share a joke with the rest of the members. When you are "tongue-tied" you can just txt your messages to You can also post mixed messages of voice, video and text and Utterz 's system will put them together for you. Simply snap some with your cell and send them to

Must be a 10 digit US phone number

Utterz is first of all a blogging platform and as such they understand most bloggers wehere not invented just for them. Thus they managed to make themselves "blogger friendly" and provide a nice collection of widgets for their users to plug-into existing networks, including custom made widgets for TypePad, Blogger (blogspot), Xanga, MySpace, LiveJournal and Facebook.

While trying to join the party I got this message saying "Must be a 10 digit US phone number". Na... I checked and found that Utterz is kept free because they "have relationships with phone companies to get a small portion of what you are paying your cell phone company for your calling plan". This business model is interesting but it also limits expansion ratio and on top of everything is somewhat non-compatible with the Internet spirit of a limitless borderless environment.

Anyway, its not everyone's problem that I am an Israeli so bottom line I would say Utterz is one more step for mankind but I hope someone at the high windows of the Utterz building will listen to my cry and get a deal done with my mobile service provider (that would be Cellcom, Israel) as soon as possible.

* Edit 22:45 GMT+2: Leena, a proud Finnish and an avid Conceptis Addict adds that no matter how figures are interpreted, Finland is the world's leading country in terms of mobile phone penetration levels. Sorry for missing that important figure and thanks Leena!


  1. Sorry about picking a small detail about a fabulous article, but you say "1.8 billion people on this planet have mobile phones. Italy, UK, Sweden and Hong Kong have already exceeded 100% market penetration". I could not open the link, but Finland missing from that list amazes me. The second link to ITFacts openend and stated the same.
    According to Tomi T. Ahonen ( states that Finland is the leading country no matter how the figures are interpreted. I think you have quoted him before. He should know, he is Finnish ;)
    This certainly is not the first time Sweden is mentioned before us with no reason!

  2. Leena, nothing is better than having someone like you reading my writings and making the kind of comments you make. I fixed things up bit... let me know if its better now :)

  3. Now it's perfect!
    Sweden may win us in Ice Hockey, but that's it ;)
    Our figures are related to Nokia, the world's largest manufacturer of mobile phones. It is multi-national nowadays but it is originally Finnish and the headquarters are still in Finland. Maybe that is unknown to many people and a common belief is that Nokia is Japanese. (In some aspects our languages are similar).
    As a comment to the article itself: I don't see myself blogging with the mobile. I even hate typing text messages, not to mention using the tiny screen on a mobile. Well, my brother-in-law has a nice phone in test use with a qwerty-keyboard.
    I said the same thing when you suggested blogging but in this case I am definitely waiting until the prices are reasonable for those mobiles, not to mention the prices of the multimedia messages which are sky high at the moment!

  4. Anonymous20.9.07

    Hi Gil and Leena

    Thanks for mentioning me. And thanks for talking about the enormous numbers relating to mobile phones, the most prevalent digital technology on the planet.

    I do need to give some updates. Gil you do quote a correct statistic on the global number, 1.8 Billion mobile phones - where the original article quoted Informa. But the date of the number is 2005. At the phenomenal rate of growth in mobile telecoms, that number is hopelessly out of date. Today (effective end of July 2007) there are actually 3 B mobile phone subscriptions in the world. Yes, and the source is of course Informa, the best source for subscriber numbers.

    What Informa also reports, is that of those 3 B phones, about 700 M are second or third subscriptions (people with 2 phones, such as a Blackberry from work and a private phone). 28% of all who own a mobile phone have two or more subscriptions. So the 3 B is the subscription number, actual owners of mobile phones when measured in humans is 2.3 B as of July 2007 (source Informa).

    You may see recent numbers quoting 2.7 B (usually also Informa as the source). That number was true of subcriptions at the end of December 2006, and when Informa removed multiple subscriptions the discrete count of people with one or more mobile phone, was 2.1 B

    And for contrast 1.5 B credit card owners, 1.4 B TV sets, 1.3 B fixed landline phones, 1.2 B internet users, about 900 million PCs, about 800 million automobiles.

    This year we're on track to sell 1.1 B new phones, most of those go as replacements (replacement cycle is 18 months for mobile phones vs 3.5 years for PCs - source Semiconductor Industry Association)

    Now the sad news about Finland ha-ha (yes I'm Finnish, and the last thing I'd want to admit that the Swedes are better at something)..

    It is true that Finland no longer sits in the top 5 of total mobile phone penetration rates. Taiwan and Hong Kong are at 135% subscription penetration per capita. Israel and Italy are at 130%. Austria, Portugal, Sweden (yes, sigh), Singapore, Denmark are in the 120% range. Even the UK is already at 115%. Finland is barely over 100, at 105% (all source Informa)

    There is good reason for this, Leena, don't worry. Italy, Taiwan, Hong Kong etc ran past Finland as they adopted prepaid phone services. A subscriber might go get a new prepaid account for a wide range of reasons. But Finland with Japan, the USA and a few other countries still is very low prepaid and thus very high post-paid billing princples for mobile. It means less subscriptions per capita.

    But don't worry Leena (and Gil), Finland does still lead in many ways, perhaps the most amazing stat is the fixed-to-mobile substitution. Finland was the first industrialized country where households started to abandon fixed landlines for mobile phones, and today more than half of all households have already abandoned the landline altoghether and only use mobile. Portugal is a distant second at 30% among industrialized countries (source ITU)

    Tomi Ahonen :-)

  5. your comment is outstanding in every parameter. I am speechless... thank you for visiting and reading this blog, and special thanks for adding your fantastic contribution.

  6. Tomi, I am sorry. my previous comment was meant to you but I was so excited I forgot to refer it to you personally! thanks again.

  7. Thank you Tomi for your answer!
    To me this became a very important landmark. I have been blogging about one month (with Gil as my excellent mentor) and I am impressed that my comment led to a person with your expertise to respond.
    And Gil, I was right about you quoting Tomi before in your post /2007/08/mobile-media-not-just-new-kid-in.html. You just used "Alan Moore and Tomi Ahonen from SMLXL" linking it to SMLXL.
    I did of course recognize a Finnish name and got interested. I went to your homepage Tomi, and was very impressed by your CV. When I read Gil's post about the statistics, I immediately knew where to seek for more recent info ;)
    Abondoning the landline is a very familar phenomenon. I still have one because I don't want my students (I teach maths in a high school for adults) to call me on my cellular. Your comment however gave me the idea to get a prepaid for that purpose. It would save me money and probably save me from the phone sales calls. I should anyway buy a new 3G phone and I can leave the old one for the prepaid.
    I have also personally experienced the vanishing of payphones which you mention in your post. My mother, 82, decided 2 years ago to get a cellular. She could very well go shopping by herself with a taxi, but getting home was more complicated. Kaarina, our home town has no payphones and our taxi stand is not permanently occupied ;)
    Nice to hear from you Tomi and I very probably will be blogging about this amazing event.

  8. Thank you for your note. The reference to your article in the post:



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