Our look at some of the big stories today in mobile: question mark over iPad 2 sale numbers at Best Buy; mobile advertising startup GoldSpot picks up $12 million; new camera phone stats; and Sprint (NYSE: S) enters India with a JV.
— iPad 2: Could one of the biggest stories about the iPad 2 — sellouts of the product, especially on opening days — be based on incorrect information?
A report in Crunchgear alleges that Best Buy has made it on to Apple’s “blacklist” for mishandling sales of the iPad 2. Because of a misunderstanding between Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and the retailer, salespeople were telling customers the product was sold out, when in fact the stores had just reached their quota of sales for the day.
This has apparently resulted in a retail standoff. Apple has “declined to sell any more iPads at the store for the time being,” according to the story.
Not clear if this rumor is specific to one Best Buy store, or to the whole chain. But if — and that’s a big if — it is true, the Best Buy sales mis-step could bring into question one of the more widely reported early reports that we saw on iPad sales: Piper Jaffray’s researchers estimated sales of up to 500,000 iPad 2’s on the opening weekend, basing at least part of that number on Best Buy data.
Since the iPad 2 launched, there have been a number of stories as well questioning supply numbers of the product. Those, too, could have been down to some eager salespeople keen to stir up some good, old fashioned supply-and-demand hype.
— GoldSpot funding: The mobile advertising space is hugely dominated by search ads, which by some estimates make up to two-thirds of all mobile ads in terms of revenues. The more media-rich category of display comes in at second — although the rise of smartphones could end up drawing more money and attention to the latter.
Some investors are looking to capitalize on that: GoldSpot Media, one of the more prominent rich-media advertising companies, has just raised $12.05 million in a Series B round, with investment led by Exa Ventures and Berg Enterprises. As part of the deal, Carl Berg of the eponymous VC house will join GoldSpot’s board.
GoldSpot’s main product is a cloud-based platform, miSpot, which lets companies create, distribute and track rich media campaigns (including those using video) across apps and the mobile web, on platforms including iOS, Android and BlackBerry. Clients have included Toyota, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), Audi, Toshiba, KIA Motors and Brother (note the preponderance of car companies again).
— Camera phones: Some new stats from Strategy Analytics on cameras in devices. In 2011 there will be more than 1 billion handsets equipped with cameras sold worldwide, representing growth of 21 percent over 2010. The cameras will vary far and wide, with higher-tier handsets featuring cameras with eight megapixels or more (the next iPhone, some believe, will feature such a camera).
The growing frequency of cameras in phones underscore how even more basic devices are picking up fancy features — and that will have a knock-on effect in terms of how mobile content and services will continue to reach critical mass.
— Sprint/India: Looks like Vodafone is not the only mobile operator interested in the booming, and still emerging market, of India. Sprint has entered into a joint venture with Persistent Systems, an outsourced software developer based in Pune.
For now it doesn’t appear that there are any wireless/mobile services involved in the deal: according to the release, the joint venture will focus on fixed services in India: national long distance, international long distance, internet services and managed network services.
The new company will be 74 percent owned by Sprint, and 26 percent owned by Persistent Systems.