The New York Times brings metered paywall to mobile

The New York Times plans to limit non-subscribers to just 3 articles per day on mobile:

The restrictions mean that non-subscribers will have access to just three stories per day from across all sections of the site including blogs and slideshows, the company said, although video content remains free within the app. While in some ways it’s a reduction in the number of articles that people can read per day (currently, mobile readers can only view news from the ‘Top News’ section) it does at least provide a better choice of which three articles or sections those can come from. Subscribers get unlimited access to all the content from a mobile.

I’m glad that The New York Times is bringing its metered paywall to mobile. What with the relative success of its paywall on the web and its struggle to sell ad space, I’m hoping the company will do what it takes to keep its wonderful newsroom afloat (as long as quality doesn’t suffer for it, of course).

Nintendo Seeking Mobile Ports for WiiU

A report from The Japan Times, via GamesIndustry International, states that Nintendo is offering professional conversion software to mobile game developers in an effort to coax them into porting their titles onto the WiiU. This news comes after Nintendo reported half of its projected sales for the last fiscal year, far below expected figures.

From The Japan Times:

A lack of popular games to play on Nintendo consoles was one of the main reasons behind the company’s worse-than-expected console sales and group operating loss of ¥36.4 billion reported for the year ended in March. It was Nintendo’s second consecutive annual operating loss.

Will mobile titles revitalize the WiiU? Perhaps, but only slightly. Having a more robust library of downloadable games that utilize the touch screen in interesting ways wouldn’t be a bad idea. However, what the WiiU is really missing is a better selection of full-price games that take advantage of the hardware. Upscaled ports aren’t going to do the job. I personally don’t own a WiiU due to my Five Game Rule. Once a system has five games worth owning, I consider picking it up. To date, nothing released on the WiiU has interested me enough to warrant adopting one.

Mobile apps won’t change that, as I have a phone for those, and generally enjoy those kinds of experiences when I’m mobile. Sitting at home and playing Cut the Rope on a WiiU Gamepad doesn’t scream “killer app” to me, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that regard.

Speaking of the Chinese iPhone 5 launch

So we know that on a “per 3G user basis,” the iPhone 5 did better in China than in the US. So why did everybody spin the story so negatively?

Brad Reed at BGR starts off with a jab at Apple fans’s self-esteems in a post titled “CHINA GIVES THE IPHONE 5 A CHILLY RECEPTION“:

Chinese consumers must not need self-esteem boosts, because they don’t seem interested in lining up overnight outside Apple (AAPL) stores for the launch of the iPhone 5. The Wall Street Journal reports that the iPhone 5′s launch in China has received a surprisingly muted response so far, as only two Apple fans had lined up outside Beijing’s flagship Apple store on Friday morning to buy the device.

Charles Arthur, “iPhone 5 launch fails to excite China“:

Apple shares fell 3.9% in early trading on Friday after the launch of its iPhone 5 received a frosty reception in China, and two analysts cut shipment forecasts.

Paul Mozur’s post for the Wall Street Journal is titled “A Frigid Launch for iPhone 5 in Beijing,” yet contains this interesting tidbit:

Tian Jisheng, one of the two waiting in the cold when the store opened, said the lottery was competitive. He said he used four identities to apply for phones, but was only given an appointment for one. “I thought I didn’t get it, but then after 8 pm I received a notice I had gotten one,” he said.

Two of these sources only had the Wall Street Journal’s information to go by, so they a) made up some smarmy shit about Apple fans waiting in line and b) totally ripped off the WSJ’s cold adjective thing. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal didn’t have much information to go by, so they came up with a sensationalist headline to get page views. This is tech “journalism” at its finest.

iPhone 5 twice as popular on launch in China than in the US

Horace Dediu:

It’s a lot less than what we saw with the iPhone in the US and the first tranche of launch countries. But it’s not far from the 2.6 achieved by the iPhone 4. The pricing and 3G penetration in China are far less favorable making this even more impressive.

According to ISI’s Brian Marshall, the iPhone achieved 1.5% penetration of the 3G subscriber base or 15 iPhones per 1000 3G subscribers. If we assumed the same basis (3G subs) that would make the iPhone 5 twice as popular on launch in China than in the US.

This is without even being available on China’s largest carrier, China Mobile.

My next iPhone will be prepaid and unsubsidized

As you may have heard, it’s been announced that Virgin Mobile will be offering the iPhone 4S as a prepaid phone with plans starting as low as $30 per month that include unlimited data. This is following a similar announcement several days ago that Cricket will be offering the iPhone with plans starting at $55 per month. The only downside to either of these options is that the phones are sold unsubsidized (in the case of Virgin) or only slightly subsidized (in the case of Cricket).

This means that instead of only paying $200 up front for the iPhone, you’re paying upwards of $500 for the device itself. While this might be a tough pill for some to swallow, the fact of the matter is that either of these options are steals compared to the offerings from the major carriers. To demonstrate, let me do some basic math.

On my plan at Verizon, I pay roughly $100 a month for 2 GBs of data, unlimited texting, and 450 minutes. Combined with the $200 phone itself, this results in a total cost of about $2600 for the entirerty of my 2-year contract. Compare this to a comparable plan on Virgin Mobile: $30 a month plus the $650 for phone results in a two year cost of only $1370.

That’s an insane bargain. Honestly, if Sprint starts rolling out their LTE network by the time Virgin Mobile gets the new iPhone (which I assume will be some time after the major carriers), I see no reason for me not to break my contract with Verizon to jump on the Virgin train.