Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

What Do We Need? Cheap Smartphones. When Do We Need Them? Now, Says Movile’s Bloisi. (Video)

Movile founder and CEO Fabricio Bloisi Rocha has some insights into the Latin American mobile market for y’all.

fabricio_bloisi2“We can’t have the same approach that we have developed in services in California and sending them to the whole world — because the realities in countries like Brazil or Argentina are completely different,” he said in an interview at our D: Dive Into Mobile conference in New York City two weeks ago. We’re publishing the full video now.

In a mobile-first economy, the importance of 1) getting people phones, and 2) getting them online can’t be understated, said Bloisi.

But in Brazil an iPhone costs $1,300. “The point is the price,” said Bloisi.

In a society where the smartphone is many people’s first experience with banking, email, the Web and Facebook, said Bloisi, “as soon as we have a price reduction, I think you’ll see very fast growth in user adoption — and impact in society bigger than you see here.”

Some things are driving down prices in Brazil: Local production of phones, and finally some government changes to tax structures around electronics. Also, Android.

The other aspects of the mobile experience that can’t be forgotten are connectivity and payments, Bloisi said. With Movile’s help, users have created an index of 200 million Wi-Fi networks in the world, 20 million of them open. When possible, Movile tries to automatically offload data transfer onto Wi-Fi, and its mobile video apps cache content to ensure users don’t have to stream on the go. And for payments, Movile is integrated into carrier billing across Latin America.

Now it is taking those relationships in new directions — for instance, with the acquisition of a food delivery company similar to GrubHub. Bloisi said that in just a few months, 37 percent of food orders already come from phones and tablets — despite the fact that penetration of such devices is much smaller than that.

So what does the emerging-market phone of the future look like? Actually, it will be pretty similar to Facebook Home, said Bloisi. He argued that a cheap Android phone shaped around brands and services will be very compelling.

“Facebook opened a trend,” Bloisi said. “We will probably see 50 to 100 new launchers for other brands — like Movile.”

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