Risk Or Reward In The Mobile Space

by: Daniel Todd

This morning The Verge revealed that Nokia (NYSE:NOK) will release two Windows Phone 8 devices on Sept. 5th. One is reported to be a high-end device (code-named Arrow) that will initially be exclusive to AT&T (NYSE:T) and the other a mid-range device (code-named Phi) that will be sold by both AT&T and T-Mobile.

The fact that Nokia climbed a robust 0.32 (11.11%) on the news, while Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) dropped -0.29 (-0.95%) underscores just how hard Microsoft will have to work to catch up with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) in the mobile arena. While Microsoft undoubtedly still owns the desktop, today mobile is King. Everyone in Redmond is trying desperately to get a foothold in this crucial market and to approximate its Dec. 1999, $618.9 billion market cap evaluation, which Apple famously overtook earlier this week by reaching $623 billion.

Importance of Being Platform Agnostic

Meanwhile Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) rolled out an update for it's mobile apps today. Both the iOS and Android apps will now deliver faster photo uploads and real-time updating of "likes" and comments. Analysts seem to dismiss the announcement as revealing no new technology and Facebook remained nearly stagnant at $19.46 0.02 (0.10%) or less than half of its IPO offering. Facebook currently appears to be planning on expanding the number of its mobile apps (with more deals like the Instagram deal) and waiting for Apple to release new hardware to bolster its mobile presence.

Facebook claims to have some 425 million plus mobile users, however the number of accounts Facebook touts includes a significant number of "fake" and "spam" accounts, thus the actual number may be much lower. The fact that Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) and other game developers fully dependent on the Facebook platform are also sluggish only reiterates the desirability of being platform agnostic in the mobile realm.

Reaping The Rewards

One such company is Glu Mobile (NASDAQ:GLUU) which continues to put up stellar numbers and garner good analyst ratings; Glu Mobile: Beating Zynga And Electronic Arts To Mobile Growth. Glu Mobile's approach is to build so called "freemuin" games for all viable mobile devices, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone as well as for Google Chrome and Mac OS. Some of the highlights of Glu Mobile's recent success include: Beating the upper end of guidance for the tenth consecutive quarter, 111% quarterly smartphone revenue growth year over year and 151% freemium revenue growth.

Another company that continues to demonstrate positive growth in the mobile sector is Vringo (VRNG) which provides mobile apps and a video ringtone product platform, that allows users to share mobile entertainment content in the form of video ringtones for mobile phones. Vringo has received a lot of attention in relation to a patent dispute with Google. It recently received a positive Markman ruling which can have a big impact on the potential outcome by determining what language the jury will hear when deciding whether the patent has been infringed or not. At that time Vringo's stock went from $3.70 to $5.45 a few days later.

Google will look at Vringo as a potential takeover target if uncertainty continues in this patent ruling. A reasonable price target for a Vringo takeover is $7.00 per share. All of which goes to explain why Vringo is top of the list of Top 5 Takeover Targets In The Mobile Internet Space. Vringo and Glu Mobile are among the leading companies that deliver products on multiple mobile platforms and therefore are surely worth a closer look.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.