iPhone killer?… Oil demand increases… Investors make rents tight… Gen Ys spend up


iPhone killer?

A new mobile phone has hit the market that could mount a challenge to the iPhone, online magazine Wired reports. With a touch screen instead of a key pad, OpenMoko’s Neo 1973 mobile phone looks very much like the iPhone, although arguably it doesn’t reach quite the same level of cool.

On the plus side, however, the Neo 1973 is about half the price of the iPhone and isn’t locked to a specific network, so you’re less likely to be gouged by your mobile phone plan if you get one. Perhaps more importantly however, it runs on the Linux open source software, which no doubt will see all sorts of cool applications and doo-dads developed for it by time-rich techies.

As Wired says, the respective popularity of the two devices will serve as an interesting social comment: will consumers prefer a super-cool status item that’s locked to one carrier and one set of functions, or a less-funky look-alike with a fully free and open software system?


Demand for oil rising faster than expected

World oil demand is rising faster than previously expected, despite global warming warnings, and non-OPEC supply is growing more slowly, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has said in its latest monthly assessment of the market.

FT.com reports the IEA has urged the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to raise its output to meet an expected shortage in the second half of this year. David Fyfe, an analyst at the IEA, told FT: “We would very much hope that OPEC production is at its seasonal low at the moment… We definitely do need more crude oil.”

The report argues that average demand will increase by 2.2% between 2007 and 2012, compared with a previous estimate of just 2% for 2006 to 2011. At the same time, production is likely to decline in some OPEC member countries, while a lack of refineries and skilled labour will have an impact as well.

Developing countries will rapidly ramp up their oil consumption, negating any attempts at energy conservation by the industrialised nations.


Melbourne rental market getting tighter and investors moving back in

Melbourne’s metropolitan rental vacancy rate was at 1.4% in May 2007, according to data from the Real Estate Institute of Victoria. The vacancy rate within four kilometres of the CBD was 1% during the month.

Meanwhile, May housing finance data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicates an 8.9% rise in investor borrowing – providing more competition for struggling first home buyers. The recent rent report from the Victorian Office of Housing found that median rents in Melbourne rose by 6% over the year to March.


Gen Y’s big disposable incomes

The average Australian under the age of 30 spends $518 a month on clothing, footwear and accessories, according to a new report by Lifelounge, says Ragtrader magazine.

This figure compares with expenditure of just $98 a month on music and $92 on transport. There are about four million Australians under the age of 30, and they spend about $45 billion a year on “purely hedonistic pursuits”.

Dion Appel, the CEO of Lifelounge, says that consumers in this demographic are most likely to buy from apparel stores whose prices are reasonable, who are a trusted brand, and whose stores are easily accessible.


SmartCompany Quote of the Day

 “The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”
Peter Drucker



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