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November 01 2013

Movement Powers Your Smartphone With Genneo Mobile Generator

As innovators look for ways to keep mobile devices charged when away from power outlets, Genneo offers a new alternative that generates power from an unexpected source — your movement

Through a standard USB port, the product turns your movement into power for electronic devices like smartphones, cameras and tablets

The initial idea to create the product sprang from an attempt to improve the usability of linear generators; a type of generator that creates power through linear movement, versus others that use spinning parts. Linear generators have been used in objects like shaker flashlights, which don't use battery — users shake the flashlight to power it Read more...

More about Tech, Smartphones, Mobile Devices, Gadgets, and Charging

October 28 2013

38% of Children Under 2 Use Mobile Media, Study Says

Nearly two in five children have used a tablet or smartphone before they could speak in full sentences, according to a new report.

Conducted by family advocacy organization Common Sense Media, the study found that 38% of children under the age of 2 have used a mobile device for playing games, watching videos or other media-related purposes. In 2011, only 10% had.

By the age of 8, 72% of children have used a smartphone, tablet or similar device

"This is the true sign that the digital generation has arrived," Common Sense Media's founder and CEO Jim Steyer told Mashable. Read more...

More about Smartphone, Parenting, Tablets, Mobile Devices, and Mobile
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September 07 2011

How and Why Consumers Choose a Smartphone

The Consumer Trends Series is supported by CBS Interactive, which helps you find the perfect audience with a network of #1 sites like CNET, CBS.com, CBS Sports and GameSpot. For more, visit CBSInteractive.com/ideal.

It’s no secret that smartphone usage and adoption is exploding, not only in the United States, but across the world.

Mobile phones continue to be one of the biggest drivers for innovation in technology. Moreover, technology like NFC and mobile apps are fundamentally changing the way content is distributed, consumed and created.

In fact, the market has finally evolved beyond the point of whether or not a consumer will buy a smartphone. Instead, the question becomes, why do consumers choose one phone over another and how are they making those decisions? Research firm Mintel released a report that takes a high-level look at the various factors that influence smartphone adoption and consumer purchases.

Most Upgrade-Worthy Features

Mintel puts adult smartphone consumers into two categories: Smartphone upgraders and replacement buyers. Because smartphones cost roughly four times as much as feature phones, users that upgrade to a smartphone are having a big impact on the mobile phone sales market as a whole.

What differentiates the mobile phone market from other consumer electronics and personal computer segments, however, is the speed at which users replace these devices. In Mintel’s consumer survey, 24% of respondents who own a mobile phone say they replace their phone at least every other year.

So what features drive users to upgrade their device?

  • 4G — It’s hard to overstate the promise and potential of 4G. While blanket network adoption is still a few years away, 4G is already proving to be an alluring opportunity, especially for smartphone users in major cities. According to Mintel, 16% of cellphone owners said that the next phone they purchase will support 4G.
  • Video Calling — Video calling might finally go mainstream, thanks to the smartphone. While 15% of Mintel respondents said that they were interested in making video calls, only 10% said they would change phones to get that feature. Fortunately, front-facing cameras have become the de facto smartphone standard, and services like Skype are expanding their slate of supported devices.
  • Large Screens — Bucking the trend of nano-sized electronics, smartphone screens keep getting bigger and bigger. In fact, 27% of Mintel respondents wished their phone screens were larger. The 4″ smartphone screen is quickly becoming standard — and case leaks suggest that Apple might even be increasing its screen size with the upcoming iPhone 5.
  • GPSLocation based services like Foursquare might not be fully mainstream, but 52% of smartphone users used their phone’s GPS feature to get directions in the last 30 days.

Where Are Consumers Buying Phones

Now that we know why consumers are buying or upgrading their phones, where are these purchases being made? As with other types of commerce, cellphones are increasingly purchased online. Between 2009 and 2010, the share of phone purchases made via the Internet increased 4.6 points.

The reason that more consumers are turning to the Internet is twofold. First, the best promotions for phones are found online. Rather than trying to barter with the commission phone rep at Costco to get a better plan or phone price, users can just log in to Amazon.com and shop. Second, buying online is a lot more convenient in many cases than waiting to be helped at the local carrier shop.

Still, what’s interesting about the growth trend for online phone sales is that major retail chains like Best Buy and Walmart are also experiencing increased activity on their websites. Carriers themselves are also getting in on the online action.

Google famously tried to launch its Nexus One smartphone without any retail presence. This strategy failed, and with the Nexus S, Google took a more traditional approach to retailing, partnering with Best Buy, as well as offering phones online.

Comparing Brands and Users

Unsurprisingly, Google and Apple are the biggest names in the smartphone space. With Android, Google has leapfrogged the competition in terms of market share, but Apple continues to be the most popular device maker.

When it comes what types of users flock to different platforms, consumers aged 18 to 24 are more likely to own an Android device, whereas consumer 25-34 are more likely to own an iPhone. Consumer over 35 are more likely to own a BlackBerry. When it comes to desire, however, nearly every age bracket most desired an iPhone. The one exception? Consumers 55 and up. They want Android. The BlackBerry might not be the most desirable phone on the block, but it maintains a big lead in households with at least one child.

Are We Mainstream Yet?

Smartphone adoption is increasing, but there are still some factors that prevent the sector from taking over cellphone ownership as a whole. As we’ve reported in the past, not everyone owns a smartphone.

Older consumers, particularly those in the Baby Boomer generation, are more likely to be uninterested in owning a smartphone. For many individuals, the value add and need just isn’t there. Mintel sees this as a huge opportunity for marketers, and we agree.

Still, as technology becomes more affordable, connectivity becomes more ubiquitous and ownership becomes more expected, smartphone ownership will make its way into the mainstream.

Series Supported by CBS Interactive

The Consumer Trends Series is supported by CBS Interactive, which helps you find the perfect audience with a network of sites starting with CNET, CBS.com, CBS Sports and GameSpot – to name a few. To see how our exclusive content, video and mobile can help you engage with your ideal target, visit CBSInteractive.com/ideal.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, franckreporter

More About: Consumer Trends Series, smartphone

For more Mobile coverage:

September 05 2011

Google Engineer Proposes Using Google Maps [PICS]

A woman — armed with a Nexus One and the Google Maps mobile app — recently completed a scavenger hunt in New York City that led to a very special prize: a marriage proposal.

Google software engineer Ari Gilder orchestrated the “ultimate romantic scavenger hunt” for his girlfriend, Faigy, to ask for her hand in marriage.

“On the road to ‘The Big Question,’ I wanted Faigy to visit places around New York City that were filled with memories of our relationship,” Gilder wrote on Google’s blog. “I used My Maps to plan out the route — from the Trader Joe’s we shop at on the Upper West Side, to Magnolia Bakery where we spent part of our first date, to Hudson Bar & Lounge where we enjoyed a night of dancing, to Carnegie Hall where Faigy once surprised me with tickets to a Beethoven concert, all the way to the lighthouse on Roosevelt Island where we went on our second date.”

At each of the six locations, a friend handed Faigy a red rose, took a picture (see gallery below) of her and reminded her to use Google Maps to check in to the venue. When Faigy checked in to a location, a custom app Gilder and fellow Google engineers built asked Faigy to input a password based on questions the stationed friends asked.

“When Faigy entered the password, the app would automatically initiate walking navigation to the next location,” Gilder said. “When she got to the checkered pin that marked her last destination, her seventh and final rose also came with a question — but this one was from me, and it wasn’t any ordinary question. I’ll leave it to you to guess what her answer was!”

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Geekiest Marriage Proposals

This is by no means the first time someone has used technology to propose: In January, a Cincinnati man used Groupon to get engaged. Last fall in San Francisco, a man leveraged Twitter, Foursquare and live streaming mobile service Qik to propose. Other people also have used social media outlets — a tweet on Twitter, a checkin on Foursquare and Google’s Street View — to put a ring on it.

"Faigy & Ari's Engagement Route"

Faigy at Carnegie Hall

Nexus One

Google Maps Mobile

Time to Propose

Images from Google Blog

More About: Google, Google Maps, location-based, Mobile 2.0, Nexus

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September 04 2011

Happy Birthday Google: Making Sense of the Web for 13 Years

What were you up to 13 years ago? Maybe you were perfecting the ideal AIM screen name. Or you might have been surfing the “WestHollywood” neighborhood of GeoCities. Chances are, you had been using Yahoo! or AOL as your primary search engines. But Google’s debut on this day in 1998 would change the World Wide Web forever.

On September 4, 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin filed for incorporation as Google Inc. — they had received a $100,000 check from an investor made out to Google, Inc., and needed to incorporate that name so they could legally deposit the check.

Prior to the launch, Page and Brin met at Stanford in 1995, and soon decided to launch a search service called BackRub in January 1996. They soon reevaluated the name (and the creepy logo) in favor of Google, a play on the mathematical figure, “googol,” which represents the number 1 followed by 100 zeroes. The name embodied their mission to create an infinite amount of web resources. And that they did.

Since then, Google has become a household name to billions of people worldwide. You’ll overhear senior citizens command their grandchildren to “google” the price of foot cream. You’ll witness toddlers punching the screen of the latest Android phone. And chances are, you’ve navigated the circles of Google+ (if not, let’s get you an invite already).

SEE ALSO: 10 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Google

We’d like to guide you on a trip down Google lane, presenting the key products and acquisitions that were born in the first Google garage office, and innovated in the Googleplex. In the comments below, please share how Google has had an impact on your life, and join us in wishing Google a happy birthday!

1996-1997: BackRub

Google was first launched under the BackRub nomer. Soon after, founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin registered the Google.com domain name in September 1997. The two arrived at the name as a play on the mathematical figure, "googol," which represents the number 1 followed by 100 zeroes. The name embodied their mission to create an infinite amount of web resources.

1998: Google's First Homepage

The original Google homepage prototype debuted in November 1998. Earlier that year Google received a $100,000 check made out to as-yet-unestablished Google Inc. from first investor Andy Bechtolsheim.

In September 2008, the two founders set up shop in Susan Wojcicki‘s garage in Menlo Park, CA, deposited their check and hired their first employee, Craig Silverstein.

1999: The Uncle Sam Homepage

Apart from adding Uncle Sam to its homepage, in 1999 Google outgrew its next office and moved to its first Mountain View, California location. The team announced $25 million in equity funding from Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins in its first press release.

2000: Google Becomes Yahoo's Default Search Provider

Apart from its partnership with Yahoo, in 2000 Google announced that its index reached the 1 billion-URL mark, making it the largest search engine in the world. Google also launched AdWord, a self-service ad program that allowed people to purchase keyword advertising that would appear alongside search results.

2001: Google Image Search

Image search launched in July 2001 with an index of 250 million images. That same year Google acquired Deja Usenet and archived its index into categories that ultimately made up Google Groups.

2002: Google Search Appliance

Early in 2002 Google marketed its first hardware, the Google Search Appliance, a device that plugged into a computer and provided advanced search capabilities for internal documents. In May Google announced Labs, a resource for people interested in trying out beta programs emerging from Google's R&D team. Later Google launched its News tool that provided links from 4,000 sources.

2003: AdSense

Google announced the world's largest content-targeted ad program, later dubbed AdSense after Google acquired Applied Semantics. Earlier in the year Google acquired Pyra Labs, the creator of Blogger.

2004: Gmail

Google launched Gmail on April Fool's Day 2004, but the beta version required an invitation to join. In January Orkut launched as Google's foray into social networking. In August, Google's initial public offering contained 19,605,052 shares of Class A common stock at $85 per share.

2005: Google Maps

Google Maps launched in February 2005, to go live on the first iPhone in 2007. Additionally, code.google.com went live to provide resources for developers, and included all of Google's APIs. The company also acquired Urchin, whose content optimization service helped create Google Analytics, launched later that year. In June Google released Google Earth, a satellite-powered mapping service. In October Reader was unveiled to help organize and consolidate content into a single feed.

2006: YouTube

In a $1.65 billion stock transaction, Google acquired YouTube in October 2006. Google also unveiled Trends, a tool that allows a user to evaluate popular searches over a specific timeframe. Earlier that year Google released Gchat, a Gmail-based instant message service derived from Google Talk. Google Checkout emerged later as a way to pay for online purchases.

2007: Android

In November 2007 Google announced its first mobile venture, Android, which the company called "the first open platform for mobile devices."

2008: Google Chrome

In September 2008 Google introduced Chrome, its open source browser. The surprise was spoiled when the comic book that was meant to help debut Chrome leaked a day ahead of schedule. Later that month T-mobile announced the G1, Google's first Android-powered mobile device. That year Google also added Google Suggest capabilities and site search.

2009: Google Wave

To much anticipation, Google announced its venture into real-time communication via the Wave platform. Little more than a year later, however, Wave was no more. That same year Google launched Mac-based photo application Picasa.

2010: Google Apps Marketplace

In 2010 Google launched its Apps Marketplace, an app store that allows third-party developers to sell their creations. That same year Google unveiled Google Buzz, its latest attempt at social sharing that originated in Gmail. The company also released Google TV after teaming up with Intel, Sony and Logitech.

2011: Google+

Google's most talked-about and participatory social platform thus far, Google+ launched in June 2011 with invite-only access. The tech giant also announced its most expensive acquisition to-date when it bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion.

More About: Google, media, Tech

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July 19 2011

Nokia Sea Ray Running Windows Phone 7 Caught on Video

Nokia’s first Windows Phone 7 handset, codenamed Sea Ray, was captured in a in a minute-and-a-half long video running Microsoft’s mobile operating system.

Nokia still has a long, hard road ahead before it actually releases a WP7 device, but it’s making progress, perhaps even faster than expected given this new video.

The video, unearthed by wpcentral, apparently leaked from a factory in Hong Kong or China. It depicts Nokia’s smartphone (which, contrary to initial reports, does sport physical buttons) as it goes through several WP7 menus, followed by a very short glimpse at the phone’s camera operation.

A very similar-looking device was shown in June at a presentation by Nokia CEO Stephen Elop. That video shows us quite a bit more of the phone’s features and functions, but this latest one gives the entire thing a more realistic feeling.

Check out the video below and tell us what you think in the comments.

More About: microsoft, Nokia, Sea Ray, windows phone 7

For more Mobile coverage:

July 15 2011

LG Launches Two New Gingerbread Phones: Optimus Pro & Optimus Net

LG has extended its Optimus series of smartphones with two new low-end models: the LG Optimus Pro (LG-C660) and the LG Optimus Net (LG-P690).

Both phones are running Android 2.3 or Gingerbread with a 800MHz CPU and a 3-megapixel camera. Both are heavily social networking oriented.

The Optimus Pro sports a portrait bar full QWERTY keyboard, and a 2.8-inch touchscreen above it. It has dedicated hotkeys for email and scheduler. It comes in white, titan and black.

The Optimus Net has a 3.2-inch HVGA (320 x 480) screen and an integrated social networking widget that will let users update their Facebook and Twitter accounts with a single click while reading their friends’ social feeds on the screen at the same time.

The Optimus Net will be quite a different device depending on the market. In the U.S, it’ll have a QWERTY keyboard, and in Brazil, China, Asia and parts of Eastern Europe, the Optimus Net will be dual SIM-compatible. The device will also be NFC-enabled in certain European markets.

More About: android, gingerbread, Google, LG, LG Optimus, LG Optimus Net, LG Optimus Pro, Optimus Net, Optimus Pro, smartphone

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July 14 2011

34% of iPhone Users Think They Have 4G [STUDY]

“How many bloody Gs are there?,” asked a bewildered Ozzy Osbourne in one of the funniest Super Bowl commercials this year. You laugh, but he’s not the only one who’s confused about 4G technology.

In fact, as you can see in the graphic above, when consumer electronics shopping site Retrevo conducted a “Gadgetology” study of the state of 4G in the United States today, 34% of iPhone owners thought they already owned a 4G smartphone.

Okay all you Android and BlackBerry users, before you get too smug, notice that owners of your phone didn’t do much better, with 29% and 24% mistakenly thinking they already owned a 4G phone, too. Well, at least it’s possible to possess a 4G Android or 4G BlackBerry smartphone.

Retrievo’s conclusion? Adoption of 4G is not going to happen quickly. Take a look at the gallery for even more surprising facts about the reluctance of consumers to jump to the next level of faster smartphone connectivity.

Then read the full study on Retrievo.com, conducted in June, 2011 with a sample size of more than 1000 online users in the U.S., which Retrevo says was “distributed across gender, age, income and location.”

Are smartphone makers and service providers deliberately trying to confuse the 4G issue? Let us know in the comments.

Buy a 4G-less iPhone?

Is 4G Worth It?

Graphics courtesy Retrevo

More About: 3g, adoption, android, blackberry, iphone, Mobile 2.0, Ozzy Osbourne, retrievo, study

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Mobile Hacking: How Safe Is Your Smartphone?

New instances of phone hacking seem to emerge from Rupert Murdoch’s empire on a daily basis. But are the reports of interest beyond Murdoch and his detractors? Should you, as a consumer, fear that your phone will be hacked?

Not yet. Experts say that it’s still fairly easy to hack into your phone, but unless you’re a celebrity, you’re unlikely to be a target. Don’t get too comfortable, though. The era of safe mobile computing may be coming to an end as smartphones and other mobile devices become more popular than PCs.

For the moment, however, phone hacking is the farm team version of big league PC hacking. Methods — particularly in the case of the Murdoch charges which stretch back a decade in some cases — are pretty old school. Robert Siciliano, a McAfee consultant and identity theft expert, says probably the most prevalent way people hack phones is via “social engineering,” a.k.a. lying. For instance, a would-be hacker might call you and pose as the phone company saying they need to update your account and need your password. Or the hacker might get enough of your information to call the phone company and pose as you.

Steve Santorelli, director of global outreach at the Internet security research group Team Cymru, and former Scotland Yard police officer, says that the Murdoch phone hacks probably didn’t even take that much effort. It’s likely, he says, that the victims left a default password provided by the carrier on their phone and the hackers merely guessed correctly. Santorelli says that some carriers still use default passwords. Lesson: Change your passwords often.

There are, of course, more technologically savvy ways to hack your phone as well. A would-be hacker, for instance, might get a bit of information about your account and send a phishing email purportedly from your carrier asking you to log in. At that point they will have your password and other sensitive information. Smartphones also provide an opportunity to install monitoring software. iPhone owners are probably the safest in that regard, unless they jailbreak their phones, Siciliano says. Android users are less secure since publishers can upload their apps directly to Android Market. In March, hackers added malicious code to 58 Android apps, infecting 250,000 phones. “Android is more vulnerable because it’s a more open system,” says Siciliano. “While Google does vet its apps, some do slip by that are malicious.”

Once an app is installed, it can record all your calls and texts and, depending on what kind of apps you have and what you do with your phone, possibly get personal data related to banking and credit cards. There are other possibilities as well. A hacker could commandeer your phone into sending thousands of texts or making calls beyond your monthly minutes, causing you to rack up huge bills.

Such attacks are still pretty rare.”The low hanging fruit is still the PC,” says Siciliano. “If you are a criminal hacker, Microsoft’s OS is the most hacked software on the planet.” Yet that could be changing quickly. A recent survey by Flurry showed that consumers are now spending more time on mobile apps than on the web. Another by Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers estimated that combined tablet and smartphone shipments eclipsed those of desktops and laptops this year for the first time.

Security firms have taken notice. Market research firm Infonetics predicts sales of mobile security software will grow 50% each year through 2014, when it will hit $2 billion. AT&T also plans to start selling a security offering to customers next year.

In short, sometime soon phone hacks may not just be Hugh Grant’s problem. Says Santorelli: “If I had money right now, I’d bet on the Russian mafia. Mobile hacking is going to be huge.”

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, oonal

More About: android, Google, iphone, privacy, rupert murdoch, security

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July 13 2011

PayPal on Android To Start Hassle-Free NFC Payments

PayPal is preparing to release an update to its PayPal Mobile app that will allow Android users to make peer-to-peer payments using near field communication (NFC).

The technology will allow Android users with a NFC-enabled phone (right now that means the Samsung Nexus S) to initiate payments with one another by tapping their devices together. PayPal demoed the new feature Wednesday at MobileBeat 2011.

PayPal Mobile has supported bump-style mobile peer-to-peer payments in its iPhone and Android apps for quite some time, but what makes the NFC implementation different is in its ease and speed of use.

As Shimone Samuel, product experience manager for PayPal Mobile explained to Mashable, the process for initiating and confirming payments using the NFC feature is just two taps per user, rather than the multi-stepped process required in the bump-powered implementation.

This is how it works:

  • The PayPal Mobile app will now feature an NFC payments widget that can be displayed on an Android phone screen.
  • The user who wants to request money hits the request-for-payment button and enters the amount.
  • The user who is sending money needs to have his or her phone screen on and tap or wave the phone near the other user. Wait for the buzz sound.
  • The requesting user receives a notification and enters in his or her PIN to confirm the transfer.

For the person-to-person payment space, this is a big deal. It cuts down on the hassle involved in doing mobile or online payments.

Because Android is the only major smartphone platform to support NFC, it is the first beneficiary of this new feature. In the past, the iPhone has led over Android when it comes to getting new features in the PayPal Mobile app. This time, as Samuel told us, “the iPhone users are the ones that get to ask ‘when is it coming for us?’”

Future Android devices that support NFC should also support the new widget because PayPal is building it to Google’s API specifications. When non-Android platforms get around to supporting NFC, PayPal will look at adding the feature to those apps too.

PayPal’s use of NFC for peer-to-peer payments differs from the way Google Wallet wants to use the technology. In the case of Google Wallet, Google’s goal is to work with traditional retailers and credit card companies and payment terminals.

PayPal is planning to release the new NFC payments feature in late summer.

More About: android, google wallet, mobile payments, nfc, paypal

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July 12 2011

July 11 2011

More U.S. Adults Own a Smartphone Than Have a Degree

35% of American Adults Own a Smartphone

More Americans own Smartphones than hold a bachelor’s degree or speak another language in their homes, according to a Pew Internet Project report released Monday.

In a telephone survey, 83% of respondents said that they owned a cellphone of some kind and 35% of the 2,277 U.S. adults questioned in English or Spanish said that they owned a smartphone.

Not surprisingly, wealthy, well-educated and young respondents all had high levels of smartphone ownership. More interestingly, African-Americans and Latinos in the survey were also more likely to own smartphones than whites. But just about everyone who owned a smartphone was likely to use that phone to access the Internet.

Nine in 10 smartphone owners (87%) used their phones as Internet portals — about 78% of them did so every day. Nearly a third of smartphone owners use their device as their primary Internet connection.

With so many people relying on their phones for both verbal and digital communication, it’s no wonder the word cloud the researchers compiled to show respondents’ feelings toward their cellphones includes words like “necessary,” “convenient” and even, perhaps somewhat disturbingly, “love.”

Smartphone word cloud

More About: Pew, smartphone usage, study

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iOS Device Users Are Buying 61% More Apps Than a Year Ago

Apple device owners are buying a lot more applications than a year ago and they’re willing to pay more for them, a recent report from Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster suggests.

The average iOS device owner will download 83 apps in 2011, a 61% increase over 2010, according to the report. Furthermore, the average selling price for apps is up 14% year-over-year in 2011, after an 18% decline in 2010.

Munster estimates that the surge in the average selling price is due to increase demand for iPad apps, which are more expensive on average than iPhone apps.

The numbers are unofficial, as Apple doesn’t often release detailed data about app sales, so take them with a grain of salt. Recently, Apple announced that iOS users have downloaded 15 billion applications from the App Store, netting developers more than $2.5 billion, with Apple’s cut being more than $1 billion.

[via Fortune]

More About: apple, apps, iOS, ipad, iphone, Mobile 2.0, smartphone, Tablet

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July 08 2011

The Future of Mobile Payments [INFOGRAPHIC]

We know that mobile payments are redefining commerce, but will our phones soon replace our wallets?

PayPal seems to think so. The payments giant boldly predicts that the wallet will be dead by 2015. It’s putting its money where its mouth is: it recently acquired mobile payments provider Zong for $240 million.

PayPal isn’t the only one getting into the game though. Google recently launched Google Wallet, the search giant’s mobile payment system, and Visa recently made a strategic investment in Square, the mobile payments platform now worth more than $1.4 billion.

Professional community service G+ decided to look deeper into mobile payment trends and created an infographic that tracks what experts and analysts believe will happen to mobile commerce in the next four years, including what will happen with near field communication (NFC). G+ also compared some of the current players in the mobile payment space.

Check out the infographic, and let us know what you think is next for mobile payments in the comments.

More About: Google, google wallet, Isis, nfc, Visa

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July 07 2011

4 Fresh Ways to Share Video on Twitter

Ways to share video on Twitter

If tweets showcase 140 characters and pictures are worth a thousand words, where do videos fit into the grand scheme of visual pleasures?

This year — on Twitter at least — videos have taken a backseat due in part to the increasing popularity of photo-sharing services like Instagram and Picplz. Although video-sharing sites and apps are playing second fiddle at the moment, a handful of Twitter users swear by their video-centric tweets.

“I share videos on Twitter because let’s face it, sometimes you can’t come across in just words,” says comedian Bradley Laborman, a frequent YouTuber and creator of BradmanTV. “Me tweeting, ‘This HOT DOG is UH-MAZING,’ is not as effective as me posting a quick video where I serenade the hot dog and scream to the sky how amazing it actually is.”

From a business perspective, company-made videos and user-generated videos have proven to be powerful marketing tools. For example, referral traffic from YouTube to the Shorty Awards website this year was higher than Google’s referral traffic to the site because many nominees created video campaigns.

“The scalability of making a great looking video clip is nuts in 2011 and will continue to get easier and easier,” says Natan Edelsburg, supervising producer for the Shorty Awards and vice president of Sawhorse Media. “A year or two from now it will be irresponsible for everyone to write a press release or make a big announcement without complementing it with some kind of short video clip.”

Whether for business or personal use, indulge in these four video-sharing services that launched or added new features in this past year. In the comments, let us know which apps you use to share your own videos on Twitter or other social sites.

1. Socialcam

Socialcam's tagline is: "Shoot, tag and share it with your friends ... instantly." The app, which is tied to Justin.tv, lets you sign up with your Facebook account and then share videos on multiple outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and even Google+.

In fewer than five minutes, I signed up on my Droid X, recorded a 34-second video, uploaded it and shared it. Had I recorded friends in my video, I could have tagged them even if they weren't Socialcam users. “We hope tagging will insert a level of shareability that will wow everybody," said Matthew DiPietro, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Justin.tv.

“We built it very specifically for friends and family," DiPietro added. "However, that’s the exact same thing that Mark Zuckerberg was thinking about when he launched Facebook, and Facebook is a much more widely used platform now.”

2. Viddy

Laborman uses Viddy, an app that allows you to capture, "beautify" and share 15-second videos.

"It's basically the Instagram for video users," Laborman says. "You shoot a video, you add a filter and you decide whether or not you want background music on the video."

The process is simple: Click the “Share” button in the middle of the navigation panel to upload a video from your gallery or shoot a new one. Trim the clip to your liking and apply effects using “production packages.”

Viddy's iPhone app, which launched in April and has been downloaded 500,000 times as of May, it is compatible with iPod touch and iPad but requires iOS 4.1 or later. Viddy's website says Android, Windows and BlackBerry versions of the app are in the works.

3. Screenr

Web-based screen recorder Screenr launched in 2009, but the service recently added new features that address users' concerns about sharing video comments via tweets.

"Previously, comments on Screenr were tied to your Twitter account and forced you to tweet your comments," Screenr said in a blog. "Users told us they often wanted to make comments without tweeting them. Now, Screenr has bulit-in commenting so your comments stay just on Screenr. And don’t worry, there’s also a separate Tweet button if you still want to tweet your comments."

To create a video, Mac or PC users can adjust the video frame to a size of their liking and then click record to walk viewers through an online activity. Screenr automatically provides a shortened link to the video to quicken the sharing process.

4. Zocial.tv

If you like sharing trendy videos on Twitter, Zocial.tv is the site and app for you.

Zocial.tv aggregates the most-shared videos on Twitter and Facebook, separates them into categories (i.e. music, sports, education) and creates top 25 lists sorted by today, yesterday, the week or month. The site's sharing tool — powered by ShareThis — lets you share any of the videos on Twitter and other social sites. You also can +1 or "Like" a video.

Using the Zocial.tv website (above), I shared a video that was already in the top 25 Thursday morning in the music category. The Zocial.tv app is available for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and requires iOS 3.1 or later.

More About: screenr, socialcam, twitter, viddy, video, web video, Zocial.tv

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Mobile Games Dominate Smartphone App Usage [STATS]

Mobile games are the most popular type of apps amongst smartphone users, according to the latest report by Nielsen.

The report shows that 64% of users who downloaded an app in the past 30 days have downloaded a game.

Weather, social networking and apps that fall into categories of maps/navigation and search are also very popular apps, followed by music and news apps, as you can see in the chart below.

Perhaps even more importantly for app makers, smartphone users are most likely to actually pay for mobile games — more than they would for any other app category. Out of all users who pay for apps, 93% are ready to pay for a game, 87% are willing to pay for entertainment apps, and 84% are willing pay for productivity, as well as maps/navigation and search apps.

On the platform front, iOS is still the king when it comes to mobile gaming. Users with iPhones play games approximately 14.7 hours each month, while Android users play around 9.3 hours per month.

A recent study by PopCap concluded that 52% of U.S. and UK adults have played a game on a mobile device, and that approximately one-third of mobile phone owners play mobile games with some degree of regularity.

More About: App, apps, mobile games, Nielsen, smartphone

For more Mobile coverage:

10 Fascinating Facts About Phone Numbers

You probably dial a few of them every day, but do you ever stop and think about the history behind a phone number? When were the first numbers introduced? How did you end up with a particular area code?

We’ve got the answers to these quandaries and more in our collection of 10 fascinating facts that you might not know about the common phone number.

Take a look through the gallery and let us know which facts you found interesting (as well as any gems we may not have included) in the comments below.

1. How Phone Numbers Were Invented

In the early days of phone service, you'd call the operator and ask to be patched through to a particular line. This system was first questioned in 1879 by Alexander Graham Bell's friend, Dr. Moses Greeley Parker of Lowell, MA. The town was suffering from an epidemic of measles and the doctor quite sensibly suggested that if the town's phone operators fell ill, replacement operators would struggle to run the system. Numbers instead of names was seen as a better solution which, as you all know, is the system we still use today.

2. The First U.S. Area Codes

Conceived in the late Forties, area codes were not established until the introduction of New Jersey's 201 area code in 1951. The area codes we use today are an evolution of the original "North American Numbering Plan."

Initially there were under 90 codes. Codes were dished out based on population. The areas with the largest populations received codes that were quick to dial on a rotary phone. New York was given 212, Los Angeles 213 and Chicago 312 while more rural areas like Texas and Kansas got 915 and 913.

3. All About Emergency Numbers

Emergency numbers differ from country to country. While 911 was eventually adopted as the standard number in the United States and Canada, in Europe you'll need to dial 112, although 999 also works in the UK, where there's been an emergency number system since the 1930s.

In contrast, 911 was not official until the late '60s, when it was first known as "nine-eleven," and then later changed to "nine-one-one" to avoid confusion with people wasting precious time looking for the "11" button.

Prior to the one-number system, you'd call the operator to summon the correct emergency service, although in the States some fire departments could be reached by dialling "3-4-7-3" -- which spells "FIRE."

4. The Most Expensive Phone Number

The most expensive number sold was cell phone number 666-6666, auctioned off for charity in Qatar. It sold for a dizzy $2.7 million, far and away surpassing the previous record holder. The Chinese number 8888-8888 sold for $280,000.

5. Woz Owned 888-8888

Legend has it that Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak (who was really into repeating digits, hence pricing the Apple I at $666.66) once owned the phone number 888-8888.

The only problem with such a cool number was that it earned over a hundred prank calls a day. Although not malicious in nature, being dialed repeatedly by mischievous children must have taken its toll.

6. Fictional Numbers Are Set Aside For Films

The "Klondike" or "KL" phone exchange was first used to generate fictional phone numbers in American TV and films. This later evolved to the current "555" prefix, some of which have been set aside purely for fictional purposes. In the UK, 01632 is the fictional area code recommended by Ofcom, although it does also provide non-working suggestions for major cities, as well as fictional cell, freephone and premium rate numbers.

7. However, Some Films Ignore the Convention

Some have bucked the 555 trend. Universal Studios owns (212) 664-7665, which has appeared in The Adjustment Bureau, Definitely Maybe and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. If you call the number, it just rings and rings. Fight Club uses the 288 area code, which is not yet in use, and Bruce Almighty caused controversy for using a real phone number supposedly belonging to God. After complaints, the original "776-2323" was changed to the more traditional 555-0123 in the DVD release.

8. Famous Phone Numbers in Music

Phone numbers famously appear in songs as well, perhaps the most memorable being Glenn Miller's Pennsylvania 6-5000. Today the number still exists as (212) 736-5000 ("73" replaces the "PE" of the old number) and will get you through to the Hotel Pennsylvania of the song title. The hotel happily claims that it's the "New York phone number in longest continuous use."

Other numbers to have appeared in song (much to the annoyance of folks who own that number in various area codes) include Tommy Tutone's 867-5309/Jenny. More recently, Alicia Keys mentioned that 489-4608 was her number in the song Diary, after which excited fans attempted to call her.

9. How to Find Your Personalized Phonewords

Thanks to services like PhoneSpell, you can find out if any of your phone numbers offer interesting "phonewords." Enter your digits and the site will generate a list of interesting combinations. If you've lucked out, it may provide a better way to remember your number in future.

10. Finally, a Neat Phone Number Magic Trick

There's a neat phone number-related trick you can impress your friends with, thanks to the magic of math.

Take a seven-digit phone number, for example, 941-7990. Multiply the first three digits by 80. Add one. Multiply by 250. Add the last four digits of the original phone number. Add the last four digits again. Subtract 250 and divide by two.

Cool, huh?

Images courtesy of Billy Brown, Nate Steiner, raindog808, Collin Allen, Chris Dlugosz, Saxon, Orin Zebest, flattop341, reibai, Clare Bell, Kevin Spencer

More About: facts, List, Lists, Mobile 2.0, phone numbers

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:

July 06 2011

The Connected States of America [INFOGRAPHIC]

Your community used to be defined geographically: the group of people around your block, your subdivision, your small town. But as these infographics show, community now extends as far as your cellphone can call — and has created some interesting new conglomerations of states in the US.

The Connected States of America is a series of illustrations based on mobile penetration, SMS and call communications. For example, it tells us that New Englanders like to call each other a great deal, whereas Californians can easily be divided into two or three mobile communities.

There’s a pretty nifty interactive map and a video illustrating the findings. All of the maps and visuals are based on research done by the MIT Sensible Lab, AT&T and IBM, aggregated from July 2010.

Take a look through the gallery and let us know if you agree. What does mobile data say about your community?

The Connected States of America

Cities are at the heart of communication communities. Businesses, friends and families connect between the largest population centers. Likewise, mobile usage density reflects population density.

In this graphic, the top layer represents communities formed by calls and SMS records. The middle part represents calls between counties, with the height of the link representing connection volume. At bottom is a map of population density per square mile.

Call Data Community Map

Phone call trends divide the states of California and New Jersey, as communications revolve around the states' major cities. Some neighboring states are conjoined by mobile traffic: the two Carolinas; Oregon and Washington. State borders are obsolete in New England. Michigan and Texas are the rare examples where mobile communications accurately reflect state lines.

SMS Data Community Map

In some cases, different call and SMS communities exist. Mississippians tend to call Louisianans more on the phone, but are more likely to text Alabamans. California's SMS traffic divides the state in three, rather than the two communities formed by phone calls.

Interactive Map

The project also released an interactive map, allowing readers to see how their counties connect with the rest of the country. The more red, the higher the number of mobile connections that go there from your county.

More About: cellphones, connected states of america, infographic, Mobile 2.0, SMS, social good, texting

For more Mobile coverage:

July 05 2011

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