Opinion: Will Mobile Devices Eventually Replace the Big Screen TV?

  • In this opinion piece published on CNET, freelance writer Steve Guttenberg predicts that iPads and other tablet devices will eventually make having a large screen TV a thing of the past.
  • “By 2020 younger people who will have grown up with tablets won’t see a need to ever buy a big display, which will by then seem as obtrusive as a pair of 4-foot-tall tower speakers do to most buyers nowadays,” he suggests.
  • For the naysayers, Guttenberg cites audio technology as an example. Twenty years ago, it was hard to imagine that most consumers would be less concerned about a set of quality speakers and more interested in portability or personalization. Yet that’s where we’ve landed.
  • “With music, everyone except for a handful of audiophiles, listens in their cars, computer, or on iPod,” he writes. “A home hi-fi of any quality now seems irrelevant; the same fate is in the cards for TVs. They will start to look too big, too imposing for the room’s decor.”
  • This is interesting to consider now, as tablet sales are taking off in the consumer market. Will mobile devices such as the tablet kill TV?
  • Guttenberg believes we are heading in that direction: “There will always be a market for big TVs, just as there is for great audio, but big-screen sales will continue to shrink over time. Most people will be perfectly content to watch movies and sports on their iPads.”

Financial Analyst Weighs Pros and Cons of Zynga $7 Billion IPO

  • In an analysis of Zynga’s pricy IPO, Forbes contributor Peter Cohan advises investors to “avoid this stock.”
  • “Social media gaming sweat shop Zynga filed to sell 14.3 percent, or 100 million, of its shares, valuing the lot at $7 billion,” he writes. “Should you pay the price to get in on its IPO? No.”
  • Zynga does have some things working in its favor: 1) It operates in the highly profitable virtual goods market that is expected to more than double by 2014; 2) It has a competitive advantage with the largest player audience on Facebook and 383 percent annual growth rate from 2008 to 2010; and 3) It has the ability to sustain its leadership position. “In October, Zynga announced Project Z that would lessen Zynga’s dependence on Facebook users. If that and its effort to go mobile work, Zynga would be in a stronger long-term position,” suggest the article.
  • So why not invest? Zynga’s IPO valuation is too high relative to its competitors; its growth is slowing down; and, its net income shrank for the majority of 2011 leaving “razor thin” 3.7 percent net profit margins. “No amount of sweat-shopping will fix Zynga’s slowing growth,” reports Cohan.

Is the Carrier IQ Rootkit Tracking Everything on Your Smartphone?

  • As an Android, Blackberry or Nokia user, you may not know that an app called Carrier IQ is logging literally everything you are doing on your smartphone including keystrokes, SMS messages and HTTPS sessions. Other articles on Carrier IQ report that this information is being sent to the carriers.
  • Apparently, there is no way for a user to turn Carrier IQ off without replacing the operating system.
  • A former Justice Department prosecutor has told Forbes that this is “likely grounds for a class action lawsuit” as it violates federal wiretapping law. This story is beginning to get a significant amount of attention online.
  • To see Carrier IQ in action, watch the 17-minute video posted to the PC World article.

Wilocity to Showcase 802.11ad Tech at CES: Ready for 60GHz Wireless?

  • Founded by a team of execs and engineers from Intel’s Wi-Fi Centrino group in 2007, Wilocity is developing next-gen 60GHz multi-gigabit wireless chipsets for mobile and peripheral markets.
  • According to the company’s website: “Wilocity’s Wireless PCI Express technology will enable truly multi-gigabit wireless for a wide range of applications from I/O to networking to video.”
  • “Wilocity, which is leading the charge for next-generation technology called 802.11ad designed to reach 7 gigabits per second over short distances, plans to show off a variety of devices using its technology at the mammoth CES trade show,” reports CNET.
  • “In Wilocity’s dream, the company will excite people about the possibilities of wireless networking that’s faster than what typical computers today can do with a wired connection,” explains the post. “For example, a smartphone carried into the office could connect to a keyboard, mouse, and large display. A tablet carried into the den could become a controller for a game shown on the big-screen TV.”

Shopping Trend: Retailers Find that Consumers Prefer Apps to Websites

  • New iPad apps are rolling out this holiday season to entice the eight percent of online shoppers that own tablets.
  • That percentage may seem small, but Forrester Research found that 60 percent of tablet owners use their devices to shop and many prefer them to smartphones or computers for shopping. For clothing company Anthropologie, iPad shopping accounted for six percent of sales this year and is expected to rise to 20 percent with the introduction of their new app.
  • These new apps aim to provide a more interactive experience and capture some of the in-store essence by revamping their electronic catalogs and adding new features to their shopping pages.
  • Revel Touch has built apps for multiple companies including functions like a “virtual dressing room,” that allows users to create outfits and the ability to share choices on social networks. Apps allow tablet shoppers to zoom in, see videos and find the sizes they want with ease.
  • “You can bring the objects to life on an iPad and you can’t do that on paper — and you don’t have to chop down a tree,” the CEO of Catalog Spree told The New York Times. The company also reported that, on weekends, its users spend almost eight times as long on the retailers’ app as they do on the retailers’ Web sites.

Will New $99 Kobo E-Reader Compete?

  • Kobo announced it will release its $99 Kobo Touch with Offers in time for the holiday season.
  • The 6-inch e-reader is the same as the company’s $130 offering, but “the screen will display ads when it is in sleep mode or turned off, as well as in what the company mysteriously refers to as ‘discreet places,'” reports VentureBeat.
  • The device “will be a direct competitor to Amazon’s Kindle Touch with Special Offers and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Simple Touch,” suggests the article.
  • Although not widely known in the U.S., Kobo hopes to change that with unique features such as support for HTML, RTF and various image files.
  • According to the article: “Just last week, the Canada-based e-reader manufacturer was acquired for $315 million in cash by Rakuten, the largest online shopping mall operator in Japan, which may help the reader become an international hit. As for this season’s e-reader wars in the U.S., it’s still a scrappy underdog.”

Filmic Pro App from Cinegenix is Ideal Tool for Mobile Video Shoots

  • Filmic Pro is a $2.99 app from Cinegenix that transforms the iPhone’s video camera capabilities by providing prosumer features.
  • “The camera lets you set and lock your focus, exposure and white balance,” reports Appletell. “On the backend, a set of menus allows you to set the resolution, from 480×360 up to 1920×1080, though only the iPhone 4S supports that resolution.”
  • Filmic Pro can add color bars and a slate (including countdown) to the video, and bitrate can be modified. Additionally, the app enables exporting directly to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, or Tumblr.
  • “You can also set the Frames Per Second from 30 all the way down to 1,” according to the post. “There’s a simple audio meter, a thirds guide, a framing guide (2.34:1, a standard TV 4:3, and a cinematic 16:9). If you want to make your iPhone video look like it was shot on a 35mm movie camera, there’s a matte box function, too.”
  • Appletell suggests that Filmic Pro’s strengths involve greater control over shooting, setting frame and compression rates and the ability to export footage to Dropbox or FTP. The app does not allow users to edit, set titles, or add special effects.

Texas Instruments Video: Explaining How Immersive Spatial Audio Works

  • This 3 1/2 minute video by Texas Instruments clearly and concisely explains the three components of their 3D audio technology: beam steering, crosstalk cancellation, and head related transfer function (HRTF or the psychoacoustic effect).
  • “Laptops, tablets, mobile phones and other multimedia devices offer an impressive visual experience,” suggests the video. “However, the overall experience is hindered by space constrained audio systems that lack clarity and depth — until now.”
  • Texas Instruments explains in the video how its audio technologies convert the “small sound stage” into an enhanced, immersive experience via techniques that manipulate sounds in desired directions in a 3D space.
  • This is a must-view for anyone interested in spatial audio applications for consumer electronics.

Apple iPhone 4S: Recent iOS Update Fails to Fix Battery Problems

  • Apple released an iOS update on Thursday designed to fix the problem that iPhone 4S users running iOS 5 have been experiencing with regards to battery life.
  • However, many iPhone owners have reported the update (iOS 5.0.1) has had no effect in fixing the issue.
  • “A small number of customers have reported lower than expected battery life on iOS 5 devices. We have found a few bugs that are affecting battery life and we will release a software update to address those in a few weeks,” Apple said in a statement.
  • Based on the language of the statement, especially noting the generic phrase “a few bugs,” Digital Trends suggests the company may not know the cause of the problem.
  • “The recent iOS software update addressed many of the battery issues that some customers experienced on their iOS 5 devices,” said Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller, adding: “We continue to investigate a few remaining issues.”

Study says 80 Percent of Mobile Users Multitask while Watching TV

  • Digital advertising agency Razorfish recently partnered with Yahoo to conduct a study regarding consumer behavior and the simultaneous use of television and mobile devices.
  • “While 80 percent of mobile users multitask in front of TV, 70 percent say they multitask once a week, and 49 percent on a daily basis,” reports Lost Remote. “More than 60 percent check their phones at least ‘once or twice’ during a show with 15 percent active on their devices the entire time.”
  • These multi-taskers are primarily attracted to content related to reality shows, news, comedy, sports and food.
  • The study suggests that 38 percent believe the mobile activity enhances TV broadcasts, while an equal 38 percent find it distracting.
  • Lost Remote reports: “94 percent of mobile multitaskers communicate while watching TV, while 60 percent are looking up content. Of the communicators, the most popular activities in order are: texting, talking, email, social networking and IM.”
  • Razorfish and Yahoo also learned that most of the mobile activity takes place during commercial breaks.

Study: 300 Percent Growth in Mobile App Downloads Expected for 2011

  • Mobile analytics firm Flurry has released new estimates based on iOS and Android app-enabled devices.
  • According to the report, 25 billion apps will be downloaded in 2011, marking 300 percent growth from last year’s six billion.
  • Five billion Apple and Android apps are expected to be downloaded in December alone, based on the surge typically associated with mobile shopping and people on break looking for entertainment.
  • Revenue from the U.S. market will reach $2.5 billion, compared with 2010’s $1 billion.
  • The increase in app catalogs has helped the increase. iOS offers about 500,000 apps and Android is around 350,000.
  • ReadWriteWeb also points out that only 43 percent of U.S. consumers currently have smartphones, but the number is expected to reach 50 percent by Q3 2012, which will also fuel app downloads.

Warner Bros. Flixster App adds iPad and iPhone to UltraViolet Offerings

  • The new “Harry Potter” Blu-ray disc will include an UltraViolet download from Flixster, now that Warner Bros. has added a new feature to the UV service.
  • “Today, the updated Flixster app enables users to not only stream movies available on UltraViolet, but also download them to iPads and iPhones, a feature that was missing from Warner’s initial movie releases on UltraViolet,” reports CNET.
  • When fans purchase the three-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2,” they’ll also have access to a copy they can maintain in the Flixster cloud.
  • Warner Bros. became the first studio to adopt UltraViolet, with its release of “Horrible Bosses” last month. “Warner boasts 21 percent of the DVD market, the largest share of any of the major studios,” indicates the article.

Amazon Purchasing Yap: Possible Siri Rival for the Kindle Fire?

  • In a quiet acquisition deal, Amazon is purchasing Yap, a speech-to-text startup that may find its voice recognition technology in future Kindle products.
  • “Yap is truly a leader in freeform speech recognition and driving innovation in the mobile user experience,” says Paul Grim of SunBridge Partners, which funded Yap in 2008.
  • “Yap’s technology may give Amazon the ability to add voice controls to its tablets capable of understanding far more than the rudimentary commands currently supported by Android software, potentially allowing the company to erode Apple’s dominance,” reports Forbes.
  • Apple has yet to make a move toward installing Siri on its iPad, so Amazon could get a jump start. “If Amazon puts Yap’s technology to good use and releases tablets with intuitive voice recognition in the near future, it may give Android-powered tablets a stronger handhold in the market,” suggests the article.

Tablet Users Lead the Charge in Viewing Video, Prefer iPads over Android

  • According to a new report from analytics service provider Ooyala: “On average, tablet viewers watched videos nearly 30 percent longer than when watching on their desktop.”
  • Additionally, tablet users are twice as likely to watch their videos to the end. “Videos 10 minutes or longer accounted for 56 percent of the time played on tablets and 84 percent played on connected TV devices and game consoles,” indicates the report.
  • ReadWriteWeb adds, “non-traditional TV watching devices such as cord-cutting boxes like Boxee and video game consoles tripled the amount of videos they played during the last quarter, although they still have a minute market share.”
  • And according to results featured on Ooyala’s blog, Apple continues to dominate in this space: “iPads crushed Android tablets in terms of total audience size. iPads accounted for 97 percent of all tablet video plays.”
  • Ooyala’s “VideoMind Video Index” report is available for download from the company’s blog.

Adobe Announces Aggressive Focus on HTML5, Abandons Mobile Flash

  • Adobe will no longer continue to develop its Flash Player for mobile devices. Instead, it will focus its resources on HTML5, according to the company’s blog.
  • “HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively,” writes Danny Winokur, VP and GM, Adobe Interactive Development. “This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms. We are excited about this, and will continue our work with key players in the HTML community, including Google, Apple, Microsoft and RIM, to drive HTML5 innovation they can use to advance their mobile browsers.”
  • Future efforts for Flash on mobile devices will focus on creating native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores.
  • “Did Apple ensure mobile Flash’s demise by preventing it from competing properly? Or did Adobe’s insistence on keeping the format proprietary, complicated by Flash’s alleged performance issues, tie Cupertino’s hands?” asks TIME. “Whatever the case, with Adobe’s mobile development switching to HTML5, all eyes are on the desktop version of Flash, and whether after nearly a decade-and-a-half of use, Adobe will eventually opt to retire it, too.”

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