CES 2013: CEA Presents State of the Global CE Industry

The international viewpoint of CES was presented by CEA Director of Industry Analysis Steve Koenig during the State of the Global CE Industry pre-show event staged at the Mandalay Bay on Sunday, January 6th. While most major international markets suffered a 1 percent drop in GDP last year, it is expected that as developing economies improve we will still only see single digit growth during a modest recovery. Continue reading CES 2013: CEA Presents State of the Global CE Industry

CES 2013: A Look at Some of the More Interesting Predictions

A favorite pastime of analysts in recent years has been attempting to forecast what will prove to be the top trends emerging from the annual International CES confab in Las Vegas. Of course, this year is no different, as consumer electronics continue to branch out from purely an interest of the technorati, become more intrinsically tied to our lifestyles and subsequently draw more mainstream media attention. As we get ready to hit the show floor when the exhibition opens its doors tomorrow, we take a look at some of the more interesting forecasts recently published. (One of our favorite pastimes is discovering who will be right and who will end up missing the mark.) Continue reading CES 2013: A Look at Some of the More Interesting Predictions

Walt Mossberg Looks Ahead to Personal Tech in 2013

In a five-minute video report on the Wall Street Journal, Walt Mossberg discusses four personal technology topics that he believes may prove to be significant trends in the coming year, including a new era of smart TVs, more affordable smartphones and mobile plans, a new wave of more expensive music players and new health and fitness gadgets and accompanying apps. Additionally we should expect to see more tablets and more use of the cloud. Continue reading Walt Mossberg Looks Ahead to Personal Tech in 2013

Are Amazon and Google on a Collision Course for 2013?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos got a “wake-up” call a decade ago, when he got word of a project at Google to scan and digitize product catalogs. “He saw it as a warning that the Web search engine could encroach upon his online retail empire, according to a former Amazon executive,” reports Reuters. That was just the beginning of a rivalry that will continue heating up in 2013. The two will compete even more fiercely in the online advertising, retail, mobile gadgets and cloud computing realms. Continue reading Are Amazon and Google on a Collision Course for 2013?

Tim Bajarin Details Top Six Tech Trends Expected in 2013

Industry analyst Tim Bajarin offers his perspective on the leading tech trends we can expect in the coming year. Bajarin, who has been writing an end-of-the-year prediction column for 23 years (and says he has been “reasonably successful”), predicts some interesting developments, including: Augmented Reality going mainstream, increased consumer attention for Google’s Chromebook, a new interest in hybrids and convertibles from IT managers, a dramatic increase in mobile malware, and more. Continue reading Tim Bajarin Details Top Six Tech Trends Expected in 2013

Children and Tablets: Nickelodeon and PBS to Launch Preschool Apps

Nick Jr.’s newest television project “Wallykazam” will first be introduced to the public as a mobile product. The show doesn’t come out until 2014, but educational apps based on the show’s characters and concepts will appear in app stores late next year. According to The New York Times, it is parents who are steering this industry shift. “Driving the change, at Nickelodeon and other preschool television brands, are parents who are increasingly putting mobile devices into preschoolers’ hands and laps,” notes the article.

As TV set ownership declines, tablet ownership is on the rise. “Eighty-eight percent of the parents surveyed said they owned a television, down from 95 percent in 2010,” according to new research commissioned by Sesame Workshop.

The research also shows just how striking educational app growth has been recently. “In October, 27 percent of United States households with children ages 3 to 5 had an iPad, up from 22 percent in April. In those households, 40 percent of preschoolers used the iPad for educational apps, up from 27 percent in April,” writes NYT.

The thinking at PBS is different now, a combination of digital and television. As the article notes, the network has “‘sent away’ a number of producers who came to PBS with ideas for television shows with no thought-out mobile component, telling them, ‘Come back when you have a plan.’”

For the Cost of a Bicycle, Parents Can Purchase Kid-Friendly Tablets

For around $200, parents can buy their kids child-appropriate tablet computers. According to The New York Times, children “understand that this single device is a million-channel TV, music collection, game machine, camera and e-book library, and a way to socialize with friends.” The article reviews 21 different kid-friendly tablets, including the $150 Android-powered Kurio 7, MEEP and Tabeo tablets. “The Nabi 2 costs a bit more ($200) but has a noticeably better screen,” suggests the article. “The Nabi Jr. ($100) is smaller and can double as a baby monitor.” Continue reading For the Cost of a Bicycle, Parents Can Purchase Kid-Friendly Tablets

Kajeet Strikes Deal with Clearwire to Launch 4G Mobile for Children

Mobile virtual network operator Kajeet is partnering with WiMAX carrier Clearwire in a move that could sell 4G modems and hotspots to families with children, reports GigaOM. The deal will officially allow Kajeet and Clearwire to resell 4G connections. Kajeet currently sells mobile broadband dongles and hotspots to schools, but may be looking to expand into a broader consumer base. Continue reading Kajeet Strikes Deal with Clearwire to Launch 4G Mobile for Children

IAB Study Determines Mobile Video is Not All About Being Mobile

Most consumers who watch television programs or movies on their wireless devices are not actually doing so while on-the-go, suggests a new report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The IAB report found that 63 percent of viewing takes place at home, while 36 percent takes place in a room that already has an existing device available to watch the content.

The report notes that two-thirds of respondents watch more than one hour of video a week on their smartphones or tablets. However, 85 percent of it is consumed in short bites of less than 10 minutes, according to VentureBeat.

“We need to see mobile as a primary screen for on-demand consumption, not as an afterthought,” says David Levin, president of digital agency 360i.

The report also points out that entertainment content is the most consumed, with music in the lead, followed by movie trailers, tutorials and funny short video clips. Perhaps most interesting to advertisers, the IAB study learned that 53 percent of respondents indicated they’re okay with mobile video advertising and 48 percent said the ads should relate to the video content being watched.

Xiaomi Takes a Slice of the Smartphone Pie

  • Just three years into its existence, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi Technology has a $4 billion valuation and has garnered “Apple-like adoration” from loyal fans, reports Reuters.
  • Founder Lei Jun, 42, helped shape China’s Internet revolution when he co-founded and sold Joyo.cn to Amazon before moving on to Xiaomi Technology. At Xiaomi, Lei has become a Steve Jobs-like figure, as he has marketed his product simply, but in a way that generates “an aura of exclusivity around its products,” notes the article.
  • When addressing comparisons to Jobs, Lei says, “I will take this as a compliment but such kind of comparison brings us huge pressure.”
  • “Xiaomi and Apple are two totally different companies,” he continues. “Xiaomi’s based on the Internet. We are not doing the same thing as Apple.”
  • The company released its second phone in October and has sold 300,000 units. The phone is comparable to Samsung’s Galaxy S3 and Apple’s iPhone 5, but sells for only $370.
  • “Unlike the big domestic smartphone players, such as Lenovo Group, ZTE Corp and Huawei Technologies, which work with telecom carriers to sell a large volume of smartphones, Xiaomi sells most of its phones online and in small batches,” writes Reuters. By limiting quantity and selling in small batches, Xiaomi creates buzz. This demand led to Xiaomi selling its entire batch of 50,000 smartphones in less than two minutes in October.
  • China is expected to pass the United States as the number one smartphone market within the year, but some people still believe the market will be controlled by market leaders ZTE and Huawei, and that Xiaomi’s small scale strategy will hurt its long term outlook.

TIME Lists Top 10 Gadgets of the Year: iPhone 5 Takes Top Spot

  • Although Apple may have to cede the top spot on smartphone sales, its iPhone 5 still sits at No. 1 in terms of overall device and operation system quality, earning the coveted TIME Magazine ‘gadget of the year’ award.
  • TIME’s Harry McCracken calls the iPhone 5 ‘one of the most artfully polished gadgets anyone’s ever built,’ adding that ‘when it comes to melding hardware, software and services so tightly that the seams fade away, Apple still has no peer,'” VentureBeat reports.
  • “Despite 5 million units sold in its opening weekend, and stellar sales results that catapulted iOS back into the mobile operating system lead in November, the iPhone 5 probably can’t catch the Samsung Galaxy S III, which launched in the summer and reached 18 million units by early November,” the article continues.
  • Apple did not, however, gain recognition from TIME for its iPads, even though the new iPad mini earned a warm welcome by many in October.
  • TIME‘s top 10 gadgets are as follows: 1) iPhone 5, 2) Nintendo Wii U, 3) Sony Cyber-shot RX100, 4) Raspberry Pi Model B, 5) Lytro, 6) Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, 7) Microsoft Surface with Windows RT, 8) Samsung Galaxy Note II, 9) Nest, and 10) Simple.TV.

Mobile Trends: Should Laptop Makers Shift Their Focus to Tablets?

  • Tablets are set to outsell laptops by 2015, according to a new report from IDC, underscoring the necessity for PC makers to focus on designing attractive slates.
  • “This forecast further emphasizes the massive shift toward mobile, which has been underway for several years: Smartphones began outselling PCs last year and will easily continue to do so as consumers and enterprises do more computing on the go,” reports GigaOM.
  • “Many PC makers were either late to the mobile device game, or not part of it at all, and have watched sales dollars filter to those making smartphones at first, and now tablets,” the article continues.
  • While the IDC report suggests that laptops won’t entirely go away — just as desktop PCs have remained — GigaOM suggests the model of computing that relied heavily on these PCs is changing, and IDC’s predictions could be “too conservative.”
  • The report also notes the decline in unit revenue for mobile devices, compared with the revenue of desktops or laptops. “That means computer makers will have to make up the difference in volume and the best chance to do that is by seizing momentum early, much as Apple did with its iPad,” the article states.
  • “Additionally, tablet hardware is improving quickly, and perhaps more importantly, so are the applications that run on tablets,” GigaOM continues. “Activities that once sounded absurd on a tablet just two or three years ago are now possible on an iPad, Android slate or Windows RT device. Instead of looking back at ‘old-school computing,’ laptop makers should be looking ahead at potential software and cloud services that tablets will benefit from.”

FTC Mobile Apps for Kids Report Finds Little Progress in Privacy

  • The Federal Trade Commission’s staff report, “Mobile Apps for Kids: Disclosures Still Not Making the Grade,” analyzes mobile applications aimed at children, and finds that little progress has been made since last year in terms of warning, or even informing, parents about the data collection in applications.
  • The report notes that the applications have interactive features and social media sharing that can send information on the children to advertising companies or analytics companies without seeking parental consent. Some applications do not even disclose the actions to parents, according to the report.
  • “While we think most companies have the best intentions when it comes to protecting kids’ privacy, we haven’t seen any progress when it comes to making sure parents have the information they need to make informed choices about apps for their kids,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “In fact, our study shows that kids’ apps siphon an alarming amount of information from mobile devices without disclosing this fact to parents.”
  • “All of the companies in the mobile app space, especially the gatekeepers of the app stores, need to do a better job,” he added. “We’ll do another survey in the future and we will expect to see improvement.”
  • The report, which examined disclosures within the app, disclosures on the promotion page in the app store, and at the app developer’s website, found “most apps failed to provide any information about the data collected through the app, let alone the type of data collected, the purpose of the collection, and who would obtain access to the data.”
  • “Even more troubling, the results showed that many of the apps shared certain information with third parties — such as device ID, geolocation, or phone number — without disclosing that fact to parents,” according to the report.

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