Is anyone using their smartphone to make calls?

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Jul 012012

Do you remember the days when mobile phones were used to make and receive phone calls? They have come a long way since then and our modern handsets do far more than just that. Not only are they our primary communication devices but smartphones are also displacing a number of other devices and doing far more than their predecessors ever did. A UK study by O2 has found that making phone calls is now only the fifth most popular use for smartphones.

The study found that the average smartphone owner uses their device more than two hours each day. Nearly 25 minutes of that is spent browsing the web. Social networking and listening to music take up another 17 and nearly 16 minutes respectively. Phone calls account for only about 12 minutes, good enough to be the fifth most popular activity.

“Smartphones are now being used like a digital ‘Swiss Army Knife’, replacing possessions like watches, cameras, books and even laptops,” said David Johnson, general manager of devices for O2 in the UK. “While we’re seeing no let-up in the number of calls customers make or the amount of time they spend speaking on their phones, their phone now plays a far greater role in all aspects of their lives.”

Smartphone usage by O2 users in 2012

74% of respondents have used their smartphones as cameras, making it the most popular thing to use a smartphone for. Other popular uses include replacing an alarm clock (54%) or a watch (46%).

What are the top three activities you use your smartphone for?

Read more: The Telegraph (Source: PocketNow)

Video: “Next is Now… More than Ever” looks at Internet technology in Canada

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May 162012

About two years ago, Rogers released its “Next is Now” video that looked at how communications technology is changing the lives of Canadians. A lot has changed since then and Rogers has revisited this topic to look at how things stand now. Today, it released a sequel video called “Next is Now… More than Ever.”

According to Rob Switzman, Senior Director, Emerging Business and Rogers Futurist, Rogers is keen to understand how Canadians use technology and the Internet in particular. The video expresses its findings that the Internet is quickly becoming essential (and already is for many).

Among the statistics shared, the most interesting for me were:

  • People spend more than 2 hours a day glancing at their smartphones
  • 90% of Internet traffic will be video within three years
  • Mobile Internet speeds will increase nine-fold over the next four years

One thing that I liked about the video is that Rogers provided references for each stat on the YouTube page where it is posted.

Read more: Rogers (via YouTube)

Is Facebook replacing text messaging?

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May 122012

While Canada’s love affair with text messaging continued on strong in 2011 with 78 billion messages sent, there are signs that the love affair may be waning in other parts of the world. A report by Strand Consult, a telecommunications consulting firm, found that the amount of time smartphone users are spending on Facebook is increasing. It suggests that a growing number of messages are being exchanged through that platform rather than text messages. “Many operators are seeing an increasing number of customers moving their SMS traffic over to Facebook, resulting in their SMS cash cow getting thinner and thinner,” Strand Consult wrote in its research note.

It’s not the first time that Facebook is tied to a decrease in text message volumes. A report earlier this year attributed decreases to newer instant communication tools such as Facebook, Twitter and platform-specific tools such as BBM and iMessage.

A separate report by Chetan Sharma, an independent mobile analyst, found a similar trend in the Philippines, one of the top texting nations. Text messages sent by an average cellphone user dropped from 660 per month in 2010 to about 400 per month in 2011. Again, the drop was attributed to alternative communication tools such as Skype, iMessage, and Google Voice.

Are you texting less and using other communication tools such as Facebook instead?

Read more: The New York Times

Infographic: Possible features on your next smartphone

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May 032012

Want to know what features are likely to make it onto your next smartphone? An infographic put together by Symphony Teleca gives us a look at where things might be headed. A number of these are already on higher-end smartphones (such as the Samsung Galaxy S III introduced today) now, suggesting that they will become ubiquitous in the near future.

Your next device - The future of connected consumer electronics

Click the image for a larger version

What other features do you think will make into our future smartphones? Or which ones here should not be on?

Read more: Symphony Teleca (Source: GigaOM)

HTC to stop making QWERTY keyboard devices?

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Apr 202012

HTCFans of devices with physical QWERTY keyboards are unlikely to find what they’re looking for in HTC devices in the future. The company has reportedly decided to focus its efforts on touchscreen devices as consumers gravitate to thinner devices. Speaking at a press event today, HTC creative director Claude Zellweger said, “As a company, the QWERTY keyboard we’re moving away from in general.”

Zellweger explained that the effort required to design physical keyboard devices takes time away from other more popular devices. Instead, HTC will focus on improving touchscreen technologies such as haptic feedback.

While physical keyboards dominated early designs, the Apple iPhone kicked off a trend towards thinner devices with touchscreens Even RIM with its reknowned physical keyboards, has had to release such devices.

The statement does not completely close the door on such devices but don’t hold your breath either.

Read more: MobileBurn

NVIDIA CEO expects US$199 Tegra 3 tablets by the summer

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Mar 292012

NVIDIAThe rumoured US$149-$199 7-inch tablet that Google is expected to unveil soon could quickly find itself in a crowded market. Speaking to the The New York TimesNVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang expects that similarly-priced Tegra 3-powered tablets will be available from other manufacturers by the summer. Removal of pricier components is driving prices downward very quickly. “We took out $150 in build materials, things like expensive memory,” he said. “At $199, you can just about buy a tablet at a 7-Eleven.”

Huang also admitted to being disappointed with the development of Android. Tablets powered by the upcoming Windows 8 could become a more formidable competitor to the dominant iPad and to the multitude of Android tablets available. “Android hasn’t developed as I’d hoped,” he said. “For many people, though, work is still the primary reason to have a computer. They want Windows to work well, they want Outlook to work well. A tablet running Windows 8 with Tegra could be very nice.”

Read more: The New York Times (Source: BGR)

Smartphone users want larger displays

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Mar 182012

A report by research firm Strategy Analytics has found that smartphone users are gravitating towards larger displays but without wanting to compromise on weight. Its survey found that users prefer “device screens in the 4.0-inch to 4.5-inch range, as long as the device is also thin.”

“Almost 90 percent of existing smartphone owners surveyed chose a prototype smartphone with a display larger than their current device,” commented Paul Brown, a Director in the Strategy Analytics User Experience Practice. “This trend is driven by increased mobile web browsing capability, as well as engaging video and gaming experiences.”

The survey found some differences among different types of users. For example, female users are more likely to consider smaller devices and Android owners prefer larger devices over Apple iPhone owners.

Sound out below on your own preferences…

Read more: Strategy Analytics

Canadian multi-tablet households to grow in 2012

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Jan 172012

Canadians’ love affair with their tablets (primarily Apple iPads) will not slow down in 2012. Deloitte Canada’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions 2012 report suggests that almost 5% of tablets sold in Canada in 2012 will be headed to households that already have one. Tablets will also outnumber people in a growing number of households.

“The growth rate of multi-tablet households has been nothing short of astonishing,” says Duncan Stewart, Director, Deloitte Canada Research and co-author of TMT Predictions 2012. “It took several decades for more than five per cent of households to have more than one car, telephone, radio or TV. For personal computers or cell phones, it took more than 10 years before five per cent of homes had more than one. But with tablets, it will be less than three years.”

Other trends called out by the report:

  • NFC-enabled mobile devices will double by the end of 2012 as will NFC applications
  • Increasing use of smartphones and tablets to watch television while commuting
  • Growing demand for data will lead to more monthly bandwidth caps both for mobile and wired devices
  • Online brand spending will grow 50% to $20 billion worldwide

While tablets are still outnumbered by people at Gadgetorama headquarters, gaming platforms are another story.

Read more: Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions 2012 (PDF document)

LTE smartphones to make up about 5% of 2012 global handset shipments

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Jan 172012

LTE-enabled smartphones could account for as much as 5% of all global handset shipments in 2012. With nearly 50 carriers across the world having launched the technology, the number of LTE-enabled devices being offered is growing quickly. Digitimes “industry sources” expect that between 25 and 30 million LTE-enabled smartphones will ship this year.

Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Pantech and HTC are currently selling the bulk of LTE smartphones but that is expected to change as more manufacturers jump on the LTE bandwagon this year. Among these are Nokia with the recently announced Lumia 900, Research In Motion, Sony Mobile Communications (with the Xperia ion) and LG Electronics.

The bulk of LTE-enabled smartphones are currently being bought up by North American carriers. A recent report found that North America accounted for 87% of all LTE connections worldwide in Q3 2011.

Read more: Digitimes and 4G Americas

Is the love affair with SMS over?

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Jan 022012

Could the love affair that people have with SMS be coming to an end? Tero Kuittinen, a senior analyst at M.G.I. Research, found that text-messaging declined in a number of markets during the Christmas period when compared to last year. Depending on the market, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are typically the busiest days for text messages.

In Finland, at least two carriers saw SMS volumes decline this year. Sonera customers sent 8.5 million text messages during Christmas Eve 2011. This was down from 10.9 million a year before. DNA, a “more youth-oriented operator,” saw a drop from 5.9 million text messages a year ago to 5.6 million this year. In Hong Kong, Christmas Eve text message volume dropped 14%.

Kuittinen suggests that text-messaging could be losing out in favour of newer instant communication tools such as Facebook, Twitter and platform-specific tools such as BBM and iMessage. The trend is first emerging in the markets where SMS first took off in the mid-90s. In markets where it caught on a bit later, such as the U.S. and Canada, Kuittinen expects that similar declines will not hit carriers until later this year or next year.

Are you using SMS less now in favour of tools such as Twitter?

Read more: Forbes

US to have more mobile Internet users than wired ones by 2015

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Sep 132011

A new IDC report predicts that US mobile Internet use will overtake similar use through PCs and other wired devices by 2015. The number of users using smartphones, tablets and other wireless devices to access the Internet will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.6% between 2010 and 2015, a rate presumably higher than that for wired devices.

“Forget what we have taken for granted on how consumers use the Internet,” said Karsten Weide, research vice president, Media and Entertainment. “Soon, more users will access the Web using mobile devices than using PCs, and it’s going to make the Internet a very different place.”

Western Europe and Japan are expected to follow this trend as well.

IDC also expects that the global number of Internet users will grow from 2 billion in 2010 to 2.7 billion in 2015. B2C ecommerce and online advertising will continue to grow as well and will reach US$1,285 billion and US$138 billion respectively in 2015.

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IDC: Tablet sales to top 53 million in 2011

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Jul 102011

Tablet shipments may have dropped 28 percent in Q1 2011 over Q4 2010 but IDC expects that sales will bounce back. In fact, it expects device shipments to now reach 53.5 million units, an increase over its initial estimate of 50.4 million.

“Like the PC market, Media Tablets had a bit of a challenging quarter in Q1, as concerns about general macroeconomic issues and the post-holiday letdown took a toll on demand,” said Bob O’Donnell, IDC Vice President, Clients and Displays. “We expect the rest of the year to be much stronger, but we believe vendors who continue to focus on the telco channel for distribution will face serious challenges.”

In Q1, Apple’s sales fell short of market expectations mostly due to overall economic conditions and supply chain challenges. Competing manufacturers that opted to focus their distribution through wireless carriers also found only “moderate success” as customers were largely unwilling to sign up for the data plans required with the devices (a trend expected to continue for the rest of the year). Despite the gloomy news, Google saw Android’s market share increase by 8.2 points as Android-powered tablets accounted for 34 percent of Q1 shipments.

IDC also reported that Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color is now the best selling e-reader with the Amazon Kindle falling to second place.

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Android and iOS continue to gain market share in Q1 2011

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May 212011

Gartner earlier this week released its Q1 2011 “Market Share Analysis: Mobile Devices, Worldwide” report. Smartphones continued to outpace the overall mobile communication market which saw shipments of nearly 428 million devices.

“Smartphones accounted for 23.6 percent of overall sales in the first quarter of 2011, an increase of 85 percent year-on-year,” said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. “This share could have been even higher, but manufacturers announced a number of high-profile devices during the first quarter of 2011 that would not ship until the second quarter of 2011. We believe some consumers delayed their purchases to wait for these models.”

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Poor BlackBerry PlayBook sales denied by RIM

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May 212011

RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

While Best Buy has indicated that RIM BlackBerry PlayBook tablet sales have exceeded expectations, another is reportedly painting a very different picture. According to, a “trusted source from a major big box retailer” reports sales have fallen significantly short of expectations and up to 90% short of internal sales targets. The source adds that returns are also much higher, coming in at about 7%, a figure higher than those seen for the Motorola XOOM.

RIM quickly responded to the story with a statement that read:

The source of the reported comment is anonymous and unknown to RIM, but the comment is certainly inconsistent with the positive feedback we have received from our main retail partners. As previously indicated, RIM will provide a business update on BlackBerry PlayBook results on June 16.

The report also goes against recent shipment estimates that indicate that RIM may have shipped some 250,000 PlayBooks since its launch about a month ago.

Read more about this story and RIM’s statement

Amazon eBooks now outselling all print books combined

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May 192011


Amazon today announced that it is now selling more Kindle books than hardcover and paperback print books combined.

“Customers are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books. We had high hopes that this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly – we’ve been selling print books for 15 years and Kindle books for less than four years,” said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO,

Since April 1st, Amazon has been selling 105 Kindle books for every 100 print books sold. The figure would be even higher if free Kindle books were included. It has already sold three times as many Kindle books so far this year as it did during the same period in 2010.

It was just under a year ago that Kindle books started outselling hardcover books. Then in July 2010, Stieg Larsson was the first author to sell more than one million Kindle books.

Amazon also today announced that its recently introduced Kindle with Special Offers is now its bestselling Kindle device in the US.

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