At the Wall Street Journal, Jessica E. Lessin and Specner E. Ante report on the still booming mobile app industry:
App stores run by Apple and Google Inc. now offer more than 700,000 apps each. With so many apps to choose from, consumers are estimated to spend on average about two hours a day with apps. Global revenue from app stores is expected to rise 62% this year to $25 billion, according to Gartner Inc.
Not bad for an industry that essentially didn’t exist just five years ago. Just goes to show the economic power of innovation — in this case, with both devices (smartphones, tablets) and the mobile broadband networks that power them.
Apple’s iPhone may have a lot of competition these days, but new numbers show the company is still dominating the market. As Brett Molina of USA Todayreports:
Apple outdueled Samsung on mobile phone shipments in the U.S. during the fourth quarter, according to research from firm Strategic Analytics. It’s the first time the company has ever claimed the top spot in mobile shipments.
Overall, 52 million mobile phones were shipped, a 4% jump from last year. Apple snagged a 34% market share, shipping 17.7 million phones. The maker of the iPhone held a 25% during the same time last year.
Tech gadgets are always a hit during the holidays, and the number of mobile applications downloaded for iPhones and Android phones over this year’s holiday week hint at another big year for mobile devices. As Ryan Kim of GigaOm reports:
The final week of 2012 was a big one for mobile app makers as consumers downloaded a record 1.76 billion apps between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, according to new data from Flurry. It’s not surprising that app downloads set a new weekly record, considering mobile usage is only going up and Christmas 2012 already set a single-day record for downloads.
The full report from Flurry that Kim highlights is available here.
A new report from Ericsson finds that smartphone data traffic continues to increase at a rapid rate:
The latest Ericsson Mobility Report, formerly known as the Ericsson Traffic and Market Report, reveals that approximately 40 percent of all phones sold in Q3 were smartphones. Data traffic doubled between Q3 2011 and Q3 2012, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 50 percent between 2012 and 2018, driven mainly by video.
Ericsson’s research shows that online video is the biggest contributor to mobile traffic volumes, constituting 25 percent of total smartphone traffic and 40 percent of total tablet traffic. This puts new requirements on networks to cater for quality anywhere and anytime.
With streaming video showing no signs of slowing down, Ericsson’s call for networks to “cater for quality anywhere and anytime” highlights the critical importance of allocating more spectrum for mobile broadband.
Back in 2011, search giant Google bought Motorola Mobilty for $12 billion. At the time, it was believed a driving force behind the acquisition was Motorola’s extensive patent portfolio. Now, as Sara Forden of Bloomberg reports, that portfolio has gained the attention of the Federal Trade Commission:
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission should sue Google Inc. for trying to block competitors’ access to key smartphone-technology patents in violation of antitrust law, the agency’s staff told commissioners in a formal recommendation, according to four people familiar with the matter.
A majority of the agency’s five commissioners are inclined to sue, according to the people, who declined to be identified because the matter isn’t public. A final decision on the staff recommendation, made last month, isn’t likely until after the Nov. 6 presidential election, they said.
A new report from Gartner (via Erik Pineda of the International Business Times) predicts mobile computing, via smartphone or tablet, will continue to grow:
Personal computers will inevitably be relegated behind the pacesetting smartphones and tablet computers, research firm Gartner said in a new report made public on Wednesday, adding that mobile phones are likely to emerge as the preferred computing tool by 2013.
Gartner also predicts Google’s Android platform will soon be the dominating operating system in the mobile space.
New numbers from Pew shed a light on just how mobile — and dependent on our mobile devices — Americans have become:
On the eve of Apple’s unveiling of the iPhone 5, 45% of American adults own smartphones. They are particularly popular with young adults and those living in relatively higher income households; 66% of those ages 18-29 own smartphones, and 68% of those living in households earning $75,000 also own them.
As the tech patent war continues to rage, Alexel Oreskovic and Poornima Gupta of Reuters report two heavy hitters in the tech space are tentatively talking:
Google Inc Chief Executive Larry Page and Apple CEO Tim Cook have been conducting behind-the-scenes talks about a range of intellectual property matters, including the mobile patent disputes between the companies, people familiar with the matter said.
The two executives had a phone conversation last week, the sources said. Discussions involving lower-level officials of the two companies are also ongoing.
If the Reuters report is correct, any conversations that keep the smartphone revolution from being mired in patent disputes are cause for celebration.
Ryan Kim of GigaOm points to a new report that shows while the future of the Internet may be mobile, advertising in the mobile space still faces some challenges:
Wonder why mobile monetization is still lagging as Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker helpfully pointed out earlier this year? Well, one reason may be that many of the clicks on mobile ads are useless, the product of an increasing amount of fraud as well as a lot of inadvertent actions, said Trademob, a German mobile app marketing platform.
The company, which is in the midst of opening offices in San Francisco and New York, shared some new research with GigaOM, finding that 40 percent of clicks are essentially worthless, creating a conversion rate to install an app from an app store of less than 0.1 percent. Trademob found that 22 percent of clicks are accidental, while 18 percent are fraudulent. That could be one thing holding back mobile advertising as some advertisers question how effective their spend is on mobile.
As an advocate for the Asian American community, I aim to advance policies that benefit not only my community but all Americans. One great example is promoting the wireless revolution that is creating enormous opportunities for minority communities to flourish. As our networks grow faster and more reliable and our devices become more powerful, these opportunities will continue to expand.
Every day, more and more Asian Americans are using mobile devices to access the Internet. Recent studies show that Asian Americans, followed by other communities of color, are leading the way in smartphone adoption. While these studies do not take into account that certain Asian American subgroups likely have lower adoption rates, it is clear that no one should be denied access to this technology that improves our lives. Major barriers to Internet adoption, such as limited English proficiency, lack of digital literacy skills, and affordability need to be addressed. Yet limited deployment to low-income and rural communities also continues to negatively affect Asian Americans and other communities of color. That’s why I agree with President Obama’s goal of delivering next generation wireless broadband services to 98 percent of Americans by 2016.
But it’s going to take a couple of things to make that happen.
First, we have to make sure the private sector continues to invest in wireless networks and the devices and apps that use them. Last year, wireless service providers spent about $26 billion on building and maintaining the mobile infrastructure needed for wireless connectivity. These expenditures translate into jobs and economic opportunities for our communities. We need that investment to continue, and even increase, if we are to reach the President’s goal. The government must have policies in place that encourage this investment.
Second, more spectrum — the invisible airwaves that carry wireless signals — is required. As the wireless revolution continues to boom, we’ll need more spectrum to meet our growing demand. While recently passed legislation will free up a limited amount of spectrum, the government is the largest holder of spectrum. The government should quickly move to use its spectrum more efficiently and make spectrum available for consumer use. If we can do this, all Americans will be major beneficiaries.
Jason T. Lagria is the Telecommunications and Broadband Policy Staff Attorney at the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice. AAJC works to promote universal access and reduce barriers to critical technology and services for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other underserved communities.
At Bloomberg, Kelly Blessing and Amy Thomson highlight the major steps being taken to ensure mobile networks in London stay up and running during the major influx of people from the Olympics:
British telecommunications companies serving London’s Olympic Park say they have created a wireless system capable of handling a large city. Legions of iPhone-toting visitors are about to put them to the test.
Annual smartphone purchases have risen almost fivefold worldwide since the Beijing Olympics four years ago, according to researcher IDC, and many fans and athletes in the 2.5-square kilometer (0.97-square mile) park in east London will be watching video on iPads, chatting with friends and e-mailing photos as they take in the games that kick off with today’s opening ceremony.
Tammy Parker of Fierce Broadband Wireless highlights a new report from Infonetics Research that predicts big things for mobile broadband:
Mobile broadband represents the fastest-growing revenue stream for mobile operators. Globally, the value of the mobile services market is forecast to expand to $976 billion by 2016, with the majority of growth stemming from mobile broadband services, according to Infonetics, which also forecasts mobile broadband subscribers will grow from 15 percent of the total mobile subscriber base in 2011 to nearly 40 percent in 2016.
Speaking of smartphones, according to Tim Culpan, Olga Kharif, and Ashlee Vance of Bloomberg, online retailer Amazon is looking to get in the game along with other heavy hitters Apple, Google, and Microsoft:
A smartphone would give Amazon a wider range of low-priced hardware devices that bolster its strategy of making money from digital books, songs and movies. It would help Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos—who made a foray into tablets with the Kindle Fire—carve out a slice of the market for advanced wireless handsets.
As a bonus, the Bloomberg story also features this startling fact:
Manufacturers led by Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple shipped 398.4 million smartphones in the first quarter, according to researcher IDC.
Over at GigaOm, Om Malik poses an interesting question: Given the power of today’s smartphones — fueled by innovative tech and the power of mobile broadband — is it time to stop calling them phones all together? As Malik writes:
We spend about 11 minutes a day on email, 10.2 minutes on text messaging and when you total it all up, we stare at our smartphones for a whopping 128 minutes.
That’s a whole lot of a staring at a device we used to mainly use for talking.
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