All Articles Tagged "smartphones"
If you’ve tried to buy an iPad Mini in the past few months, you know the wait can be long. Well, actually only a few days. But you know. When you want your new gadget, you want it now!
According to Mashable, the Apple site is now showing that iPad Minis in all colors, with WiFi and with cellular, are now ready to ship for anyone interested.
The tablet starts at $329 and can go up to $659 before you add your cover and other extras.
There’s been lots of talk lately about Apple losing its luster after a 34 percent drop in its stock price and the announcement today that the company has been replaced by the once-reviled insurance company AIG as the top choice for hedge funds. There’s also been a surge in sales of Samsung smartphones, putting the dominant Apple devices on the defensive. London’s The Daily Mail notes that there’s been a spike in sales of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5, with both phones outselling the Samsung in the fourth quarter of last year.
“With the Galaxy due for an update, it perhaps does not seem surprising that the latest Apple device outsold it, but what did surprise observers was that the older 4S model also outsold the more highly specced Samsung phone,” the newspaper reports.
With more iPad Minis available, we could also see an increase in sales of these tablets, which have been facing stiff competition from the more modestly priced Amazon Kindle.
Are you in the market for a new device? Which one are you thinking of getting?
Just earlier this month, the tech industry was all abuzz with the news that Alicia Keys had been tapped by BlackBerry to serve as the company’s global creative director. But it seems the partnership hasn’t yielded the boost or excitement the company was hoping for.
On the surface it seems like it was looking up for the sagging BlackBerry. Besides the flurry of activity surrounding Keys’ appointment, the company debuted its new BlackBerry 10 smartphones, which are due in the U.S. in mid-March.
But reports Forbes, “sales have dramatically underperformed previous estimates, mainly because of supply constraints and limited support from carriers.” It appears the company is having trouble competing with a host of new Android and Window phones, and possibly a new iPhone expected in the first half of 2013, according to Canaccord’s analysts.”
The BlackBerry 10 phones are so bad that, as Forbes reveals, RIM has revised its sales estimates for the new Z10s downward. They’re now expected to move only 300,000 in the February quarter, down from a previous estimate of 1.75 million units.
Limited supply is one of a few problems BlackBerry is facing, capping the company’s capacity to sell BlackBerry 10 products, reports Forbes. But it isn’t alone in this problem. Apple faced this problem with several of their iPhone models, being unable to make enough phones to meet the demand.
While this has been a problem for BlackBerry in the past, with the new the Z10s and Q10s the demand is low, due in part to pricing. “BlackBerry’s new smartphones cost about the same as their major competitors Apple and Samsung’s competing models after taking into account carrier subsidies,” says Forbes.
Not only are consumers lukewarm to the new models, carriers also are unenthusiastic. According to the magazine, Sprint will only be launching the Q10, while T-Mobile will only commercialize the touch screen-only Z10. Verizon Wireless and AT&T, the two largest U.S. providers, will carry both models.
So what role is Alicia Keys meant to play in all of this? Marketing had better get on this fast in order to leverage Keys’ popularity to generate some sort of something for the brand.
There are some social media platforms that African Americans just prefer. In fact, according to a study by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, more African Americans rush to Twitter and Instagram than other digital offerings. Minorities also purchase smartphones more than other demographics. The study found that the popularity of Twitter and Instagram among blacks is surging, while white women under age 50 are drawn to Pinterest, reports USA Today.
The survey was conducted via phone interviews with 1,800 respondents (Asian Americans weren’t included because there were not enough respondents to draw statistically reliable conclusions).
Among black Internet users, 26 percent use Twitter; compare this with whites (14 percent) and Hispanics (19 percent). This is an increase from 18 percent of black Internet users were using Twitter in 2011.
According to social media consultant and blogger Wayne Sutton, there is a reason why Twitter is attracting more blacks. He told the newspaper that Twitter enables “a level playing field in getting (black Americans’) voices heard… With the history of our culture, we now have an equal channel like anyone else,” he says. “We are also some of the largest consumers of entertainment and sports. And that’s a lot of what is said on social media by us.”
As for Instagram, blacks, at 23 percent, also outnumbered Hispanics’ (18 percent) and whites (11 percent).
“African Americans and Hispanics are leading the way in terms of buying smartphones or tablets,” Sutton added. According to a March 2012 Nielsen study, 54.4 percent of black phone owners and 57.3 percent of Hispanic phone owners own smartphones vs. 44.7 percent for whites.
Have you ever unlocked a smartphone without permission? Well, soon it will be illegal to do so without carrier permission.
There as been a change to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that makes it illegal for consumers to unlock their mobile devices, starting February 2. “Carriers lock smartphones — which they typically subsidize in the U.S. – as a way to prevent their customers from getting a cellular plan with a different company,” according to The Los Angeles Times.
Users unlock phones when they want to switch carriers, after the phone’s original contract has run out, or to use it when they travel abroad. But the Library of Congress determined that consumers have a number of alternatives to unlocking devices, including buying devices that come already unlocked, so a change was made to the act.
“In its latest ruling, the Library of Congress decided the software on a phone is only licensed to the end user, meaning they don’t own it, so therefore the software is not covered by fair-use rules,” writes CNN.
So if you want to unlock, do so by Saturday. Check out iFixit, which opposes the change and has a variety of links on how to unlock phones, reports The L.A. Times. IFixit posted on its blog the following statement: “For many users, unlocking a phone is a necessary fix, opening up a feature and freedom that people need to effectively use their devices. The Copyright Office’s decision to outlaw this right of ownership hurts users and further empowers carriers to trap consumers.”
Do you feel this new change is unfair to smartphone users?
Research firm Kantar Worldpanel Comtech released data around holiday season smartphone sales, and while Android was tops worldwide, the iPhone still rules in the U.S.
For the 12 weeks ending December 25, 2012, Android phones accounted for 54.4 percent of sales, while iOS devices accounted for 32.4 percent. Android grew 10.5 percent compared to 2011, while iOS dropped 1.7 percent.
However, in the U.S., iOS devices made up 51.2 percent of sales, with Android at 44.2 percent. Here, that meant a 6.3 percent increase for iPhones and a 0.6 percent drop for Androids.
In its coverage of the data, TechCrunch noted that the success of Samsung around the world contributed to the rise and lead of Android in all markets except the US and Japan.
According to 2012 data from Nielsen, 54 percent of African-Americans own a smartphone. The last time Nielsen broke out data based on operating system and race and ethnicity was Q4 2010, when 31 percent of African-American smartphone owners had a Blackberry, 27 percent had an Android operating system, and only 15 percent had an iPhone.
And not to be forgotten: there’s a new BlackBerry coming also. Which type of phone do you have?
Apple has debuted a contract-free iPhone 5, releasing users from the constraints of a contract, but getting you with the full cost of the phone. The 16GB phone will run you $649; once you get to the 64GB model, the price is $849.
“By selling the smartphone unlocked, it means that users can insert nano-SIM cards from any supported carrier for use on the network, as opposed to the locked phones, which are tied to the carrier they purchased the phone from,” CNET reports.
With a contract, the carrier subsidizes “a substantial portion of the phone’s cost… which they reclaim by locking you into a monthly contract,” reports Mac World.
Apple has sold a total of 85 million iPhones in the U.S. since the 2007 launch, reports the Washington Post. We can only imagine how many more iPhones Apple will sell now that users don’t need to be tied to a contract. Even at the highest price for the phone, the cost per month breaks down to $70.75. But there are rules. It will still only work on “certain networks,” says NBC News. But, there are rumors that T-Mobile customers will now be able to get their iPhone on. And being carrier-free means you take your phone international.
Maybe they will attract more African American users as well. According to Pew Research, 44 percent of blacks and Latinos are smartphone users. But Android phones are more common among young adults and African Americans. And Blackberry — not iPhone — is preferred by blacks. According to Nielsen, RIM Blackberry is preferred by 31 percent of African-American smartphone owners.
Will you buy an iPhone 5 now that they are contract-free?
Do you find yourself checking out online reviews via your smartphone when you are in a store? Well, nearly 70 percent of blacks used a mobile connection for shopping research. According to the “African-American Consumers: Still Vital, Still Growing 2012 Report“ from Nielsen, 64 percent checked out a retailer’s app or mobile site; 61 percent read the product reviews; and 57 percent looked up prices to compare. And 50 percent liked to consult shopping sites or app.
So a set of shopping apps will come in handy this Black Friday.
The BuyOrNot iPhone App is now available at iTunes for free for a limited time. The app allows shoppers to quickly see how an item is rated by other shoppers while they’re in-store and without opening a Web browser. Scan the barcode of a product you’re considering, and BuyOrNot automatically searches for rating scores (e.g. 4 stars out of 5) and the number of ratings at each store that carries the item. The search is conducted across more than 100 online merchants.
Dealnews goes beyond the doorbusters by letting you browse leaked ads and track bargains that might be better-than-Black-Friday discounts. If you’re on a tight budget, Mint might be the app for you. It tracks purchases and helps users see what they’ve spent in the past. Users can check bank account balances and credit cards, and set up alerts when funds run low.
Just like frequent flier miles, ShopKick gives you points for spending that you can put toward new purchases, anything from a Starbucks latte to designer jeans. Okay, so now you have bags full of goodies and a ton of receipts. Paperphobic app lets you snap an photo of your receipts and email, archive and organize them by expense type.
That is everything soup to nuts. Get ready, set, shop!
Tech Talk: The Average iPhone 5 Facebook User Is a 32-Year-Old Man in Florida Searching for “Honey Boo Boo”
Social media advertising company Optimal analyzed Facebook users who access the site via the iPhone 5, breaking down users to give advertisers more insight when planning mobile Facebook campaigns.
The average age of an iPhone 5 Facebook user is 32.6 years old and users are more likely to be male than female, 59 percent to 41 percent. The top three search terms on Facebook on the iPhone 5 were “UPS,” “Honey Boo Boo,” and “Obamacare.” California, New York, Texas, and Florida were the top states for iPhone 5 Facebook users.
“We hope this kind of data will give them some new and unique insights, and also get them thinking about new kinds of ad campaigns they can look to run using our Optimal platform,” the company’s CEO Rob Leathern said to MediaPost.
MediaPost also reported that Facebook’s mobile ad impressions were 20 to 40 times higher than on the desktop, based on Optimal’s initial mobile campaigns for the site.
We didn’t see any details about an ethnic breakdown for this study. However, The New York Post reported back in September that 55.5 percent of all mobile users in this country have a smartphone. “Sixty-six percent of Asians, 56 percent of Hispanics and 55 percent of African-Americans use smartphones to check e-mail, play games and surf the Web,” the paper reported. In last place were whites, with only 45 percent of that demographic using a smartphone. Nielsen, which conducted the research, says the discrepancy has to do with age; younger people are “digital natives” and minorities skew younger.
In other iPhone news, Samsung’s Galaxy SIII smartphone outsold the iPhone 4S globally in the third quarter of 2012, according to research firm Strategic Analytics. Samsung sold 18 million phones during that time, boosting its profits up 91% over Q3 2011. Meanwhile, Apple sold 16.2 million iPhone 4S devices.
The win is short-term for Samsung, though, as the iPhone 5 debuted during the fourth quarter and is roundly expected to become the most popular smartphone by the end of the year.
Shopping is so great. So so great. But even something as simple and perfect as this changes with the times.
Increasingly, brick-and-mortar shops are serving as showrooms for online purchases. More people are shopping on their mobile devices. Technology like apps that scan products to find you the best deals across retail outlets and the coming hi-tech fitting rooms will change the way we buy our wardrobes, electronics and other items. And, of course, everyone has their credit card information and shipping address saved on their favorite e-commerce site to make online shopping that much easier.
On the one hand, this is good news. Apps like Shopkick are showing people (lots of people) how they can save money. More information via mobile devices and online sites means a more customized shopping trip for customers. Waste less time, get what you need, get in and get out.
A new and improved site for Lucky magazine promises to be even more direct by letting you shop from their website. They’re even making digital stickers available to flag items you like online. And, chances are, you’re already getting your daily deals emails from sites like LivingSocial and Ideeli. You can buy everything you need and never leave the house.
But all this progress can have drawbacks. Providing more information to do all that mobile shopping could be made available to retailers, which could cause privacy concerns for some. Those who enjoy a good shopping trip could eventually find less merchandise at the stores to linger over.
And there will likely be cuts to the retail workforce.
“Experts aren’t predicting the end of the in-store experience, but it stands to reason that as with other industries, technology might improve efficiency while setting retailers on a path toward a leaner workforce,” writes USA Today. Already, in an effort to revive lagging business and compete with companies like Apple and Amazon, Best Buy is shutting 50 stores and planning to cut $800 million in costs over the next three years. It’s possible even more stores will close. The coming health care law also bodes poorly for retail workers who may find themselves cut all together rather than adding medical benefits.
Are you using all of the latest technology to do your shopping? What do you think of these changes?
Who is, and has been team BlackBerry for a good minute now? I know I’m one of those folks, but let’s just say that when my upgrade kicks in, I might not be too much longer.
That’s because this morning I found out that the company’s trusted phones experienced a funky outage that started on Monday in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, and then spread like a plague to the States today. Asia and South America got their share of the outage on Tuesday. If you use your phone just to make calls, you’re fine–but I must say, you’ve got the wrong phone if that’s all you’re looking to use it for. But if you were looking for your all-important business e-mails, texts, and needed some of that good ‘ol Internet to check Madame Noire (plug), that’s when it was time to start flipping over some chairs. Reports are saying that the number of people affected has easily slid into the millions. The managing director of Research in Motion, which makes BlackBerry phones, said the following in an interview with CNN:
“We’re putting all of our focus with all of our engineers and all of our network specialists on trying to understand the nature of why this backup system didn’t work as it should have …”
Yeah, you do that. Because while a temporary outage is already not the best look, it definitely makes things worse with phone competitors of the Droid and iPhone persuasion looking for excuses like this glitch to steer BlackBerry folks to the dark side. Around 4 p.m., e-mails that should have been on my phone around 11 a.m. finally made their way in my inbox. Hot mess? Me thinks so too. Hopefully in the next few hours, service everywhere can be restored. But if not, I’m sure the backlash will get bigger. Because what will I do without my text messages!?
Has today’s outage affected you? And will you stick with Team BlackBerry?