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Archive for the ‘smartphones’ Category

Durham-based InrFood: you are what you eat

Thursday, April 24th, 2014



By Allan Maurer


Several years ago, watching his weight, like the rest of us, Keval Meta, founder and CEO of, was drinking a diet soda. “That’s not really very healthy for you,” a friend told him.Inrfood logo

“What do you mean?” he asked. “Zero calories and carbs, what could be wrong?”

“Read the ingredients,” his friend said. He did. The results disturbed him, because there was a wide range of controversial information about the ingredients in that cola, from the sweetener Aspartame to food coloring.

Although he completed medical school, Meta never practiced. The entrepreneurial bug caught him instead and at 33, he’s already launched and sold two companies. Inrfood, is his third, which he founded in 2011 in Durham. He took a hiatus after medical school to work with clinics in Africa, and to work in research when he returned to the states.

Technology the only answer

But he grew increasingly interested in how technology was the only answer to solving the nation’s serious healthcare problems. “I saw that problem getting bigger and technology is the only answer.”

So he founded Originally headquartered at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham, the company has since gone virtual and has offices in Austin, TX, and Boston, MA.

bananaStill, Meta calls it “A community company,” because of its ties to scientists, nutritionists and others at Duke University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and other regional connections. “We’re heavily embedded with Duke, NC State, UNCC, local farmers.”

Inrfood currently offers smartphone apps that tell users what’s in what they eat, and that’s important because “You are what you eat,” Meta says.

“We believe that when you think of the word nutrition, it’s about more than food,” he adds.

Foods today more chemistry than biology

A lot of foods today, he says, “Are more chemistry than biology. You almost need a Ph.D to pronounce the names of the additives. Many of those are banned in multiple countries around the world, event though they’re approved in the U.S, labeled as “Generally Regarded as Safe,” when they may be carcinogens.

When it comes to weight – the factor that spurred the creation of the company – he says, “You need to look at more than calories. You need to look at the ingredients and what they mean to you.”

Right now, he says, the company is geared toward helping people with a variety of chronic conditions create a healthy diet. Based on a users height, weight, sex, and other factors, it can tell you what you need…and what you don’t, based on Institute of Medicine guidelines.

It can yield some surprises. For instance, the average 35-year-old male should get about 1500 milligrams of sodium daily, but instead, most get about 3500. “That’s one reason for the problems we have with high blood pressure and heart disease,” he notes.

The app learns what a user consumes over time and will advise on what may be lacking in a diet and how to get needed nutrients. “Everyone is different,” he says. “A peanut can affect one person profoundly, but not affect a million other people.”

Uses Huge database

cookiesThe company’s database already has ingredients of 450,000 bar-coded products, 50,000 products from top national restaurants, and hundreds of products without bar-codes such as the basic ingredients of tuna casserole and chocolate chip cookies.

The two-employee company, which also uses freelancers and part-timers, bootstrapped up to now – meaning self-funded – will probably look for funding from investors in the spring to initiate projects beyond the scope of its current operations. “We see opportunities more capital intensive than our current projects,” says Meta.

Meta previously founded two other healthcare focused companies – one that provided first aid (GoToAid) and disaster recovery information and alerts and another that provided information on pet first aid (Petsaver), each of which sold to two of the largest healthcare organizations for people and for pets.

Goal? Empowering you

“Our goal, overall,” Meta says, “Is that we want you to be empowered. We don’t tell you not to eat anything. Consumers have the power to decide what to buy and vote with their dollars. We’re trying to help people buy healthier products. That’s our core mission. To let people know what’s in their food and be wiser about what they’re consuming.”

Located in Durham’s American Underground facility for startups until April, the company also completed a stint with the Boston, Mass, Challenge, which selects about 120 startups from 2,000 applications for an incubator session. It won an innovation award from Blue Cross Blue Shield in October, and was among the top 25 healthcare innovations at CES in Los Vegas. It also won an award from the Perkins Institute for the Blind.

In June, it won a $50,000 grant from NC IDEA. It also won the startup pitch contest at the recent Internet Summit in Raleigh, an annual event bringing 2,000 attendees and speakers from top brands including Google, Bing, Twitter, Adobe, and many others to the Research Triangle in November.

The company actually had a demo table at the Internet Summit two years ago and Meta says before coming, he bought some McDonald’s French Fries to show their ingredients. “We’ve had those fries ever since and they didn’t turn black or green or anything. It’s plastisized food.”

Presenting at the Southeast Venture Conference in May

sevc 2014 logoThe company will also be pitching its wares to investors at the upcoming TechMedia 2014 event, the Southeast Venture Conference coming up May 6-7, 2014 at the Ritz Carlton, Atlanta.

SEVC plays host to the most dynamic high-growth companies in the Southeast alongside billions of dollars represented in investment capital from around the country – May 6-7, 2014 at the Ritz Carlton, Atlanta.

The conference features and highlights the region’s all-star tech companies ranging from startups to late stage from a range of industries. In order to receive an invitation, the over 50 featured presenting companies have demonstrated proven success metrics – ranging from strong proven revenue and market traction for later stage companies to initial investor and organization miles for mid-range companies to proven management or other 3rd party validation (winners from other regional investment forums, etc) for earlier stage companies.


Most online Americans have smartphones, nearly half have tablets

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

tablet computersTablet ownership as of May 2013 is closing in on a majority of Americans who are online, 8 to 64, across the United States, with 44% of the population owning a tablet in their household – up from 30% in 2012 which is a 47% growth rate in one year.  Already a majority of online Americans (54%) ages 18 to 34 own a tablet.

Smartphone ownership has now broken the majority barrier and reached 61% of online Americans as of May 2013.  Over 79% of all online Americans 18 to 34 now own a smartphone.

The rapid growth of tablet use suggests that many of us want bigger screens than most smartphones have for many of our mobile device activities. We wouldn’t be surprised to see hybrid devices with screens 5 inches to 7 inches becoming increasingly popular.

America is now a mobile connected country

Mike Vorhaus, President of Magid Advisors, a unit of Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc. says, “America is not just a connected country now, but a mobile-connected country.”

Magid has just concluded their 2013 Magid Media Futures study including a section dedicated to tablets and smartphones.  The study covers a nationally representative population of 2400 respondents who are 8 to 64 years old and have access to the Internet.

Over half (53%) of all tablet owners in the U.S. have Apple’s full-sized iPad, steady since last year. When you also include the ownership of iPad minis, 59% of tablet owners have any iPad.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire has risen to 31% of tablet owners vs. 28% in 2012. Personally, here at the TechJournal, we love our Kindle Fire, but it does have distinct lacks compared to both the Google Nexus 7 (with a new model allegedly coming in July) and the Apple iPad Mini. It lacks a microphone and dictation software – which we believe is the future of mobile device interfaces. So we’re considering the upcoming new Nexus model as our next tablet purchase.

The Samsung tablets now account for 19% of tablet owners vs. 13% in 2012 – the highest growth rate among tablets this last year.  A third (32%) of tablet owners have multiple brands of tablet devices in their household. We were not crazy about the 10-inch Samsung model we tested, but they have made advances.

Android now a majority in the US

Android logoAndroid smartphones now account for a majority of smartphone owners in the U.S. at 53% vs. iPhones at 41%.  Samsung captures the largest group of Android owners at 50% (26% of all smartphones).

Just under 1 in 10 (8%) of smartphone owners own multiple brands of smartphone devices.  See charts attached for owner adoption and market share data.

App spending was up huge in both the tablet and smartphone markets over the last 12 months.

Tablet app spending growth

Tablet spending on apps grew 42% year-to-year, while smartphone spending on apps grew 44% year-to-year.  Tablet spending on apps in the last 12 months was $2.3 billion among American tablet owners. For smartphone owners the app spend in the last 12 months was $1.7 billion.

“The smartphone has become a mini-TV for many consumers,” Vorhaus said, with 38% of smartphone owners regularly watching video on their smartphones and almost 40% of those consumers are watching full-length movies and TV shows on their smartphones (16% of all smartphone owners).

Tablet users are also big fans of watching video on their tablets with 63% of tablet owners saying they regularly watch video on their tablets.  Much of this tablet viewing is full-length movies and TV shows with 69% of all tablet video viewers regularly watching long-form video, which is 42% of all tablet owners.

In the year ahead Magid anticipates major growth in smartphone and tablet penetration in the U.S.  By this time next year Magid estimates that 67% of online Americans, ages 8 to 64, will have a smartphone and 54% of online Americans will have a tablet.  That represents a 10% YOY predicted growth rate for smartphones in the U.S. and 20% growth for tablets.

Milestone: Majority of Americans now own smartphones

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

PewInternetA majority of Americans now own a smartphone of some kind, a milestone finding by Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project says.

Because 91% of the adult population now owns some kind of cell phone, that means that 56% of all American adults are now smartphone adopters. One third (35%) have some other kind of cell phone that is not a smartphone, and the remaining 9% of Americans do not own a cell phone at all.

Younger adults have consistently led the way in smartphone adoption, the new Pew report notes.

But, it also says, every major demographic group experienced significant year-to-year growth in smartphone ownership between 2012 and 2013, although seniors—defined as those 65 and older—continue to exhibit relatively low adoption levels compared with other demographic groups.

Some 18% of Americans age 65 and older now own a smartphone, compared with 13% in February 2012.

Smartphone ownership does vary significantly by household income.

However, that variation is unevenly distributed across different age groups. Younger adults—regardless of income level—are very likely to be smartphone owners. Conversely, for older adults smartphone ownership is more of an “elite” phenomenon: smartphones tend to be quite prevalent at the upper end of the income distribution but much less common among those with lower income levels.

Additional details are available with charts in the full report (see link in first paragraph).

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Mobile video growing, but users spend most time on social

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Poll names top five annoying smartphone behaviors

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

smartphonesIt doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman: The way people use (or misuse) their mobile phones can really grate on your nerves.

Microsoft Safer Online Facebook poll revealed that many smartphone users don’t mind their mobile manners — but men and women both find people who constantly check their mobile phones to be the most annoying.

Of course, the frustrations don’t stop there. The following are the agreed-upon top five pet peeves:

  1. Checking phones constantly
  2. Talking loudly
  3. Using or not silencing phones when appropriate
  4. Using phones during face-to-face conversation
  5. Delaying traffic by using phones

Other mobile annoyances included accidentally pocket-dialing someone and simply losing their phones, opening the door to potential digital damage.

Personally, we’re most annoyed by people talking on their phones while in traffic, often driving erratically because of it. We see that every single day despite warnings that it’s more dangerous than drunk driving.

The other habit we find most annoying is when people talk loudly on their phones on trains, planes, and in public places (restaurants, stores, events, movies).

Thirty-nine percent of respondents also agreed that they believe men and women equally practice mobile phone safety, but this may not be the reality.

Security concerns

“Although we’re all bothered by certain mobile phone behaviors, the more important point is knowing how to help protect one’s device and information from scammers, rogue software and the oversharing of digital details,” said Jacqueline Beauchere , chief online safety officer, Microsoft Corp. “We know from earlier research that men and women practice mobile safety very differently.”

So who does a better job protecting their personal information on mobile phones? According to the Microsoft Computing Safety Index (MCSI), men do a slightly better job using technical tools:

  • Thirty-five percent use a PIN or password to lock their mobile device compared with 33 percent of women.
  • Thirty-five percent use secured wireless networks versus 32 percent of women.
  • Thirty-two percent keep their mobile devices up to date contrasted with 24 percent of women.

Yet, men seem to experience more mobile pitfalls, receiving more emails from strangers asking for personal information (70 percent versus 65 percent), more rogue antivirus popups (66 percent versus 58 percent), and more online impersonation experiences (31 percent versus 26 percent).

Women tend to be more protective of their online reputations, taking additional steps to limit personal information online (40 percent versus 37 percent) and what strangers can see on social networking sites (40 percent versus 32 percent), as well as being more selective about what they text (34 percent versus 31 percent).

As always, protecting yourself online is paramount in today’s online world.

MicrosoftMicrosoft offers the following tips to help you stay safe when using your mobile devices — in turn, ensuring you don’t annoy your friends:

  • Silence your mobile phone. Know when to put the phone away, and be present.
  • Help protect your privacy online. Don’t overshare. Think before posting your whereabouts, and save vacation highlights and photos for your return.
  • Use location-based services safely. Think carefully about turning on geotagging. Share your location only with people you trust. Pay attention to where and when you check in, and get permission before you check in your friends.
  • Conduct financial transactions on a secure network. Don’t use “borrowed” or public Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Lock your mobile phone. Keep your info secret with a unique, four-digit PIN.

Take the Microsoft Safer Online Facebook poll, and find more information about the poll results and mobile phone safety athttp:/

Many US women would give up sex rather than their mobile phone

Friday, May 24th, 2013

smartphonesIn an increasingly digital world, today’s ultra connected women have never been more emotionally detached.

So say the findings of the latest global study by AVG Technologies N.V. (NYSE: AVG), the provider of Internet and mobile security, privacy and optimization to 150 million active users, which charts the changing ways women are using technology to form and manage their relationships.

The study, which questioned 4,000 women in the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany and Brazil, highlighted the increasing role mobile devices and social media channels play in the dating process, and suggested that online research has displaced in-person chemistry when it comes to partner evaluation.

Nearly 35 per cent of women now use social media channels to check out dates ahead of time, prioritizing pictures followed by common friends and finally interests and comments.

Here at the TechJournal, we’re always a little skeptical of these studies, but they do provide insights on just how close we’ve become to our digital devices. This intimacy has implications for marketers. You can’t be too intrusive, for instance, and the more personal you can make an offer, the better.

Ending relationships via tech

Just as women are turning to technology to kick-start their relationships, so too have they become reliant upon it to end them. All up figures indicated that more than 50 per cent of those questioned either have or would break up with a significant other on the phone and more than a quarter have or would do so via text message.

“We all recognize that face-to-face is usually better than Facebook when it comes to relationships, but when so many of us live such busy lives it’s not surprising technology is increasingly being used as a substitute for one-on-one, in-person contact,” said John Giamatteo, COO of AVG Technologies.

“What’s more telling is the extent to which women, both old and young, are now relying on technology in matters of the heart. This study suggests an increasing level of detachment, where devices serve as agents to filter potential partners and release them when women are ready to move on. On a purely abstract note, we might even consider whether mobile devices and their trusty stream of insight will become the new primary relationship.”

When it came to the different age ranges, predictably it was 18-25 year olds who were the most likely to break up with a partner using their phone (61 per cent), by posting on Facebook (19 per cent) or via sending a text message (38 per cent). That said, the older generations were not far behind, with 45 per cent of 45-54 year olds also indicating that they would or have ended a relationship using their phone. The most dramatic differences, however, arose between nationalities.

Brazilian women the most cutthroat

FacebookThough women in the US are the most prolific users of social media channels to screen dates, Brazilian women emerged as the most cutthroat group in the dating stakes. According to the survey, not only would 58 per cent use a phone call for a break up, but 61 per cent had cancelled dates based on information they’d discovered on social media channels.

Data showed that Brazilians are also the most likely to break off a relationship over Facebook (18 per cent).

Conversely, responses indicated that the French were more traditional in their approach and the least reliant upon technology for their relationships.

Fewer than 25 per cent of French women questioned look at social media channels ahead of a date, for example, and they are also the least likely to secretly read their partners’ text or email messages (18 per cent). Again, Brazilian women topped this particular category, with more than 50 per cent of respondents admitting to some form of mobile snooping.

And finally, 57 per cent of US women would rather give up sex than their mobile device for a week, which, among other things, places mobile devices rather close to the heart.

Social media lags as ecommerce traffic source

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

social media logosCompanies haven’t cracked the code for leveraging social media to drive ecommerce.

Social media is not sending much traffic to ecommerce sites despite significant brand investments, according to – Monetate, a customer experience engine. Its Ecommerce Quarterly report (Q1 2013) also found that while tablets and smartphones are grabbing more device share of ecommerce traffic, only a handful of companies optimize for those devices.

Among the report’s key insights:

  • Social media is lagging as direct traffic source to ecommerce websites and for online purchases, despite brand investment. Social media represented just 1.55 percent of all ecommerce traffic, way behind search (31.43 percent) and trailing email (2.82 percent). And social media traffic numbers were down from Q1, 2012, when they were 2.36 percent. The data lead to the question: Should brands change their approach to social marketing?
  • Tablets and smartphones are grabbing more device share of ecommerce traffic. Tablets and smartphones were 21.02 percent of traffic, compared to just 2 percent two years ago. Tablets (10.58 percent) led smartphones (10.44 percent) in ecommerce traffic. Despite the rapidly increasing traffic being driven to sites through tablets and smartphones, only 14 percent of companies optimize for tablet users and only 13 percent optimize for smartphone, compared with 43 percent that personalize for desktop users, based on a recent Econsultancy survey.
  • It pays to market to U.S. military personnel. The numbers show conversion rates among military personnel in the U.S. (5.15 percent), Europe (4.30 percent) and Asia (3.57 percent) were significantly higher than the overall U.S. consumer segment (2.53 percent). And the average order value of military personnel was 23.39 percent higher than shoppers across the U.S.

“As marketers know, data can tell a story and the EQ1 2013 tells the story of a fast-growing ecommerce market where companies face growing opportunities and challenges,” said Blair Lyon , vice president, marketing, Monetate.

Digital east Ecommerce Panel

A panel at TechMedia’s Digital East conference.

“We focused this EQ on social commerce since the data shows the companies have not yet cracked the code in leveraging social media to drive ecommerce traffic. We know that social media plays an important role in influencing social purchases – to what degree brands are able to leverage social to build loyalty is the next big question.”

Here at the TechJournal, we suspect part of the problem of leveraging social media is that it’s time consuming and cannot be simply push, push, push. As many of the experts who attend TechMedia’s digital summits have said time and again, companies have to master techniques that engage their customers in a dialog and that’s a lot easier said than done.

Not only that, in many cases, the tactics a company uses to successfully leverage social media probably vary considerably from firm to firm, industry to industry, and product to product.

It’s a much more complex problem than just post and go.

Consumers prefer larger screens on smartphones

Friday, May 10th, 2013

mobilephonesWhat is the ideal smartphone size? for most consumers, bigger is better.

In the second half of 2012 existing smartphone owners were most likely to be interested in devices with a screen size between 4.2-inches and 4.7-inches.  The Strategy Analytics’ Wireless Device Lab report, “Smartphone Size Preference on the Rise: 4.5″ Most Preferred Size” found an increase in the most preferred smartphone screen size from the same period in 2011, where a 4.3-inch device was most preferred.

Smartphone intenders show greater interest in slightly smaller devices than existing smartphone owners. Males preferred smartphones with larger screens than females, while current brand of smartphone also impacts future screen size preferences.

Nearly all want a bigger screen

Nearly all respondents showed a preference for their next phone to have a larger screen size than their existing handset.

Those small phones are not all that lighter or easier to carry than slightly larger ones and the larger screens are much easier to navigate by touch and provide a superior reading or viewing experience. Here at the TechJournal, we’ve tested a wide-range of smartphones over the years, and even though we have small fingers, those with smaller screens were the most difficult to use and the least satisfactory.

“As consumer acceptance of smartphone sizes increases, many smartphone manufacturers are making larger and larger products,” commented Paul Brown , a Director in the Strategy Analytics User Experience Practice (UEP).

Potential for “phablets”

“The intention of many manufacturers to drive screen size up has been very clear over recent months, and there is the potential for ‘phablets’ at the lower end of the size scale to become more mainstream – especially as manufacturers work to maximize the ratio of screen to overall size, therefore providing a larger screen on a smaller form factor.”

Kevin Nolan , Vice-President for the User Experience Practice at Strategy Analytics, added, “As screen size increases, the way in which consumers interact with the device also needs to be considered. Larger devices are harder to interact with one-handed, and so it is important for user-interfaces, and especially on-screen key placements, to be designed to allow for easy interaction.”

We’ve said this many times at the TechJournal, but the real game-changer for smartphone and tablet use will be very good voice interfaces. While Apple’s Siri is a move in that direction, it’s just a beginning.

Local mobile search growing at rapid pace

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

mobile devicesLocal search via non-PC devices continues its significant pace of growth, driven by the rapid adoption of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices, according to a report by the Local Search Association and prepared by comScore, Inc.

The continuing shift of mobile usage signals an opportunity for local businesses to evaluate where they devote their online ad spending.

Specifically, the report shows:

  • Traffic to online directories and other local resources from non-PC devices more than quadrupled in 2012, reaching 27 percent share of total web traffic in December 2012 from 6 percent share in December 2011. The percentage growth of page hits on online directories and other local resources from non-PC devices grew at more than double the 8 percent growth rate in total web traffic on non-PC devices in 2012.
  • 48 percent of U.S. mobile users used their devices to access local content in December 2012, up from 42 percent in December 2011.
  • When compared to all smartphone users, Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) app users are more attractive to advertisers based on their age, income, average monthly spending and typical exposure to ads.

The Local Mobile Search report looks at the evolving mobile environment in the U.S. and the growing role of smartphones, tablets and other connected devices in the local search experience, highlighting trends in online directory and IYP usage and demographics. The report is based on December 2012 data from several comScore digital and mobile metrics databases.

Internet Yellow Pages Accessed by Highly Desirable Mobile Users
The comScore data found that IYP app users represent a desirable demographic for local businesses looking to attract new customers:

  • More than half of all IYP app users (53 percent) are age 25-44.
  • IYP app users are 51 percent more likely to have an income greater than $100,000 versus all smartphone users.
  • IYP app users are more prolific shoppers than average smartphone users. 41 percent of IYP users make at least one on-phone purchase per month, versus 19 percent of all smartphone users.
  • IYP app users spend considerably more in on-phone purchases than all smartphone users, with 10 percent of IYP app users spending a monthly average of more than $500 on on-phone purchases, versus 4 percent of all smartphone users.

Tool for businesses

Approximately 8 percent of smartphone users accessed IYP apps in the fourth quarter of 2012, while a larger portion – 12 percent of users – leveraged IYP mobile sites via their browser.

“IYP mobile apps are a powerful tool for local businesses to reach ready-to-buy consumers,” said Neg Norton , president of the Local Search Association. “As the market continues to evolve, IYP mobile apps represent an easy first-step for local businesses to expand their integrated advertising efforts into the mobile space.”

Local Searchers Prefer Apps to Browser
As a growing number of consumers use mobile to access local content such as business directories, classified ads, maps, and movie information, they are showing a preference for applications over browsers.

mobilephonesApproximately 77 million smartphone owners relied on applications to visit local content in December 2012, up 22 percent since December 2011. About 69 million users relied on browsers in December 2012, up 12 percent since December 2011.

“Growth in local mobile engagement, particularly via online directories and other local resources, presents a clear opportunity for local search companies to promote their innovative tools to connect businesses and consumers,” said Norton.

“While consumers are showing a preference for apps over browsers, offerings on both platforms deserve attention and investment.”

Online Traffic Patterns Rapidly Changing
The report shows that rapid growth of connected devices is drastically changing how consumers access the Internet. In 2012, growth in the number of PC users accessing the Internet flat-lined for the first time. By contrast, the share of web traffic from non-PC devices including smartphones and tablets more than doubled to 15 percent in December 2012 versus 7 percent in December 2011.

More than one in three (37.3 percent) of all U.S. smartphone users also owned other connected devices at the end of 2012, including tablets (28.8 percent), eReaders (10.0 percent) and other handhelds like portable gaming devices (4.1 percent), providing consumers with additional ways to access the Internet.

“The media landscape continues to diversify as more consumers begin using smartphones, tablets and other connected devices in their daily lives,” said Norton. “Local businesses should pursue mobile advertising strategies and introduce smartphone and tablet-friendly websites to reach consumers increasingly accessing the web from non-PC devices.”

Four tips on keeping your smartphone secure

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

mobilephonesA smart phone can contain a lot of information that its owner would rather keep private. But 39 percent of the more than 100 million American adult smart phone owners fail to take even minimal security measures, such as using a screen-lock, backing up data, or installing an app to locate a missing phone or remotely wipe its data, according to Consumer Reports’ Annual State of the Net survey.

At least 7.1 million smart phones were irreparably damaged, lost, or stolen and not recovered last year, Consumer Reports projects. Yet 69 percent of smart phone users hadn’t backed up their data, including photos and contacts. Just 22 percent had installed software that could locate their lost phone.

“When you take your smart phone into your confidence, so to speak, you’re also taking in a host of parties, including app developers, your wireless carrier and phone manufacturer, mobile advertisers, and the maker of your phone’s operating system,” said Jeff Fox , Technology Editor, Consumer Reports.

Take basic precautions

“We recommend that all smart phone users take the basic precautions we outline in this report to ensure that their phones are secure from wireless threats.”

The full report can be found in the June 2013 issue of Consumer Reports and online at

The report revealed that though most smart-phone users haven’t suffered serious losses because of their phone, there are wireless threats that merit concern.

Among them: malicious software. Last year, 5.6 million smart-phone users experienced undesired behavior on their phones such as the sending of unauthorized text messages or the accessing of accounts without their permission, CR projects. Those symptoms are indicative of the presence of malicious software.

Location tracking can lead to trouble

The location tracking feature that all smart phones have can also leave users vulnerable to wireless threats. One percent of smart phone users told Consumer Reports that they or a person in their household had been harassed or harmed after someone used such location tracking to pinpoint their phone.

CR also projects that at least 5.1 million preteens use their own smart phones. In doing so, they may unwittingly disclose personal information or risk their safety.

A smart phone can be quite secure if users take a few basic precautions, Consumer Reports found. Those precautions include:

  • Using a strong pass code. A four-digit one, which 23 percent of users told CR that they used, is better than nothing. But on  Android  phones  and  iPhones  earlier  than  the iPhone 5, a thief using the right software can crack such a code in 20 minutes, according to Charlie Miller , security engineer for Twitter. A longer code that includes letters and symbols is far stronger.
  • Install apps cautiously. Malicious apps may not lurk around every corner, but they’re out there and can be tricky to spot. For example, CR projects that 1.6 million users had been fooled into installing what seemed to be a well-known brand-name app but was actually a malicious imposter.
  • Be alert to insecure Wi-Fi. A projected 13 million users engaged in financial transactions at hot spots in hotels, retail stores, and airports last year. Before using any app to do business at a hot spot, users should check the app’s privacy policy to see whether it secures wireless transmissions of such data. Otherwise, they may disclose sensitive information to a nearby criminal.
  • Turn off location tracking. Disable it except when it’s needed, such as for driving directions. Only one in three smart phone owners surveyed by CR had turned it off at times during the previous year.

Mobile apps scoring with sports fans

Friday, April 26th, 2013

March MadnessUse of sports apps by members of the Arbitron Mobile smartphone panel has been climbing steadily since their post-Super Bowl, mid-winter doldrums, thanks to the NCAA Tournament and opening days of the regular season of Major League Baseball.

In the two weeks following the NFL championship game on February 3, use of mobile sports apps by men, age 18 and older in the Arbitron panel, plummeted from 12.9 percent to 10.0 percent.

Starting the week of March 10, as fans starting filling out their brackets for the NCAA Tourney, use of mobile sports apps boomed, reaching 13.7 percent of men, age 18 and older during the week of the “Elite 8″ and the opening games of Major League Baseball.

While the Arbitron survey didn’t look at NASCAR’s new mobile apps, Tim Clark, director of engagement for NASCAR tells the TechJournal its new mobile apps “have been very successful this year.”

Next week we’ll post our interview with Clark, who is one of more than 100 digital thought-leaders participating in the upcoming Digital Summit in Atlanta May 14-15, where he’ll discuss NASCAR’s digital engagement strategies.

Men 35-44 Are the Most Avid Users of Mobile Sports Apps

It’s no surprise that sports app users are predominantly male. Slightly more than twelve percent (12.4 percent) of the Persons age 18 and older in the Arbitron Mobile smartphone panel use sports apps; by gender—18.4 percent of the men 18+ in the panel use mobile sports apps versus only 6.0 percent of the women 18+.

smartphonesCompared to men, the women who do use sports apps log on for fewer sessions (14.8 per month vs. 32.8 per month) and spend far less time with mobile sports apps (34.4 minutes per month vs. 63.8 minutes per month for men).

Men, age 35-44, are the most avid users of mobile sports apps in the Arbitron Mobile smartphone panel, representing the largest share of users within a demographic—22.8 percent, and the most time spent with mobile sports apps—77.1 minutes per month.  Men, age 25-34 who use mobile sports apps, do check in with their app most often—42.1 sessions per month.

Mobile Sports Apps


Men 18+ Men 18-24 Men 25-34 Men 35-44 Men 45-54 Men 55+
% Using Sports Apps 18.4% 17.0% 16.2% 22.8% 19.2% 17.2%
Time Spent/Month 63.8 60.5 71.7 77.1 47.2 50.0
# of Sessions/Month 32.8 35.8 42.1 35.1 22.1 22.5

U.S. Arbitron Mobile Trends Panels™ Service, March 2013

About Arbitron Mobile

Arbitron Mobile Oy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Arbitron Inc., uses a proprietary, on-device software meter to provide marketers, the media, content providers, app developers, and wireless access suppliers with information on how mobile consumers use apps, surf the web, engage in social media, participate in e-commerce, and employ their devices to communicate.

For more information, contact: or visit the Arbitron Mobile website.

Available insights into the behavior of smartphone users in the Arbitron Mobile panels are included in previous releases regarding social media use, mobile VoIP use, and mobile data consumption.

Mobile barcode scans hit record in Q1

Friday, April 26th, 2013

mobilephonesAre you seeing more of those barcode scans intended for mobile users? We sure are – and smartphone users are pointing their devices at them in record numbers.

Mobile users conducted more than 18 million scans of QR Codes and UPC mobile barcodes in Q1 2013, according to Scanbury’s quarterly trend report.

The month of March 2013 garnered more than 6.7 million scans alone, the highest-generating month registered since the report began in 2009.

“Mobile engagement is on the rise,” said Mike Wehrs , CEO and President of Scanbuy. “Marketers and brands are continuing to strategically integrate commercial grade QR Codes into their campaigns, providing consumers with relevant and timely content that lead to consumer loyalty, relationship cultivation and transactions, as well as gaining business intelligence for creating long-lasting customer engagements.”

Scanbuy’s Q1 2013 Trend Report highlights the following statistics:

  • More men scan mobile barcodes, accounting for 65% of the scans, with women accounting for 35% of the scans
  • 57% of scans came from the Android OS compared to 41% on Apple iOS devices
  • McDonalds, Publix, Tim Hortons , Kohls and Coca-Cola were the most “liked” brands according to data from the ScanLife app
  • The United States ranks highest in volume of scans, followed by Spain, France and Brazil, respectively.

In the study, Scanbuy analyzed thousands of scans that were generated from the ScanLife App or the ScanLife Mobile Engagement Platform. The traffic analysis was performed on all ScanLife processed user activities providing a detailed view across numerous verticals and geographies.

To access the full Mobile Trend Report infographic click here:

What high tech features do consumers want in cars?

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

cartechVehicle owners have a high interest in technology related to fuel economy, device/application linking for smartphones, wireless connectivity, natural language voice activation and a variety of infotainment features for their next vehicle, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2013 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study released today.

Not surprisingly, features aimed at increasing fuel economy lead the list of desired features, and the price of some others drops interest levels.

The study measures vehicle owner interest and purchase intent for emerging automotive technologies, both before and after the market price is revealed. Among vehicle owners who say they “definitely would” or “probably would” purchase these features in their next vehicle, the highest percentage select the following five technologies both pre-price and at market price:

Pre-Price Feature Interest Market Price Feature Interest
Device/Application link1 82% Fuel economy indicator (at $50) 72%
Fuel economy indicator 79% Device/Application link (at $250)1 67%
Active shutter grille vents 76% Active shutter grille vents (at $150) 61%
Natural language voice activation 74% Wireless connectivity system (at $300) 58%
Next generation head-up display (HUD) 74% Surround-view camera system (at $550) 48%

Energy Technologies Fuel Vehicle Owner Interest

Of the 22 technology features included in the 2013 study, fuel economy indicator and active shutter grille vents—both energy-related technologies—capture among the highest interest from vehicle owners.

Fuel economy indicator is second highest in pre-price feature interest, followed by active shutter grille vents. In recent years, automotive brands have rolled out fuel economy assisting technology, which has helped increase familiarity with the technology and its benefits.

The active shutter grille vents feature is currently available on select domestic vehicles. Among owners who recently purchased from one of the domestic makes that offers a model with active shutter grille vents, 83 percent indicate pre-price interest in the feature, which is 7 percentage points higher than the study average at 76 percent.

Not unexpectedly, purchase interest declines across all features when a price is introduced.

However, fuel economy indicator and active shutter grille vents have among the lowest drops in interest once price is introduced (decreasing 7 percentage points and 16 percentage points, respectively), compared with other technology features examined in the study.

In part, fuel economy indicator and active shutter grille vents maintain vehicle owner interest because of their lower relative pricing at $50 and $150, respectively.

“Vehicle owners are continually aware of rising fuel costs and the need for better fuel economy. As they have come to understand the benefits of new automotive technology, they are increasingly interested in those that allow them to manage their fuel consumption with greater efficiency and help better manage their cost at the pump,” said Mike VanNieuwkuyk , executive director of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates.

Smartphones Getting Smarter—In-Vehicle Connectivity Must Follow

During the past five years, there has been rapid adoption of smartphones. More than 67 percent of vehicle owners have a smartphone, while ownership of traditional mobile phones has plummeted to 28 percent in 2013 from 82 percent in 2007, when J.D. Power began measuring ownership of traditional phones. Smartphone technology has revolutionized the way owners have engaged in countless personal and professional activities from their vehicle.

Vehicle owners have high expectations for their smartphone to easily integrate with the system in their vehicle. They want to use their smartphone in-vehicle with the same ease and functionality they have become accustomed to in their personal or business life. However, a key challenge is that many owners keep their vehicles for more than five years, and software upgrades for device linking technology lags the introductions of new smartphones.

mobilephones“Automakers have an important opportunity to gain a competitive advantage by working side by side with smartphone and application developers to provide a seamless smartphone experience for in-vehicle control of GPS/mapping, music, weather, search tools, travel and more,” said VanNieuwkuyk. “These connections to smartphone applications need to be robust, affordable and simple to access and use in a vehicle environment.”

In the 2013 study, 82 percent of vehicle owners with smartphones cite pre-purchase interest in an in-vehicle device/application link that would connect their smartphone to their vehicle’s infotainment system, compared with 78 percent in 2012.

Smartphone powered infotainment

Owners want their infotainment system powered by their smartphone to keep their vehicle technology up to date. The physical proximity of one’s smartphone continues to be a concern, as vehicle owners struggle with the limitations of hands-free technology, generating interest in natural language voice activation systems.

Vehicle owners in Generation Y (born 1977-1995) are more likely to be interested in device application linking technology at every price level, but the largest interest increases from 2012 are among Early Boomers, those who were born between 1947 and 1953 (increasing 7 percentage points pre-price; 14 percentage points at $250), which indicates high potential to purchase this technology. Pre-price purchase interest is also higher among men, compared with women, and owners of compact sporty and midsize premium sporty cars, compared with owners in all other vehicle segments.

Autonomous Driving—Gaining Small Interest and Trust

J.D. POWER AND ASSOCIATES AUTONOMOUS DRIVINGFully autonomous driving is still a relatively new concept. While market price interest rises slightly (21% in 2013 vs. 20% in 2012), overall acceptance has room to grow. In recent years, various semi-autonomous driving modes have been implemented in vehicles, particularly those in premium segments.

There is greater interest in semi-autonomous modes such as emergency braking and steering (40%) and automatic park assist (32%) than in a fully autonomous mode.

“Fully autonomous driving is slowly working its way into the mindset of vehicle owners by way of those who utilize semi-autonomous driving features with comfort and confidence,” said VanNieuwkuyk.

“While it will take more time for vehicle owners to embrace fully autonomous driving, the gateway for acceptance is underway given relatively strong interest in many semi-autonomous features.”

Men show high interest at market price for low-speed collision avoidance (58%), emergency braking and steering (42%) and fully autonomous driving (23%). Younger owners are more interested in emerging driving technologies, with Generation X (born 1965-1976) having the highest market price interest in low-speed collision avoidance (59%) and Generation Y having the highest market price interest for emergency braking and steering (44%).

Research conducted by J.D. Power’s Consumer Insight and Strategy Group2 to track social media activity regarding automotive energy, device/application linking and autonomous driving technology finds:

  • Consumers believe that vehicle infotainment systems are inferior to their smartphones and tablets and want more mobile apps and control of software updates to integrate with their vehicle.
  • Energy technology mentions on social media have shown a notable increase within the past year, as consumers have placed a heightened emphasis on saving fuel. However, fuel economy-conscious vehicle owners seem to struggle with the unfamiliarity of stop/start technology and many social media mentions focus on how to turn this feature off altogether.
  • Interest in fully or semi-autonomous driving features primarily originates from wanting to have the latest technology, with the safety benefit being an added bonus. However, consumers still want the responsibility of driving their own vehicle until these technologies fully gain consumer confidence and trust.

The 2013 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study is based on responses from more than 16,758 vehicle owners. The study was fielded in March 2013. The study includes 22 primary technologies, each with related secondary technologies such as; analyses on infotainment/connectivity safety- and energy-related emerging features; a key emerging technologies packaging exercise; an emerging technologies adoption calculator; and an expanded psychographic and lifestyle-driven analysis.

Geo-targeting nabs one in five smartphone users

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

smartphonesOne-in-five (20 percent) smartphone owners have visited a store after receiving notification that specials, coupons or deals were available nearby, says a new survey from Couponcabin.

Seventy percent of smartphone owners would be at least somewhat influenced to make an unplanned purchase at a store after receiving this type of alert.

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of from February 28th – March 4th, 2013, among 2,219 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,096 are smartphone owners.

Geo-targeted alerts

Geo-targeted savings alerts that prompt users to visit stores near them that have specials, coupons or deals are a newly launched feature from’s mobile app for iPhone and iPad.

The alerts work when a smartphone’s GPS sends a notification that a special, coupon or deal is available at a store or mall near the user’s current location.

“Our new mobile app puts even more savings power into our users’ hands,” said Jackie Warrick , senior savings adviser at “Now during their daily routine, people can be alerted simply and easily when they can save money around them.”

CouponCabin’s new geo-targeted alerts provide savings opportunities to users without them having to do anything other than look at their phone’s screen.

This is a top priority for smartphone users, as saving money without even thinking about it is the top reason why 47 percent of smartphone owners would like to receive geo-targeted coupons on their device. Rounding out the list of reasons include:

  • Would be/is convenient and a time saver – 44 percent
  • Would remind/reminds me to use coupons when shopping – 40 percent
  • Other – 4 percent

Interest in geo-targeted coupons, deals and specials is strong. Nearly seven-in-ten (67 percent) smartphone owners would be at least somewhat interested in a mobile app that allows them to receive notifications for geo-targeted coupons.

For more information on the latest app features, or to download the app, please

Low-cost smartphones will dominate by 2018

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

smartphonesNot everyone needs a smartphone that costs more than a PC.

In many parts of the world, smartphone shipments account for a larger percentage of mobile handset shipments than feature phones and low-cost handsets. Yet within the smartphone class of devices, segmentation is increasing to three price tiers (low, mid, and high). And relatively low-cost smartphones will account for nearly half of all shipments in a few years.

Shipments of sub-US$250 low-cost smartphones will grow from 259 million in 2013 to 788 million in 2018, according to recent Market Data from market intelligence firm ABI Research.

Mid (sub-$400) and high ($400+) cost smartphone shipments are expected to grow from 635 million to 925 million over the same period.

Primary drivers

“As the feature phone segment continues to lose its battle for relevance, the low-cost smartphone has become the tool for operators seeking to drive increased data revenues,” says senior analyst, Michael Morgan.

The growth of smartphones in pre-paid and emerging markets will be the primary driver of low-cost smartphone growth. Developed and subsidized markets are also finding that low-cost smartphones can capture the remaining consumers that have yet to convert to a smartphone while minimizing the margin impacts stemming from subsidizing high-cost smartphones.

Mid- and high-cost smartphones will continue to play an important role for operators looking to seed their customer base with the most advanced smartphones.

More dependent upon reliability

Premium smartphones tend to carry the most advanced wireless connectivity and operators who are upgrading their network want to ensure that the handsets running on their network can deliver the best possible experience and customer satisfaction.

“As smartphone penetration moves from early adopters to mass-market and laggard consumer segments, the smartphone as a product will be less dependent on technical superiority, and more dependent on reliability and value,” adds senior practice director, Jeff Orr.

These findings are part of ABI Research’s Mobile Handset Markets ( Database, which includes files detailing smartphone and mobile handset shipments, forecasts, and market share.

Mobile personalized offers, content influence women shoppers

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

smartphonesWhile 53 percent of women have between one and five shopping apps on their smartphone, they would still much rather shop for clothes and shoes in a retail store, reports a new study published by mobile-retail marketing platform provider Swirl.

But, retailers have an opportunity to influence these shoppers via personalized offers and alluring content.

The independent study of 1,000 women shoppers, titled “What Women Want When Apparel Shopping,” found that retailers should focus their mobile strategies more on enhancing the in-store shopping experience – where 76 percent of women prefer to shop – than enabling online sales transactions on mobile phones.

The study also revealed that women are willing to share personal information with retailers as long as they receive value in return. An infographic illustrating the study findings can be viewed at

Most don’t like buying shoes, clothes via mobile

While many retailers are busy building out mobile commerce capabilities, the reality is that the vast majority of women don’t like to purchase clothes and shoes using their mobile phones.

Swirl’s research found that just one percent of women prefer to buy apparel using mobile apps and sites compared to 76 percent who prefer shopping in-store.

What do women like least about the in-store shopping experience? Crowds (84%), transportation and parking (70%), and interacting with sales associates (45%) were the least liked aspects of shopping in-store.

While smartphone-connected shoppers are now commonplace in retail stores, women are still much more likely to seek style advice from family or friends who are shopping with them (37%) than from a retailer’s mobile app/site (9%).

Even when an item is unavailable in store, only 22 percent of women will use that retailer’s mobile app or site to buy the item. Most shoppers don’t currently have a strong enough reason to engage with retailers on their mobile phones while they shop in-store.

Personalized offers allure shoppers

Personalized offers and content hold strong allure for female shoppers. According to the survey, 50 percent would willingly share their phone’s location and other personal information with a retailer in return for an in-store credit, gift, flash sale or early access to new styles.

For 47 percent, the price tag for sharing location information is just $5.

Women are almost twice as likely to value a personalized offer delivered to their smartphone while shopping in a store (58%), than being reminded of an in-store sale by a sales associate (33%) or making a purchase from an online flash sale site (31%).

“Women overwhelmingly prefer to shop for clothes and fashion in retail stores rather than online via their smartphones or laptops,” said Hilmi Ozguc , Swirl’s CEO.

“That is not going to change dramatically anytime soon. Retailers have a huge opportunity to use mobile technology to influence shoppers by delivering personalized content and offers where and when they matter most – while customers are shopping in their stores.”

Mobile ad secret sauce: capture moments of achievement

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Brian Wong

Brian Wong, founder and CEO of Kiip, is participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-15.

On a long flight to Asia some time ago, Brian Wong, founder and CEO of Kiip, one of the top four online ad companies according to Forbes, noticed that as he walked down the jet’s aisle, everyone was playing games on smartphones. What an opportunity for advertisers, Wong thought.

“But it’s terrible the way it played out,” Wong, the youngest person who ever received venture funding according to the Wall Street Journal, said. Many mobile apps and services, for instance, let users pay to have advertising removed.

“I feel bad for the hundreds of thousands of people involved in a creative industry like advertising. The idea of having people pay to remove your work is depressing,” Wong says.

Say display advertising had never existed, he suggests. Then how would you engage users on smartphones and other mobile devices?

That’s what led to the philosophy of Kiip, (pronounced “keep”, which is transforming mobile advertising from “billions of moments of annoyance into billions of moments of delight,” says Wong.

Participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit

Wong  has been recognized with many awards for his accomplishments and leadership, including: the Top 20 Under 20 awards for all of Canada; Business Insider’s Top 25 Under 25 in Silicon Valley and 18 Most Important People in Mobile Advertising; Forbes’ 30 under 30; Mashable’s Top 5 Entrepreneurs to Watch; and the AdAge Creativity Top 50. Before starting Kiip, Brian led key publisher and tech partnerships at the social news website, where he accelerated the company’s mobile presence by launching the Digg Android mobile app.

He is one of dozens of digital thought-leaders participating in the upcoming Digital Summit in Atlanta, May 14-15.

San Francisco-based Kiip lets premium brands provide rewards to casual mobile gamers for in-game achievements. Their platform is designed for in-game engagement via a universal game moment: the achievement moment.

Catch those special moments

The idea is to catch the user while he or she is the most engaged, happy, and attentive. It’s the first solution to help premium brands reach the exploding casual mobile gaming market using fleeting real estate in meaningful moments. It is venture backed by Hummer Winblad, True Ventures and a group of rockstar angels.

“We work with clients to find out which moments they’d like to own,” Wong explains. A client such as Gator Aide wants fitness moments, for instance. Where are those moments? They’re when a user logs a run, checks into a gym for the fifth time, or completing a workout.

Then, Gator Aide rewards them with say a free song for their workout.

Think creatively

Kiip isn’t the only organization taking advantage of moments of achievement, Wong notes. “Facebook gifts lets you send a physical gift to a friend on a birthday or other moments of achievement and is making a lot of money making it easy,” he says.

“I don’t want to sell people hard,” Wong says.

Kiip, which is just over three years old, thinks creatively to find those special moments when a marketing ploy might be welcome instead of annoying. Just finished a run? You might be thirsty and appreciate a Gator Aide. Just looked up and bookmarked a recipe? That could be messy. You might need some Sparkle paper towels.

“Marketers burden themselves complaining about how limiting a phone’s screen size is,” Wong, now just 21, says. “They bitch and moan, it’s a tiny screen. But it’s one of the most intimate devices we own. So there are opportunities for a brand to create a close connection to the user.”

Advisor to XPCP

Just today is was announced that Wong has joined CrossPacific Capital Partners (XPCP) as Advisor. Brian will focus on advising XPCP’s investments in the areas of internet, gaming, social media, and mobile. Wong graduated from the University of British Columbia at the age of 18. In 2010 Wong became the youngest entrepreneur to ever raise Venture Capital in North America.

After initial seed contributions by a number of angel investors including XPCP Managing Partner Frank Christiaens, Wong closed a total of more than $4M for his A Round, and all this before he turned 20. Other investors in KIIP include Verizon, Hummer Winbladt, and Relay.

In 2012 KIIP did a B Round of more than $11M on the strength of its rewards platform, which reached 1 billion moments at the end of 2012. In 2013 KIIP is seeing major revenue growth as its products continue to sell exponentially.


Texting and driving: it can wait

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

carsNumerous studies have shown that texting while driving is more dangerous than drinking and driving, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping many people from doing it.

Nearly half of commuters self-reported texting while driving in a recent poll, and 43% of those who did called it a “habit.”

Commuters are texting and driving even more than teens – 49%, compared to 43%.  And the problem has gotten worse. Six in 10 commuters say they never texted while driving three years ago.

Awareness of dangers increasing

So while efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving are working – 98% of commuters surveyed said they know sending a text or email while driving isn’t safe – there’s clearly more work to be done to change behaviors.

Survey sponsor AT&T is calling on employers to help end texting while driving by taking action during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, and beyond.

It’s asking businesses to join the more than 165 organizations already engaged in theTexting & Driving-It Can Wait movement, and to use the policies, technologies and communications materials available free at to help move their employees beyond being aware of the danger to making a personal commitment not to text and drive.

Businesses should encourage responsible behavior

texting bans

As of December 2011, these states passed laws limiting cell phone use while driving.

“Businesses can help keep their employees and others on the road safe by encouraging responsible behavior behind the wheel, including obeying all laws related to the use of electronic devices,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue .

“We also encourage all businesses to consider joining the ‘It Can Wait’ movement to end texting while driving.  Together we can help turn the tide on this serious issue.”

Through It Can Wait, AT&T has reached millions with the insight that most text messages are trivial, and no text is worth dying for.  It has made the dangers of texting and driving real and personal by giving thousands of people hands-on experience with driving simulators and sharing the heart-wrenching stories of people – like Jamie Nash in this video – whose lives have been forever changed by texting-while-driving accidents.

More than 1.3 million personal commitments never to text and drive have been made at, through Facebook, text-to-pledge, tweet-to-pledge or at events.

For more information, please visit

Commuter survey conducted by ResearchNow on behalf of AT&T

Teen survey conducted by Beck Research on behalf of AT&T

Half a billion devices will be NFC enabled by 2014

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

mobilephonesNear field communications is likely to become much more prominent in the near future. The number of NFC-enabled devices in use will exceed 500 million in 2014, according to a new report.

ABI Research’s “NFC Devices, Strategies, and Form Factors” calculated that a minimum of 285 million mobile and consumer electronics devices will ship in 2013 as OEMs continue to drive the market for NFC as mobile operators struggle to gain control and bring their services to market.

Mobile manufacturers moved ahead with NFC in 2012 whilst MNOs were still largely focused on payments, where they have struggled to deliver tangible services. This has allowed predominantly Android OEMs to seize the initiative as they have delivered new services and features for connecting devices, sharing data and content, picking up information, and utilizing tags.

“NFC has reached the point of no return,” commented John Devlin, practice director. “It all hinged on handsets; and next year we will see half-a-billion devices in the hands of consumers as it becomes more widely integrated. Up until this point banks and other service partners were holding back from committing to MNOs and it has always surprised me that they did not drive this forward themselves and invest to take charge of this market’s potential.”

Brands taking different paths toward NFC

Companies such as Blackberry and Samsung have developed and implemented clear strategies around NFC. They are differentiating themselves as they look to generate new service-based revenue streams utilizing NFC. Other brands, such as LG and Sony, are taking a different path as they horizontally integrate NFC across their broad product portfolios.

“Put simply the OEMs have innovated and made use of the simple abilities that NFC offers to increase interaction of people, devices, and their immediate environment. This is not just in mobile; tablets, PCs and peripherals, speaker docks, televisions, cameras, gaming and domestic appliances are all increasingly incorporating NFC,” Devlin added.

These findings are part of ABI Research’s NFC Research Service (

LTE smartphone and tablet sales surged in Q4 2012

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

mobile devicesTablet sales exploded nearly 300 percent over 2011, Apple regained its smartphone market share lead, and LTE smartphone sales rose 151 percent in the 4th quarter of 2012, according to Infonetics.

FDD-LTE was the biggest driver for smartphone growth in the final quarter of 2012, with unit growth of 151%, the second straight quarter of triple-digit growth,” reports Julien Blin, directing analyst for consumer electronics and mobile broadband atInfonetics Research.

TDD-LTE smartphones are also ramping fast, albeit from a much smaller base, despite a temporary dip in growth in the 4th quarter. In 2012, 5 times as many W-CDMA/HSPA smartphones shipped as LTE smartphones. By 2015 we expect LTE smartphones to overtake W-CDMA/HSPA.”

Blin adds, “Similarly in the tablet space, the growing popularity of low-cost LTE tablets, shared data plans, and improved LTE network coverage (especially in developed markets like North America and Western Europe), will drive LTE-enabled tablets to close the gap on WiFi-only tablets by 2017.”


  • The global smartphone market totaled $247 billion in 2012, up 51% from 2011
  • Owing to the introduction of the iPhone 5, Apple regained its lead in smartphone revenue market share in 4Q12 with 37%, followed by Samsung with 29%; Samsung maintains its lead in smartphone unit share
  • Sales of tablets reached $42 billion worldwide in 2012, jumping 281% over 2011
  • In 2012, shipments of standalone USB mobile broadband cards grew steadily, driven by W-CDMA shipments in developing countries and LTE growth in developed markets
  • Meanwhile, embedded cards declined as the more functional tablet segment overshadowed embedded PCs and mobile internet devices (MIDs)
  • Infonetics expects the number of global mobile broadband subscribers (phone and PC) to grow from 1.2 billion in 2012 to close to 3 billion by 2017