Thursday, January 27, 2011

Navigon Releases New iPhone Car Kit

Navigon iPhone Car KitNavigon has just unveiled a new iPhone car kit at the Macworld Expo 2011. The kit consists of an iPhone mounting device as well as a suction cup for mounting it on nearly any surface in your car. An Apple-certified connection cord is also thrown in as well as a car charger to power the iPhone while driving.

According to Gerhard Mayr, Vice President of Worldwide Mobile Phones & New Markets for Navigon, "The iPhone is the most elegant smartphone available, therefore a mount should never get in the way of showcasing the design." This kit from Navigon is a more stylish rendition of German tech design with a "barely there" look.

The mount is easy to fix in any position on any surface in your vehicle which reduces distraction to the driver and also places the iPhone in a position that is optimal for a GPS signal. The included car charger, as well as the 5-foot long connection cable, are perfect if you need to use your iPhone's navigation system on long trips or vacations.

It appears that the physical cradle could fit other devices besides an iPhone. However, if you buy this kit and you do not have an iPhone, then you now have a 5-foot long iPhone cable that you do not need. The charger, however, is a simple one that plugs into your lighter jack and has a USB port on the other end making it universal with practically every smart phone on the market that uses a USB charging system.

My point is that this case, while designed for the iPhone, would be good for most smartphones out there or even smaller GPS devices. The Navigon Car Kit is available now for the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 for a market price of $49.99. However, you can get an introductory price of $44.99 if you purchase one before February 3rd.

Source: Engadget
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Users Turning to Mobile Devices for E-mail

The way that we check our e-mail is evolving. Well, how do you check it? If you have a smartphone, it is very likely that you are beginning to turn to utilizing your phone to check and send e-mails. I mean, if you have access to your messages on your phone, isn’t it a lot more convenient to simply check your phone instead of finding a laptop to check your e-mail?

According to comScore, an Internet traffic analytics firm, numbers are showing that e-mail usage is definitely beginning to move from computers to mobile devices. ComScore cited its November results from two of its services, Media Matrix and MobileLens. The results showed that the total unique visitors to e-mail Web sites like Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, and Gmail have dropped by 6 percent year over year. As you might expect, the shift has really occurred most drastically among the younger age groups. The results show that with 12 to 17-year-olds, the total amount of minutes spent on Web-based e-mail sites has gone down by a whole 48 percent.

It was also revealed that males were more likely to reduce their Web mail usage than females. Males showed a 19 percent reduction in total page views while females only dropped 11 percent. Overall Web mail page views went down by 15 percent and total minutes spent on those pages from November 2009 to November 2010 dropped by 9 percent.

So what about the other side of things? How much has mobile e-mail usage gone up? Well, according to information provided by comScore, e-mail usage has gone up an entire 36 percent from November 2009 to November 2010. The study stated, “In November 2010, 70.1 million mobile users (30 percent of all mobile subscribers) accessed e-mail on their mobile, an increase of 36 percent from the previous year. Daily usage of e-mail showed an even greater increase growing 40 percent as 43.5 million users turned to their mobile devices on a nearly daily basis for their e-mail communication needs."

The age and gender numbers for increasing mobile e-mail use were very similar to the numbers that were recorded concerning the decline of Webmail usage. The main age concentration in the study was 25 to 34-year olds. This group was 60 percent more likely to access their e-mail on their mobile device than the average mobile user. Concerning gender, females were surprisingly 13 percent less likely to access their e-mail via their mobile device than the average mobile device owner, but males were 14 percent more likely to access it via their smartphone.

Unfortunately, the study simply reports on the general smartphone population. It didn’t break down their numbers by phone brand, which could definitely make a difference. It would really be fascinating to see a breakdown of the differences concerning phone brands.

ComScore's senior vice president of mobile Mark Donovan noted, "What we have seen in the smartphone era is the rapid acceleration of data consumption, which has helped drive mobile usage across multiple categories including e-mail. In a relatively short period of time, adoption of mobile email has reached 78 percent of the smartphone population, which is very similar to the penetration of Web-based e-mail among Internet users. These findings demonstrate just how quickly channel shifts can occur and why it's now essential for media brands to have a strong presence in both arenas."

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Does 4G Really Mean Much of Anything Anymore?

4G is something that we hear wireless carriers talking about all the time these days. Everyone seems to be fighting to provide the best 4G coverage, and while they try to convince the public that their particular company is the best, they don’t seem to mind taking a few jabs at their competition.

The problem is that 4G honestly seems to have turned into a meaningless term. All four of the major U.S. wireless carriers claim that their faster wireless networks are “4G” networks, but really none of the networks actually meet the International Telecommunication Union’s standards for 4G.

Speed is the most important requirement for a network to be labeled as 4G. The ITU says that 4G is technology that downloads at a speed of 100Mbps on mobile devices or 1Gbps on fixed wireless connections. The technology that all four of the U.S. carriers utilizes just isn’t that fast.

Back when the industry moved from 2G to 3G there weren’t any issues. The criteria was clearly defined, so there was no mislabeling going on, and wireless service providers and device makers followed the criteria when labeling their devices.

When 4G started to come about, the ITU defined new requirements. The problem was that wireless operators have decided to ignore the specifications set down by the ITU and have attempted to push their own definition of 4G.

The fact that carriers are doing this and the ITU really hasn’t done anything to clear up the matter is really getting to some people. It’s honestly making everything very confusing for customers.

Dan Warren, the senior director of technology for the GSM Association, an industry group that represents the interests of mobile operators in more than 200 different countries, said, “The term 4G is basically meaningless. It's not a term that anyone could use with a straight face to refer to anything technical. It's a marketing term that means different things to different people."

Some people are arguing that a label is merely a label and nothing else, but Warren says that the standards that are set by the ITU are important for setting customers’ expectations.

"The people who suffer from this are the consumers, who are confused," he said. "The operators use this term interchangeably to refer to different technologies that are incompatible. Customers are confused because they think they can compare the networks like for like. But they can't."

So how close is the “4G” service that U.S. carriers are providing to the real 4G service that is defined by the ITU? Well, keep in mind that the ITU says that the download requirement for 4G is 100Mbps. Verizon claims that its LTE service offers an average download speed somewhere between 6Mbsp and 12Mbsp, and Sprint says that its network download speed comes in somewhere between 3Mbsp and 6Mbsp.

T-Mobile didn’t want to be left out of the 4G game. They were a little a late with their 3G coverage compared to their competitors, but they almost immediately began updating with advanced 3G technology called HSPA+. The upgrades made their service almost as fast as LTE and WiMax in terms of speed. Therefore, last summer T-Mobile began marketing their service as having “4G-like speeds.” By the fall the company dropped the “like” aspect and began referring to their network as a 4G network.

Now instead of stepping in and clarifying, the ITU sent out a press release in early December that simply said that it was okay for the U.S. carriers to call their networks 4G.

"It is recognized that [4G], while undefined, may also be applied to the forerunners of these technologies, LTE and WiMax, and to other evolved 3G technologies providing a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third-generation systems now deployed," the ITU said in the statement.

This just made everything even more confusing and complicated.

T-Mobile’s CTO Neville Ray justifies calling the company’s HSPA+ network “4G” because he says that it performs just as well or better than the networks that T-Mobile’s competitors are calling 4G.

"Sprint chose to call WiMax 4G first," he said. "And then they chose to charge their customers $10 more for the service, even if some customers aren't in an area where they can get WiMax coverage. So who is misleading customers?"

"Our service performs better than what they are offering," he went on to say. "And HSPA+ and the path this technology is on has the same ability to reach the definitions of 4G as much as LTE and WiMax do."

Warren continues to say that the misuse of the term 4G has just gone too far.
"T-Mobile wasn't the first to cross the line in how they used 4G," he said. "But let's just say it went the furthest. Verizon and Sprint each bent the definition, but T-Mobile stretched the most."

Verizon and Sprint are obviously just as guilty as T-Mobile, but standards experts are saying that those companies’ claims are a little more justifiable, since their technology is at least moving towards the direction of true ITU approved 4G standards.

"Never anywhere on the planet have I ever heard of any version of HSPA being referred to as 4G," said Perry LaForge, the founder, executive director, and chairman of the CDMA Development Group (CDG), a trade association that promotes the use of CDMA cellular technology around the world. "In general, the industry looked at LTE and WiMax as the two 4G approaches. And the ITU was going through the process. Then this marketing stuff cropped up."

Honestly, it’s really just all a big mess. If only the ITU had stepped in when carriers started making 4G claims that weren’t meeting 4G standards, then we wouldn’t be in this situation and there would be a lot less customer confusion.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

AT&T Losing iPhone Customers to Verizon

According to data that was released Thursday, January 13 by ChangeWave, approximately 26 percent of current Apple iPhone users that are on AT&T’s plan are planning to switch to Verizon’s iPhone when it is made available in February.

ChangeWave polled 4,050 people a few days before the big announcement that Verizon Wireless made on Tuesday, January 11. They asked those polled that if Verizon were to announce that an iPhone would be made available on their network, would they be switching providers in the next 90 days? Ten percent said that they were planning on switching within 90 days. About 16 percent said that they would be purchasing a Verizon iPhone but not necessarily right away. Among the AT&T users polled, 26 percent said that they would be ditching the AT&T version of the iPhone for the Verizon iPhone.

About 41 percent of those polled, who said that they would be switching from AT&T’s iPhone to Verizon’s, said that they would be making the switch sometime within the next three months. Another 31 percent said that they would be making the switch within the next year.

AT&T users aren’t the only customers that plan on switching service providers though. About 15 percent of T-Mobile users said that they will switch to Verizon for the iPhone, 10 percent of Sprint’s customers also plan on doing this as well, and 4 percent of the existing customers at Verizon said that they will be switching from their current device to the iPhone.

ChangeWave reported that this is the biggest churn rate that has ever been recorded for AT&T. The most prominent reason for AT&T’s customers leaving and choosing the Verizon iPhone is due to poor reception or coverage. A whole 42 percent claimed that this was their reasoning. Another 27 percent said it was because of dropped calls, while 17 percent said their decision was due to the cost.

ChangeWave did report though that AT&T has made improvements in its dropped call history.
"While AT&T continues to struggle in this very important area and trails Verizon by a wide margin, it has made significant advances since our previous survey –improving from its all-time worst 6.0 percent rating last September to 4.7 percent in the current survey," ChangeWave said. "The findings suggest AT&T is now taking concrete steps to try to improve long-standing service issues. But can it do so quickly enough to forestall large-scale defections to Verizon?"

Who knows if consumers are really going to dump AT&T and jump on the Verizon bandwagon, but as data that was released by comScore on Thursday, January 13 suggested, the Verizon iPhone is really a big turning point in the smartphone market.

"The iPhone Verizon deal will no doubt bring even greater competition to the smartphone arena throughout the coming year as Android, iPhone and RIM jockey for the leadership position," Sarah Radwanick, comScore's marketing communications manager, wrote in a blog post.

Radwanick also pointed out Verizon’s smartphone market share that grew from four percent in the last year to 27 percent. Obviously, that’s less than AT&T’s 38 percent market share, but AT&T did drop 7 percent last year due to the abundance of different smartphones that were made available in the last year. Verizon’s numbers really rose mostly because of the strong Android-based devices that the company added to their lineup of smartphones.

In just overall mobile device market share, Verizon has 31 percent, while AT&T has 27 percent.

ComScore also suggested that the iPhone customers that Verizon does end up nabbing will most likely be in customer segments that are attractive to mobile providers. This basically means younger users that come from higher income brackets. Also important to note, iPhone users seem to remain loyal to the iconic Apple smartphone. More than half have subscribed via AT&T for more than three years now, while another 28 percent have had subscriptions for one to three years.

"Although it's too early to tell exactly how consumers will react to the Verizon iPhone announcement, it is fair to say that this deal represents a potentially significant turning point in the ascendance of the smartphone market," Radwanick concluded. "Only time will tell which carriers and platforms will emerge as the market leaders, but it's clear that right now the consumers are winners as they gain yet another option when making their smartphone choice." is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

First Details on the BlackBerry Dakota

BlackBerry DakotaBlackBerry phones were some of the very first smartphones to hit the market and they took off like a bat out of hell. However, since then the BlackBerry craze has lessened with more and more people gravitating towards Apple's iPhone or similar devices like the Droid X from Motorola or the Fascinate from Samsung. But just because BlackBerry has been knocked down does not mean that it is down for the count. The newest device being hinted at by BlackBerry could be just what the company needs to get back in the game.

I'm talking, of course, about the BlackBerry Dakota, first pictures of which have recently been released for viewing by the public. The Dakota is being touted as the master of the BlackBerry family, the one that will reign supreme over all the rest. It's true that the internet is buzzing over the first pic of the Dakota and with good reason, I might add.

While details on the device are very scarce, we do have a picture and a rough spec sheet displaying everything this device will have to offer including the original Bold styling, NFC, magnetometer, HD video recording and 3G mobile hotspot. The full spec sheet is as follows:

  • 3G mobile hotspot
  • 5 megapixel camera with HD video recording, flash and image stabilization
  • MicroUSB port
  • Proximity sensor
  • NFC
  • Tri-band UMTS
  • Magnetometer
  • 4GB of built-in storage, 768MB of RAM
  • Accelerometer
  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE
  • Launches with BlackBerry OS 6.1
  • WiFi b/g/n on 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies
  • 10.5mm thick
  • 2.8-inch VGA 640 x 480 capacitive screen

Sounds pretty good if you ask me. However, is it the touch and type BlacBerry fans have been waiting for? Does it have enough to draw customers away from the Droid X or the iPhone? We can only speculate at this point until we have more details. Keep checking back to see when we have more information including an official release date as well as an official price.

Source: BGR is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Apple’s Co-Founder is Buying a Verizon iPhone

Lots of people are extremely excited about the announcement that Verizon Wireless made Tuesday, January 11 about featuring the iPhone at their stores and online. Everyone has been waiting for quite some time for Verizon to finally make this announcement. AT&T’s exclusive iPhone contract made things a little difficult, so there were a lot of things that had to be worked around. Fortunately, the wait is now almost over, and you’re not the only one who is excited about the iPhone from Verizon.

When Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak was questioned about whether he would be getting the Verizon iPhone at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View on Jan. 11 after the announcement was made by Verizon, he responded, “A VeriPhone? Of Course.”

"I'm definitely going to get one," Wozniak said. "I always have at least one Verizon phone on me at all times, just in case I'm in one of those bad areas. You can find those areas where Verizon doesn't work and AT&T does, but in truth, it's usually the opposite."

"And I also love the mobile hotspot," Wozniak added. "I hope it's the standard $30 a month. I wish it was free like the Palm Pre because that made the Pre a cheaper Mi-Fi. Anyway, so I'm expecting that it's no big new iPhone, not even a new color. It's just going to be on the Verizon network."

The Verizon iPhone has been rumored for years, and the rumors have escalated and really started flying around in the past few months. Well, Verizon has finally officially launched the Verizon iPhone. Verizon says that they will offer a CDMA EVDO version of the iPhone 4 as of February 10. Any exsisting Verizon customers will be able to pre-order the smartphone as early as February 3. The 16GB iPhone will cost customers $199 with a two-year contract, and the 32GB iPhone will cost $299 with a two-year contract.

Wozinak went on saying, “I'm actually playing games in my head about which phones I want to keep. I actually want to keep at least one Android phone."

All this talk about the multiple phones that Wozinak has had me wondering exactly how many phones the guy has.

"I came to the conclusion last night that I'll have three activated AT&T iPhones, so if the battery runs down I have a spare," Wozniak said. "And I'm in Europe a lot of times, so maybe one of them will be Verizon, one of them will be AT&T. So I'll have two AT&T, one AT&T with the international plan, and one Verizon if I need it. Although the tethering's only to a computer. Although maybe I can give one number up and give it to Verizon. And I'll keep the Droid X. And I'll probably give up the Palm Pre because I now have another Mi-Fi."

Wozinak also added, though, that data plans are always an issue.

"I have those grandfathered [data] plans," Wozniak added. "I love those grandfathered plans, but you have to watch them [carriers] like a hawk."

I’m so excited that Verizon has finally worked things out so that they can carry the Apple iPhone. We’ve all been waiting for a very long time, but now we finally have an end date to the wait. I think we can all definitely make it until February. Many people suspected that the “event” that Verizon was holding in New York on Januray 11 had to do with the announcement of a Verizon iPhone, and all of those people were correct. I’m glad the cat is finally out of the bag, and everyone can start making their plans concerning Verizon’s iPhone.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Verizon's New York Event Concerning the "Latest News"

Verizon has invited reporters to an event in New York on January 11 where the company will share what they have dubbed “the latest news.” Everyone is speculating…could this be an announcement about a Verizon version of the iPhone?

The announcement by Verizon really seemed to confuse many of the people that were at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This is probably because Verizon had already made a ton of announcements at the CES. Most of the announcements concerned the release of its high-speed LTE network. This included the introduction of ten of its LTE devices, including the highly-anticipated HTC Thunderbolt.

It’s possible that the event in New York that Verizon is holding, which is being held at the Frederick P. Rose Hall at the Lincoln Center, is simply a recap of everything that they announced at the CES for the reporters who missed the announcements, but who knows?

Based on reports of conversations with a source that is close to the company, it seems as though the announcement will be about a device.

Many people believe that this announcement simply has to be concerning the rumors about the Verizon version of the iPhone. The rumors have been that the smartphone would be released sometime in 2011.

It appears as though Apple has been working overtime recently. The company has reportedly limited the vacation time of lower-level employees and have also kept on their holiday staff. Other reports (that are complete with drawings) are suggesting that this announcement could be about a next generation iPhone (or a Verizon iPhone) that would be delivered by late February.

Based on the information from a source that is close to Verizon, this announcement could also be about some sort of tablet. Verizon didn’t just focus on phones at the CES. They also discussed hotspots and notebooks, so it is very possible that they want to discuss tablets and how they will be the leading service provider in the tablet industry.

Who knows what Verizon will be announcing? Hopefully, we will be seeing an announcement concerning the iPhone, but for now we’re just going to have to sit around and wait to find out.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Android Market Now Has Over 200,000 Apps

Google’s Android Market seems to really be taking off and doing quite well. In just a few months, it looks as though the Android Market has more than doubled in size. is releasing numbers that show that as of Tuesday, December 28, the store had more than 200,000 apps available to the public.

It was just in October 2010 that Google announced that its Android Market had surpassed more than 100,000 available apps. Now, so far Google has not confirmed any current numbers concerning its app market, but if is right, then Google truly more than doubled the number of apps that they offered on the Android Market in less than three months.

Now, despite these incredible numbers that have been put forth by, Apple’s App Store is still the largest apps source available to-date. The Apple Apps Store features more than 300,000 apps in the entirety of its catalog. did not seem to be worried about this though. They stated that although Apple has more than 100,000 apps more than Google, there have been more than 2.5 billion apps downloaded from the Android Market, so it looks as though Google is definitely gaining some ground.

When the Android Market first debuted in October 2008, there were only 34 apps and nine games available. In February of 2009, Google started moving forward when they began to accept priced applications from different developers in the U.S. and the U.K. Just a month after Google began accepting priced applications from various developers, Google reported that the Android Market then had 2,300 different apps, and by the end of the year, they reported that the Android Market consisted of 20,000 apps.

2010 has definitely been a year for some major growth on the Android Market. In April, Google reported that the app store featured more than 38,000 apps. Just three months later, claimed that the app store had grown to offer more than 100,000 apps, but this report was denied by Google who said that the number was closer to 70,000.

To give a comparison of the Android Market to the Apple Apps Store, Apple launched their store in July 2008, three months before the Android Market was launched. It was reported by Apple that in November 2009 the Apple Apps Store reached the 100,000 app mark. This occurred just a few months after Apple reported that they had achieved 1.5 billion downloads.

Google’s vice president did announce in early December that more than 300,000 Android devices are activated each and every day. This announcement came only a few months after the chief executive of Google, Eric Schmidt, said that 200,000 Android devices were being activated every day. In just a few months, the daily activation of Android devices increased by 50 percent.

It was reported in October that Android had 8.4 percent of the global market, but in November that number moved up to 14.9 percent. Two separate studies have shown that Android is ahead of both RIM and Apple in the last quarter, claiming 44 percent of the market.

"Much of Android's quarterly share growth came at the expense of RIM, rather than Apple," Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD, said in a statement. "The HTC EVO 4G, Motorola Droid X, and other new high-end Android devices have been gaining momentum at carriers that traditionally have been strong RIM distributors, and the recent introduction of the BlackBerry Torch has done little to stem the tide.”

It’s exciting to see how well the Android Market is doing. I think that it is really fascinating how quickly they seem to be catching up to Apple’s App Store. For now, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if they can really do it.

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