Archive for June, 2012
In case you somehow missed it, today is an important milestone in technology nostalgia: it’s the fifth anniversary of the original iPhone’s launch. We’ll let you explore the memories of that insane day on your own terms, but ComScore has produced a visual breakdown of just how ownership has grown and shifted over the years. It’s not hard to see that adoption has been on an accelerating curve, especially after the 2010 launch of the Retina display-toting iPhone 4: as of this past May, about three quarters of owners have either the iPhone 4 or the iPhone 4S. And the 2007 edition? Only two percent of all iPhone owners are still actively holding on to the aluminum-clad debut model, which suggests most would rather have Siri than reminisce. Whether you’re a fan or have since moved on to a competitor, the chart is a reminder of just how far one of Steve Jobs’ biggest projects has come.
This all but ends Flash on smartphones, notes Chris Ziegler at The Verge.
Afterwards Apple’s rivals used Flash as a selling point for their phones and tablets.
Apple saw the death of Flash coming, and now its rivals look a little silly.
Bulls on the economy are constantly looking for any reason to be optimistic on the U.S. economy.
Personal consumption accounts for around 70 percent of GDP, so any help to the consumer would be welcome.
“There are many reasons to be skeptical of forecasts for a significant overall reacceleration in consumer spending in 2H,” writes Citi economist Steve Wieting. “But there are some bright spots.”
Wieting dug up a nugget that could provide a little stimulus: tax refunds. From his note to clients:
As Figure 12 shows, gross tax refunds have increased relative to disposable income in recent years. Tax refunds are a seasonal phenomenon, and ordinarily don’t deserve much attention. But as they have increased in amplitude, their impact may be more notable. Payments within the first quarter were particularly large and early. For the consumers relying on such payments, savings rates are low, and consumption is closely and immediately tied to cash flows.
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RIM continued its downward slide yesterday. In the quarter ended May 31, it shipped shipped only 7.8 million smartphones, which was the same amount they shipped in the second quarter of 2009 three years ago. Global smartphone shipments have tripled over this same period.
Its market share, meanwhile, has slid from a high of 21 percent in 2009 to 7 percent in the first quarter. We don’t know what its market share will be in the second quarter yet, but given the huge slide in shipments we would expect it to drop farther.
Compounding its woes, Blackberry delayed the release of its latest smartphone platform until 2013. A sale or breakup of RIM seems inevitable at this point. While RIM is undeniably maimed, the sale of a company shipping 40 million smartphones per year will have a significant impact on the mobile industry.
Ladies, is that expensive Prada purse as popular as you think?
This infographic from the Digital Luxury Group shows the world’s most popular luxury handbags, based on 130 million internet searches.
Traditional console makers have often sworn up and down that mobile doesn’t make money for game development. That might still be true for some developers, but you’ll get a very different answer if you ask Epic Games. Co-founders Tim Sweeney and Mark Rein have collectively described the currently iOS-only, Chair-developed Infinity Blade as the “most profitable game we’ve ever made” when considering the amount of money and time invested relative to the money coming back. Yes, that includes even the Gears of War series, which most consider Epic’s primary cash cow. Sweeney, like his long-time competitor Johh Carmack at id Software, is also taken aback by the power stuffed inside the latest generation of mobile devices — a 2012 iPad is nearer the performance of a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, he tells Gamasutra, and the pace is only picking up. Even more insights await in the interview with Sweeney; click below if you want a hint of what one of gaming’s pioneers has to say about where your tablets, phones and (yes) PCs are going.
Epic Games: Infinity Blade on iOS more profitable by the pound than any other game we’ve made! ori ginally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 27 Jun 2012 19:22:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
The iPhone turns five this week. One of the most impressive things about the iPhone’s five year run is that the average selling price of the phone has remained just about the same around $600, notes Horace Dediu of Asymco. Meanwhile, Apple’s rivals pull in less than $400 per device.
Think about that for a second. Apple defined the modern smartphone market with the iPhone. It then faced an onslaught of competition from Google, Microsoft, Palm, and Research In Motion. Despite their various efforts to dethrone the iPhone, Apple has managed to stay on top. This is evident by the fact that since 2008 Apple has never had to slash its prices.
With all the competition, and pressure from carriers, if Apple was losing the smartphone battle, you’d expect it to cut the price of the phone. Instead, it’s been steady.
Mobile payments: everyone talks about it, but no one knows exactly how it works or who will win
In our special report, Business Insider Intelligence lays out the four kinds of mobile payment solutions that currently matter:
- Carrier billing. Where the consumer pays by text message and the charge is added to their phone bill. This is great for a variety of specific use cases (reaching the unbanked, especially teenagers; ecommerce and gaming), but is crimped by carrier fees and control.
- Near-Field Communications (NFC). Where the consumer can pay at the point of sale by waving his phone in front of a terminal. NFC has been overhyped: it’s not more convenient than cash or credit, and the many companies who want a piece of NFC are canceling each other’s efforts out.
- Apps. Where the consumer uses an app on his smartphone to pay, typically by scanning a barcode at the register. We believe this is especially useful for specific companies and retailers to offer, as it allows them to offer loyalty rewards and discounts on top of payments.
- Card readers. Pioneered by startup Square, with recent entries from eBay (PayPal), Intuit, and Verifone, these solutions allow merchants to take payments by plugging a card reader into a smartphone or tablet. They’re very convenient (swiping a credit card is already ingrained consumer behavior) and piggyback on the existing credit card network. Card reader companies can offer value-added services on top of the payments experience to spur adoption by merchants and consumers.
For full access to the report, sign up for a free trial subscription today.
Companies like Google, Amazon, and Apple are currently competing for a new round of top-level domains—think new versions of
.app. They think this will make the internet easier to use, but we think it’s a bit sketchier than they’d like to admit. Here’s why.
What Is a Top-Level Domain?
A top-level domain is the last part of a URL, often something like
.org. It’s at the top of the domain hierarchy (hence the term “top-level”), and is the first thing your computer looks for when you type in a web address. When you type in
lifehacker.com, for example, your browser asks your DNS server where it can find the
.com nameserver. Your browser then contacts the
.com nameserver for the
lifehacker subdomain, where it finds this web site. You can see an example of this below, courtesy of Wikipedia.
These domain names are all managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), formerly a government organization but now a private, non-profit entity. ICANN not only manages which top-level domains exist, but also make sure everything is stable and runs smoothly.
ICANN Is Handing Out New Top-Level Domains, Lottery-Style
A few years ago, ICANN began expanding the number of top-level domains, so porn sites, for example, could use the
.xxx domain. Recently, though, they opened this up so companies can create and apply for custom top-level domains. For example, Google wants to claim
.blog, so all blogs created by their Blogger service would have an easy-to-remember
.blog domain name. They also want
.search for obvious reasons, while Amazon wants to claim
.cloud. Allowed domains can range from brands (like
.gmail) to generic words (
.fun) and geographic locations (
.paris). Not all top-level domains will be exclusive, but when a company applies for one, they can choose to make them exclusive to their own pages, like Google wants to do with
.blog. Many of these companies have applied for hundreds of top-level domains (ready to pay millions of dollars for them), even ending up in battles over who gets what—both Google and Amazon are currently fighting over
.cloud, for example, and you can bet everyone’s looking to get their hands on
Why the Domain Lottery Is Sketchy
As you can imagine, some people think this lottery is a little ridiculous, and we tend to agree. It might seem innocent enough to give Amazon ownership of the
.kindle domain, since the Kindle is their product, but you can easily see how things get more complex when they’re asking for an exclusive claim to the
.book domain, or Google the
.search domain. Not only that, but it opens the door for a lot of unfair treatment. It wouldn’t be out of character for Google to float
.blog sites to the top of search results, or the company who owns the
.news domain could give preferential treatment to sites that share its political biases. It ends up being a huge, confusing, and sometimes misleading mess—and the only ones who benefit are the companies and ICANN, who despite being a nonprofit, stands to make a ton of money from this endeavor. Photo by MoneyBlogNewz.
These controversial domain applications are still in review, but ICANN has yet to say or do anything that would lead us to believe they won’t accept them. All we can do now is wait and see. What do you think about the new generic top-level domains? Will they make the internet easier to use, or are they only going to benefit companies and confuse users? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. And, if you’re interested in reading more, here are some other articles on the subject:
- Generic Top-Level Domain [Wikipedia]
- .blog, .lol, .foo: Google, Amazon Top List of Global TLD Applications [Ars Technica]
- Amazon’s Domain Power Play: We Want to Control Them All [CNET]
- New Internet Domain Names May Make for a More Tangled Web [Washington Post]
- Should Gooogle and Amazon Be Allowed to Control Domains? [GigaOM]
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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