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The number of consumers with more than one digital device continues to grow, and they are hungry for content.

mobilecontentDeloitte recently released the findings of its eighth Digital Democracy Survey, which show that over a third of U.S. consumers – 37 percent – are digital omnivores, consumers who own tablets, smartphones and laptops. That’s a 42 percent increase from the previous year.

The growth is primarily driven by continued tablet usage and increased smartphone ownership. Tablet ownership rose from 13 percent in  2011 to 48 percent last year, according to Deloitte.

In addition, women, who made up 35 percent of digital omnivores a year ago, now comprise 45 percent of the group.

As the usage of tablets and smartphones as content devices grows, owners are craving more content. Interest in streaming content has nearly doubled, from 17 percent in 2012 to 32 percent in 2013, with interest in digital formats outpacing demand for physical media.

But Deloitte’s survey also found that consumers remain content with pay TV subscriptions, with only 6 percent saying they would give up their paid TV services next year.  Also, a majority of consumers said they still prefer to rent movies and television programming rather than purchase it.

With ownership of multiple devices on the rise, so is multitasking. According to Deloitte’s survey, 86 percent of consumers continue to be distracted by another device with watching TV, up from 72 percent in 2011. Yet only 22 percent of those involved in multitasking are doing activities directly related to the programs they are watching.

Millennials, those in the 14-to-24 demographic, are the most active of multitaskers, doing four activities while watching TV.

You can read more about Deloitte’s Digital Democracy Survey here. Feel free to tell us what you think.



The transition from PC to tablet computers is beginning to slow, even as sales of mobile devices continues to move upward.

Worldwide shipments of PCs, tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices, an indicator of popular interest, is projected to reach 2.5 billion units in 2014, up 6.9 percent from the previous year, Gartner Inc. says in a new report.

Shipments of PCs continue to tumble, down about 6.6 percent from 2013. Gartner says sales of traditional PCs will continue to hamper the overall growth of devices, and the transition to tablets as the primary computer for users will decline, even as tablet shipments rose 38 percent from 2013. Consumers and businesses are taking the time to pair the right device with the right job – for example, whether a tablet computer is more effective than a laptop in the business environment.

Consumers will also increasingly look for other tablet features beyond the price, such as smaller screens, greater portability and better connectivity in their replacement tablets.

Smartphones and other mobile phones represent the largest segment of the overall device market, with shipments expected to hit 1.9 billion this year, up 4.9 percent from 2013. Growth in this segment is projected to come from less expensive premium phones and higher-end basic phones.




If you’re a smart shopper, you’re likely using a smartphone to do this.

A recent survey of smartphone users finds that a majority of users believe the mobile device is essential when it comes to the shopping experience. Framingham, Mass.-based IDC’s research done during last year’s holiday shopping season reveals that 70 percent plan to use their smartphone more to help their shopping experience in 2014, while 69 percent say their smartphone is critical to a better shopping experience.

They’re researching deals, checking prices and reviews, and exchanging information on social media.

They’re also posing challenges to retailers trying to stay ahead of the digital wave. According to IDC, online retailers are capturing a larger share of the market from smartphone shoppers.

Online giants Amazon, eBay and Groupon attract the most shoppers, far more so than bricks-and-mortar retailers like Walmart and Target. And, according to the IDC, one in five smartphone users shoppers buy from a competitor while in the store they’re shopping in.

Read IDC’s infographic here for more

Academy Awards host Ellen DeGeneres broke new ground in social media when her star-studded smartphone “selfie” at Sunday’s ceremonies became the most retweeted item on Twitter ever.

Now, there’s an app that puts you in the picture.

Members of Urturn, which calls itself “a social platform for self-expression,” are joining the party by plugging their own selfies into the Oscars night image and sharing the results on’s “My Best Celebrity Selfie Ever” page as well as to Facebook and Twitter.

While Urturn’s followers can only hope to duplicate DeGeneres’ Twitter results – it was retweeted more than 1 million times since Sunday night, crashing Twitter in the process — it’s all an exercise in fun for the users of the site.

Urturn’s app is downloadable for iOS.

You spot a person in a restaurant or market wearing Google Glass, the wearable technology that’s hard not to take notice of. Does it leave you impressed? Or offended by this apparent intrusion of mobile technology in your space?

As interest grows in the potential for the device that mounts a computer and camera on a wearer’s face, so is the debate over its acceptance in public, and whether by its presence an apparent boundary of privacy is breached.

Tensions over Google Glass flared recently when a San Francisco social media consultant said she was attacked for wearing the device at a local bar. Sarah Slocum said she was “verbally and physically assaulted” by patrons for using the device, and that one of them yanked the device from her face. Slocum said she was also robbed of other belongings when she pursued her alleged attackers.

San Francisco police believe it is the first incident of outright violence in the city over Google Glass. There have been other reports of friction regarding the device.

We posted one recently about a movie patron who was questioned by federal Homeland Security agents for wearing his Google Glass device inside a Columbus, Ohio, theater. The man was able to convince the agents that he was not using the device to record the film for bootleg sale.

In San Diego, a woman was ticketed last year for wearing Google Glass behind the wheel. The case was dismissed when it could not be proven that the device was activated while she was driving.

Several states appear to be considering legislation regulating the use of Google Glass by drivers.

Google Glass remains in the testing stage – it is available to “Explorers” who act as ambassadors for the device – and is not yet available to the general public.

For its part, the company released a list of dos and don’ts for its Explorer community to follow, like don’t “Wear it and expect to be ignored.”

But as companies invest heavily in wearable consumer technology, from fitness bands and health diagnostic devices to wrist devices that can tell time as well as take and download images, there will be inevitable run-ins between those embracing this technology and others who prefer to keep it at arms’ length.

Millennials are voracious viewers of video. They’re just not watching videos on TV.

Mobile ContentThe video advertising technology company YuMe tracked the media viewing habits of millennials, defined as the 18-to-34 demographic. This is an age group that makes prolific and sustained use of smartphones and tablets; 18 percent of all millennials were mobile-only users in November 2013.

The study reveals that millennials watch more video content than their predecessors from Generation X and the much older baby boomers. Those movies, TV shows, user generated and sponsored videos, however, are being viewed on devices other than the flat-screen television set.

Smartphones are the most popular device for millennials to view video in most places, though tablets are more popular at home and while on vacation, YuMe’s study finds. Among those who watch, 13 percent say they watch video content at work or while shopping. Another 9 percent say they do while commuting to work or visiting someone’s home.

Also, 94 percent of millennials multitask (and are likely distracted) while viewing content.

YuMe’s downloadable research report is here.



Major retailers are embracing the potential of mobile devices to bring in customers and drive business. Now, small businesses are focusing on mobile access to customers to boost their bottom line.

Mobile devices, particularly smartphones, are becoming the main channel for customers to interact with businesses. That means opportunities for merchants, from restaurants to car repair services to banks.

While social media like Twitter and Facebook are an effective form of social engagement for small businesses, a mobile-friendly website and payment options for smartphones and tablets can tilt long-term success in their favor.

The market is there for the taking: smartphone ownership in the U.S. is expected to more than triple by 2016.

Here are a few areas small businesses and entrepreneurs can focus on if they want to maintain, or expand, their mobile presence:

  • Make the company website accessible to mobile devices
  • Add a mobile payment option
  • Make smartphones, tablets and other mobile tools available to the sales force
  • Use virtual meeting apps like GroupMe to communicate with staff.






It’s time to get in touch with your doctor. You don’t feel well. It’s time for an annual checkup or a follow-up visit. Or maybe you just have a medical question.

Chances are you have the family physician’s phone number on a card in your wallet, the one reminding you of your next appointment.

Or you can use the app on your smartphone or tablet to contact the office.

The ability to locate a doctor, book an appointment and attend to your personal health care needs is right in the palm of your hand, as an app for Apple or Android devices. One that comes to mind is Zoc Doc, launched in 2011 for iOS and now available on Android. Zoc Doc helps you to search for a doctor by specialty, browse doctor search results like credentials, view appointment calendars in real time and book one for an available date instantly.

If you just have a medical question and can’t wait, here’s even an app that lets you connect with a physician right on your mobile device. It’s a consultation without the waiting room.

Doctor on Demand allows a patient to speak with a licensed physician on audio or video through a smartphone, iPhone or tablet. The app is useful to people with non-emergency issues who have medical questions like seeking a referral or explaining symptoms. The participating doctors are drawn from a network affiliated with independent medical practices throughout the United States.

Doctor on Demand is a free app for iOS and Android, but the fee to speak with a doctor is $40, about the cost of a copayment to see a specialist.

If you’re a frequent air traveler, you’ve spent a fair amount of time in an airport terminal waiting on your flight. To pass the time until boarding call, you’ll likely want something to read.

Every airport has a newsstand — most likely Hudson News, which sells newspapers, magazines and books as well as other travel supplies in its terminal shops. USA Today or Wall Street Journal usually ends up on the plane as trash when your reach your destination.

There is another option for air travelers. Public libraries are a presence in several airports, offering free ebook downloads to passengers with an iPad or tablet.

These airport facilities are a perk for travelers with mobile devices. The downloaded ebooks are weightless and take up no room in a carry-on. Patrons who try out airport virtual libraries are also more likely to try ebooks at their home branches.

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) recently opened a virtual library where travelers can log on to the airport’s free WiFi network to access nearly 1,200 digital content titles. The virtual library is located on the walkway between Terminals D and E.

The airport partnered with the Free Library of Philadelphia to bring the library’s electronic resources to passengers. They can download titles to their iPad or tablet in a variety of genres from classics and bestsellers to children’s books.

Other airports have set up virtual libraries in their terminals, usually in partnership with local libraries.

  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) partnered with the Broward County Libraries Division to establish the first ebook lending program for passengers in 2011.
  • Kansas State Library makes titles available through its “Books on the Fly” program to passengers at Manhattan Regional Airport (MHK).
  • Michigan’s Traverse Area District Library offers passengers at Cherry Capital Airport (TVC) access to 30,000 digital ebook titles through its Books on the Go program.


Welcome to a better wireless underground.

Two of the largest subway systems in the country, New York and Chicago, are expanding the ability for mobile device owners to use their smartphones and tablets at transit stations. The days of a dropped phone signal as you enter a subway station are going the way of the token, thanks to improved technology and wireless infrastructure.

In New York, the nation’s largest subway system, the Metropolitan Transit Authority is adding wireless and Wi-Fi service to 11 stations in midtown Manhattan, including Grand Central Terminal, Herald Square and Bryant Park, and stations in the borough of Queens. The MTA launched wireless and Wi-Fi service at 36 subway stations last year, among them Times Square, and according to, the Wi-Fi network served 2.6 million connections throughout the year.

Smartphones like the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S4 were the most popular devices to connect to the Wi-Fi network and were responsible for 76 percent of the data usage in the stations last year.

When this expansion phase is completed in June, nearly 250 million riders will have access to service from AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon Wireless.

Besides convenience, the expansion of wireless service is expected to also enhance passenger safety and security, the MTA says. E911 will allow dispatchers to know when a call is being placed underground and the location of the caller. Employees and first responders will also have enhanced communications in an emergency.

Upgrades are also coming to Chicago, home to the nation’s third-busiest rail transit system. The Chicago Transit Authority is upgrading the existing wireless network to 4G technology. This is expected to improve service on the Blue and Red lines, which have a total of 24 miles of individual tunnels. Work on the project is expected to begin later this year.

So if you’re traveling to these cities anytime soon and plan to use their subways, rest assured that your wireless communication experience is about to improve.