Archive for the
‘Smartphones’ Category

mobilecontentIf you own a smartphone or tablet, you are likely using it to surf the Internet.

You’re looking for the best shopping deals, checking out the latest news, watching video content, interacting with others via social media. Let’s face it, the Internet has become essential when it comes to using our mobile devices like smartphones, iPads and tablets.

How essential is it? According to the Pew Research Internet Project, more than half of those surveyed say they cannot give up the Internet. Pew’s research finds that 53 percent of users would find it difficult to give up the Internet, compared with 38 percent in 2006.

It’s even harder to give up a cellphone or smartphone, especially if it has online access. According to Pew, 49 percent of cell phone and smartphone owners say it would be, at a minimum, very hard to give up their device, compared with 43 percent in 2006. Pew found that, among those earning $75,000 or more a year, 59 percent say it would be very hard to give up the smartphone or cell phone.

Pew also found that 1 in 10 users of the Internet would find social media very hard to give up. Think about that when you’re connecting with Facebook on your tablet or smartphone.

Not all of the results are tilted toward a mobile focus. Pew found that fewer people are more likely to give up their landline phones. The study revealed that 28 percent of landline owners say their phone would be very hard to give up, a major drop from 48 percent in 2006.


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.

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.


The installation of a “kill switch” in mobile devices to deter theft, first proposed by California legislators, now has the attention of federal lawmakers.

lockedphone_artFour U.S. senators introduced legislation to require carriers to install a security feature on smartphones that would remotely and permanently disable the devices if stolen. The legislation follows California’s first-in-the-nation bid to make the so-called “kill switch” mandatory on all mobile devices, including tablets.

Theft is a serious problem confronting owners of mobile devices. In major cities like New York and San Francisco, smartphone theft accounts for half of all robberies. There’s even an informal and diabolical name for it: “Apple picking.” U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, one of the bill’s sponsors, estimates the cost of these thefts to consumers is more than $30 billion a year.

The idea is for the disabling technology to be an effective deterrent by making the smartphones worthless to thieves.

But not everyone is on board. The wireless trade group CTIA has come out against the federal legislation in a position paper, citing potential hacking and privacy risks that could affect entire groups of smartphone customers. A lost smartphone reported stolen could cost the consumer hundreds of dollars to replace it, the CTIA says. The group does support criminal penalties for tampering with a smartphone.

“There is a far better way to do this, but it would actually require that criminals are captured, smartphones are returned to the owners, and justice is served,’s John Dvorak writes in panning the federal legislation. “It also means providers and police have to do more than sit around hitting a kill switch and having a doughnut.”

This recent CNET article goes into depth about the security devices already employed in most smartphones, and what the wireless industry is doing — and not doing — to deter thieves.




More than a third of young adults who book travel plans are likely to do it with a smartphone or tablet, a survey reveals.

hotwire_artThe discount travel site released today the findings of its third annual American Travel Behavior Survey. Harris Interactive, which conducted the online poll for Hotwire, surveyed over 2,000 U.S. adults 18 and older in October.

The survey found that 18 percent of adults who have ever booked travel plans have done so using a mobile device. The results revealed 37 percent of adults 18 to 34, and 25 percent of adults ages 35 to 44, are significantly more likely to book their trips using a smartphone or tablet.

Also, 12 percent of those who have booked travel with a mobile device used a smartphone, while 10 percent used a tablet.

The survey also revealed that 48 percent of adults say they’re more comfortable with last-minute bookings, done within seven days of checking in. Not surprisingly, this is where Hotwire says it’s done a lot of business, with 80 percent of its bookings on smartphones and 70 percent on tablets are made the day before or day of arrival.

Currently, nearly 20 percent of Hotwire’s booking occur on mobile devices. is issuing a challenge to app developers to come up with new and creative ways to place local online orders.

The New York-based company has launched a competition deliverycom_artfor developers to come up with original mobile apps that create new ways for consumers to place local online orders. There’s $65,000 in prizes, plus a share of order revenues, for the best apps that drive new users and orders to local restaurants, wine and spirits stores and laundries, dry cleaners and tailors. has created a niche for itself with a platform where consumers can order prepared food, groceries and services from neighborhood merchants. Now it is encouraging app developers to come up with their own ideas for an ordering platform that is locally focused, and benefits the local economy.

As we said before in a recent post, online commerce is surging as overall mobile retail sales topped $60 billion last year.

ChallengePost, the competition’s administrator, is accepting submissions through June 10. Winners will be announced the week of July 16.

So, what’s for dinner?

There’s always takeout from the Chinese restaurant or your favorite pizzeria. You’ll find the menu from the last order, make a phone call, pickup in 20 minutes and dinner is ready to be served.

Technology can help out with this task. Dinnertime planning can be as easy as tapping the app of the mobile device in the palm of your hand.

Most popular restaurants offer apps as part of their overall customer engagement strategy. You can check a menu, download a coupon, share your experience on social media. A growing number also let you place an order for pickup without waiting in line.

If you’re looking for more variety in cuisine, if you’re looking for takeout or delivery options close to home, there are apps for that as well.

Apps for sites like Seamless, Eat24 and Grubhub list hundreds of restaurants that can be filtered by location, distance, cuisine, delivery charges and estimated pickup time.

You’ll find many of them in the App Store and Google Play store.



We’re using  our tablets in growing numbers to buy merchandise, as tablet payments comprise almost half of all mobile commerce.

This comes out of a new study released this week by Javelin Strategy & Research on the mobile shopping market. The use of tablets for online purchasing and commerce is surging as overall mobile retail sales topped $60 billion last year, Pleasanton, Calif.-based Javelin says; tablets were responsible for $28.7 billion in mobile online commerce — purchases, payments and the like. It was slightly more than for smartphones. In 2012 tablets accounted for $5.1 billion in commerce.

Javelin says the devices are expected to become more dominant as a purchase channel as tablet device ownership grows. Tablet-optimized shopping experiences, such as apps, should be a top priority for merchants and businesses looking to capitalize on the growth of mobile online commerce.

You can read more about this here. Tell us what you think.