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Showing posts from March, 2008

Television Integrating with Home IP Networks

According to ABI Research, in coming years home network connections will no longer be an optional feature for many consumer electronics products, as digital content, social networking and IP services delivered through embedded network connections will be demanded by consumers in the devices they buy. The leading device categories for embedded networking in consumer electronics will shift from the early market leaders -- game consoles -- to TVs and DVD players. ABI Research forecasts the number for networked TV shipments alone to grow to 65 million total units shipped by 2012, from just 3.6 million in 2008. "While many TV manufacturers have been evaluating the integration of networking features into devices for some time, only recently have manufacturers such as LG, Sony and HP begun to ship products en masse with embedded networking," says research director Mike Wolf. "While Japan has had networked TVs for some time, other regions are beginning to receive such merchan

Fiber-to-the-Home is Economic Development

Fiber to the home (FTTH) reaches approximately one percent of residences in the U.S. market -- and that's after a couple of years of rapid growth. It's unlikely that this market penetration will change significantly, due to the apparent lack of proactive public policy. The challenge: the leading global markets continue to lead, while the trailing markets continue to fall behind. Other nations are wrestling with many of the same issues that has held back America's infrastructure investment rank within the Global Networked Economy. The NZ Institute analysis of New Zealand's need for fiber to the home will generate much-needed debate in New Zealand about the role of broadband in New Zealand's economic future, according to the latest market assessment by IDC. Telecommunications Research Manager, Rosalie Nelson, says that while IDC is forecasting strong broadband growth in New Zealand over the next five years, they will be running very hard to catch up. She says New

Discover IPTV Innovation, Move to France

The total number of IPTV subscribers grew by 117 percent in 2007 to reach 12.34 million, up from 5.71 million at the end of 2006, according to the latest research from Informa Telecoms and Media. The biggest world region by far remains Western Europe, which passed 6.9 million IPTV subscribers in 2007 to account for 57 percent of the global total. The bulk of subscriptions were in France, where incumbent France Telecom and alternative operators Free, Neuf and Telecom Italia's Alice, had attracted more than 5 million IPTV customers by creatively bundling the service free with broadband. While a large proportion of these subscribers may not be paying for additional content, they do receive free-to-air channels with their basic triple-play packages. France is in a league of its own when it comes to IPTV subscriptions. The country has nearly 10 times as many IPTV subscriptions as second-placed Spain and close to 75 percent of the Western Europe total. Some of Western Europe's larger

Fragmentation of Mobile Multimedia Market

A recent consumer survey conducted by ABI Research demonstrates that today's mobile phone owners use a mix of mobile content obtained from the Web, from their personal collections, and from their wireless carriers. As an example, the mobile phone service consumer is more likely to watch a video from YouTube on their phone than a video from the carrier's own service, but is more than twice as likely to get ringtones from the carrier than from any other source. "Perhaps more with the mobile phone than any other consumer electronics device, content is obtained from a variety of sources," says research director Michael Wolf. "This shows that despite the strong control most carriers retain over the network, their control over the mobile content ecosystem remains limited. The consumer will see more and more options for obtaining rich media in the future." The 14 percent of respondents who said they use their phone to watch video was split nearly evenly between

Cable Finds its Switched Digital Video Mojo

With all the talk about the growth potential of telco IPTV service offerings, some market analysts may believe that cable TV service providers have lost their edge. However, cable has apparently found a technology to breath new life into their legacy infrastructure. Switched Digital Video (SDV) technologies provide an excellent, long-term approach that is helping cable operators keep up the pace with expanding High Definition TV and super high-speed data services, reports In-Stat. SDV is a new technology that distributes video more efficiently over cable TV coaxial lines, the high-tech market research firm says. SDV will enable cable operators to better compete with rivals in digital broadcast satellite and telco TV. "Initial deployments will create a strong market for upgrades, which will become dominant in 2012," says Gerry Kaufhold, In-Stat analyst. "The strategic key to success for vendors will be winning early deployments, because follow-on upgrades will be lucra

Nokia has Most Loyal Customers in APAC

According to the latest IDC Asia-Pacific market study, mobile phone shipments in the APEJ region -- excluding Japan -- in 2007 hit 366 million units, an 18 percent increase from 2006. Shipments are further projected to exceed 400 million units in 2008, representing a 10 percent year-on-year increase. "The twin engines of this growth are India and the PRC, which together commanded more than 60 percent of shipments in the region," said Aloysius Choong, Research Manager of IDC's Asia-Pacific Personal Systems research. "We expect the India market to be particularly robust, swelling by another 19 percent in 2008." Although both markets saw record subscriber growth in 2007, mobile penetration rates currently stand at about 20 percent in India and 40 percent in the PRC, so there is still much room for expansion. IDC expects mobile number portability, which allows users to retain their phone numbers when changing service providers, to launch in India at the end of 20

Mobile Messaging Services Revenue Growth

SMS is finally taking off in the Americas, mobile e-mail continues its strong growth in developed regions, subscriber growth is driving messaging adoption in Asia-Pacific, and social networking is lifting the messaging boat across nearly all regions. The combination of these factors is expected to grow revenues from mobile messaging to $212 billion by 2013, according to the latest market study from ABI Research. Messaging services growth will have different regional specific drivers. Despite the differences, however, the common growth denominator is that messaging services provide a timely, cost-effective, customer-specific communication and information capability. Principal analyst Dan Shey says, "You will not find many customers worldwide who don't find messaging cost-effective and valuable for communications and delivery of information. The range of capabilities, services and pricing options can be fit to the economic and social differences of each region, and the result

Consumers of News Have Differing Needs

ComScore released the results of a study of the differences in online behavior among heavy, medium, light and non-newspaper readers. The results showed that non-newspaper readers are likely to be younger, and they are actually heavier than average online news consumers. Meanwhile, heavy newspaper readers are more likely than average to engage with traditional print news brands online. "That current generations are growing up getting their news online for free is an indicator that print circulations are likely to continue their decline," said Jack Flanagan, executive vice president of comScore. "But the Internet represents a significant opportunity to extend -- and even improve upon -- existing news brands and reach out to new consumers with living, breathing real-time content. Just because print circulations are declining does not mean there are fewer news consumers. In fact, just the opposite is true." Heavy print newspaper readers show a strong skew towards o

Smartphones and the Experience Provider

According to ABI Research, the market for mobile smartphones will grow from around 10 percent of the total handset market in 2007 to 31 percent of the market in 2013. Looking forward, it's all going to be about designing the user experience. A new study projects this rapid growth to be a product of a number of complex factors including carrier drive to grow data revenues from advanced services and the general trend to pushing smart operating systems down into middle tier devices. Smart operating systems are continually being optimized to run on processors with lower performance. There is a strategic move to support a smart OS in single chip midrange devices in order to unlock more data revenues. The market is currently dominated by Nokia (52 percent) and Symbian (65 percent). However, the coalescence of the framework wars in the Linux environment and the growing stature of Windows Mobile will enable new competitors to put pressure on this established axis. The report finds that

Home Powerline and Wireless Technologies

Integrators are cautiously optimistic about the prospects for 2008 sales of home systems and controls technologies despite the current slowdown in new home construction, according to Parks Associates and EH Publishing. The two firms presented a summary of their latest research, analysis, and forecasts at EHX Spring 2008 in Orlando, FL, March 14. "Despite the severe contraction in new home construction, home systems integrators are hopeful for continued sales gains in 2008," said Daryl Delano, director of research, EH Publishing. They have benefited from the fact that approximately 50 percent of their business comes from installation work within existing homes. "Powerline and wireless technologies have developed to the state where they are stable, reliable, and offer the performance demanded in the custom installation channel," said Bill Ablondi, director of home systems, Parks Associates. Many dealers have adopted these technologies to expand their retrofi

9.8 Billion Videos Viewed Online in January

ComScore released January 2008 data from the comScore Video Metrix service, revealing that YouTube.com accounted for one-third of the 9.8 billion videos viewed online in the U.S. during the month. The total number of videos viewed in January was down slightly from the more than 10.1 billion viewed during a record-breaking December 2007. Google Sites once again ranked as the top U.S. video property in January with nearly 3.4 billion videos viewed (34.3 percent share of videos), gaining 1.7 share points versus the previous month. YouTube.com accounted for more than 96 percent of all videos viewed at the property. Fox Interactive Media ranked second with 584 million (6 percent), followed by Yahoo! Sites with 315 million (3.2 percent) and Microsoft Sites with 199 million (2 percent). More than 139 million U.S. Internet users spent an average of 206 minutes per person viewing online video in January. Google Sites also attracted the most viewers (80 million), where they spent an average

Are B2B Technology Firms Customer-Centric?

According to a CMO Council market study, the significant disconnect between vendors and their channel, on one hand, and customers, on the other, begins with a basic disagreement about what it means to be customer-centric. Customers say that, above all else, centricity begins with the strategic alignment of a vendor's organization with the customer. Yet, among vendors and the channel, strategic alignment with customers is neither their top priority nor a real competency. When asked what three qualities best characterize a customer-centric company, some 52 percent of customers cite "organizational, operational and cultural alignment around the customer," compared with only 40 percent of marketers and 35 percent of channel respondents. Perhaps even more importantly, vendors do not believe they are particularly well-aligned with customers. When asked how well they are aligned with the customer -- the customer's own yardstick for measuring customer centricity -- only 21 p

On-the-Go Mobile Phone Purchases to Rise

A new Harris Interactive study finds that mobile phone users are increasingly comfortable making banking and purchase transactions while on-the-go -- a virtual unknown until now. The survey finds 16 percent of mobile phone subscribers already use mobile banking services, with 60 percent of these people using the services at least once a week. Many others presently not banking and buying on-the-go expressed interest in mobile banking, with 35 percent open to checking bank account balances and transferring funds via their mobile devices. A third of those surveyed (33 percent) also said they would like to receive text message alerts from their financial institutions. The survey also finds that on-the-go mobile purchases are on the rise. About 25 percent of mobile phone users with mobile access to the Internet now use their devices to buy goods and services online via a credit card. One in five respondents (20 percent) said they would like to someday use their phones like a mobile-walle

New Generation of Entertainment Hardware

Global TV shipments rose 4 million to almost 200 million units -- worth over$100 billion last year -- and growth will accelerate to reach 280 million units -- worth $160 billion by 2012 -- according to a new consumer electronics industry report from Understanding & Solutions. The global TV boom is being powered by consumer desire for Flat Panel TV, which is rapidly replacing CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) sets, plus growth in emerging markets, which are also trending away from CRT to flat panels. Emerging markets accounted for over 50 percent of global TV shipments in 2007 and will rise to more than 65 percent by 2012. LCD is rapidly growing to become the dominant display technology for television, and accounted for 40 percent of shipments in 2007 and 64 percent of market value. By 2012, LCD will account for over 80 percent of the market. "Strategic supply of LCD panels has become a critical competitive issue, with huge concentrations of volume under the control of major producers

U.S. Consumers Choosing Pay-TV by Price

ABI Research conducted an online survey of more than a thousand U.S. consumers aimed at discovering how people view their Pay-TV service providers -- what technologies and programming they use, and their price sensitivity towards available service offerings. The TV viewing habits of American consumers can be baffling, yet service providers and equipment vendors are investing billions of dollars on how viewers will embrace triple- or quadruple-play services and demand IPTV offerings. "Americans do a lot of time-shifting with PVRs, and a lot of gaming, and plenty of people have installed home theaters," reports ABI Research vice president Scan Schatt. "They are likely to consume a lot more video over the next several years." Highlights of the ABI study include: - 38 percent of respondents had home theater systems or game consoles attached to their televisions; nearly as many used DVRs, and only a few used network media adaptors or the Slingbox. - More than 25 p

SaaS Driving U.S. Managed Services Growth

The growth of hosted applications, or SaaS (software as a service), as well as other related services provisioned by a third-party provider, are driving steady U.S. managed services revenue growth, according to the latest market study by In-Stat. As most business functions are still performed in-house by a majority of firms, out-tasking the management of the network and related infrastructure may still be considered a trend. The hosted application model, however, is closing in on becoming a paradigm, the high-tech market research firm says. "Though business decision-makers have indicated that they plan to out-task major business functions like security, storage, phone system management at a moderate pace, adoption of third-party application hosting is the fastest growing area in managed services," says Jeff Jernigan, In-Stat analyst. "The on-demand hosted application model has seen acceptance in the small-to-medium business market, and now demand is rising among enter

Worldwide Market for Digital Satellite STBs

The pay direct-to-home (DTH) television industry is characterized by two broad growth patterns -- maturing markets with decaying rates and high growth emerging markets, according to the latest market study by In-Stat. In mature markets, growth will come from premium services -- HD and DVR/PVR -- while emerging high growth markets will experience a period of relatively robust subscriber acquisition likely followed by consolidation and a gradual decay in the growth rate, the high-tech market research firm says. Within mature markets, demand for set-top boxes is expected to soften, if not decline. These markets will have growth in the number of premium boxes, and to some extent, these units will bolster the market, although with subscriber churn, gross adds declining, and leasing business models, the overall demand will fall over time. Asia-Pacific has the highest growth potential in the coming years, as India expands and there is the prospect of a relatively large Chinese market. Th

U.S. Bloggers Consume Digital Media Sites

ComScore released the results of a study using its comScore Segment Metrix tool, which showed that heavy users of U.S. blog sites -- heavy bloggers -- are significantly more likely than the average Internet user to consume news and entertainment content online. "As blogs continue to grow in both quality and audience size, both traditional and non-traditional advertisers are increasingly putting their online ad dollars towards reaching this group of consumers," said Jack Flanagan, executive vice president of comScore. "This highly informed, tech savvy, and entertainment-oriented consumer segment is consistent with the profile of an influencer, which is of course a particularly attractive audience to reach." For purposes of this study, heavy bloggers are defined as the heaviest 20 percent of blog visitors who account for 84 percent of all the time spent on blogging sites. Given that blogs can often be described as both informative and entertaining, it is not surpris

Disruption in U.S. Entertainment Distribution

The ongoing fragmentation of U.S. entertainment distribution continues unabated. Historically, the radio broadcasting business model was disrupted when television networks entered the marketplace -- likewise, both will be disrupted by the online digital media era. Hulu, an online video service, announced the public launch of its Web site, Hulu.com this week. American consumers can go to Hulu to watch a large selection of advertiser-supported TV shows, movies, clips and more in high-quality -- anytime, all for free. In addition, Hulu announced new content partnerships with the Warner Bros. Television Group, Lionsgate, NBA, NHL and more than 20 other top content providers. Video content distributed via Hulu can also be freely embedded on other Web sites -- see the "Juno" movie clip above, as an example. New content additions to Hulu's library will include: feature films like The Usual Suspects and Ice Age, shows like Dirt, The Incredible Hulk, Babylon 5, Studio 60 on t

IPTV Threatened by Over-the-Top Video

Last year, subscribers to telco IPTV services worldwide numbered only about 13.5 million, but ABI Research now forecasts their ranks to grow to more than 90 million by the end of 2013. Is that a realistic projection, based upon current events that clearly disrupt the Pay-TV industry status quo? Only time will tell. Given the rapid adoption of direct-to-consumer offerings from new online video services created by established entertainment industry players, such as Hulu that launched this week in the U.S. market, is the forward-looking profit potential for new entrants to the traditional Pay-TV services market now in question? "The IPTV market as a whole is poised for strong growth," says senior analyst Cesar Bachelet, "but clearly it will be stronger in some areas than in others. ABI Research anticipates particularly substantial growth in North America and most emerging markets." In North America, until recently only a few Canadian operators and smaller rural op

New Tracking Service for Mobile Advertising

M: Metrics unveiled its competitive tracking service for mobile advertising, in the United Kingdom, revealing the first definitive metrics for measuring mobile advertising inventory. The measurement firm reports that online retail companies such as Electronic Arts, Glu and Ebay are placing the bulk of mobile ads, with the category comprising of 39 percent of all mobile ads tracked by M:Metrics. "Early findings are encouraging, as they indicate that mobile is increasingly being incorporated into mainstream media buys," said Paul Goode, senior analyst, M:Metrics. "In January, we tracked major brands across a range of industries, including Avis, BMW, Cadbury's, Citroen, EMAP and IBM, using mobile advertising." This expansion to the M: Metrics product portfolio comes after the success of M:Ad in the United States, launched in November 2007. In January, they tracked 403 unique creative advertisements in the United Kingdom, in 91 campaigns representing 48 differen

Ultra-Wideband Still in Search of Demand

In 2006 analysts said that it appeared that the market launch of ultra-wideband (UWB) was imminent. Several factors conspired to delay that, but ABI Research now expects UWB to see very strong growth starting in 2008, finding its first success in computers, and eventually in mobile handsets. Forecasts indicate that shipments of UWB-enabled devices will grow from virtually nothing today, to more than 400 million in 2013. Seems implausible, doesn't it? "The ultra-wideband market did not come out of the starting gates in 2006 as we had anticipated," says senior analyst Douglas McEuen. "There were several reasons for the delay, including a shakeout from three competing flavors of the technology to one, and the absence of global standards." Now, however, conditions are ripe for a rapid takeoff, supposedly. We are starting from Year Zero: in 2007, only about 40,000 UWB-equipped devices shipped. This year, there will be perhaps a million, and ABI Research expects th

Growth for Conditional Access Technology

Conditional Access (CA) technology -- the protection of multimedia content by requiring consumers to meet certain criteria for access -- is set to generate revenues approaching $1.4 billion this year. A new study from ABI Research forecasts CA revenues to fluctuate in a stable range slightly below that figure as far as 2013, with telcos taking an increasingly large slice of the pie at the expense of the cable and satellite industries. According to industry analyst Zippy Aima, "Cable and satellite aren't going away, but the options now offered by new deployments of telco TV -- including interactive and on-demand content, time-shifting and place-shifting -- are generating a buzz that drives demand for their premium content to a wider audience." A number of factors are converging to drive this market. The increasing prevalence of broadband networks and the ease with which digital media can be cloned and distributed combine great opportunity and great risk for the owners o

IPTV Set-Top Box Bonanza for Vendors

The IP set-top box market almost doubled in 2007 as more boxes were needed to supply new subscribers that telcos added to their TV services, according to the latest market study from In-Stat. North America was one of the fastest growing regions, as AT&T ramped up the pace of installations throughout the year, the high-tech market research firm says. The impact of these subscribers on the set top market was enhanced due to the fact that most North American subscribers need multiple boxes. "IP set-top box hardware features are now stable, with the exception of the integration of home-networking technologies," says Michelle Abraham, In-Stat analyst. "New features will come in software, rather than hardware, in the future." The research covers the worldwide market for IPTV set-top boxes. It includes worldwide five-year unit shipment, ASP, and revenue forecasts through 2012 for IP set-top boxes divided into six geographic regions: North America, Latin America, Wes

HDTV Anticlimax in the German Marketplace

The closure of two German HDTV channels has cast a shadow over European hopes for a rapid transition to High Definition Television, according to analysis published by the Strategy Analytics Broadband Network Strategies service. Their report entitled "HDTV Channels Shut Down: A Sign of Things to Come?" concludes that Europe's television providers should concentrate their resources initially on building pay television rather than advertising based business models in order to reach the critical mass of HD content and receivers necessary to make HDTV a self-sustaining business. ProSiebenSat1, one of Germany's leading commercial television broadcasters, closed its two HDTV channels on February 15th after concluding that audience figures were insufficient to justify their continued transmission. The decision leaves Germany with only a handful of HD channels, most of them only available to pay TV subscribers. "It was always highly ambitious to expect advertising reve

A Wireless Device Ecosystem Opportunity

Wireless network service providers with the right spectrum, available capital, and access to enough sites to place base stations are in a great position to take advantage of the WiMAX head-start on the 4G market. But Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB) are vying for 4G as well -- and even though mobile WiMAX has a time-to-market advantage over LTE, delays in certifications by the WiMAX Forum, coupled with delays in network rollouts, could narrow that window of opportunity. ABI Research apparently is confident that UMB will not gain traction, as the true battle for 4G blossoms between mobile WiMAX and LTE. "The biggest opportunity for mobile WiMAX is the chance to develop a wider device ecosystem and worldwide subscriber base before LTE starts to do the same," says ABI Research principal analyst Philip Solis. "However, LTE remains a potential threat to WiMAX since 3GPP-backed LTE will become the dominant 4G technology and is progressing quickly

Broadband Value-Added Services Upside

By 2012, close to 33 million U.S. households will have broadband services with speeds of 10 Mbps or higher, capable of streaming high-definition video, according to the latest Parks Associates North American Broadband Market Update. At year-end 2007, 5.7 million, or 9 percent of U.S. broadband households, had such speeds. "Until recently, telecom operators' aggressive deployment of deep fiber services and the competitive reaction from cable MSOs fueled the growth of high-bandwidth broadband services," said Yuanzhe (Michael) Cai, Director of Broadband and Gaming, Parks Associates. "As consumer excitement over pure bandwidth subsides, however, service providers will have to deliver appealing, bandwidth-intensive, value-added services such as HD video streaming and content place-shifting in order to retain customers and increase ARPU." Investment in new broadband technologies such as FTTx and DOCSIS 3.0 and the growing breadth of broadband entertainment con

Japan Leads Asia-Pacific Digital Media Use

The young and tech-savvy of the Asia-Pacific region spend vast amounts of time online in their pursuit of digital media entertainment. A new ABI Research study focused on online content usage in APAC forecasts that online media activities in the region will deliver at least $6.5 billion in annual revenues by the end of 2013. "Telcos now regard digital media and entertainment as an effective means of replacing their declining voice revenues in a market where VoIP, IPTV, and fixed-mobile substitution are rapidly growing in popularity," says ABI Research analyst Serene Fong. Telecom service providers in Asia are bracing themselves for the era of triple and quadruple-play, allowing their customers greater connectivity on their mobile devices, both at home and on the go. Improvements in wireless technologies and advancements in mobile devices have buttressed this concept. According to Fong, "The availability of 2.5G, 3G, iMode, and HSPA handsets has equipped consumers with We

High-Priced U.S. Mobile Broadband Service

ComScore released the results of a study of U.S. Internet usage via mobile broadband. The study examined the usage and characteristics of mobile broadband users through data collected from computers where Internet access via mobile broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs) occurred. Mobile broadband employs cellular networks, where users pay subscriptions for access and the connection is made with a PC card, built-in adapter, or connections can be tethered via a cell-phone or PDA, and is different than Wi-Fi access, which is predicated on the availability of short range hot-spots where access fees often apply incrementally for each connection. In 2007, Verizon and Sprint accounted for the majority of the mobile broadband market. AT&T has announced it will increase its coverage in 2008. The number of computers using mobile broadband technology to access the Internet grew by 154 percent in Q4 2007 versus the same period in 2006. "Though mobile broadband access is current

4G Subscribers Latest Worldwide Forecast

The total number of 4G subscribers worldwide, including both LTE and WiMAX, is expected to exceed 90 million in 2013, but a number of milestones must be passed en route, according to a new forecast from ABI Research. At the end of 4Q 2007 there were nearly 3.4 billion mobile phone service subscribers worldwide, with 2.7 billion on GSM/EDGE/GPRS networks. That's a lot of mobile phones, for sure. Worldwide WCDMA subscriber numbers hit 180 million in 4Q 2007. ABI Research expects migration to HSPA+ to begin in early 2010, and migration to LTE will commence by the middle of the same year. Vice president Asia-Pacific Jake Saunders comments, "We forecast the total number of WCDMA subscribers (including HSPA) to approach 720 million in 2013." Research analyst Hwai Lin Khor adds, "Some operators may not be ready to move on to LTE, as the peak data rates of 100 Mbps downlink and 50 Mbps uplink are achievable only with a 20 MHz spectrum band. That is a luxury that most oper

WiMAX and Mesh Network Equipment Growth

The WiMAX market sequentially grew 11 percent for the quarter and 46 percent for the year, with worldwide sales of fixed and mobile WiMAX equipment hitting just under $800 million in 2007, according to Infonetics Research in its latest WiMAX and Mesh Network Equipment and Devices report. WiMAX has been deployed in more than 80 countries worldwide, and commercial networks will continue to grow in number and size in 2008, the report shows. Infonetics forecasts the WiMAX market to grow to $7.7 billion in 2011. "Several recent developments are giving a boost to the WiMAX market," said Richard Webb, wireless analyst for Infonetics Research. "Among the most significant developments: Cisco's acquisition of mobile WiMAX vendor Navini Networks, the market entrance of specialist ASN gateway vendor WiChorus, the launch of WiMAX phones and Ultra Mobile PCs, and the new Open WiMAX initiative, which promotes disruptive, all-IP open WiMAX architecture, and should lead to best-of

Segmentation of New Ultra Mobile Devices

Consumers are waiting for mobile device makers to figure out that one-size-fits-all solutions are missing the mark. 2007 was a year of significant events in the enigmatic Ultra Mobile Devices (UMD) market, according to the latest market study by In-Stat. Major moves were seen on multiple fronts including connectivity, new ultra mobile devices, and new processors, the high-tech market research firm says. In addition, the industry is now beginning to accept that there can only be one Internet. Multiple versions with limited content and performance -- depending on whether the user's device identifies itself to the network as a phone or a PC -- is not an acceptable solution for consumers. "Major moves by processor manufacturers will continue to enable new UMD designs (primarily UMPCs and MIDs)," says Ian Lao, In-Stat analyst. "New processor platforms such as Silverthorne from Intel and Isaiah from VIA will continue to target not only performance but also power dissipa

Femtocell Providers Search for a Purpose

Wireless carriers may still be focused on the wrong customer need. Consumers often do not care about which particular technology provides them with service -- but consumers always care about quality and the consequent benefits of those services. ABI Research believes femtocell solution providers must recognize this fact and then direct attention toward the development of potential services that can be enabled by an intelligent femtocell solution, especially with the majority of technical hurdles already overcome. Not only is this critical in differentiating from competitive solutions such as Dual-Mode Wi-Fi solutions, but also it will be critical in ensuring profitability for carriers. ABI Research vice president Stuart Carlaw states that "with a very conservative uptake of new innovative services enabled by femtocell solutions, it could take as much as five years before carriers go into the black following the trials on femtocell solutions." "It is important to put

U.S. Broadband Users are Satisfied with Less

All Internet access isn't the same. In fact, U.S. consumers are becoming aware of the limitations that some broadband service connections provide, particularly in regard to available bandwidth, according to the latest market study by In-Stat. The amount of bandwidth that is available to a broadband data service end-user has become important, the high-tech market research firm says. The more bandwidth an Internet service offers, the faster the end-user can access multimedia-rich web sites and download files. "As a general rule of thumb in the broadband world, higher bandwidth is better," says Mike Paxton, In-Stat analyst. "Consumers readily recognize this fact, and many of them are actively looking for a broadband service that will increase the amount of bandwidth that they can use." Granted, that assessment isn't profound. However, up until recently, most American consumers still weren't aware that their peers in the leading European and Asia-Pacific

Can Hollywood Challenge Dominant Apple?

Parks Associates and the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC@USC) released a new white paper detailing steps to achieve profitable distribution of mobile content on mobile platforms and devices. They suggest that content owners should offer more free content on mobile devices in order to aggressively promote movies and programming on traditional media. By offering free content, this will prime the pump for future premium offerings. At least, that's the hope. Parks Associates notes that less than 10 percent of Internet users are willing to purchase a digital movie download at current price points. That said, apparently it's not clear exactly what price point would be acceptable. The new white paper exhorts Hollywood to use Apple's own tactics of offering bargain content in order to sell higher margin products for its own benefit -- in this case, to drive consumers to new theatrical releases, TV programming, and eventually made-for-mobile video programming, or "mobis

Smartphone Growth Drives Accessory Use

Mobile phones are big business. In fact, so are the accessories. Sales of mobile phone accessories are expected to generate over $40 billion in revenue in 2008. Handset vendors and mobile operators know that to increase sales of their feature-rich handsets, they also need to provide accessories that will allow users to fully enjoy and benefit from the applications and features supported by the handsets. This means providing accessories such as headsets, memory cards, and data connection kits, in addition to chargers and batteries. "Current market trends including the growing adoption of smartphones in the prosumer and consumer segments, as well as the increasing popularity of iPhone-like feature-rich devices with touch-screens are contributing to the growing demand for mobile phone accessories," says ABI Research industry analyst Shailendra Pandey. Further, more people buying expensive smartphones and feature-rich devices mean greater demand for accessories that protect ha

A/V Market is in a Major Stage of Transition

Adoption of networking technologies will make installed home theaters and multi-room audio systems more affordable, opening up this market to more consumers at low-to-medium income levels, according to the latest study by Parks Associates. Total U.S. revenues for installed home theaters and multiroom audio systems will grow from $6 billion in 2007 to more than $11 billion by 2012, and analysts forecast the number of new installations to grow 67 percent over the same period, from 166,000 per year in 2007 to 277,000 by 2012. The high-end A/V market is in a major stage of transition. Digital media content is approaching the performance and quality of analog media, with the added flexibility only digital content offers. Reduced costs coupled with advancements in wireless and powerline networking technologies are also growing the retrofit portion of the market, at a time when mid-market construction is slowing down. Soon, according to the Parks' assessment, PC-based systems from com

Growing Adoption of Smartphone Content

While more people are playing mobile games than ever before, the percentage of people downloading a new game did not increase over the past year in the United States and Western Europe, according to the latest M:Metrics market study. Nearly three fourths of the 98.4 million people in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the U.S. that played a mobile game in December played a game that was found natively on the device -- demonstrating an untapped potential for downloaded content. M:Metrics reports that 38.5 million, or 8.8 percent of, mobile subscribers played a game they had downloaded and stored on their phone, that number has been relatively flat from the year before, when 35.3 million, or 8.7 percent, played a downloaded game. Only 14.4 million, or 3.3 percent of, mobile subscribers in the United States and Western Europe downloaded a game in the month, versus 14.6 million (3.6 percent) in December 2006. At 12.7 percent, Spain has the highest penetration of thos

Hosted Business Technology as a Service

Growth of hosted business technology services, specifically hosted applications, or software as a service (SaaS) -- as well as other services provisioned by a third-party provider -- are driving steady U.S. managed services revenue growth. According to In-Stat, research has shown that a majority of various business functions like security, storage, and other related processes are still performed in-house by a majority of firms, but the increasing complexity of running a business network is leading to steady revenue growth for managed network and infrastructure services in the U.S. market. Steadily increasing demand for these third-party services and the more rapid growth in demand for hosted application services will lead to 7 percent overall U.S. revenue growth of managed services through 2012. The In-Stat report provides an updated managed services forecast through 2012 based on recently updated U.S. census information. Also available is survey data that provides an overview of w

Austin Texas Nurtures Digital Media Haven

AngelouEconomics has released their first comprehensive economic impact assessment on the City of Austin from the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music, Film and Interactive Conference and Festival. Few entertainment industry events in the world can compare to the depth and breadth of SXSW -- given the range of activities, performers, presenters, and visitor attendees. In 2007, SXSW featured nine days of industry conference activities, six days of trade shows, a five-night music festival featuring over 1,500 artists in more than 70 venues, plus nine days and nights of film festival with more than 275 screenings in six venues. In total, it's estimated that the event last year was attended by more than 125,000 people. According to the AngelouEconomics assessment, the 2007 SXSW events were directly and indirectly responsible for injecting about $95 million into Austin's local economy. Digital Media Entrepreneurs That said, while the creative residents of Austin contribute to the