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Internet's Crowds Stunting Its Growth: Trends Report
June 13, 2019
More than half the world's population -- 3.8 billion people -- have access to the Internet and that may not be a good thing for business, according to digital savant Mary Meeker's Internet Trends 2019 report. Global Internet user growth has slowed to 6 percent year over year, down from 7 percent, noted the Bond Capital general partner. The Asia-Pacific region leads in both users and potential.
For Brands the Future Is Facebook
June 7, 2019
Mark Zuckerberg recently said that the future of Facebook is private. Interestingly, connecting the dots between all the announcements made at Facebook's 2019 developers conference draws a bright picture of what the future looks like for brands, small e-commerce stores, and new businesses using the Facebook family of apps. It includes a whole new world of opportunities.
When Retail Customers Take It on the Chin, Investors Win
June 6, 2019
I am a reluctant Costco shopper. My wife is one of the many who really love the chain. Me... not so much. Seriously -- someone should knock Costco's top officials on the head and wake them up to the need to focus on their customers. After all, it's the customers who make Costco successful. When my family owned lots of retail stores, I learned many important lessons that Costco needs to learn.
Apple Highlights User Experience in New OS Lineup
June 5, 2019
Apple dangled the next versions of iOS, macOS and watchOS before developers' eyes during the keynote event at its World Wide Developers Conference in San Jose, California. In this round of operating system upgrades, Apple seems focused on improvements. "They're polishing a number of aspects of the operating systems, " said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research.
Apple's New iPod Gets in Touch With Gamers
May 29, 2019
Apple has refreshed its iPod touch line of media players with a faster processor, greater storage capacity and improved communications features. The new iPod is built on Apple's A10 Fusion chip, the same processor used in the iPhone 7. According to Apple, the power upgrade delivers two times faster performance than previous models and three times better graphics.
Getting Chatty With Chatbots
May 28, 2019
Chatbots are an important part of the e-commerce shopping experience. They answer questions, provide information, and help customers along in their buying journey. Though they may never replace human beings entirely, they are central to many e-commerce-related interactions. Because they can be everpresent, chatbots are vital for keeping customers and potential customers engaged with a brand.
Leveraging the Tools That Fuel E-Commerce Growth
May 25, 2019
E-commerce technologies have been innovating fast. It's no surprise, considering e-commerce in North America grew by 15 percent in 2018, to reach more than $500 billion. Today's e-commerce businesses need to stay ahead of the curve if they want to be the consumer's choice, as convenience and relevance remain king. Companies can stand out by deploying some of the latest technologies.
T-Mobile-Sprint Merger Teeters Between FCC Approval, DoJ Rejection
May 23, 2019
United States Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai this week gave the green light to a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, currently the third- and fourth-largest mobile carriers respectively. The nation's top telecom regulator agreed to the $26 billion merger, but with some conditions -- the most notable being that Sprint would sell off its Boost Mobile prepaid cellphone brand.
ARM Joins Firms Shunning Huawei's Business
May 23, 2019
British mobile device software design firm ARM has ordered its staff to stop working with Chinese smartphone giant Huawei, in compliance with a ban issued by President Trump. Under an executive order he signed last week, foreign companies and individuals are prohibited from buying United States technology and services without first obtaining special approval from the U.S. government.
5G Could Mess With Accuracy of Weather Forecasts
May 21, 2019
Next-generation 5G mobile communications technology could have a harmful impact on weather forecasting in the United States, based on expert testimony presented before a U.S. House committee during a hearing on the future of weather forecasting. Interference from 5G wireless phones could reduce the accuracy of weather forecasts by 30 percent, said Neil Jacobs, Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere at NOAA.
US Mobile: Another Bait-and-Switch Disappointment
May 16, 2019
I just dumped US Mobile after less than four months, setting a new speed record for hitting my tolerance-for-b.s. ceiling. I'd had high hopes for this relatively new mobile virtual network operator, but it turns out I chose poorly. Switching wireless service providers is one of those things I don't relish doing, but every few years I find that I'm in a one-way relationship with my carrier.
Software Bug Gives Spyware Free Rein With a Single WhatsApp Call
May 15, 2019
Many users of Facebook's WhatsApp messaging software are scrambling to patch the program in response to news of a flaw that allowed spyware to be installed on mobile phones running Android and iOS. "This new type of attack is deeply worrying and shows how even the most trusted mobile apps and platforms can be vulnerable," said Mike Campin, vice president of engineering at Wandera.
Flexa Launches Crypto-Based Payment App
May 14, 2019
Flexa has launched a new digital payment network that uses cryptocurrencies to cut processing costs, eliminate fraud and preserve users' privacy. The network uses Flexa's Spedn app to process consumer transactions at cooperating merchants. The new payment platform makes it possible to spend Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash and the Gemini dollar at any of the merchants currently accepting payments.
SCOTUS Greenlights Apple App Store Antitrust Lawsuit
May 14, 2019
The U.S. Supreme Court has given thumbs up for a class action antitrust lawsuit to proceed against Apple for alleged monopolistic practices at its App Store. In the case, Apple Inc. v. Pepper et al., the consumer plaintiffs maintain the Cupertino, California, company has monopolized the retail market for the sale of apps, and that it used its position to charge higher-than-competitive prices.
Online Shopping Gets Real: The Rise of Interactive Product Visualization
May 13, 2019
The shopper's desire to touch, feel, see and hear is what interactive product visualization is all about. In a world dominated by digital interfaces, interactive product visualization gives consumers the opportunity to experience, see, and understand products before buying them. Interactive product visualization brings products closer to the people interested in purchasing them.
What Happens to Sprint if T-Mobile Merger Fails?
May 9, 2019
Sprint's best shot at success is to merge with T-Mobile. Without the merger, I see the company continuing to struggle as a weak player in the competitive wireless battle. Then again, this is nothing new. Sprint has been limping along for decades, for many different reasons. If this merger fails, will Sprint carry on as before? The reality is that Sprint is in trouble.
Review Roundup: Pixel 3a Wins Kudos for Cameras, Battery Life, Assistant
May 9, 2019
Google's Pixel 3a smartphone, launched at Google's 2019 I/O developer conference, has wowed reviewers with the quality of its photos and other features, as well as its low price. "I like the direction Google is taking with the 3a," said Ramon Llamas, research director at IDC. "While it removes some of the features and functionalities of its cousins, it still retains the key ones."
Google Showcases AI, Preaches Privacy at I/O Keynote
May 8, 2019
Google showed off its chops in AI and ML, renewed its commitment to giving users greater control over their data, and introduced a new economically priced smartphone during a keynote presentation at its annual I/O conference. "They were there to hammer home the point that when it comes to AI, they are ahead of their peers," said Paul Erickson, a senior analyst at IHS Markit.
Get Ready for Feature Deluge at Apple's WWDC
May 7, 2019
Apple plans to introduce a boatload of new apps, features and development tools at WWDC next month, according to a report. As it does every year, Apple will use the WWDC, set to begin June 3, to reveal the next versions of operating systems for its hardware products. For its mobile devices, new additions iOS 13 include speed improvements and interface changes, a Dark Mode and more.
Red Flag Flying Over Flagship Phones
May 1, 2019
These could be the worst of times for high-end flagship smartphones. Google CEO Sundar Pichai told Alphabet shareholders that his company's flagship phones, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, released last fall, had encountered some "year over year headwinds." Samsung acknowledged that Galaxy S10 sales were being cannibalized by its lower-priced models. Meanwhile, Apple saw iPhone sales plummet.
Mobile Chrome Hoax Could Target Android Users
April 30, 2019
A new method for hiding the true location of a website from users of the mobile Chrome Web browser has come to light. Phishers can trick users into revealing their credentials for a legitimate website to operators of a malicious one, security researcher James Fisher reported. Scammers can exploit mobile Chrome's feature that hides the address bar when users are scrolling on a Web page.
Consumers Balk at Premium Smartphone Prices
April 26, 2019
Only a fraction of consumers are willing to pay $1,500 or more for a flagship Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy smartphone, suggests an informal ECT News Network survey conducted from April 15 to 22. Fewer than 2 percent of those who took part said they'd be willing to paying such a premium for a handset. New smartphones arrive with almost disturbing regularity.
New Apriva Partnerships Promise Mobile Shopping Innovations
April 24, 2019
Apriva has announced partnerships with AveriGo and Vagabond to offer innovative mobile shopping and payment solutions. Apriva offers an adaptive platform for secure mobile communications and omnichannel payments. Both its new partners are in the vending and F&B service industries. AveriGo offers the Averiware business platform. Vagabond offers technologies for the convenience services industry.
Samsung Applies Brakes to Galaxy Fold Launch
April 23, 2019
Foldable phones have been dealt a setback by Samsung's announcement that it has postponed indefinitely the release of its Galaxy Fold. Samsung pumped the brakes on the $1,980 phone's release after several reviewers reported problems. Samsung acknowledged that their experiences indicated the device needed further improvements to ensure the best possible user experience.
Apple's Looming Nightmare
April 22, 2019
The big news last week was that Apple finally agreed to settle its fight with Qualcomm. Kudos to Tim Cook, because I've known a lot of CEOs rather who would have fought to the death than admitted they were wrong -- and not only wrong but acting disingenuously the entire time. Fighting this to the death would have been far worse. What spurred the settlement likely was he defense Qualcomm mounted.
Everyone's a Winner in Apple-Qualcomm Settlement
April 18, 2019
Apple and Qualcomm unexpectedly announced a settlement as their case entered the second day of a hearing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Diego. In related news, Intel announced it was getting out of the 5G smartphone chip business. The Apple-Qualcomm settlement provides an unspecified one-time payment from Apple to Qualcomm, among other terms.
Apple to Focus on Productivity With Next macOS, iOS Releases
April 17, 2019
The ramp-up to Apple's Worldwide Developers' Conference this June has begun, with reports circulating about the goodies the company will include in the next generation of its desktop and mobile operating systems. The latest revelations include macOS support for the iPad as an auxiliary display, native to desktops and laptops, and iOS support for multiple windows within apps.
What Matters Most in the Race to 5G Wireless
April 11, 2019
With 5G knocking on our door, a growing number of wireless competitors have been getting on their high-horses and trying to knock down the current leaders. All I have to say is, cut it out! No customer or investor is interested in all this meaningless industry-wide jibber-jabber. If you keep this up, you may pay a price when you do begin to offer 5G. Does it really matter which company is first?
10 Steps to Create a Seamless Omnichannel Business
April 9, 2019
During the last year, longstanding brick-and-mortar retailer chains such as Toys "R" Us, Payless, and Diesel USA have filed for bankruptcy. Failures like these happen despite the fact that U.S. consumer spending currently is high, and the unemployment rate is low. Why is that? We cannot address this topic without first taking a good look at Amazon and the massive power it represents.
Walmart Lets Customers Use Google Assistant to Voice-Order Groceries
April 3, 2019
Walmart has launched a limited beta of Walmart Voice Order, which lets consumers order groceries by voice using Google Assistant. The service can be used with a number of devices: tablets, watches and TV sets running Android 6.0+; smartphones running Android 5.0+; iOS 10.0+ devices; Google Home; and more. "This announcement is huge," said Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
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