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Consumer Electronics

PSTN Death is Near

July 7, 2011

I vividly remember driving my car in 1999 – two years after the company where I am CEO, TMC decided to launch Internet Telephony Magazine and thinking VoIP was going to change the way communications works and eventually kill the PSTN. It seemed to me that within five years most of the world would make the transition as the cost disparity at the time was quite large between the PSTN and VoIP connections. Moreover, there were a myriad of free calling services using VoIP such as Dialpad which were ad supported, putting even more pressure on traditional telecom networks.

Within a few years the dotcom and telecom bubbles burst (we collectively said goodbye (details) to Dialpad and its competitors) and the cost for using the PSTN dropped substantially in order to better compete with IP communications alternatives.

Survey: Games Most Popular Smartphone Apps

July 6, 2011

And surprise, most people will pay for apps

Games, weather and social networking apps are where people are spending a tremendous amount of their time followed by mapping, news, music and entertainment. These are the results of a new survey from Nielsen which asks what apps people used in the last 30 days. iPhone users who are mobile gamers play about 30 minutes per day on average or 14.7 hours per month while Android users play 9.3 hours per month.

Nielsen supplied chart of apps which smartphone users have downloaded in the last 30 days


While we see mega deals in the video game world for titles like Angry Birds and social companies like Zynga preparing for multi-billion dollar IPOs - let's keep in mind part of the reason for this is that everyone it seems will pay for games on their phones. Consider in fact Nielsen found 93 percent of app downloaders are willing to pay for the games they play.






Cell Phones Now Pose no Cancer Risk

July 5, 2011

The studies go back and forth and a few weeks ago the World Health Organization or WHO said there was an increased cancer risk as a result of cell phone use. Now, another study says the opposite is true.

The review was conducted by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) Standing Committee on Epidemiology* chaired by Professor Anthony Swerdlow from The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR). The ICNIRP committee analyzed all published studies that have examined whether there is a link between mobile phone use and the main types of brain tumour, glioma and meningioma and determined that although there is some uncertainty, there is no link between cell phone use and brain tumors in adults.

The professor and his team analyzed data from thirteen countries going back 10-20 years.

We live in a world full of radio signals - a typical tech trade show for example could have dozens if not hundreds of WiFi access points. Add to that satellite, FM and myriad other radio signals coursing through our bodies at all times and you have to wonder if the addition of one more radio emitter near our heads will have any major effect on our likelihood of getting cancer.





The Real Story on Grasshopper Phone Service

June 30, 2011

Earlier this month I wrote about a service from Grasshoper called Spreadable which was shut down by the company. Unlike most companies which shut down a division or brand, Grasshopper decided to write a four-part series on why they did it. Anyone else would have tried to kill the news. I called the company either marketing geniuses or marketing morons - mentioning that they did get me to write about the story and give them some extra publicity.

Since then I have had time to speak with the company - specifically the company's Ambassador of Buzz Stephanie Bullis who gave me many answers to the questions I had and more.

Spreadable was shut down without being sold because the company decided it could devote its resources more effectively to Grasshopper than Spreadable - the social sharing/referral/marketing company.



Sprint Tries Desperately to Block AT&T, T-Mobile USA Merger

June 28, 2011



At a time when wireless broadband is becoming so important to US consumers and businesses, how can it make sense to have less choice in the market? Moreover, as carriers shift from all-you-can-eat pricing to a tiered system, isn't it obvious that wireless charges for consumers are going to skyrocket?

These are some of the arguments opponents to the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile USA are making but AT&T spends so much on lobbying and is so well-connected, they seem to be close to getting their deal done.

The situation for Sprint is so dire, the company's CEO Dan Hesse is doing virtually anything he can to prove the deal is bad for consumers. This includes an 18-state push and tripling of the time he spends in front of Congress and regulatory bodies.

Generally any action has positives and negatives associated with it and Hesse has to prove that on balance, AT&T will either provide inferior service or higher prices as a result of this merger.

Certainly the momentum is on the side of AT&T and not Sprint but the government does need to sign off on this deal and if he can find enough sympathetic listeners he may be able to kill this deal or at least make AT&T have to give up some very painful items to get it done.

More from Bloomberg BusinessWeek.











How Social Networking Could Change Amusement Parks

June 28, 2011

I’ve been fairly consistent in saying that video conferencing would take off when mobile devices became powerful enough to allow users to show their surroundings on the go. Amusement parks in particular seemed like an obvious place where video conferencing would be of use. This has been my feeling since around 2002 and it’s been great to see the industry get to a point where a smartphone is as powerful as a laptop of just a few years earlier and virtually everyone with a smartphone or tablet has Skyped on the go by now.

Microsoft, Apple & Twitter News June 27, 2011

June 27, 2011

It’s been a busy day in tech and communications news – so far these are a few of the stories worth knowing about:

Microsoft needs to get larger? Scott Rothbort at TheStreet gives us eight companies Microsoft should buy – and you know what, some of these make great sense such as Adobe & Netflix but in reading the article, I wonder if Yahoo! makes sense anymore.

VoIP Veteran Tribolet Joins magicJack Vocaltec

June 24, 2011

Michael Tribolet is a true IP communications veteran and was the Vice President of Operations at Dialpad - a VoIP leader in the nineties. He then went to Vonage America and became President. He also worked at Managing Director and CEO of ACN Europe BV - a company with 1,500 employees.

I have known Mike for years and its good to see him back in the VoIP space where he has been part of so many important companies which shaped the market.

magicJack Vocaltec CEO Dan Borislow who I last interviewed here had the following to say:

Michael has successfully created and delivered value to investors and VoIP companies for over ten years.







Why the iPad is Storming the Enterprise

June 23, 2011

What CXOs and technical decision-makers must know about the consumerization of IT

It is widely understood that Apple is a consumer company but the iPhone is taking huge marketshare from RIM and the iPad is becoming an indispensible tool in the enterprise for a variety of tasks like mobile presentations. Moreover, the suite of apps available for the iPhone and iPad mean that companies are able to leverage these gadgets in new and innovative ways. Finally, as the move to the cloud continues, accessing the information stored in a remote data center can be done easily on a tablet which doesn’t need gobs of hard disk space.

So I was intrigued when I learned that Nathan Clevenger, Chief Software Architect, ITR Mobility has written a new book iPad in the Enterprise.



Are Critics Too Pessimistic on RIM?

June 22, 2011

Obviously RIM has stumbled and the iPhone instantly changed the world of smartphones making fixed-keyboard devices less attractive. Moreover, the fact that the iPhone was more computer than email device opened up the market for serious web browsing and app usage on the go. And until recently, the Blackberry browser experience was awful.

But the PlayBook has changed all that and its interface is slick and its form factor is impressive.

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