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Dec 03
Mobile broadband modem, router markets decline

Over the first half of 2013 about US$2.5 billion worth of mobile broadband modems and routers for computing and consumer electronics connectivity have shipped. For the full year, market intelligence firm ABI Research (www.abiresearch.com) forecasts 92.1 million of these 3G and 4G modems and routers will be shipped worldwide to mobile network operators, retailers, and device manufacturers.

This represents 0% growth year-over-year from the 92.4 million modems shipped during 2012. The mix of modem form-factors is changing due to declining USB volumes, offset by increased mobile hotspot routers and embedded modem modules.

"The use of USB for the addition of mobile broadband to portable computers has peaked," says ABI Research Senior Practice Director Jeff Orr. "The diversification of choices for the new era of computing can be seen by these trends in modems sold through the aftermarket."

Modem...

| Read more »
Dec 02
The Northern Spy: curmudgeonly yours

By Rick Sutcliffe

Following up on comments in this space last month, the Spy still has had none of the issues reported by others who've adopted Mavericks. Apart from the need to upgrade a handful of programs, all continues smooth. However, iTim's elves are busy at work releasing betas of the first incremental upgrade to fix issues some have seen. Of greater interest might be what they're doing with system XI.

And, the reader will recall the troubles reported here with his own hosting company's mail server (another millisecond older and deeper in spam with faked to, from, and reply-to addresses). Enabling MCP (Message Content Protection) in MailScanner to scan and delete on specific content did blue list and refuse much of the offending mail, which on that change alone declined from 80% of all arriving messages to about 20%.

But, subject, content, and other characteristics kept changing, and even adding more block lists to the scanner only...

| Read more »
Dec 02
Mobile augmented reality users to approach 200 million...

New findings from Juniper Research (www.juniperresearch.com) shows that the mobile Augmented Reality (AR) market, is set to increase dramatically from 60 million unique users this year to nearly 200 million in 2018.

The market will expand from the early adopting gaming segment and navigation based utility to becoming an integral part of the consumer’s ecosystem, according to the research group. Despite initial trepidation and single use applications of the technology, Juniper forecasts AR to become a key future platform for communication and commerce.

AR has a potential to engage a new generation of consumers in a unique manner, combining the personal nature of mobile devices with the Internet’s wealth of accessible information. Juniper’s report finds that as the market matures, the app ecosystem is set to expand rapidly over the forecast period.

Initial innovations will stem from...

| Read more »
Nov 27
Game consoles, tablets competing for holiday shopping...

New research from Parks Associates (www.parksassociates.com) finds tablets and game consoles are virtually tied among U.S. consumers for planned purchases in the 2013 holiday season.

Parks Associates' research reports purchase interest in game consoles has rebounded after tablets surged ahead in the 2012 holiday season. The research group's analysts say comparable percentages of U.S. broadband households purchased tablets and game consoles in 2011, and if current intentions reflect 2013 purchases, game consoles will soon be back on an equal footing with tablets.

"Tablets are poised to be a big seller this Black Friday and holiday season, with Apple, Microsoft, and Nokia announcing new models, but the launch of new game consoles from Microsoft and Sony may steal their momentum," says Harry Wang, director, Health & Mobile Product Research, Parks Associates. "2013 will not be a repeat of...

| Read more »
Nov 26
Enterprise small cell installations set to increase 70...

The femtocell market has continued its steady growth in 2013 with the number of installations rising by 70% over the last year in the enterprise market with some notable deployments recently, including Telefónica in Germany and Free in France, according to ABI Research (www.abiresearch.com).

The femtocell ecosystem is also developing with more equipment providers looking to capture a share of the market which has attracted vendors from different backgrounds including ICT, core network, and in-building/DAS providers. This is reflected by the number of femtocell shipments which will increase tenfold by 2018, jumping from 3.75 million in 2013 to 37.45 million.

Now that Wi-Fi has entered the gigabit era with the new 802.11ac standard delivering total data rate of 1.3 Gbps and femtocells migrating from 3G to LTE which offers considerably higher data rates than 3G, new applications and business models are...

| Read more »
Nov 25
Gartner: limit data centers to two per continent of...

Most global organizations have too many data centers in too many countries, according to Gartner, Inc (www.gartner.com). The research group said that in order for enterprises to save costs and optimize service delivery, they need a twin data center topology for each continent of major business activity.

"It's a fact that most global organizations run too many data centers in too many countries. This is normally the result of business expansion, either organically or through acquisition over many years," said Rakesh Kumar, research vice president at Gartner. "While the logic of business growth makes sense, having too many data centers results in excessive capital and operational costs, an overly complex architecture and, in many cases, a lack of business-IT agility." 

Many companies have stated that having too many data centers inhibits their ability to respond quickly to business changes. This is because of...

| Read more »
Nov 21
Broadband users are paying less for services

The most recent mobile broadband price benchmarking results from Strategy Analytics (www.strategyanalytics.com) shows that while service speeds have grown dramatically over the past year, users are paying less for them.

The average monthly cost for a tablet user needing 2GB per month has fallen 4% since the same period last year, to USD PPP 17.79, while average advertised speed for the same basket has risen by a massive 123%, to 26 Mb/s. For a laptop user requiring 5GB per month, the cost has fallen by 9%, and currently averages USD PPP 25.24, while the speed has risen by 35%over the year, and now stands at just under 24 Mb/s.

"We are seeing some very dramatic movements with mobile broadband pricing," says Strategy Analytics Teligen Director Halvor Sannaes. "The impact of 4G rollouts on speed is very evident, with some providers offering download in excess of 100 Mb/s. What is perhaps...

| Read more »
Nov 20
Cloud-based security services market to reach $2.1...

The cloud-based security services market will be worth US$2.1 billion in 2013, rising to $3.1 billion in 2015, according to Gartner, Inc. (www.gartner.com). The search group says that growth in cloud-based security will remain strong, but revenue opportunities will vary.

"The cloud-based security market remains a viable one, offering providers many opportunities for expansion," says Ruggero Contu, research director at Gartner. "Encryption will be a new area of growth, but it remains a complex activity. The strongest interest will be in encryption products from cloud security brokers, which are relatively easy to deploy and have options for on-premises encryption management."

Gartner predicts that the top three most sought-after cloud services moving forward will remain email security, web security services and identity and access management (IAM). However, in 2013 and 2014, the highest growth is forecast to...

| Read more »
Nov 19
Notebook market's annual plunge continues

How far have expectations fallen for the mobile personal computer (PC) business this year?

So far that single-digit sequential growth in the third quarter comes as the best news the notebook market has heard in many months — even as shipments plunged on a year-over-year basis. The year-over-year decline is making it increasingly apparent that the mobile PC market is headed for a second consecutive year of contraction in 2013, according to a new PC Dynamics brief from IHS Inc. (www.isuppli.com).

Mobile PC shipments worldwide are estimated to have reached 47.9 million units in the third quarter, up 6% from the second quarter. This represents the largest sequential growth since two years ago when the market rose 7% in the third quarter of 2011, as presented in the graph.

On the other hand, the third-quarter results show the market has now shrunk for five consecutive quarters on a year-over-year basis,...

| Read more »
Nov 18
Cellular M2M device installed based to near 500...

A new report from Juniper Research (www.juniperresearch.com) has found that the installed base of cellular M2M devices will approach 500 million modules by 2018, driven by more open M2M ecosystems and improved cloud-based APIs (application programming interfaces).

According to the report, the M2M space is seeing an increasing focus on the development of open platforms that simplify connectivity to a wide range of isolated devices through the cloud. It found that "Big Data" emerging from M2M service provision will, in time, allow for improved interrogation of M2M data, opening the door to new revenue streams for companies and M2M operators.
Towards the Internet of Things

The Juniper report found that M2M roll-outs have become increasingly global, with Mobile Network Operators facilitating M2M roaming and tailoring services and approaches to industry verticals.

"Mobile...

| Read more »
Nov 14
NPD DisplaySearch: there's an increased demand...

As 5-inch full-high-definition (FHD, 1920 × 1080 resolution) smartphone panels continue to gain traction and demand increases, manufacturers are beginning to implement new technologies to reduce power consumption at higher resolutions, according to NPD DisplaySearch (www.displaysearch.com). More than 100 million 5-inch FHD smartphone panels will be shipped in 2013, 5% of all smartphone displays.

There are several manufacturing technologies that can produce the active matrix TFT backplane for 5-inch FHD smartphone panels: traditional a-Si TFT, oxide TFT, and low temperature polysilicon (LTPS) TFT, all of which are used with LCD. LTPS TFT can also be used as a backplane for AMOLED (active matrix OLED) displays.

"While Apple iPhone suppliers are focused on the production of LTPS LCDs, others with experience in oxide TFT are trying to address the issue and gain a competitive advantage," said Yoonsung...

| Read more »
Nov 13
Cellular connectivity to deliver nearly 60% of M2M...

M2M connectivity will be embedded in more than 2 billion devices across nine key industries by 2018, but it will be cellular that will bring the bulk of the value and the connectivity revenues, according to ABI Research.

A new generation of smart devices is set to have embedded connectivity and manufacturers have a number of technologies to select to deliver network connectivity. ABI Research has examined the demand and appeal for M2M connectivity across cellular, satellite, fixed-line and short-range wireless technologies within nine key industry verticals. Each technology has specific advantages and appeal, but cellular is the best placed to deliver the most value, he

"Looking at demand for connectivity, while cellular will not have the highest number of connections, or the highest average revenue per connection, it will provide the greatest opportunity to drive the most overall value from those connections," says Jonathan Collins, principal analyst and author of...

| Read more »
Nov 12
Mobile device platforms continue toward more...

There are many trends simultaneously affecting the market for mobile device semiconductors. Two have been the shift towards multicore application processors and the addition of x86 and MIPS to what used to be purely an ARM play. Two newer trends are the addition of heterogeneous processing functionality and 64-bit processors for mobile devices, according to ABI Research.

The trend towards more integrated platforms is the most crucial; however, it is because the revenue of standalone components is folding into integrated platforms and the revenue for mobile device semiconductors lie with the higher cost components — mostly the application processor, says the research group. So while the shift from standalone components to integrated platforms is drastic over the next five years in terms of shipments, this shift is even more radical in terms of revenue.

From 2013 to 2018, the share of integrated platforms compared to all application processors in terms of shipments...

| Read more »
Nov 07
Mobile security services to drive billion dollar...

Mobile authentication and encryption services for enterprises are growing dynamically with the saturation of cloud-based applications and BYOD trends, according to ABI Research (www.abiresearch.com).

Organizations are looking to maximize the benefits of these technologies while maintaining a level of security that satisfies compliance and the protection of corporate resources, according to the research group. These need to be further balanced against flexibility and manageability; without these guarantees, even the most secure solutions are useless.

For mobile encryption technology, this means effective key management. For authentication, it may be SSO or tokenless access. The field of application for mobile authentication and encryption services is wide, and the demands are varied.

ABI Research says an innovative market in mobile-specific services for authenticating users and devices has...

| Read more »
Nov 06
Gartner: cloud computing to be the bulk of new IT...

The use of cloud computing is growing, and by 2016 this growth will increase to become the bulk of new IT spending, according to Gartner, Inc. (www.gartner.com). 2016 will be a defining year for cloud as private cloud begins to give way to hybrid cloud, and nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017, the research group says.

Gartner describes cloud computing as a style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered "as a service" using Internet technologies. It heralds an evolution of business in positive and negative ways. It has also become a hot industry term that has been used in many contradictory ways.

"Overall, there are very real trends toward cloud platforms, and also toward massively scalable processing. Virtualization, service orientation and the Internet have converged to sponsor a phenomenon that enables individuals...

| Read more »
Nov 05
NFC to enable $48 billion in in-store mobile payments...

Strategy Analytics (www.strategyanalytics.com) has lowered its outlook for NFC-based mobile payments to reflect the slow pace at which operators are pushing NFC payment services, limited NFC payment deployments by handset makers, and the continued slow adoption of contactless payments by retailers.

The research group estimates that 115 million NFC handset owners will spend just over US$48 billion using their NFC phones by 2017. Although that's a large amount, it represents a drop in the ocean of the multi-trillion dollar global retail sector. 

The healthy growth in sales of NFC handsets has yet to be matched by the adoption and use of handset based NFC payments services, with many mobile operators pushing back the launch of NFC-based mobile payment into the final quarter of 2013 or in to 2014 and beyond.

"With the exception of China, where we see some momentum from China Mobile...

| Read more »
Nov 04
Tablet shipment forecast lowered through 2017

The forecast for global tablet shipments has been lowered as short-term build plans are being reduced, according to the NPD DisplaySearch research group.

NPD DisplaySearch (www.displaysearch.com) says shipments are still expected to be up 30% year-over-year, but projections between 2013 and 2017 are being scaled back by roughly 9% every year. The main factor in the forecast reduction is white-box tablet production in China, which is being pulled back following overly aggressive build plans that out-paced demand.

Despite the current situation in China, much of the future growth for tablet PC shipments will come from the China and Asia Pacific regions. These regions will make up nearly 50% of the worldwide tablet PC segment by 2015, increasing to nearly 60% by 2017. In comparison, North America and EMEA, which combined will make up 50% of the market in 2013, will fall to 36% in 2017, says NPD...

| Read more »
Nov 01
Northern Spy: Surf's Up

By Rick Sutcliffe

The wave of Apple's future was supposed to be a simplification of the user interface, a de-skeuomorphism of visual elements, and a unification of MacOS and iOS. The most recent version of the latter went a long way toward this mark

However, MacOS 10.9, a.k.a. Mavericks, is, on the whole, a stay-the-course mild enhancement of Mountain Lion 10.8, nothing radical. Thos who want radical change will have to wait for MacOS 11.

The important changes are in the upgrade process itself. First, it is free to anyone who has Snow Leopard or higher (i.e. can access the Apple Store). This will increase adoption rates and customer satisfaction, and give IT departments at most organizations hissy fits, because they will not be able to prevent their user base from doing independent upgrades. Second, iWork is also free--at least if you are new to the eco-system, or you have a previous version of Pages, Keynote, and Numbers installed. But even...

| Read more »
Nov 01
Most organizations running cloud apps -- even if they...

More than 55% of organizations are running Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications on their corporate devices whether they know it or not, according to new research by Softchoice, a North American technology solutions and services provider.

The challenge isn't necessarily that these apps are being used predominantly for file sharing, storage, and remote access. It's that many of them are being used without proper oversight by IT departments, posing a serious threat to the security of corporate data, according to Softchoice.

"Shadow IT in the Enterprise: Softchoice SaaS Study 2013" examines the presence of SaaS on 7,200 corporate devices across 23 distinct organizations. The study reveals the most common apps in use today, the benefits and security risks posed by certain apps, and offers recommendations on how IT departments can best manage their use without squelching the benefits they deliver in terms of employee productivity and engagement.

"As the front...

| Read more »
Oct 31
Which city is the U.S.'s highest for smartphone,...

New research from app tester SOASTA (www.soasta.com) shows which city in America has the highest smartphone and tablet adoption. It’s not the San Francisco Silicon Valley area. 

The home of Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and Google comes in at number six for smartphone adoption. It’s not New York either.  Out of 10 major metropolitan American cities, it’s the nation’s lowest in smartphone adoption.

The city with the highest smartphone adoption is… Dallas. Here’s the ranking:

Dallas – 76%
LA – 66%
Washington, D.C. 64%
Philadelphia 62%
Houston – 62%
San Francisco 61%
Atlanta – 60%
Chicago – 57%
Boston – 55%
New York – 48%
 
The city with the highest tablet adoption is… also Dallas. Here’s the ranking:
 
Dallas – 48%
Washington, D.C. – 43%
Chicago – 39%
New York – 39%
Boston – 38%
LA – 38%
...

| Read more »
Oct 29
Microsoft edges Sony in ABI Research’s Game Console...

Microsoft just edged Sony for the top position in ABI Research’s game console Competitive Assessment, based on expectations for the impact of Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One game consoles.

ABI Research (www.abiresearch.com) evaluated a number of companies across three device categories: game consoles, smart set-top boxes, and TVs/Blu-ray players. Several factors were used to score each company based on two main axes of Innovation and Implementation. The assessment provides deep insight into consumer electronics ecosystems and modern video experiences in the connected home.

"With the hardware specs between Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PS4 so similar this leaves Nintendo’s Wii U on the outside," says ABI Research Senior Analyst Michael Inouye. "If not for Nintendo’s wider distribution network, console heritage, and first party titles it would start to find itself in closer competition with many...

| Read more »
Oct 28
IDC: exchange rate volatility affected PC shipments in...

Preliminary results from the IDC research group (www.idc.com) show that hat the Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) PC market increased 2% quarter-on-quarter but declined 12% year-on-year in 2013 Q3 to reach 27.8 million units, 1% lower than IDC's initial forecasts.

China posted modest gains compared to last quarter on the back of improved commercial spending there, but declines in a few big ASEAN markets and continued weakness in most mature markets offset those gains, keeping the overall region suppressed yet again in Q3.

"Sluggish economic activity, exchange rate volatility and fuel price hikes plagued markets in South East Asia, with Indonesia and Thailand bearing the brunt of this pressure," says Handoko Andi, research manager at IDC Asia/Pacific. "And there are still many risks ahead, despite a number of new products being launched towards the end of the year."

Lenovo did well in the seasonally high Q3...

| Read more »
Oct 25
Smartphone apps processor revenue jumped 44% in Q2...

The global smartphone applications processor market continued to show strength and grew 44 % year-on-year to reach US$4.4 billion in the second quarter of the year (Q2 2013), according to Strategy Analytics (www.strategyanalytics.com).

According to the report from the research group, Qualcomm, Apple, MediaTek, Samsung and Spreadtrum captured the top-five revenue share spots in the smartphone processor market in Q2 2013. Qualcomm maintained its dominance in the smartphone applications processor market with 53% revenue share followed by Apple with 15% share and MediaTek with 11 percent share in Q2 2013.

"Strategy Analytics estimates that low-cost suppliers MediaTek and Spreadtrum together captured over one-third volume share in the smartphone applications processor market in Q2 2013, thanks to the smartphone boom in emerging markets," says Strategy Analytics Senior Analyst Sravan Kundojjala...

| Read more »
Oct 24
Over 25% of CE shoppers use mobile commerce apps

A new Parks Associations (www.parksassociates.com) study finds that over 25% of CE buyers in U.S. broadband households use mobile commerce apps on their smartphone to help with an in-store purchase decision, including functions such as product research, barcode scanning, and interaction with a retailer or brand app.

The research group's data reveals that 43% of U.S. smartphone users purchased a good via their device in the last month. However, consumers, especially shoppers at Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, are starting to use their smartphones while shopping in stores. Walmart in particular encourages in-store shoppers to use its app, but Parks Associates reports that currently Target shoppers are more likely than Walmart shoppers to use mobile commerce apps when shopping at any store for a CE product.

"Consumers are using apps and smartphones to enhance their brick-and-mortar shopping...

| Read more »
Oct 23
Mobile smart wearable devices to be worth $19 billion...

New findings from Juniper Research (www.juniperresearch.com), has revealed that the retail revenue from smart wearable devices, including smart watches and glasses, will reach US$19 billion by 2018 compared with $1.4 billion this year. Revenues will be driven by high price points for these devices allied to their anticipated strong market demand.

In its latest report, Juniper Research has revised upwards the adoption of devices in the two key segments of consumer electronics "Multimedia & Entertainment," and "Multi-functional" devices. Revisions such as these are common in the early years of a new technology category, and reflect the latest announcements from vendors across the sector.

"It is worth observing that this change in adoption levels can also be attributable to heightened consumer awareness of wearable technology and a better visibility of product adoption, especially in the...

| Read more »
 
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