Complaints about spotty wireless coverage from iPhone users in San Francisco and New York are well-documented. Their frustration stems in part from the heavy concentration of iPhone owners in each city, loaded with affluent, gadget-obsessed workers But where else does the signature Apple device find a home around the country?
Is New York poised to become the country's Wi-Fi capital? That's the prospect raised by the announcement that Cablevision Systems, Comcast and Time Warner Cable are teaming up to provide customers of any of the operators access to Wi-Fi hotspots across the New York City metro area.
With the Federal Communications Commission proposing to take back 40% of the broadcast spectrum as part of its national broadband plan, TV networks are scrambling to show they're actually using the airwaves to boost their mobile content efforts. A dozen major TV broadcasters including News Corp., NBC Universal, Gannett Broadcasting and Hearst Television have formed a joint venture to deliver live and on-demand mobile programming by pooling existing spectrum.
With Microsoft debuting its long-rumored line of smartphones aimed at young, social media-savvy users, early reviews for the Kin devices
have been mostly positive, with a couple of glaring flaws pointed out by critics. Microsoft probably benefits from lowered expectations in the consumer mobile market because of its dismal track record in the segment. Though merely not falling on its face with the new phones was bound to grant some level of approval.
Speculation about the size and growth rate of the mobile ad market has inspired reams of research reports in recent years, with projections all over the map. Much of the information about actual mobile advertising to data has been anecdotal, based on what major brands and agencies indicate about the size of mobile ad budgets and the proportion of digital spending earmarked for mobile.
But if Apple may have raised the bar again for another product category in in-app mobile ads, developers, agencies and analysts weren't so dazzled that they didn't come away without questions beyond the impressive visuals. In particular, Jobs' presentation offered little detail about what type of targeting will be available through the iAd system and on what basis ads be sold-CPM, CPC, CPA? Or a new pricing option to go with what Jobs called a new kind of mobile ad?
Much noise has been made about whether newspapers and magazines can cure their ailing fortunes by charging for iPhone and iPad apps or whether they're better off sticking with a free ad-supported model. With the release of the iPad in particular, publishers are not only shifting to a pay model but charging a premium over typical iPhone prices for tablet versions of apps. The Wall Street Journal offers its own twisted take on the freemium model, and it's pissing people off.
Reviews of the iPad so far have ranged from rapturous to rejection, but the Applet tablet hasn't failed to arouse strong opinions either way. But for everyone else the device remains a tabula rasa, according to the latest Nielsen buzz tracking data
. So much for Apple's storied marketing skills.
Microsoft made a splash in Barcelona in February with a sneak preview of its Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system. Now the software giant next week is expected to launch its long-rumored "Project Pink" phones geared to social networking and aimed at young mobilistas. The slogan for the April 12 unveiling is "It's time to share."
Smartphones may be all the rage at one end of the market, but prepaid plans for regular phones are hotter than ever. A recent study
released by the New Millennium Research Council (NMRC), showed pay-as-you-go customers accounted for nearly two-thirds of the 4.2 million net new subscribers added in the fourth quarter of 2009. Owing in large part to the recession, the prepaid segment of U.S. wireless market grew 54% in the quarter, compared to just 3% growth for contract-based plans.