Technology has become a staple of our lives with innovation moving at a breakneck pace. Just think, 20 years ago almost nobody had the internet. Ten years ago, the word “smartphone” wasn’t in many people’s vocabulary. Five years ago, tablets were unheard of.
One of the latest innovations to hit the market is the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA).
What is DLNA?
We all have digital devices, whether that’s a smartphone, tablet, TV, game system, digital camera, computer or any other number of consumer electronics. However, outside of physically connecting these devices, they don’t “speak” to each other. DLNA allows all your electronics to communicate with each other.
What can DLNA do for me?
Let’s say you took a picture with your smartphone, and you want to print it out. You probably are going to email it to yourself, download it from the email and then print it, right? With DLNA, you can print that photo by sending it directly to the printer.
Here’s another scenario. You have some people over and want to show them a funny YouTube video. Instead of trying to get everyone to crowd around your tablet screen, DLNA gives you the ability to watch that video on your TV screen wirelessly.
It’s all about integration, cross-compatibility and providing a way for all your devices to work with each other.
How can I get DLNA?
You probably already have several of the individual pieces needed to form a DLNA network. There is a slew of DLNA-compatible products already on the market. The only other thing you need is a WiFi connection. You can technically use DLNA through wired connections, but it kind of defeats the purpose. Once you have DLNA devices and an internet connection, you’ve got yourself a DLNA network.
If you’re interested in learning more about DLNA or DLNA-compatible products, talk to your local Cellular Sales Verizon Wireless rep.
Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is developing a smartphone that would vie with Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone and handheld devices that run Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android operating system, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
Foxconn International Holdings Ltd. (2038), the Chinese mobile- phone maker, is working with Amazon on the device, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. Amazon is seeking to complement the smartphone strategy by acquiring patents that cover wireless technology and would help it defend against allegations of infringement, other people with knowledge of the matter said.
When Apple announced last week that the new iOS would include a new mapping app with updated graphics, crystal clear details, improved navigation, and spoken turn-by-turn directions, they were announcing a map app war with Google. Their newest map program involves dropping Google Maps and utilizing the services of the navigation company Tom-Tom. Over the next several months, Apple will continue to extend relationships with developers on their map program, then in the fall the real battle begins. Both giants, Apple and Google have something to lose in this match-up.
If Apple cannot deliver a solid mapping navigation system that rivals and exceeds Google Maps, they may drive customer over to Android. If Apple wins, Google will lose massive information about “users’ locations, destinations and driving and shopping habits.” Either way, this should prove to be an interesting battle of the map apps.
The Amazon Cloud Player is now available for iPhone, iPod and iPad products. This is surprisingly great news for iOS owners. The iOS ecosystem has suddenly opened, and owners are no longer restricted to iTunes Match for a cloud-based music storage system. Maybe I missed the rumors, but I didn’t see this coming. While I use iTunes Match, Google Play Music and the Amazon Cloud Player, I assumed iTunes would stay in its ecosystem while Google Play and Amazon Cloud roamed free in the Android world. Now Amazon Cloud Player is free to roam in the iOS world as well.
With Amazon Cloud Player you can,
· Stream your music from the cloud.
· Download locally and enjoy your music offline – no wifi or mobile network needed.
· Create and edit playlists.
· Play music in the background, or controlled via lockscreen.
· Use Bluetooth to stream your music in your house or car.
If anything, this gives the iOS user more choice in streaming and downloading music. If you haven’t used Amazon Cloud Player, you can easily test it by purchasing an MP3 from Amazon and choosing to open it in the Cloud Player. Amazon gives users unlimited space for music. Using the Amazon uploader, you can easily transfer music from your computer to the Amazon Cloud even if you didn’t purchase it at Amazon.
One complaint I’ve had about iTunes Match is the lack of support for audiobooks. I know this is eventually coming, but since the last iTunes upgrade, it has been much more cumbersome to transfer books to my iPhone. The Amazon Cloud Player supports audiobooks, so I can easily listen via Amazon now.
The Amazon Cloud Player supports bluetooth and airplay, so you can easily play our music via your selected entertainment system. If you choose to use the Amazon Cloud Player, remember that streaming music via the cloud does impact your data streaming limits, so you may want to limit streaming to Wi-Fi use only and download for other situations.
At Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) conference yesterday, Scott Forstall, in charge of iOS, took the stage to give the audience a vision of the coming updates. He started by highlighting some impressive stats on the iOS platform:
- 365 million iOS devices have been sold.
- More than 80 percent of customers are running the latest version, iOS 5.
- Apple send seven billion push notifications through iOS every day (equaling 1.5 trillion push notifications altogether).
- 140 million iMessage users sending 1 billion messages each day (with a total of 150 billion messages sent).
- Twitter integration with iOS has spawned 10 billion tweets.
- Game Center has 130 million users and records five billion scores a week.
Forstall proceeded to introduce the updates coming to iOS this fall. Here are some of the key updates:
Maps – With a total redesign, Map elements are now vector based, offering graphics and text with incredible details. Zoom all the way in and details are crystal clear. Pan and the image remains smooth. Navigation is simpler with visual and spoken turn-by-turn directions. Enjoy real-time updates. Tilt, rotate, and soar over cityscapes incredible high-resolution quality.
Siri -In the updated iOS 6, Siri can understand more languages, making it accessible in more countries and on the iPad as well. Now Siri gives sports score and stats, movie reviews and showtimes, and can locate the best restaurants and make reservations. Siri is also integrated with Facebook and Twitter.
Passbook – Keep your tickets, coupons, loyalty cards and boarding passes in one place, your iPhone or iPod. Whether going to a movie, a concert, a flight or shopping, you can simply use your iPhone or iPod. Passbook tracks coupon expiration dates, makes sure you get to your flight on time, and can even help your find your concert seats.
Facebook -Speaking of Facebook, iOS 6 offers greater Facebook integration. You can update your Facebook page from various apps such the maps (post your location), Game Center (show off scores), import Facebook events to Calendar, and reach your friends via total Contact integration.
Photo Streams -Sharing your photos via photos stream is easier than ever. Send to friends on iCloud, another iOS device or a Mac running Mountain Lion, Apple TV, or even the web.
FaceTime – Now you can use FaceTime on Cellular Networks as well as Wi-Fi. Plus, you can use iPad on FaceTime with your phone number.
Phone – Can’t talk on the phone? When you decline the call you can send an instant reply via text message or set a callback reminder. Turn on Do Not Disturb, allowing only the most important calls to pass through.
Mail – Now it’s easier to read, write, set high priority contacts, and add attachments to your emails.
Additionally, iOS 6 will introduce a range of other features like vastly improved accessibility features including guided access, better web browsing, an improved Find My Friends interface, a redesigned shopping experience, a passcode lock feature for lost phones, and built-in support for Chinese speaking users.
September appears to be the target date for launching the next generation iPhone 5. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, KGI Securities Analyst, Apple will likely launch its sixth-generation iPhone. Kuo also suggests that the new iPhone will feature a 4.08-inch display utilizing in-cell touchscreen technology. The in-cell touchscreen design is expected to reduce width by about 15%.
Facebook just simplified the process for users to make in app mobile payments. For example, users wanting to purchase more Farmville credits “can now charge items directly to their mobile phones via carriers in two steps to more than 30 countries.” Instead of relying on credit card payments, purchase can now be made via phone carriers. (See IT World)
According to Phones Review, an Android version of the popular TomTom app is slated for release this summer. iOS already offers a mobile phone version of this navigation tool. Due to the projected high price, some writers question if the benefit is worth it since Android already has a full Google Maps integration. See iOS version of TomTom below:
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Google announced this week that they have acquired Quickoffice. A popular documents app, Quickoffice has been a dominant player among the office suite apps products. This move better positions Google Docs in the mobile computing space. In addition to a robust set of editing tools for documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and texts files, Quickoffice offers extensive integration with a range of online web storage providers. (See Google Blog)
Cisco has been tracking mobile usage and developing forecasts for the coming years in mobile data. Needless to say, smartphone usage will continue increasing over the next several years. By 2014, smartphone handsets will exceed 50 percent of all mobile data traffic. Mobile data is expected to grow at compound annual growth rate of 78 percent over the next four years, reaching 10.8 exabytes by 2016.
Smartphones Becoming Our Conduits to Life
We all know smartphone usage is growing, but it is growing at such leaps and bounds that mobile data access via smartphones and tablets are becoming a standard mode for conducting business, doing research, shopping and much more. Our mobile devices are becoming a conduit for day to day engagement with the world around us. By the end of this year (2012), Cisco anticipates there will be over 100 million smartphone users that regularly consume over 1 GB of data per month. During the same period (2012), the number of smartphones will surpass the size of the earth’s population.
Entering an Age of Machine to Machine Talk
Over the next four years, the number of mobile connected devices will grow to over 10 billion. By 2016, mobile tablets will generate as much or more traffic the all mobile traffic in 2012. At least one-quarter of smartphone users will operate two or more mobile connected devices. Based on the worldwide 4G infrastructure (IMT-Advanced), mobile data speeds should increase at least 9-fold.
This combination of multiple devices and multiple speeds introduces one of the fundamental benefits of IMT-Advanced protocols: machine to machine talk. As devices communicate health stats, preset preferences, and other forms of data, we can expect to see a wide range of health devices, lifestyle devices and more that increase convenience and dramatically expand our range of possibilities.
Mobile data access is already utilized in many non-smartphone applications such as:
• Security surveillance – Businesses and consumers alike are using video streams, nannycams, and petcams that can be accessed via mobile-enabled gateways.
• Healthcare – As healthcare facilities move toward EHR/EMR implementations, they open the way for a range of mobile access possibilities for customers, medical professionals and others.
• Inventory and fleet management: Wi-Fi has become a standard for cellular based fleet management connectivity.
• Telematics: Navigation tools apps and devices continue to grow and offer more and more customizable options.
Shifting Our Computing to the Cloud
This increase in speed and mobile access via smartphones, tablets, notebooks and more, will change the way we compute. We are transitioning into a time when our computing will look more like mobile apps on smartphones and tablets. Software and data will be stored on the Cloud and accessed much like the way we stream movies and videos now across the web.
Just this week, Apple announced that they were dropping the name Mac from their next OS iteration. It will simply be called OSX. This corresponds with their mobile platform iOS. This indicates a shift from a computer environment to an app-driven environment where data and applications run across the web instead of residing completely on a specific device.
Mobile Data Access Exceeding 2GB on Average
Currently, the average smartphone generates about 150 MB traffic each month. By 2016, it is expected the average will leap to 2.6 GB per month. More people, more devices, easier access and more options will make us thirst for data access.
Challenges and Changes Ahead
The rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets that rely on mobile data devices brings a range of opportunities and challenges. As customers and businesses alike begin to rely on mobile access more and more, expectation will increase for seamless access and integration. Transparent connectivity and reliability will cause more and more people to adopt new technologies.
Plus, business will continue to explore new ways to engage this emerging mobile population, and meet the ever-growing expectations of a user base that comes to rely on network access anywhere, anytime.
 See Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2011–2016 <http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns341/ns525/ns537/ns705/ns827/white_paper_c11-520862.html>
For the fourth year in a row, mobile data traffic has more than doubled. According to a recent report by Cisco, last year’s mobile data traffic grew by 133 percent. Cisco’s recent study provides both a review of the past year as well as projections for the next five years based on the trends of the last several years. The overall conclusion is that smartphones are becoming ubiquitous as more and more people establish lifestyles that revolve around constant access to mobile connected devices. By the end of 2012, the number of mobile-connected devices in use will exceed the world’s population.
Here are the mobile traffic highlights for 2011:
- The amount of mobile data traffic was eight times higher in 2011 than the entire Internet traffic on 2000.
- Mobile video traffic passed 50 percent for the first time ever and by the end of the year it had reach 52 percent.
- Mobile data connection speeds jumped 66 percent. Downstream speeds rose from 189 kbps in 2010 to 315 kbps in 2011. Mobile network connection speeds rose from 968 kpbs in 2010 to 1344 kpbs in 2011.
- 4G connections generated 28 times the average traffic of non-4G. While 4G represents only about 0.2 of mobile connection market, they generated 6 percent of the overall data traffic.
- 24 percent of all mobile data traffic comes from the top 1 percent of mobile subscribers. While this seems like a high number, it is actually dropping. In 2010, the top 1 percent accounted for 35 percent of all mobile data traffic. As more and more people access mobile data traffic, this number will probably keep dropping.
- The average amount of smartphone usage jumped to 150 MB per month in 2011 from 55 MB in 2010.
- By the end of 2011 Android data usage was beginning to pass the amount of iPhone data usage.
- Mobile-connected tablets reached 34 million in 2011, and the average mobile-connected tablets access mobile data about 3.4 times more than the average smartphone.
- The 175 million mobile network-connected laptops utilized data traffic 22 times more often than the average smartphone.
While these increases represent a dramatic increase across the board, they are just beginning. Data usage will increase even more dramatically in the years ahead as average users begin have two, three and even four devices regularly accessing mobile data traffic. I’ll circle back round to this topic in the next day or two and highlight some of the expectations for the next several years.
 See Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2011–2016 <http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns341/ns525/ns537/ns705/ns827/white_paper_c11-520862.html>
Verizon Wireless put the spotlight on the possibilities of its 4G LTE network at CES 2012. Partnering with a wide range of innovators, Verizon Wireless showcased over 90 demonstrations of 4G LTE providing a framework that supports public safety, healthcare, tele-retailing, education, banking, shopping, gaming and more.
Verizon Wireless announced that all smartphones released this year will take advantage of the 4G LTE speeds and convenience. Here are some of the Verizon introductions that Cellular Sales readers may be interested in checking out:
DROID 4 by Motorola
It’s finally here. The thinnest and most powerful 4G LTE QWERTY Smartphone. It’s only .5 inches deep, and yet it still has a sweet slide out keyboard. The laser cut design with backlit LED light is perfect for typing. PC Magazine calls this “the keyboard to be beat.” According to Motorola, Droid 4 is enclosed in a water-repellant nanocoating. It includes an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture. With Mirror Mode, Droid can stream video to a TV and on the device at the same time. The government grade encryption for mail, calendars, and contacts and the preloaded Citrix Receiver makes this a great device for businesses.
Verizon Jetpack™, A Global Ready™ 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot
Utilizing the speed and power of the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network, the Jetpack delivers blazing fast connectivity for up to 10 Wi-Fi-enabled devices. The built-in OLED screen and interactive keypad gives customers the ability to manage connection connections and settings, and also read data usage notices via text message. This world device reaches more than 205 countries, operating on both 4G LTE and 3G networks. It supports Quad Band EDGE and HSPA.
Samsung Galaxy Tab™ 7.7
Introducing the world’s thinnest 4G LTE Tablet and first tablet in the United States to feature Super AMOLED™ Plus Display. At half the weight of the iPad, this tablet is turning heads and catching eyes. The Super AMOLED Plus displays such a good contrast that is easier to read and view than many screens, plus it provides a clearer picture. The specs are unparalleled among its competitors including a 720p (1280×800) resolution touchscreen, 1.4GHz dual-core processor, 3MP camera, HDMI out with an adapter, Wi-Fi direct, front-facing camera, AllShare, Wi-Fi, 16GB storage onboard, and microSD slot. With an HTML 5 Web browser utilizing the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network, the Galaxy Tab can quickly access the Web, stream music and more at blazing speeds using the V. This stylish, light, and thin tablet is a top contender.
The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) came and went with promises of smarter and thinner mobile products that are always working in the background to meet your particular needs. Depending on who you read, CES 2012 was either the year of the TV, the year of the smartphone, the year of applications, or the year of Samsung. The show wowed some and bored some and offered up a range of new products that are coming soon to consumers, businesses and stores. Here are a few highlights:
Smartphones – This year 21 new phones debuted at CES. 17 of those phones were Androids including five Samsung Galaxy phones, the Droid 4, Nokia Lumia 9000, LG Spectrum and more. At the show, Verizon Wireless announced that all future smartphones sold by Verizon will be 4G equipped. I’ll take a closer look at some of the key phones released in a future post.
Tablets – This might be the year of the tablets…again. While many folks predicted 2011 as the year of the tablet, it appears the penetration of tablets into the consumer and business markets will make greater strides in 2012. More than 100 tablets were unveiled at CES with some impressive debuts including the Asus Memo 370T, Blackberry’s Playbook, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, the Toshiba Excite, and a Lenovo with an Intel chip that wowed the crowd. (For a comprehensive list of all new tablets at CES, see BGR.)
TVs – Many were awed by the stunning OLED technology on display in TVs like the LG 55″ television and the Samsung 55″ television. Get ready to see, hear, read about OLED TVs and why they’re the next big thing in television. These TVs are thin (some merely 4 mm thick), application driven (streaming media, social media, online access), and voice and gesture controlled.
Unusual – There were also plenty of unusual offerings on display like the Samsung Smart Window. It’s a 22″ transparent window that is also an LCD panel. You can look through to see how fast your grass is growing, but you can also use it as a computer display to check out Facebook, Twitter, weather updates, and more. It can create personal shades as well as adjust the display to lighting levels in the room.
Apps – Everything has applications now. From TVs, to tablets, to smartphones and more, apps are becoming the way we all customize our always-on devices to support the unique ways we use them. More than ever, consumer electronics appears to be entering a time of customization where our products come ready to adapt to our requirements. One fun little app that was on display was a remote control car designed to work in conjunction with a remote control app on the iPhone. With this app, you can control a toy car by simply gesturing.
There are a range of other new apps, tablets and smartphones worth discussing that I’ll try to highlight in the coming days.
Update: I forgot to mention the unveiling of the Behringer iNuke Boom, the ultimate iPhone speaker. For a sound explosion, the savvy shopper must have an eight foot long, 1000 watt speaker weighing 700 pounds and costing $29,999.
Suddenly tablets are in. Amazon reports that Kindle Fire was the number one selling item on Amazon.com on black Friday and that customers purchased four times as many Kindles as they did on Black Friday 2010.
At the same time, iPad sales were up 68% on Black Friday from Black Friday a year ago. Apple has sold 11.1 million tablets in the past quarter and by some projection will sell 13.5 million in December alone (See TabTimes).
The lower price point of Kindle Fire makes it an attractive purchase for many consumer looking to buy a tablet. A recent survey by Parks Associates suggests that customers facing a choice between iPad and Kindle Fire are 51 percent more likely to choose the Fire (see Bloomberg Businessweek).
The overwhelming success of both tablets may suggest a new era in tablet sales. While iPad has already been popular among consumers, Kindle Fire is bringing its version of the Android operating system to the forefront. While it’s still too early to tell, the popularity of Kindle Fire may open the door for a great acceptability of Android tablets on the market. What would be really nice is to see Kindle Fire 4G on the blazing Verizon LTE 4G network.