smartphones

Amazon offering smartphones, minus the iPhone, for one penny

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 11:10am

Motorola Droid RazrAmazon is selling all smartphones (minus the iPhone) for one penny with a new two-year contract until Monday. That includes phones like the pictured Motorola Droid Razr, which costs $299 at Verizon's website.

You can find more coverage here and the phones on Amazon here.

Guest essay by Michael Robertson: "The Smart Phone Killed the Car Radio"

Friday, September 30, 2011 - 11:00pm

Today RAIN brings you a guest essay from respected entrepreneur Michael Robertson. He founded MP3.com, in 2005 launched MP3tunes and most recently built DAR.fm -- a TiVo-like device for recording radio programs online.

Michael RobertsonIn 1997 I drove a beat up Honda up to LA to meet with the major record labels. I wanted to show them the PC would become the center of people's music life thanks to the new found capabilities MP3 brought. Music fans could warehouse massive music libraries, organize their music, make custom playlists, burn CDs and share that music experience with others. Those I met with scoffed at the notion that the home stereo would be replaced by the PC remarking that "most PCs don't even have speakers!" The major labels could only see the computer as a word-processor. But, I knew that the PC would displace the home stereo and become the music hub.

I have the same feeling today about the car radio getting stream rolled by the smart phone. Today's smart phone has a virtually unlimited audio catalog thanks to the net. Much of the content is interactive (meaning users can rewind, fast forward and skip ahead 30 sec). Many in the radio industry scoff at the notion of the phone replacing the ubiquitous AM/FM car radio. They say that users don't want/need a big library of programming - just the morning DJ / sports talker / political commentator that happens to be offered in their town. If that were true, why wouldn't listeners want those same shows in the afternoon for their drive home? The radio industry sees the ability to rewind/fast forward as unnecessary. They think that radio fans are passive robots who are content to just sit and listen. But, every indication I see in magazines, on TV, Twitter, blogs, etc. tells me that users want control.

DAR.fm now allows everyone to record AM/FM radio and have it automatically downloaded to any smart phone or tablet. I've put together some videos which show how to automatically sync radio shows to an iPad, iPhone, Android, or a PC to use with other mobile devices. (iPad/iPhone users click here) Whenever I jump into my car or travel, my phone already has a few episodes of my favorite radio shows ready for me to listen to. This YouTube video shows how I mount my smart phone and plug it into my car's stereo system.

My smart phone has already made my car radio obsolete because I rarely listen to broadcast radio. I'm not alone. More than half of adults 18-24 have used a portable MP3 player or phone for audio in their car. 41% are interested in rewinding, fast forward and pause (and I think the rest don't even know it's now possible and they'll want it to once they experience it). Radio purists dismiss smart phones as a threat to the AM/FM radio, but there was a day when every house had a home stereo too.

-- MR (originally posted at michaelrobertson)

Mobile update: 60% of new phones sold are smartphones, in-app purchases racking up revenue

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - 8:00am

Apple's iPhone and Android dominate the smartphone marketNearly 60% of all new cellphones sold are smartphones, according to Nielsen, and nearly half of all cellphone users own a smartphone. ZDNet has more on Nielsen's research here.

Meanwhile, a new report from Distimo found that among the 200 highest-grossing apps in the iTunes App Store, 72% of the revenue came from in-app purchases. Boy Genius Report states (here) that's up from 28% last year.

NEARLY 100m MOBILE WEB USERS IN U.S. BY END OF 2011, SAYS eMARKETER

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 12:00pm

Nearly 100 million mobile users in the U.S. will use their devices to browse the mobile web monthly this year, according to eMarketer. That’s up 25% from last year and most of the growth can be attributed to smartphones, which will be in the hands of 38% of mobile users by the end of the year.

GOOGLE CAN NOW MAKE ITS OWN HARDWARE FOR ITS ANDROID OPERATING SYSTEM

Monday, August 15, 2011 - 12:00pm

Google announced today that it will pay $12.5 billion to purchase mobile phone-maker Motorola Mobility. This gives Google its own hardware products, likely affording the company a better competitive stance against phone- and tablet-makers like Apple, HP, and the Microsoft/Nokia alliance.

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