Entries in Mobile Devices (5)


Cyber Monday Deals Lure More Shoppers on Mobile Devices

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Early estimates of Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year, showed sales may reach $2 billion, and a growing portion of that may come from the pockets of a record number of mobile shoppers.

As of 2 p.m. EST, payment system PayPal had a 196-percent increase in mobile payment volume on Cyber Monday 2012 than Cyber Monday 2011. On Black Friday, the increase in the number of people shopping on their mobile devices was stark for PayPal as well as auction site eBay, which owns PayPal. On Friday, there was a 153-percent increase in mobile volume transactions compared to Black Friday last year. PayPal's volume increased almost three-fold, 193 percent, compared to last year's Black Friday.

The annual event is increasingly becoming Cyber Week instead of a one-day event as retailers open their arms for Americans who prefer to avoid crowds and compare prices online., Target, Walmart were all promoting Cyber Week specials in addition to deals exclusive to Cyber Monday.

Shoppers are expected to spend more than $1.5 billion Monday, up 20 percent from last year, according to research firm comScore. Another prediction from Adobe Digital Index forecasts spending will reach $2 billion, as many shoppers were waiting for Monday's online deals to make their purchases.

It has already been a big holiday weekend with a record $59.1 billion spent at U.S. stores and websites, according to the National Retail Federation.

Online sales on Thanksgiving Day, traditionally not a popular day for online shopping, rose 32 percent from last year to $633 million, according to comScore. And online sales on Black Friday were up 26 percent from the same day last year, to $1.042 billion. It was the first time online sales on Black Friday surpassed $1 billion.

The National Retail Federation says 247 million shoppers hit stores and websites to cash in on savings during the holiday weekend, up nine percent from last year. Nearly two-thirds of those shoppers went to stores or hit the Web on Black Friday.

Black Friday is now history along with Small Business Saturday. Now, it's Cyber Monday's turn.

On Twitter, retailers were tweeting in full force. Verizon Wireless purchased Twitter's promoted post, #CyberMonday, while Radio Shack marketed a different deal each hour of the day with the hashtag, #24dealsin24. At noon EST, Radio Shack was offering a TomTom GPS navigator for $99.99 after a discount of 38 percent.

From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST, casual clothing and home retailer Land's End is listing door busters with the hashtag, #LE12HRS.

At midnight, was offering as much as 60 percent off a Panasonic VIERA 55-inch TV that's usually priced higher than $1,000. Sears is offering $430 off a Maytag washer and dryer, each on sale for $399. And Kmart is offering 75 percent off diamond earrings.

"Cyber Monday is really all about doing your homework, and it really means looking for the really good deals," retail analyst Marshal Cohen said. "If it's a really good deal, grab it."

But Cyber Monday might be losing its luster. The busiest day for Internet shopping has been overshadowed this year by online sales that started as early as Thanksgiving Day.

"Look for Cyber Monday to be important, but not necessarily getting that same growth rate that they've had in years past," Cohen said.

The rise in smartphones and tablets has changed consumers' shopping habits since Cyber Monday's inception seven years ago. Cyber Monday was first widely publicized by in 2005 to persuade shoppers to buy online, as people were still warming to e-commerce.

"There were so many deals being offered online, starting from Wednesday and all the way through the weekend and now some of the money has already been spent," Cohen said.

Cyber Monday is also an easier alternative for people who don't like long lines and chaos that comes with the Black Friday weekend.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


No-Contract iPhones Coming in Late June

Tony Avelar/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Virgin Mobile USA, one of Sprint's brands for prepaid, no-contract phone service, announced Thursday it will start selling the iPhone later this month.  

For customers looking to purchase the iPhone 4 or 4S without a contract or roaming and activation fees, Virgin Mobile will make the popular Apple smartphone available for as low as $549 dollars for a basic model. The high price of the phone comes with lower monthly charges starting at $30. Cricket, which is set to launch iPhone sales on June 22, will offer the phone for $150 less but with a $55 monthly plan.

Until recently, the iPhone could only be purchased with a contract.  Now wading into the no-contract market, Apple is making its product more accessible to a new set of consumers -- people with lower incomes and shaky credit at best.

Virgin Mobile iPhone sales will begin June 29 at select local retailers, Best Buy, Radio Shack or through its website.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Smartphones Will Outnumber Humans by 2016

Tony Avelar/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Smartphones are becoming smarter by the day, and by 2016, there’ll be more of them on planet Earth than humans.  Tech giant Cisco Systems estimates there will be 10 billion smartphones and tablets being used on Earth by 2016. The world population by that same year, according to the United Nations, will be 7.3 billion.

Some additional numbers from Cisco:

490 million -- Number of smartphones sold in 2011.
1.4 -- Number of mobile gadgets for every person on Earth in 2016.
50 -- The factor by which data traffic from smartphones will increase by 2016.
62 -- Factor by which data traffic from tablets will increase by 2016.
71 -- Percent of mobile traffic dedicated to watching videos on portable devices by 2016, a 25-fold increase from today.
130 -- Exabytes of worldwide data traffic in 2016. That's roughly the equivalent of 33 billion DVDs, 4.3 quadrillion mp3 files, or 813 quadrillion text messages.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Children's Apps Need Privacy Policing, Says FTC

Tooga/The Image Bank(WASHINGTON) -- It's been a heck of a week when it comes to app security issues.

Just after Congress took issue with Apple on its address book and app privacy issues, the Federal Trade Commission has issued a report pushing Apple and Google to better police the security in applications for children.

"Companies that operate in the mobile marketplace provide great benefits, but they must step up to the plate and provide easily accessible, basic information, so that parents can make informed decisions about the apps their kids use," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a statement.

"Right now, it is almost impossible to figure out which apps collect data and what they do with it. The kids app ecosystem needs to wake up, and we want to work collaboratively with industry to help ensure parents have the information they need," he added.

The 23-page report calls the current privacy disclosures "dis app ointing" (yes, "app" is italicized in the report), and after looking at hundreds of children's apps, including learning and gaming options, the report recommends that the app stores, developers and third parties improve how and what information is provided to parents about the app.

It goes on to suggest concrete ideas of how that can be done:  "App developers should provide this information through simple and short disclosures or icons that are easy to find and understand on the small screen of a mobile device."

The full report can be read here.

Apple already responded to similar security concerns earlier in the week with a statement detailing that it would be taking steps to be more transparent about what personal information is being accessed or stored by applications.

"We're working to make this even better for our customers, and as we have done with location services, any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release," Apple wrote.

Apple did not have any further comment in response to the FTC report focusing on children's apps.

Google, on the other hand, has promised to review the report. "We are reviewing the FTC's report," Google spokesperson Randall Sarafa told ABC News. "From the beginning, Android has had an industry-leading permission system, which informs consumers what data an app can access and requires user approval before installation. Additionally, we offer parental controls and best practices for developers to follow when designing apps that handle user data."

Still, as the FTC points out numerous times in the report, the biggest issue is the transparency and understanding of those privacy permissions. Android and iPhone/iPad apps do not have an in-your-face alert that allows parents to know exactly what the privacy policy is and if data could be accessed on the device.

When you download a popular children's game like Angry Birds on the iPhone, it simply provides the link to the privacy policy on the company's website.

On an Android device, there is a helpful list of permissions (location, etc.), but the disclosures are fairly buried and do not always include what the app does with the access. Rovio, the developer of the popular game, did not respond for comment.

A company like Duck Duck Moose, which develops apps like Wheels on the Bus and Itsy Bitsy Spider, does not collect any information from users.

"We do not ask users to provide any information and we do not collect any information about users, their devices or usage of our mobile applications," Caroline Hu Flexer, the co-founder of the company told ABC News. However, while that policy is listed on its website, it is buried in the applications. Hu Flexer said the company would appreciate more flexiblity in the app store to display privacy policies.

Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, is calling for the same thing.

"Anything that developers can do to make privacy controls and permission settings more prominent and easier to navigate is helpful to parents and to users in general," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Survey: More Wireless Devices than People in US

Microsoft(WASHINGTON) -- The number of wireless devices used in the United States has officially exceeded the country's population, according to the trade group CTIA, which released its semi-annual survey Tuesday. The group found that Americans had also doubled the amount of data traffic they generate by using the Internet on their smartphones.

CTIA found that the number of mobile devices rose by 9 percent in the first six months of the year, to 327.6 million, which exceeds the number of people -- 315 million -- who live in the U.S. and its territories. Internet traffic also rose 111 percent, to 341.2 billion megabytes during that time.

More than one trillion text messages were sent in the past year, according to the report.

According to the survey’s data, people keep more than one wireless device, including smartphones and tablets, in their possession. Some analysts believe the surge comes from people having greater access to more of these devices, which have dropped in price and become more readily available.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio