Entries in Smart Phones (6)


Sales of Personal Computers Drop as More Buy Tablets, Phones

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Consumers have been spending a lot more on tablets and smart phones, but less on personal computers, according to a new report.

The research firm Gartner says PC shipments during the summer quarter fell more than 8 percent compared with the year before.

“A continuing slowdown in consumer PC shipments played a big part in the overall PC market decline,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.  “The third quarter was also a transitional quarter before Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system release.”

But the demand for Windows 8 computers during the holiday season may fall short of expectations.

In another change, Gartner says Lenovo took the number one position in worldwide PC shipments for the first time in the company’s history.  Hewlett-Packard slipped to number two.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


People Shopping in Stores, Then Researching by Phone, Says Survey

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Tell us if this sounds familiar: You're in a store -- perhaps a Best Buy, a Barnes & Noble or a department store -- and you see something you like, but instead of taking it to the cash register to buy it, you pull out your cellphone to see if you can get a better deal online.

Retailers call that "showrooming," and a new survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds that versions of it are becoming very popular.

Pew surveyed 1,000 American adults by phone, and found that in the 30-day period surrounding the holidays, 52 percent of shoppers with cellphones walked into brick-and-mortar stores, saw products that interested them and did at least some research by smartphone. Nineteen percent of them ultimately made their purchases online.

Some other key numbers, quoting Pew:

  • 38 percent of cell owners used their phone to call a friend while they were in a store for advice about a purchase they were considering making.
  • 24 percent of cell owners used their phone to look up reviews of a product online while they were in a store.
  • 25 percent of adult cell owners used their phones to look up the price of a product online while they were in a store, to see if they could get a better price somewhere else.

Greg Sterling, who writes for the website Marketing Land, said 95 percent of purchases are still made the old-fashioned way, by people visiting stores and talking to salespeople -- but retailers need to pay attention to the changing landscape.

"They have to think about this holistically," said Sterling. "There won't be just one way to fight back."

"They have to offer immediacy. They have to have competitive prices. They have to offer great service, and they have to do more," he said. "And this is a problem for many stores."

E-commerce giants such as Amazon and eBay have been cleaning up, largely at the expense of big-box stores. The volume stores, over time, have squeezed small mom-and-pop independent stores -- and, in turn, been squeezed by major online retailers.

But shopping in person, especially if it's a pleasant experience, can still trump online discounts. Sterling cited Apple's stores as an example. Certainly, he said, Apple has other things going for it, but its stores are interesting to visit, its staff is well-trained and people don't mind paying more in exchange.

"Service is a powerful thing for people, and they'll reward it," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


RIM Unveils New Smartphones in Effort to Keep Up with Competition

Research In Motion(WATERLOO, Ontario) -- BlackBerry, whose handheld smartphones revolutionized the way people stay in touch with the world, unveiled a new line of phones Wednesday -- just days after it announced 2,000 job cuts, revamped top management, and saw its stock hit a five-year low.

The new models, with touch screens, slide-out keyboards, and a faster, more versatile operating system, are designed to appeal to BlackBerry's core audience of business users, while keeping up with increasingly some stiff competition: Apple's iPhone and phones that run on Google's Android operating system.

Research In Motion (RIM), the Canadian company that sells BlackBerrys, is profitable and its sales are rising -- but it has lost significant ground in a market dominated by Apple and Android. Smartphone consumers who expect the Web at their fingertips have turned away from Blackberry toward its more Internet-friendly counterparts.

Now some analysts see RIM as a has-been, a company that gave the world constant access to email on the go, but couldn't turn it into mass-market dominance.

"They were very late to make a major transition," said Alkesh Shah, an analyst at Evercore Partners in New York. "They made great phones that focus around email, but not around the Internet. And that's where Apple and Android are way ahead of them."

The new RIM lineup includes three versions of the BlackBerry Torch (models 9810, 9850, and 9860), a multimedia handheld whose large touch screen makes it look much like an iPhone with extra buttons.

Most companies and government agencies still issue BlackBerrys, not iPhones, to their employees for business use, and BlackBerrys are still wildly popular in other parts of the world -- much more widespread than Apple's iPhones in the Middle East and parts of Asia and Europe.

RIM promises a new operating system next year, called QNX, designed to compete directly with Apple, Google, and other companies such as Motorola and Samsung.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Keep Tabs on Spending Using Your Smart Phone

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The number of Americans who do their banking online has more than doubled in the past five years and now, many people are banking with their smart phones.

One of the best ways to control your spending is to know exactly what's in your account and smart phones can make mobile banking easy.

"As you're out and you're shopping and you're buying and you're paying for things you've got a better understanding of how much money you've got," says technology executive, Mike Upton at Bank of America.

Upton adds that people can also check their balances and schedule bill payments using their phones.

Moreover, at a growing number of gas stations, convenience stores and fast food restaurants, customers can now pay with their phones by simply waving it at the cash register.

"You wouldn't have to use the card, you could just use the phone," says Upton.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tax Tip: File Returns, Check Refunds on Your Smart Phone

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New for people filing their taxes this year: a host of smart phone applications, including apps that allow you to submit your returns and check up on your refunds.

"If you're an iPhone user or have an Android phone, you can actually file your taxes from your phone," says Mary Beth Franklin of Kiplingers Personal Finance magazine.  She says Turbo Tax has an app called Snap Tax that can do just that.

"You take your W2 form that you receive from your employer that lists your annual earnings and your deductions; you take a picture of it with the camera on your phone; you answer a few questions and boom you file your taxes," Franklin says.

Filers interested in using Snap Tax can download it for $14.95.

But some apps are free, including one from the Internal Revenue Service called IRS2Go.  The IRS app can be found at the agency's website,  It works with both iPhones and Android phones and features news from the IRS and more.

"[Users] can download this phone app and one of the features of IRS2Go app is checking on the status of your refund as well," says Jodie Reynolds of the IRS.

Some tax prep firms also have their own free apps.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


AT&T Adding More Wi-Fi Hot Spots in U.S.

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- AT&T will be expanding its Wi-Fi access for customers in key cities across the U.S.

The wireless service provider is expected to announce Tuesday that it will be adding more Wi-Fi hot spots near New York's Time Square, just in time for the city's upcoming New Year's Eve festivities.

AT&T's Alexa Coffman says the expansion in New York will "include St. Patrick's Cathedral and up toward Rockefeller Center."

Wi-Fi hot spots will also be introduced in San Francisco.  According to Coffman, AT&T hopes the expansion will help customers by taking demand off the company's cell network and allowing smart phone users to switch over to Wi-Fi.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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