The City of New York is reportedly planning to revive 250 old phone booths with the introduction of 32-inch Internet-ready “smart screens” throughout the five boroughs, The New York Post reported on Monday. The touch-screens will display local neighborhood information in multiple languages, including lists of nearby restaurants, stores in the area, traffic updates, landmark information and safety alerts. If the pilot program is successful, the futuristic screens could replace all of the city’s 12,800 outdoor pay phones. “The goal is to pilot it and see what the response is,” said Nicholas Sbordone, a spokesman for the city’s department of Information Technology & Telecommunications. “It will help inform the city’s ongoing reassessment, with public input, of what we want or what we think the future of public pay phones will entail.” Read on for more. More →
Researchers from North Carolina State University have found that mobile applications that integrate advertisements pose privacy and a security risks. The team conducted a study that examined 100,000 apps from the Google Play market and noticed that more than half contained “ad libraries,” while 297 of the apps included “aggressive ad libraries” that could download and run code from remote servers. Researchers also found that more than 48,000 of the apps that were examined could track location via GPS, while others could access call logs, phone numbers and a list of all the apps a user has stored on his or her phone. Read on for more. More →
Amazon announced on Thursday that Amazon.com customers are now purchasing more books for the Kindle than print books — including hardcover and paperback — combined. Since April 1st, for example, for every 100 print books that were sold on Amazon.com, the site sold 105 Kindle eBooks. “Customers are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books,” Amazon’s CEO and Founder Jeff Bezos said. “We had high hopes that this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happy this quickly — we’ve been selling print books for 15 years and Kindle books for less than four years.” Bezos also noted that Amazon has been pleased with the customer response to the $114 Kindle with Special Offers product, which is the most popular selling Kindle right now. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
According to Amazon’s “Bestsellers in Electronics” list, the company’s $114 ad-subsidized “Kindle with Special Offers,” is the most popular model in the Kindle family of eReaders. The device — launched on April 13th — is just $25 cheaper than the $139 Kindle Wi-Fi version, but it comes with sponsored screen savers and advertisements on the bottom of the screen. We originally suspected that most people would splurge for the Wi-Fi version and avoid ads, but perhaps users aren’t as turned off to them as we thought. All of this only matters, of course, if the Bestsellers list is to be believed. More →
Skype announced on Monday that it will soon add advertisements to its desktop software. The move is thought to be an effort to introduce a new revenue stream ahead of the company’s IPO, which will occur this year. The new display ads will be rolled out in the U.S., U.K. and Germany this week, and they will appear on the Home tab of Skype’s desktop software. Initial ad buys that will begin running as soon as Skype’s new ads go live come from companies including Groupon, Universal Pictures and Visa. While Skype’s long-term plans remain unclear, the company said that it will initially only display ads from a single brand each day. For the time being, Skype’s ads will appear only in its Windows client, not its Mac application. More →
Google has introduced new location-aware advertising for iPhone and Android handsets. Advertisers will now have the ability to select a “location extension for display” option that will serve up their ads based upon a user’s GPS coordinates. Ads will appear within mobile applications and mobile browsers and will allow users to get mapping and contact information for businesses that are within the immediate area. This feature is pretty cool once you get over the creepiness of Google sending ads to you based upon your device, the context of your mobile usage, and now your location.
Rumors of a Superbowl ad for Google’s search service began circulating the internet last week when Google CEO Eric Schmidt tweeted: “Can’t wait to watch the Superbowl tomorrow. Be sure to watch the ads in the 3rd quarter. (someone said, ‘Hell has indeed frozen over’).” Google, a company known for it’s web advertisements, rarely (ever?) spends company dollars on television-based ads for its line of web services. However, as tweeted by the CEO, a Google spot did air during the third quarter of the big game last night. We thought the 60-second spot, titled “Parisian Love”, was pretty clever and deserved a nod, even though it wasn’t exactly new. Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints on their victory last night; we have the video queued up for you after the break. More →
Microsoft has started to ramp up its advertisement of Windows 7 and they’ve enlisted some serious star power to do it; Stewie and Brian Griffin. A special titled “Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex’s Almost Live Comedy Show” will air November 8th on Fox at 8:30p (EST and PST). You won’t have to deal with any commercials, just the constant subtle placement of Windows 7 into the plot line. The deal is also said to include a 12-week college tour with outdoor movie nights hosted by Brian and Stewie. Can cartoon characters give Windows 7 the “mo” it needs to have a successful launch? We’ll see. And hey, if you need your memory refreshed, this is Microsoft’s last Windows advertising adventure, staring comedian Jerry Seinfeld.
Palm’s location-based advertising patent likely sheds light on background location reporting in webOS
Remember last month when a developer revealed some hidden functionality in webOS that periodically reports a user’s location back to Palm? Well as it turns out, the reasoning behind the Big Brother-esque move may be even worse than you think. Drum roll please… Location-based advertising. We’ve uncovered a patent application filed by Palm in November of last year that could end up being one of the worst things to happen to webOS since its birth. As described within the application itself, the patent “provides a method and system thereof that can be used to more effectively target advertisements and other services to users of wireless communication devices.” More from the patent description:
Based upon the location data from the appointment and the location of device 310 (or other alternative location provided by the user), processor 340 may then provide advertisement data (step 386), for example, along the driving route between the location of the appointment and the current location of device 310 within a predetermined distance of the location of the appointment and/or the current location of device 310, and so on.
In other words, the system will keep tabs on your location in order to serve ads that will theoretically get you to spend money on the spot. Why not stop off for a coffee in this Starbucks? How about a tasty Angus Third Pounder from the McDonald’s down the block? But wait, it gets worse. Palm’s concept goes even further to pull appointment information out of your calendar in order to serve contextual ads based on your destination location in addition to your current location. While this concept is pretty brilliant, it’s also remarkably invasive and frankly, a bit frightening. Is the future of mobile advertising a gross invasion of our privacy?
We’ve been wondering how long it would take Microsoft to kick things up a notch with its responses to Apple’s I’m a Mac smear series. Times are tough these days and it looks like Microsoft is finally starting to target cost with its latest TV ad. Titled Windows Laptop Hunters, the spot features a young woman named Lauren tasked with finding a laptop that meets her requirements — “speed, a comfortable keyboard and a 17-inch screen” — for under $1,000. If she finds one, be it a Mac or a PC, Microsoft will buy it for her. You know as well as we do that the only way anyone is scoring a new Mac laptop with a 17-inch for under $1,000 is armed robbery, so you can imagine how the commercial plays out. Forgetting the fact that the Best Buy she was shopping in apparently doesn’t charge a sales tax, Lauren ends up with an HP Pavilion for $699.99; a price even the most modest MacBook can’t come close to touching. The model she walked with features a 2.1GHz AMD Turion X2 with 4GB of DDR2 RAM, 320GB hard drive, DVD-RW drive and of course a 1440×900 17-inch display — definitely a solid system.
No, we haven’t quite stooped to the level of a local politician’s attack campaign quite yet, but it’s good to see Microsoft finally showing a little spunk with its response ads. Considering the times, we imagine there are plenty more value-centric ads from Redmond on the way; at least, we hope there are. Hit the jump to watch the full commercial.
Apparently, thinking Windows Vista is a crappy OS is equivalent to thinking the Earth is flat. Mmm. The above image is a teaser of Microsoft’s upcoming $300 million Vista ad campaign, and we’re not quite sure $300 million is going to be enough to accomplish what Microsoft has set out to accomplish. This is an anti-smear campaign in its truest sense. Vista has been nothing short of a whipping boy for the blogosphere since its trouble-riddled release a year and a half ago. All the cool kids hate Vista. Of course it’s difficult to argue that the general dislike is unfounded but Microsoft is about to do its best to repair Vista’s image. From one of the new Vista anti-smear pages on Microsoft’s site:
When Windows Vista debuted in January 2007, we declared it the best operating system we had ever made. “Windows Vista is beautiful,” The New York Times raved. It’s humbling that millions of you agree.
But we know a few of you were disappointed by your early encounter. Printers didn’t work. Games felt sluggish. You told us—loudly at times—that the latest Windows wasn’t always living up to your high expectations for a Microsoft product…
We know that’s what some people are saying on the Internet. And in its early days, Windows Vista did experience some compatibility problems. But thanks to our industry partners’ efforts during the past 18 months, here’s where things stand today.
Well Microsoft, you’ve got your work cut out for you. As XP’s run comes to an end, now is probably one of the most important times in Microsoft’s long history. Big Billy is gone, the second coming of Mac computers has arrived and Linux is gaining more ground each day. It should be an interesting couple of years ahead of us.