Most online April Fool’s jokes are, to put it as kindly as possible, awful. Of all the companies that try to put creative “pranks” together, however, Google is among the best at managing April Fool’s stunts that are geeky enough to be laughed at in a good way rather than an uncomfortable, “I can’t believe someone thought this would be clever” way. This year, Google cooked up a creative new feature for Google Maps that lets users tour America with 8-bit graphics that will make any NES fan shed a nostalgic tear. As an added bonus, the Zelda-like U.S. landscape in this new version of Maps transforms into an 8-bit Street View when the user zooms in all the way. A link to Google’s 8-bit America follows below along with a screenshot of Street View. More →
A country that was recently the butt of jokes due to its ongoing reliance on CDMA networks now finds itself a global leader in next-generation cellular technology. According to a new report from Pyramid Research, the United States will account for the largest share of 4G LTE subscriptions in the world this year. Twenty-six carriers around the globe have launched LTE networks thus far according to the GSA, but just three will account for 47% of all LTE connections in 2011: Verizon Wireless, MetroPCS and AT&T. Read on for more. More →
For the first time, the number of wireless devices connecting to cellular networks in the United States and its territories over the past six months has surpassed the country’s total population. A semi-annual survey conducted by the CTIA found that wireless subscriber connections now total 327.6 million while the population of the U.S. and its territories is now 315.5 million people. This means the wireless penetration rate in the U.S. in now 103.9% according to the CTIA, marking the first time that wireless penetration has surpassed 100% in the U.S. The CTIA also noted that wireless data connections increased 111% compared to its previous semi-annual survey, and wireless service revenue in the U.S. totaled $164.6 billion during the 12-month period ending June 2011, up 6% from the same period in 2010. The association’s full press release follows below. More →
A recent study conducted by payment solution provider Mobio Identity Systems suggests that North Americans are eager to see mobile payments become a reality. At the same time, however, security is a top concern for the majority of potential users. Mobio recently surveyed 1,085 people across North America and found that the overwhelming majority — 94% — would use mobile payments if they knew the system was secure. Mobio’s study also found that 73% of respondents said security was their main concern regarding mobile payments, while 12.4% said simplicity and 8.5% said speed. As such, it’s safe to say companies looking to bring mobile payments to the mainstream market must focus a tremendous amount of effort on security. As luck would have it, this study just so happens to come from a firm that specializes in mobile payment security solutions. Will wonders never cease? More →
Nielson has released the findings of a study which claims that in June of 2010 almost 33% of all U.S. internet time was spent on either social networking or gaming. The study writes: “Despite the almost unlimited nature of what you can do on the web, 40 percent of U.S. online time is spent on just three activities – social networking, playing games and emailing leaving a whole lot of other sectors fighting for a declining share of the online pie.” According to the study Americans spend 22.7% of their time on social networks, 10.2% of their time playing online games, and 8.3% of their time emailing. Watching videos and listening to music (online mind you) came in at 3.9%. When segmenting out mobile, the top three activities were email, portals, and social networking/blogs respectively. Do your online habits fit the findings of this study? More →
If you are anxiously awaiting the release of Windows Phone 7, Microsoft’s COO Kevin Turner has some good news for you. In a presentation regarding WP7, Turner let go the closest thing to a U.S. release date we’ve heard thus far, November. Turner said, “in the October timeframe and the November timeframe, October likely across Europe and November likely across the U.S. we’re back in this game.” Prior to this discovery, the closest go-live date given by Microsoft was a three month window they were referring to as “the holiday season.” November, with its thirty days, is certainly more welcomed and specific. We’re due to see handsets from Dell, HTC, Samsung, LG, and ASUS on or shortly after launch, so we say… bring on WP7! More →
Well, he didn’t actually walk all the way across America, but in his time lapse movie he does. Check out this great stop motion movie created by Peter Cote. There’s over 2,700 individual shots all taken on a Canon 5D Mark II and a 24-70 f/2.8 lens then edited down into a time lapse creation. Apparently there’s a little corporate influence behind the video, because Peter and his company pitched the concept to Levis Jeans, and they sponsored the production. Take a look at the video after the jump along with a behind the scenes one if you’re interested! More →
Following a six-month upward trend for Yahoo’s US search market share, Bartz’s baby hit a brick wall in February according to comScore, sliding slightly from 21 percent in January to 20.6 percent. It’s a very small decline of course, but you can be sure Yahooligans would have liked to see a continued upward trend as Microsoft shows a renewed interest in search talks. At the same time, Yahoo’s share still sits above the crucial 20 percent mark which is no small feat considering the dominant opposition. Slight slip aside, Yahoo is unquestionably making good progress as comScore reports an astounding 12 percent year to year growth in Q4. Other notables from the February US report: MSN dropped to 8.2 percent from 8.5 percent in January, Ask rose to 4.1 percent from 3.7 percent in January, AOL stayed flat at 3.9 percent and Google snuck up to 63.3 percent from 63 percent in January.
Not forgetting about those ever-important arrogant American consumers, HTC has crafted a U.S.-specific version of their HTC S740 Windows Mobile Standard device. Supporting 850MHz/1900MHz HSDPA bands (sorry, T-Mo users), they’re taking the independent distribution route and going with places like Dell.com, CDW, Best Buy, and others, to sell the handset. All we’ve got on a release date is Q1 of this year, and while we weren’t given a price, you can most likely expect this to sell at the higher-end of the spectrum as it’s not carrier-subsidized. Anywhere from $450-$550 would be our guess.
Google employees might be getting lumps of coal in their Christmas stockings this year but we have a feeling our pals over at Nintendo will likely be getting regularly scheduled bonuses. We all know that Wii sales have been consistently and ridiculously strong but this past week has been nothing short of astounding here in the US for Nintendo. In the week ending December 20th, VG Chartz estimates Wii sales in the US alone at over one million units. Yes, that’s a one with six zeros after it. The holiday season is shaping up to be quite a coup for Nintendo and Wii sales won’t be slowing down any time soon. Add to that the tremendous success of the DS and you’ve got yourself a hell of a year-end.