According to a new report from research firm IDC, annual mobile app downloads are expected to jump from just 10.7 billion in 2010 to 182.7 billion in 2015. The company noted that that developers should keep a close eye on in-app purchases as the primary focus for monetizing applications – a far different approach than the standard method of relying on the initial app purchase. “This shift is most evident in the free app category, where in-app purchases allow users to buy a more functional version of the app or to turn on additional features,” the report said. “In this instance, the mobile apps space is largely emulating the success of mobile games that have long incorporated in-game purchases of additional levels, features, and functionalities as a key revenue source.” IDC argued that ad-supported applications and those that offer in-app purchase options must continue to keep users attracted over time. “The user sustainability trifecta of social networking, location, and the cloud are now increasingly being supported by the business model financial trifecta of application store purchases, in-app purchasing, and in-app advertising,” said Scott Ellison, vice president of mobile and connected consumer platforms at IDC. Read on for the full release. More →
On Wednesday, researchers from O’Reilly claimed to discover a tracking feature in iPhones and 3G iPads that reportedly sent location data back to Apple. Another researcher, this time from Katana Forensics, says otherwise. “Apple is not harvesting this data from your device,” said Kata Forensics lead engineer Alex Levinson. “This is data on the device that you as the customer purchased and unless [O’Reilly] can show concrete evidence supporting this claim – network traffic analysis of connections to Apple servers – I rebut this claim in full. Through my research in this field and all traffic analysis I have performed, not once have I seen this data traverse a network.” Levinson argues that the “hidden tracking file” is neither new nor a secret. He wrote about it in a book by Sean Morrissey titled iOS Forensic Analysis, which was published on December 5th, 2010, and says that the collected data is simply used by native iOS apps like Maps and Camera. If you’re still worried Apple is collecting the info – that you likely agreed to provide anyway — Levinson even cites a California state law that says: “No person or entity in this state shall use an electronic tracking device to determine the location or movement of a person.” Hit the jump for more from Alex Levinson.
In a report titled Emerging Wireless Consumer Devices published this month by Berg Insight, the firm claims that sales of connected consumer devices will grow 77% in 2011. Berg estimates that 22 million consumer devices with embedded cellular connectivity were sold in 2010, and that number will nearly double in 2011 to 39 million. In 2015, Berg thinks over 270 million connected consumer devices will be sold globally, representing a compound annual growth rate of 65%. The category, as defined by Berg, includes devices with integrated cellular connectivity such as tablets and eReaders, and it excludes cell phones. The firm also notes that connected portable gaming consoles such as Sony’s NGP will be a new and significant entrant into the category later this year.
Although it has been available in a beta version for the past several weeks, BlackBerry Desktop Manager 2.0 for Mac had yet to be given an official release date by maker Research In Motion… that is, until today. RIM has made version 2.0 of its desktop suite for Mac official. The update brings with it Wi-Fi music syncing, a new device switch wizard, and the ability to import and sync both photos and videos with iPhoto and iTunes. Desktop Manager 2.0 clocks in at just north of 40MB and is available as we type. Hit the read link to download the new goodies. More →
Investment research firm ITG has been investigating the sales figures from Verizon Wireless and it has come up with a pretty interesting find: the vast majority of smartphones sold by Verizon Wireless are Android handsets. That fact, while pertinent, is not all that shocking. What is shocking is this: in October of 2009, BlackBerrys accounted for 93% of Verizon Wireless’ smartphone sales. Just over one year later, in November of 2010, Android accounted for 80% of Verizon Wireless’ smartphone sales and BlackBerry’s share comes in at under 20%. How did Android go from not having a single handset in Verizon’s lineup in October of 2009 to sales domination eleven months later? You can credit Verizon’s fierce marketing blitz around the devices, consumer demand for more media centric devices with bigger screens, or RIM’s slow, measured approach with hardware. Whatever you want to credit or blame, those numbers are staggering and should not be ignored.
Today, Research In Motion announced that it has “opened the BlackBerry App World vendor portal to begin accepting BlackBerry PlayBook apps from developers.” The company has yet to communicate a release date for the highly-anticipated tablet.
“Interest and momentum behind the BlackBerry PlayBook continues to build and we are thrilled with the positive response from both the developer community and our customers,” said Tyler Lessard, RIM’s VP of Global Alliances & Developer Relations. “We are very pleased to be working with developers in advance of the product launch and the opening of BlackBerry App World to accept BlackBerry PlayBook apps is an important next step.”
The press release also noted that developers who “submit a qualifying BlackBerry PlayBook app that is accepted into BlackBerry App World prior to the initial product launch in North America” will receive a free PlayBook for their efforts.
There you have it developers. Submit early, submit often, and stake your claim to a free PlayBook! More →
Today, Research In Motion announced that the cryptographic kernel of its BlackBerry 6 mobile operating system has earned the FIPS 140-2 security certification. FIPS, or Federal Information Processing Standard, is a classification used by the U.S. — and others — to validate the security of a computer system’s cryptographic services. The certification officially green-lights the OS for use by government employees handing “sensitive but unclassified” information. Just another security feather for RIM’s proverbial cap.
George Colony, founder and CEO of Forrester Research, keeps a blog that “contains ideas, observations, and analyses to help drive the success of other CEOs.” In a post yesterday, Mr. Colony bluntly stated that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is, to date, “a one-trick pony.” In acknowledging that Facebook is an excellent concept, Mr. Colony also writes that Mr. Zuckerberg has not “morphed” Facebook all that much from its original form. It is still the same idea, and for that reason, the market-research company’s CEO is skeptical.
“We didn’t declare Andy Grove a great CEO based on Intel’s domination of the dynamic random access memory market,” writes Mr. Colony. “But when he survived a close brush with bankruptcy, pivoted the company into microprocessors, and teamed with Microsoft to dominate personal computers, we recognized what a great CEO he had become.” The article also cites Steve Jobs’ ability to turn his creativity into “important products across three generations of customers and four unique generations of computing,” as an example.
“Zuckerberg appears to have the raw material to be a great CEO,” the post continues, “but we won’t know if he is or isn’t until he creates a new popular product or morphs Facebook into a monetary engine that justifies its current irrational valuation.” It seems as though Forrester’s CEO is saying what many — especially those on Wall Street contemplating a Facebook IPO — are thinking.
Now, George Colony may be getting a bit ahead of himself, as both Andy Grove and Steve Jobs have had decades to prove their mettle. But the article does foster great discussion points about Zuck, Facebook, and the privately held company’s $33 billion valuation. So sound off! We want to know what you think about the world’s largest social network, its CEO, and its current price-tag.
[Image credit: The New York Times] More →
As you can clearly see, no, we didn’t snag the royal purple BlackBerry Style, but Sprint and RIM were nice enough to hook us up with a steel grey (also known as black) unit, and we’re up and running. After a quick Enterprise Activation, the emails are flowing like wine. But there are no beautiful women instinctively flocking like the salmon of Capistrano — yet. Here are some of our first impressions on the device we exclusively showed the world way back in April:
- It’s not as big as we figured it would be. The BlackBerry Style is a little thick, but not overly hefty, and definitely manageable.
- The keyboard is… not as great as we hoped, and expected, it to be. It’s good, more than usable, but it feels a bit like the Torch’s keyboard — not enough travel tactility. Maybe we’re spoiled by our Bold 9780, but even though the keyboard isn’t as good, it’s most probably better than your current phone’s QWERTY keyboard, so that’s a plus.
- The screen is just what you’d expect; you don’t really notice the fact it’s a lower-than-optimal resolution due to the fact that the screen size is much smaller than on the BlackBerry Torch. Also without a touch layer, the display looks a little thinner and sleeker. Colors look good, crisp, and clear.
- The external display by default when closed is a clock, and when you receive messages, you can simply page through them without having to open the handset, just like on the Pearl Flip. Definitely a nice feature.
- Here is what we’re not in love with in our limited time with the Style… talking on the phone. With the device flipped open, the ear speaker doesn’t fit right against your ear and face. It’s on a diagonal angle because the phone’s hinge sits under the body of the phone. For example, instead of the hinge forming a straight V-shape, the flip part sits under the main part of the phone, and this recessed hinge design doesn’t offer the most comfortable phone talking experience. We’ll let you know if we get used to talking on it more in our review.
- The camera is pretty decent, seems as if it’s the same sensor as the one in the BlackBerry Torch and the BlackBerry Bold 9780.
- There is a non-button in place of the left convenience key button and it’s kind of irritating. Not because there is anything wrong with it, but because it looks like a button would work there, and you’re left with only the right convenience key as a result. [Update: it’s the cover for the microSD slot]
All in all, for a $99 (with contract) BlackBerry smartphone rocking 3G, Wi-Fi, GPS, a 5 megapixel camera, BlackBerry OS 6, a QWERTY keyboard, and more, it does feel like an improvement over the Curve series in many ways. Especially for the younger, hipper demographic, the BlackBerry Style doesn’t feel too much out of place in that context. We just wish Sprint and RIM would have launched a slightly less expensive BlackBerry data plan (just email and BBM) with the Style — those high schoolers, and their parents, wouldn’t be able to resist the new 9670. It goes on sale October 31st on Sprint.
Sprint and BlackBerry have finally gone and made the BlackBerry Style 9670 official as of this morning. In case you’re forgetting the specifications on the device we first showed to the world, here they are… a full QWERTY flip phone rockin’ BlackBerry 6, 624MHz processor, 5 megapixel camera, GPS, and Wi-Fi b/g/n. The BlackBerry Style will also come in two colors on the nation’s first 4G carrier — steel grey and royal purple, just like we reported. If you’re looking for the purple variant, it won’t go on sale until “early November” but we’re sure most of the general public will be gunning for the grey handset anyway. As far as price, it’s just like we said — $99 after a $100 mail-in rebate and new 2 year cellular agreement. Full press release is after the break, folks! More →
Back on the 14th of September, Verizon Wireless announced that the BlackBerry Curve 9330 would be available for purchase in the “coming weeks.” After almost a month, it looks like the time has finally come. Today, the Curve 9330 subtle appeared in the Verizon online store in a not-so-subtle fuchsia color. The device, which has 3G, Wi-Fi, and BlackBerry OS 5, will retail for $29.99 with a 2-year contract.
Thanks, Joe! More →
Hey, what do we have here? One of our Verizon sources was kind enough to send us this piece of intel regarding Verizon Wireless and BlackBerry 6. It looks like the company plans of having an “interactive launch” of the BlackBerry 6 operating system on Thursday, October 14. The word interactive makes us think that the actual software bits may not be available, however, at minimum, this indicates a BB6 launch is right around the corner. We’ll keep digging and report what we find.
Today, AT&T announced that they will begin selling the BlackBerry Curve 3G and BlackBerry Pearl 3G in time for the holiday buying season. The Curve 3G (9300) will be available on an unspecified date — before December 25 — and will retail for $99.99 with a new 2-year contract (no mail in rebate required). The Pearl 3G (9100) will be available starting October 17 in stores and online and will retail for $149.99 on-contract (again, no rebate required). The devices will add to AT&T’s BlackBerry lineup which also includes the Bold 9700 and Torch 9800. More →