FCC Chairman to Congress: Hands Off Unlicensed Spectrum [All Things D]
In a recent interview, Genachowski spoke about the bill passed by the House of Representatives that limits the role that the FCC would play in dealing with spectrum bands that have not been claimed or distributed to parties. He opposes that view point, even though there are other parts of the bill – such as having incentivized auctions to free up spectrum currently not being used – that Genachowski finds more agreeable.
Genachowski believes that FCC has the flexibility and expertise to put unused spectrum to the best use. He cited Wi-Fi as a prime example. According to Genachowski, the FCC was responsible for freeing up the spectrum that eventually became Wi-Fi. That whole process began by the FCC freeing up spectrum and making it available for others to innovate.
Genachowski believes that other successful developments can be made using spectrum – so long as the FCC is free to open it up as a "platform for innovation."
With the Roku app, users can add or delete video channels on their set-top devices. Channels like Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and Pandora can be added by simply tapping the option on the app.
In addition, the remote feature of the app includes gesture controls that viewers can use to easily swipe from one option or video to the next. Users can also rate any channel with a simple tap and can even control multiple devices (so long as they are all on the same network).
The Roku app is free at the Apple App Store and is compatible with all past and present models of the Roku set-top device. There are reports that an Android version is coming soon.
U.S. Teens Triple Data Usage [TechCrunch]
According to the latest Nielsen report, mobile data usage among teenagers has increased a staggering 250 percent since last year. In the third quarter of 2011 the 13 to 17 year-old age groups used about 321 MB of mobile data a piece, per month.
While data usage is growing pretty much across all age groups, there's no doubt that teen data usage is growing the fastest. The highest age group in terms of data usage was 25-34 year-olds (534 MB), followed by 18-24 year-olds (534 MB) and 35-44 year-olds (412 MB). The 13-17 year-old teenage demographic was fourth overall.
While the data usage increases are impressive, they still don't hold a candle to the teenage text messaging numbers. This past quarter the average number of texts exchanged among teens 13 to 17 per month was an unbelievable 3,417 or about 7 messages for every awake hour, every day.
Do your homework junior!!
According to the report, 24.55% of Internet users across the globe are using Chrome 15, while IE8's share has dropped to just over 22%. Mozilla Firefox's latest version (8.0) took the third spot at 15.5%.
This doesn't mean that Chrome has now replaced Internet Explorer in the overall browser market, just that this latest version is more popular than Internet Explorer's most popular version (IE9 has since been released but still is not used nearly as much as IE8). Past versions of Internet Explorer are still used at a fairly high rate. According to Net Applications' data, Internet Explorer still maintains an overall 53% share of the browser market.
Chrome's influence is not only evident in its growing user numbers, but also in the fact that so many other browsers, including Internet Explorer, are mimicking the features that have made Chrome such a fan favorite, mainly its focus on speed, stripped-down design, and automatic updating feature.
With Microsoft actively trying to wean users off the 10 year old version of Internet Explorer - IE 6, it is announcing that from here on out, it will be actively pushing browser updates to users computers, rather than letting them choose to upgrade.
Google unveiled its Chrome browser in 2008, which contained a feature that automatically upgraded the browser to the newest version each time a new version was released. This feature had the impact of allowing Google to patch flaws in Chrome as quickly as they were discovered and remedied. While Microsoft patches security vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer, it has been up to users to apply these changes manually which has frequently resulted in those flaws manifesting themselves on unpatched machines.
Microsoft is tracking the number of users with the older IE 6 browser, which currently sits at 8.3 percent of all web users worldwide. In the U.S., it's only 1 percent of web users.
Cable's Gonna Keep Winning the Broadband Wars: Moffett [Multichannel News]
By 2020, Moffett predicts that cable's share of the broadband market will jump from 60% to 70%. As demand for speed increases, Moffett believes that cable's superior infrastructure will allow it to better meet customers' growing needs.
Meanwhile build-outs from AT&T's U-Verse and Verizon's FiOS are coming to an end. Currently, these telco initiatives only reach 46% of the U.S., and they're expected to only reach 48% by 2020.
DSL, on the other hand, is expected to drop drastically from 28.2% today all the way down to 8.8% in 2020. Moffett also said that satellite is not be a factor in the broadband market because of the lack of an actual broadband pipe and the decision of Verizon to forego a deal with DirecTV to bundle satellite TV and LTE wireless service.
F.A.A. Approves iPads in Cockpits, But Not for Passengers [New York Times Bits Blog]
A recent statement by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) clarified that pilots for American Airlines are permitted to use iPads in the cockpit at all times during a flight, in place of the paper manuals that are currently used.
This is great news for pilots and undoubtedly helps cut down the extremely bulky manuals that pilots usually have to reference. However, passengers on airplanes now have reason to question the FAA's stringent rule about not using electronic devices – even calculators – until the flight has reached 10,000 feet.
The reasoning given for the FAA's ban on electronic devices during takeoff and landing procedures is that the devices could cause interference with the electronics of the plane.
Now when passengers are told to turn their electronic devices off, they'll know that the pilot could be using an iPad in an area much closer to the plane's electronics.
To its credit, the FAA limited the number of electronic devices in the cockpit to two – one for each pilot. They claim that two devices cause significantly less interference than what could potentially be caused by a plane full of passengers using electronic devices.
Microsoft Just Gave Every iPhone User 25 GB Of Cloud Storage [Silicon Alley Insider]
To be clear, SkyDrive has been around for some time but only through a built-in Windows Phone app and skydrive.live.com. Now SkyDrive has been made available as an app for iPhone too. There has been no word yet as to whether the app will be made available for Android or iPad.
SkyDrive's interface is pretty simple and looks a lot like the interface for Dropbox. Like other cloud storage apps users can easily send a document via email and even control whether the recipient will be able to edit the document or simply view it. Users can also store and share photos and videos.
Between iCloud, Dropbox and the many other cloud storage services out there, Microsoft's iPhone launch of SkyDrive wouldn't be all that noteworthy. However, any iPhone user that signs up for SkyDrive via the new app will receive 25 GB of free storage. Most other cloud storage devices only offer 5 GB of free storage.
Pandora tracks "Average Quarter Hour" (AQH) ratings each quarter. A 1.0 rating means that one percent of the population tested listened to at least 5 minutes of Pandora during a given 15 minute window during the day. The largest gain of 25 percent was in the New York market.
Pandora also tracks their cumulative audience or total unique listeners in each major market. In every survey, Pandora had at least 19.9 percent among adults 18-34. In both New York and Los Angeles, over 1 million adults between 18 and 49 listened to Pandora during November.
Apple TV the king of set-top boxes, says report [CNET News]
End of the year estimates for online video set-top box sales have been calculated by Strategy Analytics and roughly 12 million total units are expected to be sold overall in 2011. Of that total, 32 percent (about 4 million units) are expected to be Apple TVs – the highest percentage among all devices.
The latest version of Apple TV was released last year, and despite efforts to abandon the "hobby" nickname that Steve Jobs originally gave to the device, many still view Apple TV as pretty far down the company's list of priorities.
Apple may have the largest chunk of the market share, but Strategy Analytics says that only 8 percent of U.S. households have an online video set-top box.
Shocking: Tablet Owners Prefer Free Wi-Fi to Costly Cellular [Broadband Reports]
According to research firm, the NPD Group, 65% of tablet buyers in the U.S. use only Wi-Fi connected to a terrestrial broadband provider on their tablets. Not only is that a high number, but it is increasing as well. In April only 60% were relying solely on Wi-Fi.
Consumers are not warming up to the idea of having multiple data plans. According to NPD's study, more and more consumers are finding that they can access Wi-Fi in the majority of the places they use their tablets, negating the need a mobile data plan.
Spotify did have a radio feature previously, but it was far more limited than the personalized stations offered by Pandora or other Internet radios like LastFM. The new radio service will have all the abilities of Pandora and will also allow for unlimited skips. Pandora only allows unlimited skips to its subscription customers.
Another benefit of Spotify's radio service is that it has a pool of customer data to draw from. Spotify can see what songs its customers are listening to in order to draw new songs to fit personalized radio stations.
Currently Spotify Radio is only available in a beta version. It's unclear at this point whether Spotify Radio will be available on mobile devices or only as a desktop application.
The Kindle Fire Is About To Get A Massive, Much Needed Update [Silicon Alley Insider]
Even as Amazon sets sales records for its Kindle Fire tablet - currently the device is the most gifted item on the online retailer's web site - some users are questioning the tablet's usability. Questions range from Amazon's decision to omit external volume controls to the company's decision to include a chipset in the Fire that sometimes has deletory effects on its resposiveness.
In light of some bad reviews of the Fire, Amazon is promising a software update in the next two weeks designed to correct some of the Fire's issues. A company spokesman has indicated the update will correct performance and multitouch navigation. Amazon will deliver the update over-the-air, meaning users can install it via a wireless Internet connection.
Much of the criticism of the Fire is based on a comparison of its features and performance to Apple's iPad. Whether that comparison is warranted, given that the Fire's price point is 40 percent of the least expensive iPad is another question. Regardless, Fire users should look for some improvements to be delivered soon.
Mac App Store Downloads Break the 100 Million Mark [All Things D]
Apple pioneered the idea of an online app store with iOS devices and introduced it to the Mac with the release of Mac OS X Lion during the summer with the Mac App Store. This week, Apple announced that the Mac App Store passed the 100 million app download.
Cable's broadband platform has made it possible for the Internet to be the distribution platform for software and software updates rather than physical media. The system has been popularized to the point that many of Apple's Mac laptops even lack any drives for physical media.
Even though the 100 million milestone is signifcant, it doesn't hold a candle to the success of Apple's iOS App Store, which is currently at nearly a 1 billion apps downloaded each month clip.
I Want My Multiscreen TV: Survey [Multichannel News]
A survey conducted by JZ Analytics for Broadcom last month reveals a significant majority of U.S. consumers would watch television via an online service offered by their cable provider at no extra charge. Consumers were offered the option of watching the hypothetical service on laptop, tablet or smartphone, and 62 percent said they would watch.
Only 31 percent indicated that an online video service would not hold interest for them, and 7 percent weren't sure if they weould use it.
The survey also found that two-thirds of consumers are more likely to purchase a broadband connected HDTV.
JZ Analytics interviewed 1025 U.S. consumers last month for the survey.
On the heels of attaining the second-place spot in browser market share, Google's Chrome is lauded in a new browser security study. The study was conducted by security firm Accuvant, and was paid for by Google, so it should be read with a grain of salt.
Accuvant found that Chrome is less succeptible to malicious code than Mozilla's Firefox because it uses a method called sandboxing. Sandboxing restricts malicious code to the browser, walling it off from a computer's operating system. Because Mozilla contains legacy code that accesses the OS, it's not as secure.
Accuvant determined that Microsoft's Internet Explorer was more secure than Firefox.
During the UBS Global Media conference that took place on Tuesday, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings stated that Netflix expects to stream "well over a billion" hours of video in the fourth quarter of 2011. Despite losing some customers over the past few months, Hastings assured the crowd that Netflix's streaming business was still booming.
Hastings' confidence continued through his presentation as he down played the threat of many of Netflix's top competitors – Hulu Plus, Amazon, and even the recently announced service from Verizon.
While he dismissed many competitors, Hastings admitted that HBO Go both impressed and concerned him. He said HBO and Netflix are the only companies willing to spend the extremely high prices that go along with getting new content for their streaming services.
Facebook Flaw Exposes Private Photos [Wired.com]
Facebook offers its users a tool to report inappropriate images on the social network. Unfortunately, it appears that using this tool allows the Facebook user who is reporting the image to view non-public photos of the user being reported.
In other words, if users report a photo of another user, they will have access to all of that user's photos, including photos he or she has marked non-public.
This glitch was discovered by a group on a bodybuilding forum. The members of the group then used the glitch to view non-public photos of women. They then targeted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg by accessing his private photos and posting many of the photos to an image site, which brought the issue to the attention of several tech blogs.
Facebook was recently penalized by the FTC for sharing information that users were told would be kept private. Facebook did not face any monetary penalties, but was required to get the "express consent" of its users before information is shared in ways not set out in Facebook's privacy settings.
Walmart Steps Up Its OTT Sales Efforts [Multichannel News]
New promotional displays are popping up in Walmart stores across the country touting the Walmart-owned online video service, Vudu. At the same time, Walmart is pushing all video-streaming device makers - televisions, set-tops and gaming consoles - to add Vudu to their products.
The displays are also being used to educate customers about online video devices sold at Walmart from manufacturers like Roku, Sony, and Netgear. They are also detailing how streaming video can be viewed on any number of connected devices – from video game consoles to iPads.
Of the streaming options available on these devices, Walmart focuses on Vudu. Walmart is working for greater content offerings for Vudu. Vudu currently offers some recent movie releases and a number of television shows through its "Next Day Air" section and offers some of its content in 1080p, the highest resolution setting.
Amazon is aiming a new promotion at holiday shoppers in brick and mortar stores. If you simply go into a retail store on December 10 and use Amazon's "PriceCheck" app to compare prices, Amazon will give you a 5% discount (up to $5) on the purchase of an item from the online retailer.
The promotion is only good for one day and customers can take advantage of the discount up to 3 times for a total of $15.
Amazon's PriceCheck app allows both iPhone and Android users to scan the barcode of a product in a store to check the price that is being offered on the same product by Amazon. Amazon is hoping that increased usage of the app will help make its holiday sales even stronger than estimated.
Not only are more and more people buying products online (particularly during the holidays), but an increasing number of people are shopping via their mobile devices. On "Cyber Monday," 6.6 percent of online sales were completed via mobile device, compared to simply 2.3 percent last year.
While Amazon itself has never released information about purchasing via its mobile apps, eBay has also strongly promoted its mobile apps and estimates that $5 billion will be spent on its mobile apps this year. Further, PayPal is expecting to have more than $3.5 billion in revenue thanks to their mobile department.
The Advanced Wireless Spectrum (AWS) licenses previously held by SpectrumCo are being sold to Verizon Wireless. SpectrumCo is a joint venture of cable providers Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and Bright House Networks.
In the agreement, Verizon obtains 122 AWS licenses in exchange for $3.6 billion – $2.3 billion of which will go to Comcast which owns 63.6% of SpectrumCo, $1.1 billion will go to Time Warner Cable, and Bright House gets $189 million.
The more intriguing part of the deal, however, is that Verizon Wireless products can now be coupled and sold with the products of the cable providers. Verizon (and particularly its FiOS service) is a competitor against both Comcast and Time Warner Cable, so it may seem strange for the companies to be bundling services together. However, the deal will ultimately benefit all parties by allowing the cable companies to offer mobile service without having to invest in the necessary infrastructure and by allowing Verizon to market to a wider base of customers, since it's unlikely that FiOS is going to continue to be rolled out across Verizon's footprint.
This deal ultimately helps in the effort to give customers the ability to view content at any time on any device by giving cable providers a strong wireless partner and opening up more spectrum for Verizon Wireless' network.
StatCounter's survey showed that Chrome made up 25.7 percent of the global web browser market, edging out Firefox's 25.23 percent. This marks very impressive two-year growth for Chrome, which only had 4.66 percent of the market in StatCounter's November 2009 report.
Microsoft's Internet Explorer still holds the top spot with 40.63 percent, but its share has been dropping significantly over the past couple years. Firefox's share has also dipped, though not quite as drastically as Internet Explorer. Apple's Safari browser took the fourth spot with less than 6 percent of the market.
StatCounter's report used data aggregated from a 15 billion page view sample of over 3 million sites.
Amazon Kindle Fire owners reporting Wi-Fi bug [CNET News]
Amazon's Kindle Fire is one of the most requested technology gifts this holiday season, but the Internet retailer's new Android tablet is running into problems with a wi-fi bug. After the tablet's release last month, some early adopters began having trouble connecting to a wireless router with the Fire.
According to posts on Amazon's Kindle forum, the company is aware of the bug. Some users have had success updating the Kindle Fire's operating system from version 6.1 to 6.2 via a USB connection to a computer. After the upgrade, some users have managed to successfully connect to the Internet while others remain stymied.
Without a mobile wireless connection, the Kindle Fire isn't very useful if wi-fi is disabled. Given the rising success of Fire sales, expect a bonefide fix to be issued soon.
Nielsen report: TV ownership declines [Entertainment Weekly]
Nearly every year the Nielsen report on TV ownership shows that the number of sets in the U.S. has increased…that is, until 2012. For only the second time ever, Nielsen has projected a decline in U.S. TV ownership.
The only other time TV ownership has declined was in 1992, which occurred in large part because of adjustments to the 1990 census.
For the past several years, there has been a leveling off of TV ownership. From 2009 to 2010 the number stayed around 114.9 million and grew to only 115.9 million in 2011. According to Nielsen, the number is expected to drop to 114.7 million in 2012. Further, the percentage of homes without a TV grew to 3% - the highest its been since 1975.
The demographic of adults between 18 and 49 dropped even steeper than the overall report, falling 2.7%.