Monday, October 11, 2010

21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act

Both of my kids wear hearing aids and I followed this closely. So gad they have more rights!

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21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act

In summary, the “Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act,” when passed would update the Communications Act and establish new safeguards for disability access to ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind as technology changes and the United States migrates to the next generation of Internet-based and digital communication technologies.  The following provisions are of particular interest to our community:

Hearing Aid Compatibility.  Extends federal law that currently requires hearing aid compatibility on newly manufactured and imported telephones, to comparable customer premises equipment used to provide IP-enabled communication service.  The purpose of this section is to make sure that people with hearing loss have access to telephone devices used with advanced technologies, including cell phones or any other handsets used for Internet-based voice communications. (This section is not intended to extend to headsets or headphones used with computers.)


Windows Phone 7 debuts today: Does it really have a chance?

I really do believe this has a chance. It is different enough without being "out there" and as an iPhone user I am ready to toss that damn device that crashes all too often. Apple has really screwed up by not making their new OS backwards compatible with last generation hardware. This OS isn't app centric so it is a different user experience. The live tiles are great, developers can produce apps easily on here... even I can and I haven't done any real coding in 7 years.

It is worth considering if you are in the market for a new phone.

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Windows Phone 7 debuts today: Does it really have a chance?

Windows Phone 7 debuts today: Does it really have a chance?

In a couple of hours, Windows Phone 7 will make its big debut. Reviews of the preview build of the OS were generally favorable, but the technology is just the beginning. Cellphones are completely different beasts than they were when Microsoft first entered the mobile market 10 years ago. WP7 is challenged like other major smartphone OS has been. Here's why.

Simple Math

Over the last six months, Nielsen says smartphones running the Android operating system (32%) have outsold phones running BlackBerry (26%) and iOS (mostly just the iPhone 4, 25%) in the U.S.

Some quick addition… 32, 26, 25 — that's 83% of all smartphones sold. That means 17% of smartphone users are still using a phone running Symbian or, God help you, Windows Mobile 6.x, are either satisfied (you're kidding, right?) or been patiently waiting for something that's not quite Apple, not quite Android, and not quite BlackBerry.

Today, these somehow unfulfilled smartphone users will have a fresh choice: Windows Phone 7. Will WP7 be the smartphone they've been waiting for?

If you're an iPhone, Android or BlackBerry user, it's highly doubtful you're going to wake up Tuesday morning and go "Gee, that WP7 looks real good. I think I'll just toss my iPhone/Android/BlackBerry phone into the trash and start all over paying for new apps and completely reorganizing my mobile life!"

Since that's not going to happen in the real or Bizarro worlds, that means either Microsoft is hoping to attract new non-smartphone users with WP7, a reasonable hope, or convert a large chunk of the remaining 17% of the current smartphone audience, even more reasonable.

But how in heck can Microsoft think WP7 will have or be or do something that Apple, Google or RIM haven't thought of and already covered with their devices?


Friday, October 8, 2010

Vlingo outs InCar voice-driven service for Android smartphones

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Vlingo outs InCar voice-driven service for Android smartphones

Today Vlingo announced InCar, a new beta service for Android smartphones on Sprint. InCar lets users send and receive text messaging without using their hands. Using Bluetooth connectivity, drivers simply need to speak a "wake up word," and then they'll be able to send text or email messages, search the web, update Facebook and Twitter, open 3rd party applications, and more. Vlingo is free for Android 2.1 and the InCar software is only available to Sprint customers.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Apps with social functionality drive better interaction rates: CTIA panel

This is the key message to take home “We’re evolving the social aspect, not just attracting the audience, but also engaging the audience.” It is all about being social and not just pushing content but interacting and communicating WITH people and not TO people.

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Apps with social functionality drive better interaction rates: CTIA panel

During the “Applications: Social Networking” panel, speakers discussed the importance of having a social functionality in mobile applications. The panel was moderated by Mark Donovan, senior vice president of mobile and senior analyst at comScore, Reston, VA.

“It’s all about people wanting to share,” said Michael Luna, chief technology officer of Seven Networks, San Francisco. “To us, it’s not whether they share on Facebook or Twitter.

“We’re enabling them to have that experience with sharing,” he said. “It’s about the experience that the consumer gets.

“We’re all about how do you deliver all that content and enable that in a way that allows people to still communicate.”

Mobile video
MobiTV worked with NBC and AT&T on a mobile campaign for the Winter Olympics.

The company featured on-demand video highlights of the event in an application and integrated social networking. This includes a Twitter integration that let users follow athletes within the application.

“We saw a tipping point in the application,” said Ray DeRenzo, chief marketing officer of MobiTV, San Francisco. “More people were involved in the social aspect of the application and there were groups of people following a skier of Ghana.

“What started out as a video proposition, morphed into a social network application,” he said. “We’re evolving the social aspect, not just attracting the audience, but also engaging the audience.”

Companies investing in video should focus on the experience and engagement, per Mr. DeRenzo.

MobiTV makes its money via subscriptions and finds that the combination of video and social makes it a true value to consumers, therefore they do not mind paying.

“It’s context for the conversation,” Mr. DeRenzo said. “It’s what they’re about, what they’re seeing in the video.”

Mr. DeRenzo talked about his work with the NBA on an application.

The application streamed live basketball games. At the same time, consumers could interact with each other via the application and trash-talk the other team.

“We’re trying to bring a new and more personalized experience to the mobile phone and the tablet, for example, is another platform for us to be able to do that," Mr. DeRenzo said.

Social helps mobile
For music discovery engine Shazam Entertainment, social is building page views, which drives advertising dollars.

“Consumers come back to use our service more and more because they want that social currency,” said Andrew Fisher, CEO of Shazam, London. “Once we launched the Facebook badge on our application, users wanted to be the first in their peer group to get the badge.

“Then that stimulated their friends to join in,” he said. “There was a greater justification using the mobile application because of the social element to it.”

What Mr. Fisher finds important about social is that users can connect with friends who do not have to be on the same handset or network as them.

“Businesses will succeed [using] social,” Mr. Fischer said.

Mobile games
Games play another key role in how companies incorporate social into mobile.

Farmville gained a lot of success online, especially via Facebook.

Now, there is a Farmville application where users can not only interact with the game, but also with their friends. There is a Facebook feature in the application that takes user engagement to another level.

“Bringing games to consumers is a win-win for everyone,” said Jen Herman, director of Farmville Mobile at Zynga, San Francisco.

“Also, developing for HTML5 and using an application in functionality that’s native to the device that you’re on is important,” she said. “I think that we’re going to see explosive growth of social gaming on mobile.”

Augmented reality
William Volk, CEO of Playscreen, San Diego, thinks augmented reality will play a big role in the future.

“Augmented reality is going to give users another incentive to play games,” Mr. Volk said. “People are also going to want to compete for things, rather than buy things."

Mr. Volk said that brands should not just place a simple banner ad into an application because it takes something more innovative to really engage consumers in a dialog. 

“[For example], when a user plays a social game, they get a coupon or something,” Mr. Volk said. “That makes so much more sense.”