NO REPLACEMENT FOR BOOKS: Tablets and e-readers are becoming increasingly more popular among the American public, with about 28% of U.S. consumers saying that they had read an e-book during 2013, according to new survey data from Pew. That’s up from 23% in 2012. But, notably, almost seven out of every 10 Americans surveyed by Pew claimed they had read a print book during 2013. Meaning that, despite growing ownership of both tablets and e-readers, few Americans have replaced traditional books with their mobile counterpart.
Reading print books seems to be the anomaly compared to other media consumption habits that have been disrupted entirely by mobile. Right now, mobile is the only category that’s growing its share of media time, while shares of print, TV, and radio all shrink. The amount of time people spend consuming media on mobile has already overtaken radio, most print formats, and is even about to surpass online desktop usage. TV is still king, but mobile has already redefined the way people access TV content.
But in terms of reading, Pew’s data shows that total U.S. print book readership actually ticked up slightly from 2012 to 2013. Yet, our data shows that print now occupies the smallest share of media consumption time in the U.S. Clearly, while mobile has been able to enhance reading experiences of newspapers, magazines, and other similar publications, it has yet to sway print book readers. Still, e-book readership has grown and will continue to do so, but it seems that with reading print books, old habits die hard. (Pew)
SMART CONTACT LENSES: A few months ago, Google CEO Larry Page announced Calico, a new Google-led project which will be rooted in healthcare and aim to extend human life. It seems Google has quickly fulfilled its promise; yesterday the company announced its smart contact lens product. The lens is designed to help people with diabetes track their blood sugar by measuring glucose levels in their tears. It is embedded with a tiny wireless chip and a glucose sensor. This is one of the first steps toward mass market consumer smart health gear. (Google)
iPHONE ON CHINA MOBILE: Today is the big day, the official launch of the iPhone on China Mobile. After much speculation about price and the market for it, it seems the subsidized prices on China Mobile may not be as attractive as those of its competitors China Unicom and China Telecom. In fact, if China Mobile fails to meet sales targets, it may start a subsidy war with China Unicom and China Telecom to keep pace. Still, a report from Bloomberg says China Mobile may have already received 1 million pre-orders for the iPhone. (The Next Web)
CHINA OS? A report from Sina News in China shows that the Chinese government will unveil its own consumer mobile platform. It’s a way for China to undermine the dominance that some American tech giants (Google, Apple) have garnered in the Chinese mobile market. (ZDNet)
APPLE SOARS IN U.S.: Apple grabbed 42% of U.S. smartphone ownership among various manufacturers during the fourth quarter of 2013, up from 35% in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to new data from NPD. Samsung was in distant second place with 26%, though that also represents growth of 22% over 2012. Together, Apple and Samsung account for an overwhelming 68% of smartphones in the U.S. The shares for HTC, Motorola, and BlackBerry all declined. (NPD)
PRICE WAR KILLS PROFITS: The big four U.S. wireless carriers are battling fiercely for new subscribers, and even trying to steal each other’s existing customers. By undercutting each other on price so willingly, many industry analysts fear that U.S. wireless industry profits will crumble. (Reuters)
iBEACON IS EVERYWHERE: Shopkick, a location-based services startup, has initiated the biggest iBeacon rollout in the retail industry yet. It has equipped over 100 American Eagle Outfitters stores across the U.S. with iBeacon functionality. This is Shopkick second iBeacon rollout after its initial foray with Macy’s in November. There is no word yet on results from the first Macy’s iBeacon test, but clearly Shopkick is confident in moving forward with more iBeacon rollouts. (TechCrunch)
FACEBOOK FOR ALL OF YOUR APPS: The Verge reports that Facebook’s big mobile-first plan for 2014 is to create a number of new Facebook-branded standalone apps, much like it has with Facebook Messenger. Facebook would face an already highly fragmented arena, as standard apps like calendar, e-mail, weather, and finance are all already made by Facebook’s largest mobile competitors like Apple, Google, Yahoo, as well as a flurry of mobile app development startups. (The Verge)
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