Author: Gary Thayer, Editor

Mobile apps still off radar for most small businesses

Will cheaper, quick-to-create mobile apps convince more small businesses to make them? Not necessarily. While nearly half of small businesses say they plan to have a mobile app within the next few years, nearly a third (31%) still have no plans to do so, according to a survey on small business apps by tech research firm Clutch. But that wait-and-see attitude will likely change soon. That’s because as small businesses see other local businesses and competitors releasing mobile apps, they’ll be more motivated to create their own. Today’s younger consumers who’ve grown up with mobile devices have come to expect apps...

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Robocalls set US record; robocall blocker reveals worst callers

(Updated Sept. 2016) If you received a robocall or ten recently, you’re in good company. Mobile, web and landline numbers in the U.S. were hit by an estimated 2.64 billion robocalls in August of 2016–that’s 986 robocalls every second and a 9.3 percent increase over July. The number is the highest since popular robocall blocker YouMail launched its monthly U.S. Robocall Index in mid 2015, and beat the previous record of 2.5 billion monthly robocalls in March of this year. Texas residents were hit with the most robocalls with 298.3 million calls received, followed by California, Florida, New York and Georgia. Southern states were...

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2016 Olympics to set mobile data records; networks ready

If you’ll be at the Olympics games in Rio this month to live stream, tweet, post, check email, or just check events schedules while mobile, you should have fairly good wireless coverage at official sites. At least, those are the findings of network engineers who have been testing Rio wireless networks in recent months. International networks consulting and testing company P3 says its device services team has been on the ground in Rio de Janeiro since early this year, testing network coverage in different locations and scenarios. Those hundreds of scenarios included driving, walking and stationary tests of 38 of the world’s most popular smartphones...

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Mobile money transfers to top $25 billion by 2018

Need to send money to someone in another country? Now you can use your mobile phone, just as more and more people are doing. International mobile money transfers — including mobile airtime top ups — will exceed $25 billion by 2018. That’s a whopping 67 percent increase from around $15 billion last year, in 2015. That’s according to Juniper Research, which reports a significant surge in international remittance (payment transfer) activity in the past two years. As more people around the world become accustomed to using mobile devices and mobile payment services, expect even more international mobile money transfers. Airtime top-ups especially, are increasing...

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Tencent eyes global gaming with $8.6B Supercell buyout

Chinese gaming and social apps giant Tencent is paying US $8.6 billion to buy out SoftBank’s share of Supercell, creator of many popular mobile games including Clash of Clans and Hay Day. Tencent’s Supercell buyout adds more fuel to Asia’s now-blazing gaming market. In just six years since it was founded, Finland’s Supercell has created four top Android and iOS games that are now played by over 100 million gamers. Supercell’s Hay Day, Clash of Clans, Boom Beach and Clash Royale have each made it to the top-10 grossing mobile games globally, with Hay Day and Clash of Clans reaching the number one spot....

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Report: Most companies forgetting mobile app SEO

Both well-known companies and new app developers are failing to let content from their apps show up in search results for users of Google, Bing, or other search engines, according to a new report on mobile search engine optimization (SEO). While mobile app SEO is a new area, companies shouldn’t be afraid of getting their feet wet. That’s because those who dive into the mobile app SEO pool now could see increased app traffic, engagement and conversions. In a study of the 100 most visible websites in Google US searches, SEO software company Searchmetrics found that 84% offer an Android App, but only...

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IBM: Use your mobile to build quantum computing apps

By Christine Vu & Gary Thayer . Want to shape the future of computing? Now, your inner Super Geek can access a new quantum computing processor from IBM, right from an app on your smartphone or tablet. The idea is to help IBM and other researchers to greatly accelerate current research projects, and also help discover new applications for this technology. “A universal quantum computer, once built, will represent one of the greatest milestones in the history of information technology,” says IBM Quantum Computing Scientist Jay Gambetta (pictured above). “It has the potential to solve certain problems we will never...

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What Apple’s doing right — and wrong

If you follow Apple, you were probably alarmed last week when Apple announced slower sales and its first overall revenue decline in 13 years. But we had plenty of warning about the slow Apple sales — it was three months ago that Apple predicted that iPhone sales numbers would drop to their slowest growth since the phone debuted back in 2007. Although the 51.2 million iPhones Apple sold last quarter are still the fourth highest it’s ever reported, those sales were offset by declining iPad sales and slow growth overall. China–Apple’s biggest market after the US, especially saw slow Apple sales. There, iPhone and iPad sales fell...

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IBM, Pfizer team on mobile tech for Parkinson’s care

IBM and Pfizer are collaborating on new mobile, remote patient monitoring apps and devices to improve care for patients with Parkinson’s and related diseases. The experimental approach relies on sensors, mobile devices, and machine learning to provide real-time, 24-hour information on patient symptoms to clinicians and researchers. Patients with Parkinson’s and similar neurological diseases normally get worse over time and suffer from uncontrolled movement and/or impaired ability to think, talk clearly, eat, toilet, walk, and sleep. Parkinson’s requires ongoing adjustment of medications and therapies, depending on the progression of the disease and response of the patient. The patient remote monitoring technology aims to...

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Mobile shopping, location based marketing drives buyers

Shoppers are up to 45 percent more likely to buy your product or service while they’re looking it up on their smartphones or tablets away from home or work, according to a new Forbes report. For retailers and other marketers, this means that smart, location based marketing is key to motivating shoppers to buy products either in-store or on their smartphones. The report, called “Location: A Strategic Marketing Imperative”, features interviews with major marketing executives, analysis by Forbes Insights, and findings from a recent study by mobile marketing service provider xAd. Although the report is commissioned by xAd, its findings and examples are still interesting and for...

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Enterprise AR + wearable tech: the next big thing

While much of the hype around augmented reality (AR) and wearable devices is focused on consumer technology, a new report predicts that enterprise AR applications will also drive big growth for those technologies over the next five years. Retail, manufacturing, logistics, and healthcare are some of the most dynamic markets for enterprise AR and wearables. Enterprise AR applications and wearable devices are already helping warehouse workers, remote field technicians, and even surgeons. The technologies make it possible for these professionals and other workers to access and interact hands-free with information that’s location-aware and highly targeted. Big companies banking on wearable AR The Beecham Research report on enterprise...

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U.S. wireless taxes keep rising. Who pays the most?

If you live in the U.S., every month you’re paying an average combined rate of nearly 18 percent in combined federal, state, and local wireless taxes and fees on your cell phone bill, according to a new report from the nonpartisan nonprofit the Tax Foundation. This average wireless taxes rate includes the recently increased 6.46 percent federal rate and an average 11.5 percent state-local rate, according to the foundation. For the most part, the tax rate only includes wireless voice and other taxable services–not wireless internet access. Annually, that adds up to about $5.8 billion in excessive state and...

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Cheeky Elbot robot app
won’t give you directions

Bored of talking to Siri, Cortana, or Google’s virtual assistant? Maybe you need a robot phone companion, too. Meet Elbot–a new robot app that can entertain you on your iOS and Android smartphone. Just don’t ask Elbot for directions–or to find an answer for you online–because Elbot is just here to entertain you. If you ask, for example, “what’s the distance to the moon?” instead of getting a gazillion kilometers, you’ll hear a cheeky reference to the classic nerd novel “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. Elbot says he was created by Artificial Solutions, a company specializing in natural language interaction...

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Bing for iPhone bests Google, works offline

Watch out, Google–Microsoft’s Bing for iPhone is raising the bar for mobile searches. The app now features quick-tap icons for common searches, immediate answers or links to popular apps under your search results, and even limited offline mode. Version 6.0 of Bing for iPhone now includes quick-tap icons for instant searches of restaurants, movies, images, videos, and maps, plus nearby deals and attractions. There’s also a larger search bar. If you’re a Bing Rewards member, you can see your rewards credits by tapping the app’s menu icon. Bing for iPhone vs. Google Bing for iPhone is catching up with...

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Sprint joins Verizon with Cuba wireless roaming

Sprint has become the first U.S. wireless carrier to sign a direct roaming agreement with Cuba’s official wireless carrier. Verizon also recently announced wireless roaming in Cuba through a deal with Vodafone, but Sprint’s agreement is the first such direct agreement. The roaming agreements makes will allow Sprint and Verizon customers who will be in Cuba to make smoothly make calls or use data, at less cost. Other U.S. carriers are expected to follow suit. Sprint signed the deal this week with the Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA). The offer details availability will be announced soon. Verizon is charging $2.99 a minute for voice...

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Activision buys Candy Crush maker for $5.9 billion

Activision Blizzard is buying “Candy Crush” developer King Digital for $5.9 billion, the companies announced this week. The Activision King Digital acquisition includes King’s hugely popular “Candy Crush” mobile games. Activision already owns many of the top console and PC games like “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft”. If that sounds like a lot to spend on a game developer, consider that King’s “Candy Crush” and “Candy Crush Soda Saga” are still in the top five highest-grossing mobile games in the US. Candy Crush” raked in $1.4 billion in revenue for King in 2014, and $529 million in the first half...

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LogMeIn LastPass acquisition a boon for password managers

If you use the popular password manager LastPass, you’ll soon be using the service as part of LogMeIn, the popular remote desktop management service. The companies have announced that LogMeIn (Nasdaq:LOGM) has agreed to acquire LastPass (incorporated as Marvasol) for up to US $125 million. LogMeIn’s LastPass acquisition is expected to close in the coming weeks. Fear not–LastPass won’t be going away. LogMeIn says that LastPass will gain features from Meldium, another password service LogMeIn acquired a year ago. In the near-term, it will support both Meldium and LastPass, with long-term plans to fold Meldium completely into LastPass. Some might say that the deal...

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iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6s vs iPhone 6: What’s new

Thinking of splurging on the new iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, but not sure if it’s worth the upgrade? Here’s a helpful quick rundown on the differences between the iPhone 6s vs iPhone 6 and the new iPhone 6s Plus vs last year’s 6 Plus. iPhone 6s vs iPhone 6 screens The most hyped new feature on the new iPhones is Apple’s 3D Touch, which uses “taptic” sensors that sense how hard you press the display–such as for quick-touch shortcuts for frequently used functions or apps. Although Apple started calling its iPhone displays “HD Display” last year, it hasn’t actually changed the display...

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iPhone 6s sales 13 million at launch;
More countries coming

Apple has broken its previous iPhone launch sales records by selling over 13 million new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models just three days after launch, the company announced. The iPhone 6s sales total also includes online pre-orders that began after the new iPhones were announced on September 9. The strong iPhone 6s sales were helped in large part because of higher pre-order numbers, and because this year’s iPhones were available at launch time in more countries, including China. Apple’s iPhone 6s sales are expected to continue to break Apple records as the phones become available in more than 40 additional countries...

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Tech giants test Internet of Things M2M standard

The wireless industry has taken another big step forward on the path towards a single, global standard for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. Nearly thirty major M2M standard equipment vendors converged in France this month at the first “oneM2M Interoperability Test Event” to see how well their equipment works together. Right now, the industry is juggling several technologies in its efforts to build out an Internet of Things (IoT). And so far, companies have been left to guess which technology will dominate. The M2M standard proposed by oneM2M supposedly doesn’t aim to pick winners, but aims to make sure different technologies work well with each other. “Our Release 2 specifications...

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