Because every American
should have access
to broadband Internet.

The Internet Innovation Alliance is a broad-based coalition of business and non-profit organizations that aim to ensure every American, regardless of race, income or geography, has access to the critical tool that is broadband Internet. The IIA seeks to promote public policies that support equal opportunity for universal broadband availability and adoption so that everyone, everywhere can seize the benefits of the Internet - from education to health care, employment to community building, civic engagement and beyond.

The Podium

Blog posts tagged with 'Smartphones'

Wednesday, October 01

Ads in Today’s Age

By Brad

At Mashable, T.L. Stanley has an interesting look at how advertising — especially with the rise of mobile broadband — has drastically changed in the past decade:

Because consumers are always on the go, agencies have had to learn how to cater to a smartphone- and tablet-wielding populace. Increasingly, the target may be sporting smartwatches or other tech-enabled wearables, providing even more challenges for companies and their agencies.

These new devices are the key to a consumers’ information, communication, social networks, payment methods and more. Ad execs are looking to utilize those gadgets with just the right pithy, useful or entertaining messages.

Thursday, September 25

Know Your Smartphone History

By Brad

The smartphone didn’t begin with the release of the original iPhone. In fact, the history of smartphones can be traced all the way back to 1994, as this infographic from our friends at Women Impacting Public Policy shows.

Monday, April 21

Changes From Being Connected

By Brad

At the Huffington Post, Bianca Bosker offers a fascinating look at how Myanmar, which up until recently was pretty much an Internet black hole, is dealing with being connected. An excerpt:

Eh Thaw Taw—“Royal” to his Facebook friends—relies on his Huawei smartphone for the usual message-sending, picture-taking and status-updating, but he never, ever uses Google for the simple reason that he doesn’t know how.

“I can’t search,” the 24-year-old says, thumbing his phone as we stand under trees on the Yangon University campus, which reopened last fall after being shut down in 1988 by a military regime wary of protests. What if Royal, an economics major, needs to look up, say, the gross domestic product of the United States? “I ask my teacher, who will search for it,” he answers.

Royal’s classmate, 20-year-old E Lawm Nap, is appalled. “In this century, every person can use website or the Google!” she chides him.

But then again, this is Myanmar, a country that only three years ago had a lower cellphone penetration rate than North Korea, and even now enforces a policy of one SIM card per family. It’s a country where computer schools still lack computers; text messages can take two hours (or two days) to arrive; and Royal is forced to be nocturnal, since the only reliable Internet connection he can get is from midnight to dawn.

Read the whole thing.


Monday, April 14


By Brad

According to a report by Greg Bensinger and Evelyn M. Rusli in the Wall Street Journal, online commerce giant Amazon is about to take a cannonball into the smartphone market: Inc. is preparing to release a smartphone in the second half of this year, according to people briefed on the company’s plans, part of a broad push into hardware that would pit it against Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.

The retailer has been demonstrating versions of the handset to developers in San Francisco and its hometown Seattle in recent weeks, these people said. People briefed on the company’s plans have been told that Amazon aims to announce the phone by the end of June and begin shipping phones by the end of September, ahead of the holiday shopping season.

The people said Amazon hopes to distinguish its phone in a crowded market with a screen capable of displaying seemingly three-dimensional images without special glasses, these people said. They said the phone would employ retina-tracking technology embedded in four front-facing cameras, or sensors, to make some images appear to be 3-D, similar to holograms.

Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and now Amazon… what U.S. tech company won’t have a smartphone soon?

Friday, January 10

Percentage of the Day

By Brad

10%, which is the amount global shipments of PCs dropped last year, as smartphones and tablets continue to gnaw away at the personal computing market.

(Via TechFlash.)

One Device to Rule Them All

By Brad

Yesterday marked the seventh anniversary of Apple’s reveal of the first iPhone. To mark the occasion, The Huffington Post highlighted seven things the innovative smartphone “killed.” Among them: road maps, alarm clocks, point-and-shoot cameras, and Apple’s own iPod.

Not bad for a device that measured just 4.5 inches high and 2.4 inches wide.

Tuesday, October 29

Crazy, Techie, Cool

By Bruce Mehlman


Today’s Wall Street Journal has a short piece that packs a big tech wallop.

Penned by Charles Townsend, “Smartphones to Monitor Insulin and Smell Flowers” argues that the devices we now carry are only at the beginning of the potential. For example, Townsend writes:

Ten years from now, you won’t need to carry your Visa or MasterCard because your cellphone will function as a credit card. You will place your phone on a scanner at a restaurant and your purchase will either be charged directly to your cellular bill or to your credit card. The phone will verify that it is you by checking your thumb print. Wireless companies will have become mobile banks.

Other highlights from Townsend’s piece: A new wireless camera being developed by Qualcomm that transmit pictures to your doctor’s smartphone(!); a smartphone that translates languages for you in real-time(!); and a phone that, as Townsend puts it, is “able to smell a strange odor in your home and tell you that tomatoes are rotting(!).”

Townsend’s article isn’t all future-cool, though, as he pivots into territory we at IIA have long tread in — having enough spectrum available to handle the coming deluge of data on wireless networks. As he writes:

If all goes as planned, the FCC may be able to come up with about half of the necessary new wireless spectrum by 2020, leaving a 250 MHz shortfall. Hopefully, the FCC can convince a number of federal agencies to give up significant additional spectrum. Otherwise, wireless engineers will have to come up with a better way to use the finite amount of spectrum they already have. If they don’t, soon enough your smartphone will remind you of the dial-up speeds of the 1990s—and it will be years, if not decades, before we realize the full potential of these devices.

Agreed on all points.

Tuesday, September 24

Falling BlackBerry

By Brad

While the iPhone is breaking sales records, BlackBerry — which used to rule the roost when it came to smartphones — is in deep trouble. Via Zach Epstein of Boy Genius Reports:

BlackBerry has been hemorrhaging users and its worldwide count fell to 72 million from 76 million during the May quarter. According to one industry watcher, the bleeding won’t stop until BlackBerry’s subscriber base hits zero.

When it comes to technology, entire industries can be turned upside down seemingly overnight.

Number of the Day

By Brad

9 million, which is the number of new iPhones — both the 5S and 5C versions — that Apple sold in just three days. From the company’s press release announcing their windfall:

“This is our best iPhone launch yet―more than nine million new iPhones sold―a new record for first weekend sales,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The demand for the new iPhones has been incredible, and while we’ve sold out of our initial supply of iPhone 5s, stores continue to receive new iPhone shipments regularly. We appreciate everyone’s patience and are working hard to build enough new iPhones for everyone.”

Call me crazy, but this whole smartphone thing might be taking off.

Wednesday, September 04

Making Deals

By Brad

In a move aimed at bettering its position in our new mobile world, Microsoft agreed to buy phone maker Nokia for the tidy sum of $7.2 billion. At Bloomberg, Matthew Campbell and Aaron Kirchfeld have some details on how the deal came together:

Nokia’s codename in the talks was Nurmi, named after Paavo Johannes Nurmi, the nine-time gold medal runner known as the “the Flying Finn.” Microsoft was dubbed Edwin Moses, for the American track-and-field athlete who won two gold medals in the hurdles.

Nokia’s board met more than 50 times to deliberate on a sale, a process described as a soul-searching exercise by the people, who asked not to be identified.

Timed to follow last month’s announcement that Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer would retire, the Nokia deal is intended to set up the U.S. company for a renewed assault on the smartphone and tablet markets, the people said. Once the world’s most dominant technology firm, Microsoft under Ballmer has lagged behind Google Inc. and Apple Inc. in fast-growing mobile devices, amid contraction in the personal-computer market it helped invent.

Monday, August 26

LTE on the Rise

By Brad

4G LTE technology is relatively new on the scene, but as Dan Jones of Light Reading reports, it’s picking up steam:

There are now more than 1,000 4G LTE devices available, with more than 200 live networks deployed using the new 4G technology.

The latest report from the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) finds that there are now 202 live LTE networks globally with 1,064 LTE devices available.

Leading the charge among devices is, of course, smartphones.

Thursday, August 15

Mobile Workforce

By Brad

Ars Technica’s Jon Brodkin looks at how mobility is changing the way we work:

Forrester Research has been tracking the rise of mobile workers, saying in its 2013 Mobile Workforce Adoption Trends report, “Gone are the days when employees wielded a simple set of tools to get work done. In today’s world of anytime, anywhere work, employees use whatever device is most convenient: desktop at home, laptop at work, tablet in a client meeting, or smartphone everywhere.”

While people can now work pretty much anywhere, they haven’t been able to completely give up more traditional devices. Forrester’s survey of 9,766 information workers in 17 countries found that 84 percent of respondents use a desktop computer for work at least once a week, and 63 percent use a laptop every week. Nearly half, 48 percent, of workers use smartphones for business each week and 21 percent do the same with tablets.

Wednesday, August 14

The Way of the Dodo

By Brad

At Read Write Web, Dan Rowinski declares the “dumb phone” will soon be extinct:

For the first time in the history of cellphones, the smartphone is now more popular globally than the “feature” phone, which many characterize these days as “dumb” phones. According to a report from research firm Gartner, smartphone sales accounted for 51.8% of cellphone sales in the second quarter of 2013.

According to Rowinkski, the main culprit is a flood of relatively cheap smartphones powered by Google’s Android system.

Monday, August 12

Deal of the Day

By Brad

Here’s something cool: Via Brian Stelter of the New York Times, NBC is tapping into a new, powerful resource for news gathering:

When a plane crashes or a protest turns violent, television crews speed to the scene. But they typically do not arrive for minutes or even hours, so these days photos and videos by amateurs — what the news industry calls “user-generated content” — fill the void.

Those images, usually found by frantic producers on Twitter and Facebook, represented “the first generation of user-generated content for news,” said Vivian Schiller, the chief digital officer for NBC News. The network is betting that the next generation involves live video, streamed straight to its control rooms in New York from the cellphones of witnesses.

On Monday, NBC News, a unit of Comcast’s NBCUniversal, will announce its acquisition of Stringwire, an early stage Web service that enables just that. Ms. Schiller imagined using Stringwire for coverage of all-consuming protests like those that occurred in Tahrir Square in Cairo.

With a smartphone in our pocket — and the power of mobile broadband — we all have the potential to be journalists.

Wednesday, June 12

Devices & Data

By Brad

Over at TechCrunch, Ingrid Lunden offers a look at some surprising numbers when it comes to mobile broadband use:

Android has convincingly overtaken Apple as the most popular OS in the smartphone industry both in terms of sales and overall penetration. But when it comes to how much wireless devices are actually used on cellular networks, those who own Apple handsets are disproportionately the biggest users of apps and the mobile web.

All told, users of the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and iPhone 5 account for more than half of all 3G traffic. That’s a lot of iPhone owners online.

Monday, June 03

Glued to the Screen

By Brad

These days, when you’re out and about chances are you see scores of people hunched over their smartphones. As Ina Fried of All Things Digital highlights, there’s a reason for that:

There’s no question that we spend a lot of time staring at our phones, but just how much?

Well, on average, it’s about an hour, according to a new study from Experian.

So what are we doing with our phones? According to the Experian, Fried reports, we’re doing a lot of talking and texting, with social networking and surfing the web close behind. Also of interest: iPhone users spend more time with their device than people with Android phones.

Tuesday, May 28

Smart Instead of Dumb

By Brad

Speaking of technology going the way of the Dodo, Zach Epstein of Boy Genius Reports looks at a major shift among consumers:

Smartphones out-shipped feature phones for the first time in Q1 this year and according to market research firm DisplaySearch, smartphones will continue to dominate basic cell phones for the rest of 2013. The firm sees smartphone shipments hitting 937 million units this year, handily topping the 889 million feature phones expected to ship.

Driving this growth is a market for cheaper smartphones, along with the ubiquity of mobile broadband.

Monday, May 13

Slippery Slope

By Brad

Via Michelle Healy of USA Today comes some troubling news when it comes to technology and kids:

If your teen texts while driving, chances are he or she also practices other dangerous motor vehicle habits — including failing to buckle up and driving after they have been drinking, a new federal analysis finds.

In 2011, 45% of all students 16 and older reported that they had texted or e-mailed while driving during the past 30 days, says the study by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and reported in June’s Pediatrics, released online today.

Later in the piece, Healy quotes CDC Director Thomas Frieden:

“Multitasking may be fine if you’re sitting at your desk, but not when you’re driving a car,” Frieden adds. “Things can go so badly so quickly. That’s what I think teens don’t recognize.

Good advice for teens and adults.

Friday, April 12

Taking a Byte Out of Crime

By Brad

Via Dan Graziano of Boy Genius Reports, the New York City Police Department has embraced mobility in an effort to crack down on crime:

oughly 400 Android smartphones have been distributed to officers since last summer as part of a pilot program taking place in New York City, The New York Times reported. The phones are unable to make or receive calls and instead use a data connection to gain access to an individual’s arrest files. An application on the device can look up a person’s criminal history, verify his or her identity with a police photograph and even display information from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Tuesday, April 02

Heightened Security

By Brad

At The Huffington Post, Tarun Wadhwa offers a glimpse of what security on smartphones may be like in a few years:

For years now, consumers have been demanding a better way, something more convenient and less time-consuming. As it turns out, they may have had the answer all along without even knowing it - their body parts can serve as their next password. Biometric identification, which works by using the unique characteristics of your body to prove who you are, may be the key to a much more effective system.

In fact, it is an almost certainty that within the next few years, three biometric options will become standard features in every new phone: a fingerprint scanner built into the screen, facial recognition powered by high-definition cameras, and voice recognition based off a large collection of your vocal samples.

As Wadhwa points out, given how much personal data is now stored on our tiny devices — and how easy it is for thieves to pluck those devices from our hands — biometric is a matter of when, not if.

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