Wearables Just at the Starting Line

Carl Weinschenk

It’s interesting to note that the major cable industry trade show of the year, INTX, which was held this week in Chicago, appears to have been as much about data and alternative programming platforms as about traditional cable services.

We can look at this in two ways: One way is to consider how far the mighty industry, which until relatively recently dominated content, has fallen.  The other is to laud cable for acknowledging and reacting to change.

Here are highlights from other bits and pieces of news and commentary in what was a relatively slow spring week.

It’s a First: Android Beats iOS

The first quarter of 2015 was the first time, according to CNET, that Android beat iOS in mobile advertising revenue. The research was released this week by Opera Mediaworks.

Android had a 45.77 percent share of advertising revenue on all mobile devices worldwide. iOS clocked in at 45.44 percent. The story also said that Android has been ahead of iOS in mobile ad traffic – not revenue – since April 2014. And it isn’t even close: Currently, Android has 65.17 percent of the traffic and iOS 22.34 percent.

The breakdown is interesting:

Drilling down the numbers by device, Android phones grabbed 42.46 percent of mobile ad revenue, while Android tablets accounted for only 3.31 percent. The iPhone captured 27.29 percent of mobile ad revenue, the iPad 17.45 percent and the iPod less than 1 percent.

The Death of the Bundle

The cable industry held its annual convention, now called INTX, this week in Chicago. One of the themes, according to Broadcasting & Cable’s Dade Hayes, was that bundles will continue to shrink.

The reduced size of the packages (now called “skinny packages”) that subscribers are forced to buy before adding premium networks and access to mobilized versions of the channels is a function of increasing competition and the general feelings of flexibility and freedom that consumers now have.

A participant in the panel upon which Hayes was reporting suggested that these changes make the launch of new linear cable channels unlikely.

Wearables Industry Set to Grow

Early in the last century, a famous physicist said that the era of theorizing was over and that the work going forward was just filling in details. He said this before a fellow by the name of Albert Einstein came along. Perhaps part of human nature is to think that the point at which things are is the furthest they will progress.

In any case, the era of wearables is just starting. David Wagner at InformationWeek takes a detailed look at what lies ahead. The driver, he writes, is the reduction of the price of a sensor to as little as $1 by 2020. This will facilitate an entirely new level of integration. Instead of smart watches, people will wear smart clothes and adorn their bodies with smart tattoos. Virtual reality also will reach heights barely imagined today.

Extra, Extra, Read All About It…Online

eMarketer reported this week that the digital newspaper industry grew 10 percent in March, compared with the year-ago month. In all, a record 176 million adult unique visitors accessed online papers, according to figures compiled by comScore from research done by the Newspaper Association of America. The driver was clear:

Mobile was the star of the show. Mobile-only newspaper readers—those who exclusively use smartphones and/or tablets to access newspaper content—expanded their share of the newspaper digital audience to 40% in March 2015, up from 29% one year earlier, equating to 71 million adult unique visitors. Those who used a combination of mobile and desktop/laptop devices to access digital newspaper content accounted for 29% of the total, while PC-only readers fell to 31% of the audience.

Men had above-average mobile-only growth in all age groups except 45 to 54 year olds, according to the story.

Autonomous Vehicles Beyond Cars

And, finally, comes the story of a scary idea. The idea of driverless cars is counter-intuitive and a bit scary. The idea of driverless trucks is counter-intuitive and terrifying. Wired reports that Nevada is allowing self-driving Freightliner trucks. These vehicles weigh about 80,000 pounds.

The trucks, from Mercedes-Benz company Daimler, will have “beefed-up” versions of advanced adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and blind spot detection now used on passenger cars. At this point, only a handful of test vehicles are on the roads. These will have drivers to take control, if necessary.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

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