Archive for category GPS
Mobile Everything | RealtyGo | Text Messages | QR Codes | Technology | RealtyGo_blog
26 Billion text messages sent during China’s Spring Festival!
Here’s yet more proof that plain ol’ text messages aren’t going away any time soon. The recent Spring Festival in China (the local name for what’s often referred to as Chinese New Year) saw the country send some 26 billion text messages. That’s billion with a “b,” mind you.
That number, 26 billion, represents a 13 percent increase over last year.
And here’s one last quick stat: China has some 859 million mobile phone subscribers, which works out to 74.5 percent of the country’s population.
A survey last year pegged the number of U.S. mobile phone subscribers at 285 million, or 91 percent of the country’s population.
You’ll recall that Deloitte said in a report last week that text messaging was as popular as ever, more so than social networks like Twitter and Facebook, largely because they’re seen as more immediate and personal.
World Mobile Conference, 2011
RealtyGo – Mobile that Accelerates your Business!
Rahul Sood was working in a Calgary rug store when fate beckoned in 1991. A friendly customer saw him fixing a computer by the front desk, and suggested he take his skills into the PC business.
Sood borrowed $1,500 on a MasterCard and started Voodoo PC, buying high-end parts and building powerful workstation computers for clients in the local oil and gas industry. It didn’t take long for him to find a more appropriate niche: In the early days Sood and friends stayed up until 2 a.m. playing graphics-rich video games on the office computers, so it felt natural when Voodoo began building eye-catching rigs for fellow video game enthusiasts.
Now Sood is a key player in Hewlett-Packard’s (HPQ) push to create breakthrough new computer designs to push it further ahead of its rivals. Since HP acquired Voodoo in 2006, Sood and his team have been working to bring Voodoo’s artistic, high-performance culture to HP’s mass-market audience. HP’s latest efforts, which will be unveiled on June 10, could begin to establish the company as a provider of beautiful technology gear – an image that consumers had traditionally associated with competitors like Apple (AAPL) and Sony (SNE).
“Voodoo inside HP is very much akin to the acquisition of Lamborghini into Audi,” says Sood, a car buff who races in his spare time. “In the new Lamborghinis the quality is 100 times better, and in Audis, the styling has gotten more aggressive – it’s a win-win situation for both companies.”
HP’s moves are about more than looks. The PC wars have changed. In the 90s, victory meant building PCs cheaper and faster. Michael Dell (DELL) defined the era by establishing a build-to-order process at his Texas plants, tightly managing parts and inventory, then cutting prices to bleed his rivals. Since then, Dell’s competitors have largely neutralized its cost advantage, so today victory is more likely to mean building innovative PCs and selling them in a high-class environment. (Dell has responded by focusing more on retail sales, and courting gamers through its Alienware unit.)
That’s why HP has already been putting more focus on aesthetics. When PC unit chief Todd Bradley arrived at HP three years ago, he observed that business laptops had all the flair of military tanks and challenged his team to radically redesign them.
Since then, HP’s entire line of machines has begun dramatic changes. Many laptops now come with stylish, eye-catching engravings. A quirky touch-sensitive computer won raves from Martha Stewart, and a muscle-car desktop excited video-game enthusiasts with its precisely-engineered parts. The company even worked with the Pasadena College of Art to rethink computer packaging. A marketing makeover completes the package, with commercials featuring celebrities like rapper Jay-Z and snowboarder Shaun White. (By way of contrast, a recent Dell ad featured Burt Reynolds.)
Yes, HP has come a long way. In the spring of 2005, when Bradley first sat down with CEO Mark Hurd to talk about joining the company, HP was still struggling to digest its acquisition of Compaq and still trailed Dell in the marketplace. Over breakfast at the Stanford Park Hotel in Palo Alto, the two men talked about how to streamline the PC division and make it a winner. “I really believed in our ability to drive innovation into the core PC space,” Bradley says. “It was an interesting opportunity to change the way people viewed computing, and make it personal.”
Weeks later Bradley joined the company, and began to deliver. He quickly brought in a new leadership team and standardized the basic skeletons of HP’s computers to simplify manufacturing and speed innovation. Profit margins have steadily risen from less than 1 percent the year before Bradley took over to more than 5 percent now.
Now that Bradley has the mechanics down, more attention has shifted to marketing. Aside from the design of the PC lineup, his team is also working on a novel retail strategy.
I got a peek at the retail part a few weeks ago. During a conference for its reseller partners, HP built a mockup of its store-in-a-store concept in a room at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco. The most impressive thing about the setup was how well everything worked together; computers, printers, displays and other items sat on polished white surfaces, organized by how they might be used. The packaging matched, too – from printer cartridges to laptops, everything sported a black background accented by bright colors.
Versions of the retail space will begin appearing in stores this summer and fall. Micro Center, a U.S. electronics chain, will test the concept ahead of the holiday season; and HP will set up a boutique in Harrod’s, the upscale department store in London, this summer. The stores will include specially trained workers, promotions to draw people inside, and a commitment to continually improving the experience based on customer feedback.
For Satjiv Chahil, who heads up marketing for the PC division, it’s a reflection of how computing has gone mainstream. These days electronics stores aren’t really competing with each other – they’re up against chic fashion shops like Hollister, Louis Vuitton and Miss Sixty, competing for disposable income. “The purchasing power that people have is going to go somewhere,” Chahil says, and he has a point. Visit the mall, even during tough economic times, and you’re sure to see plenty of money being thrown around. Why shouldn’t HP get more of it?
“They’ve taken a stronger look at the experience of shopping for their product, versus just having their product available at multiple outlets,” says Kevin Jones, vice president of merchandising at Micro Center, who has been working with HP on the in-store concept. “This is about getting the cool factor into the PC product.”
That’s a tall order, since few computer makers have managed to make a strong case for why their machines are better than the competition – and in an economic slowdown, it can be harder to entice consumers to buy. But with it’s number-one global position, the backing of HP’s huge research labs and new ideas coming in from folks like Sood, HP may be better positioned than any other company to define the battlefield in the new PC wars.
Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) said it stopped taking pre-orders for Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 4 at 8:10 p.m. EST yesterday, and that the pre-order sales broke company sales records–an echo of the flood of traffic that greeted AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) when it took pre-orders for the device in June.
Verizon began taking pre-orders at 3 a.m. EST Thursday for existing customers. According to the carrier, within the first two hours Verizon sold more phones than any first day launch in its history. Verizon said online pre-orders will begin again Feb. 9 at 3:01 a.m. EST, and that its stores will open at 7 a.m. local time on Feb. 10 for the official launch. Apple stores also will open at 7 a.m. local time on Feb. 10; Best Buy will offer the CDMA iPhone then as well.
The launch was not without glitches. Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney told Reuters that the majority of the carrier’s customers were able to get their orders processed, but that some customers received error messages. She said Verizon is trying to sort through the issues.
Meanwhile, other carriers are working hard to blunt the impact of the Verizon iPhone. AT&T said Thursday it will throw its marketing muscle behind the Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) Atrix 4G. Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) will host a media event in New York City Monday to unveil an “industry first.” And T-Mobile is offering two free G2 smartphones when customers sign up for an unlimited, two-line family plan, which costs $179.99 per month. Additionally, the No. 4 carrier, which is kickstarting a company-wide turnaround plan, set up a special website to hype its smartphones and HSPA+ network, which it markets as 4G.
Now you can pay for that latte with cash, credit card or mobile phone.
Starbucks (SBUX) , which tested mobile payments in select stores and Target outlets in the past year, expanded the program nationally to all its 6,800 company-owned stores starting Wednesday.
There are a handful of mobile payment experiments in operation now, including Bling Nation in Palo Alto, Calif., and Mocapay in Denver. But this is the biggest rollout to date for mobile payments, says Gwenn Bézard, analyst with the Aite Group, who follows mobile payments. Tech analysts expect substantial growth in mobile payments in coming years as more of us lead our daily lives on our phone.
“This is a more convenient way to pay,” says Starbucks Vice President Brady Brewer. “Your wallet or purse isn’t always with you, but the mobile phone is.” Customers pay using apps available on their iPhones or BlackBerrys. Download the app, and fund it with your credit card. When you reach the barista at the counter, hit the “pay” button, show the bar code, and scan it to complete the transaction. Starbucks says it’s working on an app for Android phones.
“Starbucks is using an interim technology that’s available today,” Bezard says. But he thinks the future of mobile payments will be based on a technology called near-field communications (NFC), which embeds a payment chip inside the phone.
NFC is popular in Asia, where many phones already have built-in chips, and retailers to support them. Juniper Research says $200 billion will be spent worldwide via mobile payments by 2012, up from $100 billion in 2010.Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile recently announced plans for a joint venture, Isis, to offer NFC purchasing via phones. Testing is scheduled to begin next year.
The success of its gift card sparked Starbucks’ interest in mobile payments. “Customers liked the speed of the card,” Brewer says. About one in five retail transactions are done with the card, and customers have loaded more than $1.5 billion onto them, Starbucks says.
Starbucks began testing mobile payments in 2009. To expand nationally, it had to retrofit older scanners with new ones that could accept the bar code from the apps. “We’re going to see big adoption,” Brewer says. He wouldn’t say how much the changeover cost the company.
If anyone has information at the estimated costs for starbucks to integrate this modality and upgrade their hardware and Scanners, please share. Thank You!