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More than Half of All Mobile Phone Owners Own a Smartphone

There are three of us in my household and two of us own smartphones. My husband is the only one with a feature phone and yesterday he was talking about upgrading. He’s the rare bird that only uses his phone to make calls and text but lately he’s been eying some of the apps I have on my phone and he’s close to making the switch.

According to Nielsen, more American phone owners are making the switch than ever before, with 2 out of 3 choosing a smartphone over a feature phone in the past three months.

Who knew my family was so typical? I never would have guessed.

As of June 2012, smartphones were in the hands of 54.9% of all U.S. mobile phone subscribers. Android is still leading the pack in sales due to their wide variety and lower price points.

The Rise of Couch Commerce (Infographic)

Online sales by way of a tablet has been dubbed Couch Commerce, but could as easily be called Bed Commerce since nearly equal numbers of people do it from either location. Then again, I suppose people could easily misconstrue “Bed Commerce” so it’s probably best that we stick with the couch.

The furniture in this equation is important because it represents a shift in how we shop online. There’s a psychological difference between sitting down at a desk and firing up the PC to shop, and sitting on the couch shopping while you watch TV in the evening. The size of the tablet and the touch screen makes it more engaging and since you’re sitting there watching a Storage Wars marathon anyway, there’s no need to rush. In other words, tablets turn shopping into entertainment and we humans do love to be entertained. (As evidenced by the fact that we’re watching Storage Wars.)

Simon and Schuster Links Online and Offline with Book Cover QR Codes

Remember QR codes? We haven’t talked about them in awhile because. . . well. . . the only people that seem to care about them are the corporations who stick them on everything.

Publisher Simon & Schuster is one of those corporations. They’re putting QR codes on the back cover of their new¬† releases. Why? They figure people will scan them, visit their website, and maybe sign up for a newsletter which they’ll get by email.

Yeah, good luck with that.

S&S does get props for their attempts to mix offline and online readers. They have a number of excellent, book related mobile apps and according to PaidContent, 26% of their sales are now digital. Nice, but I still don’t see how the QR code fits into the mix.

AOL’s Project Devil Ads Go Mobile

Back in September 2010, AOL announced a new kind of desktop ad system they called Project Devil. Devil ads are mini, branded playgrounds that serve up interactive content in the same places you’d find traditional banner ads.

A Devil ad for Nordstrom’s includes a fashion show video and a store finder. An ad for a movie includes the trailer, the buzz on Twitter and a link to buy tickets. Tour the inside of a car and click to get details on the features. Learn how to bake a cake then create a shopping list right from the app.

AOL says Devil ads have 4x the engagement rate, 3x the engagement time and increase purchase intent by 263%. And now, they’re coming to mobile.

Offline Maps for Android Goes Live

Now you can get a map of an area downloaded to your Android device so that map can be viewed offline. As we see this is only for Android devices (at least for now) the divide between iOS and Android grows wider and wider.

Along with this announcement comes an improvement in the Street View functionality as well. The Google Lat Long blog tells us

Google Takes to the Sky to Promote Scifi Style Hardware

When you’re presenting a highly-anticipated conference to the entire world, it behooves you to come up with some exciting antics to keep the audience engaged and talking.

I’d say Google succeeded when they hired skydivers, extreme bikers, and a mountain climber to deliver their latest product to the stage. Even more amazing, they followed the progress using Google+ Hangouts. To quote an old TV show title, that’s incredible!

The product was Google Glass, the lightweight, “unobtrusive” pair of glasses that doubles as a webcam and mini-monitor. When you wear them, you can broadcast a first person video of whatever it is you’re doing.

Google Intros New Tablet That Puts Content Front and Center

You know that old saying about content being king? Well, it truly is on Google’s brand new tablet the Nexus 7.

Google introduced the product along with several other key items and online upgrades at the Google I/O conference which is currently running in San Francisco. The conference is aimed at developers and from the beginning you could see that Google is working hard to open up the Android platform in hopes of getting more apps and more innovation.

The other thread running throughout the presentation is the idea of seamlessly moving from one activity to another and if anyone can make that happen, it’s Google.