Tech & The District » Mobile Tech the way we see it: insights and musings on technology PR, policy and the District, from H&K’s D.C. Tech Team. Thu, 04 Aug 2011 15:06:44 +0000 en hourly 1 Day 3-LIVE from the Consumer Electronics Show- Las Vegas Sun, 09 Jan 2011 03:10:17 +0000 Lauren Wilson This morning CNET recognized the best gadgets at CES and handed out awards for the best phones, tablets, and gaming devices.  The buzz on the Motorola XOOM has not died down, which probably comes as no surprise for winning the Best of Show Award.   According to CNET, this award is a big nod to Google’s work developing the Android Honeycomb operating system.

Day 3 on the CES Floor feels empty and I don’t think that’s a terrible thing. If you are here, and you hadn’t had a chance to look and experience the technology—this is definitely the best time! It can certainly be a challenge and slightly overwhelming to walk the entire show floor, especially if you’re here for a client—like myself.  CES attracted over 250,000 attendees this year, which included exhibitors, manufacturers, journalists, and bloggers (the event was not open to the public).

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Americans Spend More Time On Social Networks Than Checking Email Wed, 11 Aug 2010 20:11:54 +0000 Lauren Wilson A recent Nielson study, What Americans Do Online: Social Media And Games Dominate Activity, found some interesting statistics on Americans’ Internet usage. The percentage of time the average person in the U.S. spends on social networking Web sites has increased by 43 percent, while the time spent checking email decreased by 28 percent. Playing games online and watching videos or movies are the only other areas of Internet usage with significant increases.

When looking at mobile Internet usage, the scene is a little different. Email accounts for 41.6 percent of time mobile phones are online. My guess is that some of this difference has to do with screen size. I find it a lot easier to read an email on my mobile phone than to surf a social networking site.

How does your Internet use compare, both on your personal computer and on your mobile device? Do you find these statistics a little bit of a surprise as I did? This study has been popular on a variety of blogs this week, so check out what Mashable and GigaOM have to say as well.

By Sara Hiller (Tech Intern)

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Pew’s Mobile Access 2010 Study Thu, 08 Jul 2010 20:38:36 +0000 Lauren Wilson I read Engadget’s post on Pew’s Mobile Access study and decided to investigate the whole study for myself. Anyone who uses a mobile device should take a look at this study which examines the ways Americans are using their phones, as well as wireless internet and computer usage in general.  It is interesting to see which mobile device functions are increasing in popularity, and what the majority of people are doing on their phones. 

I found the chart “Young adults lead the way in use of mobile data applications” most interesting. As someone who would fit in the young adult category, I was surprised to see such a drop in almost every one of the mobile phone use categories from ages 18-29 to 30-49, and then again at 50-64. The categories measured  include, “Send/receive text messages,” “Use a social networking site” and “Make a purchase,” among others. I would have expected some of these categories, particularly “Send/receive email” and “Access the internet,” to have similar statistics across these three groups due to the functionality of these mobile phone uses in the workplace.

Take a look at Mobile Access 2010 and let us know what statistics you found the most interesting or surprising.

By Sara Hiller (Tech Intern)

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Follow Friday- Peter Svensson Fri, 28 May 2010 16:06:40 +0000 Lauren Wilson @ petersvensson

Happy Friday!

What are your plans for Memorial Day Weekend? Lounge around, lay back by the pool, tweet perhaps? If you’re thinking about following someone new, then you should look into Peter Svensson.  Peter is a technology writer for the Associated Press covering telecommunications and consumer electronics. 

Peter’s tweets give you a taste of news mixed with cynicism.  Peter will tweet about topics ranging from 3D-TV to the smartphone, and he will even make note when he’s ready for lunch. If you want to stay on top of technology trends,  follow @petersvensson.

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The Revolutionary Mobile Phone Tue, 20 Oct 2009 22:12:15 +0000 Saskia Stegeman The Economist recently published a special report about the impact of telecommunications in emerging markets, a topic that has fascinated me since I visited East Africa in 2006. It had been about five years since I’d been to a developing country and the main thing I noticed was how prevalent mobile phones had become.  Traveling in the countryside between Nairobi and Arusha, I came across a site commonly seen in developing countries: three women washing their clothes in a stream. The difference was that here, one of them was talking on a mobile phone.  When we got to the border crossing between Kenya and Tanzania, hawkers were selling the usual wares of food, drinks and cigarettes but the best selling items were SIM cards and call minutes.  In itself this was remarkable.  I used to keep a list of factoids pinned to my fridge that included a statistic that 75 percent of the world’s population had never made a phone call. Today there are four billion mobile phone subscribers, according to the International Telecommunications Union. Some estimate that mobile phone penetration will reach 100 percent in countries like Kenya and Tanzania by 2013.

The impact mobile phone penetration has had on developing countries has been so remarkable that many commentators have called it revolutionary, likening it to roads and railroads.  Because access to the Internet is very limited in these countries, we are seeing phones and other mobile devices used for applications that go well beyond voice calls. As The Economist notes, one of the most promising areas is mobile banking.  A friend of mine who works in the Central African Republic recently told me that teachers working in remote parts of the country where civil unrest, banditry and lack of infrastructure make the transportation of money difficult,  are already being paid via their cell phones.

Earlier this month, the New York Times ran an article illustrating how mobile phones have revolutionized scientists’ ability to track banana disease and to educate farmers on how to protect their plantations in Uganda. Companies like Qualcomm through their Wireless Reach initiative, are working with partners around the world to develop projects that use wireless technology to empower underserved communities.  One of the projects provided fishermen in Tamil Nadu, India, with a mobile phone application called Fisher Friend which allows them to access crucial information such as weather conditions, where they can and can’t fish, and market prices.  At the remote Kusai Wasi Health Clinic in Peru, mobile technology helps volunteer surgeons who fly in once a year from the U.S. prepare and follow-up with their patients remotely to deliver better care and reduce the risk of post-operation complications.

To this I’d like to add another interesting, perhaps somewhat counter intuitive, development: mobile applications that were originally created for emerging markets are informing applications that are relevant in developed countries.  An article in Fast Company earlier this year called it “trickle-up innovation.”  One area where we will see more examples of this is in mobile healthcare.  A number of companies, NGOs and foundations are putting together innovative projects in this field, including some that use text messaging to remind people to take their medication and provide other basic healthcare information. On October 29 – 30, the Foundation for the National Health Institute is organizing an event called the mHealth Summit to bring together thought-leaders from around the world to exchange ideas, novel approaches and research findings about the role that mobile technology can play in promoting public health and reaching underserved communities. I’m hoping to hear about more ground-breaking applications from there.

Note:  Qualcomm is a client of Hill & Knowlton

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On the Agenda Tue, 29 Sep 2009 20:59:22 +0000 Lindsay Campbell September 29, 2009 – PRSA Webinar – Digital Marketing: The Shift of Advertising and the Creative Renaissance

September 29, 2009 – Health 2.0 – Discussing the use of Web 2.0 at the FDA and in local Healthcare

September 29, 2009 – GrowSmartBiz Conference with Wired’s Chris Anderson

September 30, 2009 – DC Media Makers Meetup

September 30, 2009 – Climate Legislation in the U.S. Senate: Will there Be a Bill this Year?  What Will it Look Like?

October 1, 2009 – ZapForum DC: SOA & EA Networking Event

October 8, 2009 – Energy and Natural Resources Hearing

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Actual Tech in the District – NextBus Wed, 22 Jul 2009 18:45:26 +0000 Chad Torbin

Want to post an update here to my last blog. Thanks to a few posts from the crowd, I’ve provided the missing info below to both available apps as well as a vehicle locator for the bus. Apologize if anyone was sweltering away without these. One should always assume there’s an app for everything even if you can’t find it right away. Patience is just one stop away I suppose.  

NextBus apps:;

Vehicle locator maps:

Earlier this month, DC Transit re-launched their new NextBus service, a new high-tech system Metro initiated two years ago to offer riders real-time schedule information and arrival times. The system, which uses global positioning software and computer modeling to track buses on their routes every two minutes and can be accessed through the Web or a cellphone, has been met with both praise as well as a strong dose of criticism.

For the most part, the system seems to be working. After nearly two years of upgrades to computer hardware and software, and bus route and stop information, the system has reduced many of the information hurdles to riding the bus. The system is far from perfect as you can imagine – this morning it said seven minutes till next bus and one arrived within two minutes time – and predicting DC traffic patterns, the weather, etc make it increasingly difficult for any system to accurately predict arrival times. Rather than giving riders a prediction of when the bus might arrive, I wonder why not just let them track the bus on Google maps for example in real-time and actually know where the bus is at all times?

Biggest downsides include the lack of a mobile application for the Blackberry or iPhone that saves riders from having to navigate the metro website for their information. One would think this would be a given in today’s world, but perhaps the Metro authority didn’t want to discourage private developers from competing in the next Apps for Democracy contest.

The other issue is that unfortunately, this system does not make it any easier for you to complain about the service….

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Current wireless industry = PC Biz in its infancy? I think so. Fri, 26 Jun 2009 22:08:14 +0000 Sandra Rodriguez On June 25th, I attended the afternoon sessions at the Digital Media Conference  held in Tyson’s Corner, VA.  Sometimes these types of events are full of sales people, and while there were some, in general it was an interesting mix of speakers and attendees. Given my work here at H&K, I was definitely looking forward to the mobile apps panel, and I ended up hearing from AOL on mobile platforms, which was unexpected.


Ted Cahall, President of AOL’s Product & Technologies led the lunch keynote, where he set the stage for mobile content and media as the focus of the afternoon.  He noted that currently there are too many hands in the cookie jar of mobile applications and platforms. Carriers, developers, device manufacturers and wireless enablers are all creating competing platforms, however eventually there will be a PC – Mac battle, which is already brewing. Currently the iPhone is in the position of the Mac; however, we’re still waiting to see who will be the PC in the mobile world? Panelist Daniel Odio of stated that Google’s Android platform will eventually take that position. Android’s volume will increase in comparison to the iPhone platform, as Android will be available through various devices and carriers. However, from the four panelists only AP Digital and rmbrME said they had or were working on Android versions of their apps. In addition, all of the panelists agreed that the iPhone’s platform and ecosystem are the most evolved and easiest to work with. I hope RIM’s listening because it didn’t seem to be the most favored platform!


 In the mobile marketing session, Kevin Bertram, CEO of Distributive Networks ; the creator of the Obama text messaging campaign was on the panel. The best take away from the panel was that in order to be successful, mobile marketing campaigns must have call for action to the user and link to traditional media.  Speaking of traditional media I also attended the session titled “Is the Newspaper Dead?” To sum it up, it sure isn’t the same as it used to be. However the panelists all agreed that in order to succeed its print and online sites must not be mirror images, including the ads, online ads must be interactive. In addition, newspapers must focus on what they do best, and add value to its audience. It’s no longer about the product, but the audience, online and print audiences differ. The baby boomers still enjoy opening up the newspaper that landed on their porch and drinking a cup of coffee, however the younger generations are reading the news via a mobile device or online. Publications must cater to both audiences separately to succeed.


Right now the mobile industry is constantly changing, but we all can say that it’s all about the apps and what your device can do for you. The iPhone is sleek and sexy, but it has many other devices nipping at its ankles with the same features. It’s about the experience and what’s inside the phone. Think about it, when’s the last time you saw a commercial about making a phone call?

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Recapping Mobile World Congress Wed, 25 Feb 2009 22:27:59 +0000 Chad Torbin Barcelona, home of Gaudí architecture, Salvador Dalí, the right foot of Lionel Messi and of course, home to Mobile World Congress. I have yet to attend one of these, but I have to say that the show seems to continue to be fruitful, delivering some meaningful announcements, products, ideas and discussions worth highlighting. Here are the three key trends that I consider likely to keep the mobile industry, and myself, abuzz and busy in the months to come.

  1. Handset announcements took center stage once again this year. The screens are bigger, the interface slicker, the batteries solar powered and the memory capabilities are larger, but what happened to all the flip phones? Despite a few new models, the design format du jour seems to be the slider or a bar format. As someone that still pockets a Motorola Razor phone each day, I’m feeling a bit out of touch.
  2. The shows seems to have helped stoke the battle of the mobile operating systems, with Android and Symbian making a strong showing and Microsoft unveiling Windows Mobile 6.5 and the new Windows Marketplace app store. Android is clearly a threat to Microsoft’s plans for Windows Mobile and the company can’t afford to sit idle while Android and Symbian gain nearly another year of improvements and with the next iPhone on the horizon.
  3. It wouldn’t be a wireless show without a little talk about the future of the networks. Long term evolution (LTE), the step-up from HSDPA/HSUPA and the standard most of the world is counting on to deliver 4G (not lookin’ good WiMax), also got a fair amount of coverage. LTE trials are starting to pop-up around the world and we got the chance to see some LTE-enabled smartphone prototypes already on display by LG and Samsung amongst others, but the biggest piece of news on the LTE front is the announcement of a new logo that somehow reminds me of one of my favorite dishes. You be the judge:

Disclosure: Hill & Knowlton works with the GSM Association and other wireless organizations

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