2013, mobile usage in the United States will approach 100% penetration

If you haven’t noticed, mobile is kind of a big deal.

According to a whole slew of statistics released by market researcher and trends analyzer eMarketer yesterday, mobile phone usage is only continuing to grow, even stateside.

US Mobile Phone Subscribers In the U.S., where you’re pretty much expected to own some sort of mobile device, eMarketer marked that this year there are 280.8 million mobile phone subscribers, coming out to 91.4% penetration. The analysis expects to see that number increase steadily over the next few years, approaching complete market penetration in 2013, when it predicts 96.7% market penetration, or 308.7 million mobile phone subscribers.

At most, it’s surprising that we aren’t at 100% penetration already.

The real interesting analysis comes with the tracking of mobile Internet usage penetration. A great deal of tech industry press swirls around competition between the Internet-enabled big smartphone players: the classic BlackBerry, Apple and its chic iPhone, Google and its open standards Android OS, just to name a few.

But how many consumers are actually using their phones to connect to the Internet? According to eMarketer, still not that many.

US Mobile Internet Users and Penetration Despite its growth in recent years, due to falling costs and improving usability, mobile Internet is still a young technology only utilized by 73.7 million people, or 26.3% of mobile phone subscribers. Only in the past year has mobile Internet usage penetrated through to one in four mobile users. Costs should continue to drop steadily, usability will likely only get better, and usage will also rise, but slowly. Hitting 50% penetration is not too far off, according to eMarketer, which predicts 43.5% penetration in 2013, when about 134.3 million mobile subscribers should be going on the Internet through their phones.

The significance of these juxtaposed data sets is that it gives service providers some pretty straightforward priorities. Calling and texting will persist as the most essential tasks of any mobile phone, and they are the first two features that (most) consumers will expect to work painlessly. Thus, service providers will fight over who has the strongest call network, while at the same time building the foundations for more robust Internet speeds, in preparation for the rising tide of mobile Internet users.

As for future products, let’s just say that BlackBerry, iPhone, and Android are only the beginning of innovation.

Ghana Mobile Gold

Street sellers of mobile are  out selling shops.

One basic commodity that has shed its expensive tag in Ghana and the world at large is the mobile phone. In the early 90’s mobile phones in Ghana were a very expensive and scarce commodity.

At the time, these tiny and portable electronic devices were not only considered the preserve of the rich in the society, but they were also very difficult to come by. People who possessed such electronic gadgets were accorded appreciable magnitude of respect.

However, this story can no longer be told today, particularly when mobile phones are widely patronized and used in almost every nook and cranny of Ghana. Thanks to telecommunication companies like Mobile Telecommunications Network (MTN), Vodafone, Tigo, Kasapa and Zain it is now possible for us to reach our relatives who live in the hinterlands. Now in Ghana, with a minimum of GH¢1 and an amount of GH¢20, one can get both a cell phone and a starter pack to allow him/her to be hooked on any of the telecommunication companies in the country.

jan-chipchase_1 If you doubt this, we would entreat you to travel to the remotest of any of the ten regions in Ghana where you will find a plethora of ordinary charcoal, food and porridge sellers, Grannies and Grandpas, all using a mobile phone. This growth of technological gadgetry can only tell us that within Ghanaian culture mobile phones have become a basic necessity.

In Today’s world people are ready to dole out huge sums of money to the tune of between GH¢600-1, 000 USD400 to USD 660 Ghana cedis in order to purchase the latest Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, or Samsung phone in town.

Currently, giant mobile phone manufacturing companies such as Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericson and Vodafone are facing stiff competition amongst themselves and are always finding ways of getting more people in the world to purchase their mobile phone products.

One hot spot and area where the mobile phone businesses continue to grow is in Circle, a suburb of Accra. Here, one can see various mobile phone shops with very interesting names, including: Flex Phones, Happy Phones, God Son Entertainment, Big Ambition, Freddie’s Corner, Mobile Phone People and Fuzzy Phones. It is also an arena where, apart from the congested nature of phone shops, people can find either the latest Nokia phone or the newest Sony Ericson in town.

At Circle, as a very busy community in terms of mobile phone dealings, if one is not very careful he/she can be swindled by people who also parade the area as phone sellers. Such elements do not own shops and are known for always sitting on the metallic bars along the pavement.

Their posture alone is enough reason to doubt them, yet in the face of all these signals people purchasing phones are swindled because their prices are relatively cheaper. According to Mr. Gambo Bash, who has worked at Mobile Time in the Circle area for seven years now, the business’s influx of customers is suffering because of those who are selling the phones on the street.

“Our business is going down,” said Mr. Bash. “The outside people can sell more than those who are in the shop.” Their style has been to taunt and persuade consumers with all kinds of sugar coated words before you even enter into any of the registered shops to begin to browse for your phone.

Mr. Bash pointed out that the reason people are buying them on the outside is because they are cheaper even though they are often purchasing stolen merchandise. Unlike the phones sold within stores, which buy their phones from places in Japan and Dubai, those sold on the street offer cell phone buyers no security for the customer if something were to go wrong.

On the other hand, Mr. Hololi Alason, who has worked at Fuzzy Phones since 1995, says that because the shops selling cell phones offer amenities that those who are hawking the products can’t, people often prefer going into to stores.
“When you buy it in the store you have a guarantee, but when you buy it in the markets you don’t have guarantee because it’s stolen,” he said.

However, by selling goods on the street less people are venturing into stores and therefore are making the times hard economically for these entrepreneurs.

“A whole day can go by, and we never sell one,” said Mr. Bash. There is much consensus from those who own cell phone store that in the future the boys selling phones will be out of the street. And it was observed that if nothing is done about the phone hawkers, than they will continue posing a serious threat to the wellbeing of those who are running their cell phone businesses in the future.

By Ato Keelson & Mindy Cooper

iPhone cracked in 2 minutes flat.

“In a Wired news article, iPhone Forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski explains how the much touted hardware encryption of the iPhone 3Gs is but a farce, and demonstrates how both the passcode and backup encryption can be bypassed in about two minutes.

Zdziarski also goes on to say that all data on the iPhone — including deleted data — is automatically decrypted by the iPhone when it’s copied, allowing hackers and law enforcement agencies alike access the device’s raw disk as if no encryption were present.

A second demonstration features the recovery of the iPhone’s entire disk while the device is still passcode-locked. According to a similar article in Ars Technica, Zdziarski describes the iPhone’s hardware encryption by saying it’s ‘like putting privacy glass on half your shower door.’

With the iPhone being sold into 20% of Fortune-100s and into the military, just how worried should we be with such shoddy security?

Announcing the PhoneSuit MiLi Pro…

The MiLi Pro is a breakthrough in iPhone and iPod accessory technology. It’s an iPhone / iPod compatible, rechargeable, micro video projector. The power of the PhoneSuit MiLi Battery has been coupled with the convenience of a portable video projector and speaker system. Watch all of your movies, video clips, podcasts and more with ease! Now you can carry your own personal movie theater with you, anywhere you travel.


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Check out my Slide Show!

Phone-reliant Britons in the grip of ‘nomo-phobia’

Being out of mobile-phone contact is as stressful as moving house or breaking up with a partner for nearly one in five phone users, according to a survey which suggests many Britons are in the grip of “nomo-phobia”.

Anxiety over running out of battery or credit, losing one’s handset and not having network coverage affects 53 per cent of the UK’s 45 million mobile-phone users, according to the study by YouGov.

Stewart Fox-Mills, the head of telephony at the Post Office, which commissioned the survey, said “nomo-phobia” was a real phenomenon for many people. “We’re all familiar with the stressful situations of everyday life such as moving house, break-ups and organising a family Christmas, but it seems being out of mobile contact may be the 21st century’s contribution to our already manic lives,” he said. “Being phoneless and panicked is a symptom of our 24/7 culture.”

Men were more likely than women to be affected by losing mobile phone contact, with 48 per cent of women and 58 per cent of men admitting to feelings of anxiety. More than 20 per cent of the 2,163 people questioned said they never switched off their mobiles, and one in 10 said their job required them to be contactable at all times.

Some 55 per cent cited keeping in touch with friends or family as the main reason for being wedded to their handsets and 9 per cent said having their phone switched off made them anxious.

The Post Office has now produced a guide to avoiding “nomo-phobia” which recommends leaving loved ones an alternative contact number and making a back-up list of all contacts in case the phone is lost or stolen.

The ban on mobile-phone use on planes has posed a problem for those who feel the need to be contactable. But last month, Ofcom, the communications regulator, confirmed British airline passengers could, by next year, use mobiles on aircraft flying above 3,000m. The calls are