consumers

Blu-ray Adoption Soft, More Still Own HD DVD

MojoKid writes “A new study by Harris Interactive notes that currently, one in ten Americans (10%) own an HD DVD player, while just 7% own a Blu-ray player. Crazy, right? More Americans own HD DVD right now than the “winning” format, Blu-ray. If you think about it, that statistic isn’t that shocking. When HD DVD was around, it was far and away the “budget” format for high-def. The players were cheaper, the films were cheaper. In other words, it was a format more ready to thrive in a down economy. Blu-ray was always viewed as a niche format for those absorbed in A/V, not the common man’s format. The survey also found that on average, consumers purchased approximately 6 Standard Format DVD’s in the last six months compared with 1 in HD format.”

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Monday, June 22nd, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Blu-ray Adoption Soft, More Still Own HD DVD

Ultra-Thin Laptops To Be Next Intel-AMD Battleground

FinalAnkleHealer sends along an IBTimes article proposing that 0 ultra-thin laptops, capable of multitasking and editing multimedia content, could be the next market contested by Intel and AMD. “AMD partnered with Hewlett-Packard Co. in January to launch the Pavilion dv2. Intel launched its rival CULV (Consumer Ultra Low Voltage) chip this month and Acer Inc. and Asustek Computer Inc were among those that demonstrated laptops based on the new technology at the Computex trade show in Taipei. … With more people gravitating toward mobile and wireless technology, consumers want smaller laptops — and most of those people would prefer doing more than surfing the Web, which the no-frills netbooks now excel at. … Acer, the first company to introduce a cheap Intel-powered CULV laptop, expects revenue from that segment to account for 15 percent of its total sales by the end of 2009. Asustek, which pioneered the netbook in 2007, plans to launch five consumer-priced ultra-thins this year.”

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Monday, June 22nd, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Ultra-Thin Laptops To Be Next Intel-AMD Battleground

Consumers Remain Unconvinced, Blu-Ray Lags Behind

According to a new poll, only 1 in 5 people are replacing or duplicating their existing standard format DVD library with Blu-ray format, and over a third say they only buy movies on Blu-ray format that they currently do not own on standard definition.

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Monday, June 22nd, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Consumers Remain Unconvinced, Blu-Ray Lags Behind

FTC Plans to Monitor Blogs for Paid Reviews

Savvy consumers often go online for consumer reviews of products & services: What some fail to realize is that such reviews can be tainted: Many bloggers have accepted perks such as free laptops, trips to Europe, 0 gift cards or even thousands of dollars for a 200-word post. The FTC is now paying attention & the agency may go after bloggers.

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Monday, June 22nd, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on FTC Plans to Monitor Blogs for Paid Reviews

How the Obama Copyright Policies Might Unfold

An anonymous reader points out a column by James Boyle, who knows a thing or two about copyright, analyzing the Obama Administration’s policy choices about intellectual property and high tech. “Traditionally, Democratic administrations take their copyright policy direct from Hollywood and the recording industry. Unfortunately, so do Republican administrations. The capture of regulators by the industry they regulate is nothing new, of course, but in intellectual property there is the added benefit that incumbents can frequently squelch competing technologies and business methods before they ever come into existence. … The Obama administration’s warm embrace of Silicon Valley, and Silicon Valley’s checkbook, had given some hope that this pattern would change — and I think it will. Now, instead of taking copyright policy direct from the media conglomerates (who, after all, have a very legitimate point of view — even if not the only point of view) it is quite likely that the administration will construct it as a contract between content companies and high-technology companies such as Google. In some places, citizens and consumers will probably benefit, simply because optimizing for the interests of two economic blocs rather than one is likely to give us a slightly more balanced, and less technology-phobic, set of rules. And perhaps the administration will go further. But recent actions make me doubt that this is the case.”

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Sunday, June 21st, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on How the Obama Copyright Policies Might Unfold

FCC To Probe Exclusive Mobile Deals

On Tuesday, we discussed news that four US Senators would be looking into the exclusivity deals between carriers and cell phone makers. Apparently, they didn’t like what they heard. Reader Ian Lamont writes with an update: “The Federal Communications Commission is planning on launching an investigation into exclusive handset deals between mobile carriers and handset makers. In a speech on Thursday, acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps said the agency ‘should determine whether some of these arrangements adversely restrict consumer choice or harm the development of innovative devices, and it should take appropriate action if it finds harm.’ It’s not hard to imagine who might be targeted — at a separate Senate Committee on Commerce hearing on Thursday, much of the discussion centered on AT&T’s exclusive deal to carry the iPhone. AT&T claimed ‘consumers benefit from exclusive deals in three ways: innovation, lower cost and more choice,’ but carriers and senators from states with large rural populations disagreed, saying that their customers had no choice when it came to the iPhone — it’s not available because AT&Ts network doesn’t reach these areas. One panelist also brought up the Carterfone precedent (PDF), which concerned an ‘electrical acoustic coupling device’ that a man named Tom Carter developed in the 1950s to let field workers make phone calls using a radio transceiver connected to AT&T’s phone network. AT&T, which was then a monopoly, claimed no foreign devices could be connected to its network, but lost when it challenged the Carterfone in court. The result spurred innovation such as the fax machine.”

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Friday, June 19th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on FCC To Probe Exclusive Mobile Deals

FCC To Probe Exclusive Mobile Deals

On Tuesday, we discussed news that four US Senators would be looking into the exclusivity deals between carriers and cell phone makers. Apparently, they didn’t like what they heard. Reader Ian Lamont writes with an update: “The Federal Communications Commission is planning on launching an investigation into exclusive handset deals between mobile carriers and handset makers. In a speech on Thursday, acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps said the agency ‘should determine whether some of these arrangements adversely restrict consumer choice or harm the development of innovative devices, and it should take appropriate action if it finds harm.’ It’s not hard to imagine who might be targeted — at a separate Senate Committee on Commerce hearing on Thursday, much of the discussion centered on AT&T’s exclusive deal to carry the iPhone. AT&T claimed ‘consumers benefit from exclusive deals in three ways: innovation, lower cost and more choice,’ but carriers and senators from states with large rural populations disagreed, saying that their customers had no choice when it came to the iPhone — it’s not available because AT&Ts network doesn’t reach these areas. One panelist also brought up the Carterfone precedent (PDF), which concerned an ‘electrical acoustic coupling device’ that a man named Tom Carter developed in the 1950s to let field workers make phone calls using a radio transceiver connected to AT&T’s phone network. AT&T, which was then a monopoly, claimed no foreign devices could be connected to its network, but lost when it challenged the Carterfone in court. The result spurred innovation such as the fax machine.”

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Friday, June 19th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on FCC To Probe Exclusive Mobile Deals

Should AT&T be allowed to be the iPhone’s exclusive carrier?

This is an interesting question raised by the folks over at BoingBoing, and prompted by a letter from four senators to the head of the FCC. They ask whether it’s fair to consumers that phone manufacturers can enter into exclusive contracts with certain cellular providers.

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Friday, June 19th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Should AT&T be allowed to be the iPhone’s exclusive carrier?

FDA Says Homeopathic Cure Can Cause Loss of Smell

Hugh Pickens writes “The FDA has advised consumers to stop using Matrixx Initiatives’ Zicam Cold Remedy nasal gel marketed over-the-counter as a cold remedy because it is associated with the loss of sense of smell (anosmia) that may be long-lasting or permanent. The FDA says about 130 consumers have reported a loss of smell after using the homeopathic cure containing zinc, an ingredient scientists say may damage nerves in the nose needed for smell and health officials say they have asked Matrixx executives to turn over more than 800 consumer complaints concerning lost smell that the company has on file. ‘Loss of the sense of smell is potentially life-threatening and may be permanent,’ said Dr. Charles Lee. ‘People without the sense of smell may not be able to detect life-dangerous situations, such as gas leaks or something burning in the house.’ The FDA said the remedy was never formally approved because it is part of a small group of remedies known as homeopathic products that are not required to undergo federal review before launching. The global market for homeopathic drugs is about 0 million per year, according to the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists. Matrixx has settled hundreds of lawsuits connected with Zicam in recent years, but says it ‘will seek a meeting with the FDA to vigorously defend its tech data, developed during more than 10 years of experience with the products, demonstrating their safety.'”

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Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on FDA Says Homeopathic Cure Can Cause Loss of Smell

iPhone Shakes Up the Video Game Industry

Hugh Pickens writes “Troy Wolverton writes in the Mercury News that in less than a year, the iPhone has become a significant game platform, but its bigger impact could be to help change the way the game industry does business. ‘It’s got everything you need to be a game changer,’ said Neil Young, co-founder and CEO of ngmoco, which develops games solely for the iPhone. With a year under its belt and an installed base of iPhone and iPod Touch owners at around forty million, the iPhone/iPod Touch platform has eclipsed next-gen console penetration numbers and started to catch up to the worldwide penetration of both Sony’s (50 million) and Nintendo’s (100 million) devices. Wolverton writes that not only is the iPhone one of the first widely successful gaming platforms in which games are completely digitally distributed, but on the iPhone, consumers can find more games updated more often, and at a cheaper cost per game than what they’d find on a typical dedicated game console. While an ordinary top-of-the-line game for M|cr0s0ft’s Xbox 360 sells for about , and one for Nintendo’s DS about , a top-of-the-line iPhone game typically sells for no more than . With traditional games, developers might wait a year or two between major releases; ngmoco is planning on releasing new versions of its games for the iPhone every four to five months. ‘You have to think differently,’ says Young. ‘It’s redefining what it means to be a publisher in this world.'”

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Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on iPhone Shakes Up the Video Game Industry