Parks Associates Blog

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Keeping it Simple

Connections 2008 is about half over already and I wanted to share a few thoughts. If there’s one message that seems to come up in every session, keynote, and panel it’s that simplicity is the key to consumer adoption. Of course, we’ve all heard that before. Our industry’s ability to confuse customers is well recognized. Yet this is what made me stop and think. If we’re all in agreement that simplicity is the key, why do we need to remind each other year after year. Why are the products and services we offer still so complex? I suspect two inter-related factors explain the reason.

1) Our ambitions are too high. By this I mean, we’re trying to simplify too many things at once. Rather than offering a product or service with a few, easy to use capabilities, we offer something with countless “easy-to-use” capabilities. Of course, “countless” can never be “easy-to-use” and hence our products are still complex.

2) We’re trying to impress ourselves rather than our customers. Let’s face it, we in the tech industry are impressed with cool cutting-edge capabilities. When a new product is launched we immediately ask, “Does it have 802.11n, DLNA, MOCA, DRM, GPS, 3G, MPEG4, and 100Mbps?” If the answer is “yes”, we hail it as a technological break-through. If it doesn’t, we pay it no bother and move onto the next CES booth. The problem with this is that most consumers are not impressed with an alphabet soup of standards; they are impressed with simple, reliable products.

Apple seems to have discovered the path to simplicity. The iPod didn’t boast any cutting-edge technologies. (The original didn’t even allow you to view photos or videos for crying out loud.) Likewise the iPhone was technologically ho-hum. No 3G, no GPS, etc. etc. Yet Apple is the one reveling in market successes. Maybe they are onto something.

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Reporting from Connections: Continua Health Alliance Session

The Continua Health Alliance organized an information session yesterday at the annual Connections conference hosted by Parks. Three executives gave a very humble and candid overview of Continua’s mission, agenda, progress, and momentum. Rick Cnossen, who is the Technical Working Group Chair of the Alliance, highlighted the upcoming version one of the interoperability standards and the Alliance’s membership growth momentum. Dr. Hyung Tai Kim, who is VP of Research from Ascension Health, one of the nation's largest non-profit hospital networks, explained Ascension’ mission in the healthcare transformation and motivation for the company to join the Alliance. Julie Cherry, Director of Clinical Services from Intel Digital Health Group, presented her view from both a clinician’s perspective (she is an RN) and Intel’s regarding chronic disease care and how technology can help improve healthcare delivery. Their presentations will be available for download shortly after the Conference, so be sure to return to for conference updates.

The three speakers answered audience’s questions with a rare candidness, occasionally even with emotion. Perhaps the topic of health touches a sensitive spot in us as human beings. Key progress made by Continua in the last two years include creating several working groups to tackle regulation, technology, reimbursement, and business model aspects of the ecosystem that the Alliance tries to build. The version one interoperability standards will include two data transport standard: USB and Bluetooth, both at the medical grade. Rick explained that Continua is also working on interface standards for personal health record (PHR), electronic health record (EHR), sensor network and wellness applications. Dr. Kim was particularly good at sharing his view from a provider’s perspective. I asked him about the outreach programs Continua is working on, particularly to the physician practices. He said that being a physician himself, he knows physicians are a tough group to connect. But the Alliance is closely watching initiatives from physician groups and will reach out to them when the timing is right—when technology is ready for physicians to test, and compensation schemes are stable and acceptable to physicians. One attendee asked about which personal health initiative—Google Health or Microsoft Health Vault--that his company should support. Dr. Kim’s suggestion: try to do both.

Continua will host a member meeting in July, and guess what, a Google Health executive will keynote the event. I will attend that meeting and present research and findings to Continua’s members on July 9.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Releasing Control

As Congress nears passing a bipartisan bill to push the use of e-prescribing, the Drug Enforcement Agency is finally getting on board. E-prescribing, digitally sending prescriptions directly from the doctor’s office to the pharmacy, is only currently being used by a small portion of the nation’s physicians due to DEA restrictions which create additional work for the doctors. Previously the DEA required doctors to handwrite prescriptions for the controlled substances that make up between 10% and 20% of U.S. prescriptions. Now with the bill close at hand, the DEA is shifting to help endorse the use of e-prescribing. The expectation is that within the next week the DEA will allow controlled substances to be submitted electronically to pharmacies, but there will be additional requirements for the doctors to assure legitimate use of these drugs. This change is good news for patients since it is estimated that thousands of the negative drug events occur due to errors that could be prevented by this technology.

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Caregivers Unite (On Two Fronts)

On two different fronts yesterday, caregivers joined forces to improve modern healthcare for all. Tuesday at the annual meeting, the American Medical Association voted in favor of a resolution calling for government allowance of the e-prescribing of all drugs, including schedule 1 drugs, without restrictions previously dictated from the Drug Enforcement Administration. In addition, they aimed to be free of the confines set around e-prescribing and Medicare/Medicaid, both in regards to being required to handwrite prescriptions for certain drugs and that payments would be based on e-prescribing adoption. The AMA also resolved to work with various entities to ensure nationwide pharmacy acceptance. The hope is that with the physicians backing this initiative, the government will be encouraged to remove barriers to using the technology and pharmacies will jump on board.

Meanwhile, Intel has teamed with National Family Caregivers Association to create which launched Tuesday as well. Designed with a community feel, the goal of the site is to provide a place where families, professional caregivers, and social workers can share ideas, resources, and support. Available in both the United States and in the United Kingdom, it fills an area not currently well covered in today’s healthcare systems. As a promoting member of the Continua Health Alliance, Intel has been looking at research-driven solutions for eldercare and chronic care for close to ten years. The Continua Health Alliance will be hosting a free seminar titled “The next generation of personal telehealth is here!” as a pre-show event on June 24th at the Parks Associates CONNECTIONS conference.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Premium Technical Support Services Lead to Broadband Value-added Services Revenue

...White paper encourages service providers to use remote and automated digital home customer support solutions for cost savings and as tools to drive new services revenue.

Broadband service providers will benefit significantly from the deployment of premium technical support services that not only contribute to cost savings but allow them to use analytics to better target additional value-added services revenue, a new white paper from Parks Associates reports. Parks Associates, author of Customer Analytics to Drive Value-added Services, predicts that premium technical support services will grow from $400 million in 2008 to $900 million by year-end 2012, accounting for 70% of value-added services revenues.

Customer Analytics to Drive Value-added Services includes industry forecasts, consumer data, and data from premium support programs by HiWired Inc., a company specializing in customer support and marketing campaign support technologies.

Customer Analytics to Drive Value-added Services is a free white paper available for download at Parks Associates will discuss customer support value-added services in a special panel of industry experts at the upcoming CONNECTIONS™ leadership conference in Santa Clara, California, June 24-26, 2008. More information on the panel discussion can be found at

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Parks Associates analysts present insights on broadband, digital content, advertising, home systems, and digital health at CONNECTIONS™

Parks Associates’ leading analysts will explore the implications of high-speed connections and the exponential growth of digital devices in homes as a kickoff to CONNECTIONS™: The Digital Living Conference and Showcase.

The session Analyst Roundtable: Top Trends to Watch, Tuesday, June 24, will feature analysis of the digital living industry and focus on trends in broadband and access services, video delivery, online content services, advertising, digital health, and home systems.

The session will feature Kurt Scherf, Vice President, Principal Analyst; Bill Ablondi, Director, Home Systems Research; John Barrett, Director, Research; Yuanzhe (Michael) Cai, Director, Broadband & Gaming; and Harry Wang, Senior Analyst.

Consumer habits in entertainment are changing in accordance with this surfeit of new devices and services. As of 2007, 50% of U.S. Internet households were watching short video clips online, and 25% were downloading short video files. DVR household penetration reached over 40% of the U.S. online population in 2007, further increasing the place-shifting aspect of video consumption.

Parks Associates designed Analyst Roundtable: Top Trends to Watch to offer a complete and coherent presentation of these digital markets as well as the perfect primer for CONNECTIONS™.

CONNECTIONS™ will be held June 24-26, 2008, at the Santa Clara Convention Center. For more information, visit or call 972-490-1113.

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Alcatel-Lucent Acquiring Motive

I was thinking that things were awfully quiet in the IPTV space for some time. However, it looks like the major systems integrators are all looking for new angles of attack in the space. Last year, the company to beat up was Microsoft ("It's a monolith and doesn't allow third-party software developers to play within the Mediaroom framework"; "Microsoft can't scale"; etc., etc. Yesterday's Wall Street Journal says that Cisco is now in the crosshairs of some marketing campaigns, notably by Nortel. As Cisco has rapidly built up strong assets in video delivery, maybe they are the new king to detrone. Nortel's campaign is built around a green strategy - convince the world that Cisco's routers and equipment are electricity hogs.

Now, word has come that Alcatel-Lucent is buying Motive, an Austin, TX, provider of service management software for broadband and mobile data services. Motive has built a good business from remote management systems, and its work has become more relevant to the digital home space, as it works with customer premise equipment companies that we cover, including 2Wire, Actiontec, Cisco (Scientific-Atlanta), D-Link, Sagem, Thomson, Tilgin, and Westell.

This marriage could be awfully interesting to watch. Amid all of the talk about converged services, high-definition TV, interactive TV, video-on-demand, and a host of advanced television and broadband services that are out there, the remote management systems and enhancements to customer support could indeed be the key to differentiating one service provider from another. It looks like Alcatel-Lucent is banking on this to strengthen its portfolio and its competitive edge.

Monday, June 16, 2008

IAB Releases Digital Video In-Stream Ad Metrics Guidelines

The Internet Advertising Bureau yesterday released its latest guidelines on the reporting metrics for digital video in-stream ads. The standards, created by the IAB’s Digital Video Committee comprised of 145 leading interactive companies, cover the following four types of digital video ad formats:

*Linear Video Ad With or Without Companion Ad
*Linear Video Interactive Ad
*Non-linear Overlay Ad
*Non-linear Non-Overlay Ad

For both linear video ads (usually referring to the pre-roll/mid-roll types) and non-linear ones (the overlay types in most cases), the standards call for capturing not only the quantitative aspects of the ad exposure, such as impression count, click through rate, total time spent viewing, and percent complete, but also the qualitative aspects that are called other events in the guideline. Other events include audio mute/un-mute, click behaviors (pause, resume, rewind), and viewing actions (collapse or expand).

We hail the release of these metrics reporting guidelines by IAB as the organization’s another contribution to the online digital video advertising industry, which we forecast to generate more than $4.8 billion in revenue from in-stream ads in 2012.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Yahoo in A Limited Search Ad Outsourcing Deal with Google

Yesterday, Yahoo announced that it ended talks with Microsoft about selling/integrating some of its ad assets with Microsoft’s. Today, it signed a deal with Google to allow the latter to deliver ads next to some of Yahoo!'s search results and supply ads on certain of its sites in the U.S. and Canada. Yahoo! claimed that the move will bring between $250 million to$450 million cash to the company in the first year.

It is an open secret that Google has a much better monetization rate on search-based ads than any other search ad companies. That’s the reason Yahoo had spent almost two years on the so-called “Panama Project” trying to enhance its search ad platform and raise ad conversion rate. Although the company’s executives on public occasions said that “Panama” worked, today’s deal is almost an acknowledgement that “Panama” does not match up to Google’s capability. After undergoing a protracted anti-Microsoft-acquisition campaign, Yahoo’s management are eager to show some money to shareholders in order to defend itself against yet another corporate raider Carl C. Icahn and to appease some swing shareholders who are still upset about Yahoo’s rejection of Microsoft’s bid. Will the deal salvage Yahoo’s sagging stock price? Unlikely, as investors are expecting more dramatic measures. It is a typical management dilemma that their long-term business strategy does not quench the thirst of short-term investors who are pressing for immediate changes. Now the Microsoft’s door is closed (even though we believe the merger is no guarantee of weakening Google’s market share in the search business), absent of any new businesses to boost its outlook, Jerry Yang & Co. will have to focus on execution of the plan that they promised to investors in the road show back in February. Solid execution is the best answer to quiet critics.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hollywood & The FCC: Plugging dams with Tissue

Protecting digital content flows to the home is easy enough but once it's delivered, there are numerous ways it can be copied. DVD-Rs, DVRs, PC TV tuners, etc. all open the door to having a DRM free copy.

A recent Wall Street Journal article is calling attention to Hollywood's efforts to block the broadcast of video to unsecured devices. "Selectable output control", as it is technically referred to, is currently prohibited for standard definition broadcasts. Hollywood has said that SOC for high definition will allow it to distribute movies to homes shortly after their theatrical release. The FCC is currently considering the proposal and has invited comments from the public.

Somehow I suspect this ideal won't get very far. For starters, it doesn't sit well with the consumer electronics industry. Piracy benefits the CE market (to put it bluntly) but even if it didn't, the last thing a manufacture wants is a group of studios telling it which technologies to deploy.

Then there's the DVD crowd. Wal-Mart accounts for a large portion of all DVD sales. If consumers could purchase an electronic copy of the movie at home before the DVD is available... well... it's just hard to see how that could be good for Wal-Mart's business. Somehow I don't think they'll be on board with this plan either.

Finally there are the theater owners. If you've never seen these guys discuss day-and-date release, you should. The discussion is well salted with statements like, "Over my dead body" and "When you pry it from my cold dead hand." Hollywood's plans for 'soon after theatrical' distribution could easily morph into day-and-date distribution. Probably going to get lukewarm support there.

Not that the theater owners are fans of piracy but let's admit it, this isn't really about that. The pirated copies of films floating around the Internet usually come from video cameras, ripped DVDs, or copies leaked from the studios themselves. "Selectable output control" isn't going to stop that any more than tissue can plug a dam. SOC is about control; controlling the way consumers use content in their home and controlling the market for CE devices. Control = Power = Money

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Voodoo Envy, One Sweet Machine

Apple iPhone made splashes on Monday on various technology sites and today's HP's turn with its Voodoo Envy and other new products. I did a pre-briefing with Rahul and the team last week. After hearing about all the great features and salivating over the beautiful (and thoughtful) design, my jaw almost dropped when I heard the starting price, only $2,099. Of course, if you really want to trick it out, you can add different options and customize it to your taste. I cannot wait to get my hands on one.

You can go to various Websites, including Voodoo's to find out more about Envy's specs. What I want to talk about here is HP's branding strategy. You've probably all heard about the car analogy by now. Rahul's favorite is the Audi/Lamborghini one and he compared Audi R8 to the HP Voodoo DNA product line. BTW, I did see an Audi R8 during the weekend in Montreal, definitely a piece of eyecandy. By creating three distinctive brand images and diffusing the design savvy of Voodoo throughout the organization, HP has definitely done a much better job in leveraging the Voodoo acquisition than what Dell did with the Alienware brand. The next step is for HP to scale up the Voodoo brands. The company plans to target style-conscious technology lovers with new Voodoo products, instead of power gamers (Rahul said only about a quarter of the Voodoo buyers are actually power/hardcore gamers), which it will target with the HP Voodoo DNA products such as HP Blackbird. Another interesting thing I noticed is the price delta between the Voodoo laptop and desktop lines, which is clearly a conscious decision. With a much lower entry price point for Voodoo Envy, the company is hoping when Envy owners carry their sweet machines with them, they'll draw a crowd, make them salivate, and then surprise them with an affordable price point. Of course, HP is definitely hoping that Envy owners will also become Omen owners, which likely generates higher profit margins.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

3G iPhone: When Everything Old is New Again

The market is buzzing with anticipation over a 3G iPhone. Steve Jobs is expected to unveil the device on Monday when he speaks at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference. I wanted to take a step back and offer a few observations on the buzz-phenomenon that is presently occurring.

Recall that the current iPhone uses EDGE, a 2.5G technology with limited bandwidth capability. The new 3G iPhone will boast WCDMA. Now given the amount of anticipation and buzz, you might think that WCDMA is a breakthrough technology bravely being pioneered by Apple. The truth, of course, is that WCDMA is nearly a decade-old technology. The first 3G networks & handsets became available in 2001 when NTT DoCoMo launched service in Japan. Yes, that's right. Apple's much anticipated, super-blockbuster announcement is that it's iPhone will be upgraded to a decade old technology.

The impressive feat in my opinion is not that the iPhone will be 3G, but that Apple has somehow managed to convince everyone it is an important market development. Kudos to Apple for a job well done. With this success under their belt, I would like to challenge Apple to an even more impressive feat: reinvent the wheel and make it look like a momentous leap in technological evolution. I can see the headlines now: Market Eagerly Anticipating Apple's New Wheel

Now that would be impressive... any takers???

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Friday, June 06, 2008

VUDU Unveils a Wireless Kit

When I got my VUDU hooked up at the house, I had to run to Best Buy to purchase some powerline adapters (in this case, the D-Link Powerline Ethernet Adapter Kit). Now, VUDU provides a wireless option about about half the cost. They announced their Wireless Kit - two ASUS 802.11g adapters - available for $79.

When we find the time to watch a movie, I really have liked the VUDU experience. For all of its great features, Verizon FiOS TV service is frustratingly slow in bringing up the DVR and VoD menus. We wanted to watch Juno last weekend, so it was a simple matter of using VUDU's unique remote control, finding the movie, and selecting it. The movie played instantly, in great quality. I'm excited, because it looks like National Treasure 2 is available to rent this weekend. Hey, we don't get out much ... we've got a two-year-old! One more benefit - Juno cost $1 less than with Verizon.

VUDU's vice president of marketing - Patrick Cosson - will be at our CONNECTIONS(TM) 2008 conference in a couple of weeks. He'll be appearing on a panel titled BROADBAND VIDEO: Millions Watch but Nobody Pays? This panel will be moderated by my colleague Michael Cai, and will take place on Wednesday, June 25, from 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Yahoo to Carry CBS TV Shows

Yahoo is the latest distribution partner for CBS Interative, according to this press release from yesterday. The CBS content will be added to Yahoo!'s programming lineup which also includes programming from NBC, Fox and more than 15 cable networks. Yahoo joins the CBS Audience Network, where partners such as AOL, Veoh Networks, Joost, Comcast's Fancast, and YouTube, among others.

It's going to be interesting to see how the difering strategies of CBS and NBC-Universal eventually play themselves out. NBC has decided to be more stingy with its content, pulling its content from the Apple iTunes store and setting up Hulu with Fox.

I'm looking forward to talking about CBS' online strategies (among other topics) with George Schweitzer, President of the CBS Marketing Group, at our upcoming CONNECTIONS(TM) conference. Mr. Schweitzer will be participating on a plenary panel titled Hollywood's Net-Net: Lessons from the Digital Age. This panel will take on June 26th at 9:00 AM. During a panel discussion with Mr. Schweitzer, we're going to look at the lessons learned about digital distribution. We'll also look forward, specifically with regard to digital distribution, the complexities of licensing, the role of user-generated content, and new business models.

Parks Associates to host Digital Den at Entertainment Supply Chain Academy

New technology solutions for the living room featured June 17 & 18...Parks Associates will sponsor the “Digital Den” at the Entertainment Supply Chain Academy (ESCA), June 17-18 at the Hotel Intercontinental in Culver City, CA.

The “Digital Den” will showcase cool emerging technologies enabling a “new” experience in the living room. The Digital Den (Petite Salon Room) will feature demos throughout the two-day event by the following companies: 3ality Digital; Anystream; RallyPoint; Superna Systems; Vudu; Vusion; and ZeeVee.

ESCA is a two-day conference designed to provide senior entertainment executives with the latest insights into perfecting the delivery of physical media while developing and advancing the infrastructure for the delivery of digital content. The event is co-located with the annual DEG membership meeting, which provides networking opportunities with the Presidents of all major home video studios.

Last year’s Academy attracted over 325 executives. For information on visiting the Digital Den, visit: For additional information on attending ESCA, visit

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

My Kingdom for the Cubs Score (Or, How Widgets Saved My Marriage)

I've been following baseball this year with far more enthusiasm than is really needed at this point. After all, there are still more than 100 games to go in the season, and many school districts in the Dallas area haven't even gone to summer break! But I can't help it - the Cubs are playing well this year, and those of us rooting for the North Siders are delusional enough to think that 100 years is long enough to wait for a World Series. So, I'm agonizing over every game and box score as they happen this year ... and it's driving the family nuts!

Case in point: the Cubbies were playing a night game last week, and it wasn't televised. It was getting late, so as we retired to bed, I had the TV on ESPN and waited patiently for the scores to come around. And I waited ... and waited ... and waited ... Oh wait, did you know that the Lakers are playing the Celtics for the 11th time in an NBA Finals? I learned that a few times while waiting for the score (geez, Disney ... overkill much on your NBA coverage?). Wow ... second-round scores from the French Open. Scintilating. Now I'm bored, so I'm flipping to Deadliest Catch on The Discovery Channel. Oh wait ... maybe they've posted the score. But ... darn it! I just missed it! In the end, it wound up taking 15-20 minutes to finally see that the Cubs had won their game. Grrrrr!

In this broadband-connected era, there's no excuse for sitting around passively and waiting for the one score you really want. I could have easily gotten up and checked on the computer. But that would have required ... well ... getting up and checking the computer. That would have been complete with an 1) open the Web browser; 2) go to Web site; and 3) scroll, scroll, scroll. Or, I could have kept the laptop on the bed with the game tracker open. But, man, those things get hot!

So, enter Chumby, and widgets as a solution to the problem of way too much information out there with none of it relevant. Widgets are probably one of the hottest topics that I'm hearing about in 2008 - we're hearing how they're going to fundamentally alter television services by allowing viewers to customize the information and features that theyr eally want and change the way that CE manufacturers view connectivity. For example, Samsung's InfoLink televisions are Internet connected and allow for a degree of customization with USA TODAY news, weather, traffic, sports, and other information feeds. Sound too futuristic? It's likely that many of use already use widgets today and don't event realize it.

For purposes of this discussion, a widget is small piece of HTML code that provides very specific information to users. Common widgets in use today provide updated weather (WeatherBug), traffic, news, and sports information, but there are countless other simple widgets for games, photo sharing, video viewing and - yes - time wasting.

We've been using Widgets as part of our Verizon FiOS TV service since we subscribed a couple of years ago, and the targeted weather and traffic features are handy for getting a quick update on conditions right before leaving the house. Now, we're seeing widgets emerge in stand-alone consumer electronics devices that are reiminscent to me of the information appliances that we covered back in the late 1990s. One key drawback to all of those PC alternatives back then was broadband was still a very new concept, and accessing the Internet on these devices was still the same browser-based model as on the PC. That meant that the experience was both slow and cumbersome - not a great combination for an emergy technology product category.

the folks at Chumby believe they've gotten the information appliance right by removing all of the configuration from the device itself. A PC is still involved, but once you get your Chumby customized with just the widgets you want, the device simply updates itself automatically. No muss, no fuss, and very targeted. At least that was the theory, as explained to me in a briefing last week. Chumby was kind enough to send a unit for me to test after the briefing, and its arrived just in time for me to give it a test run over the weekend.

Connection is a pretty simple task with Chumby. It was as easy as plugging it in, setting it to the home's wireless network, and doing some simple configurations. After that, I was ready to set it up the widget dashboard. This is where the user gets to determine the number and order of the widget channels.

Chumby's widget offerings go way beyond just traffic and weather. They've got almost unlimited choices that range in relevancy from stock quotes and the news headlines to calendars, word-of-the-day, and moon phases. I set mine up for 17 widgets now, but I have to say that I love the Wrigley Field Web camera view, and the CBS Sportsline baseball scores. There's a streaming audio feature to Chumby, and I have a number of stations and Podcasts from which to choose. I really liked the couple of classical Internet radio stations that I found.

For $180, Chumby isn't cheap, but I am sure that there are a lot of dads out there who might appreciate the gift on Father's Day. My wife was saying that she was thinking of getting me a single-purpose device that gave me updated baseball scores, knowing how I like to stay on top of the Cubs. There is a unit from Ambient Devices called the Baseball ScoreCast that retails for about $125. Am After she saw Chumby and I showed her a few of the features, she knew that she didn't need to bother to look. Now, the device isn't perfect. I've found it frustrating at times to not scroll forward and back through my channels as responsively as I'd like. It also seems to generate a ton of heat, and I wonder what impact that might have on its longevity.

But all was well in Widget World this morning when I needed to check on the Cubbies. I tap of the screen brought Chumby to life, and there were the details: Cubs, 7 - Padres, 6. Take that, ESPN!

Angling for a Father's Day CE Gift? Think Again.

Christopher Lawton at The Wall Street Journal writes today that economic worries and high prices for just about everything have consumers thinking about buying less-expensive consumer electronics products instead of splurging for the huge and expensive high-definition television. He used the data from our recent study Consumer Electronics Purchases: Quarterly Monitor. Despite the millions of tax rebate checks that have made their way to U.S. consumers, we have a feeling that many have simply been saved or used to pay down debt or perhaps more mundane purchases. Heck, ours went to get our fence replaced following a spring storm!

So, which consumer electronics devices are more recession-proof than others? Follow our blog to some of the data from the study.

Qualcomm's CEO says future gadget will be a connected gadget

Qualcomm's CEO provides his thoughts on the future of connected devices. (Read Full Article)

"There is a place in the world for other kinds of connected devices beyond the mobile phone. You are going to see small lightweight computing devices, you are going to see smarter smartphones," said CEO Paul Jacobs.

"It makes sense to me to have a connected satnav device rather than an unconnected Satnav" Jacobs told Pocket-lint, confirming Qualcomm is working with satnav manufacturers on devices for the future. "Just as the connected PDA killed the unconnected PDA, the same will happen here. You are going to have up to date street maps, you’re going to be able to search. The same things will happen with cameras. The Flip [a cheap digital video camcorder] could offer you the ability to share video without the need for a computer by automatically uploading content over a network by what appears to be by magic, just like the magic experienced downloading a book with the Kindle."

At Parks Associates, we agree and think the living room is getting more crowded with digital devices. Key drivers for this growth include consumers’ insatiable appetites for high-definition television programming and services and a sharp decline in HDTV display prices. At the same time, television service providers, who are under pressure to ramp up highdefinition and DVR features of their own, are investing in more set-top boxes.

As key components for networked consumer electronics drop in cost (chief among them storage, silicon, and software), we will see a growing number of products targeting not only in-home connectivity but also connections to premium multimedia services. The connected consumer electronics market will evolve on two fronts, which will not necessarily be independent of each other. First, there will be a continued emphasis on creating products that interoperate and can share resources, such as centralized hard drives (multiroom settop boxes and network-attached storage devices chief among these examples). At the same time, with the onset of huge amounts of premium content and services available from the Internet, CE device manufacturers will launch new efforts to create connected devices that link to these services.

Parks Associates will be addressing the growth of connected devices at CONNECTIONS on June 25 at 2:30 pm. CONNECTED DEVICES: A Grown-up Home Network: Imagine the Possibilities! will address the role of home networking for entertainment, communications, and multimedia applications.

This panel will be moderated by Kurt Scherf, Vice President, Principal Analyst, CONNECTIONS. Speakers include:

Jim Chase, Director of Business Development, Ubicom, Inc.
Chano Gomez, VP, Marketing, DS2
Eiji Kobayashi, President, HD-PLC Alliance
Adam Powers, Principal Engineer and Architect, Macrovision
Dan Salmonson, Director, Product Management, DivX, Inc.
Russell Zack, VP, Product Management, Anystream

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GPS-integrated Mobile Devices to Exceed 830 Million Units Globally by 2012

Consumers Prefer PNDs over Mobile Phone Navigational Services...For Now

Worldwide shipments of GPS-integrated mobile devices will grow at an annualized rate of nearly 40% over the next five years, reaching 834 million units in 2012, according to Parks Associates’ new report GPS: A Path to New Applications on Mobile Devices.

The report looks at a variety of mobile devices, including personal navigation devices (PNDs), mobile handsets and smartphones, portable media players, and personal digital assistants (PDAs). Mobile handsets and smartphones will constitute the majority of shipments up to 2012, but PNDs will remain the most widely used and preferred navigation choice in the next three years, said Harry Wang, senior analyst, Parks Associates.

GPS: A Path to New Applications on Mobile Devices features Parks Associates’ latest research on GPS-enabled mobile devices. It highlights the development and market trends for the major mobile navigation platforms and analyzes the adoption of GPS-enabled value-added content and services among hardware manufacturers and service operators and ultimately consumers.

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