Tendências emergentes, factos e dados reveladores da evolução dos media, cultura, economia e sociedade. Impacto social, económico e cultural da tecnologia.


domingo, dezembro 18, 2005

China for the first time has surpassed America to export the most technology wares around the world

China for the first time has surpassed America to export the most technology wares around the world, according to new figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The crossover took place last year, when China exported $180 billion of computers, mobile phones and other digital stuff, exceeding America's international sales of $149 billion. A year earlier, in 2003, China's technology exports had overtaken those of both the European Union and Japan.

Given China's importance as a centre of low-cost manufacturing, its rise as an industrial power in technology goods is hardly surprising. What is startling is the speed of its ascent. From $36 billion in 1996, its world trade in tech goods—both imports and exports—has grown as much as 32% a year, to reach $329 billion in 2004.

China's rising share of the market has been matched by a fall in the dominance of America—which invented the electronic computer and transistor that launched the digital era. Almost all big IT firms have welded China into their supply chain. In that light, the sale of IBM's PC division to the Chinese computer-maker Lenovo, which made headlines a year ago this month, made perfect sense.

China is now the biggest IT exporter to America, having overtaken Japan in 2004. It accounts for 27% of all American IT imports (from 10% in 2000), which last year generated a trade surplus of $34 billion. For the moment, China's edge is in the low-end work: it imports components, fits them together and exports finished goods. But, after the second world war, Japan also started this way—before moving from low-wage labour to more advanced work, in many instances by capitalising on technological breakthroughs that came originally from America. China is also striving to imitate the Japanese model in another way, by working on its own technology for the next phase of development. But that is more an aspiration than a reality—at least for the moment.

Economist.com | Articles by Subject | Information technology

quinta-feira, dezembro 08, 2005

The 'Technology Everywhere' Generation

About half of all 12- to 14-year-olds own mobile phones, one indication that today's youngsters are the first "technology everywhere" generation, according to a survey released Tuesday by Forrester Research.

The survey covered more than 5,000 youths in the U.S. and Canada between the ages of 12 and 21 who are regular Internet users. The results show that mobile technology is considered essential to young people.
The study concluded that young people are "communications junkies." As evidence, it noted that 83 percent of respondents use instant messaging compared to 32 percent of adults. The respondents spend an average of 11 hours a week online and 20 percent spend more than 20 hours online. About 88 percent of young males and 63 percent of young females own game consoles, the study found.

The study also found that young people have don't discriminate between advertising and editorial content as much as previous generations.

"Young consumers have no preconceived notions of what advertising should be," said Charron. "They have no problem with the lines between advertising and editorial being blurry. Because they have grown up to be more self-reliant in a digital environment, they have confidence in their ability to distinguish between the two."

Mobile Pipeline | Welcome To The 'Technology Everywhere' Generation

Web gives power to the people, surfers say

Nearly 40 percent of U.S. Web surfers polled by researchers at the Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School said they agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, "By using the Internet, people like you can have more political power." That tally is several points higher than last year, according to the report.

Political empowerment "means the ability to actually have an impact, and not just gain insight or knowledge," Jeffrey Cole, the project's director, said in a conference call with reporters.

The Digital Future Project, now in its fifth year, surveyed residents older than age 12 from 2,000 American households, which were intended to provide a representative sample of the nation. Responses came both from Internet users (defined as those who log on at least once per month) and from "nonusers" (the remainder).

[print version] Web gives power to the people, surfers say | CNET News.com

A government report accuses food marketers of using billions in marketing dollars to woo children away from good diet choices

A government report today that accuses food marketers of using billions in marketing dollars to woo children away from good diet choices could become a watershed on the scale of the 1964 Surgeon General’s report on tobacco.

“Ample information and studies [indicate] that television advertising influences the food preferences, purchase requests and diets at least of children under 12 and is associated with the increased rates of obesity among children and youth,” concludes the National Academies of Science’s Institute of Medicine report, billed as the ”most comprehensive review of the scientific studies.”


The anti-DRM crowd has some legitimate arguments

Earlier, Freedom to Tinker took a look at how copy-protection helps musical labels and electronics companies create vendor lock-in. If all your music is un-copy-protected, you can throw out your iPod tomorrow and go buy a competing music player. But if all your music is copy-protected by Apple, you run the risk of losing access to your music library if you switch brands.

Vendor lock-in is, of course, an old, old hazard for enterprise IT managers; now, the media and consumer electronics companies are introducing that risk to the public at large. Thanks, guys.

Sony, and the rest of the media companies, are doing a great job convincing their customers to stop buying music and instead get pirated versions. The pirated--in other words, stolen--versions are altogether better: They're free of course, and unencumbered by copy-protection which might prevent you from playing your music on any devices other than those approved by the companies that distributed the software. For example, Sony's copy-protection doesn't allow its music to be played on iPods, and, likewise, users of the RealNetworks Raphsody service can't--legally--play their music on iPods, either.

And if you want to play your music on your PC, as many people do, copy-protection technology creates security vulnerabilities.
The Sony debacle has had the beneficial effect of bringing the copy-protection debate into the mainstream. Previously, the general public has perceived the debate as one between legitimate business interests, represented by media and electronics companies, fighting against a bunch of teen-aged thieves and crooks. Now, no less a mainstream outlet than the New York Times has recognized that the anti-DRM crowd has some legitimate arguments.

The Times earlier this week featured an anti-DRM editorial by Damian Kulash, lead singer for OK Go. Kulash writes: "Conscientious fans, who buy music legally because it's the right thing to do, just get insulted. They've made the choice not to steal their music, and the labels thank them by giving them an inferior product hampered by software that's at best a nuisance, and at worst a security threat." He also writes that, what an emerging band like OK Go needs is exposure, and he's willing to trade some theft--or even a lot of theft--in exchange for the additional sales that exposure will bring.

InformationWeek Weblog: Sony: The Company That Couldn't Shoot Straight

terça-feira, dezembro 06, 2005

Chip makers drive race to $20 cell phones

Prices of mobile phones will drop sharply over coming years with $20 handsets available to consumers as early as 2007, chip companies said on Tuesday.

Mobile phones may even be produced as cheaply as $10, but the major phone vendors seem reluctant to do so because they will have to use cheap parts and the lower quality may hurt their brand image, said Horst Pratsch, vice president for Entry Platforms at German chip maker Infineon.

"Low quality is not an option, but accepting fewer features is," he said in a telephone interview on the fringes of an ultra low-cost handset conference in Brussels, Belgium.

Low-cost handsets have been a major driver of the cell phone market in 2005, with vendors such as Motorola selling models for less than $50 to consumers in emerging markets who previously could not afford to buy a phone.

Infineon, and rivals such as Philips from the Netherlands, are striving to integrate the key functions of a mobile phone into a single chip of around $5.

This will help phone producers assemble a complete phone with far fewer components than the 150 used now, Pratsch said.

Analysts estimate some 810 million mobile phones will be sold to consumers this year, up from around 680 million last year. Close to 2 billion people now carry one.

"There are around 3.5 billion people living in areas with mobile phone coverage who cannot afford their own handset," said Ameet Shah, strategy chief for emerging markets handsets at the GSM Association which represents the world's mobile carriers.

Phone vendors can drive down costs by using weaker batteries, lower-grade plastics and stripped-down software, similar to cordless phones for the home. But the big vendors are hesitant to do so, because they fear that unhappy customers will switch brands when replace their first phone, Pratsch said.

[print version] Chip makers drive race to $20 cell phones | CNET News.com

sexta-feira, dezembro 02, 2005

The European music industry is facing a demographic time bomb that could impact future revenues

The European music industry is facing a demographic time bomb that could impact future revenues, according to a report from market analysis firm Jupiter Research. The report reveals that European consumers who download music from illegal file sharing networks currently outnumber those downloading from legal services such as Apple's iTunes Music Store by a factor of three to one: 15 per cent file share while just 5 per cent pay to download. There is solid demand for paid downloads, however: 10 per cent of European consumers are willing to pay, rising as high as 31 per cent in Sweden.

File sharing penetration in Europe is highest among younger consumers (34 per cent of 15-24 year olds) and is impacting the way they value music, with many having little concept of music as a paid commodity. Among the 46 per cent of European online 15-24 year olds who use the internet to consume music, the CD is becoming increasingly irrelevant: 40 per cent do not consider the CD to be a good value for money and 43 per cent prefer to copy rather than buy CDs

Digital Media Europe: News - European consumers choose illegal file sharing over legal music services – report

The average European internet user now spends over ten hours a week online, a 17 per cent increase when compared to 2004

According to research announced today by the European Interactive Advertising Association (EIAA), the average European internet user now spends over ten hours a week online, a 17 per cent increase when compared to 2004, 56 per cent when compared to the figures from 2003.

24 per cent of those questioned spend more than 16 hours a week using the internet, while 69 per cent are online for more than five days each week.

With over 7,000 people across Europe interviewed, the EIAA Study is one of the largest surveys that looks into how people allocate their time across media. While total media consumption has increased across the board, time spent using the internet is growing at a faster rate than other media. In the same period that online saw a 17 per cent increase, TV use increased by just 6 per cent, radio by 14 per cent and newspapers by 13 per cent, while magazines saw a 7 per cent decrease.

Digital Media Europe: News - Europeans spend over 10hrs a week online, French top the list

quinta-feira, dezembro 01, 2005

Study: Search Claims Solid No. 2 Spot

The number of people who use Internet search engines to find information has jumped over the last year, claiming a solid No. 2 spot behind e-mail among online tasks, a new study finds.

Of the 94 million American adults who went online on a given autumn day this year, 63 percent used a search engine, compared with 56 percent in June 2004, the Pew Internet and American Life Project said.

Until recently, search and news have been running neck-and-neck for the No. 2 spot among Internet tasks, said Lee Rainie, the project's director. But search had a dramatic jump over the past year to widen the gap over news, used by 46 percent of the Internet's daily population.

Use of search engines was higher among users who are richer and better educated, as well as those with high-speed broadband connections that are continuously on.

InformationWeek > Online Search > Study: Search Claims Solid No. 2 Spot > November 30, 2005

Standards Body Paving Way To Ubiquitous Computing

Visionaries say the next wave of computing will deliver automated devices on the factory floor, in the office and around the home that will monitor their environments and talk to each other without human intervention, reporting their status and making preprogrammed decisions via machine-to-machine communication. Kang Lee, a senior researcher with the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, is quietly paving the road to that future. As chairman of TC9, an IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Society Technical Committee, he has helped spearhead the 1451 suite of standards for the sensor networks that will someday monitor and manipulate so much of our world.
Mobile Pipeline | Standards Body Paving Way To Ubiquitous Computing