lunes, 31 de diciembre de 2012

Just 8% of consumers have used mobile payments: report

Posted 11 December 2012 13:21pm by David Moth with 0 comments

When mobile industry body MEF made its predictions for 2012 it suggested that there would be some spectacular trials using NFC, but that mobile payments would fail to have a significant commercial impact.

And as the months passed the prediction seemed to be coming true – Visa was planning to use the Olympics as a showcase for NFC mobile payments, Starbucks upgraded its app to allow users to pay with it at the till, and PayPal launched a number of mobile payment trials with US and UK retailers.

Yet in spite of these newsworthy trials, a new survey from eDigitalResearch seems to confirm that consumers still haven't got on board with mobile payments.

When the survey was run in May this year 33% had never heard of contactless mobile payments, and that number only dropped slightly to 28% when the survey was run again in November.

Furthermore, almost two-thirds of respondents (63%) said they were aware of the technology but hadn't used it.

Awareness of mobile wallets is even lower – more than half (54%) of respondents have never heard of the technology and 19% had heard of it but never used it.

Part of the problem appears to be a simple lack of access to mobile payment technology.

Just 8% of respondents said they have a mobile wallet or NFC enabled on their smartphone, which is still quite low despite the fact that it has doubled from 4% in May.

And of the 8% who have access to the technology, only half (52%) have actually used it.

Future Use

I'm not a big fan of surveys that ask respondents how they plan to use a technology in the next year, as it's almost impossible to accurately predict your future behaviour.

Nonetheless, the results do give an interesting view of people's attitudes to mobile payments.

Among smartphone owners who haven't used mobile payments, a quarter (24%) said they couldn't foresee using the technology in the next 12 months, while 17% said they might use mobile payments in the next six months.

And the main barriers to adoption are the usual suspects – smartphone owners either don't see any benefit to moving away from cash and card payments (72%) or they're worried about security (51%).

A survey run by in March revealed similar results - the survey of 2,000 British adults found that 60% would avoid mobile payments altogether while 17% were interested but would be worried about the technology working correctly.

Security concerns (36%) were the most common reason for avoiding mobile payments.

And just to underline the point - the same responses cropped up when eDigitalResearch asked all respondents about the perceived limitations of mobile payments.

More than half (53%) cited security concerns, followed by an assumption that the technology is more open to fraud (40%) and technical issues (38%).

The eDigitalResearch report surveyed 2,000 people in total – 1,165 smartphone owners and 835 who don't own a smartphone.

Game Over: Zynga Shuts Down PetVille And 10 Other Titles To Cut Costs

Executing the cost-reduction plan CEO Mark Pincus announced in November, Zynga has shut down, pulled from the app stores, or stopped accepting new players to 11 games, with some turning off today. The gaming giant will reallocate resources to more successful titles as well as creating new ones. Along with layoffs, the shutdowns are part of the hard road to recovery for Zynga.

The San Francisco-based company had overextended itself. During its heyday on Facebook it built dozens of games, then aggressively launched mobile games as smartphones gained popularity. It didn't seem like a problem when the company was preparing for a big IPO.

But Zynga's share price got decimated over the past year. Investors feared it had become bloated, free virality on Facebook had been curtailed, competitors were proliferating, and the shift of Facebook users to mobile from Zynga's stronghold on the desktop canvas would break the company. Zynga's share price is down 3.52 percent to $2.33 from its $10 IPO price a year ago.

To get the company back on track, Zynga announced a deep set of cost-cutting measures, including laying off over 100 employees, closing offices, ceasing to renew deals with contractors, shutting down 13 titles, and significantly reducing investment in The Sims-style game The Ville.

Zynga Shut Down Notice

Now the hammer has dropped on eleven of these games. Keeping them alive spread engineers, designers, and product teams too thin and cost money Zynga can't afford anymore. Those that weren't shut down or pulled from the app store already no longer accept new sign ups and will stop altogether next month. Here's the full list:

PetVille – Shut down December 30th
Mafia Wars 2 - Shut down December 30th
FishVille – Shut down December 5th
Vampire Wars – Shut down December 5th
Treasure Isle – Shut down December 5th
Indiana Jones Adventure World – Closed to new players, shuts down January 14th
Mafia Wars Shakedown – Pulled from app stores
Forestville – Pulled from app stores
Montopia – Shut down December 21st
Mojitomo – Pulled from app stores
Word Scramble Challenge – Pulled from app stores

These shutdowns might not seem like a big deal to everyone, but they were near cataclysmic for some players who pumped countless hours and dollars into these games. If you'd spent years tending your virtual aquarium only to have it disappear, you can imagine how disappointed or angry you'd be. Comments from gamers on the shutdown notices included things like "my daughter is heartbroken" and "Please don't remove petville. I been playing for 4 yrs. and I'M going to miss my pet Jaime….why do you want cause depression for me and others. Why do you want to kill my pet?"

To numb the pain and try to get gamers hooked on titles that will keep running, Zynga offered people who played FishVille, Adventure World, and some other titles a free bonus package of virtual goods in one of its flagship games CastleVille, ChefVille, FarmVille 2, Mafia Wars, or YoVille.

Though it may seem like a mass culling, Zynga will still have over 30 titles available across Facebook,, iOS, Android, Myspace, and other social sites.

The fact is that if Zynga wants to save these games, keep the rest of its workforce employed, and get its share price growing, it had to cut deadweight. While dead pooling 11 games was surely tough, it's better than Pincus freezing up as the ship sinks. The teams from these games could help Zynga produce and publish more titles like Horn, a mobile adventure Zynga co-released with Phosphor that Appolicious named the best mobile game of 2012.

Sometimes you have to put old dogs to sleep.

For more on Zynga's decline and attempt at recovery, read:

Why Zynga Failed

Zynga Just Shut Down Boston Office, Laid Off 100+ Employees From The Ville And Bingo Teams In Austin

[Image Credit]

Zynga was founded in July 2007 by Mark Pincus and is named for his late American Bulldog, Zinga. Loyal and spirited, Zinga's name is a nod to a legendary African warrior queen. The early supporting founding team included Eric Schiermeyer, Michael Luxton, Justin Waldron, Kyle Stewart, Scott Dale, John Doerr, Steve Schoettler, Kevin Hagan, and Andrew Trader. Zynga's mission is connecting the world through games. Everyday millions of people interact with their friends and express their unique personalities through our...

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Top 5 Kids Apps: Best Games

Chris Crowell is a veteran kindergarten teacher and contributing editor to Children's Technology Review, a web-based archive of articles and reviews on apps, technology toys and video games. Download a free issue of CTR here.

While you're at the grownup table this holiday season, the kids could be eating their vegetables and sitting quietly -- what's more likely is they'll be playing on their smart devices.

So we've rounded up the best 5 games that were included in this year's Top 5 Kids Apps. All these games are not only a lot of fun, they're also educational for your kids. The top game, Bugs and Bubbles, got 5 stars out of 5 for its perfect mix of entertainment and math teaching. There's also room for pure fun with games like Build and Play and Rush Hour.

SEE ALSO: Mobile Apps Under Scrutiny: Is Your Kid's Privacy at Risk?

Our friends at Children's Technology Review shared with us these 5 top apps from their comprehensive monthly database of kid-tested reviews. The site covers everything from math and counting to reading and phonics.

Check back next week for more Top Kids Apps from Children's Technology Review

Photo via Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

I Sent My First Tweet in 1986

In the 1980s, Evan Rudowski ran the news ticker at One Times Square. Today, he is the CEO of SubHub, a leading provider of digital membership solutions for associations and publications. A native New Yorker, Rudowski now lives in Bath, England, with his wife and two children. He blogs at

You could say I first tweeted in 1986.

Ronald Reagan was president. The Berlin Wall was still up. The Mets were going to win the World Series.

Somewhere out there was a 10-year-old kid named Jack who was probably imagining alternate payment systems for his neighborhood newspaper route. It would be yet another two decades before Jack Dorsey and his co-founders would eventually create what became Twitter.

Back then I could have told little Jack Dorsey about sending short electronic messages to a large audience. Unlike tweets today, mine did not appear, mere pixels high, on a tiny device that could be slipped into one's pocket next to the car keys.

My tweets were so big that their glow lit up Times Square. If King Kong were ever to have climbed a tweet, it would have been one of mine. My tweets were five goddamned-feet high and 880 feet long.

My tweets were so big that their glow lit up Times Square. If King Kong were ever to have climbed a tweet, it would have been one of mine. My tweets were five goddamned-feet high and 880 feet long.

That's because my messages were flashing across the Times Square Zipper in the heart of New York City. With around 350,000 pedestrians entering Times Square each day, and with maybe 10 headlines each night, I had an audience of several million views -- to use modern Internet parlance.

After laying dark and disused through most of the previous decade, the Zipper -- first lit by The New York Times on Times Tower at One Times Square in 1928 -- was relit in 1986 as a publicity stunt by Newsday, the successful Long Island daily newspaper that was then making a run at New York City. By reviving the Zipper, Newsday planted itself smack in the heart of Manhattan and at the center of New York newspaper history.

The Zipper may have been in Times Square, but those of us writing for it sat in an office building about 40 miles away in Melville, Long Island. Not that we minded -- this was not today's Disney, Olive Garden version of Times Square; this was the gritty old Times Square of adult bookshops and $1.99 porno movie houses, the Times Square where only two years earlier 2,300 crimes were reported -- nearly 500 of them serious felonies -- on just the one single block of 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues.

Sitting there in our suburban newspaper headquarters, we could only imagine the parade of Times Square denizens who were our distant audience. Felons, taxi drivers, the homeless, the occasional bewildered tourist, hookers, junkies and chronic masturbators -- somewhat like a portion of Twitter's audience today, except back then in the pre-broadband era you had to venture out of your house to get your kicks. An audience of strangers, somewhere out there.

We sat there in the Newsday office in front of a monochrome-green Atex terminal, monitoring the wire services for breaking news and, late in the evening, finding out from the newsroom what the newspaper's front page would show the next day. All of these were written up as headlines. We'd sprinkle in some promos -- what people today might think of as "sponsored tweets" -- such as, "NEW YORK NEWSDAY LIGHTS UP NEW YORK" (everything was all caps back then; we hadn't yet realized it was rude).

Back in 1986, not everyone had a screen full of wire service feeds on their desk. Back then, this was a privilege granted only to trained individuals, in possession of journalism degrees, who had spent time pondering the big moral and ethical questions and thus were qualified to inform and educate others concerning what was going on in the world. If these professional gatekeepers elected to tell you about something, then you knew it was IMPORTANT. And if it was important enough, I would put it on the Zipper.

It must seem unremarkable in modern times to think of someone sitting in front of a monitor scanning news feeds; nowadays, we're all doing it. Today, if a big enough story breaks, millions of people notice it nearly instantly and begin to tweet it to everyone else who has also simultaneously noticed it. It becomes what's known as a "trending topic." Someone gives it a hashtag, and an enormous tweetstream washes over us like a momentary tide before receding back out into the roiling sea of information.

But in the 1930s, long before my time when the Zipper was still new, cab drivers would pull over to let passers-by listen to President Roosevelt on the radio, while they stood and simultaneously read the summary headlines as they scrolled around the Zipper -- creating "the first true multimedia event in Times Square," according to Tama Starr in her book, Signs and Wonders: The Spectacular Marketing of America.

When pocket communication devices were still decades away, this was where New Yorkers got their breaking news

When pocket communication devices were still decades away, this was where New Yorkers got their breaking news; here's a photo taken during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

The method for updating the Zipper was state-of-the art for 1986. Headlines, once written, were typed into an IBM PC programmed to depict a virtual representation of the Zipper, and then transmitted to Times Square over the telephone line using a state-of-the-art, squawking and screeching, 300-baud modem.

Over at One Times Square, in an empty office, an identical computer would receive the headline, update the headline file, and drive the Zipper. At the time the Zipper was made up of thousands of incandescent light bulbs -- just as it had been when it first was lit in the 1920s -- and maintained by the venerable Times Square sign company, Artkraft Strauss.

Think it's hard to fit your thoughts into a 140-character tweet? Zipper headlines were spartan by comparison. We had 80 characters per headline -- that's about eight to 10 words, including spaces and punctuation. By comparison, Twitter users are blathering and verbose. Trust me, you can tell any story in 80 characters. Like the one you're reading: ZIPPER VET TELLS TALES OF PRE-TWEET ERA.

Fast forward to the present day. Newsday long ago was routed and retreated to the suburbs. The original Zipper's long since been pulled down, broken apart and sent off in pieces to museums. Times Square is plastered wall-to-wall with flashing electronic signs and giant video screens.

And no one's looking, even in Times Square, because we're too busy tapping out tweets on the tiny electronic devices we hold in the palms of our hands. I'm not sure it's any better. But at least you're not nearly as likely to get mugged walking down 42nd Street while you do it.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

2012: TechCrunch Year In Review

January 2012
We started the year at CES where it was clear that Samsung is the new Apple.

Late January brought the Crunchies, our annual awards fest where we gave Dropbox the nod for startup of the year. We were also treated with the hip hop of Booby Hammer, son of the noted VC, Mr. MC Hammer. Seriously.

Kodak dipped and died this month and Apple also didn't release the iPhone 6. But something big was on the horizon…

February 2012
Windows 8 came out in consumer beta. We liked it. Dreamers dreamt of the iPad 3.

We talked of esprit. A start-up offered bras. We also went hands-on with the HTC One V. Felt great.

March 2012
In March, rumors of The iPad 3 came true and its Retina goodness amazed MG.
Anthony Ha railed against SoLoMo which, I believe, is a type of Italian salami. Creepers could use SoLoMo to find Girls Around Them and we launched our TC/Drama vertical which, thankfully, has been surprisingly quiet.

Matt detailed how citizens of his hometown, Flint, Michigan, started using social media help save the city.

March also brought us the near death of Best Buy but an anonymous store manager assured us that everything was fine on the floor. Speaking of lost causes, Matt told us to believe in BlackBerry again. A tweet told us otherwise.

April 2012
Digg headed to WaPo and Rovio sold 50 million copies of Angry Birds.

Colleen worked out with a device strapped to her, resulting in a leaner, meaner Taylor. The Winklevossi became WinkleVCs. Samsung rose while Nokia fell while we all got drunk on interesting beer. Nintendo (Nintendo!) saw profits fall. Some analyst said Apple was Sony.

May 2012
An iPhone-powered electronic guitar almost won Disrupt NYC 2012 — but UberConference took home the cup.

Kickstarter seemed to be hiding failed projects (but it wasn't). Microsoft plopped out a release preview. Google Glass started popping up all over. What's happening over at Apple? They're looking for a connector design engineer!


June 2012
Samsung launched the Galaxy S III.

John, Matt, and Jordan hit the road in two Honda Pilots and toured the Southern startup scene drawing huge crowds in Savannah, Atlanta, Durham, Charlotte, and Greenville. Crunchbase is a treasure. Apple won the Flash Wars.

We loved Alexia and felt bad for her.

July 2012
Amazon trips. Devin spoke of Stranded Vessels. Who didn't like the Nexus 7? Not us!

Bezos walked into a bar.

This is a LEGO wheelchair. Seriously.

August 2012
Winter began coming. Skydrive too.

Mountain Lion is all over the place. Obama is all over the place.

Linux still lived. WebOS was open. It was a weird month for news.

September 2012
Machines made friends with us. Apple opened a flagship. Romain was up all night night for the iPhone 5.

Did we mention iPhone 5?

MG didn't use the word Apple. France was Free and liked it. Eric honored a pioneer: his grandfather.

October 2012
Romain told us that tech tells stories. GalNote!!

If there are no keyboards, how will we type?

We kept typing.

November 2012
November brought us Sandy and a huge mess. Thousands were out of power along the Eastern seaboard and we finally saw the effect of global weirding.

The iPad Mini hit the shelves, just as we expected. Google fought back with the Nexus 4 and 10. Nokia gave it another try. Wii had fun.

We visited Detroit 2.0 during our Northern Meetups and figured out why people were returning to the rust belt. Apple stock crashed.

Alex called enterprise computing a stinking mess and a fake press release fooled us all. Luckily, we got to talk a little about churn.

Darrell asked us if we all want to make comic books. We do. Then A child's toy became a cheap mine-clearing robot.

December 2012
More problems at Apple. But are they real problems? Alex brought the science with his look at AWS.

These dice are amazing.

On the 21st the world didn't end. Instead, Snapchat nearly destroyed it but Jordan helped explain what was up.

Tragedy. Aftermath.

Happy New Year.

Road Tripping In The Digital Age

I'm just wrapping up a week-long road trip, in which a travel companion and I visited some friends in Southern California. We hit up a few different spots along the way, including San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Palm Springs. Not a crazy trip, but enough wandering around to go to a few places I'd never been to.

The thing that amazes me about our travel is just how little planning we had to do: We only booked one night's stay ahead of time, and decisions around where to sleep, eat, and visit were mostly spontaneous. If either of us had a better sense of travel planning, it might not have been this way. Maybe we would have seen more sites, or maybe we would have eaten in better restaurants. But we made through just fine, mostly thanks to lots of digital tools. Here's what we used, and what we think could be done better.


It didn't take us long to settle on Google Maps for getting around. We might have tried Apple's built-in iOS maps a couple of times, but for going from place to place and getting around in cities. Google's maps and navigation are simply better, as everyone already knows, so I don't have a whole lot more to add on that front. But it's probably worth noting that, after driving more than a thousand miles, it was definitely our app of choice.


I'm a big fan of Airbnb, and have used it for nearly all non-work travel I've done over the past several years, and even some travel I've done for work. So for our first stop on the trip, somewhere between San Francisco and Los Angeles, we wanted to find a place to stay somewhere around San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara. For pure novelty's sake, we settled on a yurt outside of SLO. (It was probably what you'd expect from an outdoor enclosure built on an "art farm" in Arroyo Grande — horses and dogs and outdoor bathroom and all — but it was cozy enough, and makes for a good story.)

The Alcazar hotel in Palm Springs, which we booked on Hotel Tonight. It was very white.

The Alcazar hotel in Palm Springs, which we booked on Hotel Tonight. It was very white.

But for the rest of the trip, we used Hotel Tonight, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite travel apps. That includes two nights in San Diego and one in Palm Springs — we stayed with family in L.A. — all of which cost about $120 or less. (We also benefitted from $25 new sign up and referral credits, but I'm not counting that.) Because we were doing everything pretty spontaneously, and we didn't necessarily know where or how long we would be staying in whatever various city we landed in, Hotel Tonight was a pretty ideal choice for finding reasonably priced lodging.

While Airbnb works well for finding places for generally longer stays well ahead of time, especially if you want to stay in hip or far-off neighborhoods, our preliminary searches kept us from booking anything for this trip. For one thing, all of the full-home Airbnb places we looked at — as well as some of the shared spaces — were priced around the same as Hotel Tonight lodgings in comparable areas. And we would have to deal with the friction of getting Airbnb hosts to agree to house us, handing off keys, and the like. This trip was all about instant gratification, and there's little more gratifying than booking a hotel by sliding your finger along that little Hotel Tonight bed icon.

Food and drink

I found beer, thanks to Yelp, TripAdvisor, and asking a local

I found beer, thanks to Yelp, TripAdvisor, and asking a local

The Yelp mobile app still wins for food discovery, although I admit to checking out Foursquare Discover once or twice, just to see what it would recommend. Both were good for suggesting places we'd never heard of in cities we've never visited. That said, I'm finding Yelp's rating system less useful in actually determining good places to eat, rather than just keeping you from places that are not so good. After all, where do you go when everything is 3.5 or 4 stars?

For that, we settled on a very non-technical solution, called "Ask a local." Getting offline reviews from people who lived in a city tended to trump whatever we could find out by browsing the Internet or Yelp mobile app. These are the people who know the city best, after all.

Finding things to do

I hate to say this, but TripAdvisor was our go-to mobile solution for finding things to do on the fly. And I hate saying that, because I really, really hate TripAdvisor. It has a good list of things to do, and user ratings tend to get the cream to rise to the top, but outside of pointing me to other websites to look at, it's really not that useful.

I really wanted to like using Peek, especially since San Diego is one of its featured destinations. But, Perfect Days notwithstanding, I found the focus on transactional commerce off-putting. Plus, we weren't looking for "amazing things to do." Just like, chill, hanging out things to do. If we had thought about it earlier, we probably could have used the RoadTrippers mobile app for off-the-beaten track ideas.

As it is, "Ask a local" was again probably the best suggestion. Someone please disrupt this space.

Avoiding crappy local radio

A $10 auxiliary cable to plug into our rental car's stereo was the best purchase we made on the whole trip. Listening to Spotify and Pandora instead of the same ten songs on the same five radio stations wherever you drive throughout the country is a godsend. And if you really need to listen to NPR, TuneIn Radio is a much better solution for listening to the local public radio station, rather than trying to find it and then having Car Talk crap out due to static 20 minutes later.

This poor dude who played me at Letterpress

This poor dude who played me at Letterpress

Fighting mind-numbing boredom during long drives

One word: Letterpress

Bonus apps

Disneyland. Our trip included a stop in Disneyland on Christmas, where we used a couple of apps for getting around. I found the official Disneyland app to be just sufficient for maps and wait times, restaurant choices and menus, etc. But it could be better! Faster load times, for instance. My travel companion used one of the crappy, non-park sanctioned "Wait Time" apps. It wasn't pretty and frankly, I'm skeptical of what seemed like just a rip-off of information that is freely available elsewhere, so I'm not linking to it.

There's also the issue of poor connection, due to tens of thousands of people being in a confined space, all with their mobile phones on. Disney, please install free Wi-Fi parkwide, STAT, and offload some of that mobile data traffic!

Starbucks. I have the bladder of a five-year old, and have to pee every five minutes. So there's no app that is more essential than the one which shows you where the nearest Starbucks, which is also likely the nearest free and clean open local restroom, while on a long road-trip.

14 Solutions to Your New Year’s Midnight Kiss

Do you find yourself in a panic every New Year's Eve because everyone's counting down and Billy Crystal has yet to explain all of the reasons why he's madly in love with you?

No? Oh okay -- me neither.

But the final holiday of the year can put a lot of unnecessary pressure on people. We want to end and begin each year with a bang -- this often means the perfect outfit, an amazing soiree and the midnight kiss that will sweep you off your feet.

Instead of starting 2013 in a state of panic, then promising to be better later, enjoy New Year's Eve and stop worrying about a silly superstition. We've come up with a couple solutions to the big smooch at the end of the night.

Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images

14 Solutions to Your New Year’s Midnight Kiss

Do you find yourself in a panic every New Year's Eve because everyone's counting down and Billy Crystal has yet to explain all of the reasons why he's madly in love with you?

No? Oh okay -- me neither.

But the final holiday of the year can put a lot of unnecessary pressure on people. We want to end and begin each year with a bang -- this often means the perfect outfit, an amazing soiree and the midnight kiss that will sweep you off your feet.

Instead of starting 2013 in a state of panic, then promising to be better later, enjoy New Year's Eve and stop worrying about a silly superstition. We've come up with a couple solutions to the big smooch at the end of the night.

Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images