Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Report: Smartphones, not computers, drive most Facebook use

(CNN) -- According to comScore's new Mobile Metrix 2.0 report released Monday, Facebook's mobile usage is on the rise. In fact, the report revealed that Facebook users spent more time accessing the social network on smartphones than on computers in March.

Facebook users spent an average of 441 minutes â€" or 7 hours, 21 minutes â€" accessing the social network via smartphones during the month. By comparison, users spent 391 minutes â€" or 6 hours, 31 minutes â€" checking out Facebook on PCs.

The comScore report also revealed that smartphone users spent more time on Facebook than on any other social media network, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Foursquare. In fact, Facebook is the second largest mobile property behind Google. The social network garners more than 78 million unique monthly smartphone visitors, 81 percent of which access Facebook through its mobile app.

Besides showing that people spend a good chunk of time on Facebook, the data underscores the importance of a mobile strategy for the social network's business success. Facebook currently makes little revenue from its mobile app â€" the app doesn't include ads, and only started to include "sponsored posts" in users' news feeds last March.

Facebook admitted its mobile struggles in its recent IPO documents. "If users increasingly access mobile products as a substitute for access through personal computers, and if we are unable to successfully implement monetization strategies for our mobile users," the company writes in its filing documents, "our financial performance and ability to grow revenue would be negatively affected."

In light of these stats, a Facebook smartphone makes all the more sense. The company could capitalize on its mobile leadership position. But because Facebook has not officially made any announcements about its hardware plans, it's unclear when a Facebook phone will actually enter the market. In the meantime, we can hope that the company continues to update its mobile apps.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

AT&T expands into wireless home security, automation

(CNN) -- AT&T is joining the expanding field of home security and automation, introducing a wireless service that will let homeowners use their mobile devices to remotely set alarms, turn on lights or even shut off water.

Called AT&T Digital Life, the service will connect users with a vast array of domestic devices and appliances, including cameras, door locks, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and thermostats.

It will run on AT&T's IP-based wireless platform and can be accessed via smartphones, tablets or PCs. And despite being from AT&T, it will work regardless of the user's wireless carrier.

The company plans to begin trials of the service in Atlanta and Dallas this summer.

"AT&T Digital Life will change the way people live, work and play -- and meets a clear need in the market," said Kevin Petersen, senior vice president of Digital Life for AT&T Mobility. "The service is smart, simple and customer-centric -- freeing homeowners to do the things they want to do without compromising on the things they need to do to care for family and home."

Digital Life joins other existing products and wireless companies that are taking advantage of people's increasing reliance on mobile devices.

Comcast offers a home-security feature through an iPhone app. Verizon offers a similar service, while home security market leader ADT features ADT Pulse on approved devices.

In a news release from AT&T, Larry Hettick, a research director for market-research company Current Analysis, says that Digital Life "promises to be as robust as anything in the marketplace today." He said he was impressed with the system's wireless platform and ability, unlike some existing services, to work with a wide range of different devices.