A burst of 9 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team
A predicted surge of smaller, lower-priced devices in the tablet market has led International Data Corporation (IDC) to increase its 2013 forecast for the worldwide tablet market to 190.9m, up from its previous forecast of 172.4m units. Increases in tablet shipments have been made throughout the forecast period with an average increase of 11% between 2013 and 2016. The latest forecast update of the Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker estimates tablet shipments to be upwards of 350m by the end of 2017.
The 190.9m figure would mean tablets (of all types and sizes, including Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets) outselling notebooks in 2013. The 2017 figure, if correct, would see tablets almost level-pegging with PC shipments – for which forecasts were revised downwards last week.
There’s another category of people that fit into the 90% [of users who aren't "experts" or "willing adopters"]. They’re not really “don’t care” types, they’re more “they shouldn’t have to care.” My dad is an older gentlemen (sorry, dad!), and in November he needed to replace his aging Vista laptop. I suggested he get a Windows 8 laptop, which he did. He bought a Dell. No touchscreen, but otherwise decent specs.
It arrived, but I forgot about it for a couple of months until he had a problem whereupon I popped round to fix it. I asked him how he found Windows 8. His reply was: “I hate it.” This in and of itself was not entirely unexpected. But what happened next left me feeling profoundly guilty. I watched him try and do simple tasks and saw him again and again just floored by Windows 8′s odd usability modes.
It’s not just parents; people who have been used to Windows XP and Windows Vista and Windows 7 – hundreds of millions of people who just want a computer they can use – are discovering whether they’re in the 10%, or 90%. Don’t miss the followup article, which examines his mailbag. There are plenty of 90%ers in there. (And in the comments, of which there are more than 600.)
Firefox is set to start blocking cookies from third-party ad networks by default, thanks to a patch submitted by Stanford law student and online privacy activist Jonathan Mayer. The patch is slated for distribution in release 22 of the popular browser, and mimics the behavior of Apple’s Safari, allowing sites that you’ve actually visited (first parties) to set cookies on your system, but blocking cookies from third parties like advertising networks unless they already have one on your machine. Firefox already supports the Do Not Track header, which has the effect of asking advertisers not to track your browsing around the web, but Mayer’s patch goes a step further, adding a default setting that refuses unwelcome third-party cookies altogether.
This is about three weeks old, but it might be significant. Meyer is the person who spotted that Google was hacking around Safari’s protections against cookies – which landed Google in hot water with the FTC.
How do fast-paced video games affect the brain? Step into the lab with cognitive researcher Daphne Bavelier to hear surprising news about how video games, even action-packed shooter games, can help us learn, focus and, fascinatingly, multitask.
This may be counterintuitive (and might upset Baroness Susan Greenfield).
Apple may or may not release a product called the “iPhone 5S” this year. The presumption, however, fueled by Apple having previously released the 2009 iPhone 3GS-as-in-speed, and the 2011 iPhone 4S-as-in-Siri, is that 2013 will see an iPhone 5S-as-in-something update. Whether it ultimately proves real or not, the perception of a yearly update cycle and its tick-tock nature, is becoming problematic.
It’s Intel which works on the “tick-tock principle, of jumping forward and then assimilating change, but of course it dominates its field. Things aren’t quite as simple in smartphones.
So mobile web usage is exploding, and the sooner we have all our transactions responsively adapting to mobile screen sizes the better. The forthcoming Digital by Default Service Standard will require it.
But does it follow that the government should also be investing heavily in mobile apps?
Our position is that native apps are rarely justified.
Quanta Computer shipped 2.9m notebooks in February, decreasing 12.1% sequentially, according to the company. Notebook shipments for the first two months of 2013 reached 6.2m units, with observers speculating that the ODM’s shipments may rebound over 50% in March.
Quanta is one of the biggest OEM contract manufacturers of notebooks. It may be hoping for a rebound, but the figures in the article (going back to August 2012) show year-on-year falls in shipments ranging from 5.8% to 17.5%. Either Quanta is losing out badly to rivals, or the notebook business is in trouble.
Before you go there, see if you can guess the relative growth and size of HTML5, “apps” and responsive design among the job trends on Indeed.
In which things start to itch a bit.
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