IDC and Gartner have come out with their latest Q3 rankings of the world’s PC manufacturers, which means it’s time for us to do some dissecting. Not much changed at the top of the heap, where, according to IDC, HP still rules the roost with about 18 percent market share (despite that whole PC biz spinoff thing). But the most dramatic shift came from Lenovo, which scurried past Dell for second place, with 13.7 percent market share (13.5, according to Gartner) — a 36.1 percent jump from the third quarter of 2010 (25.2 percent, says Gartner). Dell’s pie slice, on the other hand, shrunk slightly to 12 percent this quarter, down from 12.6 percent last year. On the global scale, meanwhile, PC sales increased by about 3.6 percent compared to Q3 2010 (3.2 percent, in Gartner’s books), though both research firms acknowledged that this figure was well below their respective projections. Why? IDC points to several economic factors, including the threat of a double-dip recession, while Gartner blames the rise of “non-PC devices,” including tablets. Surprise!

Continue reading IDC and Gartner: Lenovo leaps past Dell for second place, still trails HP for the gold

IDC and Gartner: Lenovo leaps past Dell for second place, still trails HP for the gold originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 17 Oct 2011 07:37:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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How Beyonce Is Bigger Than Hurricanes, Earthquakes and SuperBowl SundayWhen I was a child, there was a number that crudely measured how many people paid attention to something. It was called the Nielsen rating. Perhaps you remember it. Today it’s an unimportant relic that only reveals what was happening.

The VMAs had its biggest show ever this year. A record-breaking 12.4 million people tuned in live. Which actually seems like a very small number, given how many people were talking about it. Because while MTV had a hit with the VMAs, so did Twitter. News of Beyonce’s uterine passenger, which she revealed at the show, generated some 8,868 Tweets per second. It was Twitter’s biggest moment yet. And it shows that the company is sitting on the most valuable advertising data that there is: a way to measure, package and sell unexpected things that we care about right now, in real time.

We used to rely on ratings or audited circulation numbers to determine what people were interested in. Today, we increasingly talk about Tweets Per Second. (And by “we,” I mean the always hungry media maw, smacking its lips in anticipation of sucking marrow from the next micro trend or attention spasm that might convince an otherwise disinterested viewer to flip the channel to 759—or even better, stay there.)

Whenever anything big happens in the news, CNN and Fox News and the networks increasingly break into Twitter mode, reading tweets on the air, talking about how many people are tweeting and generally going into wild-eyed social media mania.

Aside from making Mark Zuckerberg wish he had made status messages public by default from the get-go so that CNN would read Facebook updates on air, it’s revealing in that it shows that even the professional media—the ostensible arbiters of opinion and news—have realized that you and I are no longer paying attention.

We’re more interested in each other. We’re all broadcasting now. I’d prefer to hear what you have to say, especially in aggregate, than tune into Wolf Blitzer. And when it comes to measuring the impact of events, social media ratings matter more than Nielsens, or at least they should, and here’s why.

Twitter is the most important metric of attention. It is not based on past behavior. It is equally capable of measuring scripted events, and the completely unexpected. And it is remarkable because it measures not just consumption, but also interest.

Yes, the Nielsens will tell you how many people watched the VMAs, but social media can tell you how many people actually paid attention. And while maybe you could have foreseen they might be big this year, would anyone have been able to predict that the VMAs—not the Oscars, not the SuperBowl, not the final Shuttle launch—would be the most talked-about television event of the year? Twitter can tell you that. (Facebook should be able to as well.) And it can tell you that as it happens.

In 2008, when it was still a nascent service, Twitter revealed some numbers to me that showed its top events of the previous year, measured in the number of tweets per minute. How Beyonce Is Bigger Than Hurricanes, Earthquakes and SuperBowl Sunday

The chart is a remarkable demonstration of Twitter’s growth. Tweets per minute? How quaint! Tweets are now measured at a faster rate per second than they were just three years ago per minute.

But it’s more interesting to see how consistently interested we are in the unexpected. Because while Twitter has changed greatly in the past three years—from how it works, to the way we access it, to the number of people on it—the things we are simultaneously interested in haven’t changed at all.

Today, Beyonce’s VMA appearance holds the top spots for Tweets per second. Prior to that, the news of the Japanese Women’s World Cup victory held the record. (Likely because it was an event intently watched by two very Twitter heavy countries.) And while it didn’t break a record, the recent east coast earthquake generated 5,500 TPS. In 2008, a presidential debate held the top spot. It knocked off a Japanese earthquake. A Euro 2008 semi final match was the big event prior to that. What all of these events have in common is a certain unpredictability.

The thing about television ratings or audited circulation numbers is that they have never truly been about what we are paying attention to. They were (and are) a way for advertisers to make informed decisions about what to invest in based on what people have paid attention to in the past, as a predictor of future performance. They only measure what has already transpired. This may have been useful for buying chunks of time during a season finale of Dallas, but when something amazing and unexpected happens, there is no good way for an advertiser to catch up with it.

When Twitter measures tweets per second, it measures what people are interested in right now. It measures live attention. And that is very, very valuable. Imagine if, during an earthquake, a QuakeKit ad appeared in your timeline, one that was triggered only when earthquake tweets per second crossed a certain threshold. Tacky? Sure. But you can bet your bottled water it would sell a lot of kits.

This is the promise of real-time conversation, that our interests can be commoditized, live and on the fly. It doesn’t have to be just about Twitter, of course. Facebook and Google+ should be equally capable of measuring, packaging and selling our real-time, trending interest data. But it’s very clear that this new ability to measure what we care about enough to comment on right now, at this very instant, is much more valuable than measurements of past performance or passive consumption.

All the moreso because of how much society has fragmented. We no longer all watch the same four channels, or even tune in to television series at the same time. The only things that seem to capture our simultaneous attention anymore are those that offer the high drama of the unexpected and unknown: sports, politics (itself a sort of sport), provocative live television, and natural disasters that occur with little-to-no warning.

And, of course, Beyonce.

You can keep up with Mat Honan, the author of this post, on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.

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Here’s an interesting look at what’s inside the iPhone and how much it costs from The Economist.

As you’ll notice, Samsung provides 26% of the parts for the phone. Apple is currently suing Samsung and accusing it of ripping off the look and feel of Apple products. Granted, they’re separate divisions at Samsung, but it has to make the relationship between the two companies awkward.

Another thing to note in this breakdown: It costs Apple just $178 in components for a phone that sells at an average price of $560.

chart of the day, iphone 4 cost breakdown, aug 2011

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We make our own truth. That’s how IDC can come up with roughly the same numbers as fellow research firm Canalys and crown Apple the king, when its rival called Android top dog — it’s all about how you slice it. See, where as Canalys bundled all Android handset makers together, IDC has broken them up, which leads to a rather interesting twist — the largest smartphone maker in the world is now Apple. Cupertino’s growth of 141.7-percent in shipments year over year was enough to push it past Nokia (which slipped to number three) and Samsung (which climbed two spots to take the silver medal), while RIM and HTC rounded out the top five. That being said, no one is running away with the lead here, and Sammy’s continued stratospheric rise should keep Apple on guard. Check out the full report after the break.

Continue reading Apple now the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer, Samsung checks in at number two

Apple now the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer, Samsung checks in at number two originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 04 Aug 2011 18:27:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Facebook users spend most of their time in the News Feed, the river of information about your friends, and comparatively very little (just 10%) using apps according to a comScore report on how people use Facebook. 

This is interesting because the biggest app company, Zynga, filed to go public, and more generally because tons of Facebook apps are getting zillions of VC money all the time.

If people spend so little time on Facebook apps, why the excitement?

First of all, 10% of usage on Facebook, the second biggest site in the world, is still a huge market.

And also almost certainly because those who do use apps, use them a lot. Social games are a perfect example: not everyone plays them, but those who do, play them a lot. And a smaller minority pay for virtual goods in those games, but that minority pays enough to fund a thriving social games industry.

It’s definitely possible to build big businesses on the Facebook platform. But those numbers are a useful reality check: Facebook isn’t becoming a new internet, with Facebook apps replacing websites, as some fear. People still overwhelmingly use Facebook for what it’s designed for: knowing what our friends are up to.

chart of the day, time spent on facebook, may 2011

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IDC: tablet shipments drop 28 percent in Q1 2011

Whether you believe we’re living in a post-PC world or not, there’s no denying the overwhelming growth of tablets in the past few years. Just this March, IDC put out figures saying 2010 saw the sale of 18 million tablets, but despite the recent boom, the outfit’s now reporting a 28 percent drop in tablet shipments in Q1 2011, bringing first quarter worldwide shipments to 7.2 million. IDC’s latest report points to “slower consumer demand, overall economic conditions, and supply-chain constraint,” but nonetheless estimates that total tablet sales will reach 53.5 million by year’s end, up from IDC’s original estimate of 50.4 million. Once again, Apple’s come out on top of the slate game, with the iPad 2 leading the market, despite its own dip in shipments. E-readers have apparently also seen a decline in the first quarter, with shipments dipping to 3.3 million units. Despite a slow start to the year, however, IDC’s optimistic about future sales, but you don’t have to take our word for it — full PR awaits you after the break.

Continue reading IDC: tablet shipments drop 28 percent in Q1 2011

IDC: tablet shipments drop 28 percent in Q1 2011 originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 12 Jul 2011 21:03:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Growth in purchases of Android smartphones in the U.S. has stalled this year, according to a new report from Nielsen.

Android still has the largest share of the smartphone market, but thanks to the Verizon iPhone, its share of new phone buyers has flatlined. Apple’s share has picked up, moving from 10% of new smartphone purchases to 17% of new smartphone purchases this year.

This is a nice change of pace for Apple which had been getting crushed in the smartphone marketshare battle.

According to this chart, Apple is still going to be lagging in overall smartphone share. But, it’s a good sign for Apple that more people are buying iPhones thanks to it being on Verizon.

Another thing to note here: Smartphone purchases are greater than feature phone purchases in the U.S.

Chart of the day android growth

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The environment for early stage startup investing is very “challenging” right now because big exits are still rare, but Series A round valuations have grown larger and larger, according to Fred Wilson, one of the best known early stage investors in the world.

On his blog, Wilson highlights the chart below which comes from Mark Suster. It shows the number of exits over $100 million on an annual basis is relatively small. There are 1,000 early stage fundings annually, according to the NVCA, which means just 5%-10% are producing big exits.

“At at time when the average Series A round is now north of $20mm (based on very anecdotal evidence and not at all scientific), this poses challenges for the VC industry,” says Wilson.

Wilson simplifies the math to prove his point, but says assume a fund can get one company to exit at a $250 million valuation. If it invested in 20 companies at an average valuation of $20 million, then it has committed $400 million.

The one big exit isn’t going to provide enough of a return to cover the portfolio, which is how the VC business has traditionally worked.

So, either the VC model needs to evolve, or valuations need to come down.

Annual exits for VC-backed startups worth more than $100 million

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What If You Crammed The Entire Human Population Into a Single City?Here’s food for thought: Some cities are considerably more densely populated than others. Imagine packing all 6.9 billion people in the world into a city you know. How much space would that megacity take up?

Per Square Mile made these infographics to give you an idea of what you’d find. In the image above, they stuffed the world’s people into a city as dense as Houston. We’d take up most of the continental United States.
What If You Crammed The Entire Human Population Into a Single City?Now New York, with everyone fitting into Texas.
What If You Crammed The Entire Human Population Into a Single City?And now Paris. Kind of makes you wonder what life would be like. [Per Square Mile]

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New York Is The Top Tweeting City In The World London may have the most Twitter accounts in the world, but New York City residents tweet more than anyone else in the world. This little factoid from Sysomos was recently dredged up in a NY Times op-ed piece.

It’s not surprising, really, even gangs in NYC picked up on the Twitter trend years ago. And, more recently, you have the beleaguered New York Senator Anthony Weiner whose Twitter faux pas is now front page news. [NY Times via Business Insider]

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