CES 2013 report: what publishers need to know

Thursday, 17 January 2013 - 9:43am

CES 2013 report: what publishers need to know

In the fast-track world of mobile tech, what are the developments that could affect publishers in the next year?  Sean Seymour, tech evangelist at PageSuite, was at the vast Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas all last week – here’s his report on what you need to watch for in 2013…....


So another year and another tech filled show from Las Vegas although 2013 was slightly different; it wasn’t all about the hardware yet more about applications, software and distribution of content whilst working on existing platforms that are already established or at least on their way.

Microsoft muscles in as third force in mobile

First up was the keynote from surprise guest, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO in which he highlighted how well Windows RT has been doing; the number of applications for new Windows tablets has increased fivefold since late October with there now being four times more applications for Windows RT computers than there were when the devices were introduced in late October.

Along the same lines and also Microsoft related, Nokia confirmed sales of their Lumia handsets had "delivered better than expected results” in Q4 with an estimated 4.4 million units sold which is 1.5 million better than it did in the previous quarter. That now brings the total number of Lumia handsets out in the wild to about 14.3 million all running Windows Phone 7 and 8.

Watch out for hybrid “phablets” and larger screens

Going “extra large” isn’t just something the Americans like to reserve for their McDonalds either with numerous tablets and phones getting the XL treatment. A couple of devices worth highlighting were the Huawei Ascend Mate at a staggering 6.1 inches and powered by Android, this phone is only just smaller than the Kindle Fire HD.

Leading the pack in the tablet market was the new Panasonic 20 inch running Windows 8 Pro. Now, I had a hands-on with this and I can tell you, it’s amazing; it features a 4k screen (3,840 X 2,560 resolution), up to 16GB of memory and a 128GB SSD. Unfortunately Panasonic would not confirm the price or availability but lets just assume it will break the bank! It is also worth noting that Intel had numerous XL tablets and multifunction/combined screens on display and that devices such as the Galaxy Note have been leading the charge with the so called “Phablets”.

Open source upstarts join the mobile party

Mozilla, the creators of the Firefox web browser, announced that they would be developing a phone for release in to the European market in 2013. Initially, they are not expected to be key major players but more aiming for the lower end of the Android market share. Firefox OS is already expected to capture 1% of the share of global smartphone shipments, which is still a huge number.

And finally, bringing it closer to home was the UK based Canonical’s Ubuntu Mobile OS. Still in its early stages but due for developer release in the coming months, this Linux based OS can be installed on to Android devices as dual OS, so in theory, you can use Ubuntu whilst at home and docked in a cradle then switch over to the traditional Android system when on-the-go. If you’re used to desktop OS then you’ll certainly notice the familiarities between the two and there does seem to be a few discreet nods to recently open-sourced WebOS.

So the message for publishers is that the world is becoming more complex, there are more mobile platforms to consider, and screens of every size from 3” to 20” to display content to readers.

Sean is Tech Evangelist for mobile app developer PageSuite and is based in the US.  Follow him on twitter @ps_sean