BBH Report Home Page
July 10, 2008 Provided by System Dynamics Inc.

Briefly Noted: Updates, Observations and Trends

Each month, we collect miscellaneous happenings, studies, trends or observations you might have missed. This month's briefs focus on China surpassing US broadband numbers, the importance of femtocells, UK Digital TV penetration, Internet applications for your plants, and more.

UK digital TV penetration

A recently released Deloitte study ( www.deloitte.com/dtt/article/0,1002,cid%253D205144,00.html ) forecasts that UK digital television penetration will reach 93% by the end of 2008, compared to 89% at the end of April 2008 and 87% at the end of 2007.

Internet Apps For Your Plants

Planting a garden? PlantSense recommends you get out your trowel, some fertilizer, and your Internet-connected sensors, with algorithms to help you figure out which plants will thrive in your garden spot. The company, which has just emerged from underground (pun intended), has received a $3.5 million Series A round. Their $60 sensor which is plunged into the soil gathers information such as soil quality, light and weather. They connect to the company's Web site via USB and take the user's zip code to calculate results. Sandy says: "That would be great, but now I need something to tell the deer and groundhogs to stay away from my healthy plants." ( www.plantsense.com )

DVR = Digital Video Retriever?

TiVo CEO Tom Rogers has characterized next generation DVRs as "digital video retrievers," since customers with a broadband connection can move Internet video to their TV sets. TiVo has been busy implementing a software downloading capability that enables cable operators to remotely and automatically upgrade their customer's set top boxes for DVR functions. The feature, first developed for Comcast, is termed "auto-flip". ( www.tivo.com ) ( www.comcast.com )

China Surpasses U.S. Broadband Numbers

Numbers from research firm Dittberner Associates indicate that China has topped the US in total number of broadband subscribers. China ended the first quarter of 2008 with 71,603,400 broadband subscribers, topping a total of 70,211,328 for the U.S. A year ago the U.S. had been on top. Given China's population, this had long been expected. ( www.dittberner.com )

Who Uses Mobile Phone Browsers?

Opera, which develops the Opera Web browser for multiple platforms, has published its latest State of the Mobile Web, May 2008 Report ( www.opera.com/mobile_report/2008/05/ ). Research results, which span ten countries, indicate that: male users of Opera Mini greatly outnumber females; the 18-27 year old demographic is where Web browsing on handsets using Opera Mini is most popular; active users are up more than 23% since March; and data traffic is up over 30% since March. Google was either first or second on the list of top sites used in 8 of the 10 countries. ( www.opera.com )

Femtocell Fanfare

Femtocells were in the spotlight again. Light Reading reported that Dave Williams, Comcast's senior VP of wireless and technology, revealed that in the cable companies deal with Clearwire, 5MHz of Clearwire's 2.5GHz spectrum holdings across the US would be set aside for WiMAX femtocells. Deploying WiMAX Femtocells in broadband customer homes could solve indoor access problems and offer cheaper access to seamless wireless services. ( www.lightreading.com ) ( www.comcast.com )

The importance of femtocells won't come as a surprise to readers of our reports. We first covered Picochip in our August 2004 issue ( www.broadbandhomecentral.com/report/backissues/Report0408_8.html ) almost four years ago, and wrote that "we see its approach as the wave of the future." A year ago in our July 2007 issue ( www.broadbandhomecentral.com/report/backissues/Report0704_3.html ) we declared femtocells to be "the word of the month". Now the big push will be to get the costs down.