iPhone for Verizon: Should AT&T Be Worried?

Verizon customers with iPhone envy may finally get a chance to own one of these famous devices. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is developing a Verizon-compatible version of the iPhone, rumored to debut as early as this summer. If the news is true, AT&T will lose the exclusivity contract it has held with Apple for three years – a fact that won’t help in the fight between AT&T and Verizon. If Verizon does start carrying its own iPhone model, will AT&T be able to compete, or is the move to Verizon a sign that AT&T can no longer sustain the iPhone on its own?wireless_subscribers

Verizon boasts an impressive network, with nearly 6 million more customers than AT&T, even without the iPhone. Over the past year, it’s been no secret that AT&T’s network has become overloaded, coming to a head when Apple briefly paused iPhone sales in New York City. When a compatible model is finally available, Verizon will have a reliable network and some of the most popular smartphones around – RIM’s BlackBerry devices and the iPhone make up 68 percent of the U.S. smartphone market – making it hard for AT&T or any other carrier to compete.

A big concern over Verizon’s adoption is user experience — an area where Verizon could be inferior to AT&T. Verizon operates on a CDMA network, while AT&T uses a wireless technology called GSM, which allows for AT&T’s biggest selling point – the ability to surf the web and talk on the phone at the same time. For Verizon to offer the same feature, all CDMA technology would need to be overhauled, and it doesn’t look like that will happen anytime soon. Although customers may overlook this missing feature, AT&T will still have Verizon beat with their other smartphones.

Even without GSM and talk-and-text features, Verizon’s popular and dedicated network may help them retain their current customers and acquire even more from AT&T and other carriers. Back in 2007 when the iPhone was first released, 25 percent of iPhone buyers switched to AT&T from another network, writes CrunchGear. Who’s to say those 25 percent – and everyone who has switched since then – won’t switch again, this time to Verizon? “There is undoubtedly enormous pent-up demand for the iPhone on Verizon’s superior network,” a Bernstein Research analyst told MarketWatch. “iPhone availability will therefore mean an immediate acceleration for Verizon’s subscriber growth and, conversely, immediate share losses for AT&T.”

“…Regardless of how many customers either side gains or loses, the real winner will be Apple,” writes WSJ’s Martin Peers. With competition heating up with the Droid, Nexus One, and the coming HTC Evo, Apple’s expansion to Verizon will continue to give it a healthy advantage in the wireless market. With the iPhone’s Verizon debut, could the iPad come next? As long as Verizon continues to maintain a reliable network with the data-hungry iPhone and plays its cards right with Apple, it can certainly hold its number one spot for many years to come.

Boomers: Smartphone’s Next Mass Audience

Can you imagine your parents scheduling doctors appointments and managing medications on an iPhone or Blackberry? It’s not a far-off reality. Smartphones empower Boomers to better manage health situations and enhance their connection with their businesses, among many other life functions. Approximately 80 million Baby Boomers, with nearly $4.6 trillion in buying power by 2015, will be the tipping point for the smartphone market. Surely, if Boomers are not on iPhones and Blackberry’s today, they be will tomorrow.smartphone_subscribers

Boomers control more than 83% of consumer spending and is expected to surpass $4.6 trillion by 2015. Although Boomers make up only 19.6 percent of all touch-screen users and 21.1 percent of smartphone users today, as they seek life-management tools in smartphones, expect sales to soar. Lisa E. Phillips, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, “Boomers and Mobile Usage,” points out “Boomers are underrepresented among smartphone users but are becoming more interested in the devices.” The catch for Boomers is not just owning the smart phone, but understanding the values of its features and how it can become integrated into their daily lives.”

mobile_uses_ageSo why should Boomers jump on the smartphone bandwagon? Business and health. As Boomers work beyond retirement age, they are using smartphones to stay connected with their businesses. “The business aspect of smartphones should appeal to the many Boomers who say they plan to continue working after retirement age,” said Phillips. Blackberry’s, in particular, are popular among Gen X business owners and can also meet the needs of business-oriented Boomers.

Smartphone apps can also empower Boomers to maintain healthier lifestyles. For instance, the Epocrates app is a resource for drugs information, including doses, adverse reactions, pricing, and pill images alongside robust medical calculators. More specifically, Diametic which helps patients manage diabetes to record blood sugar levels and insulin doses. These are two of thousands of iPhone apps that empower users to take control of their health.

Already, the majority of Boomers consider their mobile phone a necessity. Once the majority (or 40 million) Boomers seek value in smartphones, it will be a critical link to business and health — just as text messaging is essential for teens. Smartphones are now well established in the marketplace, which should help to convince the portions of the boomer cohort that are not early adopters.” Indeed, as Boomers feel more comfortable with mobile devices, smartphones are the next step,” writes Phillips. While Boomers are typically late adopters in technology, once they find value in the smartphone market, expect sales mobile devices and content to skyrocket.

To read more mobile trends, visit our 2010 Mobile Trend Report.

Image by Flavio Takemoto from Stock.Xchng

Could Apple’s iAd Compete with Google in Mobile Ad Market?

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Apple always strives to unveil “the next big thing.” Think iPod and iPhone. According to Steve Jobs, the most recent “big thing” is Apple’s new ad platform, speculatively called iAd. In true Apple fashion, details are vague, but we do know it will be unveiled April 7 — four days after fan boys get their paws on the iPad. It’s rumored Apple will use location and other touch-points to serve personalized ads with unprecedented precision on the iPhone, iPod and iPad. Apple’s mobile ad network is the spark that will ignite the mobile ad competition with Google. We are on the cusp of a mobile ad revolution in which Google and Apple will battle for an estimated $3.3 billion dollar market by 2013.

Google’s growth in smartphone ad requests and OS traffic share position the search giant to overtake Apple in the fertile mobile ad market. Apple can compete with a rich, app-based user experience while Google can leverage its robust technology and industry know-how. At the end of the day, it’s about which competitive advantages are more important to advertisers and consumers.

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“It’s the Google threat that’s prompted Apple to get a footprint in this market of course, along with the promise that it’ll be a multi-billion dollar game in a very short while,” writes Fast Company. Google and Apple recently acquired mobile ad firms AdMob (for $750 million) and Quattro Wireless (for $300 million), respectively. What are the competitive advantages of Apple and Google?

Advantages of Apple

Rich App Ecosystem — Apple’s rich, app-based platform can deliver “an uber-precise, user-targeting ad placement system with an associated analytics package that Apple may wind into the iPhone’s code so developers can access it through apps,” writes Fast Company. This initiative would incentivize app developers to incorporate iAd into apps.
Enhanced User Experience — Google’s Droid OS is distributed across multiple smartphone devices, but lacks the Apple iPad’s  clean, visually stunning ad capabilities — particularly for magazines. Apple could leverage location-based technology to refine advertisements on Reuters or the Washington Post.
Location Based Tech — While Quattro’s tech can serve ads based on gender, age, household income, location, time, ethnicity and education, Apple has a standing policy against location-based advertising in its App Store. To compete with Google in the race for hyper-relevant ad delivery, Apple will have to do a 180 on their location – based policy.

Advantages of Google

Industry Know-How — Google, the king of digital ads, has the industry know-how and technology to build a rich advertising ecosystem. Google’s AdWords raked in $21 billion in 2008. In fact, ads are Google’s cash cow and it’s not a stretch for Google to leverage its ad savvy team to develop, in conjunction with AdMob’s tech, a robust mobile ad platform.
Location-Based Search — “Google—still in the process of acquiring mobile ad firm AdMob—has patents related to location-based ad serving, writes Ars Technica. However, Google already implements location-based searches. Do a Google search for pizza and the top results typically include local shops. Apply this tech and thinking to mobile and Google can serve highly relevant, personalized ads with exact precision.

Apple certainly has a rich app ecosystem (over 1 billion app downloads its first nine months) and delivers a highly visual, engaging user experience. Google, on the other hand, has extensive experience serving hyper-relevant ads through its cash cow, AdWords. Will highly visual, popular apps give Apple the competitive advantage it needs to take the lead or will industry know-how give Google the upper hand? If its incredibility successful AdWords is any indication of Google’s future in mobile advertising, Apple should be ready for a challenge.

Could Mobile Shopping Cross the Chasm?

Since the dawn of the internet, the brand and consumer dynamic has changed drastically. No longer are brands the primary or even secondary resource for product information. With e-marketplaces like Amazon, consumers are information explorers, curating all digital resources to find the most relevant content. And mobile is the next frontier. We predict mobile shopping to cross the chasm into mainstream culture in the next 10 years.

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Imagine using your iPhone camera as a bar code scanner to find consumer reviews, competitor pricing and coupons. Imagine no more. Red Laser and its eco-friendly sibling, GoodGuide do just that. Bar code scanning technology might not have your parents jumping with joy (5.4 percent of Gen Y and Gen Xers used their mobile phone to make a purchase, compared to 3.6 percent of all mobile subscribers), but it is one of many advancements making mobile technology more engaging to savvy buyers and more seamlessly integrated into their lives.

As of beginning of 2008, 3.6 percent (9.2 million) of US mobile subscribers use their phone to pay for goods or services. Forty nine percent of mobile data users say that it is likely they will conduct mobile commerce in the future. Already, 6.5 million US mobile consumers say they’ve used text messaging to purchase an item. Just as skeptic consumers refused shopping on the web at first and eventually e-commerce exploded (think Cyber Monday), we should expect a similar path for mobile.

Why is mobile so attractive as a shopping platform? Mobile’s multi-media, GPS capabilities and web-connectivity can:

  • educate users about their local marketplace
  • provide a highly targeted venue for local advertisers
  • enable location-based coupons
  • inform consumers about products (e.g. reviews, consumer reports)
  • create a more immerssive shopping experience

With only 9.2 million of 277 million US mobile users shopping on their phone, what are the hang-ups?

  • 41 percent of mobile users cite security as their biggest concern. As consumers grow more comfortable with mobile devices, safety will be less of a concern (again, think Cyber Monday).
  • 23 percent worry about being charged for airtime. Smartphone unlimited data plans are on the rise, eliminating the worry about data and airtime.
  • 21 percent don’t trust the transaction will be completed. As reputable brands, such as Bed, Bath & Beyond and Target sign on to mobile shopping, transactions will be more accountable.

We predict mobile will cross the chasm in 10 years. But why a decade? Ecommerce nearly quadrupled in four years. If mobile shopping follows a similar pattern, we should expect nearly a third of mobile users purchasing products on their phones. So grab your phone and shop til you drop.

Want to learn more about mobile trends? Read our 2010 Mobile Trend Report.

Women’s Month: Women Leaders in Pop Culture 2010

When searching for examples of strong female leaders, People magazine is probably the last place someone would look for inspiration. However, there are many well-known women in popular culture using their status and influence as a force for good, by calling attention to critical world issues far beyond the Hollywood bubble. In honor of International Women’s Month, we’re highlighting the efforts of women who are making using their celebrity to make a difference.

Angelina Jolie

As a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, Angelina Jolie has called attention to the devastating conditions in refugee camps around the world. While many celebrities simply donate money in hopes of being recognized, Jolie goes ten steps further to personally visit the areas she is trying to help. To date, Jolie has completed more than 20 field missions to countries such as Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Haiti, and Afghanistan. According to a study highlighted on YPULSE.com, Jolie is #4 on a list of celebrities who have most influenced teens to volunteer. In leading by example, Angelina Jolie has solidified her reputation as a strong role model and leader to women everywhere.

Kathryn Bigelow

Bigelow made Hollywood history with her Oscar win for Best Director, the first female to do so in the award show’s 82-year history. What makes her win even more poignant, however, is the subject her film, “The Hurt Locker,” tackles – a gritty look at the War in Iraq. Bigelow wasn’t afraid to tackle this a difficult subject, and the result was a powerful message that went far beyond the movie screen. This recognition could not have gone to a better person, or come at a better time. Kathryn Bigelow has used her talents to create a memorable work, and has become a leader for women who aspire to be a part of the entertainment industry by showing them that anything is possible.

Marjan Kalhor

Amid all of the excitement during the opening ceremony of this year’s Olympics, you may have missed the incredible story of 21-year-old Alpine skier Marjan Kalhor, who is the first woman from Iran to compete in the Winter Olympics. Coming from a country often criticized for its oppression of women, Kalhor became an instant leader to the women of her country, and women in similar situations around the world. At a press conference before her events, Kalhor told the media, “I am very glad to be here, not just for myself, but it can be a very good incentive for the women in Iran . . . I want them to know if they want to, they can. I want them to know it is possible.” Though she came in last place for both of her events, the fact that she was competing at all was a triumph in itself.

In his declaration of 2009’s Women’s History Month, President Obama wrote, “Each year during Women’s History Month, we remember and celebrate women from all walks of life who have shaped this great Nation.” Each of these women has truly shaped the thoughts and actions of current and future generations. They, along with many others, should be recognized for their ability to draw attention away from trivial issues, leading through their actions and abilities to inspire everyone to make an impact.

Image by sanja gjenero from Stock.Xchng

What Could the iPad Be Used For?

Steve Jobs sparked the war of the tablets in January with the iPad announcement and the hype machine has been in full swing ever since. When Apple unveils the iPad in stores on April 3, consumers will finally see what the hype is all about. Once the dust settles after the initial fan boy, early adopter buying explosion, what is the real function of the iPad? Could it be applied to business, health care, gaming, and even education?

War of the Tablets
Apple is going to set the industry standard with its iPad, with a clear opportunity for market leadership. Amazon is poised to be the #2 market competitor as it adds more tablet-like features to its successful Kindle. We anticipate the Windows 7-powered HP Slate to take the #3 position in the tablet market. [Sparxoo]

Who Am I Talking to Here
If the iPad is going to live up to its hype, it needs to “achieve the mass-market penetration — and cultural impact — of the iPod and iPhone.” To do this, Apple needs to go beyond fan boy, early adopters, and target mainstream, tech-savvy users interested in e-book readers. [NY Times]

Uses in Health Care and Business
The iPad could give the health care industry a techno facelift. The device could connect the electronic health care system with patients and staff. It could also save time for practitioners to spend more time with patients. [Top News]

iPad Not So Business Friendly. Microsoft, Anyone?
As the iPad runs Apple’s iPhone OS, it cannot run Mac or Windows desktop apps. While there are thousands of iPhone apps, “most aren’t something you’d want for business use.” The business aspect might be a gap for Microsoft to fill with its Courier pad. [Information Week]

The Next Gaming Platform?
Games dominate the iPhone app store. Will the iPad store be that much different? “It’s possible that everyone will have a different use case.” It could revolutionize the cookbook industry or be the knight in white armor for the print industry.

Browsing the iPad App Store: A Video [By @viticci] from Federico Viticci on Vimeo. [ZD Net]

Education: We’ll See in 10 Years
As the education market moves “glacially slowly,” the iPad might not explode immediately. The impact comes in the long term. Once education publishers and institutions are 90% sure it’s a success, iPad could be the next tool to advance education and learning. [Huffington Post]

While we can only speculate the potential functions of the iPad, after the dust settles we will see what Apple’s tablet is truly made of. It could connect us to our doctors, or be the next portable presentation tool or be our text e-book.

Google: the Future of Mobile Advertising?

future_advertising_google_featureWhat made Google a multi-billion dollar company today will help the search giant pioneer the next revolution in mobile advertising: hyper-relevancy. Google AdWords enabled advertisers to target users with unprecedented precision. Google’s acquisition of mobile advertising platform, AdMob, signals the next evolution in advertising. Google will deliver advertising content consumers actually want — making it lucrative for all parties involved. Mobile adds a new layer of relevancy to target users with even greater accuracy: location. While Google’s mobile ad platform takes a backseat to Apple today, many experts predict the combination of Google’s ad targeting technology and Android growth positions the search giant to jump in the drivers seat and take the lead in what is projected to be a $3.3 billion dollar market by 2013. smartphone_ads

Sonya Chawla of Rhythm New Media notes “tons of money is being shifted out of TV and is looking for a new home.” Most marketing dollars are allocated to online marketing. However, there is an emerging mobile market. Overall, comScore estimates U.S. users viewed 4.3 trillion display ads in 2009, up 21 percent over 2008. Interpublic’s Magna, said that US advertisers will spend $229 million on mobile media this year, up 26% over 2008. With an estimated 270 million mobile subscriptions in the US, opportunity to target these users is immense.

“At this point, the market seems broken down largely as iPhone on one hand and everyone else on the other,” writes Mashable. According to AdMob, Google’s #2 Android platform is gaining steam and positioned to surpass Apple’s declining iPhone OS platform. How? “Mobile search and location based services will allow small local retailers and service providers to reach consumers like never before,” writes Advertising Age. Mobile search advertising is about search relevancy, and that’s Google’s domain.

How will Google surpass Apple? Search advertising is Google’s bread and butter, while Apple has to outsource it. Google’s AdMob provides “better engagement for advertisers in their interactions with mobile users; more effective monetization for publishers and developers and more relevant ads and access to more content (supported by ads) for users,” writes Search Engine Watch. Indeed, just as Google outpaced online advertisers by delivering relevant content, it will take this superior skill-set to mobile.

How will Google make advertising hyper-relevant? Google’s ad targeting technology and Android growth positions the search giant ahead of the curve. Imagine using Google search to find a new coffee maker. In the search results, you have the nearest Bed, Bath and Beyond, with drop-down images of top-rated coffee makers and a coupon advertisement to buy them. You select the coffee maker you want to buy, find it in store and scan your coupon advertisement on your phone to get BB&B’s famous 20 percent off discount. This concept moves beyond AdMob’s 7.1 billion mobile banner and display ads. Google has proven, time and again, it has the creativity and innovation to change markets (think AdWords). Could Google steer the mobile market in a new direction? Chances are, they’re already cooking up a plan to take over mobile advertisements.

Want to learn more about mobile trends? Read our 2010 Mobile Trend Report.

Image by Iva Villi from Stock.Xchng

Could HTC EVO & 4G Network Place Sprint Ahead of the Curve?

In the coming months, Verizon and AT&T may need to add another color to their battling maps: yellow. The reason? Sprint has just announced the upcoming summer release of its newest smartphone, the HTC EVO 4G, and the first device to run on the wireless carrier’s much-anticipated 4G network. With the phone already receiving rave reviews from tech geeks and gadget enthusiasts, Sprint is in position to compete with its rivals, and showcase itself as an innovator.

As the third largest wireless network, pressure to debut a strong network – in addition the next generation of phones – is definitely high. Verizon is known as the “coverage” network, while AT&T boasts the fastest network. Now, Sprint can claim its title as the most advanced network. Sprint’s 4G network will be powered by a wireless technology called WiMax, which is already functioning in 27 cities, including Philadelphia, Chicago, and Las Vegas. The carrier claims its 4G offerings will allow for speeds 10 times greater than typical 3G networks. When 4G is expanded to more areas (30 more cities are scheduled to be 4G equipped by this summer), Sprint will be providing aspects of wireless coverage that have yet to be offered by a single carrier — giving Sprint a distinct advantage and edge over its competition.

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Still, if Sprint wants to stand a chance at competing with Verizon and AT&T, their network, coverage and service will need to be flawless. Luckily, Sprint’s third place position could give them an advantage. Less demand on Sprint’s network may enable a smoother rollout, while giving them time to make it stronger if any problems do surface.

Even if some hiccups do occur, Sprint should still be recognized for being well ahead of the curve. Although both Verizon and AT&T have spoken of developing their respective 4G networks, nothing is solid yet. AT&T has predicted 2011 for their 4G network debut, while Verizon’s estimated date of 4G entrance has come and gone. Sprint’s announcement may just be the motivation Verizon, AT&T, and even T-Mobile need to get the ball rolling.

From a gadgetry standpoint, the EVO may also be a legitimate rival for the iPhone and Droid, something HTC’s Nexus One has failed to live up to. The EVO, which will run on the latest Android platform features a sleek 4.3 inch touchscreen display (the iPhone display is 3.7 inches), two cameras, HDMI input, a kickstand for hands-free media viewing, and mobile hotspot functions. Not only will Sprint have a network that’s ahead of the curve, they’ll have have a solid device, too. Although the EVO may never overtake iPhone sales – nearly 43 million iPhones have been sold to date – its availability will give Sprint users the option to have a sleek, powerful phone without the hassle of switching carriers.

In the war against wireless carriers, Sprint is often left out. Now, the company has the perfect opportunity to showcase its strengths and capture potential customers who are frustrated with their existing service. Hopefully Sprint will be able to harness this advantage, liven up the competition, and gain the success it has long-been seeking.

Mobile is the Next Smart Platform

android_smart_featureRemember car phones? Anyone calling from a car phone would try to shock you with, “guess where I’m calling from?” It was revolutionary. Fast forward 20 years and now an iPhone, Android or Blackberry has more processing power than all the computers in the Apollo 11 Lunar Lander that put two men on the moon. Mobile has the web capabilities of desktop computers and incorporates a powerful secondary element: location. Blending web intelligence with geo-location, mobile is the next smart platform.

“Two thirds of mobile users around the globe are interested in ‘smart’ services that would feed them information based on personal preferences, location, time of day and social setting,” writes Nielson. In other words, consumers increasingly seek relevancy in mobile technology. Mobile users are quick to adopt location-based technology. In fact, 60 percent of consumers consider location-triggered messages are “cool” and “innovative.”

Social networks, advertisers and game developers leverage mobile location capabilities to tap into this rising relevancy trend. FourSquare blends social networking with geo-location tech to create a location-based game whereby users are connected based on favorite locations. The location-based social network has an estimated 450k users. FourSquare is among many other location-based social networks, including Gowalla and Google Latitude. Connecting people based on favorite hang-outs… beat that desktop PC.

Google is also taking the relevancy trend to the next level. It blends the power of its search engine with location to create the ultimate iPhone app (not to mention its Android platform!). Tap on the Google Voice logo, say “pizza.” Below the links to Dominoes and Pizza Hut, Google offers local pizza shops, phone numbers (that I can call with one touch), addresses, consumer reviews, and will give me directions to the closest one from my current location.

How will mobile devices get smarter? Imagine blending Amazon’s recommendations with Google local search and FourSquare “check-ins.” The result? When you search Google for pizza, it will recommend NY Style pizza shops — after all, it is your favorite. Based on pizza shops you’ve visited, Google knows you prefer NY Style over Chicago or that you went to that pizza joint last week and might be ready for a change based on your dining habits. FourSquare’s location-based social network technology could then recommend friends in the area to invite and enjoy your pie. Amazon recommendations, Google local search and FourSquare “check-in” technology is here. It’s not hard to imagine a future in which your iPhone or Android knows your favorite pizza.

Want to learn more about mobile trends? Read our 2010 Mobile Trend Report.

Why Nintendo 3DS Will Revolutionize Handheld Gaming Systems

For you gamer geeks out there, remember Virtual Boy? Virtual Boy was Nintendo’s first foray into 3D technology. Although you were the coolest geek on the block to don the gaming headset (likely modeled after a space helmet), it was a market failure. The concept was fun, innovative and cutting edge, but the bulky headset was obtrusive and annoying. Nintendo is re-focusing its 3D vision with the recent announcement of the Nintendo 3DS handset. The innovator behind the revolutionary Wii is on track to transform handheld gaming with 3D. The best part: it’s without 3D glasses or helmet. While its 1995 Virtual Boy got an F, we anticipate Nintendo has the right user audience, experience and timing to successfully launch a 3D portable gaming device.

Critics, such as Sony’s Director of Hardware and Marketing, John Koller believe 3D is a fleeting trend. “I think it remains to be seen where Nintendo goes with 3D on a portable, having been in the portable space for quite awhile, I think it’s an interesting move but one I’d like to see where they go from a demographic standpoint. 8 and 9 year-olds playing 3D is a little bit of a stretch given where some of our research is right now.” Historically, Nintendo has positioned itself ahead of the curve and thrives on “stretching” boundaries and expectations to reinvent the user experience (think Nintendo Wii). The user audience, experience and timing are perfectly aligned to make the 3DS a game-changer:

Audience
Nintendo’s core audiences is BETA People, or early adopters, who thrive on discovering the latest trends and toying with cutting-edge gadgets. The game developer’s website suggests its target audiences are young, tech-savvy professionals seek Nintendo DSi’s intellectual engagement (e.g. Move Your Brain) and an entertaining experience (e.g. Mario Party). With current features on the DSi, such as real-time image editing (via filters) and audio manipulation, users want to stretch reality. These are the same people that watched Avatar in 3D for its cutting edge approach.

User experience
Unlike Virtual Boy’s ridiculous helmet, the 3DS requires no special “gear.” Users game in 3D without the 3D glasses. “Nintendo didn’t disclose how this would be done but it will most likely be with a screen that has a thin sheet of lenses in front of the main display panel,” writes PC World. Currently, Nintendo utilizes head-tracking technology to generate a faux-3D experience (see below). Regardless of the approach, the 3DS produces the same user experience, only in 3D, without turning the user into an astronaut.

Timing
Historically, 3D has taken a backseat in entertainment — usually the domain of books and premium Disney-world rides. James Cameron changed American’s perspective of 3D with Avatar. In fact, his approach to 3D earned him the number one grossing box office film of all time (taking home over $2 billion). Now, Alice in Wonderland and others tout a fantastical 3D experience. If the film industry is any indicator, Americans are now ready for 3D.

“Nintendo has shown that they are the master of innovation – with the motion-sensitive Wii and touch-sensitive DS leading the way,” writes Game Junkie, Gerard Campbell. While Nintendo’s 3D track record is spotty at best, the game developer is positioned to revolutionize the handheld gaming market. Nintendo touts its new DSi to be the “next step in portable gaming…” for now. Nintendo announced the 3DS will launch sometime before the end of March 2011 and more news would be coming at the 2010 E3 gaming expo in Los Angeles. Until then, critics can speculate and fan boys can dream. Nonetheless, the Nintendo 3DS will make a big splash in the gaming world.