The Tablet Takeover Is Here — Let’s Take a Look

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The computer world is experiencing a tablet takeover – and the PC world as we know it may be fading away. At least, that’s what the latest numbers show after the first quarter this year.

The latest IDC report shows a significant surge of 142.4 percent in global sales since this time last year with 49.2 million shipments the opening months of 2013, according to the latest IDC report. These numbers already surpass the total shipments for the entire first half of 2012.

Design & Trend says such massive growth is due to the consumers’ preferences for small-screen devices over PCs.

But the issue may not be about the rise of tablet popularity, but about the decline of PCs. Yahoo News breaks down the latest numbers from IDC’s first quarter report, “PC shipments posted their “steepest decline ever in a single quarter” in Q1 2013, as the 76.3 million PCs shipped represented a 13.9% decline from Q1 2012.”

Financial Times says Windows 8 has actually hurt the PC market as its introduction contributed to “the worst quarter since IDC’s records began in 1994.”

For many reasons, PC makers have failed in providing any competitive advantages to the rise of tablets and TIME Tech notes, “the overriding reason is that selling a tablet is not at all the same as selling a laptop. Being successful doesn’t just require good hardware, it also requires differentiated software (not to be confused with bloatware), ultra-competitive prices and tons of advertising. PC makers aren’t known for any of those things, and it’s hard to see how that’ll change.”

Sure, the portability and convenience of tablets and other mobile devices carry much of the advantage, but Forbes explains there are some qualities of PCs that just cannot be replaced… yet.

“It’s not just my main programs like Microsoft Office that I like, but also lots of little utilities, such as the ones that let me redefine certain keys, or allow me to capture and easily edit portions of the screen. I know there are tablet apps that do some of these same things, and eventually I may shift more of my work to tablets, but I find these apps convenient and even comforting.”

All this chatter got Reuters thinking – maybe the tablet versus PC war doesn’t need to have any casualties. The intense popularity of tablets may ultimately help – not detriment – the future of PCs.

“New things don’t necessarily kill old things. Television was an enormous disrupter of the movie industry, but Hollywood adapted with improvements in audio and video that could not be matched on the home screen. In the TV era, movies and theaters didn’t wither and die. TV improved the movies.

Tablets can do the same for PCs.”

Reuters goes on to stress that PC makers must not dwell on their inconveniences compared to tablets, but find compelling reasons to declare why traditional computers are still relevant.

Still refuse to pick a side? Reuters may have the answer – hybrid devices.

“[W]e’ve only begun to see the possibilities of hybrid devices — offering the promise of the best of both the tablet and laptop world.”
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Living in a Smartphone World

Covering a hot topic in the tech world, I researched and wrote this blogpost for Newsy.

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It’s official – smartphones have taken over. The first quarter of 2013 marks the first time smartphones out-shipped feature phones.

The latest International Data Corporation report shows out of the 418.6 million mobile devices shipped worldwide, smartphones claim 216.2 million – or 51.6 percent – of that tally.

The smartphone market has been on the rise in the past year with a 41.6 percent improvement since the first quarter of 2012.

With these stats, Mobile Marketing Daily numbers the days of the simplistic feature phones, even in emerging markets where standard devices typically hold more popularity.

“This tipping point in the phone market shifts the center of power to those vendors that are most reliant on their smartphone lines.”

Though this may not come as much of a surprise to some, IDC Senior Research Analyst Kevin Restivo validates the shift.

“Phone users want computers in their pockets,” stated Restivo. “The days where phones are used primarily to make phone calls and send text messages are quickly fading away.”

So, which company can call itself the smartphone king? LA Times reports Samsung took a strong lead in the first quarter with 70.7 million smartphone shipments – 32.7 percent in the first quarter, dominating the next top company at 17.3 percent for Apple.

CNet notes clear bumps in shipments for each Top 5 mobile company: Samsung saw a 60.7 percent increase, Apple up 6.6 percent, followed by LG up 110 percent, Huawei up 94 percent, and ZTE up 49 percent.

And Gigaom says Samsung’s throne on the smartphone hierarchy will remain unchallenged.

“Unless Samsung stumbles in a big way, it’s not likely that another Android handset maker will outsell Apple’s iPhone any time soon. For all intents and purposes, Samsung is the de facto Android standard, having built a huge audience with its line of Galaxy smartphones.”

While the fight for global mobile dominance evolves, PC Mag reports the move from big name companies of the past to the emergence of Chinese vendors:

“A year ago, it was common to see previous market leaders Nokia, BlackBerry, and HTC among the top five,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC’s mobile phone team said. “While those companies have been in various stages of transformation since, Chinese vendors, including Huawei and ZTE as well as Coolpad and Lenovo, have made significant strides to capture new users with their respective Android smartphones.” (PC Mag)

And with this surge of smartphones will news apps see a pop in popularity? CNet says, yes.

The app market also saw an 11 percent hike in mobile app downloads over all 2012 downloads combined. The total 13.4 billion downloads raked in $2.2 billion in the these first few months alone.

“Apps have had a huge impact on the way consumers use mobile devices, what they value, and what they expect from smart phones and tablets,” Canalys chief analyst for analytics Adam Daum said in a statement. (CNet)

MU Campus and Lee Elementary Named Food Deserts

*I am innovating the broadcast newsroom with multimedia content and online exclusive coverage at KOMU-8 News in Columbia, Mo. This story offers an in-depth text story, accompanied by a video and two map graphics to provide a comprehensive package.

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COLUMBIA -The end of a school year means the reflection on a program and the implementation of new regulations. The University of Missouri completed its first year offering the Zoutrition online nutrition guide. Now the Columbia Public School District is preparing for a new model and food regulations.

The University of Missouri campus and Lee Expressive Arts Elementary School were designated ‘food deserts’ by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Locally, the only designated food desert spans north from Stadium Boulevard to Broadway, between Old Hwy 63 and Providence Road.

MU graduate student Greg Soden agrees with the label. “We can’t really eat in [the MU Student Center] for under $6.50 or $7. In the larger scheme of things that’s really not that much for graduate student stipends are low, so we’re living on very little,” Soden said. “For me, getting to HyVee is a real chore. So a lot of times, I am forced to eat around campus because otherwise I simply will not eat because I have so many things to do.”

The USDA published the Food Desert Locator in 2009, it highlights low-income areas with low access to affordable healthy foods:

•”To qualify as a ‘low-income community,’ a census tract must have either: 1) a poverty rate of 20 percent or higher, OR 2) a median family income at or below 80 percent of the area’s median family income;
•To qualify as a ‘low-access community,’ at least 500 people and/or at least 33 percent of the census tract’s population must reside more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store (for rural census tracts, the distance is more than 10 miles).”

According to information provided by the MU Director of Financial Aid Nicholas Prewett, the MU campus seems to fit the USDA food desert criteria. Prewett said the office processed aid for 27,057 students last year. That’s about 81 percent of MU’s 33,318 total student population in Fall 2011. The closest grocery stores are roughly three miles away in circumference.

But do school campuses make a difference? It is unclear if the USDA considered the student and faculty access to campus dining halls and food vendors when measuring for low accessibility.

Such vendors are the closest and most convenient food sources for on-campus residents. According to Campus Dining Services Marketing Manager Michael Wuest,the MU campus has 20 food locations including convenience stores, all-you-can-eat style, and retail restaurants. Wuest said every year, Campus Dining researches a local ‘marketing basket,’ setting MU’s food prices according to prices of comparable food options in the Columbia area. “That’s one misconception I think people see on college campuses is that they think everything’s more expensive because of the convenience factor,” Wuest said. “Yeah, it is convenient but when you actually do the comparisons you see that we’re right in line with what you see in the market.” Wuest added healthy food options have always been available, but a new online service is helping consumers manage their diets.

Zoutrition is an online nutrition guide to MU’s daily menus. Wuest said the cheat sheet was 10 years in the making and has seen it grow in popularity since its launch in the Fall 2011 semester. “It’s been very positive so far. We use Google Analytics for Zoutrition and we’re seeing a few thousand users throughout each month. On high days, it’s probably 4-500. On low days you’re around 100 and that’s basically in line with what you see student population here on campus,” Wuest said.

Lee Elementary will also see healthy improvements to its program. The Nutritional Services division of the Columbia Public School District is transitioning to a whole set of new USDA regulations. “What we are going to do it start a ‘regionalized kitchen’ model so that we can maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of our kitchens,” said Laina Fullam, Director of Nutritional Services.

Food for all K-8 schools in the district will be prepared in five regional kitchens and be reheated at each school. Fullam said this model will conserve, “We found that this model is the best way to be able to afford the healthier foods. We want to maximize our efficiency to afford higher quality, whole grain bread”. “The sodium content will be lower.”

Despite the expected improvements and current changes to campus dining, Soden said more can be done. “I recognize that good food costs money to make, but I think that Mizzou could lead a really interesting example by reaching out to local farmers and see what they can bring in,” Soden said. “I would like to know what it is they are actually doing.”

KOMU contacted the USDA for clarification and had not heard back as of Tuesday.

No. 10 Mizzou softball blasts a 7-0 win over No. 18 Baylor for series sweep

By Barbara Maningat

Missouri Tiger bats were slow to make noise this series – but they wasted no time in Game 3. The Tigers blasted seven straight unanswered runs in the first two innings, completing the series sweep with a shutout over the Baylor Bears on Sunday, 7-0. This game extended Missouri’s home winning streak to 21 straight and moved the team to a 28-5 record on the season, 7-2 in Big 12 play.

The Tigers managed a 4-2 win on Saturday and ended Game 2 eager for offensive contact earlier in the game.

Freshman Kelsea Roth said Missouri batters modified their approach for Game 3.

“We came up with a better plan today and we came out knowing what we need to hit and how to adjust, the adjustments we didn’t make for yesterday’s game,” Roth said.

Roth went 2-for-7 with no runs and no RBIs in the first two games of the series, so she made some adjustments for Game 3 as she went.

“They’ve been throwing me inside for most of the series, so I was just looking for the inside,” Roth said. “It definitely felt a lot better because I wasn’t doing too hot this series.”

The adjustments were obvious from the first at-bat.

Ashley Fleming began the four-run rally with a one-run double to right field to score Corrin Genovese. Roth then struck her fourth home run of the season to score Fleming.

Lindsey Muller and Kelsea Jones finished the first inning with back-to-back singles. Muller scored on a throwing error.

The Tigers loaded the bases again in the second inning and added three more runs for the early 7-0 lead. Jenna Marston, Genovese and Nicole Hudson were on base when Fleming singled for an RBI. Genovese later scored on a walk by Roth and Muller reached on a fielder’s choice to contribute the last RBI of the game.

While Missouri batters kept swinging, pitcher Chelsea Thomas kept Baylor batters idle. She shut out the Bears with 10 strikeouts and allowed only two hits, improving to 14-3 on the season.

“We cut back on the changeup and tried to get easy outs,” Thomas said. “And it worked out. That was our only adjustment from yesterday’s game for pitching.”

Tiger heads now turn to a big three-game series against the No. 6 Texas Longhorns in Austin, beginning Thursday, April 5.

Hudson’s grand slam adds second Missouri win over Baylor

By Barbara Maningat

Before the sixth inning, the Missouri Tigers only had two hits – until their bats came alive. Hudson hit a grand slam that swung the Tigers ahead to a 4-2 victory in Game 2 over the Baylor Bears.

The Bears scored first with a two-run homer by pinch hitter Shelbi Redfearn in the top of the fifth inning. The Tigers closed the inning scoreless, leaving them anxious to retaliate.

Then the Tigers responded.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Ashtin Stephens sparked some hope with a single to left field. Corrin Genovese then struck out swinging, but back-to-back walks by Jenna Marston and Ashley Fleming loaded the bases for Hudson’s grand slam.

“I was right in the spot that I wanted to be and she left me something out there I could get a hold of,” Hudson said. “I think I’ve hit the outside pitch well and the inside pitch well, but I’m feeling pretty confident at this point.”

She also said the Tiger offense needs improvement for Sunday’s game.

“I think everyone wants to come out swinging and come out with a plan and jump on them a lot earlier. We should have hit a lot better than we did today, but I think we’ll make up for it tomorrow,” Hudson said.

Kristin Nottelmann started off for the Tigers on the mound and threw little for the Bears to bite.

“One of Baylor’s general weaknesses was hitting the change-up and I think it worked perfectly today,” Nottelmann said.

She pitched five and one-third innings and struck out four, allowing four hits and two earned runs. Bailey Erwin relieved Nottelmann to close the sixth and allowed only one hit. Chelsea Thomas then came in for the save in the seventh.

With two wins in the three-game series, the Tigers look to complete the sweep over Baylor in Game 3, Sunday at noon.

“Anything less [than a sweep] is a disappointment,” Hudson said.

If Missouri takes the third win, they would extend their home winning streak to 21-straight and bolster momentum into a pivotal series against No. 6 Texas starting April 5.