Devicescape releases the Q3 2011 Wi-Fi Report

Posted on November 22, 2011

Chalk it up as another banner quarter for Devicescape.  On the heels of growing to over 4 million hotspots globally, Devicescape just released its Q3 2011 Wi-Fi report.  What’s interesting about this quarter’s report is that I’m seeing some wavering in service provider loyalty.  Being a long-time Verizon Wireless subscriber myself, I assumed that most people were like me and would be resistant to carrier switching.  Unless of course it’s a hardware matter such as getting an iPhone but that has become irrelevant since Verizon now carries that smartphone. Data capping has become more and more of a subscriber concern over the last year with major carriers announcing intentions to get rid of unlimited data plans.  Although the reality is that most people don’t come close to the proposed plan caps, the idea of taking away consumer value from their plans is perceived as a hit to the consumer experience.  In the Devicescape report, 88% of respondents said that unlimited data plan offers would sway purchasing decisions.  If the mobile operators want to avoid carrier switching, they better come up with some solutions and educate their subscribers.  Data usage is only going to increase over time as rich content such…

The State of WiFi beyond 2015

Posted on November 11, 2011

I’m sure many of you have heard that the World Broadband Alliance just released their report titled “Global Developments in Public Wi-Fi”.  If you haven’t seen the report, you may have read one of the many articles that cite its many statistics.  The most significant statistic that’s been brought to our attention is the projected number of hotspots by 2015.  WBA projects 5.8 million hotspots. (We at Devicescape can confidently say there are significantly more but that’s a whole different discussion).  The point being is that WiFi is pervasive.  We all expected that though. Blogger Kevin Sandlin on the CWNP blog  poses an interesting question.  What will the state of WiFi be like beyond 2015?  He cites the WBA report, a Cisco report on their Networking Index and Forecasts, and IDC data.  In my view he doesn’t make any bold predictions but he does point out something interesting. From the Cisco report, he states that by 2015, WiFi will consume 37.2 exabytes of data versus 37 exabytes for wired and 6 exabytes for cellular.  The traffic over WiFi is 6x that of cellular.  So “mobility” as we know it today will really just be WiFi down the road. I think…

Support for Blackberry

Posted on June 10, 2011

We’re happy to announce that we’ve added support for Blackberry devices.  Easy WiFi is now available on App World.  Hurrah! This version of Easy WiFi is focused more tightly on the cellular offload problem.  It allows users to automatically connect to the Easy WiFi Network or any other WiFi providers they might use, but it drops the map and certain other niceties.  It’s just amazing how rapidly the mobile world is evolving and how the platform lineup has shifted so dramatically over the last few years. When we started it was all about Windows Mobile, Windows PC, and Symbian. Then Symbian started to mean “Nokia”. Then iPhone appeared and we saw the ascension of the smartphone but WinMo apparently was in the bathroom while everyone was getting ready to go out to the party.  It quickly became iOS, Blackberry and Windows PC and we have to invite Symbian along. Windows PC goes to the gym and tries to lose some pounds with Atom. Suddenly Android hits and the lineup is iOS, Blackberry, Android.  Symbian fell off a cliff, and although the PC is still huge the playing field has changed and the Netbook doesn’t allow you entry into the new…

iPhone "Tracking" Database

Posted on April 20, 2011

My news feeds have been alive today with reports that Apple is tracking all users of iOS devices, or at least recording information about where a device goes on the local file system. From an article at ZDNet to the original article about the software that can extract your location history and plot it on a map, there has been a lot written about the tracking aspect, and questions about the purpose of the data. The FAQ on the Pete Warden site even has this question & answer: Why is Apple collecting this information? It’s unclear. One guess might be that they have new features in mind that require a history of your location, but that’s pure speculation. The fact that it’s transferred across devices when you restore or migrate is evidence the data-gathering isn’t accidental. What I find interesting is that nothing I’ve read so far mentions that the majority of the tables in the database (it is an unencrypted SQLite database for those wondering) concern cell tower and WiFi access point locations. Of particular interest are these two tables: CREATE TABLE WifiLocation (MAC TEXT, Timestamp FLOAT, Latitude FLOAT, Longitude FLOAT, HorizontalAccuracy FLOAT, Altitude FLOAT, VerticalAccuracy FLOAT, Speed FLOAT,…

Survey Says: Users hate Data Caps!

Posted on October 21, 2010

On a quarterly basis Devicescape partners with friends in the industry to tap into our consumer base to better understand their wants and needs. This last quarter, Devicescape partnered with Eye-Fi, the creator of the world’s first wireless memory card and a Devicescape Easy WiFi customer (thank you Eye-Fi). One of the items we wanted to ask about this time was the issue of data capping of cellular data plans.  We figured that in light of all the  recent news around this hot topic—AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon are all talking about data capping and tiered pricing—we should hear from our users. Wow!  What a response: the majority of respondents (77.9 percent) would consider switching service providers if their current plan was data-capped. Clearly it’s a contentious issue.  Almost 79 percent indicated data capping would impact their use of applications (particularly, and unsurprisingly, how much video they stream). Some other highlights: Almost 91 percent of respondents feared their service providers would pass along to them costs associated with data traffic surges. A majority of respondents (61.2 percent) indicated they would not pay a premium price for an unlimited data plan. Still, a fair number of respondents (38.8 percent) indicated they would…

Venue Information

Posted on July 16, 2010

Our iPhone/iPod touch/iPad users and 5th Edition Nokia users got to see a new feature in their apps this week: Venue Information. I thought I’d take a little time to explain what we’ve added, and why it matters. And don’t worry if you use us on an Android device, or access our map via our web page, the same features will be coming to those places too soon. What Is It? For now, we’re collecting only some basic information about each venue: Its name Its type (via a set of tags) A rating (1-5 stars) Obviously, we have a geocode as well. At the moment, you will see an address, but that is always generated today by reverse geocoding the coordinates. Over time, we hope to be able to collect addresses too and pin locations down based on that data. How Do I See This Information? You will notice in the map callouts, as well as for some rows in the history screen, that a new icon has appeared to the right of the information. Tap that and you will be taken to the venue information for that venue, if we have any.   If we don’t have any, then…

The mega trend: Free WiFi = 3G Offload

Posted on May 25, 2010

AT&T announced yesterday that they’re creating a WiFi “hotzone” in Times Square, NY.   While there is speculation that this might be linked to the upcoming launch of the 4th gen iPhone, which is rumored to make video calls only over WiFi, I think it’s simply indicative of the mega trend towards WiFi offload and free (or bundled) access. There’s always been a lot of free WiFi around, but now we’re seeing it being embraced strategically by the big networks, in locations where many people are concentrated.  Corporate altruism?  Perhaps.  More likely a way to push out good services, especially multi-media, to users without devastating the cellular infrastructure or requiring billions of new dollars in new investment. It’s great to see WiFi pushing to the fore as a strategic complement to cellular.  Our recent WiFi report highlighted that users understand 3G and WiFi and want them both, together!  But, it’s clear that WiFi as a service complement will only work if it’s as reliable and easy to use as cellular, and that’s where WiFi still has a long way to go. Here at Devicescape we’re very energized by this trend as our specialty is automating the WiFi experience.    We completely support…

Easy WiFi selected for iRiver's eBook Readers

Posted on April 29, 2010

iRiver announced today that they are using Easy WiFi to provide global hotspot connectivity for their eBook readers!  The announcement showed the iRiver Story as a first recipient. Of course eReaders are just one category of emerging WiFi devices, but a good one for Easy WiFi.  The devices typically don’t include web browsers and need to be simple for all types of people to use.  Manually logging into public networks is so incredibly painful it’s doubtful users would really subject themselves to it. Easy WiFi gives iRiver’s users the capability to choose the WiFi providers they want, and be logged in automatically.  And, since Easy WiFi supports thousands of providers all over the world, iRiver get a single solution for a global market.

Eye-Fi and Easy WiFi

Posted on April 27, 2010

Eye-Fi announced today that their new X2 cards are being upgraded with Easy WiFi!  If you don’t know Eye-Fi, they make super cool SD storage cards for digital cameras which contains a WiFi chip that can automatically upload your photos to the web. What this means for users is that they can now upload their pictures all over the world, at the many hundreds of Easy WiFi Network locations!  Imagine being able to share your photos quickly, have “endless storage” because your card is never full, and have a web backup in case you lose your camera.  The Eye-Fi card does all that! We’re very excited to be working with Eye-Fi.  Aside from a great product, it’s an amazing example of what Easy WiFi can do.  An SD card is a challenging environment to say the least – despite the lack of UI and limited resources, Easy WiFi still allows the X2 card to access a world of WiFi automatically. Congrats to our partners at Eye-Fi for this groundbreaking new product!  Learn more at

Q1 2010 WiFi Report – A Wish List

Posted on April 23, 2010

We just completed the Q1 survey for our quarterly WiFi Report, where we probe into the opinions of our membership about WiFi.  I thought I would share a few of the interesting findings. Check these charts out (sorry for the squeezed font size): Bit of an obvious response, perhaps, given that the survey was done to the Easy WiFi membership, but it’s still a big datapoint for device manufacturers.  With so much attention on 3G connectivity it’s great to know that there’s such demand for WiFi. So, if users want WiFi enablement, what types of devices do they use today? Today it’s a PC and smartphone market.  What’s in the shopping wish-list though? The iPad is a runaway hit with almost 59% of respondents wanting one!  This could have something to do with the survey being conducted right at the peak of the iPad launch, of course.  Number 2 is for digital cameras.  Interesting.  Having lost an SD card full of vacation photos last year I love the idea of photos being stored up on the web! Check back later for more insights.  If you’re interested in getting a copy of the WiFi Report you can request it here and…