AT&T, Verizon offer daily deals with a phone-tracking twist

AT&T is offering an SMS location-based offers service, while Verizon is delving deep into the handset to cull web and app usage information for its deal targeting purposes. Both programs are opt-in only in an attempt to head off the inevitable concerns over privacy.

Which activities are preferred on tablets vs phones? Keynote tells all

A new survey explains that the no. 1 frustration on tablets and smartphones is the slow loading of web pages. That shouldn’t surprise, but the preferred activities for a smartphone and a tablet just might, suggesting that we’re not ready to dump the phone just yet.

Today in Mobile

Developer Trevor Eckhart has released a video detailing the workings of the popular (but little-known) software from Carrier IQ, and the findings are disturbing. The app — which is pre-installed on more than 140 million phones, is nearly impossible to get rid of and can’t be disabled — logs nearly every activity on the phone, from dialed numbers to the content of text messages to Web browsing, and reports that information back to Carrier IQ’s servers. The company claims its software is used to “measure key parameters of service and usage,” as my colleague Kevin C. Tofel notes in this thoughtful post, but I highly doubt most consumers will be OK with it. Expect some fallout in the coming days — and probably beyond.

Three reasons HTML5 will own the living room too

As evidenced by the news this week of the new HTML5-based Kindle Cloud Reader, much of the news about HTML5’s rapid ascent has centered on mobile devices. But the fast-growing technology won’t just be a one-screen phenomenon. In fact, HTML5 is set to completely invade the living room in the coming years, as the slow trickle of browsers and HTML onto TV screens grows into a flood.

The sofa web speaks HTML5

When the HTML-on-TV trend was just getting momentum in 2006, I noted to Om that true web browsing would be coming to TVs via game consoles.  While these early efforts at the “sofa web” please some early adopters, most people would ultimately access the TV web not through TV-based web-browsing but instead through optimized web TV platforms like Apple TV, Roku and Google TV.

But we’re at a new stage, where interfaces, apps and complete TV experiences will be rendered in HTML5, for three specific reasons.

1. Platform fatigue. While the first iteration of app-driven OTT devices like AppleTV and Roku made the TV web more palatable, each required developers to write to different platforms. As a result, the smart-TV industry is being dumbed down due to platform fragmentation. As we’ve started to see with the smartphone and tablet world, content providers and developers see new hope in HTML5 as a way to avoid the high cost of fragmentation.

And it’s not just content owners and developers; it’s the platform providers themselves, who see the benefits of HTML5 as they look to go to multiscreen and attract the best developers. Both Google and Boxee are embracing HTML5, and it’s clear that Apple TV could also go this route if Apple were to choose to do so.

2. Interfaces. Back in 2006, Philips and a few other CE companies saw the future and worked with the CEA to develop a TV-centric HTML interface that would work with remotes and the 10-foot interface required for the living room. While some technology providers like Oregan Networks embraced CE-HTML early, it took a while for it to make it to the living room. But it finally did, in 2009.

Moving forward, CE-HTML and HTML5 will be joined at the hip for new TV user interfaces, and it won’t just be for new-world platform providers like Google. DivX is rolling out HTML5 features in its players, and it is likely that Rovi itself could open up to HTML5 as it evolves its latest TotalGuide EPG.

3. Social TV platforms. I’ve been writing for a while about what could happen if Facebook really went after the TV interface, and it looks like the company is finally waking up to the opportunity. Facebook has long embraced browser apps on mobile devices, and just as it is moving toward HTML5 in this space, I expect its efforts in TV will utilize HTML5 as well.

I’ve also speculated about the possibility of Google+ on Google TV. As Google makes Google+ a true app platform, I expect that HTML5 will play a large part in both the social UI as well as any applications that are built on top of Google+.

As Om wrote earlier this week, HTML5 is gaining momentum across all the screens in our lives. TV will be no exception, and the blurring of the lines between over-the-top, pay TV and the web in general will continue apace because of it.

The HTML5 invasion of the living room has begun.

Question of the week

What long-term effects will HTML5 have for platform providers?

Can Carriers Finally Move the Needle in Mobile Music?

The hype surrounding mobile music continues despite the lack of evidence that the space will ever generate much in the way of revenues. But carriers still have a chance to use music to attract new consumers and keep the ones they have.

Sprint’s Boost a Model for Prepaid Success

The race to lure cost-conscious users with cut-rate prepaid plans is on. Sprint is demonstrating how Tier 1 operators can compete without turning their brands into the mobile equivalent of Wal-Mart. It’s a twist on the old MVNO model, but with the virtual operator serving as a subsidiary of the true operator. Sprint can position itself as the entrenched, familiar player with traditional plans as it attracts penny-pinching users via a separate brand in Boost.

How Much Web Do You Want on Your TV?

One of the big trends to emerge so far this year is the connected television set. Just about every big TV manufacturer is coming out with a set that plugs into the web to deliver news, social networks and even over-the-top video to the big screen. But while we’re getting drips and drabs of online capabilities by way of widgets and such, we don’t have full web browsing access on our TVs yet, and that’s on purpose.

The lack of full Internet functionality stems from a combination of factors, according to an excellent write-up in today’s New York Times on the state of the browsable television, among them price, the fear of your TV “crashing,” and whether or not people even want browse the web on their TVs. From the article:

“Sony’s stance is that consumers don’t want an Internet-like experience with their TVs, and we’re really not focused on bringing anything other than Internet video or widgets to our sets right now,” said Greg Belloni, a spokesman for Sony. Widgets is an industry term for narrow channels of Internet programming like YouTube.

Read More about How Much Web Do You Want on Your TV?