Biz Break: Smartphone apps lead the way in time spent online

Top Of The Order:  

App, App And Away…: As technology has changed over the years, it’s no surprise that the devices we use, and how much time we spend using them, has evolved.

We all hear stories from our parents and grandparents about the days when there were only three TV networks (not counting the local re-run station and PBS, back when British shows consisted of either “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” or boring costume-period dramas). You didn’t have many options for your “digital life.” Cable TV expanded that, as it brought hundreds of channels into your living room, and for years, the TV remained the main method by which people interacted with digital media.

The personal computer came around and began to eat into the average person’s digital time, but let’s be honest…Until the World Wide Web came about and people and companies realized what they could do online with their PCs (Remember Compuserve chat rooms, anyone?) the computer wasn’t really a true entertainment and research device.

Smash cut to a few years later, and with everyone with a smartphone in their hand. Apple, it could be argued, changed the digital media landscape forever with the introduction of the iPhone and its App Store. Now, there are apps for everything. And for the first time, smartphone apps have claimed half the amount of time Americans spend online.

That’s what a recent comScore study has determined. The research firm’s latest study says that in July, smartphone apps accounted for 50 percent of the time Americans were online, an amount that rose from about 46 percent last year and 41 percent in 2014. The breakdown for all major internet-access devices was as follows:

  1. Smartphone apps: 50 percent
  2. Desktop/Laptop PCs: 32 percent
  3. Tablet apps: 9 percent
  4. Smartphone web browsers: 7 percent
  5. Tablet web browsers: 2 percent

The reasons for the growth in smartphone app usage will probably come as no surprise.

“Unless you already happen to be sitting at a computer, a smartphone app is probably your first option when you decide to listen to music, get directions to a destination, check the weather or catch up on email,” comScore said about its study results. “The convenience factor is simply too powerful. You almost always have your smartphone on you, and apps allow you to immediately access a service in one simple tap of the screen.”

Middle Innings:

And Speaking Of Screens…: Did you hear the one about the iPhone 7? No? Well, that’s because Apple hasn’t confirmed the thing even exists. Duh!

Well, just because Apple hasn’t said anything about the iPhone 7 doesn’t mean the thing isn’t real. And on Tuesday, we’ll get a look at the iPhone 7 (That’s what it’s being called by everyone, although Apple could throw a curve ball and call the thing the iPhone Awesome, I guess) when Apple hosts an event in San Francisco on Wednesday. The Mercury News’ Michelle Quinn takes a look at what the next iPhone might have (wireless earbuds) and what it might not have (an outlet to plug in those earbuds, or other earphone products that you’ve been plugging into your iPhone for almost 10 years, now).

Diagnosing A Good Deal: Have you ever heard of Cepheid? No? Well, you probably wish you had, and had bought some stock  in the Sunnyvale-based maker of molecular systems used in genetic testing. That’s because Cepheid celebrated coming back from the three-day Labor Day weekend by getting acquired by Danaher for $4 billion.

Cepheid is probably best known for its GeneXpert testing systems that can give test results in up to two hours for conditions involving infectious diseases and other matters. The technology analyzes a person’s genetic makeup to give doctors better, and quicker information on treatment options. Danaher has focused more of its attention on life sciences, diagnostics and similar technologies, but was lacking a molecular-testing and diagnosis component.

Hence, the reason Danaher was willing to $53 a share for Cepheid, or a 54 percent premium over Cepheid’s closing price of $34.42 a share last Friday. The deal is expected to be finalized in the fourth quarter of this year.

Stalin Would Be Proud: Russia. Well, sometimes, it just speaks for itself.

Apparently, a Russian “YouTuber” is facing up to five years in jail for — get ready for it — making a video of himself playing Pokémon Go in a Russian church. No, we are not making this up.

The offending party, a man named Ruslan Sokolovsky, was filmed as he took out his smartphone and began catching Pokémon in the Church of All Saints located in the Russian city of Yekaterinberg. The video has been watched on YouTube more than a million times since it was first posted in August. According to the U.K. news site The Guardian, Sokolovsky was charged with inciting hatred and offending religious sensibilities, and detained for two months for playing Pokémon during church services.

So, if your kids complain about you telling them to knock off the Pokémon playing for a while, just let them know what happens to those who disobey the rules in Russia.

Bottom Of The Lineup:

Here’s a look at how some leading Silicon Valley stocks did Tuesday…

Movin’ On Up: In addition to Cepheid, gains came from Sigma Designs, Natus Medical, Yahoo, Rovi and GoPro.

In The Red: Decliners included Inphi, Advanced Micro Devices, Intersil, Cavium and Ultratech Holdings.

The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.5 percent to 5,275.91.

The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.3 percent to end the day at 18,538.12.

And the broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 Index also rose by 0.3 percent to 2,186.48.

Quote Of The Day: “Words matter,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner, who spoke after President Obama cancelled a planned meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte after some insulting comments Duterte made about Obama.

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Photo: An Apple iPhone with apps galore. (Associated Press)


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