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Holiday Wrap Up on Connected Devices, Looking to 2012, and CES

It seems that this holiday season was a highly-connected holiday based on initial numbers coming in from multiple sources.  According to Flurry Analytics, about 6.8 million tablets and smartphones using Apple iOS or Google Android were activated on Christmas Day, which is more than double the 2.8 million devices activated last Christmas Day. In addition, about a quarter of a billion apps were downloaded on Christmas Day at Apple's App Store and Google's Android Market, up from 85 million last Christmas. Forrester Research estimated Apple sold another 8 million iPads in the United States this quarter and Amazon sold 5 million Kindle Fires. Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii have also sold millions of more units in the fourth quarter, with nearly 1 million Xbox 360 consoles being sold Black Friday week. These are just a few examples of the data points showing how much more connected we are becoming as a society, and reinforces the point that a great user experience goes beyond the initial sale to the content and apps the device will interface with.

Looking to 2012, more connected devices will become active with more intelligence to benefit consumers, but also with more complexity to deliver the connected experience. Certainly some of the popular devices gaining media attention continue to be the Nintendo Wii U, Sony PlayStation Vita, Xbox 720 and Apple iTV. There also appear to be category re-inventions in devices like watches by companies like I'm Watch and thermostats by companies like Nest, which rethink how even simple devices can become connected and provide valuable capabilities to consumers. What do you think will be some of the hot devices of 2012?

With CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) just about a week away, it seems likely that many new connected devices will be showcased or announced so companies can set a tone for what consumers can expect in 2012. I look forward to meeting with many of the connected device businesses there, and will also be moderating a panel on "Over-the-Top Video, TV, Tablet, Smartphone, PC on Connecting into the Future" on Tuesday January 10th with representative from the likes of Sony, Samsung, Scripps Network and Hollywood Portfolio. I will also be participating on a panel on "The Impact of Entertainment Industries of Cloud Computing" which will also include representatives from the likes of Gracenote, Sorenson Media, Screen Actors Guild, IBM and Gaikai. I plan to blog at CES to share highlights of discussions and thoughts on the show and related news. 

What do you think will be some of the big announcements at CES or hot topics?

Kris Alexander is Akamai's Chief Strategist for Connected Entertainment and Gaming


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