Yahoo!'s new Hub application is seen as a response to other free messaging apps and lets users message anyone or any group of recipients using other services. The Hub is available only for Android devices, and users must have a U.S. SIM card and text plan.
AT&T will begin marketing the Nexus S smartphone from Samsung Electronics and Google on Sunday, joining T-Mobile USA and Sprint Nextel. AT&T will charge $99 for the handset, which includes near-field communications technology that supports mobile payments. Also at Samsung, the South Korean phone maker said it would bring its Galaxy II S handset to the U.S. next month.
Mobile payments are not catching on as quickly as some experts once expected, with 38% more users predicted this year, for a total of 141 million, according to the Gartner research firm. Among the restraining factors are unanticipated technical complications involving near-field communications systems, which experts say are still at least four years from becoming mainstream. "The biggest hurdle is the need to change user behavior by convincing consumers to pay with mobile phones instead of cash and cards," said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner.
Target is trying out on-demand coupons in a number of stores, and so far customers opt-ins for Text to Get have doubled since February, the company says. A bigger rollout is planned for the mobile coupons, which are delivered via text message and link users to a mobile Web page with offers.
Conde Nast and Adobe are trying out a set of reader-response measures for various kinds of digital ads on a select group of advertisers. Adobe's Omniture unit said the metrics will gauge distribution, audience exposure and user engagement. The goal is to share results industrywide and help establish standards for ad metrics.