TODAY: When is the right time to Upgrade?

I like to tell people, when considering a product to buy, break it down into a category. Is this a purchase of primary importance? Of secondary importance? Or is it a luxury?

On the TODAY show this morning I had the chance to talk to Matt Lauer about how you should think about smartphones and tablets. When do you upgrade your device? How do you make that upgrade decision? Is there anything you can do/buy to prolong having to make those decisions?

For more info about some recent tablets, phones, and other devices, check out the following links:
– My video review of the Microsoft Surface tablet a serious iPad competitor.
– Our Tablet Buying Guide where we break down price points, features, and specs on all the major tablets.
CONTEST: I’m giving away 10 smartphone and tablet accessories

TODAY show: Impact of having on billion users?

Ahead of this morning’s announcement that Facebook had reached one billion users, was a short TODAY show segment I was asked to appear in to talk about a few Facebook facts, like how growth is happening mostly abroad these days and how many there have been more than 1 trillion likes and 200 billion photos uploaded to the service.

If you want to see Matt Lauer’s interview with Mark Zuckerberg that aired this morning, you can watch that here.

TODAY show: Mark Zuckerberg announces that Facebook has a billion users

Mark Zuckerberg interview with Matt Lauer

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared on the TODAY show in an exclusive interview with Matt Lauer show earlier this morning to announce a “historic milestone” Faceboook now has one billion users.

In the United States, almost everyone who wants to be on Facebook already has an account. Growth over the past year in the US is just 9%, not a big increase. Abroad, however, Facebook has been making huge gains in terms of number of users.

The Biggest Facebook Growth is Happening Abroad

This past year, Facebook growth in Japan exploded, with a 507% increase in users. That by far is the biggest percentage growth, though other countries have continued to expand their Facebook usage as of late. Three of the top 20 counties doubled their numbers of Facebook users in the past year, including Brazil (which is now #2, behind the US, in total number of users), Thailand, and Egypt. India saw nearly 50% growth, though it dropped to #3, bringing its numbers up to 56 millons Facebook accounts.

Around 32% of the world’s population is online, or around 2.26 billion people. Facebook is clearly starting to reach a critical mass, and it’s future growth may actually be limited by how many new homes the Internet can reach in the coming years. As well, Facebook is still blocked in China, denying it access to more than a billion people.

A billion people on Facebook is a staggering number, thats just about 44% of everyone who’s online. Other online services may have tons of users, but none of them actually come close. Twitter boasts 500 million users, and Gmail claims 425 million users.

While all of these services suffer a certain difficulty in reporting a true number of unique users (some people have more than one account, or abandon their accounts), one thing is true: people are engaging with Internet services, especially social ones, in huge numbers right now.

If you want to see the complete growth numbers for Facebook broken down for each of the top 20 countries, scroll to the end of the article—we’ve got the full list of numbers of users by country, current as of last month.

Facebook’s Biggest Challenges

One of the big challenges Facebook has faced as of late is in mobile. While their pickup on Instagram meant they added some serious talent to their mobile team, it was only in late August that they finally got it together on iOS and released a decent version of the app. But it’s much improved today—the new app is much faster and smoother, and I actually use it daily now. The next challenge? How can Facebook monetize the mobile audience. With an estimated 500 million or so people accessing Facebook on mobile devices, there is a huge new market segment waiting to be capitalized on. How will Facebook tackle that problem in the coming years?

In an interview with TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, Zuckerberg said that “I am really optimistic about our mobile monetization strategy.” Optimism is one thing, but what will that strategy be? The recently launched mobile ads are one thing that seem to be working well, according to Zuckerberg: “Those mobile ads perform better than the regular column ads on desktops.” That’s a start, but time will tell if Facebook has more up it’s sleeve than just a new ad format.

Want to know more about how Facebook is focusing on mobile? Read my recent article about the future of social media on the Networking Exchange blog to find out!

New Facebook Features

There have been some cool additions to Facebook recently that are worth pointing out. The first is that people in the US can now take advantage of a feature that brands and businesses have had for a while: promoted posts. Facebook is currently testing promoted posts for individuals, which could be a great way for entrepreneurs and small businesses professionals who have large personal followings but are struggling to build their brand’s pages to get additional traffic while they hammer out a social media strategy.

Another helpful change to facebook is that they’ve updated their Help Center and Support Dashboard recently to make them easier to use. As a notoriously complicated service on the backend, with tons of hard-to-understand privacy features, this is a welcome change for Facebook and will hopefully help people make better decisions about privacy settings and how they use the service.

Top 20 Countries by Number of Facebook Users

(Source: Facebook’s Estimated Reach Indicator / Forbes)

1 United States 166,022,260 151,419,860 9.64%
2 Brazil 58,483,180 29,301,860 99.59%
3 India 56,675,740 37,377,600 51.63%
4 Indonesia 43,814,560 40,515,180 8.14%
5 United Kingdom 42,071,100 30,393,440 38.42%
6 Mexico 38,538,760 29,802,980 29.31%
7 Turkey 32,194,820 30,636,800 5.09%
8 Philippines 29,878,240 26,116,980 14.40%
9 France 25,236,960 23,190,260 8.83%
10 Germany 24,596,460 21,461,340 14.61%
11 Italy 22,424,380 20,525,400 9.25%
12 Argentina 20,066,480 17,089,240 17.42%
13 Canada 18,082,780 16,856,000 7.28%
14 Colombia 17,322,020 12,675,160 36.66%
15 Spain 17,018,440 15,142,360 12.39%
16 Thailand 16,834,140 8,421,780 99.89%
17 Japan 15,506,260 2,553,660 507.22%
18 Malaysia 13,063,600 10,138,760 28.85%
19 Taiwan 12,937,760 9,999,260 29.39%
20 Egypt 11,770,720 5,651,080 108.29%

TODAY show: High Tech Tailgating

Today on the TODAY show I did a HUGE roundup of all the hottest tech to tailgate. From a robot that looks like R2D2 and stashes your beers to branded team coolers and awesome portable speakers, I’ve got a lock on everything you need to impress this football season.

I’ve rounded up pretty much every product I mentioned on air below, with prices and where you can find it!


1.    Remote Controlled Rolling Beverage Cooler – $69.95, Available at Hammacher Schlemmer

2.    Igloo Cool Fusion Icy Tunes Cooler – $179.99, Available at Igloo and other retailers

3.    Igloo Collegiate Coolers – $40-$60.00, Available at Sam’s Club, Dick’s Sporting Goods and other retailers

Outdoor speakers:

1.    Outdoor Wireless Speaker and Dock, $159.99, Available at Brookstone

2. Jambox Smartspeaker – $199.99, Available at

3. BIG JAMBOX – $299.99, Available at

Portable Grills:

1. BlackTop 360 Grill – $249.99, Available at and other retailers

2. Tailgating Gas Powered Blender w/ Carrying Case – $354.99, Available at and other retailers

Watching the Game from your car:

1.    Tailgater Portable Satellite System – $350.00, Available at> and other retailers

2.    Sunbrite 3260 HDTV – $1,495.00, Available at

3.    Kwik Goal 6-Seat Kwik Bench – $114.05, Available at

TODAY: What to expect from the iPhone 5 Announcement

This morning I say down with Matt Lauer from the TODAY show to break down the Apple rumors and hype to talk about what we can expect from Apple’s iPhone 5 announcement. Want to know more? Check out the video above.

Shy and Katherine will be liveblogging the announcement over at Small Biz Go Mobile starting at 1pm Eastern (10am Pacific) today, so be sure to tune into their coverage for all of the latest info.

TODAY: The latest in tech: What to keep and what to toss

What’s in: 

1. Ultrabooks with new Ivy Bridge processors – these are a new category of laptops. These laptops are 0.8 inches thick or less, weigh less than 4 pounds and (generally) cost less than $1,000. Plus, they’re designed to wake from sleep in just 2 seconds. But don’t buy the ones with Intels Sandy Bridge processors that’s OUT, buy an Ultrabook with the NEW Ivy Bridge processor that’s IN.  With Windows 8 coming in October some of these Ultrabooks will be touch screen.

2. Apple’s MacBook Pro with Retina Display laptop! This is the hottest laptop out!!!! This laptop has the best screen resolution and even the harshest critics fall in love.

3. Backpacks with built-in charging. Not your average backpack, the Powerbag helps to solve a major problem we all face – battery life. You can charge 4 devices at once.

4. 7 inch tablets! This smaller tablet size category is gaining a lot of momentum & consumer interest. My 2 favorites are the Amazon Kindle Fire & the Asus Nexus 7

5. Warby Parker eyewear. Fashion has gone high tech! You go online pick the 5 frames you like and they’ll ship all 5, you try them on and choose the ones you like, they then fill your prescription and send you the glasses.

What NOT to buy: 

off brand Tablets! Buy name brand or end up with a huge doorstop

Netbooks they’re outdated, slow and you’d be better off with a tablet or ultrabook

– Pocket Camcorders! It’s not worth it, especially these days if you have a smartphone that can shoot video.