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Tech News: Mobile Ad Revenue Grew 83% in 2012, With Google Inc Leading the Surge


Plus, Apple gets a new patent for in-car tech, Microsoft may be a buyer for Nook, and AT&T users may soon get their hands on the Nokia Lumia 1020 and its 41-megapixel camera.

Google, Search, and the Mobile Ad Revenue Surge

According to a new report released today by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the data and media consulting company IHS (NYSE:IHS), the global mobile ads market took in revenue of $8.9 billion in 2012, an 83% increase from 2011's global revenue of $5.3 billion. Seeing the largest growth in revenue were markets with most mobile penetration, with 111% growth in the US and 91% growth in Western Europe.

This accelerating growth in mobile ad revenue reflects a diversification of methods for advertising, yet the primary medium for mobile ads remains search, with over half of all revenue, 52.8% to be exact, coming from mobile search. Though the report did not indicate it, this means that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is solidifying its strong position as the worldwide leader in mobile advertising, already solidly the leader in mobile and search.

The numbers are impressive, but mobile ad revenue still has a long way to go to rival standard Internet ad revenues. In the first quarter of 2013, Internet ad revenue in the US totaled $9.6 billion.

Apple's Latest Patent: An In-Car, Touch Screen Entertainment and Information System
An image from the patent, courtesy of the USPTO.

This morning, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was granted US Patent No. 8,482,535 for "programmable tactile touch screen displays and man-machine interfaces for improved vehicle instrumentation and telematics." The patent describes a touch screen that provides drivers with tactile feedback and allows them to keep their eyes on the road. The system will employ a whole manner of knobs, buttons, sliders, and touch screens and allow for a completely user-customizable experience.

The new patent adds to the already announced car-specific features of the upcoming iOS 7 and is seen as further indication of Apple's move into our cars, but Apple isn't the only tech giant making that move. Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray said in a note to investors this morning that "autonomous vehicle technology" could be a $200 billion industry, and Google is the "best positioned Internet company over the next 10 years" to profit from it.

So, Apple is delving into in-car entertainment and information while Google will be taking care of the driving. Is it possible that the two will go hand and hand?

In Wake of Barnes & Noble CEO's Departure, Microsoft May Be a Potential Buyer for Nook

Last week and after a 34% Q2 fall in revenue for the Nook line, Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) announced that it would be discontinuing its e-reader. The company was holding out with hopes that the Nook line of e-readers could compete with tablets from Apple, Samsung (OTC:MKTS), and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), but losses have simply been too severe to maintain the Nook division.

This week, the company's CEO, William Lynch, resigned, and there are no plans to name a new CEO. Instead, the company's CFO, Michael P. Huseby, has taken the reins as the chief executive of the soon-to-be-no-more Nook division, as well as president of Barnes & Noble.

It is being speculated that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) will be a potential buyer for the Nook business. Last year, the tech company invested $300 million in the Nook segment of Barnes & Noble, taking a 17.6% stake in the e-reader company. Despite the fact that Nooks currently run a heavily modified version of Google's Android, it seems probable that Microsoft will make a bid for Barnes & Noble's abandoned endeavor.

AT&T Users May Soon Be Able to Buy a Phone With 41-Megapixel Camera

According to an anonymous tip given to the blog Windows Phone Central, Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) Lumia 1020 has appeared on an AT&T (NYSE:T) inventory list. The phone will feature a 41-megapixel camera, will come in white, black, and yellow, if rumors are accurate. Recently, the Vice President for Microsoft Windows Phone Joe Belfiore posted two photos on Flickr, both of which were apparently taken by a Lumia 1020, according to the photo's source information.

Nokia is holding a launch event in New York on July 11 that will likely be the official unveiling of the 1020. The event's slogan is, "41 Million Reasons."

Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWolonick and @Minyanville
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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