News Scan: In-store mobile payments catch on; Applebee's pledges a tablet at every table; more

>> In-store mobile payments are catching on

Close to one-third of U.S. online consumers who own a mobile phone are interested in or already use mobile payments for in-store purchases, almost double the percentage in 2011, according to a survey of 4,000 U.S. adults by Forrester Research. A full 61 percent of respondents have heard of a digital wallet, but only 11 percent use one. For digital wallets, respondents trust PayPal the most (38 percent), followed by banks and credit card issuers (35 percent) and Amazon.com (23 percent). Read more about the Forrester survey.

[More on mobile payments: Isis is nationwide | PayPal launches QR code-based in-store payments platform]

>> Applebee's will put a tablet at every table

Restaurant chain Applebee's plans to have a tablet at every table by the end of next year, a total of nearly 100,000 tablets, according to a report by USA Today. Customers can use the tablets to view the menu, order food items, play video games and pay the check. Rival restaurant chain Chili's has already begun providing tablets at tables in its company-owned locations. "Looking out over the next decade, it will become fairly routine for consumers in table service restaurants to use tablets to view menus, place orders and pay bills," Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research at the National Restaurant Association, tells the newspaper. Read more of the USA Today report.

[More on restaurants and mobility: Revel integrates PayPal support into retailer POS solution for iPad | Samsung adds PayPal support to simplify mobile app purchases]

>> Amazon CEO predicts drones will deliver packages in near future

Speaking of cutting edge mobile IT, Amazon expects to deliver packages via drones in the not too distant future. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told the TV news program 60 Minutes that the drones would have a 10 mile radius and could carry packages under five pounds, according to a CNN report about the interview. Bezos said the drones could be delivering packages in four to five years. This is an optimistic time table, give the logistical and regulatory hurdles such a move would entail. The Federal Aviation Administration currently restricts commercial drones from operating in U.S. airspace, although the agency expects to complete a review of its restrictions by 2015. Read more on the Bezos interview.

[More on Amazon: Holiday sales should get big boost from mobile | Amazon's new smartphones]

>> Smart connected device shipments to soar in Western Europe

Smart connected device shipments are forecast by IDC to exceed 230 million units in Western Europe this year. Revenues generated by smart connected devices, which include PCs, tablets and smartphones, are projected to reach close to $120 billion, an 11 percent year-over-year increase. Tablet shipments will lead the growth, increasing 53 percent year-over-year to 45 million units in 2013. "The smart connected device market is going through an accelerated expansion phase, fundamentally changing the way consumers and businesses use and consider their computing device, and the change in usage patterns will continue to drive innovation and to open new opportunities for the industry," says Chrystelle Labesque, research manager of IDC EMEA personal computing. Read more about IDC's forecast.

[More on Europe: Mamma mia! Windows Phone overtakes iOS in Italy | Personal mobile devices cause nearly one-third of corporate breaches in Europe]

>> Regulators, mobile carriers repurpose 2G and 3G spectrum

Telecom regulators and mobile carriers are moving to repurpose 2G and 3G spectrum as operators shift to voice-over-LTE using 4G LTE spectrum, notes ABI Research. "For CDMA operators such as Verizon, aggressive LTE deployment is necessary because a VoLTE call cannot fall back to the circuit switched domain. Even for WCDMA operators like AT&T, it makes sense to do likewise because LTE is much more spectral efficient than WCDMA. As such, by the end of next year, when VoLTE has gained more momentum, ABI Research expects more than 93 percent of the North American population to have access to LTE," observes Ying Kang Tan, research associate at ABI Research. Read more about ABI's analysis.

[More on spectrum: When lives are at stake, proceed cautiously | Verizon's spectrum grab]