Category Archives: Mobile

With Halloween less than a week away, this weekend will likely be a big hit amongst costume, candy and party lovers. When you’re out and about celebrating, don’t forget to check-in to your favorite location based application.

Foursquare launched a series of badges, pictured below, that encourage users to check-in to the Halloween festivities they participate in. In order to receive a badge you need to wish friends “Happy Halloween” when checking-in and are welcome to share a picture while rocking out Gangnam Style, showing off your Katniss inspired look or any other costume you choose to wear this year. The company is also offering an extra treat if more than 10 friends check-in together at one location.

Foursquare Halloween Badges

Although not all users are incentivized purely by pretty badges, those that are will enjoy the latest additions to their badge collection over the next few days. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Many people have been asking themselves the toughest question of all: iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S III? The smartphone design and manufacturer is important. But oh so more critical is the operating system you choose: iOS or Android. There are so many similarities in the two operating systems that now the lawyers are getting rich — but there is a major factor to consider that you may not be thinking about as you hone in on your final decision:

Platforms matter. They really do.

When you get an iPhone, one of the first things it asks you during setup is to create an iCloud account. What, you don’t have one? You probably do and just don’t realize it. Did you ever create a .mac email address back in the day? If so, you have an iCloud account. If not, what is iCloud you ask? Well, iCloud is Apple’s attempt at a mostly free cloud storage service. Kinda like Dropbox for all your Apple-related content. iCloud is really fantastic if you have multiple Apple devices. With iCloud you can sync your email, contacts, calendar, and even more important, your apps and iTunes media across all your iOS devices and Macs. You never really leave home without access to those trashy reality shows you bought on iTunes.

When you setup your new Galaxy S III one of the first questions it throws out at you is what is your Gmail address? LIke iPhone, Android revolves heavily around Google’s services. And of course, Google helped invent the cloud and what it’s become over the years. So once you type your Gmail address, you will be able to sync all your Google services, including email, contacts, calendar, and Google Drive and Play. Similar to iPhone, you can sync all your media purchased or rented through the Play marketplace.

The gotcha: This is where platform matters. If you mix and match, a la having Mac computers at home, a Windows laptop at work and an Android device like the Galaxy, you’re potentially gonna miss out on what a closed platform brings you. You can’t listen to or watch your iTunes media on an Android device. You can use third-party apps to access your Play media on iPhone, but it’s not a stellar experience. The Gmail app on iPhone is a much different experience than it is on Android. And of course, do we really need to talk about maps on both platforms? It’s a different experience.

As each company reaches for more marketshare, they are closing their ecosystems even more. To be successful, they’re going to need to offer experiences that compel customers to want to commit to one ecosystem. A truly “open” platform is no longer possible. You’re going to have to choose and deal with the consequences. The experience when you’re on one or the other is optimal — it diminishes a bit when you mix and match.

At the end of that day, you may consider important features such as screen size, battery life, ease of use, and more. However, you also need to think about the platform and what it means for you and how you use your device. If you like access to your data and your content across multiple devices, you may need to make a platform decision before you make a smartphone choice.

Well, it’s over. Or almost. Everything you think you know about the next five years at least is over. Decisions have been made — in reality a mini-revolution has occurred — and yes, it includes you and that little palm-sized gadget you’re married to. This revolution is all about you, requires your participation, and will fundamentally shift everything about your life. It’s happening — the train has left the station — and you’re an unwitting passenger.

Now that we’re on the cusp of a majority of Americans owning a smartphone, the sleeping giant of big business is starting to wake up and realize that their future profits rely on generating revenue from the little devices. Have they been slow to figure out how to monetize them? Yes. But now they have a few years of data on how you use your device, what you want from it, what you expect from it, and what you may be willing to do with it.

This mini-revolution revolves around what is called social commerce. ‘Cause what we definitely need is another term with the word “social” in it. But listen closely — social commerce is important — both for the web and the mobile marketplace. Social commerce is being ushered in by smart, one-tap types of companies: Open Table, Uber, Solo, First Dibs, and to some extent even the grand-daddies like Twitter. Social commerce is all about providing you a service that is defined by simplicity — the greatest, most successful apps are the simplest to use — and the data shows you are willing to pay for ease of use. Those that turn your smartphone into a remote control for your life are the ones that succeed: with Uber, tap a button and a car comes to take you away — are we living in nirvana? Your mobile behavior has told the marketplace that you will engage in social commerce with apps that add value to your lifestyle — your credit card is on file.

What does this say? It says that as businesses transition from the desktop/PC era to mobile, they should have both a short-term and long-term goal: in the short-term they should focus on developing a compelling user experience to gain and retain a diverse user base. Long-term they must monetize their service: once you’re hooked into their user experience, and you’ve made it a part of your life, you’ll pay for it. Simple. However, monetization must be more than just jamming ads into the feed. Ads alone will carry a company in their transition to mobile for 2-3 years, but there’s a tipping point when too many ads will degrade the user experience. The bottom line for the long-term view is there needs to be a reason to pay for the service.

The device in your hand is altering your life. And once companies transition to full-on mobile services, you will have more options to add one-tap experiences that enrich your life. You’re on the train, so hold on — it will be a bumpy ride — but you’re the central focus. It’s gonna work for you one way or another. That’s been decided.


Cult of Mac is reporting a complete list of iPad Mini models has leaked, and it confirms most of the rumors I’ve heard over the past few months:

Lower Price:  The starting price for an 8 GB wifi unit is $249, $100 more than the 7″ Kindle Fire, going up to $649 for a 64 GB with cellular connectivity.

LTE/Cellular: Speaking of LTE, there are both wifi and LTE versions in all storage capacities.  That’s a pretty good deal– $649 is the starting price for the original iPad with just wifi; if you’re good with the smaller size, you can get a lot of bang for your buck. Oh, and we’re not calling it WiFi + 4G anymore, since 4G LTE connectivity isn’t available outside of the US and Canada (there goes my European vacation…).

Color:  It’s not going to be available in multiple colors like the new iPod Touch.  Bummer.  It will, however be available in black and white like the iPad and iPhone.

For me, I really prefer the larger size. I’ve used a 7″ Kindle Fire off and on since it came out, and the 9.5″ size really works for me. If I want something smaller, I’ll just use my iPhone. But for someone who wants the iPad experience without shelling out the full-sized iPad price, this is a great option.

I’m betting, too, that with the iPad Mini, we’ll see a rise in the use of iPads for education.  At $249, you can buy 2 Minis for the price of one regular iPad.  It’s perfect for parents who want their child to use an iPad– but not their iPad– or school districts that are dipping their toes in the eBook pond. Paired with the underutilized iBooks 2 platform, offering this lower price point will really allow Apple to change eBooks in education (as noted by TUAW’s Erica Sadun).

What do you think? Will you run out to buy an iPad Mini for yourself or your kids?

 

Uberconference wins TechCrunch Disrupt New YorkThere is something to be said to striking when the opportunity is there. For startups and new companies, the best way to get noticed is by doing something daring and bold that everyone will want to pay attention to. In the technology industry, that means getting on stage and demoing your product to the audience in the hopes that there’s some appeal to the masses. And quite frankly, one of the best places to get your product involved with has to be anything TechCrunch is involved in. Over the past few years, the events put on by one of the industry’s leading publications has promote some of the most popular startups that are used in the world today: Mint.com (acquired by Intuit), Yammer (acquired by Microsoft), RedBeacon (acquired by Home Depot), GetAround, Shaker, and now Uberconference.

It seems that one of the most known things about winning at a TechCrunch event is that it will grant any company instant celebrity status–almost like the publication is a “king-maker” where mere-minutes after touting the success and accolades of a startup, the company goes into overdrive and reaps instant benefits to the news. The track record speaks for itself…after all that notoriety (in a good way), companies are stepping out into the world and entering their beta phase much wiser and with more interest in being funded. And for the lucky few that have successfully navigated their ways through the maze of competition at a TechCrunch event, the future rewards are immeasurable. But don’t take my word for it…let’s look at one recent winner: Uberconference.