The future of the web lies within your mobile device. Whether it’s your tablet or your phone, the next big thing that emerges will be with what you’re holding in your hand, not what’s on your desk. In 2010, WIRED magazine published a story that proclaimed the web is dead. In the post, they said that the web is pretty much in decline as the movement for information and engagement is within applications. In fact, the authors of the post, Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff, stated that it’s less about the searching and more about the “getting”.
A recent Pew Internet study explained that mobile tools like the smartphones, tablets, netbooks, and laptop computers are now becoming a primary source of Internet connectivity in highly developed nations and in a survey of Americans, nearly two-thirds connect to the web through a mobile device. And according to Cisco, by 2016, there will be over 10 billion mobile Internet devices used worldwide and with the world population expected to be 7.3 billion in the next 4 years, that boils down to the average person having 1.4 mobile devices. That has to be seriously saying something about the power of mobile and give businesses pause in how they are targeting and reaching their customers.
Recognizing this trend and the awesome potential that mobile can have not only on the way business is done, but how it can affect the way we live our lives, startups and companies are looking for ways to get their products out in front of the world. Successful startups like Path and Instagram have all started out with a mobile presence and pretty much ignored being on the web. Why? Because they have acknowledged that mobile is where their customers are, not sitting behind a stationary electronic device. So to help spur innovation in the mobile industry, a new conference has been set up to take place in the Silicon Valley. Well, okay, it’s not really a new conference…but it’s going to be the first time this particular conference lands on the shores of California.
We’re all pretty busy individuals, whether it’s in our personal lives or when we’re at work. Quite frankly, I don’t think anyone would mind some help when it comes to getting things done, right? Take for example if you’re at work jam-packed with meetings and deliverables, but you’re hungry and also need to pick up your dry cleaning or even buying that new jacket you know is on sale, which ends today. Just how are you going to be able to do all of that? You might be able to source it out to TaskRabbit or even Zaarly, but you want someone dedicated and vetted, not necessarily crowdsourced. Don’t get me wrong, I’d totally use TaskRabbit and Zaarly, but I consider them more of a crowdsourced assistant for a variety of other things besides just deliveries. But in the example given above, I’d have to give my trust over to Postmates, an on-demand delivery service that is disrupting the way traditional couriers are currently operating. No longer are they just business resources, but for personal use too.
A battlefield finalist at a recent TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, this “stealth startup” (as listed on Crunchbase) is geared to help make your life simpler by having anything delivered in three simple steps: by using the Postmates app (currently available only for the iPhone), just enter the locations where you want pick-up and delivery, a brief description, and delivery time. That’s it! If you want, feel free to include a photo of the item you want to pick up/deliver. This might make it easier for both the courier and the recipient to know what’s coming. The Postmates app also will allow you to track your delivery in real-time so you know when it will get there–no more waiting around because the courier service said it’ll be there between 7-11am or other ridiculous times. Oh, and Postmates will deliver it within two hours or less!
Being hailed as the “Uber for courier delivery” by PandoDaily, Postmates is looking to bring more luxury and professionalism into the traditional courier industry. In fact, they’re totally disrupting it by offering dedicated couriers that have been vetted and they’re levering cool technologies to make it happen–very much like what Uber did with car service.
Instagram just proved that it was definitely the top dog of the photo-sharing market. Announced today was a monster deal that pairs the largest photo-sharing app in the market today with the largest social network in the world. Yes, that’s right, Facebook has jumped and bought Instagram for a whopping $1 billion. Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, posted that they’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently and there’s no indication that it would act otherwise.
This acquisition totally makes sense and is probably a perfect one–as Mr. Zuckerberg mentioned in his post, the social network for years has been “focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family” and Instagram now gives users the ability to be totally creative and help post (what some may think) better photos to the social network. After all, a photo-sharing feature currently does not exist on Facebook’s mobile app and there are some who think that their native mobile app just plain sucks. Now, Facebook owns one of the most popular apps and will be able to integrate both the team and the app right into its collective and build something great.
Well the time for rumors and speculation is over. They said it would be done in the “near future” and today, they’ve made it happen. Android users rejoice because now you’re going to be able to use the top photo-sharing app out in the marketplace on your phones without fear of being shunned by your iPhone peers simply because the app never was made available for the Android platform. That’s right, Instagram has finally come to the Android platform.
A couple of weeks ago, news broke that Instgram was moving ever so close to their goal of releasing an app for the Android that they set up a landing page that interested users could sign up and receive an email notification to tell them of the release. Well surprise! The app is now in Google Play (formerly the Android marketplace), but alas, no one seems to have received that helpful email notification telling them of its launch. I suppose the “early adopters” have leaked the word on Twitter and Facebook (that’s where I found out) and an email will go to the masses a little later on to inform them–maybe this is a way to make sure the enormous amount of people who are on Android don’t flood the marketplace and shut it down because of the demand. The Verge reports that when Instagram started accepting notification sign-ups, the service received over 430,000 responses. This isn’t bad, but definitely pales in comparison to the amount of iPhone users that the service already has (~30 million). So in order for this to have been worth something to Instagram, more people have got to start downloading the app.
Instagram for Android is free to download, but when I went to search for “Instagram” or “Instagram for Android”, I found it a bit difficult to see in my search results. Luckily, I had my Google account logged onto my desktop and installed it through the computer instead of through the phone. Now I’m able to check it out in all its photo-glory. The release of this version helps Instagram close the loop on one of their hopes for the app. As their founder, Kevin Systrom told VentureBeat:
We’re really excited about Instagram for Android as the next big step for our company…this release brings us closer to the idea that we can help every person on earth share their lives and discover the world through a series of beautiful images.
I’d say that Instagram has very much help accomplish that idea.
Before the invention of the iPhone and the creation of the Android device, the market leader for smartphones was Research in Motion. Through it’s main product, the Blackberry, companies and individuals could tap into their emails, make phone calls, and use numerous apps and games right from the palm of their hands. It was all the rage and everyone had to have them. Now focus on today’s market and the entire landscape has shifted away from RIM’s grasp and focus: Only 5% of US smartphone buyers chose to get a Blackberry. Why is that? It’s because more and more apps and appeal is being given to the competitors from Apple and Google. What’s worse is that for those 5% of consumers who actually bought a Blackberry, most are probably not even satisfied with their phone.
So why did they buy them? Probably for a variety of reasons…the physical keyboard, perhaps? Or maybe it’s because it’s compatible with their work email client? Maybe they don’t like the fact that potential malware could be in apps that they’ve heard is plaguing Android devices? Or lastly, maybe it’s because they don’t want to give themselves up to the Apple fanaticism? Whatever the reasoning is, there are still those people out there who wish to purchase a Blackberry…now the question is why is Blackberry still doing so poorly? Some might speculate that the phone manufacturer isn’t keeping up with the times or maybe that there’s just not enough demand for mobile apps to come out. Think about the latest and greatest mobile apps that have emerged recently, whether it’s Path or Instagram or even a proximity app like Highlight–all of which are available on iOS or even Android devices, but would they ever develop for Blackberry? At last month’s PandoMonthly event, Path founder Dave Morin explicitly said that they’d never develop for Blackberry (Windows Phone is a possibility, however).