Search Results for: iphone

With the rise of GPS and location-based technology in the mobile market, crowdsourcing is becoming more prevalent. Google joined the crowdsourcing movement with yesterday’s announcement of the addition of live traffic data to Google Maps via anonymous data crowdsourced from your GPS-enabled mobile device. Yet the news had one major device missing from those available for obtaining live data—the iPhone.

gmm_arterials_z15According to Google’s Dave Barth, product manager for Google Maps, on Google’s Blog, “Some phones, such as the T-Mobile myTouch 3G and the Palm Pre, come with Google Maps and traffic crowdsourcing pre-installed (the iPhone Maps application, however, does not support traffic crowdsourcing).”

ReadWriteWeb’s Frederic Lardinois included an updated statement from team Google in his post, “One exception is the maps functionality that Google provides for the iPhone – the iPhone does not provide any location data that is used for traffic crowdsourcing at this time.”

iPhone users should still be able to take advantage of the data provided by Google Maps but their devices won’t be used to help update current conditions. But if the iPhone is lacking from devices being able to shoot valuable traffic information to this new feature of Google Maps, then what about alternative iPhone apps on the market that use crowdsourced information for traffic updates?

waze-6-300x431Waze is a free iPhone app that gives turn-by-turn navigation with real-time traffic updates from, you guessed it, automatic feeds from it’s network of users. IntoMobile’s Will Park gives a great rundown of this app from its launch earlier this month.

“By using GPS tracking and cell-tower triangulation, Waze tracks individual users’ driving speeds to heuristically determine traffic flow,” notes Park in his review. “Waze even provides turn-by-turn directions, re-routed based on real-time traffic conditions, to your destination – which is awesome, considering the app is completely free!”

Waze does give users another option to manually report on various conditions such as speed traps, accidents, parking situations and even give you the opportunity to Tweet your current conditions.

trapster-logo_blogAnother interesting traffic alert app for the iPhone and a handful of other mobile devices is Trapster. Built exclusively to warn drivers of impending police speed traps, Trapster uses a more manual approach. As drivers approach or spot a speed trap situation, they simple press a button on their device to report the condition to the server. This information is later relayed to other drivers warning them as they approach the area.

So with other companies using the iPhone to crowdsource GPS information, when will it be available for Google Maps?

There have been social networks set up around mobile devices or mobile brands, namely Nokia. It was generally for the purpose of gaining some consumer data based on app usage and other metrics that can be garnered from seeing what users like and don’t like about their phones. So it’s not a far stretch for BlackBerry to be launching a social network for similar purposes. It may be a necessary step for several devices and manufacturers that are supportive of the economy a mobile application platform can provide, especially as pretty much any other platform other than Apple will need all the help it can get.

So RIM BlackBerry is reportedly coming out with a social network of sorts this week, dubbed MyBlackBerry. The network will be for BlackBerry users, giving them a social profile where they can review mobile apps, and even complain about them. It’s biggest potential advantage would be the ability to turn all those reviews and complaints into recommendations and searchable data for making BlackBerry applications more discoverable. This would, in the end, promote BlackBerry’s mobile application platform.

It could be considered a way to get a leg up on Apple’s own mobile application platform for the iPhone, which is rendered through iTunes. Have you noticed that iTunes is notoriously difficult to search? Customer reviews, complaints and other data are hard to come by and the end result is a mobile app economy that supports those with lots of cash and marketing power instead of reflecting the true capacity of the longtail (still epitomized by nearly all things iTunes related).

While user-generated reviews within a social network is a somewhat passe way in which to gain and repurpose information, it can be readily applied to mobile app platforms in this early stage. So far, MyBlackBerry sounds good in concept. But as mentioned on TechCrunch, the network itself is more like a “bulletin board” and the ability to view apps is limited to only those that are supported by your phone.

Is this limiting BlackBerry’s ability to leverage its own network? Perhaps seeing reviews on apps designed for the BlackBerry Storm will encourage other BlackBery users and non-BlackBerry users to make the move to a new device. Opening up a network such as this could really help BlackBerry if implemented well. This could be a tactic other platforms use to one-up Apple’s iTunes store.

[image credit DC to BC]

Staying positive is one step towards living a happy life, right? Signal Patterns, developers of psychology-based web and mobile applications, has created a new iPhone application that helps you stay in the right frame of mind so that you can be emotionally and physically happy in your life.

Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, the mind behind the Live Happy iPhone app and author of the book “The How of Happiness” is a veteran at applying psychological research to actual applications to be used in our daily lives. What the Live Happy application does is present a program for helping you retain a positive outlook, develop emotional resiliency and stability in the face of current trials and tribulations.

Some features of the Live Happy program include:

* Goal Setting/Evaluating/Tracking
* Expressing Gratitude Directly
* Keeping a Gratitude Journal
* Replaying Happy Days
* Keeping a Savoring Photo Album
* Envisioning Your Best Possible Self
* Nurturing Relationships
* Remembering Acts of Kindness

There’s a free version, which supports only a limited number of activities. And there is a premium version for $6.99, which includes unlimited activities as well as the option to “Ask Sonja” any question, which is then forwarded to Dr. Lyubomirsky.

As mobile gaming and communication devices become less discernible and the trend towards using gaming devices for emotional and physical health gains traction, it’s no surprise that Dr. Lyubomirsky has been able to promote an application such as Live Happy for the iPhone. The iPhone device itself is becoming more central to most aspects of our daily lives, from work to play to basic communication with friends, family and colleagues.

And there’s nothing wrong with having a little prompter for staying positive, right in your pocket, no matter where you go in life.

AdMob has released its May report on iPhone apps that are served through its own mobile advertising network, giving us a glimpse into the consumer behavior around applications designed for the popular mobile device. The result? Five percent of applications have more than 100,000 active users, which totals 322 actual applications.

That boils down to quite a longtail distribution of applications, and only a handful of these apps reach extreme popularity. Is anyone surprised? Isn’t that how the longtail works?

It’s a distribution model similar to most digital/virtual content that’s easily replicated and downloaded. And AdMob’s own data can be likened to Apple’s overall iTunes content distribution, as very few songs, for instance, achieve a high amount of downloads. The upside is that there is a great deal of content *readily* available to the consumers. The downside is that the content that gains the most attention is often backed by powerful advertising campaigns.

This all translates into a lot of search required on an individual consumer level. It’s one of my biggest issues with iTunes, as its search capabilities leave a lot to be desired. This just factors into all the other reasons why the longtail exists the way it does for iPhone apps in particular. Consumers have a lot to choose from. The barriers to entry for developers creating iPhone apps are far lower than creating other apps, websites or services. And Apple gets to select which apps it partners with, as well as which it promotes on the front page, commercials, ads.

When it’s all said and done, AdMob’s numbers merely remind us that accessing the longtail of iPhone apps is still something that we need to tackle in order to make it easier for consumers. Whether this occurs through improvements made to iTunes search, or we rely on third party social search engines, the iPhone app platform is pretty awesome but still has room for improvement.

dunkinEveryone loves doughnuts. They’re a staple at nearly every office across corporate America. Dunkin’ Donuts knows this, and has created a free iPhone application in order to spur some office-related doughnut runs. You know how it goes. You bring in a box of doughnuts for early morning meetings, post-lunch meetings, late afternoon meetings. Or you get a hankering for one of those apple-filled, crumble-topped rounds of fried goodness. So you grab your wallet and selflessly ask your officemates if they’d like anything from Dunkin’ as well.

As this act of kindness (or unpaid internship dutifulness) that Dunkin’ is counting on. From your iPhone you can initiate a group order, and have requests sent via Dunkin’ to your officemates. Everyone can put in their order, and the lucky gopher now has a complete list and exact total for the group order.

What’s interesting about this particular app and the way in which it creates an interactive format for soliciting group orders is that it essentially turns a simple doughnut run into an event. With alerts sent out to officemates regarding an upcoming Dunkin’ run, the doughnuts company is more than encouraging repeat behavior and taking branding to a new and practical level. Simplify the lives of your paying customers and you’re more likely to gain positive brand recognition.

As far as retail goes, I have a tendency to like this approach. The app is mobile, free, and provides a valuable service to customers. I wouldn’t mind seeing other retailers follow suite, though the type of retail this mobile app would work for is rather limited. And while there is a website that provides the same service, having it available on mobile phones makes it easier for all parties involved.

On the market research side of things, I’m sure Dunkin’ will be able to garner a good amount of information from those that use this application. Location-based data and customer history are just two areas of research that could be greatly benefited from this application alone. Of course, this data can then be parsed and given back to the customers in the form of recommendations, some of which could even be used outside of the Dunkin’ Run application. Other personal assistant services such as PageOnce, or food-related applications on the iPhone or Facebook could benefit from such purchase-based recommendations in the long run, especially when combined with recommendations from other retailers.