disruptive technology usability

VenueSeen: Social Media Monitoring Via Photography

VenueSeen launched their new platform today that lets businesses aggregate location specific sentiment, via social photography. What does that mean in layman’s terms?

It means this startup company will monitor and identify any shared photos that a consumer takes inside a place of business. If the photos are shared via InstagramFoursquareFoodspotting orFacebook then VenueSeen can tabulate and send reports about those photos to a subscribing business, complete with comments.

iPhone mobile news usability

Liberate Your Pics: OpenPhoto Brings Its Killer Photo Sharing Platform To Your iPhone

If you’ve ever scoffed at Flickr, felt that photo sharing and storage websites hold your photos hostage, associated photos on the Web with platform lock-in, then you’ve already started to get a sense of why Jaisen Mathai left Yahoo last year to build OpenPhoto. Appalled by having to watch Yahoo let an awesome startup/service like Flickr go to seed, (“I was extremely frustrated by the lack of product vision,” Mathai said at the time), he took to Kickstarter and raised the $25K he needed to get it off the ground.

That was July of last year. Since then, Mathai joined WebFWD, Mozilla’s Open Innovation program, which gives select entrepreneurs 1:1 mentorship, access to the Mozilla global network, infrastructure support, etc. Today, OpenPhoto has a new, redesigned website, a brand, spanking new iPhone app, and Mathai has recruited an all-star team of designers and engineers, ex-Yahoo, ex-Apple, current Twilio and Mozilla engineers, a principal designer of OStatus protocol, and the organizer of the Scale Linux conference, to name a few, who are all donating their time to the project.

iOS iPhone mobile development mobile news

Interesting: Law Firm Leading The Antitrust Charge Against Apple Shares A Seattle Address With Amazon

Coincidence, or conspiracy? It’s a classic question that gets brought up when the details of any intriguing story start to surface. And some industry insiders are asking it in relation to the antitrust charges being broughtagainst Apple and a group of book publishers over alleged collusion on the pricing of e-books.

One fact in particular I’m hearing chatter about is that Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, the Seattle-based law firm that was the first to file charges regarding an alleged e-book price-fixing cabal back in August 2011, is very close neighbors with Amazon, the e-commerce giant that is said to be the chief corporate victim of the alleged Apple/publisher collusion.

iPhone mobile development mobile news

Apple Patents A Tool Allowing Non-Developers To Build Apps

If you think the iOS app ecosystem is big now, as it pushes some 600,000 apps available for iPhone and iPad, just imagine how big it could become if Apple made good on this newly filed patent application titled “Content Configuration for Device Platforms.” The application describes a way for non-developers to create iOS apps using a simple, graphical interface.

Of course, it’s just a patent application, and Apple files tons of these things. So you can’t point to it and call out what it describes as a confirmed, forthcoming feature for the iOS platform.

iPhone mobile development mobile news usability

AT&T Will Unlock Your Off-Contract iPhone Starting On April 8

Ask (enough times) and ye shall receive. AT&T has kept the iPhone under lock and key since day one, but we’re hearing that a pretty dramatic policy shift will go into effect starting this Sunday. Once April 8 rolls around AT&T will unlock your iPhone should you so choose, at which point it’ll play nicely with a microSIM from any GSM carrier.

Of course, there are a few conditions you have to meet before AT&T will swoop in and unlock your iPhone. First and foremost, your device has to be completely out of contract and your account must be in good standing — that means no history of missed payments or disconnections. AT&T will also unlock your device if you’ve gotten sick of your contract and decided to shell out the early termination fee, or if you spent full price on it, rather than purchase it subsidized with a contract. Not bad AT&T, not bad at all.

iPhone mobile development

Too Drunk To Drive, But Still Wanna Get Your Car Home? There’s An App For That

You know what I hate most about getting too drunk to drive home? The hangover. No, no, I’m kidding (well, sort of) – it’s having to go retrieve my car from wherever I left it the next day. Sometimes, it’s been towed. Other times, it’s been broken into (true story). That’s why I’m hopeful about the possibilities a new service called StearClear has in store. The startup, which is backed by $500,000 in founder-led and VC funding, has been up-and-running for just a month in parts of New Jersey. What StearClear offers, simply put, is a way to get you and your car home. Safely.

Oh god, please let this work.

According to co-founder Craig Sher, the idea for providing a designated driver service is hardly new. “I found 50 or 60 companies across the country,” he said. “But most of the companies that do designated driver services are mom-and-pop shops…and it’s a very difficult business to make money on. Most people who embark on a designated driver service do it from a community service point of view – they’re very focused on volunteer drivers.”

Android iPhone mobile development mobile news resource

Big Phones? So Over.

The other day, Matt made a desperate plea: “Please don’t buy cheap Android phones.” To do so is a mistake, and the more you buy, the more cheap phones flood the market, and thus more people are walking around with crap up against their faces.

And after hearing that Samsung has sold 5 million Galaxy Notes, I think it may be time to make my own plea: Please stop buying giant phones.

Now, obviously I don’t take this request as seriously as the whole cheap Android phone thing. But I was actually musing to myself just last night that if people continue to buy phones with 4.5-inch + screen sizes, phone makers will think that’s OK. It’s not. It’s just as dumb as Motorola’s advertising, directed squarely at men with robots and cyborgs.

iOS mobile development mobile news usability

“Girls Around Me” Creeper App Just Might Get People To Pay Attention To Privacy Settings

Cult of Mac has a great write-up of an app for iOS called Girls Around Me, which essentially displays check-ins and public profiles of girls around you. With a little shift in context it could easily be confused for a hot new startup (discoverability meets speed dating!), but no, it really is just a way for guys to creep on nearby girls who have failed to lock down their info.

It’s sad, but maybe something like this is what people need to shock them into understanding just how much information they put online.

The app itself is pretty much straight-up stalker material, but the fact is it uses publicly available information — information that, really, is being deliberately broadcast. There is a larger debate to be had about the nature of privacy and how information like location and profiles should be handled, and many subtle points to be made. But right now it seems that things must be done in broad strokes, and it’s only mainly broadly offensive things like this app that will bring attention to the issue.

mobile news

AT&T Exec Gives FCC The Finger After T-Mobile Announces Layoffs

Yesterday, 1,900 T-Mobile employees got some very bad news — they would all soon be out of jobs, as the company announced their intention to shut down seven call centers. That in and of itself is a shame, but AT&T’s reaction to the announcement is even more shameful.

You see, AT&T’s Jim Cicconi (their Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, no less) took to the company’s public policy blog to say that “AT&T promised to preserve these very same call centers and jobs if our merger was approved.”

Android mobile development

Updated Kindle Android App Supports KF8 Files (Which Means More Pretty Pictures)

Amazon’s Kindle team seems have had their hands full these past few days — a Retina Display-friendly update was just pushed to the iOS App Store last week, and now the Android version is getting a nice little bump too.

One of the biggest additions to this build is support for Amazon’s relatively new KF8 ebook file format. Originally revealed back in October 2011 (and officially released this January), KF8 allows publishers and content creators greater flexibility when it comes to text formatting and image integration into ebooks.

iOS iPad mobile development mobile news

Updated Kindle iOS App Appears Just In Time For The New iPad

For all the cool things an iPad can coaxed into doing, I find myself using mine to read more than anything else (rewatching old episodes of Doctor Who on Netflix is a close second). I’ve been begun to use it more than my trusty Kindle, and thanks to the timely 3.0 update for the iOS Kindle app, organizing and managing all of those books I’ve bought feels a lot snappier.

iOS mobile development mobile news usability

No Swipe Needed: PayPal Here Is Powered By Mobile Payment Startup

PayPal today unveiled its new global payment platform for small and medium-sized businesses, PayPal Here. It brings the veteran payments solution into local stores with a new mobile app-card reader solution to rival Square. Rolling out to merchants today, it features a triangular card-reader, or dongle, that merchants can use to swipe cards of all varieties to start accepting mobile payments on-the-go — but all users need is their phones, via a startup named

iOS iPhone mobile development mobile news

To BBQ And Beyond: Mobile Car Service Uber Moves To New Ground At SXSW

Uber, the SMS/iPhone/Android friendly private car service, has been on a (ahem) roll, with the service expanding out to new cities and picking up ever more passengers. But this week at SXSW it is trying out a little something different while still playing on its strengths in on-demand service:

It is running an on-demand barbecue sandwich service in partnership with Iron Works BBQ, which can be ordered using Uber’s regular app. The BBQ service will be in addition to a revival of the pedicab service that Uber first introduced last year, when it quickly realized that offering lots of big cars during a traffic-choked mega-event (attracting upwards of 20,000 people) was not necessarily the best route to making new friends. Together, the two point to ways you could imagine Uber expanding in the years to come.

mobile news resource usability

Politix Wants To Be The Center of Your Political Identity

Over the last couple of years, online forum Topix has become increasingly focused on politics. Today at the Launch conference, the site took the next step in that direction — accompanied by a patriotic marching band, CEO Chris Tolles announced a new service called Politix.

There’s no shortage of political websites, but he says there’s “no place for your political profile online.” Sure, you might read a political article on The Huffington Post and even leave a comment, but there’s no centralized location for all that activity. And you might occasionally share those articles on your social network of choice, but “you don’t want to be that guy on Facebook” who’s constantly annoying his friends with political commentary.

iPhone mobile news usability

DealBoard For iPhone Finds Offers You Like, So You Can Kill The Daily Deal Emails

DealBoard, a recently launched iPhone app from Seattle and London-based nFluence Media, has just emerged as a new player in the crowded “daily deals” space. But this app isn’t yet another Groupon clone, it’s a daily deal aggregator. However, what makes dealBoard unique – and why the company has $3 million in funding – is how the app goes about aggregating those deals for you. Instead of just rounding up a list of all the deals in the area, dealBoard personalizes the experience based on your interests.

With dealBoard, you don’t have to create an account, hand over your email address, provide your phone number, or give up any other personal information to the company. Instead, the app helps you to set up an anonymous profile using nFluence Media’s proprietary “brand sorter” technology.

iPad mobile development mobile news

Plangrid Builds A New Market For The iPad: The Construction Industry

Mark this up as one more crucial chapter in the much-thumbed book called “The Consumerization of IT”: a new app has launched from a Y Combinator-backed startup that offers builders the ability to store, manage and view blueprints on and iPad tablet.

The unique selling point for PlanGrid, as the app is called, is that it promises to present building blueprints in a far more efficient way than they have been presented before.

Android iOS mobile development mobile news

New Photo Technology Lets You Get Rid Of The People You Don’t Love

No, silly, this isn’t about murder – it’s a program to remove people from a photo! Scalado has created a photo-taking system that allows you to selectively remove people in a photo. How does it work? It basically interpolates the “clean” version of the scene by watching the moving, live objects. It’s not rocket science, but it’s pretty cool.

iOS iPad iPhone mobile news

WinZip iOS App Lets You Crack Open .Zip Files From Anywhere

Having access to your documents and pictures is really easy these days. About a million services, including Dropbox and iCloud, allow you to sync your stuff between devices, but there’s one little thorn in our collective cloud-syncing side: it’s called a .zip file.

Fortunately, WinZip has just launched on the Apple App Store and it effectively rids us of this particularly annoying issue. After installing, a single tap will let you get a peek at what’s inside the .zip file. If you tap again, you’ll be able to look at individual files, even if you don’t have the associated applications installed on your iPhone or iPad.

disruptive technology mobile news usability

Some Refurbished Xooms Could Put Personal Data In The Wrong Hands

Maybe it was too thick, maybe it was too heavy, maybe you just didn’t like Honeycomb. Regardless of your reasoning, you may want to keep your eyes peeled on your credit score if you bought and returned a Motorola Xoom between March and October 2011, because your personal information may be in someone else’s hands.

That’s the story from Motorola, anyway. As it happens, the standard refurbishment process that occurs when a customer returns a piece of hardware didn’t go exactly as planned for some devices. Motorola estimates that out of batch of 6,200 refurbished Xoom Wi-Fi tablets, about 100 of them weren’t properly erased before they were resold in batches on daily deals site

Android mobile development mobile news

U.S. Government & Military To Get Secret-Worthy Android Phones

The amount of stuff we trust to fly in and out of our smartphones is astounding. Just look at what happened when a couple of reporters got access to an unwitting (and rather unlucky) Apple employee’s iMessages alone — within days, they learned more about him than most people know about their closest friends.

Now, imagine all the stuff that could fly in and out of a government official’s phone, or that of a highly-ranked member of the military. Forget saucy texts and booty pictures — we’re talking about state secrets, here.

Looking to keep their secrets underwraps while on the go, the U.S government is working on a build of Android custom-tailored to meet their security requirements.

mobile news

Time Warner Cable’s New iPhone App Brings Live TV To The Small Screen

As you may expect, you can’t watch live TV just anywhere – the iOS device has to be connected to the home’s Wi-Fi network in order to function. It also offers a number of features typical for TV provider mobile apps, including a remote control functionality, the ability to program your DVR (this feature also works remotely), and the ability to configure parental controls, among other things.

The app is fairly backward-compatible, however, as it works on iPhone 3GS and up, iPod Touch (3rd or 4th gen) and any iPad, all of which have to run at least iOS 4.3. Customers will also have to have the Navigator set-top box or a DVR in their home, as other models may not function properly.

Android iOS mobile news

Heyzap Announces Mobile Gaming Partners: PocketGems And More

Gaming startup Heyzap first launched its social discovery service for mobile games nearly a year ago. Now it’s unveiling the first list of partners who are using the service.

Some of these partnerships weren’t exactly a secret before — you could just open up the Heyzap app and see which games were available. But now the startup is really trumpeting those partnerships, in part to show off some of the big names who are buying into its vision.

mobile news resource usability

Why Samsung Is The Next Apple

For most of the ten years I’ve been coming to CES, every presentation, every booth, has had one goal: to create an ecosystem in order to encourage consumer to lock in. Year after year, presentation after presentation, someone has come out to show how the phone will connect to the fridge which, in turn, will connect to the TV. And year after year, they failed.

Until now.

Samsung, and to some extent the other vendors, have finally cracked it. For most of the past few years they’ve watched as Apple ran circles around them in terms of media sharing and remote control. Obviously Apple’s systems have been limited to iPod/iTunes/iPad/Mac but Samsung, a major player in both the white goods and the mobile markets, can now have it all.

First, some numbers.

Samsung is number one in TVs for the sixth year in a row, selling approximately two TVs a second in November. While a minority of those TVs have been what Samsung is calling Smart TVs, all new TVs in 2012 will include boxless interactive television, which means a few things. First, it means Google and Apple are in trouble. Two TVs per second definitely beats any performance metrics for Google’s platform and, more important, Samsung has headed off Apple at the living room media pass.

Then consider Samsung’s lead in cellphone sales. While many would argue that Samsung specializes in meh and me-too, 60 million cellphones sold in 2011 can’t be a fluke. This isn’t about Android or iOS or Windows Phone – it’s about Samsung making and selling millions of phones to millions of people. Samsung is mercenary. They’re happy to use anyone’s OS as long as it puts phones into boxes and boxes into shopping bags.

So you have two superlatives: biggest phone manufacturer and biggest TV manufacturer. Add in some tablets, some washing machines, and some acceptable software and you have a real and vibrant ecosystem. The next year will bring plenty of efforts to bring streaming media into the home, but the guy who is already there will win.

iOS mobile development mobile news

iCloud’s App Search Engine: A First Step To A Cloud-Enabled Phone

Apple has built a search engine for apps. It’s called iCloud – or more technically, it’s one aspect of the overall iCloud service. Using it, you can search through every app you have installed on your iOS device or have ever purchased in the past. And it’s available on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch right now.

The average smartphone user has 64 mobile apps installed on their mobile device. I’m ahead of the curve. I have around 400. It’s pushing nearly 7 GB of storage. Granted, many of these apps were installed for testing purposes only – they aren’t used daily by any means. But my real problem is that I’m not inclined to remove apps I don’t use. They just sit there on the phone, abandoned, languishing on the back screens. I could delete them, but I don’t. You know…just in case.

But the promise of iCloud, as I see it, is that these apps can disappear from the iPhone’s homescreen, but never have to fully disappear from reach.