New startup called AddAppt has introduced their app for the Apple AppStore. The application allows the user to sync their contacts information between users mobile, desktop, and iCloud address books. Some of the functionality on synching contacts already exists but the new startup claims to have found the right solution for the problem. The app has a simple design to allow it to work fast and effectively but at the same time there are limited functionality. The user has to manually delete information that they dont want to share instead of giving the user an option to choose what is shared. Also another downside is that the people you want to add to you contacts have to use the app too so they can approve that you want to include them in your address book.
iPad models continue to dominate the tablet market even after the introduction of new tablets including the Windows Surface that has had a slow start. Apple decided to updated their large iPad with the new iPad mini even that the older model was only six months old. The supply has caught up with the demand on the fourth generation iPads but you still have to wait for couple of weeks to get an iPad mini. Analyst have estimated Apple to sell between 24 to 26 million iPads this last quarter from which 6 to 7 million would be Mini versions. Analysts also note that iPad mini is stealing business from the larger model but that both will sell well during the holiday season.
Smartphones makes the user’s life more convenient in many ways and much of it is because of all the information the phone stores about the user. Advertisers and business are already offering many services that allow the user to check-in to places or offer them location-based deals but there is expectations that this type of advertising will continue to increase significantly in the next few years. Already 74% of smartphone users use location-based apps and many of these consumers allow their apps to track them. You can always opt-out from allowing apps to track you but many don’t so there is increasing amount of mobile users that advertisers have an access to. Mobile advertisers are still trying to find the best to reach the customers but location-based apps seem to be on the right track.
Next month in Dubai 193 countries are gathering together to voice their opinion about charging foreign web traffic. Some countries want to tax foreign content and service providers, but all 27 European Union countries as well as the US are against this proposal. Some countries justify charges because the money would allow them to expand their networks but those that oppose these changes say that the way the Internet works is fine. If a law such as this would pass it would force companies to considered where to offer their services and through which country to route their traffic.
“In its Mobile Apps Download Forecast: 2008 – 2017 report, Strategy Analytics forecasts a total of more than 350 billion smartphone and tablet app downloads between 2008 and 2017. The analyst predicts the Google Play store will account for more than 45 percent of phone-related downloads in 2017, while Apple’s iTunes Store will account for 56 percent of tablet downloads in five years’ time. Over the 2008 to 2017 time period Strategy Analytics says paid downloads will generate more than $57 billion globally. However it expects the paid app market to be in decline by 2017 as it forecasts free apps will represent more than 91 percent of all downloads by then.“
Apple’s App Store was launched in July 2008 and now over 4 years later there has been a million app that has been proved to the store. In reality many of the apps are irrelevant since they were made for earlier versions of IOS but it is still a indication about the strong app market Apple has been able to create. Still close to 45 percent of the apps that are still live in App Store are paid compared to the lower number in Android’s app stores. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook: “90 percent of App Store apps are downloaded every month and the average customer now is using over 100 apps.”
“Quik.io works like this: Through an app, users are able to easily synchronize content across devices, enabling them to wirelessly move their photos and other media files to PCs or Macs. Once stored there, the application automatically converts files into useable formats that can be accessed on other devices. That media can be stored on tablet devices like the iPad for access offline, and it can be sent to family and friends.” This new start-up has still some limitations: whichever device stores the data has to be on and connected to the internet in order for the mobile devices to access them. The app seems to be a stepping stone towards uniform system but it won’t be until the use of cloud-based storage that I service like this will be fully functional.
“iPhones with 5- and 8-megapixel cameras are turning a lot of people into better and more prolific photographers. The Swedish company behind Foap, which lets anyone sell iPhone pictures through their app, has changed its quality standards and is offering a better incentive for users.” Currently the pictures sold cost $10 which is split between the user and Foap. The get more users Foap has added an feature that if user invited a friend to join they wil receive 10% of all the friends pictures sold. Foap has also received additional funding to allow the company to expand.
For five years Ford has been working together with Microsoft to make an interactive dashboard to its cars. The dashboard looks almost like a tablet that is inserted into where the GPS screen and other knobs used to be. After five years Ford just announced that they have sold five millions cars equipped with this technology. The Ford Synch doesn’t just offer a touchscreen interface to change radio channel and temperatures but it also enables other application to connect with the car. It for example allows you to control your phone or mp3 player using the controls on the Sync.
As mobile platforms have grown in popularity and more people are using these devices to access the internet and online banking the amount of malware is growing. Mobile device often lack the security that is offered by operating systems and computers and in a late report F-Secure listed 51,447 different samples of malware that are present in the Android mobile platform. This number was just around 3,000 six months ago. Android platform is the most used platform that covers by some estimates 75% of the market, which makes them the likely target. Google is working to secure system and to filter more the applications offered in their app store.
Google lists nine companies that use the most money in advertising in Google per day. Amazon is number three on list spending $132,000 per day. Maybe a bit surprisingly the top two companies are phoenix online university and ask.com. Ask.com is Google’s biggest competitor when it comes to answering peoples queries. “WordStream CEO Larry Kim tells us he saw a big decline in the average cost per click (CPC) and significant growth in ad impressions and clicks during the quarter.”
“One Laptop Per Child” organization is having a project in Ethiopia in which they are dropping of tablets to villages. These Motorola Xoom tablets that are already loaded with apps such as games, cartoons, e-books, and educational programs. The goal is to give these tablets to illiterate children and let them experiment and learn on their own because some areas don’t have teachers available for the children. In some areas that they have already started the experiment and researchers have gone back after couple of months and found the children using the tablets. Some of them were able to write some words and show the functioning of the tablet.
Ofcom in its latest report shows that not surprisingly kids are using more time online than ever before. The research included children as young as 3 to 4 years-old that use tablets at home. The age group from 12-15 has been the sending the most texts and compared to last year the amount of texts sent has doubled. Report also shows that children are now using internet as many hours as they do TV which is about 17 hours per week for each activity. The use of internet, phones, and technology is all rising but surprisingly the age group 12-15 have more smartphones than their parents do. So it’s not just that children are introduced to technology at a younger age but they are also using them more than their parents and even adopt new technology faster.
There has been many ways that people have tried to accommodate to the needs of disabled including blind people. When it comes to using technology there has always been some limitations. An app was developed in UK that costs around $240 which enables a blind person to use some of the functionalities of a smartphone. Qualcomm has decide to make a phone designed specifically to accomodate the needs of blind users. They have partnered with Project Ray that has been making tools for over 285 million blind people which is a large market of people that need devices tailored for them. The devices are already been tested before a launch to a wider audience.
There is many ways for customers to get deals on their mobile devices these days and some of them such as Foursquare take advantage of your location. Placecast has had a service that offers location-based offers but now it’s adding a new feature. Customers can opt-in to a service that connects one’s credit card to the Placecast’s app which then will enable them to redeem deals by using that credit card. This is allowing the stores a better way to measure how the deals they are offering are affecting their sales and for the customer it makes redeeming deals easy. Placecast has acquired some big chains as its customers that are currently using the ShopAlerts app and Placecast says that they will only charge the companies for marketing when a customer makes a purchase.
BI Intelligence is a company that does research and analysis that focuses on mobile computing and internet. Using the data gathered they published a report that shows the current trends and changes in internet usage as well as marketing numbers. Third of the world’s population is now connected to the internet so there is still a lot of room for the industry to grow. Advertising revenues from “non-digital” sources has been in a decline for a while and it’s television and online advertising that contributes 80% of the current revenue. Google and Apple are some of the few companies that dominate the industry while others such as the newspaper industry as a whole is disappearing.
Start up company Oyster will be starting a pay per month digital book rental system. They will be first starting with an iOS app and then following with an Android version. Unlike Amazon’s massive library that is only available to Kindle users Oyster is trying to reach the masses by offering their services on multiple platforms and devices. Details about the release date and price are still under review, but the company just raised 3 million dollars to get the service started.
Company called Skyfire just finished its series D money raising efforts. Funding of 10 million in the last round is allowing them to expand their services internationally. Company’s main product Skyfire Rocket Optimizer allows mobile carries to optimize video delivery to users. According to Skyfire the service can: “reduce the bandwidth needed to download videos by 60 percent and images by 50 percent”. This type of service allows users to get content to their mobile phones and tablets with better speeds but not using as much bandwidth as before.
The mobile payment platform Square has gone multiply rounds to raise money which has allowed the company to expand it services. The newest addition is a merchant directory that allows customers to search shops and restaurants that are near by and also get exclusive deals. There are already 200,000 merchants in the directory and the it’s estimated that Square has 2 million active users currently. Clearly Square isn’t not satisfied by just offering a cheap and easy mobile payment platform but they are trying to expand their services to offer variety of resources.
“People who own iPhones are much more likely to research buying decisions, comparison shop, and actually purchase things on their devices than are mobile users on Android, BlackBerry or Windows Phone devices, according to a new study by Forrester which polled over 50,000 mobile device owners. 85% of iOS device-toting adults 18 or older use their iPhones for shopping-related research, and 69% percent have pulled the trigger and actually bought something.”
“Job applicants and employees will have protection from employers who demand their login credentials to social media platforms or personal e-mail accounts according to a new bill. Employers are barred from firing or disciplining those who refuse to give up any information related to their social media accounts.”
Urban Outfitters have decided to stop ordering new cash registers and start using mobile devices in the near future. They are going to use Apple’s iPad’s instead and have workers with iPod touches, just like in Apple Stores. One of the reasons for the change is the money saving factor, but also that the iPads can be used in more ways.
The amount of apps downloaded has continued to increase from year to year and most of the apps downloaded are free. Research by Gartner point out that the percent of free apps out of all downloads is going to increase at least by 3 more percent by 2016. Even the paid apps that are downloaded are in the 99 cent to $2.99 price range. Advertising and in-app purchases will become the source of income from apps since downloads will be often free. New app stores continue to open, but Apple still holds fourth of the all the available apps in their store.
Mobile payment company Square has gone through multiple series of collecting money and the latest brought in $200 million. Square is now backed with Visa, Chase, and Starbucks is the latest company joining the group. The invested money is to grow and especially to expand internationally. Square has been processing $8 billion dollar sales annually. Other companies have since start of Square come out with similar platforms to compete with, but Square is hoping still to be in the frontline and also works on appealing to the small business owners.
When you sign up for websites or services often times they ask you to connect with Facebook or some other social media outlet. Often you are allowing these sites to access data about you and information about your activities. Many might be surprised that not only does places that you have given permission to gather data of you also have trackers for advertisers. You might have noticed when surfing a website that they are able to pin point the city you’re from or a product you checked at Amazon couple days ago. Abine has created a tool that allows you to check wherever you go what trackers there are on you and who is following you. It also allows you to opt-out on being tracked by advertisers. You can get a free version of the tool so see who is tracking your activities.
“If your brand has not yet reached the tipping point in mobile email engagement, it will soon. How your email subscribers view and consume email content has fundamentally changed within the past few years. Every marketer will have to embrace the mobile-majority audience or risk continued declines in click and conversion metrics.”
The amount of emails opened on a mobile platform is growing rapidly. 36 percent of all emails are opened on a mobile device from which 26% is on smartphones and 10% on tablets. IOS users access their emails 5 times more than android users and Iphone and Ipad are the devices most used for opening emails.
Here’s a short summary from Business Insider, but you can access the full research below.
Access the full PDF here.
“More than 65% of people who book a hotel room within 24 hours of checking in do so from a mobile device, according to Expedia. More than 15% of travelers who book a flight 24 hours or less in advance do so via mobile. Both stats show how smartphones have given new power to the harried, last-minute traveler in recent years. Hotels with ratings between two and three stars are most commonly reserved via mobile devices, indicating that they’re likely the best (or most available) last-minute lodging option.”
“For example, 77 percent of the time when consumers are watching TV, they’re also on another device. The most popular screen combination is the TV and smartphone (81 percent), followed by smartphone/PC and PC/TV (both 66 percent). More than three quarters (78 percent) of simultaneous use is multi-tasking, or tackling two different jobs at the same time such as watching TV while emailing.”