For those who don’t follow Android, back in May Google announced a second go at the Android Developer Challenge (the first was held in 2008), putting up over $2 million in prize money. Submissions were due August 31st, and first-round judging started in the last week of September. One of the coolest aspects of the Challenge is that first-round judging is done entirely by the user community: Anyone with an Android-powered phone can download the ADC2 app, which randomly downloads Challenge entries to your phone and allows you to rate them.
MobileCrunch reported that the UK’s HulloMail launched a native visual voicemail app for the Blackberry (thanks TweetMeNews!). So now all of you crackberry addicts that were jealous of the AT&T iPhone visual voicemail, your time has come. While this visual voicemail app and the carrier-feature version of it on iPhone do advance that hated thing called voicemail, its still only part of the puzzle—not having to call in and navigate with audio prompts. The full monty would be all that plus having the voicemails transcribed into text that shows up on your phone screen. Funny thing is that this is already available through others, including Google Voice. Been using PhoneTag for over a year now—see the post on it.
People who buy phones today are accessing mobile media out the gate more than before. 55% of phone buyers over the last 2 months access mobile media like email, browser, photos, music, etc. The trend is up from 46% seven months ago, and 39% a year ago. All-you-can-eat plans, faster connections, and feature convergence are making it all possible. More folks are replacing their devices to take advantage of cheaper plans and richer features. My take is that phones are dead in the U.S. We’ll each have a mini computer in our pockets within the next couple of years.Hey look at me, I’m an ad!
60% of folks with mobile devices use SMS, and 1/4 of these have received SMS ads. More than half opt in to get these ads — are folks finding value in receiving commercial SMS notifications? On the flip side, a ton of SMS ads are unsolicited or agreed to by mistake. Dear Google, please be working on a spam filter for my mobile inbox.There’s an extremely long tail of mobile media devices.
1034 separate devices are used to access mobile media. The top 6 represent 12% of mobile media usage, and the top 12 claim 20%. RIM and Apple are predictably at the top. The implication here isn’t clear. How fast do the top dogs swap spots? Who should I develop my app for? What do the long-tail user demographics look like? These and other mysteries may only be solved with more granular data.
Intuit’s Jan Bosch writes: “Thought I’d share the link - unclear if this so-maniest initiative will work, but if you sell 400 million phones per year, it kind of helps.” What do you think? Will Nokia succeed? Do people with bank accounts and credit cards want to pay using their phone? Will developing countries adopt this solution or AgriNova? Should Intuit be partnering with Nokia or even investing in this technology? Comments welcome.
Taxis are a pretty old business with an equally old business model. Until one company in Florida had a new idea—free taxi service, making money only through advertising and tips. Sadly, the existing Taxi companies forced them out of town. Worse, one existing driver then copied the business model of the folks he just forced to shut down! Were the free guys subverting the (cab license requirement) system or where the existing taxi owners just using old-school government arm-twisting to monopolize?
Taking pictures on your phone….everybody’s been doing it for years. Taking pictures of documents or whiteboards and having Evernote convert the image to searchable text….slightly more cutting edge, but nothing new. Taking pictures of a check to deposit it?….Now we have some groundbreaking innovation! Announcement this morning from USAA (the bank) in a New York Times article and in Lifehacker (thanks Gerald Huff and Eric Pan!). If this thing takes off, it will essentially obliterate your average bank user’s final need to have a local bank—depositing checks. Get the app and details here.
The latest Apple commercial has a glimpse of the widely acclaimed QuickenOnline for iPhone app. You have to look close to see it (~2 sec in and 8 sec in) as it’s not one of the “featured” apps in the advertisement, but no doubt it will raise awareness of QuickenOnline just by being in the frame. For the time being, you can see it on TV or on Apple’s site, but click the image below to see its archived version hosted right here on the ‘Mojito.Nice work Consumer Group! (Actually I am not sure if it was intentional/paid for, or just luck of the draw/we are a big company—if you have info, please post a comment below.)
There’s a comment about interface design as well [“Despite their advanced hardware, handsets here often have primitive, clunky interfaces…. Because each handset model is designed with a customized user interface, development is time-consuming and expensive…”].” To sum it up: they have no Interaction Design or User Experience focus when it comes to the phone software. Needless to say, Japanese cellphone makers were shocked at the overnight and growing success of the iPhone. Take a page from their book I tell ya…
From our own Penny Moran in the APD Competitive & Market Intelligence group: SurePayroll (web-based Payroll) marketing with benefits messaging its Reseller and Referral partner programs and integration with mobile devices with incentive to learn more and be automatically registered for a chance to win an iPod Touch – CPA Technology Advisor e-mail, July 23, 2009Love that green color scheme on their website too. We haven’t used this product but have wondered what the actual need is for doing payroll on the go. With such complex deductions, taxes, paychecks, etc., wouldn’t you want a large screen and precise controls (like on a traditional computer) to work and see the big picture all at once?
Interesting article on why Google is placing all of their bets on web applications and cloud services, including mobile web apps/cloud services. I agree with Google, but it’s a very long term battle. The only reason native apps are winning big time is that they make smart use of the user’s time. We would be waiting around forever with each tap on our iPhone screen.
Someday (maybe 10yrs from now?) mobile web apps will be on par with native mobile apps and then the battle will be over. Its just now that desktop web apps have gotten really close to desktop software apps, with AJAX and such.But even given that, Adobe AIR apps are winning in some areas (over desktop web apps) so maybe not…thoughts?
Some valid points in this short article by Joe Dickerson: