Archive for June, 2011

      By Apps & Sites, Geek & Tech, News & Events, OS & Handsets

Android App Publication: A Checklist of Pre-Publication ConsiderationsThink your app is ready for prime time? In this quick tutorial you’ll work through a pre-publication checklist. Learn about the tasks you need to complete before your application is ready for the Android Market.

There are a number of hurdles—some mandatory, some optional—that developers must overcome before their apps are ready for users. Today we investigate some of the decision points that must be considered prior to uploading your application. Once you’ve addressed these issues, you’ll be ready to move on to publish at specific venues, like Android Market or the Amazon Appstore for Android.

Step 1: Start with a Solid Application

Really, if you ask any developer what their end-game is for app development, just about every mobile developer will tell you that they just want to create a killer app. But when you ask a developer what makes a killer app, you’ll get lots of different answers—awesome concept, well executed, unique, well marketed, etc.

We like to think killer apps are like fine cuisine. Lots of different techniques can be used to prepare and serve a tasty meal, just as there are many ways to achieve killer app fame. And as any good chef knows, you’ve got to start with good ingredients. With Android, this means that you’ve got to start with a solid app.

      By Apps & Sites

$100 Million iPhone AppsAnother vote in favor of apps as the main way for anyone to hope to make money out of mobile content: the analysts at Canalys project that mobile apps will make $7.3 billion in direct revenues this year from downloads, in-app payments and subscriptions. That figure is set to nearly double by 2012 to $14.1 billion.

What Canalys analysts does not do is break out how much of that will come from each individual category: we’ve contacted them to see if they can clarify that.

Nor do they factor in revenues from furniture in the apps, namely advertising, or the possibly less-easy-to-quantify area of driving purchases offline, such as in the case of coupons. Ouriel Ohayon, the CEO and co-founder of app discovery platformAppsfire, tells mocoNews that he believes adding in these kinds of services would double the estimates.

Canalys analysts further predict that direct revenues from apps will reach $36.7 billion by 2015, which works out to a compound annual growth rate of nearly 50 percent.

What’s interesting—and perhaps due to the fact that operators are one of their mainstays as customers—is that Canalys believes that the big opportunity for revenues here lies not with the usual suspects of Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), Google (NSDQ: GOOG), Nokia (NYSE: NOK) or even Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN), but mobile operators.

Mobile operators have up to now largely missed out on the app opportunity, but are sure as hell trying to turn that around with app stores of their own and also initiatives to use their platforms for services in third-party app storefronts, for example by enabling billing directly to a user’s mobile phone bill.

Yet if you take Canalys’ overall number of smartphones and tablets in 2011—463.3 million, comprised of 419 million smartphones and 43.3 million tablets (which Canalys calls ‘pads’ in its emailed release, a hat tip to Apple more or less dominating that market)—this works out to revenues of around $15.80 per device per year. That’s not very much, considering that mobile operators are making well upwards of $50 or more per user, per month on a typical smartphone contract.

And of course you have to remember that apps revenues are hugely disproportionate, with some like Rovio bringing in millions in revenues and others struggling to break even on development costs.

It’s an opportunity for sure, but perhaps one that might be great for another player (or hey! maybe even the publishers themselves) to emerge and benefit from.


      By Apps & Sites, News & Events, OS & Handsets


If your Apple fanboy friends (surely you have at least one somewhere) like to taunt you with the old “iOS has more apps than Android” spiel, then you may not have to grudgingly agree with them for much longer. Business Insider published data this week that shows the Android Market’s number of apps continuing to rapidly approach the amount of apps in Apple’s marketplace. While the Market’s trailing of the App Store by 100,000 applications would not, at a casual glance, appear to be encouraging, the rate of growth is clearly in Android’s favor. In October that same gap was 185,000. BI actually expected Android to have caught up by now, but they still see that happening within the next few months.

Another chart from the same source shows some not so encouraging news for Google’s OS stacking up next to Apple’s. Among potential tablet buyers surveyed in February, a ridiculously high 82% say some version of the iPad is the one they are targeting. The XOOM falls way behind at 4% with the Galaxy Tab at 3%. The pricing of the Android tabs surely can’t be helping there, not to mention the fact that the iPad had a year’s head start on the new XOOM in the eyes of the public. Still, it does show that Apple is likely to continue dominating the tablet market in the short term.



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      By Geek & Tech, News & Events, OS & Handsets

SquareThe game is on for mobile payments. Square has announced that it has picked up $100 million in a third round of funding, which now values the dongle-based payment startup, founded by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, at a cool $1 billion.

The funding was led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Mary Meeker, the former Wall Street star analyst who is now a partner is KPCB, is joining the board.

The funding news was first made by Square itself via Twitter (of course). Jack Dorsey himself then announced Mary Meeker’s appointment. But there have been rumors swirling for weeks that the company was about to get another massive investment.

This brings the total amount of money we know has been invested in the company to around $130 million. In April, Visa made an undisclosed investment in the company.

Square, according to the WSJ, is now processing $4 million in transactions per day with its smartphone-based service—currently for Android and iOS—that uses an attached dongle and an installed app to make its secure payments at points of sale. That $4 million is but a tiny drop the ocean for payments, but it’s a promising early start.

The big test of Square’s staying power will be how its network, and its core device-based service, grow as newer technologies finally start to come online. Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is betting big on its smartphone NFC-based solution Google Wallet, andoperators and credit card makers (including Visa) are all also looking to stake out a claim here, too. PayPal earlier this weekannounced a 100-million user milestone fueled by its use in mobile payments. ViVOtech, a partner of Google’s, this week also announced a round of $24 million.

Sometimes Square’s growth and disruption in the market has resulted in some barbed, public exchanges with competitors, such as the scuffle it had this March with Verifone over security accusations.

The company also counts Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures and Obama adviser Larry Summers on its board.

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      By Eva's Wap & App Reviews

”Have you ever forgotten to send a birthday message to a friend or a relative? Ever needed to remind your colleagues about an important meeting at a specific time and date?”

That’s the introduction to SMSTimer. An iPhone application that will make your day (life) a whole lot easier.

Morten Mørken, one of the co-entrepreneurs behind the SMSTimer explains the app as following:

- SMSTimer is one of the apps that is actually fulfilling a real need. We actually came up with this idea at work. I was missing the opportunity to send a reminder to the representatives of a Board meeting at work, and thought ”there’s an app for everything, there must also be an app for that”. After some time searching the AppStore for relevant apps, it was clear that no-one had made this app before us.

Even though that was the initial thought behind the application, it is most known for being ”the birthday app”.

- SMSTimer has been given a lot of focus as a birthday app in Norwegian media, Mørken continues.

One of the reasons why journalists (and others) have been focusing on the birthday-part of the app, is of course the Facebook-sync function. When downloading SMSTimer to your iPhone, the app contains no birthdays. Then, after hitting the ”sync with Facebook”-button, all your Facebook-friends’ birthdays will appear in the app. Sorted by month and date. Easy and brilliant.

Now Mørken, and many happy customers, are enjoying the SMSTimer both at work and in other occasions. Daniel Støen, the other co-founder, agrees that the app is convenient for many purposes.

- I guess we all have a relative or a friend that is too close to only be given a ”congrats” on the Facebook wall, but at the same time not so close that you have to call that someone, Støen adds.

In those matters, SMSTimer might be that perfect birthday app. Start being the one who always remembers!

There are now a couple of competitors on the market, with very similar names. Don’t mix the copies with the original SMSTimer; look for the blue logo.


      By Eva's Wap & App Reviews

Vopium is a VOIP app that works across several OSs and provides when you download several SMS and/or minutes of calls to any destination in the world. They are similar to other Skype likes although their story is quite interesting, founded by a Pakistani entrepreneur, with headquarters in Denmark and funded by an Indian tycoon.

Of course as soon as I installed it the first thing is a tried was sending an SMS to some remote destination. I choose the Maldives as many telco operators don’t route SMS to such destinations. It worked perfectly. Then I tried calling. What is cool is that it integrates directly with your phone book and allows you to choose when making an overseas call wether to pass through Vopium or go through your telecom provider. When you initiate the call it thinks for about a second and then sends you through a local number (this in Europe or the USA). You then hear dialing and your call is connected. The call quality is perfect.

You can also select to pass your calls through your 3G settings or Wifi. What is cool is it runs in the background and from what I can see consumes very little battery. Also all the commands are lightening quick which is a nice change to Skype which often gets stuck.

What I didn’t like was the chat feature. The app says that it works with your Gtalk, Yahoo, MSN, AIM, ICQ, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Which it does but it doesn’t tell you how to login and it is only by trial and error that I figured it out by clicking on the icons that I found out where to login. So would have been great to have some sort of explanation. Also would be great if it worked with your Skype account too.

Vopium has some awesome calling plans. For example an unlimited call package to mobiles in the USA and Europe or country specific packages like 750 minutes to India. rBut you can only know about them by going to their web site ! It is as hame that we can’t get that info directly on the mobile.

All in all a very cool app/service. Keep it up guys.

      By Eva's Wap & App Reviews

Who Cares? – Anyone who is traveling. It is very helpful in finding everything you need on a trip.

Is it user friendly? – I actually think it is easier to navigate than the website and it works across Android, Blackberry, Java, iPhone and iPad.

Why download it? – If you are ever planning a trip Kayak has everything you would ever need to plan it.

Kayak is a travel planner originally done through their website, and also available in an app. For those unfamiliar with travel planners, Kayak provides deals on hotels, flights, car rentals, and usually offers cheaper prices than commercially advertised in order to sell unsold rooms and tickets.

Once you have downloaded and opened Kayak you will see a menu list which has links to hotels, flights, cars, and everything you will need for your trip. I really like the ease of access for flight information by simply putting the city you are in and the city you want to travel to. The process is basically the same thing for booking a hotel room and renting a car. Some of the more useful features with Kayak are the ability to check a flight status, and compare fees that come with certain airlines. My favorite feature is the buzz link which shows you what the average price of any trip, and what you can expect it to be in the near future.

Kayak makes the entire process of planning a trip all the way to providing a travel itinerary easy. Since Kayak is free and easy to use I would suggest travelers downloading it. There are other apps that offer similar services so you should check out our reviews of other travel planners to see which one you like best.

      By Apps & Sites, News & Events, OS & Handsets

Click the image to open in full size.They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but Apple’s not impressed, as it has been battling it out in multiple courts to claim its rights on product designs and other features of the wildly popular iPhone and iPad products. It looks like one of those cases, against Amazon and its use of the phrase “appstore”, got a setback yesterday: a judge said Apple’s bid to prohibit Amazon from using the term would “probably” get denied. What could that mean for Apple’s other big trademark case, against Samsung?


Although U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton has not made a final ruling in the case being heard in a federal court in Oakland, California, her remarks—reported by Reuters and others—indicate that she has yet to be convinced by Apple’s arguments for barring Amazon from using the “appstore” name.

Apple, which filed the complaint in March, just days before Amazon officially opened its app store for business, alleged that Amazon was creating confusion in the market, particularly among developers, by using the same name as Apple’s, barring the space between the two words. The judge, however, said that Apple had a “stumbling block” in being unable to provide real evidence of confusion among consumers.

One of Amazon’s main arguments has been that consumers cannot get confused because Amazon offers apps for the Android platform, while Apple only sells apps for its own iOS platform that is used on its iPhone, iPad and iPod products.

On one hand, this situation begs questions about what can be constituted as generic versus proprietary in the echo chamber of the mobile and tech world. Apple was the first to put the words “app” and “store” together, but it’s undeniable that the term has run away from it. Even in cases where companies have branded their application storefronts with different names, such as Android Market or BlackBerry App World, the world at large still refers to them all as “app stores”.

On the other, Amazon’s argument about being used on a different platform is a compelling one when you think about Apple’s case against Samsung, where Apple is accusing Samsung of copying its designs for phones and tablets. While you need to be on the iOS or Android platforms to respectively use the App Store or the appstore, purchasing a device needs no prerequisite, and so you might argue that there really is more opening there for confusion among consumers.

In both the cases of the app store question and devices, Apple will have its legal work cut out for it. Apple is still also fighting out its case in Europe, as several companies—including Microsoft, HTC and Nokia —have filed a case with the European trademark office to dismiss Apple’s claims to the words.


      By Apps & Sites, News & Events, OS & Handsets

Blackberry is said to be prepping cross-platform (finally) versions of its popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) application for release this year. According to multiple sources an Android version “is definitely a go” with an iOS counterpart also on the horizon.

One theory is that a stripped-down, lighter version of BBM will allow Android users to communicate across platforms with other clients, with RIM reserving additional features for the BlackBerry. Android and iOS users would presumably be able only to chat, while BlackBerry owners will still be able to share location and pictures with one another.

It’s unknown at this point whether or not the Android app would carry a cost, but most likely there would be a lite version free and a paid, full-featured client available that would add to RIM’s bottom line.

This could pan out to be a good move for RIM, providing a platform-agnostic service for mobile users. And instead of having zero presence on Android and iOS, it could come in and dominate a market it helped to establish.

The BlackBerry Messenger has been around for a longer time and carries more weight than competitors such as Kik and WhatsApp. With both of these apps already amassing more than 1 million Android downloads each, RIM could potentially be looking at millions of its own.


      By Apps & Sites, News & Events, OS & Handsets

Android devices come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, as anyone who has had to write applications for Google’s mobile platform will tell you. But if a new leak is accurate about the next generation of the Nexus Android phones, Google  and its partners may be preparing to remove a common link: the four navigation buttons at the bottom of nearly every Android phone screen.

The Boy Genius Report says that a tipster has leaked info about what is thought to be the next version of Google’s Nexus Android phone lineup, which it designs in order to push the envelope on hardware features and is generally used as a development platform. The Nexus 4G (a nickname for now because it will run on LTE) has state-of-the-art hardware common to Nexus phones, but also has an interesting design change. For the most part, Android users rely on four buttons at the base of the screen to navigate around the phone, pull up menus, and search their devices or the Internet. The Nexus 4G lacks those four buttons.

It doesn’t appear that Google has a new navigation system in mind, but simply that it plans to replicate those buttons using software, rather than forcing phone makers to dedicate screen real estate to buttons that aren’t always needed. That’s a design philosophy that Apple embraced with the iPhone, and if Google is really following suit it would give Nexus 4G owners a bit more screen for watching videos or playing games.

This may be something that only appears on the Nexus-branded phones, but it’s interesting nonetheless. The new model is expected to arrive later this year, probably around the time that Ice Cream Sandwich, the next version of Android unveiled at May’s Google I/O conference, is ready to be released.