This post is part of our ReadWriteMobile channel, which is dedicated to helping its community understand the strategic business and technical implications of developing mobile applications. This channel is sponsored by Alcatel-Lucent.
readwriteweb.com | By Dan Rowinski
For years, consumers have been looking for an alternative to the iPad. The obvious place has been Android, but in reality nothing really stood up against Apple’s mighty slate. Either the price was too high, or it came with a contract from a wireless carrier, or it just wasn’t good enough. Samsung, HTC, Motorola, LG and a host of other companies tried to make great Android tablets at reasonable prices, and each achieved varying degrees of failure. A quick look at Google’s new Nexus 7 tablet shows us it has the potential to not just best all the other Android slates on the market – and Amazon’s Kindle Fire – but perhaps even challenge the dominance of the iPad.
Android Jelly Bean
Android 3.0 Honeycomb, designed specifically for tablets. The first iteration of a Honeycomb tablet was the Xoom, created by Motorola.Google did not build Android originally with the thought of putting it on tablets. To this point, it has been a struggle for any Android device that is not a smartphone to really look great and function well on a tablet. Theoretically, that was supposed to change in February 2011 when Google announced
It was basically terrible.
Android apps on the Xoom did not look or perform well on the device. It was clunky and did not perform as well as its impressive hardware specifications promised it should. And it was expensive. It started at $899 unless you wanted to tie it to a two-year contract from Verizon, in which case it was $699. It was a consumer dud and partially ruined the demand for tablets.
Other Android tablets that have come since have not been much better. Samsung has a variety of Galaxy-branded tablets that are all ho-hum devices. Other tablets ran Android versions like Gingerbread 2.3, which were not intended for larger screen sizes.
What has changed? Foremost, Google combined the development of Android apps to be compatible with both smartphones and tablets when it released Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich late in 2011. In terms of tablet user interface, Ice Cream Sandwich was a big jump for Android. Yet, to this point, there are no meaningful tablets running ICS.
That is why the Nexus 7 is incredibly important. It will ship with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and be optimized to the newest version of the operating system. That means that it should run apps on bigger tablet screens as the developers intended them to be used. It will have all the Android goodness that people like, such as live widgets (which are now responsive to a particular home screen’s real estate), dynamic sharing abilities through Google Beam, and a user interface that is easier to use, more intuitive than Honeycomb ever was and generally superior to everything that came before it. Jelly Bean should be the new standard for Android tablets, and in that, consumers, developers and Google all win. Seguir leyendo “The Android Nexus 7 Tablet (and Jelly Bean) Explained”
By Antone Gonsalves | readwriteweb.com
Laptops are doomed. In the next five years, tablets will displace notebook-style computers to become the dominant personal computing platform. And the transition from laptop to tablet has already begun.
That’s the key finding of a new Forrester Research report that predicts the end of the laptop’s 15-year reign. The trend is already well under way among people born between 1980 and 2000, known to demographers as the millennial generation. In the U.S., 30% of tablet owners in this age group have purchased a tablet in place of a PC, compared to 20% of baby boomers.
“For this growing body of [millennial] users, PCs will seem like clunky trucks rather than sleek cars, dampening their long-term propensity to buy conventional PCs,” says the 19-page report authored by Forrester analyst Frank Gillett.
But the tablet won’t replace the laptop all by itself, Forrester says. File-sharing services such as Box,DropBox, SugarSync and Apple’s iCloud will be critical enabling technologies, as well as a new type of stationary display the analyst calls a frame, due to become commonplace by 2015.
Sales projections back up Forrester’s forecast. Tablets are expected to outsell laptops in 2016 as tablet shipments quintuple from 81.6 million in 2011 to 424.9 million by 2017, according to research firm DisplaySearch. Seguir leyendo “Tablets Want To Kill Your Laptop”
What is television? Historically, its definition was more or less set in stone. A television set was a very particular type of device, which served as the hub of audio-visual entertainment in a given household. To take Wikipedia’s description, it’s “a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome (black-and-white) or colored, with or without accompanying sound.”
Over time, the models, sizes and features evolved, but the basic meaning of the word “television” remained unchanged. That is, until recently.
For the first several decades of the TV’s existence, the concept didn’t evolve much. Black and white turned into color. They got lighter, they got thinner and the picture quality gradually improved. Today, the idea of what we used to call “television” is being turned entirely on its head, and we don’t really know for sure what it will look like a decade from now.
From Content to Hardware, TV is Changing Seguir leyendo “The Evolving Definition of Television”
Instagram just got a cool $1 billion from Facebook. Path has a $250 million valuation. Even Twitter was started as a mobile, text messaging-based service.The allure of making millions, perhaps even billions, of dollars developing mobile apps for the consumer market is obvious.
Venture capitalists are always on the lookout for the Next Big Thing when it comes to consumer apps. But fledgling entrepreneurs may find a higher likelihood of creating a sustainable business and attracting VC dollars in the business-to-business (B2B) market.
The Allure of the Consumer
Consumer apps are sexy. Mobile developers and designers working on the top consumer mobile apps are considered rock stars in Silicon Valley. The Path team has been widely commended for its app’s user interface. Instagram created a huge community for wannabe hipsters. These developers are highly sought after, well-respected and are going to get paid big time.
But for every Foursquare, there are hundred of startups that meet an inglorious end. Succeeding in consumer mobile is difficult. Consumers expect things to be free, or very cheap. The ability to monetize consumer mobile apps depends entirely on scale. Build a user base and squeeze revenue through whatever means possible – be it ads, in-app purchases or paid downloads. Venture capitalists are willing to give seed rounds or Series-A rounds to consumer mobile apps only if there looks like a way the service might be able to scale. â¨
“If you build Instagram or the equivalent, that sort of thing can happen to you. You can go from zero to hero sort of almost overnight. That is never going to end, by the way. That has sort of been the story with media. Not just in the mobile world but in the Web world and the film world and the television world and the music world for a really long time,” said Kevin Spain, general partner at Emergence Capital.
Salesforce, Box, Yammer and others. Spain said the VC firm is willing to look at the “unsexy” element that is B2B because there is value to be had in the realm. Seguir leyendo “Why Mobile Business Apps are Attractive to Venture Capitalists”But Emergence Capital does not look for consumer apps. In its decade of existence, the VC firm has focused exclusively on B2B applications, getting in on venture rounds for
Hardcore Twitter users, I know you’re a loyal bunch (in fact, I consider myself one of you). So don’t take this personally. This article is about Facebook and how it is either going to destroy Twitter, force the microblogging service to change or make it an aquisition target by a rival, such as Apple or Google.
Or so says David Clarke, CEO of BGT Partners, an independent digital agency. Clarke says Facebook exposes key flaws with Twitter, including its 140-character limit on messages, as well as Twitter’s own trouble generating consistent revenue streams, which we previously reported on.
In Clarke’s world, the pure scale of Facebook and the limitations of Twitter make the beloved service “obsolete.”
“This character limit is wearing thin as consumers expect richer and more robust content that’s easy to access,” Clarke said. “Twitter existing by itself and generating enough revenue to become a substantial business model will be a struggle. It’s much more likely that ultimately Twitter will be taken over by Google, Apple or Facebook.” Seguir leyendo “Twitter Can’t Beat Facebook”
If you liken app stores to race horses, Apple is the biggest, baddest thoroughbred in town. Google Play is a fine specimen with some distinct qualities but has a lot of work to do in the practice yard before catching up. Everything else is an also-ran. Windows Phone has been growing rapidly, increasing from 40,000 apps in Nov. 2011 to 70,000 at the most recent count. Then there is BlackBerry App World. For all of Research In Motion’s troubles, its app repository is tied with Windows Phone at 70,000, which includes 15,000 specifically designed for the BlackBerry PlayBook. There are no tablet apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace, mostly because there is no Windows tablet (well, one worth anything).
Small businesses are learning how to leverage the power of cloud computing, and loving it. With the decreasing costs of cloud computing, and its rising capabilities, it’s no wonder business owners are flocking to this new software. However, some businesses are still skeptical about integrating cloud computing, due to uncertainties in privacy and data protection. This is especially true If you’re considering supporting a widespread field service population that crosses geographic boundaries. Do you know the various privacy and data security laws for Germany, for example?
Well, you could hire a bunch of lawyers, but you could also check out our infographic that summarizes the best and worst places to have a cloud-based business.
Thanks to ClickSoftware for preparing this infographic.
The other day, I was reading a news article when a skyscraper banner ad to the right of the story caught my eye. It was for a particular bass guitar, which was for sale on Amazon. I happen to be in the market for a new bass, and this model looked like one that I might like. So I clicked on the ad to take a closer look and then and browsed through a few other options.
I didn’t end up buying anything, only because I have more a little research to do before I make a decision. But I will make a purchase within the next few weeks. Maybe I’ll get one through Amazon. Either way, I couldn’t help but notice something rather incredible about the aforementioned experience: I actually clicked on a banner ad on a website.
This was probably the second or third time I have ever done this in my life, despite being served probably millions of ad impressions since I first encountered the Internet via a dial-up-connected AOL account. I’ve clicked on text ads in Google search results and on the occasional Facebook ad, but like most Web users, display banner ads have always fallen into my blind spot while I’m browsing. I rarely even notice them.
This phenomenon is by no means limited to the digital world in which we now live. As a teenager, I would bemoan the number of full-page ads in the magazines I’d pick up, as I flipped through the cologne stench in search of articles to read. To this day, I can’t bear to sit through a television commercial. Most of them are weirdly manipulative and completely irrelevant to my life.
Do you reuse passwords across multiple websites? The habit is alarmingly common, despite being a well-known security risk. You know how the warning goes: If you use the same password across a number of different websites and one of those accounts is compromised, some evildoer could infiltrate the other sites, potentially exposing a wide range of personal data and even putting one’s finances or identity at risk.
Mozilla knows all too well the online privacy and security issues that its users face. Its Firefox browser is the gateway to the Web for millions of people, and it doesn’t take that responsibility lightly. Mozilla Labs recently launched what it calls the Watchdog initiative to help users understand and manage passwords and privacy-related matters.
The latest Watchdog project to see the light of day is a Firefox add-on called the Password Reuse Visualizer. Once installed, it allows users to see a data visualization of their stored passwords and how they’re being used across sites. Seguir leyendo “Firefox Data Visualization Shows You How Dumb Your Passwords Are”
This post is part of our ReadWriteMobile channel, which is dedicated to helping its community understand the strategic business and technical implications of developing mobile applications. This channel is sponsored by Alcatel-Lucent. As you’re exploring these resources, check out this helpful resource from our sponsors: Cultivating a Developer Ecosystem: Understanding Their Needs
I updated my Blackberry Playbook yesterday to the new OS, and I was struck with a confluence of ironies when it comes to the current crop of tablet computers: We have a company that made its name in messaging (RIM) that took a year to deliver a substandard email app to its tablet. We have a company that made its name in graphical interfaces (Apple) that doesn’t support many graphical websites on its tablet. And we have a company that made its name in online ecommerce (Amazon) that delivers a substandard Web browsing experience on its tablet.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have the best of all three rolled up into one? Yes it would. But we aren’t going to see that anytime soon. I am not alone: our story yesterday about common tablet gripes can be found here.
I like some of the features from each of the tablet trio of iPad/Fire/Playbook. But each of them also infuriates me for different reasons. Since the new Playbook OS has just arrived, let’s pick on it first.
RIM has made it easier to connect the Playbook to your email, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. That should be impressive, but the way they have gone about doing this is so wrong-headed. Strike one: their messaging client is sub-par... Seguir leyendo “Sorry, RIM: The Playbook Still Sucks”
Why do I feel like everybody is lying to me all the time? I cannot get around the idea that every technology company with a major platform is doing everything it possibly can to get as much data from me as it possibly can through any means necessary. No barriers go un-trampled in the quest to track me, cookie me and use my personal information to obtain the greatest level of profit … from me.
Google gets a lot of blame for its tracking behaviors in relation to advertising and cookies. I stopped trying to hide data from Google a long time ago because I am not sure it is even feasible anymore. I am a denizen of the Internet, therefore Google knows everything about me. The undisputed king of tech, Apple, often gets a pass on privacy concerns because we all love our damned iPhone and iPads so much. Apple should get no such pass. It wants your data as badly as all the other tech companies and it does not want to share. Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Amazon? Yeah, you are in this discussion too. At some point I just throw up my hands and say, “you know what? Screw all of you.”
I am not generally opposed to tech companies tracking my activities and data. Most of the time I believe that the general purpose is to provide me a better experience. I do not set any of my browsers for private browsing by default and only use “safe browsing” techniques on mobile devices to keep me away from spam and botnets. I use an HTTPS connection whenever possible to make sure my user name and passwords are not being intercepted by nefarious third-party entities.
What I am sick of is that every time one of these privacy stories breaks, it is nobody’s fault. The script is the same: “we’re sorry, we didn’t mean to do it, we will shut it down right away.” You know what? It is everybody’s fault.
For instance, the most recent blow up is that Google and three other advertising networks were violating Apple’s Safari guidelines for third party cookies. Google issued a statement to Ars Technicasaying that the tracking was completely unintentional and was a product of tying the “+1” button to Safari to determine if a user was signed into his/her Google account. Apparently, the third-party advertising cookie running through doubleclick.net also accidentally made it through too.
Apple allows cookies in Safari across all of its devices. That can be first-party cookies from the homepage of a domain or certain social third-party cookies, like the ability to like something through Safari on Facebook. Cookies are used for important things, like remembering logins and password credentials. They are also used for delivering important outside information, like location-aware messages and advertising.
Apple wants this information as much as Google does. The more Apple knows about you, the more it can tailor your experience and keep you coming back to Apple for devices and services. Blocking third-party cookies in Safari is not some altruistic motive by Apple. It is a marketing gimmick and a way to shut out other services from accessing data that would be available elsewhere on the Web without Apple’s intervention.
Google wants the Web to be as open as possible to serve its purposes. Apple wants the Web to be as controlled as possible, providing a funnel about everything you do and everywhere you go back to Apple and/or its developer partners. To many, this has become a war against the “open” Web. Facebook has also been accused of this very same practice with its closed platform. Microsoft has long known everything you do through its Windows and Internet Explorer platform. Amazon wants to track you so it can provide better shopping data.
John Battelle sums up the nature of Safari in regards to his iPhone nicely when reacting to the Google tracking story:
Or perhaps it’s because Apple considers anyone using iOS, even if they’re browsing the web, as “Apple’s customer,” and wants to throttle potential competitors, insuring that it’s impossible to access to “Apple’s” audiences using iOS in any sophisticated fashion? Might it be possible that Apple is using data as its weapon, dressed up in the PR friendly clothing of “privacy protection” for users?That’s at least a credible idea, I’d argue.
This is why I throw my hands up and say, “you know, screw it.” Every one of the tech companies has an agenda and each of them wants your personal data. Whether that is Path, Twitter, Foursquare or others uploading your contacts list without your consent or Google tracking your cookies or Apple tracking your location. Each is going to push the boundaries of what is perceived to be acceptable and when they get caught they are going to say “sorry, we’ll stop now.”
I am also a firm believer that the technology and the Web is not free. The foundation of the Web was built off of user data. User data keeps the Web gassed up and moving down the information super highway (as we used to call it in the 1990s). I do not mind giving up my cookies and a certain bit of my privacy for a better experience. Take Path for instance. After Path allegedly deleted all of the contacts it had automatically uploaded, it prompted me if I wanted to upload my contacts. I said yes. Because without doing that, Path would be a barren place to me and I would have no way of finding my friends on the platform.
What I am really trying to figure out when it comes to privacy decisions by technology companies is whether or not harm is being done. Is this going to hurt me now? Will it in the future? Will it hurt my friends and family? My greatest fear is that I am framed for a crime and all of my data on the Internet will be used against me. Or that someone will cause harm to me or my family financially or physically. Will the government take my data and make my life difficult? These are all legitimate fears.
I then ask myself when these “scandals” take place, who is being harmed? The media loves a big “my god, they did what?!” story. If we put it in perspective, this Google tracking Safari story is no big deal. They then shame the offending company until it apologizes and gets on with its life. The fact of the matter is that it does not really matter to the user to share in this shame and outrage because in the long run nothing is going to fundamentally change. Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple, Amazon, Path and all the rest are going to use our personal data however they want. We may cry privacy violations and they may apologize again. And again. And again.
That is why I say screw it. Screw the companies for setting up the system that perpetuates this mess, screw the media for making it a scandal every time, screw the users who let it happen. Everybody is to blame.
Use my data. I wash my hands of you and it. Just make for damn sure that no harm comes of it.
Because then, we would really have problems.
If you’ve used the mobile social network Path recently, it’s likely that you enjoyed the experience. Path has a sophisticated design, yet it’s easy to use. It sports an attractive red color scheme and the navigation is smooth as silk. It’s a social app and finding friends is easy thanks to Path’s suggestions and its connection to Facebook.
In short, Path has a great user experience. That isn’t the deciding factor on whether a tech product takes off. Ultimately it comes down to how many people use it and that’s particularly important for a social app like Path. Indeed it’s where Path may yet fail, but the point is they have given themselves a chance by creating a great user experience. In this post, we outline 5 signs that the tech product or app you’re using has a great UX – and therefore has a shot at being the Next Big Thing. Seguir leyendo “5 Signs of a Great User Experience”
By Robyn Tippins
Today is the 3rd Annual Community Manager Appreciation day.Originally founded back in 2010 by Jeremiah Owyang, the 4th Monday of January has since become a day to both thank Community Managers and to enjoy some great community-themed content.
Community Managers are, on the whole, good people. They are slow to anger, and quick to give second (and tenth) chances. They cheer-lead awesome folks and great ideas, while quietly, but firmly, discouraging bad behavior. They’re passionate about their product, protective of their site and fervently supportive of their community. And, despite working long and varied hours, they still will tell you that they have the coolest job in the world. Keep reading to hear my decidedly biased view of community managers, colored by my almost 16 years of managing communities.
Role Definition Seguir leyendo “Community Manager Appreciation Day 2012”
For some, it is a question about whether Google serves “the same Web” for the millions of users who rely on Google as their principal portal. For others, it is a matter of relevance, and whether the infusion of data gleaned from the personal interests of one’s friends impedes the visibility of material those friends might never have seen. At any rate, Google’s swift response this week to negative reviews of its first trials of personally adjusted search results, including Jon Mitchell’s fiery indictment, clearly demonstrate that it’s at least as sensitive as its own users.
It’s now extremely easy for any Google+ user to turn on and off personalized search results (called “Search + Your World”) at will, with a toggle switch in the upper right corner – part of Google’s rollout of changes today. Now, as a follow-up to our first tests of personalized search prior to the rollout, RWW looks into whether leaving the feature turns on necessarily improves the relevance of search results in various categories. At issue: Does Google elevate links to discussions about what you’re looking for on its own services, above what you’re looking for? Seguir leyendo “New Test Results: Google Rewires Search with Personal Touches”