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Posts Tagged ‘Mobile’

How The iPhone Can Win Against Android

November 18th, 2009 No comments

android-logo-redWhen Google first came out with the G1, I was not impressed. The iPhone was still fresh and exciting and the G1 felt cheap and underdeveloped. I remember asking the first person I saw with a G1, “Do you work for Google?” Thinking, why else would you have that phone?

Times have definitely changed.

The Android OS has continued to improve and evolve with more and more handset manufacturers coming out with Android phones that people actually want. HTC, a relative no name a few years back, is successfully building their brand presence in the U.S. (thanks in large part to Android) and Motorola is in the middle of a comeback with the early success of the Droid.

With Samsung, Acer, Lenovo and Dell all coming out with Android phones, it looks like Android has a chance of becoming the “Windows” of the smartphone market. On top of this, rumors are that Google themselves are making their own smartphone which would provide the all-in-one hardware-software mix that has made Apple so successful.

So, how can the iPhone win against Android?

By doing what has worked for Apple in the past, focusing on quality and creating enough product diversity to satisfy their target markets.

More iPhone Models

When the iPod came out, there was one model and it was hugely successful, but in order to keep over 70% of the MP3 market share, Apple came out with the Nano, Shuffle, Video, etc. Same thing needs to happen with the iPhone. Different price points and storage capacities aren’t enough. Different hardware configs, screen sizes, form factors, etc. Why is a physical keyboard blasphemy?

Better Hardware

Apple is know for innovating with the latest hardware. They were the first laptop manufacturer to include built-in wifi, wide screen displays, backlit keyboards, etc. The original iPhone had the best touch screen and great specs, but the 3GS was a hardware snooze fest. Front facing camera for video chat (can be low rez and only work on wifi,) 5mp camera with flash, and their own line of doc connector peripherals (i.e. game controller) would be awesome.

Open Up the App Store

Yes, it’s good that Apple wants to keep the junk out of the app store and wants to insure that the iPhone experience doesn’t suffer because of poorly written apps. However, the public attention is not on how many apps there are, but how the approval process is slow, flawed and over restrictive. Provide more ratings, allow more content, and hire more people to make the process faster.

More Customization

User customization has never been a trademark of Apple but a little can go a long way. Either develop a framework for themes or give users more options for what appears on the unlock screen (widgets,etc.) Everyone’s iPhone looks the same and for the Apple creative crowd, that’s not a good thing. At least offer more exterior colors, people eat that up.

Get On Verizon

Hopefully this in already in the works. Don’t let AT&T’s network issues drag down the iPhone brand in the U.S. A lot of users are going with Android because they don’t use (or want) AT&T.

Diversity and competition are great for technology, and I for one am glad it’s Google and not RIM or Microsoft ¬†giving Apple the run for their money. Although I’m obviously a die hard Mac fan, the Droid and HTC Dragon look really tempting. I want to use an iPhone because I believe it’s the best hardware/software combo out there, not just because it’s got an Apple logo on it. The iPhone is still tops, but it’s gonna take a lot of innovation to stay in the lead when it’s Google on your heels.

Categories: Commentary Tags: , , , , ,

New CNN iPhone App

September 29th, 2009 No comments

CNN-iPhone-AppCNN has released their CNN Mobile application for the iPhone & iPod Touch.

The $2 app delivers headlines, live video, local weather/news, push notifications, and the ability to upload iReport content.

The My CNN section allows you to follow and save stories or topics and get local weather and news based on your current location.

The video quality is very good and is delivered as Video On Demand or offered as a live stream of CNNs main broadcast. You can enable push notifications when breaking news hits and the video goes live.

The ability to upload pictures and video directly into an iReport is very easy which should translate into more user generated news content.

The application feels polished and does pretty much what you expect. The live video streams over edge, 3G or wifi and is the one real standout feature.

The one surprise is that the application is not free. While $2 is not outrageous and the app is definitely worth it, there is quite a bit of in-app advertising going on (even the loading screen had a Lexus ad.) I wouldn’t be surprised if the price drops or goes free in the future.

If you watch CNN or frequent their site, you’ll probably enjoy the app. If you prefer to get your news from FOX or avoid the “Gotcha Media” altogether, you may want to pass on this one.

[ CNN Mobile iPhone App ]

Categories: News Tags: , , , , , ,

The Mac Tablet

August 3rd, 2009 No comments

The rumor mill has been busy with talk of an upcoming Apple tablet. While the Apple tablet rumors have been off and on for many years, this level of mainstream hype makes one believe that, yes a new device may soon be announced.

In trying to figure out what this device may be, I’m trying to wrap my head around what is that we consumers want that we currently aren’t getting from an Apple device.

If it’s just to have a $750 Mac portable, Apple could accomplish this with a low cost netbook, which they’ve said they don’t want to do. And really, beyond price, what real benefit would be offered to the Apple customer?

While phones are getting more laptop features, and laptops are getting more phone-like features, can one device really deliver the best of both worlds? The physical size difference is a benefit to each device. Mobility for the phone and screen size and physical keyboard for the laptop.

Apple Tablet

I could see the use for some sort of dock that allows the iPhone to gain a bigger screen and a full sized keyboard, but not sure if the iPhone has enough power yet to replace the laptop, even in a netbook like capacity.

One thing is for sure, location based technology is super hot right now, so GPS and even cell tech (like 3G/4G) are going to be standard in future mobile devices (including laptops.)

So will this new Mac “Tablet” bridge the (small) gap between iPhone and MacBook or will this new device be the first in a form factor that eventually replaces one or both of these devices?

My only real bet is that the name won’t have the word “tablet” in it.

With many claiming a September announcement, we may know soon enough.

E*TRADE Mobile Pro – The Great Recession on the Go

June 25th, 2009 No comments

IMG_0612

E*TRADE made a name for themselves as one of the early internet banks and online trading firms. At the time, online banking and trading were considered un-secure and risky.

Fast forward to today and mobile banking is the new frontier. The same concerns over security exist and E*TRADE once again is there with a new way to trade.

The E*TRADE iPhone app is a free tool that allows their customers to access accounts, buy and sell stocks, and get detailed stock quotes, news and other financial info.

The menu interface was well thought out and unique. Their designers have done a good job of carrying over the look and feel of the main website. Not much learning curve if you’re familiar with the main site.

The app has the shake to update feature (a la Facebook) and is very responsive.

I have mobile banking apps from Chase and BofA and while they both have their pluses, they seem a little rushed in comparison to E*TRADE. Now if only there can be a bank error in my favor…

[ E*TRADE Mobile Pro ] Also available for the Blackberry.

CNN + iPhone = ?

June 9th, 2009 No comments

cnn-iphone

CNN has announced they are coming out with their own App for the iPhone this summer.

While they provide no details on what that App will do that the mobile version of CNN (or the full website for that matter) doesn’t already provide, it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

There is a lot of debate/uncertainty over the future of mobile applications. Will they be web based and work across multiple hardware and software platforms or will they be device specific (App store) but offer tighter integration and a better overall experience? Right now it looks like most major companies are hedging their bets and offering both.

Cnn.com is one of my primary sources of mainstream news and they’ve generally been quick to embrace new technologies. So what will the iPhone App offer that their website doesn’t? Mobile is all about location (the Apps know your GPS location and where you’ve been/frequent.) By delivering news thats relevant to your current location, this App could bring something new and valuable to the table. Let’s say you travel to Denver for business and when you get off the plane, the CNN app delivers weather/traffic and any breaking local news for Denver.

We’ll keep you posted. Until then you can signup here for updates on the App from CNN.

Categories: Commentary Tags: , , , ,