Tag Archives: Grady Winston

Social Media As A Business Tool – First, Engage You Buyers

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

imageIs there a better way of getting your brand, product or service out to people? In our ever-expanding world of digital advancement, the ability to find and share content has grown by leaps and bounds. Businesses in the know understand social media isn’t just for teens and college kids anymore.

While businesses are capitalizing on the impact a strong social networking presence can have, there’s still a hard line when it comes to actual interaction.

Many businesses still work on the premise of “if we build it, they will come.” Though this approach may have worked in the past, people aren’t just interested in what you’ve built, but what’s inside. The point of social media isn’t just to keep talking about your company and its services; consumers want to know what makes you tick.

If you’ve made a video that promotes your company, employees or services you provide, consider including a behind-the scenes look at making the video, including a gag reel or bloopers. Marketing data and spreadsheets mean little to the average consumer. Show your customers the heart, soul and human side of the company they choose to support.

“Going viral” is a popular turn of a phrase related to the sharing of pictures and videos across social networks. Thanks in part to sharing, “Gangnam Style” made Korean rapper Psy a sensation in the United States.

Memes are another one of those viral cases, in which something is elevated through the use of pictures or words. Former presidential nominee Mitt Romney had at least two of his awkwardly worded statements turned into viral memes as the 2012 presidential race heated up.

Why did these videos go viral in the first place? The case could be made that Romney was famous, being a former governor and presidential candidate, but Psy was an unknown singer and rapper.

While something to strive for, going viral isn’t just about putting up content for people to find. Anyone can upload a video; the difficulty is in knowing what that content should be and how to attract viewers who ultimately share it. It goes without saying that social media is one of the biggest pushers of content, from Facebook to Twitter to rising star LinkedIn and newcomers like Google+ and Pinterest.

Understanding these platforms is first and foremost the most important thing when trying to get people to your business. Facebook is not Twitter and, despite their perceived boxing match, Google+ is not Facebook. Being on just one social media site isn’t enough; a business needs to be on all platforms that will work towards its business and customers.

Another crucial step is learning about your customers. Many businesses try to market to everyone without regard to their actual consumer base. Why market material of scantily clad women on top of cars when a customer base is mostly women? Or senior citizens? To this end, not only is it important to know your consumer but, know what they will like and most likely share. As the saying goes, “content is king” and, not having interesting and engaging content is a deal breaker for many.

Memes are popular because they make current events humorous. Animal videos, from cute kittens snuggled together to pandas getting wellness checkups, make people happy and more productive. Clearly not all marketing will benefit from the use of a meme or a video of a hedgehog toddling across a countertop, but interesting content spurs people to share with their friends, family and coworkers.

However you market to your customer base, be sure to engage your buyers. Social shares can drive sales and bring great success to a company that invests time in learning its customers’ interests and the kind of media that will make them go “Aww!”

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Filed under Business Development, FaceBook, Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Twitter

Holiday Season Shows the Importance of Mobile Interaction

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

In 2012, shoppers spent $1.46 billion online on the Monday following Thanksgiving (also known as “Cyber Monday”). And more than 18 percent of shoppers used a mobile device to access retail sites that day. As mobile devices become more available – and as retailers designer their websites to be more mobile-friendly – the trend in online shopping is expected to continue.

Of particular interest to retailers is the fact that people who use mobile devices to shop online exhibit a slightly higher rate of conversion when compared to their desktop computer-using counterparts. That’s why it pays to develop a strategy for capturing this audience.

Buying habits

Shopping data pulled from Black Friday and Cyber Monday show that the average mobile shopper is approximately 7 percent more likely to make a purchase in the evening than during the day. While they may not be outside of their home in the evening, the convenience of their tablets and cell phones makes for easy shopping from their favorite leisure spot in their home. To take advantage of this trend, be sure to coordinate your efforts to take place after dinner time to achieve better conversion rates.

Best practices

To achieve sales conversions, you should engage the potential customer in a variety of ways. Some good approaches include:

  • Optimizing your mobile site – To convert visits to sales, you need to use simple features on your website. Especially when dealing with mobile devices, which have less precise input and smaller screens, an optimized site is easier for shoppers to use. Make sure to include basic features customers may be looking for, such as “subscribe” and “contact” fields.
  • Implementing social media campaigns – While a long-term campaign is needed to build a significant following, you can ramp-up customer excitement about sales or new inventory by carefully timing tweets and social media posts. Tying in your message to your other channels (including blogs, emails and print publications) will help to unify your message for any special sales or deals available. Consider including deals or discounts for followers of your accounts to foster brand loyalty.
  • Using SMS messages to get immediate results – A text message is frequently read within four minutes, which can lead to quick conversions on limited-time offers. Brands such as Redbox and Papa John’s effectively use SMS to deliver coupon codes to subscribers, encouraging them to take advantage of deals and generate business on specific days.
  • Building a subscriber list – When it comes to digital marketing, email is a very effective solution. A subscriber list can bring customers back repeatedly, especially if you deliver limited-quantity offers to subscribers on occasion. Making your brand advocates feel appreciated will lead to higher conversions – and people who appreciate your brand are more likely to spread the word about positive interactions with your business.

Mobile shopping could eventually become the main way people buy goods and services. Plan accordingly, always being mindful of how mobile-friendly your website is. And don’t be afraid to ask for input and ideas from your customers – they’ll happily share their opinions about what might make your website easier to use.

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Filed under Connected Devices, Guest Writers, Point of View, Web Site Design

Snapdragon: Changing the Mobile World

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

imageSnapdragon is a mobile processor completely built on a single chip that brings you longer battery life and keeps you going in your everyday life. Battery life is great and an important part of any device’s usability, but that alone wasn’t enough for Qualcomm. Snapdragon is next-generation technology that provides all users with some exciting new features sure to change the way mobile devices are used.

Whether you’re a developer, a gamer or just an avid mobile device user, these next-generation technologies are going to impact the applications, games and other features on all mobile devices in the future.

Here are just a few reasons to get excited about Snapdragon:

  • Blink and smile detection: Have you ever been in that situation where you wanted to take a photograph of a group of people and the camera on your mobile device decides to focus in on just one person? It happens all the time. However, with Snapdragon, you get blink and smile detection that helps with facial processing and gives you a much better and higher quality photo of a group of people. Facial processing simply has never been this well done. Your camera will be able to recognize when someone is blinking, smiling or looking away from the camera; which helps you get the best picture possible.
  • Burst camera mode: Sometimes getting that perfect shot is really hard to do, especially when something is moving. Most cameras allow you to turn the shutter off or at least adjust the shutter speed, but this technology hasn’t really translated over to mobile devices – until now. The burst capture feature provided by Snapdragon allows even amateur photographers to capture a series of pictures with no shutter lag between shots.
  • Graphics: Qualcomm built the Snapdragon processor with gamers in mind — they designed it to take gaming to a whole new level with high resolution and realistic 3D graphics and effects. Just because you’re gaming on your mobile device doesn’t mean you should have to sacrifice quality. In fact, with Snapdragon, you’ll soon be able to play games that rival any console gaming experience.
  • Surround sound recording: Sometimes, recording a video on your mobile device can leave you wanting something more. Maybe you missed something someone was saying or maybe there’s too much noise to really hear what you want. With Snapdragon technology, you get some amazing audio features that allow you to record in 5.1 surround sound. With Snapdragon, Fluence Surround Sound Recording uses the existing microphones on the device to bring you an HD camcorder sound and experience.
  • Indoor location: Have you ever been using the location feature on your phone only to realize it won’t work when you are inside? With Snapdragon, you don’t have to worry about that. The location feature on Snapdragon technology provides users with amazing experience. Not only does the location feature will allow you to search local points of interest, give you great walking and driving directions and give you object tracking, but it also gives you precise indoor position. You won’t have to worry about finding where you are because you are indoors; your mobile device will do that for you.

Snapdragon by Qualcomm is changing the ways in which users interact with their mobile devices. It pushes the limits on what traditional technology has brought consumers and is opening up a wide world of possibilities for next-generation consumer technology. For Qualcomm, it’s clearly not just about the technology itself. It’s about the way users interact with the technology they build and they want to make that experience the best one possible.

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Filed under Connected Devices, Guest Writers, Opinion, Smart Phone

RedNightHawk to Writerdood – Right Back at Ya!

I make a point of recognizing the importance of reader comments by including the following as a Blog sidebar item – “Comments are an important feature of this Blog. So, please feel free to let me, and other readers, know what your views are.”

It’s simple really – often, through a reader’s comment, others can gather additional information, gain exposure to issues and debates, learn from the experience of other readers,………….

Yesterday, for example, I highlighted comments by Writerdood who had opened debate on Grady Winston’s latest guest article – Nasty Competition: iPhone vs. Android. In today’s post, you’ll find RedNightHawk’s thoughtful and occasionally provocative responses to Writerdood.

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imageLet me begin, by saying I’m not picking on you (Writerdood), you raised some excellent points and even managed to do it without the fanboy attitude that so often needlessly pervades these types of discussions.

“RIM has fallen and can’t get up…”

I’m not so sure about that. I went to a recent BlackBerry Jam event in my area, and they demonstrated they have a lot of ways for developers to launch their products on their new BB OS10 platform (Android developers can port their apps over, and many, many other development options are available). I was surprised how many different ways people could leverage their existing knowledge to get into BlackBerry development. Here’s an article about an iOS developer porting their game to the PlayBook:

Don’t get me wrong, I had just about given up on them after years of frustration with OS updates that featured ever so slight loosening of the Java reins (Java!), and corporate thinking that showed just how out of touch they were with the new smartphone realities, but the move to QNX (BB OS10) looks like they got the message loud and clear and are ready to introduce a viable alternative to Android and iOS. Much like Apple, they also have a very loyal fanbase (though they lost some of them due to years of letting them down). Developers also make more money on BlackBerry since more BlackBerry owners actually purchase apps, so they are getting some quality apps ready for the upcoming launch.

“What we’re missing is the functionality innovations – the leaps in operational use that allow users to do more things with their mobile devices.”
“Who will be the first to add infrared control as a standard in phones (allowing users to control their televisions without needing specific hardware)?”

Dammit. When I had a Palm PDA the infrared port was one of my favorite features on it. My laptop then also had an infrared port and it was nice to be able to communicate wirelessly long before the days of Wi-Fi. I do still miss it. That said, I don’t know if anyone will be willing to use the space in a modern day handset to add an IR port. With appliances becoming more and more connected, I would love to see a protocol to allow easy connection using existing hardware on the phone – Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi. So many things could be done if people had an easy way to make their own drivers for hardware so they could do things like connect their phone’s keyboard to their TV over Wi-Fi.

“Will NFC take off and become a desired utility (allowing users to make payments or upload data with a wave of their phone)?”

I’m not hot on the technology myself, but one of the lead BlackBerry OS developers is, and, as a company, they have invested pretty heavily in it being a selling point for their upcoming phones (and some current models). Apps have been made for payment and secured entry. Apple seems more intent on developing their own alternative and still haven’t equipped their phones with NFC ability. Some Android sets have it. It will be interesting to see how consumers embrace it (some people will, some won’t), and why.

“Will phones start to come stock with projectors?”

I’ve heard of a few of these, but definitely more of a rarity than something mainstream. I think this is an interesting thing – most people would say I have no need for a projector phone…but, the right app could likely make them think otherwise. A phone company that not only built the projector technology into their phone, but also paired it with well-made software that got people thinking about HOW they would use it (rather than if they would or not) would likely be able to sell it…by creating a market (more on this shortly).

As you said though, so many companies aren’t innovating.

Palm made devices I really liked – I would love to see a graffiti type app on some current touch screen phones since it’s still something I miss (I also had a nice folding keyboard that made it easy to travel with and setup a full-size keyboard on the go). But they reached a point where they were happy to sit on their laurels; where they not only stopped innovating, but stopped listening to their customers needs. By the time they started innovating again, it was too late. In the past, I’ve often compared RIM to Palm. This may be why you feel they’ve fallen and can’t get up, since they definitely went through a period where they weren’t paying attention to the right things. Apple now seems to be moving into that mode, as RIM moves out of it.

A few years back I’d read about VMware, the maker of the software that allows people to easily setup virtual computers on their existing OS and run a different OS on the virtual machine, working on a mobile version. That set off all sorts of daydreams for me about being able to have one piece of hardware that ran virtual machines which had different mobile OSes installed.

I think, as you mentioned, it’ll be interesting to see how the mobile space pans out in the next few years. It’s definitely becoming more volatile as once main players can quickly and easily lose their spot. This oddly enough makes the current main players both harder to unseat, and more vulnerable!

While companies like Samsung make 101 different types of phones, and ones like Apple make 1 type of phone (and keep old ones to sell off), what I’d like to see is a sort of build-your-own phone where you can custom order as if it was a PC or laptop (and let’s face it, nowadays the specs on phones are pretty close), choosing upgrades to the base RAM, processor speed, etc. and have an OS that can work with that.

Back to my earlier comment about how the right app might be able to sell projector phones to the masses. One of the reasons I liked the Palm PDA so much was that I used to use it to write – I could take it down to the waterfront and write using the stylus and graffiti, or take the folding keyboard and sit in a coffee shop and type, then I could later easily bring the files into my computer and work with them there.

Now, if you look at why more and more people are using smartphones, it isn’t because the hardware has gotten better (well, it sort of is – no one wants a laggy phone with a bad screen), it’s because they have an app or apps that make it necessary or desirable for them to have a tool that allows them to use the app where ever they are – it’s not enough to have a laptop because they need instant and convenient access to that app.

The app might be Facebook, allowing them to keep in touch with their friends and family more so than without the app, it might be a combination of being able to take a photo or video and quickly share it online, it might be YouTube, it might be a good music player, it might be some custom work software (dispatch, some of the waiter/waitress order taking software, etc.), or a combination of all of the above.

While you mention some hardware you’d like to see, I think a killer app that uses any new hardware will be the difference between people really feeling that the hardware is a selling point or not. And if there’s killer apps (more than one) for that hardware – more reasons to buy in, all the better.

This leaves a huge (and much less expensive) area for innovation as well if the phone companies actually start making those apps (which in some cases, the OSes, especially when they first came out, felt like killer apps – they made you excited about the possibilities of how you could use them, leaving you imagining what you could or would do with them).

P.S. In response to Grady’s question about Linux making a phone – I was discussing something with a friend a few weeks ago: I found it interesting that iOS is based on MacOS, which was derived/based on a Unix variation; Android is (as others have mentioned) a variation of linux, and QNX (RIM’s new BlackBerry base for the OS) is Unix like too.

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Filed under Apple, Blackberry Playbook, Connected Devices, Opinion, Point of View, Smart Phone

Nasty Competition: iPhone vs. Android – Writerdood’s Feedback

Earlier this week, I posted Grady Winston’s latest guest article – Nasty Competition: iPhone vs. Android – which lays out the moves and countermoves in a precarious battle between Apple and Google. The article has drawn a number of forward thinking comments which deserve wider distribution than a straight-forward comment might allow.

The following comment, by Writerdood, addresses some of the questions posed in the original article – then, raises a series of “functionality probability” teasers. Are they teasers – or, real issues which the smartphone industry needs to address?

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imageThe future of smartphones is an interesting topic. I don’t see Apple as being at the top of that list. RIM has fallen and can’t get up. And Microsoft’s solution is still an infant with potential.

Globally, I think Android will likely dominate, at least in the short term, but in the long term it’s difficult to say what will happen. Apple phones are beautiful devices, but so are Android phones. Brand-name loyalty will certainly ensure Apple always has a market, but their innovation seems to have reached its limit. Their latest release offers very little of consequence to most people.

What we’re missing is the functionality innovations – the leaps in operational use that allow users to do more things with their mobile devices.

Who will be the first to add infrared control as a standard in phones (allowing users to control their televisions without needing specific hardware)?

Who will add customization user interfaces (allowing users to decide how their screens display)?

Who will add tactile interfaces (allowing raised buttons to appear when needed)?

Will NFC take off and become a desired utility (allowing users to make payments or upload data with a wave of their phone)?

Will phones start to come stock with projectors?

Will full integration with XBox or Playstation make a big difference?

Will flexible expandable screens become a desired feature?

And all of them appear interested in AI of some type, which will produce the desired results?

Then there’s audio – and some manufacturers seem focused on pushing that to the extreme limits, making the screen itself into a speaker.

And then there’s Google’s project glass and integration between those glasses and their phones may force Apple and others to compete.

I think the smart phone world is poised to move on a variety of innovations that will vastly enhance the capabilities of the phones slated to come out in the next few years. Most of those phones will not belong to Apple.

To keep up with this wave of new functionality, Apple will have to either jump on that bandwagon – and pay the patent rights to use them – or come up with an intuitive leap just as risky as their first iPod venture. Their fans will support them regardless, but the rest of the world will only support them if that leap is useful to them and something they can’t get elsewhere.

Heck, if Apple put infrared and tactile into their phones, I’d even buy one. And a projector too? Worth it. Particularly if it can project a keyboard in addition to being used to project slides and video. But maybe these are features that don’t matter to most people. Only time and user adoption can tell that story.

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Filed under Android, Apple, Google, Guest Writers, iPhone, Smart Phone

Nasty Competition: iPhone vs. Android

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

imageiPhone versus Android. The choice between the two smartphone platforms is as contentious as the battle between being a Mac or PC person. However, thanks to the war emerging between Apple and Google, the battle is not just heated — it’s just plain nasty.

It’s no secret Apple was displeased when Google entered the smartphone arena with army of Android phones and an app market, recently rebranded as Google Play. However, it shouldn’t have been a shock either.

Those who have a disdain for Apple products — and there are a lot of people on the planet who fit that description, despite the seeming ubiquity of iPhones — had as much right to inundate their smartphones with apps as iPhone users.

Although the Android app market is still small in comparison to Apple — 70,000 to 230,000 apps, respectively — the Android market is quickly gaining ground in the world of mobile application development. Incensing Apple even further, many Android apps are free. Why pay $.99 for an app on an iPhone when you can get it for nothing on a Galaxy III?

As tech goliaths, Apple and Google have run into more than a few disputes. Remember when Instagram moved from iOS-only to Android? Apple recently unveiled its new proprietary Maps application, designed to supplant Google’s ultra-popular-to-the-point-of-being-de-facto offering.

In a similar move, Apple is removing the YouTube app from its phones, effective with iOS6. This probably won’t be enough to make people chuck their iPhones, especially since the app hasn’t been recently updated, but it might make consumers on the fence choose an Android the next time their contract expires.

It’s hard to say if these differences will affect the populace in any more than a divisive capacity. Even when it comes to price, there isn’t much difference between the iPhone and Android phones. The iPhone 5 is priced at $199 with a contract, which is in the ballpark of the Galaxy and other mid- to upper-range smartphones. The decision may become clearer as the dust kicked up by the iPhone 5′s release begins to settle, even though it will be stirred up again with the next major smartphone release.

So, who’s going to emerge as the winner? As much as Apple and Google want to think they have the power to destroy each other through the end user, the bottom line is Apple people are Apple people and Android people are Android people. It’s really not much different than the Mac versus PC debate.

Sure, you do have people who cross over — some Mac people have Android phones and some PC users have iPhones — but for the most part, people are loyal to their brands. If Apple or Google want to crush each other, they’ll really have to do it without the help of the consumer. However, if they both continue to play nasty games, they make themselves ripe for a third player to emerge on the scene and take a share of both their markets away. I wonder if Linux plans to enter the cell phone market…

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Filed under Android, Apple, Connected Devices, Google, Guest Writers, iPhone

Crashed Hard Drive? Progressive Data Recovery Steps

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

imageTake a deep breath, your computer crashing isn’t the end.

When a computer freezes up, or worse yet crashes, it can send even the most seasoned computer user into a hair-pulling maniacal panic. For many beginner or inexperienced users, a crashed hard drive often means the loss of gigabytes upon gigabytes of music, pictures, movies, videos, documents, and just about any other type of important digital file imaginable.

While the temptation to throw your laptop across the room in frustration is understandable, it may be a tad melodramatic. Why? Because you’d be surprised just how easy it is to recover seemingly lost data yourself. Refrain from catapulting your computer across the room, take a nice deep breath, and let’s take a deeper look into the world of hard drive data recovery.

Recovering Hard Drive Data in Four Steps

1. Purchase a New Hard Drive – Just like when you total your car, when a hard drive crashes, it’s pretty much deemed useless in that it can’t be used again. But, just like you can usually still fish out your CD collection and glove box contents, you can recover the useful parts or data from the drive.

The first step in the “recovery” process requires understanding that you need a new hard drive. Take another deep breath, head to a local computer or electronics store, and pick up a compatible hard drive.

2. Configure a Master and a Slave Drive – Before you even think about recovering your crashed hard drive’s data you must configure both drives for data recovery. This involves installing your new hard drive as the primary (or “master”) hard drive, and the crashed hard drive as the secondary (or “slave”) drive. In a nutshell, setting up your new drive as the master drive tells your computer’s operating system to recognize it as the primary system drive. Keep in mind that this process can vary widely from OS to OS.

3. Recover Your Data – Now that you have correctly configured each hard drive you can recover data from the old drive. Since the crashed drive is the secondary drive, this is pretty much a drag and drop situation. Simply locate the files you want to recover and drag them over to the new hard drive and place them in the appropriate folder.

There are certain files that you may not be able to locate easily. Take Microsoft Outlook tools for example. If you’re looking to recover lots of email conversations you’ll probably need to use an Outlook recovery and repair tool. There are plenty of affordable tools that scan your Outlook files and recover lost or hidden files for you.

4. Hire a Data Recovery Specialist – Finally, if your data recovery efforts leave a lot to be desired, it may be time to call in the big guns. While hiring a data recovery specialist isn’t the cheapest solutions, it may be the fastest way to recover lost data.

Conclusion: A Final Word of Caution

Every time you try to recover data from a crashed hard drive, you run the risk of losing some data completely and forever. This isn’t a great feeling, but it happens to the best of us. This is where safe email and web surfing practices will go a long way to protect your data from being corrupted.

Protecting your data may also mean backing it up. Fortunately, affordable online backup and recovery tools are just a click away. The bottom line is that hard drives are fickle, mechanical devices that can go bad without a moment’s notice. Keep a tight grasp on your data and you can avoid data recovery nightmares like this one.

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Filed under Guest Writers, Hard Drive Problems

Design Tips and Practice for Non-Smartphone Mobile Hardware (which still exist)

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

imageBreaking news: there’s an alternative to smartphones. It’s called a feature phone. You may remember them. They existed long before Android, iOS, Windows Phones and even BlackBerry. If you’ve been paying attention, which most people haven’t, you’ll notice they make up a huge portion of the global market. In fact, they’re very much alive and well.

Most developers completely overlook the feature phone market entirely, ignoring a massive market segment. In other words, there’s plenty of money to make with mass-market phones.

More About Feature Phones:

According to a recent Forbes piece, feature phones are now far more profitable than mid-market smartphones. How can this be?

As smartphones began their steady rise to dominance, popular handset makers from all over the world abandoned the feature phone market. Since most handset makers stopped development for mass-market mobile phones, it left a huge market wide open for Nokia and handful of feature phone developers throughout Asia. While the feature phone market is experiencing a decline, as of 2012, over a billion mass-market handsets are being sold annually. The bottom line: it’s time for developers to get in the feature phone development game.

Top Feature Phone Development Platforms

Brew MP

· About – The Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless (BREW) platform, developed by the engineers at Qualcomm, has been around for upwards of a decade. To date, over a billion devices have been sold with BREW as the chief OS platform. Additionally, over $3 billion has been paid out to BREW developers.

The big idea behind BREW is that it seamlessly integrates simple applications with feature phones. The way it does this is kind of misleading. Yes, BREW-powered phones can be programmed in C+ or C++, but for all intents and purposes, BREW works as the pseudo operating system.

While the faux-OS allows you to run native code on each device, you don’t need to code applications for a specific device. This is largely because the runtime library is actually a part of each BREW-powered phone’s on-chip firmware. In other words, BREW is among the most flexible and powerful feature phone development platforms out there.

· Navigation & Basic BREW Development Concepts – Start by downloading the BREW SDK from the Qualcomm site. Once you download the SDK or DevKit from the BREW resources page, you’ll find the Brew Simulator or Emulator, depending on the SDK release.

Throughout the dev process, the simulator offers multiple levels of application signatures: one signature to authenticate you (the developer), and another signature to ensure the application has passed all BREW-related app testing.

Testing apps involves transferring them to-and-from a BREW-powered handset via USB using the Brew AppLoader tool built by Qualcomm. If the app isn’t configured correctly, BREW will automatically delete the app once you restart the phone. From here, apps can be deleted and removed from the handset via USB to free up onboard memory for further app testing.

Symbian

· About – While the Nokia-owned Symbian OS has recently been re-tooled to focus on smartphone development; its history is in feature phone development. The platform is based in C++ programming, but there tends to be multiple issues with the Symbian platform to date. Essentially, Nokia had big plans for the OS – mainly to provide a development community with a repository of standardized code to work with – but third-party developers own much of the code. This essentially means that only a select number of development firms have access to the full source code.

In 2010, the development platform was switched over to open source, which marks the largest open-source code migration in the history of mobile development.

· Basic Symbian Development Concepts – The bad news is that the Symbian development platform is fairly complex. The good news is that once you wrap your head around it, it can prove to be a powerful platform for feature phone development.

For starters, the platform is fairly versatile. While the bulk of apps are programmed in C++, you can easily code with languages as diverse as Python, Java ME, Flash Lite, Ruby and .NET.

Downloading the SDK will reveal some crucial components you’ll need to spend some time with – namely the header files, library files and the Windows-based emulator.

The basics of Symbian development can be broken down into three main components: descriptors, active object and the cleanup stack. The problem with using these components is that they’re based on older, out-of-date Windows hardware components. While you can use a wide range of MobileDev languages to create apps, implementation is often limited to a small number of Nokia handsets.

Most Symbian developers use third-party tools like Carbide C++ express. With these coding tools, programmers can benefit from UI design features and other app debugging tools to get apps ready for deployment in a timely fashion.

The same development concepts that apply to smartphone apps also apply to feature phones: create an app people can use and you can make money off of. The key takeaway is this: there’s a $3 billion+ development market that many mobile developers have given up on. Don’t let that be you.

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Filed under Business Development, cell phone, Connected Devices, Guest Writers

Clinical Decisions – Smartphones, Healthcare Providers, And You

imageBy some estimates, 70 percent of the population in India and 64 percent of the population in China had cell phones in 2011. The numbers are growing steadily around the globe, proving that even in times of economic uncertainty, the tech industry is expanding.

What’s amazing is the speed of development. The curve of technology is now pointed exponentially upward to the extent that new advancements will come at an alarming rate in every field, from entertainment to industry to healthcare. Technology companies are addressing challenges related to global health and wellness, private communication and financial fitness—among other things.

Communications giant Qualcomm developed 2net—a platform that depends on the cloud for storing and sharing medical information. The secure connectivity solution is designed to work across multiple devices and applications providing consumers with reliable storage and retrieval.

With the August 2012 release of their new 2net App SDK, the doors are now open for innovative developers to engage in the advancement of mobile medical technology. Via 2net Connect APIs, developers can access a consolidated data stream on data-enabled platforms like Android, iOS and Microsoft.

What does this mean on a practical level for different smartphone users, though?

Physicians and the Medical Community

New advancements already provide faster, sharper imaging features for physicians. Sharing radiographic images with commentary allows doctors on opposite sides of the globe to consult each other concerning difficult medical cases. Secure connections open the door for pharmaceutical discussions regarding prescriptions and inventory replacement.

In the future, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be able to issue global alerts instantly. Developing nations may be able to request assistance from skilled surgeons and researchers, via live links with more secure settings and clearer video support. A virtual interactive comprehensive medical library may one day be available with instant language translation. The possibilities are limited only by vision and imagination.

Individuals

For citizens at large, the number of applications to manage personal health and wellness is growing daily. Vital stats tracking is available that will help people monitor and record important information to share with their doctor. Technology is already being used by thousands of consumers that want to take charge of their own health. Cell phone apps can help manage readings for the items below and many more:

  • Temperature
  • Heart Rate
  • Blood Oxygen Saturation Levels
  • Blood Sugar Levels
  • Breathing Patterns
  • Weight

In addition to health trackers and monitoring applications, cell phone users stay connected to support groups and medical providers. Applications to manage personal health records can be life-saving. Accessing a complete and thorough electronic record during a crisis or after a dramatic injury eliminates unnecessary time spent trying to remember all medications and past illnesses, speeding up access medical care in the emergency room.

Personal technology for entertainment and communication’s sake has been the cornerstone of the market for some time; however that’s not to say we can’t use our mobile computers for other practical benefits as well.

Innovators pushing the boundaries of what mobile applications and smartphones are capable of have the opportunity to enhance the daily lives of people everywhere. Healthcare is only one facet of life working to be improved, others are sure to follow.

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

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Filed under Cell Phone Apps, Connected Devices, Guest Writers, Interconnectivity

Digital Sheep – Grazing on the Internet

imageWith the Internet and social media providing instant satisfaction and entertainment, it’s very easy to get caught up in consuming an absurd amount of information. Instead of being spoon fed commercials and media from a handful of television channels, now it is coming from everywhere and directly to your person at all times. Though people still have the freedom to comment and believe what they will, the vast majority of internet users have simply evolved into digital sheep devouring content constantly.

In the modern age, digital sheep are information technology users (more specifically, Internet users) who are happy and satisfied to “graze” off the vast information fields available on the web. In other words, they’re just consumers, not bothering to produce anything—but more importantly, are unaware of the potential consequences of their attitude and behavior.

“But, wait, now,” you might say, “haven’t most people always preferred to be consumers rather than creators? Isn’t it true only a handful of people have written books, magazines and newspapers for the general population?”

For sure, media from the beginning has been lopsided—i.e., the many have always consumed what the few have created. The Internet, however, has greatly changed the playing field, and not just in terms of aesthetics or of professional responsibilities.

The Internet is a place where people come to not only be entertained, to socialize and to be educated, it’s also a place where they come to work, to share information and to connect with other people in ways that go beyond “socializing.” In other words, people now have an opportunity to participate more meaningfully in the process called “media” than ever before.

Beyond that, being just a consumer carries with it a few negative connotations and dangerous burdens. For one thing, it means that people are accepting what they read, often without analyzing it for accuracy and acceptability; it also means that they are following rather than making any attempt to lead or to at least participate meaningfully in the process.

The question everyone has to ask is, “Do I want to be ‘digital sheep,’ or do I want to actually participate in the information creation and evaluation diaspora?”

The fact is that few people, given the chance, would formally elect to be “digital sheep.” In fact, one might say that this is one of the mishaps of the information age—i.e., having people who have fallen into the role, without having been given much of a choice. On the other hand, everyone has a choice. The problem is that some people aren’t exercising it.

If you wish to avoid becoming (or presently being, as the case may be), digital sheep, these suggestions may be of use:

1. Become aware of the burdens and responsibilities inherent in Digital Asset Management (DAM) marketplace. By becoming better aware of the technology, you might better avoid becoming a victim of its intricacies and demands.

2. Don’t fall into the “follow the information Pied Piper” syndrome. Always look at what you read closely, deciding if you really want to follow, challenge what you read, or build on what is offered.

3. Listen to peers on your own level or beneath you (in position or training), not just so called “A-list” experts and pundits.

4. Don’t just attend networking events attended only by big shots—you can get important information from other venues as well.

5. Expand the quality and versatility of your reading material. Sticking, for example, to technical blogs or certain news sources may hamper your intellectual growth.

6. Read material beyond what you catch on the Internet. And don’t just focus on the material on the first few pages put there by search engines. Search engines have their agenda—it shouldn’t necessarily coincide with your yours.

7. Strive to write blogs, articles or even responses to materials you read. By doing so, you’re engaging with, not just consuming, material on the Internet.

8. Strive to become more technologically savvy. Find out, for example, what’s going on within the phone app developing industry. This will help to keep you educated within one of the fastest growing industries: the mobile device industry.

9. Become more of a risk taker. Digital sheep are content to just exist and don’t want to take any unnecessary risks. Well, risk is usually involved in any great achievement opportunity.

10. Meaningfully connect with people, establishing relationships that will mutually enhance lives. When you connect with people, you’re less likely to treat them like sheep; by the same token, people are less likely to treat you as sheep if they look up to you and respect you.

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

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Filed under Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Point of View, social networking