Tag Archives: mobile

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

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

Scan a QR code – Expose yourself to mobile malware

Guest post by David Maman – CTO & Founder of GreenSQL.

imageA single poisoned link is all it takes to expose an entire organization to a full-scale attack.

Hackers write sophisticated browser-based attacks that operate quite stealthily. Now, they’re going after our mobile phones, which are soon to be the number one way we access the web.

As QR codes have evolved, they now can offer users – and thieves – unlimited information within seconds of scanning.

And we scan them voluntarily.

We’ve already been trained to think twice before entering an unknown link we get from a stranger or even a friend, but almost anyone will scan an unknown QR code with a smartphone or a tablet, if the offer it’s embedded in looks tempting enough.

The Experiment:

Over a three-day security conference in London, I created a small poster featuring a big security company’s logo and the sentence “Just Scan to Win an iPAD.” Thousands of people walked by, no one asked where the sign came from, and no one took it down, not even a representative of the company featured on the sign.

The results: 455 people scanned the sign and browsed the link over the three days. The breakdown: 142 iPhone users, 211 Android users, 61 Blackberry, and 41 unknown browsers.

Remember, this was a conference for security professionals.

As I’m a nice guy fighting for the right side, the QR code simply linked to a web page featuring a smiley face. If I had decided to include a malware or poisoned URL attack based on multiple mobile smart phone browsers, I wonder whose phone I would have penetrated…

To make a long story short: QR codes are becoming more and more prevalent. And most of us don’t have the same AV or URL filtering technology on our phones or tablets that we have on our PCs.

The question is: Can we really fully trust the QR codes we see on the streets, in restaurants, or in ads? Regretfully, the answer is no.

Any attacker can take advantage of QR codes. And remember, unlike computers, most mobile devices do not include antivirus solutions to protect us against mobile malware.

Think before you scan.

· Does this QR code seem to come from a reliable source?

· After scanning the QR code and seeing the link, is the link really from whom it claimed to be?

· Would I click on this link if it came through my email?

Even if you miss out on the iPAD or the free ice cream cone, you’re probably better off.

Author bio:

David Maman is CTO & Founder of GreenSQL, the database security company.

About GreenSQL:

GreenSQL, the Database Security Company, delivers out-of-the-box database security solutions for small and mid-sized organizations. Started as an open source project back in 2006, GreenSQL became the no. 1 database security solution for MySQL with 100,000 users worldwide. In 2009, in response to market needs, GreenSQL LTD developed a commercial version, bringing a fresh approach to protecting databases of small- and medium-sized businesses.

GreenSQL provides database security solutions that are affordable and easy to install and maintain. GreenSQL supports Microsoft Azure, SQL Server (all versions including SQL Server 2012), MySQL and PostgreSQL.

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Filed under Connected Devices, Cyber Crime, Don't Get Hacked, Guest Writers, Internet Safety Tools

3Guppies’ FaceBook Widget – Send Photos to Your Cell Phone

3guppies.jpgThe only things you need to send a FaceBook photo or video to any cell phone is 3Guppies FaceBook app and a working US or Canadian phone number. The application pulls up all the photos in your friends’ albums as well as your own. Grabbing the photo previews it in a mobile screen frame, though you needn’t worry too much about it fitting–3Guppies Mobile automatically scales photos on the destination phone.

You can crop, title, and tag the image and choose to store a copy in the 3Guppies locker for later reference. Once the photo has landed on the phone, it can be downloaded or sent on its way to sunnier pastures. 3Guppies has worked behind the scenes, striking compatibility deals with 28 carriers for 1,200 phones in North America.

MySpace users have a slightly different product, an embeddable photo album widget that’s then linked to your phone number. Once associated, photo, video, and text auto-uploads from your phone to the widget, essentially creating a mini multimedia blogging platform. You can also send MySpace photos to any phone.

Go to your FaceBook page and add the widget: that’s it.

Most phones will receive a text message with a link in it. To click on the link select Menus or Options and ‘GO TO’. Your photos should download automatically.

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Filed under BlackBerry, Cell Phone Apps, FaceBook, Freeware, Living Life, Mobile Applications, Multimedia Tools