Tag Archives: iphone development

Illinois Technology Association’s Mobile Visionary Roundtable Event to Explore How We Can Apply What Already Works in Japan in Our Mobile Market. Meets November 18, 2009 at 8:30am.

This event has taken place and Christopher’s awe-inspiring slide deck is available here: http://www.box.net/japan

The Mobile Visionary Roundtable at the Illinois Technology Association (ITA) welcomes virtual guest speaker, Christopher Billich. Christopher is the Senior Vice President of Research & Strategy at Infinita, Tokyo, Japan. Chris speaks often throughout the world on mobile innovation. He will review the trends he is seeing as a widely respected mobile industry thought leader and researcher. Chris will be answering the question, “How can we apply what already works in Japan in our mobile market?”

Japan has 100 million users of advanced third-generation smartphones, twice the number used in the United States. Japan’s at the forefront of mobile thought leadership ranging from mobile wallets to mobile TV with built-in shopping. New technologies, devices and services are being developed to further empower our mobile lives. Chris will share his views on where this exciting new market is headed.

Insightful mobile industry education will be followed by themed mobile “20/20″ breakout sessions and networking to share best practices in mobile marketing, technology and application development.

In this roundtable, participants will:

  • Understand why 9 in 10 Japanese use the Mobile Internet
  • See how mobile phones are being used as digital wallets, TVs, health
    monitoring devices – and how they can even help to keep your shoes dry
  • Discover how operators, handset manufacturers and content providers
    cooperate to create value
  • Learn how mobile advertising became a 1 billion dollar industry
  • Find out which players are pushing the boundaries of the medium
  • Understand what lessons all of this holds for other markets

This event takes place in downtown Chicago on Wednesday, November 18, 2009, 8:30am-11:00am. Register for the event here.

New members are always welcome to attend free-of-charge and ITA roundtables are available to the general Chicagoland business community. Roundtable events are held in downtown Chicago, across from the Sears Tower (now named the Willis Tower) at 200 S Wacker Dr, 15th Floor, Chicago, IL 60606.

Additional forthcoming Mobile Visionary roundtable mobile topics include:

  • Mobile Marketing Plans
  • Best Practices in Apps Development
  • The Future of Mobile
  • Business Enterprise Applications
  • Mobile Monetization
  • Global Considerations in Mobile
  • Platform Comparisons (iPhone vs. Android vs. Pre, etc.)

About the speaker, Christopher Billich
Christopher is the Senior Vice President of Research & Strategy at Infinita, Tokyo, Japan

Christopher’s research helps to answer the question, “How can we apply what already works in Japan in our mobile market?” Infinita works with clients across Europe, Asia and the US, including companies like Orange, Qualcomm, DoCoMo.com and IBM. Christopher’s perspective is one from a mobile mature market and his areas of focus include mobile commerce, mobile advertising and NFC contactless payments. Prior to joining Infinita, his assignments as a consultant included Vodafone D2 Germany, BenQ Mobile and Deutsche Telekom.

About The Mobile Visionary Roundtable
The Mobile Visionary Roundtable offers a forum for ITA members to engage in active networking and interactive, high-gain, topical discussions regarding mobile marketing and technology. The monthly Mobile Visionary Roundtables feature mobile expert guest speakers, including mobile strategists, marketers and developers from around the world.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact the Chairs:

Tim Cascio (262) 938-5543
tcascio[at]bader-rutter.com

Raymond J. Reinhardt (312) 924-1681
Raymond@Cuddlephish.com

About the Illinois Technology Association
The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) represents the interests of a diverse membership of more than 550 companies in Illinois that create, deploy and utilize information technology as a core part of their organization. By connecting members with industry peers and participants, providing the latest strategic information, market research and critical market insight and by promoting key thought leaders to raise visibility and gain a greater market awareness and presence, ITA is focused on building and developing the Illinois technology community through collaboration. Additional information is available at http://www.illinoistech.org


Tim CascioTim Cascio is the author of the Mobile Marketing, Monetization and Methods blog, Co-Founder/Co-Chair of the Mobile Visionary Roundtable at the Illinois Technology Association and Sr. Digital Strategist at Bader Rutter & Associates, an award-winning integrated marketing services agency that specializes in advertising, public relations, brand asset management, relationship marketing and digital solutions. Tim is @timcascio on Twitter and can be reached in the United States at 262-938-5543.

Please reach out to me if there’s any way I can help you through my network or otherwise. Your comments below are welcome.

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Illinois Technology Association’s Mobile Visionary Roundtable Event Explores the Future of Converged Mobile Devices. Meets October 21, 2009 at 8:30am.

This event has taken place and Mark’s brilliant insights are available here: http://www.box.net/taiwan

The Mobile Visionary Roundtable at the Illinois Technology Association (ITA) welcomes virtual guest speaker, Mark Hirsch, Chief Marketing Officer at Inventec Corporation. Mark will be presenting on “The Future of Converged Mobile Devices.” From smartphones to smartbooks, there are new technologies, devices and services being developed to further empower our mobile lives.  Mark will review the trends he is seeing as a hardware original design manufacturer and share his views on where this exciting new market is headed.

Insightful mobile industry education will be followed by themed mobile “20/20” breakout sessions and networking to share best practices in mobile marketing, technology and application development.

This event takes place in downtown Chicago on Wednesday, October 21, 2009, 8:30am-11:00am. Register for the event here.

New members are always welcome to attend free-of-charge and ITA roundtables are available to the general Chicagoland business community. Roundtable events are held in downtown Chicago, across from the Sears Tower (now named the Willis Tower) at 200 S Wacker Dr, 15th Floor, Chicago, IL 60606.

Additional forthcoming Mobile Visionary roundtable mobile topics include:

  • Mobile Marketing Plans
  • Best Practices in Apps Development
  • The Future of Mobile
  • Business Enterprise Applications
  • Mobile Monetization
  • Global Considerations in Mobile
  • Platform Comparisons (iPhone vs. Android vs. Pre, etc.)

About the Speaker, Mark Hirsch
Mark is the Chief Marketing Officer at Inventec Corporation, Taipei, Taiwan. He’s responsible for new product planning, marketing and strategy for Inventec, a global public company with over 25,000 employees and $10B USD in revenue in 2008. Inventec specializes in the design and manufacturing of high-tech products such as consumer mobile devices, consumer electronic devices, wireless solutions, notebooks, enterprise servers, storage products and network applications. Inventec develops new types of mobile products on behalf of several of the world’s best-known brand names. Mark, a Chicago native, enjoys social networking for passing on goodwill and intellectual stimulation. You can find him on LinkedIn, Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook and Blip.FM.

About The Mobile Visionary Roundtable
The Mobile Visionary Roundtable offers a forum for ITA members to engage in active networking and interactive, high-gain, topical discussions regarding mobile marketing and technology. The monthly Mobile Visionary Roundtables feature mobile expert guest speakers, including mobile strategists, marketers and developers from around the world.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact the Chairs:

Tim Cascio (262) 938-5543
tcascio[at]bader-rutter.com

Raymond J. Reinhardt (312) 924-1681
Raymond@Cuddlephish.com

About the Illinois Technology Association
The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) represents the interests of a diverse membership of more than 550 companies in Illinois that create, deploy and utilize information technology as a core part of their organization. By connecting members with industry peers and participants, providing the latest strategic information, market research and critical market insight and by promoting key thought leaders to raise visibility and gain a greater market awareness and presence, ITA is focused on building and developing the Illinois technology community through collaboration. Additional information is available at http://www.illinoistech.org


Tim CascioTim Cascio is the author of the Mobile Marketing, Monetization and Methods blog, Co-Founder/Co-Chair of the Mobile Visionary Roundtable at the Illinois Technology Association and Sr. Digital Strategist at Bader Rutter & Associates, an award-winning integrated marketing services agency that specializes in advertising, public relations, brand asset management, relationship marketing and digital solutions. Tim is @timcascio on Twitter and can be reached in the United States at 262-938-5543.

Please reach out to me if there’s any way I can help you through my network or otherwise. Your comments below are welcome.

Mobile Visionary Roundtable Launched. First event September 16th in Chicago at the Illinois Technology Association.

A new Mobile Visionary Roundtable has been founded at the Illinois Technology Association (ITA) by  Raymond Reinhardt, CEO, Cuddlephish and Tim Cascio, Managing Partner, GS Marketing Group. The Mobile Visionary Roundtable seeks to empower members with mobile industry insight, to provide a forum for sharing best practices and to promote networking and collaboration.

The Mobile Visionary Roundtable meets on the third Wednesday of every month at 8:30 a.m., at Illinois Technology Association located at 200 S Wacker Dr, 15th Floor, Chicago, IL 60606.

New members are always welcome to attend free-of-charge and ITA roundtables are available to the general Chicagoland business community.  Register for the event here. Roundtable events are held in downtown Chicago, across from the Sears Tower (now named the Willis Tower).

The first meeting takes place Wednesday, September 16, 2009, 8:30am, exploring a timely topic, “Where do I start when incorporating mobile strategy into my company?” Jeff Judge, Co-Founder, Interactive Mediums is the event speaker. Jeff will address major components within a mobile strategy, including assessment, monetization, marketing plans and commitment.

Mobile has emerged as an essential component in a company’s marketing and business enterprise strategy. The Mobile Visionary Roundtable offers a forum for ITA members to engage in active networking and interactive, high-gain, topical discussions regarding mobile marketing and technology. Monthly gatherings are focused on active networking and interactive high-gain topical discussions specific to mobile marketing and technology. The Mobile Visionary Roundtables will feature mobile expert guest speakers, including mobile strategists, marketers and developers from around the world.

Roundtable mobile topics:

  • Mobile Marketing Plans
  • Best Practices in Apps Development
  • The Future of Mobile
  • Business Enterprise Applications
  • Mobile Monetization
  • Global Considerations in Mobile
  • Platform Comparisons (iPhone vs. Android vs. Pre, etc.)

If you have any questions or would like more information please contact the Chairs:

Tim Cascio (262) 938-5543
tcascio[at]bader-rutter.com

Raymond J. Reinhardt (312) 924-1681
Raymond@Cuddlephish.com

About the Illinois Technology Association

The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) represents the interests of a diverse membership of more than 550 companies in Illinois that create, deploy and utilize information technology as a core part of their organization. By connecting members with industry peers and participants, providing the latest strategic information, market research and critical market insight and by promoting key thought leaders to raise visibility and gain a greater market awareness and presence, ITA is focused on building and developing the Illinois technology community through collaboration. Additional information is available at http://www.illinoistech.org


Tim CascioTim Cascio is the author of the Mobile Marketing, Monetization and Methods blog, Co-Founder/Co-Chair of the Mobile Visionary Roundtable at the Illinois Technology Association and Sr. Digital Strategist at Bader Rutter & Associates, an award-winning integrated marketing services agency that specializes in advertising, public relations, brand asset management, relationship marketing and digital solutions. Tim is @timcascio on Twitter and can be reached in the United States at 262-938-5543.

Please reach out to me if there’s any way I can help you through my network or otherwise. Your comments below are welcome.

How to Determine Which of Your iPhone App Ideas Has the Most Merit

Seems there’s no shortage of good ideas for iPhone mobile apps. So, which ideas are worth pursuit?

Mobile app ideas with the most potential, meet these following criteria:

  1. Provide the highest payoff
  2. Have the strongest competitive advantage
  3. Require the least amount of resources to develop and market successfully.

First Criterion: Select ideas with the highest payoff. For each person, this may be different. Some seek monetary rewards, other seek fulfillment and yet others seek recognition. And there are those that have charitable motives and want to give back to society and their community.

For clarity, this might require some soul searching and goal-setting, beginning with the end in mind:

  • Where are you today?
  • Where do you want to be?
  • How do you get there?

It’s a good idea to prioritize to determine what’s aligned best with your life’s goals, dreams and morals. Evaluate how you can best leverage your areas of expertise and interests. I’m a big believer in the notion that if you do what you love, the money will follow.

If you were to read one book on goal-setting, I recommend “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul. What I like about Jack’s book is he taps into the ideas of thought leaders in personal and business development such as Jim Collins, Anthony Robbins and Stephen Covey.

Second Criterion: Select ideas that have a strong competitive advantage.

Close evaluation of the competition is critical and often forgotten step. You can have strong development, design and great marketing, but overlooking the competition can prove fatal.

The iPhone App Store is an open book with over 65,000 apps. Use this to your advantage. Scour the store for apps that appear to compete with yours.

  • Download free and paid versions to kick the tires.
  • Focus first on those with the highest number of reviews.
  • Read the reviews to see what people like about the apps and what they don’t.
  • Pay close attention to the feature requests.
  • Read the application descriptions to see how your competition is positioning their app and consider how you should differentiate yourself.
  • Make comparison of pricing and feature sets offered by your competitors.
  • Once you’ve identified your short list of competing apps, search Google to see how those apps are being promoted outside of the App Store via YouTube, Twitter, forums, publicity and websites.
  • Create a competing apps spreadsheet or database to capture all of your competitor information in one place and update frequently over time.

Third Criterion: Select ideas that require the least amount of resources to develop and market successfully.

So, how can you determine resources required to market your application?

  • It really depends on target your audience. Your strategy is going to be quite different if you’re trying to reach musicians versus physicians.
  • For each app idea, construct an audience profile so that you can begin to think about how you’ll reach them.
  • How accessible are they?
    • Where do they gather?
    • How do they consume media? (frequent users of Twitter, Podcasts, Blogs, watch TV, read Newspapers, etc.)
    • What are their demographic and lifestyle characteristics? Can they afford an iPhone/iTouch? Are they afraid of technology?
    • What is their potential for growth?

Regarding the app itself and its market potential:

  • Does it lend itself to a family of apps that complement one another for the same audience (using the physicians example, you might offer a drug reference guide, continuing medical education and a medical transcription app)?
  • Can the app be templatized and re-skinned to reach additional market segments (if you create a continuing medical education app for physicians, could that be repurposed for K-12 teachers who need to earn continuing education credits? Or really anything that requires recertification)
  • Does your app idea have potential to be sold as an app module where you could earn licensing fees from companies who use it in their apps? Perhaps your app has a unique and sophisticated scoring and reporting function.
  • How well does the app fit into your current business model? Ideas that are complimentary to your business model allow you to leverage your current customer base.
  • Reach out to through all of your customer touchpoints. For example announce your new app within:
  • Your Email signatures
  • On Customer Receipts
  • In Newsletters/Email blasts
  • Packaging, shopping bags, wherever you and your customer come into contact.

Finally, does your app have Apple Featureability?

  • Apps featured on Apples iPhone commercials typically get anywhere from 3 to 6 seconds of air-time.
  • Can your app’s benefits be made apparent in 6 seconds or less?

Thinking in these terms helps you to arrive at the true differentiation and benefits of your app over all the rest.

To recap, choose iPhone app ideas that meet these criteria:

  1. Provide the highest payoff for you.
  2. Offer the greatest competitive advantage.
  3. Require the least amount of resources to develop and market successfully.

Tim CascioTim Cascio is the author of the Mobile Marketing, Monetization and Methods blog, Co-Founder/Co-Chair of the Mobile Visionary Roundtable at the Illinois Technology Association and Sr. Digital Strategist at Bader Rutter & Associates, an award-winning integrated marketing services agency that specializes in advertising, public relations, brand asset management, relationship marketing and digital solutions. Tim is @timcascio on Twitter and can be reached in the United States at 262-938-5543.

Please reach out to me if there’s any way I can help you through my network or otherwise. Your comments below are welcome.

Adapting Successful iPhone Apps to Nokia. Is This a Four-Fold Sales Opportunity?

An interview with Pasi Niemi, wireless industry expert who resides in Finland. Finland, by the way, is home to Nokia, the world’s largest maker of mobile handsets.

Nokia’s in a unique position as the leading provider of smartphone handsets worldwide. And not by a slim margin. Nokia has more than both iPhone and BlackBerry, combined. This begs the question: Is it a sound business strategy to adapt successful iPhone Apps to Nokia smartphones? Meet Pasi Niemi, an accomplished wireless industry expert and Senior VP of Strategy and Business Development for Anite Finland, Ltd.

Here are excerpts from our interview together:

Tim: Which one smartphone mobile device platform (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Nokia, etc) do you think has the most potential in Finland? Worldwide?

Pasi: Nokia in Finland. Worldwide, I would still believe that Nokia platform is most potential due to the huge volume of handsets that they have out there. If (and when) Nokia gets their act together with OVI (and it is already working nicely with N97) I anticipate it will have lots more users than Apple store.

Tim: What can you tell me about the apps sold at the Nokia OVI Store and the potential for adapting successful iPhone apps to work on Nokia devices?

Pasi: Right now, there are not a whole lot of apps available on the Nokia OVI Store yet. There’s an opportunity take the most popular iPhone App Store Apps and adapt them for Nokia. In Q4 2008, Nokia’s claimed 40.8% market share on the smartphone market with 15.6 million units. RIM held share of 19.5% (7.4 million units) and Apple came in third place with 10.7% (4.1 million units). If you look at the numbers and drive a very simple analogy…an application that has been successful on Apple could conceivably sell four times that amount on Nokia.

Tim: In your opinion, with which Nokia devices must the adapted app be compatible?

Pasi: The adapted apps should be put to two different categories. First, the ones that require touch operation…these would be then adapted to Symbian touch (N97, 5800Xpress and any future models). Secondly, the apps that would not require touch operation, but would instead be operated by directional buttons or menu selections…these I would adapt to Symbian v3 (N85, N95, N96, E72, etc.).

Tim: There’s been some speculation about the future of Symbian, the Nokia operating system. Do you think Nokia is headed for Open Source, perhaps Android?

Pasi: Nokia is definitively heading for open source. In fact, they are taking Symbian to open source also. They have had Linux based OS’s in their web devices such as the N800, however, I don’t believe that they would go with Android. If they go with a Linux based OS, then my guess is that they will have their own flavor of it.

Tim: What would be timing/approach to avoid adapting successful iPhone apps to an OS that is on its way out?

Pasi: I would not be worried about the timing of this…or that Symbian would be disappearing. Nokia is still very committed to Symbian and even if they would decide today that they would use another OS in their phones it would take 6 to 9 months for the new phones to come out and another 12-24 months before the existing Symbian customers would have swapped from their old phones to new ones.

Tim: What mobile technology advances and trends do you see forthcoming?

Pasi: When data speeds are sufficient, then the storage/applications can be hosted somewhere else. This creates big potential for new applications that require more storage and processing power than the handsets can handle. Voice control, 3d gaming, location based services and the RFID chip will each have a significant impact as well.

Tim: What benefits will an embedded RFID chip bring?

Pasi: RFID chip could bring bunch of benefits…using mobile for garage door opening, to remember your car settings when you enter into the car, payment at the gas pump, etc. DoCoMo is one operator that is pushing this the most and they have a variety of applications that they have trialed with it. (RFID chips are known as IC tags in Japan)

Tim: You knew I was going to ask…which mobile device do you use?

Pasi: Nokia N97

Tim: In your opinion, how well has the iPhone been received in Finland?

Pasi: Fairly well…but not a huge hit. People in Finland are still quite cautious on long-term contracts and the iPhone has been sold with 2 year contract.

I look forward to more conversations with Pasi, a wealth of mobile know-how.

Many thanks to Pasi Niemi, Senior VP of Strategy and Business Development, for his valuable insights on this topic. Be sure to check out Anite Wireless for more information on his company.

As a sidebar, here are a few opinions and factors that affect the iPhone’s adoption in Finland:

  • TeliaSonera is currently the only mobile carrier for iPhone.1
  • Ease of Apps shopping with the iPhone is considerably better than on the Nokia Ovi Store.1
  • Nokia’s top-of-the-line smartphones will be Linux-powered shortly in the future and, in the long run, open mobile platforms will win.2
  • iPhone was released to Finland in July 2008, 12 months after the U.S. release.

Sources:

1Markku Lindell, CEO at Design Combus Oy, Finland
2Ville IIves, VP Sales and Marketing at APL Systems LTD Oy, Finland


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Tim CascioTim Cascio is the author of the Mobile Marketing, Monetization and Methods blog, Co-Founder/Co-Chair of the Mobile Visionary Roundtable at the Illinois Technology Association and Sr. Digital Strategist at Bader Rutter & Associates, an award-winning integrated marketing services agency that specializes in advertising, public relations, brand asset management, relationship marketing and digital solutions. Tim is @timcascio on Twitter and can be reached in the United States at 262-938-5543.

Please reach out to me if there’s any way I can help you through my network or otherwise. Your comments below are welcome.

iPhone Apps That Make the Grade. What Sets Them Apart From All the Rest?

An interview with Alex Ahlund, an expert iPhone App critic.

I have my share of beloved iPhone Apps that I use on a regular basis and our Apps development team has created mobile Apps for some of the world’s biggest brands. Still, I have the crazy notion to download hundreds of new top selling iPhone Apps to seek out best practices among them and came to the conclusion that, until I have time to do so, why not garner insight from someone whose company is dedicated to this very cause? Meet Alex Ahlund, CEO and founder of AppVee, a wildly popular iPhone App review website. Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alex and I’d like to share our conversation with you here.

Here are excerpts from our interview together:

Tim: How many Apps in total would you guess that your team has reviewed?

Alex: We have reviewed nearly 1,000 applications, most with videos.  To our knowledge, this makes us the largest iPhone application review resource in terms of in-depth reviews.  The most important thing is that we act as a filter for the consumer.  Sure, there are tens of thousands of applications out there, but we’ve seen them.  Most aren’t worth your time.  So these 1,000 apps are really what is worth looking at right now for your iPhone.

Tim: How’d you get into this line of work?

Alex: I previously owned a casual video game development company.  I had been in the games industry for a number of years, but when the 3G came out, I decided this was the first device I’d actually camp out to buy.  I was first in line on opening day and fell in love with the platform ever since.  I knew from day one that this was going to be huge and the number of Apps would overwhelm the consumer soon enough.  AppVee was created shortly after. In fact, we just celebrated our one year anniversary.

Tim: In what unique ways are Apps making money?

Alex: Since the launch of Firmware 3.0, which allows microtransactions, a lot of developers are starting to integrate these into their applications. Microtransactions are “bite-sized” purchasable pieces that add functionality to a product.  This could be new levels of a game, App upgrades, or anything that improves the core functionality of the App.  These microtransactions are along the lines of impulse buys because they are low-commitment, inexpensive purchases that happen instantly through the iTunes account – removing the barriers of taking out your credit card.  Developers are becoming clever with how they create their Apps to center around microtransactions – by offering the initial App for little or no cost. I see explosive growth in this segment as it could be used to buy items for your avatar, special abilities, levels, functionality, etc.  Microtransactions for MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role playing games) is a gigantic market worldwide.

Tim: How is GPS technology being used in a creative way?

Alex: Our favorite use of GPS is the App, “Hey Where Are You?” This App allows you to request the location of another user and others can request your location. It’s all opt-in and user-verified. It’s great for tracking friends, family members and colleagues. It’s simple, clean and to the point.  As soon as you request another user’s location, they can hit a button and their GPS location is displayed on your device.

iPhone Apps

Tim: How are Apps using the new capability available with the recent release of iPhone OS 3.0?

Alex: BeeJive IM is a great example of the true potential of Firmware 3.0.  The latest upgrade offers push notification so that if someone IMs you, it will instantly pop up on your device.

iPhone Apps

Tim: I use AIM’s iPhone App which has this feature and I love it. How are AIM and BeeJive different?

Alex: AIM also has push functionality but the difference is BeeJive aggregates all IM providers (AIM, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, etc.) into one client.

iPhone Apps

Tim: What do the best-rated Apps have in common?

Alex: Relatively inexpensive, mass market appeal and offers some sort of entertainment value.  The top selling Apps are often $0.99 pick-up and play games or toys.  In terms of what we feel are best-rated: high production values, attention to detail and true value offering Apps is what we gravitate towards.

Tim: Have you seen a correlation between how you rate Apps and their success overall?

Alex: Generally, our rating reflects the market, but not always.  A lot of times Apps are driven by their impulse feel – a very low price, a big brand name strapped onto it, etc. – in these instances, we give the real story. Whether our ratings actually influence units sold is a bit hard to tell.  We have some influence, but the iTunes App Store is king in terms of exposure – so the consumer may not have read our review.

Tim: What’s your all-time favorite App and why?

Alex: Its a toss up between Evernote and, when it comes to music, Pandora and Slacker. I use Evernote for my everyday note taking and tracking, while Pandora and Slacker are always on heavy rotation for their customized Internet streaming music.

iPhone Apps

Tim: What other Apps are must-haves?

Alex: “Read It Later” is great for storing online articles and sites to read later, even offline. “Cell Tracker” is our #1 pick for tracking our cell minutes and cost. “TweetDeck” is great as our Twitter client. A close runner up is “Tweetie.” And then “Doodle Jump” is our favorite for a quick game.

iPhone Apps

Tim: You’re now reviewing Android Apps as well. Any plans for reviews of Apps on other platforms such as BlackBerry? How do you compare Android and iPhone in general and from an Apps and potential point of view?

Alex: Yes, we own AndroidApps.com, where we review Android applications in a similar format. The Android platform has huge potential and I think, in time, it could surpass the iPhone. The problem right now is that the OS is only on a few devices.  This means the user base is still very small, especially compared to the iPhone.  The App potential is greater in Android because developers are able to take control of core functionality of the OS. You can create an App for practically anything on the device.  There is no “true” submittal process as you can download Android applications from anywhere.  This allows a lot of unique applications released without a lengthy approval process, but it also means applications are scattered and more garbage can slip through the cracks.  It has its benefit, but as of right now, iPhone is winning the app game.  In terms of other platforms, we considered Blackberry but the market just isn’t large enough for Apps to make it worthwhile.  We are always looking at new platforms though to consider.

Android

Tim: Can you explain further what you mean by Android’s operating system allowing for core functionality control?

Alex: The iPhone SDK doesn’t allow touching the core functionality of the phone. For example, you can’t create a new Calling App to call people.  You can make an App that opens the iPhone Call App, but not directly make calls. Android is completely open – you can replace the Call App or any of the other original Apps. You have access to all the functions of the phone – very little is off-limits.  This allows for much more sophisticated applications.

Tim: Any predictions for where all of this is headed?

Alex: Its only going to get bigger. Every new iPhone release is met with huge fanfare – the base of installed users is growing rapidly and it shows little sign of slowing down.  I love that when I walk practically anywhere in the country, there’s always at least one iPhone pulled out in use.  More phones equals more Apps, which is a growing problem in terms of discovery and which AppVee.com tries to solve, but in the end, it’s better for everyone.  The future will be heavily integrated with smartphones and notably, iPhone – from purchasing to business interactions and casual meetups.

We can only imagine where our conversation will take us next year this time.

Thanks goes out to Alex for his time and the invaluable Apps review service he and his fine company, AppVee, provide. Be sure to check out their AppVee.com and AndroidApps.com websites. Don’t miss the AppVee YouTube channel where over 3 million video views have been shared by AppVee’s expert review staff. AppVee’s new iPhone App is now available – and free. Download to watch informative iPhone App video reviews right from your iPhone.

iPhone Apps


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Tim CascioTim Cascio is the author of the Mobile Marketing, Monetization and Methods blog, Co-Founder/Co-Chair of the Mobile Visionary Roundtable at the Illinois Technology Association and Sr. Digital Strategist at Bader Rutter & Associates, an award-winning integrated marketing services agency that specializes in advertising, public relations, brand asset management, relationship marketing and digital solutions. Tim is @timcascio on Twitter and can be reached in the United States at 262-938-5543.

Please reach out to me if there’s any way I can help you through my network or otherwise. Your comments below are welcome.

Mobile Monetization: Is a Mobile App Right for Your Business?

Reflections on why mobile app growth is so explosive, how to benefit financially and what to consider before diving in.

“There’s an app for that!” is a catch phrase that has become familiar to us, thanks to the marketing geniuses behind Apple’s iPhone television commercials. By definition, an app is a mobile software application that is downloaded to a smartphone. Downloads to the smartphone don’t require a computer connection. Users can download on-the-go and within seconds have an app installed. The user can then launch the app with the click of a button or a tap on the screen.

What are the primary factors contributing to the explosive growth of mobile apps?

Increased smartphone capabilities. Built-in smartphone capabilities are empowering apps to perform an ever-increasing number of functions. Features include high definition video playback and VGA video capture, touch screen, gravity-sensitive accelerator, personal GPS navigation, portable multi-player gaming, mobile TV and radio streams, app commerce, push notifications and the ability to control other devices. For the first time, with the right combination of installed apps, mobile devices are a legitimate alternative to toting a laptop.

Reasonably priced smartphones and apps. The 8GB iPhone was initially priced at $599 in 2007. Today, an even more capable iPhone 3G is priced at $99. Verizon recently offered a BlackBerry buy-one-get-one-free promotion, including its touchscreen-endowed Storm. Apps, too, are either free or very affordable, typically ranging from $0.99 to $9.99.

An iPhone surrounded by application icons

Reach and monetization. Remember when you were a child and pondered, “What if I received just a dollar, but from a million people?” Mobile provides global reach. And Apple’s not the only game in town – Blackberry, Nokia, Android and Palm devices all have their own app stores, with Microsoft’s entry on its way. Besides the sale of an app itself, there are additional revenue generating opportunities. Proprietary content can be sold on a subscription basis, including magazines, movies and audiobooks. In-app advertising is becoming more prevalent. Retailers are already selling securely through mobile apps. The e-learning industry has subscription and certification options to monetize their investments. Gamers are selling additional access levels and digital content within their apps. Charitable organizations, including churches, will soon accept donations. Dating sites will likely up-charge for location-based, peer-to-peer matchmaking features. The revenue potential is wide open.

Creativity. There’s no shortage of creative minds at work today, looking to leverage existing investments in technology and proprietary content. The opportunity to create potentially revolutionary apps attracts innovators. The sheer number of downloads – over 1 billion for Apple alone – is proof positive that this marketing channel is viable and sustainable. A spot-on app requires a close examination of how best to serve target audiences with what matters to them, wherever they are.

Before creating an app ask yourself a few questions:

• What are our goals for developing an app?
• What device platforms are most familiar to our target audience(s)?
• What features must be included in version 1.0?
• How can we best leverage our investment in existing content and technology?
• What problem can mobile technology solve for our target audience(s)?
• Which apps available today compete with our idea and what is our plan to differentiate?
• Is our app buzz-worthy?

Keep in mind: mobile apps require their own marketing and product development strategy to ensure long-term success. Make plans to support your app through continued improvements and new features to maintain your competitive edge. Monitor your app’s review feedback and act upon insightful new feature requests to keep customers coming back and to lure new ones into the fold. Think about all your marketing efforts and customer touch points, and develop a plan to promote your app across each one.

Choosing the right developer for your app is essential to prevent unnecessary re-work. Your mobile strategy team should include experts in mobile application development and promotion.

Despite the phenomenal number of available apps, businesses still have a window of opportunity to establish themselves early within the mobile marketplace and to gain share. Websites were once seen as an obscure marketing tool but have now evolved into a marketing essential in assisting businesses to establish and maintain relationships with their target audiences. Once every ten years or so, a new marketing tool changes the way we do business. Where can mobile apps take your business?


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Tim CascioTim Cascio is the author of the Mobile Marketing, Monetization and Methods blog, Co-Founder/Co-Chair of the Mobile Visionary Roundtable at the Illinois Technology Association and Sr. Digital Strategist at Bader Rutter & Associates, an award-winning integrated marketing services agency that specializes in advertising, public relations, brand asset management, relationship marketing and digital solutions. Tim is @timcascio on Twitter and can be reached in the United States at 262-938-5543.

Please reach out to me if there’s any way I can help you through my network or otherwise. Your comments below are welcome.