Month: April 2013
Planning to get a new Smart phone,ME AND MOBILE helps you opt for the best.
Shopping for a new smartphone can be overwhelming. Even after you’ve chosen a wireless carrier, there are so many phones – many of which look almost the same – that you might not know where to begin. The choice is made even more difficult by the constantly shifting sands of the smartphone marketplace and this year has already seen a number of major new players enter the fray. So how do you sort through it all? Look no further, as ME AND MOBILE breaks down the top smartphones of (early) 2013.
If we included every smartphone, you’d need to read this on a wall-sized computer. So we narrowed it down to a field of eight.
- Samsung Galaxy S 4
- HTC One
- Apple iPhone 5
- LG Optimus G Pro
- BlackBerry Z10
- Sony Xperia Z
- LG/Google Nexus 4
- Samsung Galaxy Note II
We tried to include at least one phone from the biggest manufacturers. The biggest omission is Nokia and Windows Phone, but stay tuned for separate comparisons that give Lumia phones some love.
Specs aren’t everything, but they can suggest what a device can do. We organize our comparison by the measurable, but we also try to put our fingers on those harder-to-define intangibles. If a phone is greater (or lesser) than the sum of its parts, we want you to know that too.
So, without further ado, let’s break down the top smartphones of early 2013.
For this comparison, we’re lumping smartphones and phablets together. You could argue that half of these phones are phablets, but the Galaxy Note II and Optimus G Pro are the only two that are no-question, through-and-through phablets.
The iPhone 5 looks positively puny in this group. BlackBerry’s Z10 isn’t much bigger. This is where the balance of hand size to screen size comes into play:
Are you uncomfortable holding a giganto-phone? Then the iPhone might be the best bet for you. Don’t mind some bulk if it gives you more screen real estate? Then phablet ahoy, matey.
If you’re still on the fence, hop into a store, pick a few of these up, and see how they feel in hand. And don’t be afraid to refer back to ME AND MOBILE when the wide-eyed salesperson tries to push you in a commission-friendly direction.
Glass, aluminum, or plastic? Those are your choices when it comes to external build materials. The build of the phone’s chassis can affect how it feels in hand. Since you might be gripping this phone in your hand for the next two years, it’s an important consideration.
The iPhone 5 is – by far – the lightest phone in this group. If you want something that will disappear in your pocket, it wins that prize hands-down.
The Note II and Optimus G Pro – the fabulous phablets of the group – are the heaviest. Considering their hulking sizes, though, they should still feelrelatively light.
The Note II and Optimus G Pro – the fabulous phablets of the group – are the heaviest. Considering their hulking sizes, though, they should still feelrelatively light.
In the last few months, the pixel counts in high-end smartphones shot into the stratosphere. The only caveat is that your eyes probably won’t notice a huge difference between 330 pixels per inch (PPI) and 430 PPI. It’s extremely sharp vs. ridiculously sharp.
If you want the very best display at any size, then the HTC One probably wins that prize. But several others aren’t far behind. And even the Note 2 – with the lowest pixel density in this group – still has a very nice screen.
Display quality isn’t really a problem with any of these phones, so your decision may come down to size. Here too the iPhone is the smallest, and the two phablets the biggest – they each sport an enormous 5.5 inches of real estate.
Much like screen size, the iPhone and BlackBerry are the only throwbacks to the days of dual core processing. We wouldn’t worry too much about performance with either of those phones though. Their hardware/software integration (made by the same company) helps them to squeeze more performance out of a dual core chip than you might expect.
The Galaxy S 4 has two processors listed, because that will vary depending on where you live. U.S. customers get the quad core version, and much of the rest of the world will get the octa core (yes, eight cores) edition.
Honestly, we wouldn’t worry too much about this category. Like pixel density, processing has gone past the point of concern. Every phone in this batch is going to be very fast … some just push that a little farther. There are much bigger differences to think about – like size, software, and app selection.
… but with that said, the octa-core version of the Galaxy S 4 is the fastest phone in the world right now. The quad-core version is probably the second fastest.
It’s 2 GB of RAM across the board, with the iPhone 5 the lone exception. Again, though, there isn’t much to worry about with it – the Apple integration between phone and software makes performance zippy and smooth.
Do you keep full-length HD movies, thousands of photos, and console-quality games on your phone? If so, you’ll want to max out your storage.
For most customers, though, 16 GB is probably a safe mark to shoot for. Remember you can store lots of apps and data in the cloud, so it isn’t likely you’ll need to have everything stored on your phone all the time.
Also remember that the phones with microSD slots let you store much more than their internal memory suggests. Typically you can add up to 64 GB with an SD card.
Take these numbers with grains of salt. When you’re making an easy-to-digest visual about camera specs, megapixel count is the best metric to use.
But it’s an imperfect measurement. Sensors, pixel sizes, lenses, and lots of other factors also play into actual image quality. The HTC One, for example, has a crummy megapixel count, but it uses larger pixels. So image quality might be quite good.
The best way to make up your mind here is to take some shots yourself, and look at them on a high-res display.
Here’s another spec that’s not exactly cut-and-dry. The amount of juice a phone holds is extremely important. But processor, display resolution, and software can also play into actual battery life.
There shouldn’t be much to worry about with any of these phones. With regular use, they should all last a full day.
Several of them also have removable batteries: the Galaxy S 4, Optimus G Pro, BlackBerry Z10, and Galaxy Note II. Notice anything? Yep, it’s the phones with plastic bodies: a nice bonus that aluminum and glass phones don’t provide.
LTE – the fastest and best 4G technology – is now the norm with high-end smartphones.
The lone holdout here is the Nexus 4. The politics of selling a phone without carrier intervention led to Google passing on LTE. If it’s available in your area, though, the Nexus 4’s HSPA+ is a pretty fast 4G network in its own right.
It’s possible some of the other phones here won’t ship with LTE radios in your region. The best avenue here is to check with your local carrier.
The best questions to ask: “does the phone I want have LTE radios?” and “Does my area have LTE coverage?” Failing that, “is HSPA+ available?” If the answer to all of these questions is no, then you’ll be stuck with 3G (or worse) speeds.
This is one of the most important questions to ask in your smartphone buying decision. Do you want iOS, Android, Windows Phone or BlackBerry?
… and if you choose Android, which manufacturer-specific software do you prefer? Samsung has TouchWiz, HTC has Sense, LG has its own Optimus flavor, and Nexus devices run “pure Google” (stock) Android. Each offers something a little different on top of the Android core.
Each platform also comes with its own app store:
Apple’s iOS App Store and Android’s Google Play Store have the best selections. Apple’s is still better for games. It also often favors simple, user-friendly apps with minimalist designs. Google Play has a leg up with customization-oriented apps and tweaks that Apple wouldn’t allow in its store.
BlackBerry’s App World and the Windows Phone Store have a lot of catching up to do. Finding your favorite apps might be a crapshoot in their app stores.
Mobile operating systems have come a long way, and get better every year. We’d recommend tuning out all the fanboy fanaticism and playing around with each. Find your favorite, then narrow down your search from there.
Most device-making companies like to keep their plans secret. And for good reason. If customers know that a new iPhone is coming in September, they’re less likely to buy the old model in July. Secrecy has financial ramifications.
But you can often make a pretty solid guess just by looking at the older version’s release date. If a phone gets upgraded once a year, the safe money is on its follow-up arriving at around the same time. The dates above show when all of these smartphones originally shipped.
The Galaxy S 4, HTC One, and Optimus G Pro are still hot off the press, so it’s a safe bet we won’t see their follow-ups for quite a while. But we could see a new iPhone and Galaxy Note by August or September of this year.
The older phones listed here are still among the cream of the crop. But this is something to keep in mind, especially since newer models usually ring up for the same prices that their predecessors sold for.
So what about everything else? Those harder-to-define intangibles, and extra goodies that each phone brings to the table? Let’s break down a few things to consider about each phone.
The Galaxy S 4 has a ridiculous amount of new software features. Some of them might be gimmicky, but you don’t have to use any of them – so no harm done, right? Some of the more notable S4 features are Smart Scroll (scroll emails and web pages with facial recognition), Smart Pause (automatically pause a video when you look away), and S Translator (translate foreign tongues in real time).
The HTC One probably won’t come close to outselling the Galaxy S 4, but that doesn’t mean it’s an inferior phone. Some critics have knocked Samsung for sticking with a plastic design and relatively minor updates for the Galaxy S 4. Many of those same critics are cheering HTC for the One’s bold new design, amazing screen, and terrific user experience. If nothing else, it’s one hell of an effort from a company that desperately needs a hit.
Then there’s the iPhone 5. Apple’s recent “troubles” have been blown out of proportion, but I think that stems from a general impression that its product line is growing stale. The iPhone – once the revolutionary groundbreaker in the field – has become the solid, reliable, “you know what to expect” candidate. Still, millions of customers embrace this familiarity. The iPhone is smooth, simple, and easy to use. It may no longer be on the forefront of innovation (at least for the time being) … but everything just works.
It’s hard to go into too much detail about the Optimus G Pro, since LG hasn’t even announced it for the western hemisphere. But we know that it’s a phablet, its specs look good next to the Galaxy Note II, and it ditches its predecessor’s glass in favor of plastic.
BlackBerry finally delivered an iPhone/Android competitor in 2013, with the Z10. It runs BlackBerry’s slick new OS, BB10. Apart from the company’s reputation for business use and security, it offers some cool gesture controls. No home button, no on-screen navigation keys. Just a few simple swipes to get where you’re going. Gesture controls aren’t for everyone. But once you get the hang of them, you can get a nice swipe-centric workflow going.
Sony’s Xperia Z (and its U.S.-bound sibling, the Xperia ZL) got a lot of buzz at CES 2013, but got quickly overshadowed by the One and Galaxy S4. It’s still a solid Android phone, though. Its killer feature just might be its water and dust resistance. You can soak it in a bowl of water for half an hour, and it will come out as good as new. You won’t want to try that with any of these other phones.
The Nexus 4 just might be the best dollar-for-dollar buy on this list. You can order one from Google Play for US$300. Yes, that’s the off-contract price. No commitments or subsidies: just a terrific stock Android phone with no strings attached.
The Galaxy Note II is the only smartphone/phablet on this list that uses a stylus. Samsung did some truly innovative things with its S Pen. Scribble notes from anywhere. Scroll through pages by hovering the stylus over your screen. Take full advantage of the huge display by opening multiple apps in multiple windows. The Note 2 is a productivity beast, and pretty fun to boot.
The bottom line is that there will never be one single phone that’s the be-all-end-all for everyone. Even if it looks like there is, something else will come along a month or two later to push it out of the spotlight. Technology is always moving on to something bigger, better, faster, stronger.
So find a phone that you love, and enjoy your two years (or however long) you spend with it. Hopefully this guide makes it a little easier to find one worthy of that long-term relationship.
Cool weather apps to keep track of all seasons.
Despite the fact we all have amazingly complex supercomputers in our pockets capable of the most amazing feats of gaming, able to entertain us with rich streaming media and with full access to the internet’s most amazing wealth of information, what do we all use them for the most?
The weather. Looking at the weather. Checking the weather. Taking photos of the weather. Letting strangers see how amazingly detailed our mobile weather forecasts are, updating others on the weather and, occasionally, stuffing them down our pants to avoid them getting ruined by the worst of our weather.
No one likes taking an umbrella out with them or putting on the less fashionable waterproof coat unless it’s absolutely necessary, so you might want to use your quad-core powerhouse to warn you of the external conditions before setting out.
As luck would have it, as well as the feeble weather app that shipped on your phone, some of the cleverest software developers on the planet have created numerous apps designed to let you know the probability of getting your shoes wet this evening.
Here, for your meteorological enlightenment, are the 10 best weather apps for Android, iPhone and Windows 8 smartphones.
AccuWeather for iPhone – free, for iOS
AccuWeather has long been one of the unofficial kings of the weather app scene, thanks to offering some great, detailed, and completely free weather forecasting apps.
Its current iPhone weather station is incredibly well featured, including severe weather warnings, a huge 15-day maximum forecast range, integration with the iOS Calendar app for weather stats right there up in your business, plus social sharing and very clever animated maps. It’s positively streaming sunlight into the App Store.
Weather Live – 69p, for iOS
Weather Live takes more of a stylish approach to forecasting, losing some of AccuWeather’s nerdy features in favour of a simple, clean app, presented in a modern, tech-barometer format.
Its full-screen layout animates its pretty backgrounds beautifully, presenting pressure, visibility, rain and humidity data on its lovely clock face. It also displays the correct temperature on its home screen icon, too.
Weather+ – free, for iOS
A very cute little thing offering an HTC-like flip clock above its weather status reports, which tell you about wind speed, humidity, pressure and more, alongside custom location settings letting you voyeuristically spy on weather in other parts of the world.
There are even some nice little widgets, breaking it down into simpler displays that just give you the basics if you’re only a casual weather fan.
Met Office Weather application – free, for iOS
The UK’s famous bearer of bad news has an incredibly complex app out for iOS (and also Android and WP), offering our familiar weather warnings, long range forecasts and more.
The app gives out five-day forecasts covering over 5,000 UK spots, using geo data to automatically find the exact tree you’re hiding under. It also gives you the “feels like” temperature and wind speeds, so you know if you need to jumper-up for the dangerous run to the newsagent.
WeatherBug – free, for Android
This one claims to pull in data from the “largest network of real-time weather sensors in the world” to tell you how much it’s likely to rain, converting its stats into incredible detailed “real-time” forecasts.
Some of the severe weather features are for the US only so aren’t that useful to us, but it’s still a comprehensive app, plus there’s also a custom layout option in here for those using an Android tablet.
WeatherPro – £2.49, for Android
For the Pros out there, this offers seven-day forecasts updated at three hour intervals. You’ll never be without weather-related small talk with WeatherPro.
The app also gives you “feels like” data for more realistic guides, sunset times, rain radar maps and more, all packaged in an extremely stylish app that includes some classy Home screen widgets, too.
Yahoo Weather – free, for Android
The big search company also does a fine weather app, with its complex tool offering some beautiful transparent widgets, even supporting Android 4.2’s new lock screen widget system.
Another big selling point is the inclusion of crowd-sourced photos, which pulls in some great snaps from users via Yahoo’s Flickr imaging portal. It’s not the most detailed weather app, but it’s definitely one of the prettiest.
The Weather Channel – free, for Android
The Weather Channel’s app takes data to the next level, offering hourly updates and even breaking it down into simple “plain English” alerts. If it thinks it’s going to rain at half past four, it’ll tell you as much.
The app also goes 10 days out into the future with its long-range predictions, with some really, really nice, clean widgets to jazz up your Home screen. It’s another gorgeous app.
WeatherLive – free, for Windows Phone
The tiled layout of Windows Phone is well suited to little bite-sized snippets of weather trivia, with WeatherLive coming complete with full support for Microsoft’s information grouting system – and that all important extra-wide tile for properly adapting the layout.
The app itself offers simple, clean, 2D weather maps, plus little trend graphs, moon phases, radar and satellite imagery. It’s a nice, smart tool.
Amazing Weather HD – £1.49, for Windows Phone
Another gorgeous and minimal weather app for WP8, Amazing Weather HD does a grand job of portraying clouds in a simple style.
This one also supports the full size range of Microsoft’s live tiles, plus the app provides seven-day forecasts, radar, infrared and satellite pictures, GPS location finding and more.
The ins and out about apps.
Everyone has an app these days. TV shows, web sites, major multinational corporations, even your brother-in-law’s taxi firm conducts its business through an iPhone app — but what are they?
Well, apps are basically little, self-contained programs, used to enhance existing functionality, hopefully in a simple, more user-friendly way.
Take one of today’s modern smartphones. They all come with powerful web browsers, meaning you can do pretty much anything you can do on a desktop computer in a phone’s browser.
But fiddling about with a URL bar and managing bookmarks on a mobile phone it still a pretty awkward, cumbersome experience. Which is why many online sites and services now go down the standalone app route, giving them better control of the user experience and, hopefully, making everything simpler and quicker to open and use.
Take online banking. You could sign in to your bank’s web site using the phone’s browser, but it’ll be a pain in the arse mess of text entry, resizing the display so you can see the little box for the PIN, having to sign in every time and more minor modern frustrations.
A banking app simplifies the process, remembering your login information for next time, and presenting the critical data about how much money you haven’t got in big, chunky fonts, designed to make everything vastly more readable on a smaller phone display.
And that’s the essence behind most apps. They aim to make life easier and tasks better suited to mobile use, so you’re less likely to frisbee your phone into the sea in a rage.
How to download apps
Where you get your apps from depends on what kind of smartphone you’re using. The three of today’s biggest smartphone platforms – Android, iOS and Windows Phone – all come with browsable desktop web sites and accompanying app stores that arrive built-in as part of the phone’s operating system.
In addition to the official app stores from Apple, Google and Microsoft, there are unofficial options, too. Take the Android Amazon Appstore app for example. Google doesn’t allow rival app shops to list themselves on its own app shop, so the Amazon Appstore has to be downloaded to your phone through the web browser. Install this and you’re presented with Amazon’s own collection of apps, which can offer different prices and levels of support when compared to the Google option.
And, to go a step further, Android’s open software lets anyone install anything from the web.
However, most people associate unofficial app stores with piracy, with plenty of dodgy forums existing solely to trade in the market for illegally hacked, free versions of paid Android apps. The problem with going down this dark route is that you open your phone up to potential malware attacks, with no recourse available should the app you’ve manually installed outside of the official loop end up spamming weight loss adverts to everyone in your contacts list.
Manufacturer app stores
To further confuse things, a lot of Android phones ship with two separate app stores on them — Google’s own Play Store and an in-house version offered by the maker. HTC, LG, Sony, Samsung and others build their own little app listings for users to choose from, which they use to help their phones stand out from the competition.
Often these own-brand app services are pretty useless affairs that duplicate Google’s own listings, although they can be useful in giving you a bit more of a curated experience in which some of the chaff is filtered out – although this usually means playing it safe by promoting the big brand, popular apps most people will have already downloaded.
Managing and removing apps
The big three smartphone ecosystems obviously want to make money out of you at some point down the line, so obviously there are apps they’d rather you didn’t remove. Apple users often end up relegating these “baked in” apps to a separate folder, as there are plenty of bewildering tools pre-installed on phones that users never use — and Apple won’t let you remove.
Phones powered by Google’s Android OS will also refuse to let you install many of the official Google apps, as these search, mail and mapping tools are the little Trojan horses the software maker uses to sell ads based around your usage patterns. Hence you won’t be able to uninstall the likes of Google+, Gmail or the Maps app from the vast majority of Android phones and tablets.
Windows Phone handsets offer similar tools, letting you free up memory space by binning unwanted apps — but only ones not deemed critical by the phone maker.
And don’t worry about deleting things, as you’ll never break your phone by removing any apps. You just may lose some of its flashier functionality.
All you wanted to know about Bluetooth.
Bluetooth is one of the great survivors and adaptors of the mobile world, defying predictions of its looming irrelevance every few years by evolving new skills and remaining a key part of the tech spec of today’s newest and most edge-cutting smartphones.
At its most basic level, Bluetooth is a wireless method of connecting gadgets, a bit like today’s ubiquitous Wi-Fi protocol, only without the need for a central router to manage the connections. It’s more personal, like a digital handshake.
Phones with Bluetooth in them can connect directly to other mobiles within a few yards of each other, making it an ideal way to share small pockets of information between phones, like sending contact details and sharing MP3s with friends.
Bluetooth is also a feature of many laptops, plus it’s universal — a laptop can see and share data with a phone, a game controller can link to your tablet and much more. You pair a couple of devices through the options (so complete strangers can’t send you random files), then they’re linked and you can transfer your stuff through your phone’s usual sharing system.
This simplicity is why it’s still around. It’s the glue that holds the tech world together. Here’s how it works.
Managed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group – a non-profit collective of several major mobile tech firms – the technology keeps evolving, with the latest 4.0 spec using less power than ever and opening up yet more options for linking things to other things without having to find and untangle the relevant cables.
The Bluetooth you have on your flash new smartphone today is likely to be v4.0 of the protocol. Each few years Bluetooth refreshes its spec, building a new set of tools to take into account modern hardware developments while also unifying the standard to ensure all devices can chat with each other.
Earlier revisions saw it add support for streaming audio as well as file transfers, opening up the horrifying world of the hands-free Bluetooth headset, before its audio capabilities were later updated with higher bandwidth rates thanks to the Advanced Audio Distribution protocol that also allowed the transfer of two-channel stereo audio at a decent bitrate.
The precise technicalities of activating Bluetooth will vary depending on your variety of mobile phone (or laptop, controller, tablet, etc), but there’s only one real approach to doing so. You switch it on and make sure your device is “visible” and broadcasting its availability. That’s the important first bit. Second, and a bit more complex, is pairing your device with another so they have a trusted and secure two-way link.
This usually involves one device sending a request to another phone or laptop for permission to access and share files. This is an important part of the Bluetooth chain, as it means you control who can and can’t access your phone.
Once that initial permission request has been okayed, you should be free to initiate the sending and sharing of content via the little wireless link. Most modern phones will let you specify a visibility timeout as well, meaning there will only be a small window of time during which your phone is broadcasting its availability on the Bluetooth channels. Another nice little security feature.
There’s been the odd low-level concern over the years, but Bluetooth’s key pairing mechanism and authorisation system means that you’re pretty much bulletproof from outside attack. The only way someone can “see” your phone or laptop over Bluetooth is if you make it available, then allow them access. And if you do all of that, you probably know them, and are sitting next to them, and don’t mind letting them ping you photos, MP3s and contact details through the air.
80% of our time is spent on apps and just 20% on browsing.
Only 20 percent of American consumers’ time on mobile devices is spent on the web. A massive majority, 80 percent, is spent in apps: games, news, productivity, utility, and social networking apps.
Turns out, it’s an app world, after all.
According to app analytics firm Flurry, which tracks app usage on a staggering 300,000 apps on over a billion active mobile devices, we spend an average of 158 minutes each and every day on our smartphones and tablets. Two hours and seven minutes of that is in an app, and only 31 minutes is in a browser, surfing the old-school web.
A big chunk of that 158 minutes is taken up with games — 32 percent — but it’s almost shocking to see how much time a single app and a single company eats up. Eighteen percent of all the time that Americans spend on their phones is spent in the Facebook app, a figure that by itself dwarfs all other social networking apps.
Combined, the others only take up six percent of our time.
There was a time when developers thought HTML5 would kill the mobile app, with experts like Mike Rowehl saying things like: “We’ll forget that we even passed through another era of native apps on the way to the mobile web.”
In an interesting twist, however, HTML5 is actually being used more as a tool for cross-platform native app development. In fact, it’s now the number one choice for developers building apps for multiple platforms.
Flurry also says that people are now using more apps than ever, launching 7.9 per day in the last part of 2012 versus 7.5 per day in 2011 and 7.2 per day in 2010. Consumers are continuing to try new apps as well, with long-term users adding new apps regularly to their existing stack.
“We believe that with consumers continuing to try so many new apps, the app market is still in early stages and there remains room for innovation as well as breakthrough new applications,” Flurry says.
Is the mobile web dead?
Not necessarily — we’re only five years into this ongoing mobile revolution. But today, people are talking with their taps, and they’re overwhelmingly choosing apps.
Apps economy :A sheer breach of privacy.
User data has fueled the growth of apps in the mobile economy.
Instead of buying digital goods, we are increasingly exchanging them for our personal information, such as our names, email addresses, browsing preferences, location and much more. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this model but the long term viability of it depends on all parties coming together to ensure transparency across the value-exchange.
That’s why MEF has recently launched its Global Privacy Report to investigate levels of awareness as to what user data is captured and whether or not this affects consumer behavior.
The study was far reaching with over 9,500 respondents across ten countries. What emerged is a fundamental disconnect between the assumptions we as an industry make about consumers and what they actually think.
Freemium content or ad-funded services are based on a simple value exchange: you get a useful app for free or next to nothing and in return the app provider collects your user data to monetize it in some way. That’s why when you boot up an app you are often met with some form of request about sharing your location or other data.
For the consumer the request it can appear totally unrelated to the function of the app – for example, why would a spirit level app need to know where you are?
Moreover, consumers are increasingly aware that if they can purchase mobile versions of console games for free or next to nothing (when its console edition costs a hundred times as much) then its likely that something else is going on.
This is the hallmark of the app economy.
Interestingly, the report found that 70 per cent of consumers say it’s important to them to know exactly what data an app is collecting and what data is being shared. Nearly half say that it’s very important. This says very clearly that consumers understand the impact of apps on their privacy and importantly that they want to have some control.
Secondly, the wake-up call to app developers should be that that only 37 per cent of consumers are comfortable sharing information. 33 per cent are not at all comfortable. That means either 33 per cent of all consumers are avoiding apps because they don’t trust them, or they are happily downloading and using apps unaware that they are sharing their personal information.
Neither of these scenarios is good, but the second is much worse.
It means that at some stage it is likely that there will be a backlash. Consumer trust is a company’s most valuable asset and not easily regained whether or not app providers clean up their act and become more transparent.
Building consumer trust is critical to growing a sustainable business in a market where thousands of apps jostle for space. As an industry we have a limited window of opportunity to show consumers that we are capable of protecting their privacy by not taking their understanding of it for granted. We have work to do to bring consumers with us on this journey into this information value-exchange that is equitable to all parties.
Some of the principles of trust are already established at a legislative level with privacy policies becoming mandatory in many territories. What’s missing is how developers and app stores introduce and build the asset of consumer trust into their day-to-day business, taking the practical steps to establish transparency in a consumer-friendly way.
App providers don’t have the time to become privacy experts.
They need a simple, cost effective way of building best practice privacy disclosure into their development workflow in a way which puts the consumer at the centre of this process. Clearly there is a need for tools which provide short form privacy policies that also execute in-app and explain privacy in plain English.
Consumers have told us that privacy is an issue for them and we can ill-afford not to listen. MEF is working with our members to address this challenge with practical guidelines and new tools through its Global Privacy in Mobile Apps initiative.
- Only a third of consumers (37%) are comfortable sharing personal data with an app
- The majority of consumers consider it important to know when an app is gathering (70%) and sharing (71%) their personal information
- Perceptions are that security around data is robust with only 18% stating they are not confident that their personal information is being protected
- Females and older consumers (over 35s) are more likely to have concerns over privacy
- Growth markets including Brazil, Mexico and South Africa are least comfortable sharing personal information
Ever heard mobile and it’s right use…??
While volunteering at an orphanage in Ecuador, former Amazon executive David Risher came across a padlocked library. When he asked the orphanage’s leader why it was locked, she said that the key was lost, the books were out of date, and the children were uninterested in reading. That’s when Risher decided to set out to make books more accessible to people in the developing world.
He founded Worldreader in 2009, a nonprofit organization that puts Kindles and electronic books (e-books) in the hands of children and their families.
“Worldreader has this crazy vision that every child on the planet should have access to the books they need to improve their lives.”
“Mobile phones are the way people in the developing world stay connected and learn about the world around them. This is an opportunity to have an enormous impact on education in these parts of the world.”
The first Worldreader program began in Ghana in 2010, which distributed e-readers to 20 students. Worldreader works with publishers around the world including international companies and small local publishers alike, to distribute their content, and the digital library includes over 440,000 e-books. This mobile program is a significant step for the organization because it does not require procuring and delivering devices, but works with the technology people already own. It will greatly expand Worldreader’s reach and scale and make books of all kinds and subject in the hands of those who need them most.
Fifty percent of schools in sub-saharan Africa have few or no books, while the USAID found that nearly ever home in sub-Saharan Africa has access to at least one mobile phone. Worldreader Mobile is designed for low-end feature phones most commonly used by people in Africa and Asia. Users download the free app and have access to a library of 1,200 books, ranging from romance novels to health textbooks.
Feature phones don’t high processing capabilities and usually operate on slower 2G networks. Furthermore, users cannot afford to spend a large amount on data. The new mobile program takes all of this into account. Worldreader partnered with BiNu, a platform that improves Internet connectivity on mass-market phones, to develop the app. All the data processing happens in the cloud, rather than on the phone, and the data is compressed so people do not rack up high charges while reading.
Twitter’s new application: LivesOn
The microblogging site Twitter has come up with an interesting app, which will keep you tweeting even if you die. The app’s tagline is pretty straight forward and funny, that is “When your heart stops beating, you’ll keep on tweeting”.
The new app will soon allow users to keep posting Twitter updates, even from beyond the grave. The application will independently use intricate knowledge of a person’s on line character to create a virtual continuation of their personality after death. The app is supposed to hit the networking site in March and will be called as LivesOn. It will use Twitter bots powered by algorithms that analyse the user’s online behaviour and learn the way to speak in the same way the user does.
It will keep on scouring the internet, favouring tweets and posting the sort of links the user liked by creating a personal digital afterlife.