Архив за месяц: Март 2012

Убытки RIM составили 125 млн $; возможный уход с потребительского рынка

2011 год был ужасным годом для канадской компании Research in Motion (RIM) и, похоже, 2012 также принесет мало радости производителю BlackBerry.
Убытки RIM составили 125 млн $; возможный уход с потребительского рынка

Google собирается запустить собственный магазин планшетов?

Wall Street Journal сообщает, что Google намеревается запустить фирменный онлайн-магазин планшетов, что обеспечит компанию прямым доступом к потребителям.
Google собирается запустить собственный магазин планшетов?

“Girls Around Me” Creeper App Just Might Get People To Pay Attention To Privacy Settings

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Cult of Mac has a great write-up of an app for iOS called Girls Around Me, which essentially displays check-ins and public profiles of girls around you. With a little shift in context it could easily be confused for a hot new startup (discoverability meets speed dating!), but no, it really is just a way for guys to creep on nearby girls who have failed to lock down their info.

It’s sad, but maybe something like this is what people need to shock them into understanding just how much information they put online.

The app itself is pretty much straight-up stalker material, but the fact is it uses publicly available information — information that, really, is being deliberately broadcast. There is a larger debate to be had about the nature of privacy and how information like location and profiles should be handled, and many subtle points to be made. But right now it seems that things must be done in broad strokes, and it’s only mainly broadly offensive things like this app that will bring attention to the issue.

It’s perfect fodder for evening news debates: “After the break, we talk with our tech experts about a new app that lets you track women in your area without their knowledge.” And that’s a good thing: the more exposure the problem gets, the better. Many of the people being tracked by this app, male and female, haven’t even considered the idea of strangers tracking their movements systematically.

All these options in Foursquare default to on, which is really fine, since after all the service is about sharing your location. And linking it to your Facebook or Twitter account is a natural step for many. But at the same time they fail to understand that they are providing a sort of path that strangers can follow from a face on the street to a name, other photos, current location, and a number of other things.

Girls Around Me is a shortcut for creeps, but it’s not like it had to do anything illegal or complicated to get this information. A few public APIs is all it took to put a face on a map that links to a trove of personal data.

Apps like this one are distasteful, sure, but they are also important ways to show how exposed many of our friends and peers are. An understanding of social media is not prerequisite to using it, and many are ignorant of the level to which their actions and data are public. With any luck, Girls Around Me and its ilk will convince these people to take their own privacy seriously.

Update: Foursquare has reached out to say that the app was in violation of their API policy, so they’ve revoked access. I feel safer already!


“Girls Around Me” Creeper App Just Might Get People To Pay Attention To Privacy Settings

Amazon’s Appstore Generates More Revenue Per Daily User Than Google Play

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According to new data released today by mobile analytics firm Flurry, Amazon’s Appstore for Android is generating more revenue per daily user than the Google Android Market, which was recently rebranded as the Google Play store. That shouldn’t be surprising, given that Amazon vets apps for quality, runs promotions to entice users to return daily, and perhaps most importantly, is able to leverage its established user base of Amazon account holders who already have credit card information on file – perfect for one-click checkouts.

To generate its figures, Flurry examined a set of top-ranked apps that have a presence on all three stores: Apple, Amazon and Google Play. Combined, the apps average 11 million daily active users.

Flurry set the revenue generated in the iTunes App Store to 100%, then compared the relative revenue generated by Amazon and Google to that of the App Store. In doing so, the firm found that Amazon revenue is 89% of App Store revenue and Google revenue is 23% of App Store revenue. Or, in other words, for every dollar an iOS app makes, it generates 89 cents in the Amazon Appstore and 23 cents in Google Play.

The findings back up Flurry’s December report, which found the Android Market to generate 23 cents of revenue for every dollar generated by iTunes.

Flurry cites Amazon’s online retail prowess as reason for its success. “Amazon, who invented the one-click purchase, perfected online shopping with data, efficiency, and customer service,” says Flurry’s VP of Marketing Peter Farago. Meanwhile, running a store – whether digital or retail – is not one of Google’s core competencies, he notes.

The data speaks to Amazon’s potential (or really, its place) as a viable third ecosystem for developers looking to generate revenue, which leaves one wondering where the Microsoft/Nokia ecosystem will fit in. Can the mobile app ecosystem support it as a strong fourth player one day, too?

Farago tells us that Flurry believes it can. “We believe that Microsoft + Nokia have a lot of the key assets to succeed, from a powerful OS, hardware know-how and, most importantly, building robust third party developer support. We are bullish on their progress,” he says.

He also suggests that Amazon’s success may leave other players considering similar tactics – that is, forking Android to build their own Android-flavored OS and associated app store.

Samsung, specifically, is called out as one company that might see this path as appealing. Farago explains that most OEMs want to differentiate their software, if for no other reason than to please carriers which want unique phones.

“Software is the easiest way to achieve this,” he says. “If all hardware makers have the same software, then differentiation drops.”

With Amazon’s growth as a revenue generator for developers as well as a new hardware competitor, Flurry thinks Samsung may be considering its own Android fork.

“If you put together the idea that OEMs want differentiation and Amazon is now competing strongly against Samsung in the tablet category, as well as its ability to make revenue for developers, then a fork for Samsung becomes a real strategic choice to consider,” Farago explains. “Let’s also not forget that apps will soon be on TVs, where Samsung already has a strong footprint in hardware. Finally, Samsung has Bada. If they haven’t switched to that already, then it’s because Android is working for them well enough, until possibly now. If that’s the case, a fork of Android again looks like an alternative to evaluate.”


Amazon’s Appstore Generates More Revenue Per Daily User Than Google Play

PayPal Teams Up With Gas Station Chain On A Payment App And Fuel Discounts

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There’s no shortage of apps that help people find cheap gas these days, but apps that let you pay for it? And ones that give you a discount for doing it? Sign me up. Regional gas station/convenience store chain Cumberland Farms has done just that with their new SmartPay app, which in addition to letting users pay without leaving their seats, offers them a $.05 cent/gallon discount.

Here’s how it all goes down: once a driver signs in with a PayPal account, they can pull into a supported Cumberland Farms location and fire up the iOS/Android app or the mobile website. From there, the app uses the device’s GPS to hone in on the gas station they’re parked at, users punch in their pump number and voila — their gas charges are sent to PayPal, and users get an email receipt.

Ready from the bummer? The pilot program is currently live at 50 gas stations in Massachusetts for now, though Cumberland Farms CIO Dave Banks hopes to get the company’s 600 stations across the East Coast and Florida tricked out in the future.

The app is novel and all, but what really gets me is the discount — the margins on fill-ups can be pretty thin, so it’s a bit of a surprise to see a company dip prices like that. If we dig a bit deeper though, the reasoning becomes a bit more clear — according to Innovation Economy, Cumberland Farms approached Boston-based startup Fig Card about integrating their mobile payment tech into local gas stations. Fig Card was subsequently snapped up by PayPal last April, and they’ve apparently being working on it since. As it turns out, PayPal is actually the one funding that nifty discount in order to drive awareness around the app, and Banks says it could potentially reach as high as $0.10 off per gallon.

Cumberland Farms isn’t the first company to try a mobile payments model — apparently, a chain of gas stations called Murphy’s started letting people pay for their gas via text message late last year. It worked, technically, but the onboarding process seemed like a real pain in the rear. PayPal and Cumberland Farms have touched on what seems like a pretty frictionless way to make this payment model work (and a way to incentivize it), now all we need is for everyone gas station in the country to start doing it.


PayPal Teams Up With Gas Station Chain On A Payment App And Fuel Discounts