Tag Archives: iOS

Google Wallet makes mobile payments a reality.

Years ago, when I was working in mobile marketing, mobile payments were all the rage.

Brands were just starting to experiment with SMS, and premium SMS messaging offered content creators an opportunity to monetize their mobile campaigns.

If someone with a text-messaging enabled mobile device saw your call to action, “Text WAYNE to 12345 to get Lil’ Wayne’s newest single!”), they could type in the keyword, send it to a short code and Voila! they were listening to Weezy right from their mobile phone.

Of course, it didn’t always work that smoothly or all the time.

If you had Verizon phone, for example, which restricted hyperlinks, good luck trying to click through to the URL provided on the link you received.

Or if you hit your monthly messaging limit, you wouldn’t be able to send or receive text messages at all.

And at the time, mobile payments were restricted to paying for premium mobile content on your wireless carrier bill.

In order to complete a purchase, there was a double opt-in process, where the user had to validate that they wanted the content and understood the costs and conditions associated with the offer.

Typically, taking advantage of these premium offers involved giving your wireless carrier AND the aggregator AND (in some instances) the content platform provider a portion of the fees associated with that purchase.

Subscription chat lines and information services, like KGBKGB, sprung up to tap into users’ voracious appetite for texting.

You couldn’t buy tangible things with your mobile device.

Outside of wallpapers, ringtones and music downloads, mobile content was the only thing you could really purchase.

Today, that’s no longer the case.

Smartphones, mobile web sites, and mobile apps let you use your mobile phone to purchase virtually anything.

You’re no longer tethered to your wireless carrier if you want buy something.

iTunes and the proliferation of copycat app stores mean that you can cop plenty of compelling content right to your device.

And not have AT&T or Verizon Wireless mucking about in the transaction.

But there’s a different mobile payments space growing and maturing.

We’ve seen early glimpses of that with PayPal.

Apps like Square that have turned your mobile phone into a payment processing center.

In Europe and Asia, paying using your mobile device is commonplace.

But here in the states, the growth of mobile payments has advanced at a snail’s pace.

Until now.

Google Wallet is a mobile payment system that allows its users to store their debit cards, credit cards, loyalty cards, and gift cards on their mobile phones.

Using near-field communication (NFC), Google Wallet lets users make secure payments by simply tapping their phone on any PayPass-enabled terminal at checkout.

Although Google Wallet launched in 2011, it was only this August, that they set up expanded support to all major credit and debit cards including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.

What does it all mean?

Well for one, you’re no longer reduced to making mobile payments solely with PayPal.

More importantly, the tedious process of entering your payment information, name, address, credit card number, expiration date, security code, etc., is as simple as providing your username and password.

This is a real boon for online retailers, who see the majority of their drop offs occurring at checkout.

The best thing about Google Wallet, unlike PayPal (the carriers) and virtually any other merchant processing system, is that they don’t charge processing fees.

No fees?

That’s awesome!

Mind you, I’m not a Google person myself.

Google Wallet doesn’t work on iOS devices.

So unless there’s an app in the works, hundreds of millions of Apple users will be in the dark.

But big up to all you Android users, who have the ability to truly experience what the mobile revolution is shaping up to be…

At least as it relates to mobile payments.

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Filed under apps, digital advocacy, mobile, technology

Ode to a lightning cord.

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I’ve had my iPhone 5 for several weeks now, and I’m slowly getting used to it.

It’s become a staple in my gadget arsenal, stepping in smoothly for its predecessor, The 4.

I can genuinely say that I’m happy with it.

Except for one thing…

That damn lightning charger!!

On three occasions since I’ve owned The 5, I’ve been without my lightning charger.

And I’ve paid for my omission with a dead phone.

Unlike back in the day (aka three weeks ago) where I could approach anyone in the Apple iPhone tribe and borrow a charge cord, today I am constrained to seek out the rare iPhone 5 user, for on-the-street relief.

Gone are the days when any ole iOS compatible device would do.

Now, it’s lightning charger or nothing.

I’m a bit peeved about it, to be honest.

Instead of being able to just rock out with my new joint, I’ve got to be judicious about my energy consumption.

Now I find myself turning off notification services, dimming my screen, using apps sparingly, all in a misguided effort to extend my battery life – or rather, how long I can use my phone.

Oh the angst I feel whenever I belatedly discover I’ve left the crib without my lightning cord.

My anxiety grows as the percentage of battery indicator decreases.

I find myself desperately scanning the hands of strangers to see if they too, might be sporting The 5, and perhaps, the keys to my depleting battery salvation.

I curse Apple whenever that bloody 20% pop up pops up, alerting me that my phone is on its last leg.

I feel shame when other iPhone users ask me if I’ve got a charger on me, both for the fact that I don’t have a cord on me AND the fact that if I did, it’s not compatible with their’s.

What’s truly wack about my dilemma is that it’s not going to get better any time soon.

The tipping point, when every other Apple user you run into has a lightning charger on stash, is a long way off.

Even if I shelled out the extra 20 bones for the adapter, which would let me use current cords to power my device, I’d probably forget it like I do my cord now!

I knew, when I copped the 5, that it had this new cord.

I was fully aware that claims of 250 hours of standby and 80 hours of talk time were an absolute farce.

But I never thought it would go down like this.

I’m killing my battery every day.

Even though I don’t feel like I’m using my iPhone any more frequently now than I did before, the frequency with which my phone dies, says otherwise.

At the end of the day, I’m really just mad at myself.

If I wasn’t always forgetting my cord, I wouldn’t be complaining so vociferously now.

I suck.

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Filed under iPhone, mobile, rant, technology

Apple vs Google. Round 2

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If you’ve been following the simmering battle between Apple and Google, you might have noticed Apple’s first volley.

Not too long ago, Apple announced that they were ditching Google Maps, which is called up by virtually every app on an iOS device that uses location, in favor of their own mapping program.

The much anticipated release of iOS 6 will include this little switcharoo.

And just like that, Google will be erased from several million devices.

More recently, though, Apple announced that it was eliminating YouTube from its devices as well.

And while the rationale for maps (Apple switching to its own map program) seemed like a logical business move, the removal of the YouTube app seems much more….calculated.

In fact, the move seems to support what many see as an active strategy to decouple Google from Apple entirely.

The debate between these titans smacks of the acrimonious relationship between Adobe and Apple, which resulted in Adobe’s permanent banishment from Apple’s coveted walled garden.

More importantly, it signals the drawing of the proverbial line in the sand, with Apple squaring off against Google in what is sure to be a heated battle.

If you’re a disciple of Apple, as I am, you already know that YouTube on Apple sucks.

I never, ever use it.

But that’s besides the point.

The real point is that removing YouTube begs the question: what’s Apple going to replace it with.

Apple has been buying up innovative little shops left and right.

And while I don’t recall a user-generated streaming video service being among them, it’s entirely possible that Apple has something up their secretive little sleeves.

Anyway, we’ll just have to stay tuned…

Perhaps iPhone 5 is really going to knock our socks off.

And Apple will change the game…

Again.

Round two goes to Apple.

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Is Google Play the App Store Killer?

Will Google Play unseat the champion?

Google is trying to dethrone Apple for dominance in the app market.

Although Android’s smartphone marketshare far exceeds that of Apple (I think it’s currently approaching 50%), Google’s app store has not seen a commensurate level of success.

The iTunes App Store continues to dwarf the Android App store, and Google is looking to change that.

Yesterday, FierceMobileContent reported that Google is about to scrap the Android app store in favor of Google Play, which is being positioned to compete more effectively with Apple.

Google Play will be a combination of the Android App Market, Google Music and Google’s eBookstore, effectively mirroring Apple’s App Store, iTunes and iBook offerings.

Google Play will give users the ability to access all of their content in the cloud, from any of their connected devices.

Here’s a short video from Google’s blog (obtusely) promoting Google Play.

The video is a well-crafted pitch, but the absence of a real-life demonstration of their offering left me scratching my head.

With iCloud purportedly providing the same level of capability (seamless access to your content across multiple devices, etc.), Google Play is definitely designed to be a head-to-head competitor.

According to Google, current Android App Market customers will be upgraded to Google Play over the course of the next few days.

As an Applephile or Apple purist, I’m simply not convinced that Google Play (or anything Android-related for that matter) can hold a candle to Apple.

Having handled an Android device or two in my day, I can definitively say that the user experience leaves much to be desired.

Perhaps Google Play will create a more seamless experience for Android users –  at least as it relates to accessing and interacting with their content – but I doubt it.

Either way, I’m not sure that this move will really make Google any more competitive in the app market.

As they say, you can lead a horse to water…

…but can you make them download more apps?

Hey, what do I know?

If you’re an Android user, I’d love to hear if this announcement excites you (or not) and how Google Play will (or won’t) impact you.

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Filed under apps, branding, mobile, technology

iCloud? iDontthinkso!

I just got this email from MobileMe, informing me that my MobileMe subscription was about to end, and inviting me to move my account to iCloud.

iDon't want to move to iCloud! And iWon't!

I’ve been avoiding iCloud like the plague, because I, for one, am not really interested in having Big Brother be the keeper of all my information.

iCloud is Apple’s suite of wireless sync and backup services, whose function is to keep all your iOS devices synchronized, regardless of which one you happen to be using at any particular moment.

While most see iCloud as some savior and a panacea for all that ails us, when it comes to synchronizing and backing up your data, I am not among them.

Even while Apple claims that the cloud (and supposedly all of your private data) is ‘secure’, recent events have proven otherwise.

More importantly, I don’t really dig the fact that I don’t have a choice in the matter.

What if I don’t want to move my MobileMe account to the cloud?

What happens with my data?

Is my account locked?

Is my content irretrievably lost?

And what does moving to iCloud really mean?

Apple claims that I’ve got 5Gb of ‘free’ storage.

But my iTunes library alone is over 20Gb.

What happens with the rest of my music library?

And what about my pictures and video?

How will iCloud handle all that?

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

The reality is that there are (some) answers to all many of these questions.

MacWorld published a very comprehensive article on iCloud last summer, which addressed many of the questions I raised above, and then some.

But, if you’re like me, you’re really not trying to read an entire tome just to figure out the costs and benefits associated with trying something new.

Especially if you really don’t have a choice in the matter.

Come June 2012, MobileMe will be gone.

Period.

If you haven’t moved to iCloud before then, you’re screwed.

Period.

Sure, you’ll still have access to some of the functionality currently available on MobileMe.

But the majority of what (I’m sure) most of us use MobileMe for, will be gone – forever.

And what Apple doesn’t say, is that to access some of the advanced features that you’re probably going to want to use, you’re going to have to pay – dearly.

Being a technologist, I’ve already got data synch and back-up happening without iCloud.

Apple has had these features available within it’s ecosystem for years.

But now they’ve got everyone clamoring to get on the ‘cloud’ even though doing so may ultimately be to their detriment.

I’ve had a slew of calls from clients seeking help for the (to borrow a term from a fellow blogger) clusterfuck they’ve gotten themselves into, blindly accepting iCloud’s Ts&Cs only to find themselves incapable of finding their data later.

Luckily for them, they know that my crew and I are Apple guerrilla warriors and un-clusterfucking the clusterfucked is our speciality.

But if you’re a regular Joe, and don’t have a crew of Apple ninja assassins at your beck and call, proceed into the cloud with caution.

As many who have moved to iCloud have found out, all that glitters is not gold.

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