Tag Archives: smart phone

What the f*@# do you mean you don’t have an iPhone?

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You can file this under rant.

One of the things that boggles my mind, is when someone in the mobile space says that they don’t own an iPhone.

Whoa!

Hold your horses.

Before you start prattling on about the whole Samsung/Apple debate (Winston), know that that’s not where I’m going with this.

Simmer down now.

iPhone is just a placeholder.

The title to this post might have been “What the f*@# do you mean you don’t have an <insert name of mobile device here>?”

But that didn’t quite roll off the tongue.

Feel me?

Honestly, I could care less about your mobile device preference.

Apple, Samsung, HTC, LG, Nokia, Motorola, I could give a rat’s ass what you like.

As long as you own a smart phone capable of approximating the intended feature or functionality you’re trying to vet, we’re cool.

But when you’re building a mobile site, developing an app, using QR codes, or integrating augmented reality…

ANYTHING that requires a proper smart phone to experience…

And don’t own a proper smart phone…

You. Sound. Crazy.

At least to me you do.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve talked to folks about how a feature works or is supposed to work.

And learned – in the midst of that discussion – that they’ve never actually tested the issue being discussed on a device.

Or, worse yet, that they don’t even own the friggin’ device to test on.

I mean really?

How do you form your lips to critique something you’ve never tested?

Why are we even having this discussion?

Trying to describe a function or feature to someone who doesn’t have the device in question is like trying to describe color to a blind person.

No. It’s actually worse.

Especially if that person is making decisions in the absence of valid information.

Sure, wireframes, mock ups and emulators can help you imagine what the finished product will be like.

And they’re great for what they’re for – modeling.

But there is nothing like experiencing a thing on the platform for which it was intended.

And there’s nothing more valuable than getting feedback from an actual user.

Now, truth be told, I used to be one of the people of whom I speak.

Back in the day, I blacked out on Android users, but never owned an Android device.

My opinions of Android’s inadequacies were wholly based on conjecture not fact.

I have since seen the error of my ways, copped a Samsung GS3 and tested countless other Android devices.

So the disdain I now feel for Android devices, is steeped in fact.

But I digress.

My point is, don’t be like the old ignorant Stephen, casting stones in a glass house.

Be like the new Stephen, who opens the window to cast his stones carefully and with precision.

Now class, what have we learned today?

1. Stephen has a low tolerance for BS.

2. If you’re developing for mobile, you’ve got to have a mobile device.

I’m done.

Rant over.

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Filed under iPhone, mobile, opinion, rant, technology, Uncategorized

The Samsung Galaxy S III is no iPhone, but it isn’t (all that) bad.

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I’m not the kind of person who stays blindly entrenched in a position just so I’ll never have to admit that I’m wrong.

So it is without reservation that I state that the Samsung Galaxy S III, which I just got the other day, isn’t that bad.

It’s no iPhone, to be clear, but it is a feature rich, fairly simple to use device.

I got the SIII from the job.

I wasn’t about to buy that ish with my own money.

And I’ve picked it up, here and there, over the past few days.

Although I’m no expert, by any means, I can share you with my initial pros and cons.

Pros

Massive Screen. The screen on this thing rivals the screens on a few net books I’ve seen. Makes for really good video viewing.

Fast. I can’t front, swiping between screens, calling up apps, navigating the web…everything feels so fast.

It’s a 4G phone so I’m not surprised, but damn!

It could just be that new toy joy I’m feeling.

Like after you wash your car.

Doesn’t it feel like its faster?

Is it just me?

Google power. One thing that the S III does, hands down better than any other smart phone I’ve used to date, is integrate seamlessly with Google.

Contacts? Sucked in no time flat.

Search? Right on the home screen.

Maps? Fuggedaboutit!

Cons

Flimsy. When I first took the S III out of the box, put the battery in and replaced the backplate, I felt like I was handling a toy, not a high end smart phone.

The phone is so diaphanous that I’m scared to put it down, or in my pocket, or let it frolic among the other kids on the playground.

If you’re going to rock the S III, might I suggest a case for it, lest it shatter like delicate glass.

Strange UI. Having been an iPhone user for the past five years, I’m just so used to the iOS user interface that anything else seems…foreign.

Trying to understand how to navigate the various screens, settings, and buttons makes me feel like I’m learning a new language.

I’ve seen other Android users baffled by the UI, so I know I’m not alone. There are so many different options that it’s easy to be flummoxed.

Small buttons. I’m not really checking for the Chiclet-sized keys on the S III’s keyboard.

The predictive word completion is nice, but not when you’re typing fast and are presented with options that are nothing close to your intended word.

I felt like a Neanderthal with this thing. I’ve been reduced to meticulously typing each letter to avoid striking the wrong key and sending long strings of garbled nonsense in texts or emails.

But like I said, I’ve only had the S III for a couple of days.

Today is the first day I really went in.

I suspect my attitude towards it will soften (or harden) after I’ve lived with it for a while.

So check back for an update!

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Filed under iPhone, mobile, opinion, technology, Uncategorized

QR Codes or SnapTags: What’s Better For Your Brand?

Which is better?

A few days ago, I wrote a post about the different tools brands could use for mobile engagement of their audiences.

Two of those tools, QR codes and SnapTags, generated a slight buzz, and I thought I’d explore them a bit deeper today.

Kris was definitely not checking for QR codes.

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen or heard all about QR codes.

They’re those strange looking blocks with squiggly lines and boxes inside of them.

They’re on magazines, in subways, on business cards, the sides of soda cans, on posters, even in commercials and television programs.

If you’ve got a QR code reader on your mobile phone, you can snap a QR code, and unlock a text message, a picture or be navigated to a static web page, video or trigger an mp3.

SnapTags are a little more sophisticated than they’re less aesthetic cousin.

SnapTags are rings, with visual information aligned in a pattern of bars and breaks, that impacts what content is accessed by a compatible reader app.

What makes SnapTags unique is the fact that each tag also has a unique short code, enabling people without smart phones to send and receive text messages which will connect them with the associated campaign.

Both QR Codes and SnapTags accomplish essentially the same thing: navigating the user to a particular destination or piece of content.

So which is better?

To hear Spyderlynk tell it, SnapTags are better.

Among the reasons they give for why, include:

Better looking. Why have a blurry blog of blocks, when you can promote your complete logo (in a ring)?

Easier to use. Unlike QR Codes, which require a QR code reader, SnapTags work with any camera phone that can send and receive texts.

Web not required. SnapTags work whether you have an internet connection or not. If you can send and receive a text, you can still take advantage of SnapTags.

Comprehensive analytics. Because SnapTags can be triggered in multiple ways, you can generate and track layered analytics.

SnapTag's self-serving diagram.

Despite their superior looks, ease of use and utility with or without an internet connection, SnapTags do have their drawbacks.

For one, they’re not free. In order to create a SnapTag and utilize it, you’ve got to pay Spyderlynk to set up a campaign for you.

Since they don’t publish their prices on their website, we can assume it’s not cheap.

QR Codes, on the other hand, are free, and don’t require any elaborate set up to enable.

A second shortcoming is the fact that SnapTags are proprietary. You can only create a SnapTag through Spyderlynk, and (presumably) every new campaign requires a new ring.

QR Codes aren’t quite ‘open-source’ but there are a number of free QR Code generators, and you can create as many different codes for as many different campaigns as you can dream up.

Finally, SnapTags are relatively new and not particularly widespread. While several major campaigns have used SnapTags (Neutrogena, Coors Light, Toyota), there’s no rush on them quite yet.

QR Codes have been around for several years, and although they are not the dominant standard, they are very well recognized and heavily used.

I, for one, think SnapTags are pretty fresh. The multiple things you can do, the aesthetic appeal, the ability to maximize the full breadth of mobile marketing, truly make it a marketers playground.

If you’re thinking about jumping in to mobile marketing, and don’t know whether QR Codes or SnapTags are right for you, try them both out and decide for yourself.

If you’ve got any questions, feel free to reach out to me and I’ll see if I can help you decide!

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The Mobile (R)evolution: 5 Reasons You Need An App

Apps, apps everywhere, but not a brand in sight!

I’m mobile obsessed. I’ll admit it.  It probably started with my first smart phone, a Palm Treo, but my obsession has grown exponentially from there.

With certain technology trends, I was very much ‘wait-and-see.’ But with mobile, I was definitely an early adopter.

As recently as a few years ago, mobile phones were still very much a luxury, the domain of corporate executives and titans of industry.  We all remember the phones in a bag. They were expensive, and therefore, exclusive.

Today virtually everyone has a mobile device. Some (like myself) have two.

With the elimination of two-year contracts, and the entrance of pay-as-you-go services, such as MetroPCS and Boost Mobile, getting a quality phone and inexpensive service, has eliminated any significant barrier to entry.

Where standard feature phones used to be the norm, smart phones are becoming commonplace. Wireless networks are prolific.  Texting has replaced calling as the primary means of communication between people.

What used to be the exclusive domain of PCs has been co-opted by mobile devices. The mobile device has become the first screen.

From my vantage point, educating, training, and generally evangelizing the adoption of technology to further one’s business objectives, brands have been caught off guard by these advances.

As the mobile revolution advances at breakneck speeds, I continually find myself justifying a given. We are beyond ‘proof-of-concept’ and very clearly at widespread adoption (if not completely mainstream).

If you’re asking yourself ‘why do I need an app?’ here are five reasons:

1.  Mobile is ubiquitous. About 78% of the world has a mobile device with a mobile subscription.  Everywhere you look, you’ll see someone on a mobile phone. They’re talking, texting, browsing, playing games, listening to music, watching videos or movies, reading emails or engaging in some other productive activity.

2.  HTML5 will not replace mobile apps. For web productivity, HTML5 will certainly enhance a user’s ability to get things done online from mobile devices. Salesforce is a great example of mobile web utility. But for rich media apps and games, having these processes take place on the device, rather than in the cloud, makes more practical sense.

3.  Apps are hyper targeted. When a person downloads an app to their device, they’ve already determined that they want it. And once it’s ‘on deck’ (and the appropriate preferences are selected by the users) your brand can continuously push targeted messages to the users.

4.  Apps are sexy. Let’s face it, Apple has made mobile sexy. And there is nothing sexier for your brand than having a iPhone or iPad app. Shoot, if you’re really trying to get your sexy on, a universal app (that works across multiple platforms and devices) is even sexier. An app is like wearing a red dress to a funeral – it may be inappropriate, but you’re gonna get noticed.

5.  Apps are unique to your brand. The great thing about apps is that they are all unique. Even when you’re simply re-skinning a templated app, the fact that it’s your brand over that functionality, makes it valuable to the end-user who selects and downloads it.  When a user downloads your app to their device, they do so because they want it. In doing so, they’ve allowed your brand to be a part of their inner circle.  Your brand has become a part of how they identify themselves.

Now there are certainly more reasons than these to justify getting an app, but I’m winded. If you think that there are more compelling reasons for having an app, I’d love to hear them!

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