Tag Archives: TechCrunch

2015 is The Year of Mobile and 5 other predictions

crystal-ball

Around this time of year, you’re going to be inundated with “resolution” and “prediction” posts, with folks proselytizing on their views of tech trends for the upcoming year.

Your boy is no better.

But unlike these other jokers at Mashable, Techcrunch, Gawker, et al., who spend time researching, interviewing experts and reviewing industry reports, I simply comb through their work, cherry-picking the tastiest tidbits and regurgitating their work as my original thought.

I kid, I kid.

But seriously.

The end of the year provides a great opportunity to review the wins, hits or misses or the previous year and reliably forecast what may happen in the year ahead.

There have been a number of interesting developments over the past year, which give me confidence to say that 2015 will be the year of mobile.

For example, there are more mobile devices than people on the earth.

Let that sink in for a moment.

That’s significant, especially if all of these people are browsing from their mobile devices.

Even if only half of them utilize their mobile devices as the primary means for getting online, brands that aren’t mobile-enabled are going to see their bounce rates increase and revenues decline, as folks abandon them for sites that are mobile optimized.

But rather than talk about how mobile will impact brands generally, here are my top five mobile predictions for 2015.

1. Mobile payments are going to take off. With Apple Pay already being adopted by 220,000 vendors, the mobile payment trend is undoubtedly going to grow. Apply Pay joins other established mobile payment solutions, like Google Wallet and PayPal, and newcomers, like LevelUp and Paydiant, as well as a host of others scoping the mobile payment space, including Square and Swipely. With folks taking privacy and security seriously, e-commerce sites and mobile applications that allow users to avoid the necessity of having to manually input payment details over insecure wifi networks, will undoubtedly be the preferred method for completing online transactions.

This year, I predict mobile payments becoming a standard.

2.  Mobile sites will proliferate this year. As brands start to realize that customers are spending increasing amounts of time on mobile devices, getting in on this action will be a critical strategy to engagement. Last year, the average person spent almost 3 hours a day on their mobile devices. That’s more time than they spend online, and this trend will likely continue. With streaming services offering television-like abilities, mobile may eventually outpace tv. But at a very basic level, this year brands will acknowledge that the failure to have a mobile site (either mobile enabled or fully responsive) is a distinct competitive disadvantage.

I predict the number of mobile sites will invariably grow at a tremendous pace this year.

3. Widespread adoption of auto-fill. Retailers bemoan cart abandonment as the bane of their existence. Over 68% of e-commerce shopping carts are abandoned. The holy grail for online shopping involves seeing shoppers through checkout. But for mobile shoppers, there is nothing more frustrating than having to complete payment and shipping forms on their mobile device. Payment options like PayPal or Amazon One-Click save users from filling out many of the fields required to complete their online purchases, but too few online vendors are set up with streamlined payment processes. And while a fine tuned checkout doesn’t necessarily equate to fewer abandoned carts, it couldn’t hurt!

Auto fill is a simple and easily implemented solution, that can occur at the browser or native (device) level, which will enable users to quickly and securely complete online forms, typically with one click, dramatically reducing the amount of time (and frustration) required to complete payment or shipping information (or forms of any kind). Google Chrome has already implemented the ability to auto fill forms in both full HTML and mobile web browsers, and many of the mobile payment solutions described above, also include the ability to complete non-payment forms as well.

I predict widespread adoption of mobile autofill solutions, as more players enter the space and users become more conversant with these types of platforms.

4. Mobile loyalty programs will grow. Nearly every retailer I frequent has some sort of rewards program. Stores like Anthropologie, Sephora, CVS, Modell’s, Target, and ShopRite all have rewards programs tied to a keychain or wallet-sized reward card that patrons can present at checkout to earn points or qualify for rewards. But 2015 will see an increasing number taking advantage of Passbook or eliminating cards in favor of mobile loyalty or punch cards. Instead of having to present a loyalty card, users will simply whip out their cell phones flash a QR code and transmit their rewards or loyalty account info, similar to how Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts’ mobile rewards work.

I predict that 2015 will see more brands taking advantage of the convenience of mobile loyalty and release Passbook-like offerings of their own.

5. Wearables will change the mobile landscape. In the not-too-distant past, when you thought “wearables” a massive virtual reality helmet was probably all that came to mind. But with Oculus Rift making wearable headsets more like goggles, and less like NFL helmets, the concepts is more palatable. The definition of wearables has extended from virtual reality headsets, to Google Glass to fitness devices like the Nike FuelBand, the Fitbit tracker, the Apple Watch and Android smart watches. Wearables will open a whole host of smart applications, devoted to health and fitness, as well as medical diagnostics.

I predict that wearables will have a breakout year in 2015, driven primarily by the Apple Watch, but supported by advances in Android wearables, the proliferation of 3D and augmented reality applications adding rich virtual layers to users’ real life experiences.

What are your mobile predictions for 2015? Feel free to comment and share!

Happy New Year!

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Filed under advocacy, mobile

Need to do dirt? Get you a Burner (app).

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When Techcrunch, Engadget and Gizmodo all talk about the same thing on the same day, my Spidey-senses start tingling.

So you can imagine the buzzing in my head reading about the release of Burner for Android today.

Don’t want to call your ‘herbologist‘ mom from your regular phone?

Can’t remember if the girl you copped that number from last night was cute (or not)?

Girlfriend mad at you and not responding to your texts?

Take no chances.

Burner is the solution for all that (telephonically) ails you.

The Burner app let’s you spoof your mobile phone number.

Instead of seeing your real number in the caller ID or as the source of a text message, your callers/text recipients see your Burner number instead.

Genius!

I took Burner for a spin and hit up my herbologist mom.

Getting set up was a cinch.

I downloaded the app from the App Store, entered my phone number and got an SMS with a verification code.

Once I plugged in the code, accepted the Ts&Cs and waited a few seconds, I was in.

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Burner works off credits, which dictate how long your Burner number lasts.

Hence ‘burner’.

On the low end, there’s the Mini burner, which lasts 7 days, or 20 minutes talk time or 60 texts.

At the other end of the spectrum, there’s the Large or Long burner, which lasts 60 days, or 75 minutes talk time or 225 texts.

But you get a sample Burner right off the bat.

I’m not sure how much credits cost, but the next time I need to call my herbologist mom, I’ll let you know.

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That’s my Burner number.

Feel free to give me a call or send me a text.

It’s a burner, so don’t sleep. The number will be gone tomorrow!

Need to do dirt? Get your Burner (app) on!

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Filed under apps, iPhone

Is Google Glass the future of computing (or a passing fad)?

Google GlassMy colleagues and I are a bunch of (admitted) geeks.

Every day, we share links from Engadget, Gizmodo, TechCrunch and the like.

About interesting apps, techie news, digital trends or hot topics.

A few days ago, someone passed around a link to a promo video for Google Glass.

For the uninformed, Google Glass is Google’s foray into developing a wearable computer.

Unlike the alleged smart watch being developed by Apple, Google Glass is a frame you wear on your face, like a pair of glasses.

Google Glasses

There are no lenses, per se.

Just a small rectangular surface, sitting an inch or so away from the eye, within which sits the Google Glass display.

Google Glass is very limited in its functionality.

From the video demonstration, Google Glass lets you record and playback video, video chat, get turn-by-turn directions, or send a message.

The What It Does part of the Google Glass site seems to suggest that it does a little more than this.

But not much more.

Since there is no keyboard, you’re limited to voice controlled functions.

Now, we can talk to our computers, Star Trek- like, and have them perform increasingly complex functions.

There is a little button on the side, presumably to allow the user to switch between functions.

But beyond that, it’s totally hands free.

When I first watched the video, it reminded me of a GoPro commercial.

It was all about the visuals.

But unlike GoPro, Google Glass allows you to do more than just record video.

You almost forget about the little screen in the top right corner, because your field of vision is right in front of you.

And that got me wondering…

When you’re wearing a pair of Google Glasses, are you always staring up and to the right?

Like you’re thinking about something?

“Do I look like a dork?” perhaps?

My curiosity got the best of me, and I signed up to try out the damn things.

But a happy black chick on the sign up page told me that the applications to try Google Glass were closed.

If you we're so cute, I'd be mad atcha.

If you weren’t so cute, I’d be mad atcha.

I signed up anyway.

I doubt I’ll see a pair in the wild before they’re available for sale.

But one can always hope.

In any instance, it’s definitely got me intrigued.

What do you think?

Is Google Glass the way of the future?

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Filed under branding, technology

Why I never attend CES. Confessions of a gadget addict.

How Inspector Gadget must have suffered!

How Inspector Gadget must have suffered!

Gadgetaholic (noun) one who suffers from an addiction to gadgets.

I am an admitted gadgetaholic.

Ok, ok. There’s no such word as gadgetaholic.

But there should be.

I’m addicted to gadgets.

If it beeps, buzzes, chirps or tweets, I’ve got to have it.

I can’t even help myself.

On any given occasion, I’ve got a gagillion different gadgets in rotation.

Mobile phones, tablets, laptops, mp3 players, remotes, wireless keyboards, clickers, battery packs, you name it.

If it’s got a modicum of utility, I’ve owned it – or coveted it.

I’ve been hooked on gadgets for so long, I can’t even tell you when it first started.

With my obsession for gadgets, one would think that the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was Shangri-La for someone like me.

But it’s quite the opposite.

I can’t stand CES.

All those companies, congregating, with all their unreleased wares for show.

It’s all too much.

It’s so bad that during the CES week, I just go radio silent.

I ignore all CES related updates.

I pay attention to none of the information that streams out of TechCrunch, cNet, AdAge, Engadget, et als during the week.

I want none of it.

And do you know why?

BECAUSE I CAN’T HAVE ANY OF IT!!

At times, I’ve gone a bit…overboard…with my….

Obsession.

There, I’ve siad it.

My closet (several of my closets) are stuffed with gadgets past.

Dust laden boxes of this portable satellite radio…

Or that digital recorder…

Or some unused thingamajig or doohickey.

But do you know what it’s like to be a gearhead, but not be able to cop the latest technological wares?

Or see bright shiny object, and have to walk away from it?

It’s torture! That’s what!

And they’re not just any old shiny objects, mind you.

They’re shiny objects created by cats who are more tech obsessed than I.

Which means they’re reaallllyyyy cool!

I mean, have you seen some of this stuff?

CES Samsung Flexible screen 660

Flexible touch screens.

burg-neon-smartphone-watch

Smartphone watches.

Onyx-E-Ink-Smartphone

E-ink smartphone displays.

Yum. Yum. Yum!

But what good is all this scrumptious technology if I can’t have any of it?

99% of the items at CES are concept items=not for sale.

The stuff that is for sale is too expensive to buy (or shit I dont want).

My urge to possess said stuff would drive me to straight thuggery.

And how would I look robbing these good white folk for their goodies?

I don’t think a stick-up at CES would go unnoticed.

So every year, I resign myself to keeping my addicted ass in Jersey, while CES goes on without me.

And that’s a good thing.

No one wants to see a grown-ass man, drooling like a rabid dog.

Flitting from thing to thing like a hopped up kid with ADD.

One day, I might get my addiction under control.

But for the time being, I’ll treat CES like a watering hole to be avoided at all costs.

And take my recovery one day at a time.

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Filed under Smack talking

The Facebook privacy issue…that wasn’t.

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It seems like we barely go a week without hearing about some hack, security breach or online dissemination of private information.

And despite the PR and social media maelstrom that inevitably follows each of these breaches of public trust, the offending corporations never seem to get the message.

It’s even worse with repeat offenders.

Case in point: today TechCrunch reported that Facebook had allegedly released the private messages of certain users, and published that information on users’ timelines.

The released messages apparently spanned the years 2006 through 2009.

Some surmise that what most likely happened is that Facebook (once again) changed their privacy policies, and as a result, those who had not opted out of some draconian setting, found their (once thought private) messages very publicly displayed in their timelines.

Facebook immediately denied that any user’s private conversation had been compromised.

They explained that today was the global rollout of Timeline, and that with the various iterations of Facebook’s UI, conversations that used to occur on folks’ walls (when Facebook was a tighter more closed universe), were now appearing in users’ Timelines.

Despite the fears that were first raised by Facebook users in France, Facebook confirmed that they had never, in fact, released the private conversations of any of it’s users.

I, for one, remain skeptical.

If users’ messages, wall posts, or what have you were always ‘public’ why weren’t they on their respective Timelines before?

And if they were there before, why the brouhaha over them now?

Clearly folks are feeling away about the sudden appearance of content in their accounts that weren’t there before.

They were tucked away in some other non-public, less visible place, making their sudden reappearance unnerving to many.

Facebook needs to stop changing shit on folks so much.

Their constantly changing interface and privacy policies makes it difficult for the average user to keep up with.

Who knows if we’ve seen the end of this issue.

But I know that folks are going to be a lot more careful of what they say (and send) via Facebook from now on!

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Filed under digital advocacy, social media

I’m sorry. I just can’t get excited about the iPad Mini.

Is this the new iPad Mini? Time will tell.

There’s quite a hullabaloo around Apple’s alleged September 12 announcement.

The buzz around the iPhone 5 and the release of iOS 6 have kept tech bloggers busy.

I have to admit, that I too, have been caught in the frenzy.

I was totally bamboozled by a colleague who posted up a link to a leaked ‘first look’ video of the iPhone…only to realize that it was a hoax.

Damn you adamthinks.com!

But as much as I’ve tried, I simply can’t muster the energy to get excited about the iPad Mini.

Yeah. The rumor mills have been throwing around theories about what the iPad Mini will ultimately be.

And there has much speculation about its potential features.

Sure. The Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7 have left Apple in the unenviable position of NOT being first to the mini tablet space.

So the likelihood of a smaller, lower priced offering, designed to compete with these devices, is great.

But I’m still not waiting with bated breath for it.

I mean really.

The ‘new‘ iPad dropped a few months ago.

Less than six months later, they’re dropping another iPad.

And I’m supposed to be all gaga over it?

Why?

Because of the smaller form factor?

The lower price?

Will it have all the same bells and whistles of the current iPad?

Or will Apple pull an ‘iPad’ and drop a device without all the attributes you know they have the capacity to bake in – just to set up the crush for the fully loaded iPad Mini 2.

We’ve all been victims of Apple’s frequent bait-and-switch.

As much as we applaud Apple whenever a new innovative product is released.

We resent them.

When they immediately drop the new and improved whatchumacallit rendering your latest acquisition obsolete.

So you’ll pardon me if I’m over the fanfare and leaks around the iPad Mini.

If you’re really interested, I’m sure that TechCrunch, Gizmodo or Engadget are following the iPad drama unfold.

But not the kid!

Not today anyway…

If you’re really interested in the latest-and-greatest iPad Mini news, check the link to the latest iPad mini photographs from the Daily Mail.

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Filed under digital advocacy, iPad, mobile, opinion, technology

Not Up on Pinterest? You Should be Ashamed!

Get up on it! If you're not already.

I just heard a story about a web developer working on a project, who didn’t know what Pinterest was.

My immediate reaction was horror, as the two year old social photo sharing site has over 11.7 million unique monthly visits.

To be fair to the developer, I take for granted how much the landscape of social media changes and how quickly one can lose track of what’s out there.

Although some dismiss Pinterest as a niche community (it’s mostly a female audience), the reality is that this audience is cohesive and MASSIVE.

You ignore Pinterest to your own demise.

The developer (from the story) definitely lost the client.

I felt bad.

Scanning my in box today, I came across this article in Mashable, discussing Pinterest’s value to brands looking to connect with consumers.

Another, on the PRDaily blog, discussed the record pace at which Pinterest’s monthly daily views eclipsed the 10 million mark.

Clearly, interest in Pinterest is spiking, because it’s audience is also.

And folks who are paying attention, aren’t trying to miss this social media boat.

Truth be told, someone else put me on to Pinterest.

So I can’t even act like MY trend spotting lens is so deftly honed.

But I am kinda tight. Don’t get it twisted!

Having spent time on Pinterest, it’s very visual nature should be intriguing to any brand that understands the eyes are the keys to the soul wallet.

With numbers like Pinterest’s that’s a lot of souls wallets.

If you’ve never heard of if, I’d suggest you hustle on over there and take a gander.

There’s loads of interesting content being pinned and lots of dialogues around that content.

And that makes Pinterest one of THE places to be online IMO (I can’t even help using this damn slang!)

While it’s invitation only, I haven’t run into anyone who has been turned away.

You don’t get to 11.7 million unique views a month saying ‘no’ to folks.

Several notable brands have already ‘pinned’ parking spaces on Pinterest, and they’re hoping the exposure pays off.

I’m certainly advising the folks I know to do so!

If you really want an in-depth analysis of Pinterest, TechCrunch does a great job breaking it down (to it’s very last compound) for you.

Happy pinning!

UPDATE: My girl Cara Largoza Reynoso just put me up on an infographic that was published yesterday on Social Times. It really does a good job breaking Pinterest down in an easy-to-follow graphic.

Check it out.

What's what on Pinterest.

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