An Apple a day….

in app 1

An Apple a day….Apple have this week been forced to pay out 32.5 million dollars to settle a legal complaint about the company’s practices that allowed children to make purchases in mobile apps without parents’ permission. Apple themselves are reacting positively to help in this matter as reported in the Daily Tech recently. Whilst not exactly agreeing in the ruling, Apple have decided not to fight it and doubtless they will revisit their in app purchase mechanisms to ensure that the issue is resolved once and for all.

Well, ……big sigh and roll of the eyes. What on earth is going on here? Where does this leave us in a world where digital devices are increasingly user friendly and accessible?  Imagine, for instance, a scenario where a young child makes an actual phone call and orders up a luxury suite in the Ritz for 2 nights on his mother’s credit card. Who is responsible for allowing that transaction? The phone company for allowing this misuse of the phone? Or the credit card company for facilitating a payment via phone by a minor masquerading as their parent?  What if a young person accidentally cuts their finger off whilst opening a particularly tricky packet of crisps? The knife manufacturer surely should have safeguarded against that…or wait, how about we task the crisp manufacturer with taking a more responsible approach to packaging, ensure that its impossible to cut yourself whilst using scissors.

The ruling against Apple is one which seems to forget the role of the responsible adult. In this case the adult who had purchased the smart phone or tablet which has facilitated the act of purchasing some game add ons. The adult in this case who should be providing a moral grounding to the child and explaining that in app purchases are a “no no”. or more realistically ….. perhaps these in app elements can be purchased occasionally on a one by one permission basis….and on it goes. Those are the first few aspects we might expect a parent or a responsible adult to consider when handing over a connected device like that to a child.

inapp 2

But crucially if a parental responsibility is too much effort  there are other methods to prevent the risk. For example:

Use the settings of their device set to prevent such purchases. Thats the end of the risk. The discussion need go not further. problem solved.

Talk to their children, explain the issue./Apply rules of use.Suggest that the Lock Down will happen if the rules are broken.  Hold on a moment…. I just need to find someone’s grandmother and teach them how to suck eggs.

We practise this sort of basic approach with animals. Pet shop owners do not have the “damned puppy” – they sold to little Freddie’s mother only last week- returned with complaints of  “he ruined my carpet” or “he messed my lawn”…why not? Because Freddie’s Mother  applies some common sense and realises that the dog is not in fact responsible for his misdemeanour’s. Maybe he will be after he has been trained…… but even then the sensible approach would not be to hold the dog to account because…. the pet owner has the task of teaching the pet to avoid chewing the carpet or digging the grass. Hey ho…..

It would be great to know the logic that leads to the ruling against Apple. Thoughts from our readers please?

 

Find it Fix it Love it – Official Press Launch.

 

fifili press launch banners 2AppDevelopersUK recently released Find it Fix it Love it, a smartphone app created on behalf of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (LBTH). This innovative app brings “people power” to the fore as it allows any member of the public to download a free app with which they can send positive or negative observations about their borough directly to their local authority. The LBTH team can assess the incoming submission and decide on appropriate actions. If there’s a broken paving stone, an upturned litter bit for instance, the appropriate service can be organised to tackle the issue.  On the other hand, if someone wants to report how much they like a particular flowerbed bench or other amenity, they can report this too. Everyone likes positive feedback and the LBTH is no exception.

We expect that this approach has added benefits of allowing the council to work in a highly efficient way, collecting useful information from the residents of the borough. In addition the feel-good factor between council and its residents is promoted because there is the sense of the local authority listening and acting upon news and information provided by its residents. The app enables a really useful channel of real communication to be developed with all participating residents. The app is available on both Apple and Google Play and the official press release is shown below.

Tower Hamlets Council launches Find it, Fix it, Love it App

Tower Hamlets Council has a new tool in its armory to further improve the appearance and maintenance of the borough in the shape of a new, innovative smart phone app, Find It, Fix It, Love It.

The Find it, Fix it, Love it app has been launched as part of the council’s commitment to making the borough an even cleaner and safer place to live, work or visit and will enable users to share what they love about the borough.
Through Find it, Fix it, Love it the council wants people to send pictures and share their thoughts of the many great aspects of the borough; anything from a special place or landmark, to a quirky shop or local character.

By using the app residents and visitors can also instantly tell the council about any issues that need addressing such as graffiti, fly tipping, broken play equipment, pot holes or over flowing bins.

Users simply take a picture of a problem and the app will pinpoint their location and send the details directly to the council’s environmental contractors, ensuring that problems are dealt with swiftly. The app also allows residents to highlight specific areas on the image or send comments and contact details if they want feedback, but this is optional, making the process very quick and simple.

Launching the app, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, said: “Find it, Fix it, Love it” is simple to use and an innovative reporting approach for issues. The app will also be great for showing what people love about the borough. There are so many good things in Tower Hamlets and it will be fascinating to see what people think are our hidden gems.”

Cllr Shahed Ali, cabinet member for the environment, added: “The reporting side of the app will enable us to efficiently and effectively deal with problems. I encourage residents to help with reporting issues as we can’t be in all places at all times. I’m excited by the potential use of the app and the role it can play in reducing costs and improving efficiencies in dealing with clean and green issues.”

Jamie Blake, Service Head, Public Realm, said: “Find it, Fix it, Love it has been developed to meet the reporting needs of the mobile generation. The app is unique as it focuses on the positives of the borough whilst also allowing users to report problems that may occur. The app will hopefully capture the imagination and allow us to build a unique picture of Tower Hamlets through the eyes of our residents and visitors to the borough as they tell us why they “love it.”

The app has proved popular during the pilot phase with over 100 reports being made to date.

Download the Find it, Fix it, Love it app for free at the Apple App Store or via Google Play, search for FiFiLi. For more information about using the Find it, Fix it, Love it app visit www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/clean.
October 23, 2013

Every day 1.5 million newly activated Android devices

Every day 1.5 million newly activated Android devices join the 900 million already out there. It’s hard to imagine the seemingly non stop demand for new Android devices, but here’s proof. The story mirrors and probably eclipses the Apple success curve.

images

Only 5 short years have passed since Android phones were launched.  The positive for Google is that the more of the devices there are, the more apps get downloaded, it’s a perfect model. There are already a total of over 900 million devices worldwide on the Android system and at this rate it’s only going to be 6 months until the billionth device goes live. Staggering numbers which must be daunting for all the competition no matter which part of the world it is coming from.

Ok so niche markets will continue and Apple will continue its fantastic success story but with Google’s Android platform becoming so prevalent, surely  something’s gotta give !

But maybe the bigger concept to muse on here is that the position of Android is strengthened by it being increasingly seen as a solution for all sorts of electronic chip based gadgetry.  Cameras’ TV box’s, tablets basic browsing laptops and watches all come into the Android sphere with increasing frequency.  HPAndroid_One_Billion_2017-630x354 has already started pushing Android on it’s notebooks and PC’s. Next year they will probably start pushing Android to enterprise more seriously, too, and into more sales channels, where they are now pushing Windows PC’s. Google browser, Maps, phones, glass, and so on.  Pretty high profile business and pretty good foothold in our modern technology lead lives. Google recently announced 48 billion application downloads and as more devices go live so too will the sale of the Android app accelerate. This diversity gives Android a depth which perhaps rivals will envy.

Apple:50 Billion downloads.Android poised to overtake!

 

Apple_50B_051513

Apple hit 50 Billion downloads. Android poised to overtake! As reported on this blog Apple are now proud to have announced the 50 billionth app download. It’s a breath-taking number in a breath-taking world of technical accomplishment.  What makes this so noteworthy is the fact that at present smart phone penetration is still only around 50% of mobile phone users.  It is predicted that by 2017 the penetration rates in Europe will reach 80 to 90%, increasing the number of potential customers for the App store and its competitors. Penetration of Smartphones in the USA lags someway behind Europe. There is therefore obvious potential for this number to accelerate towards 100 billion in the coming years is clear.

The App store has only been open for 5 years. Its “doors” opened in July 2005 with only 500 apps available to download. That number has grown to a current choice 850,000 different apps across 23 different categories. As if that’s not enough, these apps are available alongside a further half a million or so across the other major platforms.

In fact whilst Apple celebrates this milestone the fact is that Google’s Android platform is poised to take a more prominent position in the market and currently there are 500 million more Android apps from Google Play per month beingdownloaded.  There are now 900 million Android based devices out there as compared to 600 million Apple devices.  Google claims that it has had 48 billion downloads to date and is achieving 2.5 billion per month compared to Apple’s 2 billion monthly downloads. The trend is set for the coming months. Android will be pushing for top spot in the app distributing business sooner than those at Apple may wish to admit.

images

Smart Phones Rule the World.

smartphoneSmart Phones rule the World. Or at least they do in the world of mobile telecommunications. Smart Phones sales in  2012 outnumbered sales of the alternative Feature phones for the first time . For some observers it’s surprising that it took so long! These days the ability to personalize this most personal of items gives the mobile phone a social and economic significance beyond merely a means of communication. In decades to come the current explosion of social networking sites, together with communications on the move will be seen as a key period of transition from desktop communication  to  pocket and mobile communication. The picture is however complicated because there remain many areas of the globe which do not have the appropriate levels of infrastructure which are needed to support the data rich services enjoyed by Smart Phone users. In these developing regions the feature phone remains dominant and extremely important aspect of the communications network.

dumbphone

Indeed as is increasingly touted, the mobile phone is now more accurately described as a pocket computer that just happens to have a phone built in. The computing capability of these Smart Phones has increased at such a fast rate that the expectation for a mobile phone to achieve ever more complex and high quality functions has hardly shown signs of slowing. Apps enable personal fine tuning of the device and crate enormous revenues for the app platforms as well as for the developers. Its almost a perfect synergy between manufacturer, developer and consumer need.

With this in mind its not surprise that Smart Phones finally hold the bigger slice of the mobile phone market across the globe. Of all phones purchased throughout 2012, 51.6% were Smart Phones.  According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly mobile Phone Tracker the total sales for all phones shipped during the first quarter of 2013 has reached 418.6 million phones. So annually just shy of 2 billion mobile phones were shipped in 2012 and a billion of these were Smart Phones.

Amongst the big hitters in the Smart Phone world the competition is fierce as each strives for increased market share. So far this has helped bring us fantastic styling, great features and an increasingly robust range of devices. Samsung, Apple, HTC, Nokia to name but a few are already household names in the West and making increasing inroads into the relatively new but rapidly emerging markets in the rest of the world. There’s a long way to go before certain developing nations are able to benefit from the data rich services carried by Smart Phones and until networks are strengthened throughout these economies the Feature phone will retain its place as an important communications tool.

Apple v Android Smartphone battle – no sign of let up.

screen-shot-2013-04-05-at-8-13-29-am - CopyApple v Android Smartphone battle – no sign of let up. Just as we all thought  that Android had crept up and stolen the number 1 spot from Apple with giants such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 ploughing through the dazzling array of handset choices, we have  new statistics showing that Apple are holding their position. In fact, figures from ComScore MobiLens show that between November 2012 and February 2013 Apple has increased its share of the smartphone market in the USA from 35% to 40%. Moreover in the same time period Android has lost a few percentage points slipping from a mighty 53.7% to 51.7%. Ok so it’s a small shift rather than a seismic movement but it’s significant because all the signals had been that Android was stealing a march on the Apple pie. (Ahem…).

The next few months will be critical to see whether this surprising turn of numbers continues. Both Google and Android have got some big hitting releases coming up which will presumably lead to increased handset sales on the Android side of the equation and As ever the next iPhone is already anticipated with the usual degree of whispered expectations for great things.

The lack of a third big hitting platform in the smartphone arena has led to a duopoly and there’s no end to this in sight. But in the mobile world nothing is certain and a single game changing move by Windows could lead to a serious challenge to the status quo.