Texting whilst driving

Texting whilst driving …a concept that is familiar to one and all on the roads of Britain. Whether its a sneaky one word text at traffic lights or a novella during a run up the motorway, its something that society acknowledges is happening to a lesser or greater degree. So, hey, what’s the problem?  Well, to borrow words of veteran football commentator John Motson, “it only takes a second to …er.. kill someone by accidentally driving into them” actually his words are just the start of that sentence of course. The point being whether it’s a 1 second text or a ten minute effort, the risk of making a driving error during that time is immense. In driving terms you can drive 50 metres in a second or less so that little cute message to your friend may turn out to be your infamous last words.

The number of times I see people talking on phones whilst driving beggar’s belief. If they are not texting or talking they are looking at phones whilst driving presumably reading a Facebook banality (boo hiss) or writing a text, or maybe just placing a bet, reading the news, or whatever their passion may be. The thought that this selfish action could end someone’s life, cripple or maim some innocent on in another vehicle, or on the pavement or zebra crossing or whatever seems of little interest to these self-centred morons.

Motoring organisations including, the AA say that they find that some drivers appear “addicted to texting and  using smartphones, it’s an addiction that is very hard to break even when in the car — it will take some system to help people break that addiction.”

Meanwhile the road safety charity Brake, labels the activity “a “widespread menace” which has been shown to slow driver reaction times by 35% and increase the likelihood of a crash by 23 times for commercial drivers.”

Therefore it is with unashamed self-righteousness that I welcome the proposed new developments coming out of the Apple orchard of technological loveliness…they have proposed a method that would prevent this kind of distraction and indeed disable the functionality of certain smartphone actions when an iPhone user is driving. Apple have  applied for patents such as one describing  “a “driver handheld computing device lock-out” system that detects when a user is driving using on-board sensors or pulling information from the car when connected, blocking the use of text messaging or using other smartphone functions from the person driving”.

Apple recognise that this habit of attempting to multi task whilst already multi-tasking (driving) is anti-social. So hats off to Apple, let’s wait for their next update on this but on the face of it any effort to reduce the risk of innocents being wiped out or maimed by idiots behind the wheel is a great step forward.

 

Apple:50 Billion downloads.Android poised to overtake!

 

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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.

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Apps Mean Business

images FOR APPSIncreasingly we turn to the web or an app for goods and services. Both provide the ideal shop window for any business wanting to be seen and heard. Apps have a further appeal because by their nature they are mobile. Mobile has become the number ONE media for consumers. To ignore this is to limit your business opportunities, reduce your market share and frankly, be left behind…the word on Commercial Street is written large and clear, get a mobile app, bring your website up to speed and link the two. Smartphone ownership is growing, for the first time ever more than 50% of all phone sales during the first quarter of 2013 were SmartPhones. Thats why Apps Mean Business.

Here’s a quick checklist of the benefits of an app for business small or large, established or start up.

  • An App will help grow your business, increase incomes, turnover and cash flow.
  • An app is always on, always available and always putting your brand in front of your customers.
  • An App will help promote your identity, your brand and your perceived image as modern and up to date. Your business icon will be visible on the user’s phone.
  • Add Push Notification and you have an immediate and easy to manage direct communication channel to those of your clients who have downloaded the app. For marketing departments this is the Holy Grail. Engage with your customers!
  • Apps will enable you to collect and collate information from your consumer base. What they like and what they want.
  • Retain existing customers by communicating with them through the app.
  • Keep updating the app either through inbuilt content management system or by refreshing content through your developer periodically.

 

Link the app to your website. A simple URL link will take your customers to your website where they can purchase goods, register their needs and more. All on the move. The mobile website in conjunction with the mobile app is here to stay and whilst many businesses have already seen the opportunities the combination offers, many are yet to adopt this beautiful synergy of app and website. In a couple of years the picture will be different as competition drives business’s investment into this channel. If they ignore it or leave it until later, their competitors will steal a march on them and grab market share. The advice from those who have already shifted gear would be: act now, bring the app and website relationship to life for your business.

There are, in addition, a plethora of productivity apps which have helped business’s . The streamlining of working practice through communications and data collection, formatting and transmission in real time has sped up so many processes, reduced paper trails and increased overall efficiencies. Each month there are new releases and not all of these are distributed widely. There are many thousands of Enterprise release apps which have helped business’s gain an edge on their competitors.

Here at App Developers UK we have created several business apps in this category and know from first hand testimony how powerful these apps can be out there in the field. One client commissioned us to create an app which links to their in house database of over 50 thousand component parts, each with a varying price. These can be schematically created on an iPad on the customer’s premises to give a real immediacy and to create a superb sales opportunity, whether it be fulfilling a need of the customer or up-selling.

 

MWC 2013 Mobile Security: Key Points

mobile world congressSecurity was a big theme at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Every major name was in attendance, touting their latest innovations for smartphones and tablets. But aside from promoting their products there were some very interesting points being made about the current state of mobile security around the world.

 Users don’t understand mobile security

This was one point made over and over by everyone we spoke to: a lack of awareness is allowing mobile viruses to propagate and opening users up to dangerous security breaches.

It took years for computer owners to understand that they needed to have anti-virus and that you shouldn’t just go clicking every attachment found in an email, and unfortunately mobile security right now is in the same state as PCs in the mid-90s.

Too many people are surprised to discover that anti-virus is even a possibility on a mobile phone, and users will blindly trust apps without taking the time to check permissions. Many don’t even have a PIN code or password protecting their phone – Norton Antivirus thinks this could be around 35% of users, but McAfee estimates it might be as high as 50%.

Security companies are trying to educate (of course, they want to sell software) but manufacturers could do a lot more to raise awareness.

 Android is the most popular target for viruses

Android is, unfortunately, the mobile platform most under threat from viruses and hackers.  There are two main reasons for this.Android is, unfortunately, the mobile platform most under threat from viruses and hac

First is popularity. Last year alone 144 million Android-powered devices were sold all over the world (compared to 43 million iPhones). That’s a huge, tempting target for nefarious types who want to create the biggest impact. And with so many of these Android phones being sold in developing countries or to kids and smartphone newcomers, the victims are more likely to fall prey to their tricks.

Secondly, Android is a much easier target. It’s not that it has a significantly higher number of exploits than other platforms, but its focus on openness and freedom means virus writers have other options for getting their malware onto an Android phone. Which leads to our next point…

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Piracy and unofficial app stores pose a huge threat

These are two of the major avenues for distributing Android viruses.

By default an Android device will not allow you to install software from somewhere other than an official source, however this is simply an option in the settings menu. Disable that and you can ‘sideload’ by copying .APK installations to the device memory.

That’s why Android piracy is such an issue, but it doesn’t just pose a problem for developers having their hard work used for free – virus writers like to attach their code to pirated apps then send them out into the wild where they’ll be available on forums, file sharing networks and even pirate app stores. Users just think they’re getting something for free, not realising that there’s an unpleasant surprise hiding in the background.

App stores are another trouble spot. Google Play is the standard app store but there is nothing stopping third parties setting up their own, which is often what happens in places such as India and China where they do not fulfil the requirements for carrying Google Play.

Unfortunately these sources are often poorly curated so it’s very easy for viruses to slip in and end up on the phones and tablets of unwitting users who think they can trust the outlet.

Now this isn’t to say that viruses never appear on the iPhone, but with nothing other than the Apple App Store (and no way to install software) on unmodified iPhones this is not the issue it is with Android.

Author Bio: Matt Powell is the editor for the broadband, smartphone and tablet information site Broadband Genie. You can follow him on Twitter @broadbandgenie