Spotify Now With Apps

Spotify, the music service announced today that they are going to be adding apps to their service. I downloaded the beta version to try it out and to see if this is something that is big news today, but will be forgotten by next week or is it a game changer. I say it depends on whether they can get developers to create apps for the platform. They released the Spotify Api for Apps which allows third-party developers to create applications that can then be added to Spotify. However it is my understanding that the developer is paid nothing for placing their apps on Spotify, (other than the publicity), So I am not sure how many developers will want to develop for Spotify. Right now in the beta version there are 9 applications

Like Facebook when you click on the plus button next to an app it is added to your side bar under the Radio icon. Some like We are Hunted, Moodagent and Pitchfork are great for finding new songs and artist. Others like Tunewiki and Fuse give you information about the song or artist. The one that looked the most interesting to me is Sounddrop, you add a playlist to Soundrop and then share it with your friends, who can vote tracks up and down and add their own. I can see this becoming very popular, it reminds me a lot of Turntable FM. Although the fact it requires you to log into Facebook to use it is a definite negative, at least for me. Also at one point, Soundrop kept on asking me to log into Facebook, even though I was already logged in. I finally had to close and reopen Spotify to fix it. I not sure if the problem was with Spotify itself or Soundrop, this version of Spotify is still in beta and so problems like this are not unexpected. The one thing that was planned that did bothered me was with the Rolling Stone app. The Rolling Stone app recommends various albums, songs and playlists to play. There is also an option to read a review of the song or album, however if you want to read more than the first couple sentences of a review, you are taken out of Spotify and into the Rolling Stone Web site on a browser. I understand why Rolling Stone did it this way, but as a user I hate it.

I plan to use a lot of these apps within my Spotify account but I am not sure it is a game changer, like I said before it will depend on whether developers are willing to develop for the platform, but it has great potential.

Google Search on iOS Devices

Google Search

Google has updated their search app in the iTunes store for both the iPhone and iPad. I do recommend downloading it, but it is not without its problem. On the face of it the app is a way to search in the Chrome world on the iPad. When you search for something it pops up within the application, no going out to Safari. It uses instant search so it is very fast. If you click on a link in search, the link page shows up on the right side, but the search page still remains on the left tab, so you can easily go back and forth. If you are searching an image, you can open it to full size and then swipe to the next similar image like a carousel. You can do voice search which is great especially on the iPhone, where it can be hard to type.

The real strength though are the apps that are included within the Google Search Application. Now you can use Google Maps, Docs, Mail, Calendar in fact any app that is available through your google account is available through this application. Now you can up date your google docs or view your pictures in Picasa. However you can only view your pictures, you can’t add them from your iOS photo gallery. I tried to do a post on my personal blogger blog and I couldn’t figure an easy way to add links or photos. It is great for writing up the post, but you have to use the desktop version to add these. That is the problem with this app, there are a lot of things that you can’t do within this application that you can do with the web version of the application. The second problem is it does tend to crash a lot especially when it is working hard.

Despite these problems I do recommend downloading the app. Like a lot of Google products I expect it will improve overtime. Plus the fact that Apple has let an app into the market is actually surprising to some people, so how long it will stay there is a mystery. Have you tried the new Google Search app on your iOs device, what do you think of it.

Stats on 60 Seconds of Mobile Use in October 2011

Did you ever wonder what everyone around you is doing with their constantly-out smartphones?  Well, Mobclix did some research about what cell phone users are clicking and came up with a snapshot of what goes on in a single minute of usage.  Some of the results may surprise you – like 4,111 ads were clicked on.  Some may not – like that Angry Birds is simply in a category of usage all by itself.  You won’t believe how many people are looking for song lyrics or slicing fruit in Fruit Ninja.

All of this data was put together into one cool infographic.  It’s posted below, so have a look and see what you think.  Does it reflect what you expected?  Do you find anything really surprising?  What would an infographic of your usage reflect?

mobile in 60 seconds

Source: Mobclix

Get OfficeSuite Pro 5 for Android Free Today Only

officesuite pro 5 logo

The Amazon Android App Store is a great resource for users of Android phones and tablets.  Yes, it has many of the same apps as the Android Market, but they also get some exclusives and, perhaps more importantly, because they offer a different paid app for free every day.  Today, the free app of the day is OfficeSuite Pro 5.  It’s a complete office suite with “tools for word processing, developing spreadsheets, delivering presentations, and browsing PowerPoint and PDF files. Create, view, and edit Microsoft Word and Excel files.”

In addition to it’s compatibility with Microsoft Office, it also integrates with Google Docs.  Such popular file types as .DOC, .DOCX, .XLS, XLSX, .PPT, .PPTX, .PPS, .PPSX  and PDF are all supported.

While many of Amazon’s free apps of the day are in the $.99 to $1.99 price range, OfficeSuite Pro 5 is regularly priced at $14.99.  With 177 customer reviews it has a strong 4 out of 5 star rating from users, so this isn’t something Amazon or the makers are just trying to push off on unsuspecting customers.  It’s free for today only, so if you want it then you better head over to the Amazon Android App Store now.

GNC-2011-10-17 #714 All the News

You will love the rack overheat alarm going off in the middle of the show. Adds for some comedy and bewilderment by me as I have never heard that alarm coming out of the rack. Lots of great tech news and the show goes way long tonight. Will get that back in check as I do not have to report on “All the News”

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Carbyn – An HTML5 OS

There’s been a great deal of speculation in the blogosphere regarding a new entrant into the apps-that-run-anywhere competition. Called Carbyn, it seems to be an HTML5-based OS and app store. If you are struggling to see how this is a good thing, most modern browsers support HTML5, so you can setup and use Carbyn from almost any computer or tablet that has an Internet connection. No worrying about Windows, OS X, Linux…you just get on and do what you want to do.

The London, Ontario-based company is holding its cards fairly close to its chest and is using social media to spread the word. TechCrunch managed to get a sneak peak and point out that while comparisons with Google’s Chrome app store are inevitable, it’s different in that Carbyn is an OS. Chrome apps run within the browser, Carbyn HTML5 apps run within the Carbyn desktop which runs within the browser.  Facebook is also expected to get in the HTML5 app action with its Project Spartan, so it’s an interesting space to watch.

Carbyn is using social media and word-of-mouth to good advantage. While you can sign up for an invite to join Carbyn on their website, you’ll get your invite faster, if you get your friends to also sign up for an invite. So if you are interested, please use this Carbyn link to boost my standing. I’m shameless and I’ve fallen for their cheap trick…

And yes, Carbyn appears to have Angry Birds….

Are You Ready For Some Fantasy Football? Yahoo and Android Are

If you play fantasy football, and many people do, then there is a fairly good chance that you use Yahoo to manage your league.  Yahoo Sports has been a great resource for news for a number of years, and their fantasy league software has been the best for quite some time, topping even NFL.com.

A lot of people may not know, though, that Yahoo also has an incredibly good mobile app for fantasy football.  It’s available for free in the Android Market.  Just use your Yahoo log-in to set it up and you are off and running.  Logging in will only have to be done once at set-up.  After that the app opens to your homescreen automatically.

Once you are up and running, you can check your current score under “matchup”, which also shows individual players and how they are performing.

You can check all of the scores from around your league.

Click on a player to get more in-depth information.

You can even check the current standings in your league.

There’s a lot you can do with this app.  It’s a must for any armchair coach to check their team’s progress and manage, or micro-manage, their roster.  You can get Yahoo Fantasy football ’11 free from the Android Market.  Good luck this season!

HP TouchPad Answers Critics

The HP TouchPad came on to the market with two main criticisms, first the lack of apps, and second, pricing was on a par with the iPad 2. Even with these two points, most reviews gave the TouchPad the number 2 tablet slot for WebOS’s ease-of-use.

A month on from the TouchPad’s launch, much of the original criticism can be deflected. HP has reduced the price of the TouchPad by $100 in the US and by similar amounts in most other territories, making the 16GB version $400 and the 32 GB $500. Early purchasers have been taken care of with a $50 credit to buy apps from the App Catalog.

As for the apps, a bundle of new apps get added to the App Catalog every day and there’s usually one or two key apps each week that round out the TouchPad’s portfolio. This week saw UPnP AV Player and a Google Reader client, TouchFeeds, released amongst others and while there are other similar apps in the App Catalog, these are the first that don’t deserve a beta version moniker. There are plenty of really good apps in the Catalog and there are more coming through as developers get to grips with the platform. Twitter app – check; Facebook app – check; Flickr app – check; ToodleDo app – check; digital music store app – check; ebay app – check; WordPress app – check. It’s definitely getting there.

There’s also some evidence that it’s beginning to pay off for developers who have invested in the platform. PreCentral reports that OneCrayon, developer of TapNote, has seen sales jump significantly since the TouchPad went on sale. Regrettably the graph that accompanies the article doesn’t have any units on the y-axis but it certainly looks impressive.

HP’s done something a little different as well. Each month it produces a digital magazine called Pivot, which showcases apps in a glossy setting. It’s even customised for the particular country, so the UK version is a little different from the US one. Overall, it’s a nice touch.

It’s looking up for the TouchPad and at $100 less that the iPad 2 with apps coming every day, it’s a bargain.

 

Amazon Appstore and Developers

At times, Apple has taken plenty of criticism over the way it does business with iOS app developers, particularly when it comes to altering terms and conditions after the fact. However, it would appear that Apple is not alone in this behaviour and Amazon seems to be getting in on the act with its Appstore for Android and the Free App of the Day.

According to Amazon’s T&Cs, “Amazon pays developers 70% of the sale price of the app or 20% of the list price, whichever is greater” (from the FAQ) but it now appears that if Amazon features a premium app as the Free App of the Day, the developer gets nothing.

Shifty Jelly were recently offered the opportunity for one of their apps to become the Free App of the Day. On a good day it appears that they would sell around 20 copies of their software but on other days it could be as low as 2. As the Free App of the Day, they “sold” over 100,000 copies and if Amazon adhered to the T&Cs, Shifty Jelly would receive over $50,000. They received nothing.

To be clear, Shifty Jelly did know that they would receive nothing before they became App of the Day, but there seems to be a big difference between what Amazon is saying publicly in the T&Cs and what’s happening behind the scenes in emails.

You can read the whole story on Shifty Jelly’s blog.

Deloitte Identifies the Killer App

If you are thinking of developing a mobile app, particularly one associated with a brand name, then you’ll want to read Deloitte’s latest research into killer apps. In less than a dozen pages, it has some great data, mini-case studies and plenty to think about.

Here are a few of the nuggets:

  • 45% of smartphone owners download an app at least once per week.
  • but less than 1% of the apps associated with a “brand” have been downloaded a million times (which seems to be the metric for success in the app world).

If you want your app to succeed, there are two broad areas that do well – “time killers” and “utilities”. Games are good examples of time killers but Audi and Volkswagen’s driving games are some of the few that have done well. In the utility space, Kraft’s iFood Assistant has also been a hit.

Looking at apps that do well and are successful, these typically employ five functions to engage the user – portability, the accelerometer, sophisticated touch screen use, location-based services (GPS) and the camera. Using these are no guarantees of success but they certainly help.

Of course, it helps if you know your user. Deloitte has broken down iPhone ownership by employment type revealing three big groups:

  • 25.2% – Professional and higher technical work
  • 22.6% – Manager and senior administrator
  • 19.3% – Clerical

In the end, Deloitte reckons that there are four ingredients for branded app success.

  1. Offer useful functionality
  2. Know how to manipulate app store ratings
  3. Target the platforms used by the brand customers
  4. Use additional smartphone functionality

The full report can be downloaded from Killer Apps – The Promises and Pitfalls of a Smarter World.