Q&A session has never been this interactive before. With this app, we can have a virtual conversation with some of the Esquire’s key contributors/directors in Fashion, Mixology, Grooming .etc to bring more in-depth discussion about certain contents. This is a good example on how digital technology brings the old format to the different new level.
Instagram has released the newest versions of its app and announcing that it has a “better camera”, scaling / cropping functions and a new filter to boot.
The company described that the update is the company’s biggest since its last major revamp a year ago.
The new update features an Instagram-themed shutter and shutter release button, a preview of the most recent photo on the camera roll, a grid guide for the scale and crop screen, and an improved camera roll image selector for those lucky enough to have an iPhone 5.
An update to the app’s tilt-shift also allows for more precise blurring and a “vastly more realistic rendering of depth of field.”
The new filter, called Willow, is a black-and-white filter with subtle purple tones and a translucent glowing white border. This filter works well on portraits, still life, and architecture photographs with contrast.
Other updates include:
- News Feed redesign that’s easier to digest, in addition to larger images.
- Beautiful new welcome screen design.
- Infinite scroll on user profiles and other grid views.
- Filtered photos are now saved to a separate album called “Instagram” in the iOS camera roll.
- Foursquare button on the location pages that opens the Foursquare application, or mobile site, with details about the venue.
The updates are available to download for both iOS and Android users right away.
IKEA has added augmented reality to its 2013 catalog with new features that let consumers access films, interactive experience and photo galleries with their smartphones.
As the video above shows, IKEA has been putting out a catalog since 1951. Since then, it has evolved from a print vehicle to (last year) an iPhone, iPad and Android app. IKEA hasn’t yet released an augmented reality app for use with the upcoming catalog, which goes out to some 211 million consumers worldwide. According to Creativity Online, one of the augmented reality features will be “x-ray” vision that gives you a look inside the furniture.
IKEA isn’t the first to employ augmented reality for a catalog — British retailer Tesco launched a catalog last year that let consumers access 3D images of more than 40 products via augmented reality.
Who said print ads were dead? Well, not the ones that are digitally activated anyway! Volkswagen Corporation in Norway has launched what they claim to be the world’s first test drive inside a print ad. This is a seriously cool print ad that comes alive on your iPhone as you hover it over the road in the ad.
While the actual test drive might seem basic, this ad is doing powerful things in print by allowing Volkswagen to actually demonstrate key features via the iPhone experience to a highly engaged audience of people who download the app to interact with the content.
According to a new study conducted by Google and Ipsos Media CT, Australia’s smartphone penetration is now at 52 per cent, which represents over 40 per cent growth year on year (up from 37% last year).
Due to the growing popularity of the medium, consumers are now using their smartphones to shop more than ever. The study demonstrated that 65 per cent of smartphone owners access the web from their phone on a daily basis, and 94 per cent have researched a product or service on their device and 28 per cent have bought a product via their smartphone.
This poses a problem for many businesses because a whopping 79 per cent of Australian businesses don’t have a website optimised for mobile devices. This is despite 61 per cent of mobile consumers stating they would unlikely return to a site they had trouble accessing on their phone.
“The mobile revolution isn’t ‘coming’ – it’s already happened. Mobile is no longer optional. Businesses need to develop a mobile strategy now, or risk getting left behind,” said Google Australia
click here to download the sudy – 2011_TheMobileMovement-stats.pdf
What’s a QR code?
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a specific matrix barcode(or two-dimensional code) that is machine readable and designedto be read by smartphones. The code consists of black modulesarranged in a square pattern on a white background. Theinformation encoded may be text, a URL, or other data.
Common in Japan, where it was created by Toyota subsidiary DensoWave in 1994, the QR code is one of the most popular types oftwo-dimensional barcodes. The QR code was designed to allow itscontents to be decoded at high speed. (Source: Wikipedia)
You can view an image of QR code at http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2008-12/1329423/qrcode.jpg.
Basically, a QR code is a sophisticated bar code. So what makesQR codes different than the typical bar codes you see on foodproducts and other items?
Typical bar codes are linear one-dimensional codes and can onlyhold up to 20 numerical digits, whereas QR codes aretwo-dimensional (2D) matrix barcodes that can hold thousands ofalphanumeric characters of information. (Source: How QR CodesCan Grow Your Business [http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-qr-codes-can-grow-your-business/]).
In fact, it’s their ability to hold significantly moreinformation, as well as their user-friendliness which makesQR codes practical for individuals and businesses of all sizes.
QR codes can be scanned and read by camera-equippedsmartphones via software that’s already installed on yourphone, or with an application that you download such as LynkeeReader (http://lynkee.com/tryitout.htm) or i-nigma Reader(http://www.i-nigma.com/Downloadi-nigmaReader.html), which arecompatible with a wide variety of modern smartphones includingiPhone, Blackberry, Sony Ericsson, HTC, Motorola and Nokia. Thereaders/scanners give smartphone users the ability to read a QRcode without special equipment.
For example, you could walk into a store, use your smartphoneto scan an item that has a QR code on it, and have immediateaccess to the information.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention proprietarytechnology. These are closed-end solutions that are tiedto specific reader/scanner applications, limiting theirdistribution. For example, Microsoft Tags. Conversely, QR codes,which are an open-source technology, can be created and scannedusing a variety of mobile apps, giving you much greaterflexibility.
Popular for many years in Japan, in the last year or so,QR codes have started to gain traction in the U.S. In fact,according to a report by Mobio Identity Systems, QR code usageincreased by nearly 4600 percent from 2010 to 2011 in the U.S.That’s not just a huge jump, that’s a quantum leap!
Following are 10 ways you can use QR codes to promote yourbusiness:
- Increase Website Sales. Did you know QR codes can lead tospecific URL’s? You can create codes that are specific tocertain products on your site. For example, new or slow-movingproducts – or new product launches.
- Build Your E-mail Subscriber List. You can build your e-mailsubscriber list by creating a link to your e-mail signup form.Just make sure you give people a compelling reason to subscribeto your newsletter. Just like you don’t like having your timewasted on trivial pursuits, neither do others.
- Business Cards. Rather than overload your business card witha ton of information, you can just include the bare minimum,then create a QR code that leads people to your Twitter,Facebook, LinkedIn pages, etc.
- Contests, Discounts, Sweepstakes and Giveaways. These are agreat hook and can be very effective when used in conjunctionwith QR codes. For example, you can create promotions that arespecific to the QR codes. You can place these codes in youradvertisements or post them on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn,where they have the possibility of going viral.
- Direct Mail. I just read an article titled “Why There’s aDirect Mail QR Code Explosion Happening Now”(http://www.yaffetidbitsblog.com/advertising/) that says the U.S.Postal Service is basically paying advertisers to use QR codes.If you use direct mail to promote your business, you shoulddefinitely look into it.
According to the article, now through the end of August, theUSPS is giving bulk mailers a discount on their postal rate ifthey include a visible QR code on their direct mail pieces.
Obviously, there are some rules. For example, in order for themailer to get the postal discount, the codes have to be relevantto the DM piece and not just some random link in order for themailer to get the postal discount. It appears a lot of the bigdirect mail marketers are taking advantage of the discount.
- E-courses. Are you an expert at something? You can createa QR code that generates an e-mail that instructs yourautoresponder to automatically start sending daily, weekly ormonthly e-mails that contain course lessons and other pertinentinformation.
- Flyers. Yes, people still use flyers to promote theirbusiness. For example, suppose you own a restaurant. Youcould create a QR code that goes directly to a URL that givesa discount on a meal and directions to your restaurant.
- Scratch and Win Cards Promotion. Have you ever seen howexcited people get when they’re scratching one of those cards?Even if they don’t win, they’re excited by the mere possibility”they could win!” You could add to their excitement by makingthem scan the card to see if they’ve won.
- Free Downloads. If you use e-books or software to promoteyour business, you could use QR codes to distribute them. Whencustomers scan the code, give them a free e-book or softwaredownload. You could also offer customers the opportunity toreceive future specials if they signup for your newsletter.Now that’s incentive!
- Customer Service Help. You could use QR codes to givecustomers more information about your product or service.Create a QR code that leads to a FAQ page where customers canget answers to their questions via email or live chat. You canalso give customers a “heads up” on future products.
If you are interested in generating and distributing your ownQR code, you can do so at: http://qrcode.kaywa.com
1. Swype – Technically, this isn’t a business app, but if you frequently enter text on your Android, you’ll quickly consider it essential. One of the big drawbacks of smartphones as a computing platform is entering data. Typing on those cramped touch screens is cumbersome and inaccurate. Personally, I’ll wait until I’m near a PC to email people who’ve texted me because the clumsy typing turns what should be a thirty-second text into the Bataan Death March.
That changed when I discovered Swype. Preloaded on many Motorola and Samsung smartphones, Swype simplifies text entry by transforming hunting and pecking into a fluid — as the name implies — swipe.
Swype was created by Cliff Kushler, co-inventor of the T9 predictive text technology, which is currently used on over four billion mobile phones worldwide. With Swype you drag your finger along the keyboard, pausing at each letter. Using a database of over 65,000 of the most frequently used words, Swype predicts the words you are spelling out. During my testing, I’ve found Swype to be incredibly accurate.
It also has an adaptive function that allows it to learn new words, phrases, phone numbers and data unique to each user. According to Swype, a typical user can expect to type at somewhere between 30 and 40 words per minute using Swype. If you’re a plodding hunt-and-peck typist, your speed might actually go up on the handset.
Cost: Unfortunately, you can’t buy it, since Swype focuses on the OEM market. However, you can pester your carrier to add it to their lineup of phones. And as Swype tests new handsets, they do occasionally offer a limited number of beta accounts.
2. DroidSecurity antivirus – The first known SMS Trojan to specifically target the Android showed up this month, according to Kaspersky Lab. Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.a is disguised as a harmless media player application. Once installed Trojan-SMS begins sending SMSes to premium rate numbers, which, obviously, are controlled by cyber criminals. This is just the first strong wind warning of a coming smartphone-malware hurricane.
DroidSecurity claims to be the No.1 antivirus provider for Android. With over 2.5 million downloads, DroidSecurity believes that more than 10% of all Android phones currently use DroidSecurity.
3. Google Voice – Several readers sent me pitches about various VoIP services for Android. A representative example is Phone.com’s Mobile Office, which lets you use your business phone number from your smartphone. The problem with these apps on the Android is that they have to compete with Google Voice, which offers number consolidation, text notification, voicemail transcriptions and several other features. It’s also free, with most other smartphone VoIP apps being of the SaaS variety.
The only drawbacks of Google Voice are that the transcriptions are iffy at best and numbers aren’t available for all area codes. Of course, you also can’t use your office phone number as a display number over Google Voice, but that’s not much of any issue for most people.
4. DocuSign v9 – DocuSign recently extended its SaaS-based e-signature service to Android- and Microsoft Mobile-based handsets. DocuSign for Mobile gives business professionals an electronic, smartphone-based platform to share documents, contracts and other forms through smartphones and other non-PC devices.
“The alternative would be waiting by a fax machine or printing a form, signing it and faxing it or shipping it back. Instead contracts, sales deals, etc. can be signed legally in minutes. This allows business professionals to close deals faster,” said Tom Gonser, DocuSign’s founder.
Users are able to collaborate and make changes back and forth with others throughout the contracting process. All changes to the contract can be tracked and are backed by a court-admissible audit trail.
Cost: Pricing starts at $19.99 per user, per month.
5. Android Stumbler – This is a smartphone version of Meraki’s popular browser-based WiFi survey tool, WiFi Stumbler. Launched a few days ago, Android Stumbler helps network admins plan, deploy and troubleshoot wireless deployments.
This app ports WiFi Stumbler’s functionality to mobile devices — much easier than toting laptops around the building — enabling users to conduct site surveys and track down rogue APs. Features include a per-channel graph of all APs, an SSID view with AP details and a signal strength graph. Reports can be generated and emailed quickly from the UI.
6. JuiceDefender – It doesn’t take much usage to realize that one of a smartphone’s main limitations is the battery. This is one major advantage of Android vs. iPhone: a removable, swappable battery. Better still is that you can download an app like JuiceDefender to preserve your battery’s charge when the phone is idle. According to developer Latedroid, the app “intelligently and transparently manages for you mobile connectivity and other battery-sensitive components.”
Other power-saving features include switching away from 3G to 2G networks when the phone is not in use, turning off WiFi if the battery charge dips below 20 percent, disabling data services during predetermined times (such as at night) and limiting CPU consumption when the phone is idle.
Cost: Free for the basic version, $3.50 for UltimateJuice.
7. DejaOffice – While Google’s pre-loaded productivity apps are a good start, they lack some of the business features of full-blown productivity suites like Microsoft Office. For instance, the calendar doesn’t have all of the fancy color-coding (to indicate birthdays, travel, conference calls, etc.) and it’s not, ironically, all that easy to search. DejaOffice seeks to remedy this by mimicking Microsoft Office features on the smartphone. Contacts can be sorted into custom groups, tasks are available that can be prioritized and the calendar is more easily customized.
Aping Office on the Android is one thing (and a good one) but the real value comes from smartphone-specific features. For instance, DejaOffice’s calendar lets you tap the name in an appointment to either call that person or search for directions. Other mobile-specific features include the ability to password-protect phone records (they should call this the Tiger Woods app), Outlook synching and, coming soon, automatic synching when a WiFi connection is available.
Cost: The free version is ad-supported; you can disable ads with a one-time payment of $9.95.
8. Tasker – C. Scyphers, chief technical architect for Daemon Consulting, emailed me to recommend this app, which supports batch coding based on events.
“Tasker can be used to replicate the BlackBerry profile mechanism, as well as other scripting. For example, I created a script that will turn GPS on for location sensitive apps (FourSquare, Google Maps) and then off once the app exits. Obviously, this involves a bit of programming, so this may not be for everyone,” Scyphers said.
9. Handy Safe Pro – This app is a data management application that stores all your important personal information — passwords, credit card information, user names, PINs, addresses, software keys, etc. — in one place on your Android. For business use, Handy Safe Pro helps you comply with your organization’s security best practices. It also lets you use corporate credit accounts without having to have physical access to the corporate card, thereby allowing more than one authorized company officer to use the card while the card itself is stored securely in one place.
The app features 128-bit Blowfish encryption to boost security, and it lets you create encrypted backups to restore your private data in the event of hardware or software problems. If you have the desktop version of Handy Safe, the two databases can be synched easily via USB.
10. White Noise – Okay, I’m not sure that this is technically a business app, but it’s oddly compelling and could come in handy for business travelers. White Noise, as the name implies, creates background noise to keep you from going batty in noisy environments like airplanes and central-city hotels.
“A lot of people use White Noise machines, but they are bulky to carry around. Some people try to use MP3 players, but it is impossible to loop MP3 files without hearing a silence gap,” said Todd Moore, President of TMSOFT, which developed White Noise.
White Noise for Android provides 40 ambient sounds, including ocean waves, rain storms, and flowing stream water. If all of those environmental sounds irk your urban soul, you can opt for (I am not making this up) the sounds of air conditioners, clothes dryers, vacuums or even street noise.
Cost: Full version with 40 sounds, $1.99; Lite version with 10 sounds, free.
A small project written for fun, goingtorain.com geo-locates your IP address and checks the weather to tell you, in one simple word, whether it’s going to rain (or snow) today.