• Branded Apps 1.5: It's About The Content, Stupid
    With yesterday's fourth birthday of the iPhone, and about three years into the app phenomenon, it is a good time to see what lessons brands may have learned after so many of their branded apps crashed and burned. Thankfully, we aren't getting that same rush of pointless apps constructed at high cost mainly to satisfy the egos of executives.
  • Mobile At The Speed of Geek -- Or, Pulling 4Gs Without Fainting
    Clearly I am way too invested in what I do. Now I find myself apologizing for poor connectivity, as If I am responsible for everyone's network. I was showing my father a cool new Video Time Machine app for the iPad over the weekend, and the WiFi strength of the router a floor above was not able to keep up. "Sorry," I said by reflex, even though it was his router. Then I went on to explain how the biggest choke point left in true mobility seems to be the last 20 feet -- to the inscrutable home WiFi network.
  • Staples Reaches For The Mobile 'Easy' Button
    "Print for me? 60 copies." I get print orders from my college professor wife via email. We're still running print jobs by in-box carrier pigeon around here despite the fact that we are drowning in high tech. With all of the cross-platform media gadgetry I write about, we have a house that can rival an MIT Media Lab in connectedness. Tablets control DVRs, Pandora spews through every imaginable device throughout the house, incoming phone calls pop up on my TV. And yet, Mr. and Mrs. Jetson can't figure out how to network her laptop to my laser printer. I am …
  • Comparing Apps To Oranges: Dictionary.com Aims For New User Modes
    When 30% to 40% of overall digital activity is coming from mobile apps and smartphone browsers, publishers have to start asking themselves how much cannibalization is about to take place. But according to Shravan Goli, President of Dictionary.com, the massive growth his company has seen among his 50 million monthly users is happening across the board.
  • I'm With The Brand: Mobile Lets Advertisers Own The Experience
    It has become an article of faith that the limited clutter and enhanced user focus in interacting with mobile smartphone screens simply makes advertising that much more effective. Certainly most studies comparing baseline Web click-through rates with mobile norms demonstrate this handily. Increasingly, however, we are amassing the kinds of post-campaign analysis that also show how brands benefit perhaps most of all from mobile.
  • How Not to Dig a QR Rabbit Hole
    As someone who has done my fair share of QR code bashing over the years, I admit that I never really learn my lesson. I keep snapping the codes I find, like the guy on the beach with a metal detector, ever hopeful a great experience will be on the other side.
  • The Revenge Of The CD-ROM
    Part of the early '90s legacy of computing was the short-lived attempt to leverage the CD-ROM as a reference tool. News magazines, encyclopedia companies and even book publishers tried to plumb the seemingly bottomless pit of hundreds of MBs of data to create multimedia references. In some ways the iPad is reviving that genre, and we are starting to see a resurgence of refreshed CD-ROM ideas on the platform.
  • The Path To App-iness
    Shortly after Apple opened its App Store nearly three years ago, it became clear that marketing and distributing apps to users was going to be one of the chief challenges. The environment was mushrooming quickly, the clutter was enormous, and many media companies and brand marketers were throwing large hunks of their development budgets against schemes for advertising and promoting the apps so they popped above the noise. As we enter the third year of app-iness, however, it is becoming even clearer that the path to smartphone users' pockets is not clearcut.
  • Getting Beyond The Badge: Making Check-Ins Pay
    I have to admit, check-ins never made a lot of sense to me. I understand how there is a slice of people out there who can't wait to share where they are and what they are doing with that ersatz friend network we call social media. But this model always seemed to me an effort at changing people's behavior more for the sake of media and marketing companies than for one another.
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