Top 20 tried-and-true Android smartphone aps

Jason provides his list of the top 20 tried-and-true Android smartphone apps that are worth your time to download.

The Android Market may not have as many apps as the iPhone App Store yet, but there are still more than enough to be overwhelmed, and it continues to grow at a breakneck pace. To help you sort through them all, here is my latest list of the 20 most useful Android apps (this is an update of my 2010 Android list). I’ve also recently updated my list of the most useful iPhone apps and you’ll notice several of the same apps on both lists.

Remember that I primarily had business professionals in mind when making this list and also keep in mind that this is a snapshot in time. The Android platform is developing so quickly that I guarantee my home screen will look different a month from now.

Still, here’s my list of tried-and-true Android apps that I can highly recommend.

1. Google Voice

Google Voice is a service that is so useful I consider it one of the top benefits of Android itself. The service gives you a phone number that can ring to multiple places or devices and it allows you to access all of your voicemail and text messages from the Web. The Android app integrates even deeper. It can make outgoing calls look like they’re coming from your Google Voice number so that you can keep your real mobile number private.

2. Advanced Task Killer

One of the realities of having a multitasking mobile OS is that you have to manage your apps so that they don’t hurt performance or battery life. Advanced Task Killer (ATK) is my favorite on Android. It even comes with a widget that you can tap once to kill all open apps and you can also set up ATK to kill all apps at periodic intervals. Some people will argue that task managers are irrelevant and unneeded in Android, but I still prefer to use ATK.

3. Dropbox

Dropbox is a great cloud service that automatically syncs a folder of files between multiple computers (Windows, Mac, or Linux). This app extends Dropbox to Android and interacts with other apps (such as Documents To Go) to open the files. It allows you to access PDFs, image files, and business documents by simply dragging them to a folder on your computer and then you immediately have access to them from your mobile phone, once you have this app installed.

4. Evernote

Once you get used to typing on a virtual keyboard (and it honestly took me over a year to do it), then these devices are great for note-taking, and Evernote is a great note-taking app. It is similar to Dropbox in that it saves data locally but syncs it across all your machines and devices.

5. Taskos

There are plenty of to-do apps to choose from on Android but I now prefer Taskos because of the clean, easy, Android-friendly user experience. It also has a few extras that give it an advantage over apps. The biggest one is voice recognition, which lets you speak a task that the app turns into a to-do item (you might have to correct a word or two).

6. DroidAnalytics

For some reason Google doesn’t have an official app for Google Analytics (for either Android or iPhone). The best one I’ve found on Android is DroidAnalytics. Another good one is mAnalytics.

7. Documents To Go

The free version of Documents To Go offers a great little reader for Microsof Word and Excel files. You can upgrade to the full version (for $15) if you want to be able to create and edit files and add PowerPoint files to the mix. If you do want editing capability, I’d also recommend taking a look atQuickOffice.

8. Google Docs

If you mostly work with Google Docs (including uploading Microsoft Office files to your Google Docs repository) then the only app you’ll really need is the Google Docs app. It’s a nice mobile implementation of document management, although the one annoyance is that always open up files in a web browser rather than within the app itself, which would be a little smoother.

9. Tripit

I dig Tripit. It is by far the best app I’ve found for keeping track of all my travel itineraries. It runs on some great backend systems. You simply forward your confirmation emails for your flights, hotels, rental cars, and more to Tripit and it automatically organizes them into trips with all your details and confirmation numbers. Or, if you use Gmail, you can even use a plugin to automatically catch confirmation emails and turn them into Tripit trips.

10. Places

This is an awesome app for finding shops and services near your current location. From restaurants to medical facilities to taxis, this app is very accurate and takes advantage of the business information from Google Local. This app is better than the info you get from a GPS unit (or app) and better than any of the similar apps available on the iPhone. It’s also integrated into Google Maps.

11. Astro File Manager

Another one of the great things about Android (if you’re a geek or a tinkerer) is that you have lower-level access to the system itself. Astro is an app that lets you navigate the Android file system, which is mostly just interesting, but can be handy once in a while.

12. Speed Test

I’m obsessed with running speed tests to check my bandwidth in various places, both to see 3G/4G fluctuations and to check the quality of Wi-Fi. There are a number of really good speed test apps, but my favorite is the Speedtest.net app. It’s generally consistent and it has some of the best graphics and options.

13. Amazon Kindle

I’ve never completely warmed up to the Amazon Kindle e-reader, but I’m a big fan of the Kindle mobile app. Since it was released I’ve read a lot more books simply because my smartphone is always with me and I can pull it out and read a few pages anytime I’ve got a couple minutes free.

14. Google+

I’ve written a lot about Google+ since it launched in July and I’m pretty active over there (+emkaytsg). One of the great things that Google did was to release a Google+ Android app at the same time it launched the service as a beta. And, surprisingly, the app was actually pretty good and has been improved since. It immediately became one of my most used mobile apps and definitely stole some of my time away from Android’s Twitter app, mostly because Google+ is a little more interactive.

15. TED Air

The TED conference features a meeting of the minds of some of society’s most influential thinkers. You’ll disagree with some of them since there’s a large diversity of viewpoints, but many talks are worth listening to in order to catch the latest creative thinking on society’s biggest challenges. The cool thing is that they’ve taken the videos from the conference and made them freely available on the Web. The TED Air app provides a great way to access the videos on a mobile device. I hope more conferences follow TED’s lead on this.

16. Google Goggles

This is a fun app that is a little bit ahead of its time. It does visual searches. You can take pictures of things and then the app tries to tell you what they are. It’s limited in its scope but it is pretty cool, and it’s definitely a peek into the future. One of the coolest features is the ability to take pictures of text in a foreign language and let the app translate it for you. In a foreign country, this can help you read street signs and avoid going into the wrong bathroom.🙂 On a more practical level, Goggles is a QR code reader.

17. Photoshop Express

Photoshop is, of course, the best known photo editor in the world and its mobile app doesn’t do anything to hurt that reputation. But while the desktop version is known for having a zillion features, the mobile app is distinguished by its simplicity. It’s the best Android (and iPhone) photo editing app for simple crops, brightness adjustments, and sharpens, for example.

18. Audible

As much as I like the Kindle ebooks, I actually consume more books as audiobooks via Audible. With the Audible app you can connect to your Audible library and download over the air. The app also gives you a self-contained player optimized for audiobooks, with a skip-back-30-seconds button and the opportunity to make notes and bookmarks (although I wish the app would store these online so that they could be accessed from the Audible site).

19. Shazam

If you want to impress your friends with a mobile app, show them Shazam. Ever hear a song being played at a store or on the radio and ask yourself, “Oh, what song is that?” That’s where Shazam comes in. Just hit the button and let it listen for 15 seconds, query its database, and then return the name of artist and the song. It has about an 80% success rate. This one isn’t particularly productive, but it is really cool. (You have to live a little, every once in a while.)

20. Google Finance

This is a great little app that regularly gets overlooked. It connects to your Google Finance account, where you can set up a list of stocks and companies to follow and sort them into groups (portfolios). The app provides three simple tabs — a look at the market, a look at your portfolios, and the latest market news. It even does real-time updates when you have the app open.

Other Non google APS which are very good.

  1. KeePass for Passwords. Save password file in DropBox and will be automatically synced to desktop, etc. KeePass is OpenSource.
  2. WeatherBug – tried weather.com and Moto’s built-in, but WeatherBug works best for me
  3. RadarNow – Fast, accurate radar map of current location
  4. WhitePages-free version – driving around town and need to look up a restaurant number – use WP’s. Can then add the number/business to contacts.
  5. Google Reader – sync with Google Reader, RSS feeds, etc.
  6. Dolphin browser because I like tabbed browsing. . .
  7. Fuel Log – if you like to track vehicle related stat’s
  8. Craig’s Notify – simply awesome tool to monitor Craig’s List for things you just can’t live without (ok, maybe just want!)
  9. Droid Light – who doesn’t need a flashlight now and then?
  10. 2X client – great, free Terminal services client.
  11. ebay,
  12. open signal maps,
  13. BBC news,
  14. Android Terminal Emulator,
  15. CoolReader (the best book reader out there, i.e. epub etc),
  16. ES File Explorer,
  17. HandyCalc,
  18. MyBackup Root,
  19. MoboPlayer,
  20. Telnet,
  21. SIP Droid,
  22. Wifi Analyzer
Add if you wish any .
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Five future technologies I can’t wait for

Five future technologies I can’t wait for

Takeaway: If you think the past two decades have been amazing for tech, wait until you see what’s next. See the five hottest technologies that are on the way.

The future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed.” William Gibson

One of the best things about my job covering the latest technologies is getting early information about some of the amazing things coming down the pipeline in the years ahead. But, the flip side of that is that I often learn about some really cool stuff that won’t be available to the general public at a reasonable cost for a long time, which often leads to a case of “Isn’t that here yet?” that can last for years.

With that mind, here are my current top five picks for “Isn’t that here yet?” These are the technologies that I’m seriously impatient to see show up in the real world.

Credit: iStockPhoto/audioundwerbung

1. Wireless docking of mobile devices

I’ve recently talked a lot about the utopian convergence of PC and mobile devices. I see this as the next big game-changer in the technology industry, and that’s why I’ve pinpointed it as Microsoft’s next big opportunity (and explained why they could miss it). However, the number one factor that’s needed to make this happen isn’t a super-fast CPU or a miniature SSD drive with lots of storage, it’s a common standard for wireless docking. That’s what will enable us to take a smartphone or tablet and set it on desk or on a charging station like the Palm Touchstone and then have it wirelessly connect to a keyboard, mouse, and large screen monitor. We need something easier and more robust than Bluetooth. A technology like Wireless USB could be the answer. The most important thing is that it will need to be a universal standard integrated into every phone and tablet so that we no longer need proprietary docking solutions like the ones for the Motorola Atrix.Timeframe: 3 years

2. Inexpensive mobile broadband everywhere

The arrival of true 4G wireless broadband is just beginning to hit critical mass in the U.S. in 2011 with the continuing rollout of Verizon’s LTE service (I don’t count the 3.5G of T-Mobile and AT&T as 4G). And, while LTE offers impressive speed and performance, it still has wrinkles that need to be ironed out (handoff between 3G and 4G often gets goofy). But, the biggest thing LTE needs — from a user standpoint — is a little more competition to drive the price down and force the telecom companies to fight tooth-and-nail for business by deploying 4G everywhere. It’s a shame WiMAX is floundering in the U.S. because it was a legitimate 4G competitor and was aimed at delivered low-cost, high-speed mobile broadband everywhere — and then just turning phone calls into VoIP calls (like Skype) since people are using their phones less and less for voice and much more for data. Still, 4G is going to happen because people want high-speed Internet everywhere and are willing to pay for it. There might even be creative companies that will give it away or offer a reduced rate for ad-supported access. Timeframe: 2 years

3. Three dimensional printing

One of the coolest and most futuristic things in the works has got to be 3D printing. No, I’m not talking about making a printout and using 3D glasses to create a silly illusion (that would be even dumber than 3D movies and 3D TV sets). The three dimensional printing that I’m talking about is where you make a three dimensional design on a computer and then send it to a special device to “print” a 3D model. There are already some expensive (over $15,000) models available in the real world and used by companies that need to make rapid prototypes of products. However, there will eventually be models available for average consumers and lots of templates of different things to create, which means it will someday be cheaper and easier to create certain things than to go out and buy them. In other words, this will likely be the first step toward the replicator in Star Trek.Timeframe: 5-10 years

4. HTML5 to make the web an app

There are a lot of things that HTML5 will bring to the web — and some of these elements are beginning to show up in a few sites today — but the biggest thing HTML5 is going to do is take the training wheels off the web and unleash it to compete with traditional software. The two things that I’m most excited about are that HTML5 is going to turn the web into app and it’s going to eliminate the need for most of the plugins that slow down browsers and introduce extra security risks. With HTML5, constantly refreshing pages will become a relic of the old web as pages become far more dynamic and interactive, automatically loading the latest content and changing the page based on user clicks, mouse-overs, and multi-touch gestures. And, of course, multimedia will be integrated into the experience and plugins for Flash, Shockwave, Silverlight, and other helper technologies will become unnecessary. Timeframe: 2 years

5. Flexible OLED displays

Another technology that has been promised for years but still needs several breakthroughs before it’s ready for the mainstream is OLED displays. We’ve seen some high-priced prototypes from Sony that feature ridiculously thin TV screens in small sizes (under 30 inches), but that only scratches the surface of what OLED will be able to do in the future — at least theoretically. These ultra-low-power displays will be able to be almost as thin as plastic wrap and will be completely flexible (even when in use). The result will be screens that can be integrated directly into walls and be virtually invisible when turned off. You’ll also see smartphones that can be folded in half and put into a pocket or a wallet, or even rolled into a bracelet. We could even see the re-emergence of the broadsheet as a way to read and consume news, but instead of unfolding a newspaper you’ll unfold an OLED display that is tied to a subscription to The New York Times, for example (here’s an example of how the Times is already envisioning this). Timeframe: 4-5 years

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10 Apple Patents We Want to Use NOW Apple Gazette — Apple Gazette

 

10 Apple Patents We Want to Use NOW

Nobody loves to patent stuff like Apple does. It seems that the Cupertino tech giant is filing patent applications on a daily basis. Here are 10 of their best-ever patents that have yet to be incorporated into products — but we hope they soon will be.

Looking at Apple’s patents these days, you can’t help wondering if Apple is just dreaming up scifi tech of the future, with no actual basis in any existing technology. Because some of this stuff is way out there (yet undeniably cool).

The patents you see here are in various states of ownership; some have been awarded to Apple by the Patent Office, others have merely been submitted for approval. And it’s worth noting that just because a patent is filed doesn’t mean that the technology will be implemented. It’s common practice for tech makers to register their ideas merely to keep others from registering the same thing.

Elastic iDevice Dock

Eliminating the problem of requiring different-shaped docks for different devices, this intriguing patent features a sponge-like dock that molds and conforms to the shape of whatever iPod, iPhone, or iPad model you own. I have no idea how technology will make such a thing possible, and I can’t help looking at it and wondering how long it will be before it comes to life growls, “Huuuuuuungryyyy…” Consider this one many years away. [Source]

Fingerprint-Resistant Touchscreen

Long, long overdue, here’s a patent for coating the glass surface of an iOS device with a substance called an “oleophobic,” which is oil-resistant. Basically, it keeps fingerprints off your screen, which anybody with an iPhone or iPad would welcome. This one is reportedly nearly ready for production, so we might see it integrated as soon as iPhone 5. [Source]

iDevice With Built-In TV and DVR

One of the holy grails of modern technology is the mobile television. Some companies have made great strides toward this goal, and Apple itself was among the first to make possible the purchase or rental of TV episodes. But live television has yet to be implemented in a way that’s both pleasing and affordable to the masses. Apple’s patent for both a live digital TV receiver and built-in DVR for recording is a no-brainer of an idea, and if Apple beats other tech giants to the punch and applies its trademark simplicity of use and cool factor to its implementation, this could be a game-changer. [Source]

iPhone Lasertag

Apple has never been terribly excited about embracing video gamers, which makes this patent a welcome surprise. In essence, it’s a software scheme for using the iPhone’s accelerometer, GPS, and gyroscope in conversation with other iPhones, opening up a whole new world of gaming for iPhone owners. Because it would make apps like augmented reality games into multiplayer extravaganzas. With every phone always knowing where every other phone in the game is, games like lasertag would be easy for developers to create. Shooting could be as simple as aiming with your camera, lining your target up with the on-screen reticle, and then tapping the screen to shoot. Then your opponent’s phone would immediately alert them that they’re “dead.” [Source]

Merged iMac and iPad

This patent is notorious more for what it implies than what it actually says, because it proves beyond any lingering doubt that Apple’s plans for the future do indeed point to a convergence between iOS and OS X. Or, if you prefer, iPad and iMac. Despite Steve’s claim a while back that users don’t want to touch their computer screens, Apple is working on that very thing, combining touchscreen computing with high-powered desktops and laptops. The patent itself is for a system whereby this merged device would automatically know when you switch from vertical, iMac-like screen use, to horizontal, iPad-style use, and change the OS’s interface accordingly. [Source]

Object-Sensing Screen

Much like Microsoft’s cutting-edge Surface table device, this patent is for recognizing objects that are placed on your computer’s screen. It could be commonly used to sync your iPhone by just touching it to your iMac’s screen, or paying for online goods with a credit card by simply placing the card flat against the screen. [Source]

Screen Privacy

Another long overdue innovation, this technology creates a narrow angle of space where a screen can be viewed. When the only person who can see the screen is the user, looking at it straight-on, the nosy person beside you can no longer watch yourAngry Birds slingshot moves or read your email. Don’t let the iPod Classic in the diagram fool you; most patents are filed years ahead of their usage, and this one is likely no different. [Source]

Solar-Powered iDevices

A solar-powered iPhone or iPad is not an earth-shattering notion, but leave it to Apple to put an ingenious new spin on an old idea. This patent hides the solar cells beneathyour device’s screen. So all you’d have to do to charge up your device is leave it screen-up in direct sunlight. [Source]

Tactile-Feedback Touchscreen

Gorilla glass is so last year. Apple wants to leap into the future with a dynamic screen — made out of an unknown substance — with an “articulating frame” surface that can raise or lower in certain spots. Think of the liquid metal Terminator from T2 growing a tactile keyboard out of the smooth, flat surface of a touchscreen. Call them “magic buttons” if you want, that can raise up and depress when in use, but such a profoundly futuristic technology has limitless potential applications. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for this one anytime soon, but it’ll be a jaw-dropper if/when Apple makes it happen. [Source]

Voice Commands

Based on technology from startup Siri (which Apple purchased in 2010), this patent would allow for complex commands to be given to iOS devices via nothing but your voice. The patent cites as an example, a command like this: “find my most played song with a 4-star rating and create a Genius playlist using it as a seed.” Unlike many of Apple’s pie-in-the-sky patents, this one seems likely to be used in the near future. This is another one that could come about as early as iPhone 5. [Source]

10 Apple Patents We Want to Use NOW Apple Gazette — Apple Gazette.

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News Headlines from the past IV

News Headlines from the past  IV

 

31. New Study Of Obesity Looks For Larger Test Group

32. Astronaut Takes Blame For Gas In Spacecraft

33. Kids Make Nutritious Snacks

34. Chef Throws His Heart In Helping Feed Needy

35. Arson Suspect Held In Massachusetts Fire

36. Ban On Soliciting Dead In Trotwood

37. Local High School Dropout Cuts In Half

38. New Vaccine May Contain Rabies

39. Hospitals Are Sued By 7 Foot Doctors

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Employee Placement Method

Employee Placement Method

Does your organization struggle with the problem of properly fitting people to jobs?  Here is a handy hint for ensuring success in job placement.

Take the prospective employees you are trying to place and put them in a room with only a table and two chairs. Leave them alone for two hours, without any instruction. At the end of that time, go back and see what they are doing.

  • If they have taken the table apart in that time, put them in Engineering.
  • If they are counting the butts in the ashtray, assign them to Finance.
  • If they are screaming and waving their arms, send them off to Manufacturing.
  • If they are talking to the chairs, Personnel is a good spot for them.
  • If they are writing up the experience, send them to Tech Pubs.
  • If they don’t even look up when you enter the room, assign them to Security.
  • If they try to tell you it’s not as bad as it looks, send them to Marketing.
  • If they’ve left early, put them in Sales.
  • And if they’re all bullying each other, they’re Management material.
Cheers & Enjoy my Future Posts
MMK
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Ten best things to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk

Ten best things to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk

10.”They told me at the blood bank this might happen.”

9.”This is just a 15 minute power nap like they raved about in that time management course you sent me to.”

8. “Whew! Guess I left the top off the white out. You probably got here just in time.”

7. “I wasn’t sleeping, I was meditating on the mission statement and envisioning a new paradigm.”

6. “I was testing my keyboard for drool resistance.”

5. “I was doing a highly specific Yoga exercise to relieve work-related stress. Do you discriminate against people who practice Yoga?”

4. “Why did you interrupt me? I had almost figured out a solution to our biggest problem.”

3. “The coffee machine is broken.”

2. “Someone must have put decaf in the wrong pot.”

1. ” … in God‘s name, Amen.

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Mobile Marketing

 Mobile Marketing

23 Mobile Market Research Charts

Mobile marketing is on three out four marketer’s plans for 2011 according to Forrester Research. Unlike other forms of digital marketing, mobile marketing involves a layer of complexity due to the difference in platforms and devices. To help you understand this evolving marketplace, here are 56 mobile marketing facts including 23 charts. Each point is based on market research and can guide your marketing plans.

To facilitate use of this information, it’s broken into the following categories: mobile marketplace, mobile marketing, mobile social media, mobile apps, mobile advertising, SMS/text messaging, mobile commerce and location-based services (LBS). If you’re interested in mobile marketing, there’s something here for you.

Mobile Marketplace

  1. Mobile is ramping up faster than other technologies. Mary Meekerpredicts that 2012 will be the smartphone inflection point.
  2. About 30% of US mobile users have a smartphone in 2010 according toNielsen.
  3. Smartphones will grow by about one third to 43% of mobile users by 2015 according to eMarketer.
  4. US smartphone operating systems are in a tight competition. The top three systems are: Apple/iPhone with a 27.9% share, RIM/Blackberry with a 27.4% share and Android with a 22.7% share, based on The Nielsen Company data. It will be interesting to watch how well the iPhone fares on Verizon’s system and if it effects other Verizon customers.
  5. Blackberry’s desirability pales compared to iPhone and Android for next operating system choice among smartphone owners, The Nielsen Company survey showed. Note: Blackberries are popular among corporate users and teens. US Smartphone Owners Next Operating System
  6. Women are more likely to get an iPhone while men are more likely to get an Android according to The Nielsen Company.
  7. 2011 is projected to be the tipping point for U.S. smartphones according to forecasts by The Nielsen Company.
  8. Smartphone carrier loyalty as measured by The Nielsen Company over the last six months showed that a surprising 77.2% of customers stayed with the same carrier. This underscores the need to lock in new customers.
  9. How fast IS your cellphone? Four out of five The Nielsen Company surveyrespondents were familiar with 4G (which is mobile data speeds of more than 100 MBits/s) but only half of them knew what it meant.
  10. Seven out ten consumers are planning to get 4G service in the next twelve months The Nielsen Company survey found.
  11. Voice usage dominates work hours and apps dominate after work hours according to Zokem via ReadWriteWeb.

Mobile Marketing

  1. 75% of marketers are planning to add mobile to their marketing mix according to Forrester Research. It’s important to note that this may not be advertising related.
  2. The biggest categories of non-data usage for mobile phones are photographs and text messages according to Pew Research. This is important to consider when thinking about how mobile phone owners spend their time.
  3. How mobile phone users spend their time is becoming more important. Current usage is still dominated by email according to The Nielsen Company.

Mobile Social Media

  1. Social media usage on mobile devices continues to grow with 49.4million users projected in 2011; a 27% increase from 2010 according to eMarketer.
  2. Social media network usage on mobile internet and mobile phones continues to increase as a percentage of users. This is attributable to the fact that participants view social media as a communications format

Mobile Apps – It’s not just Apple anymore!

  1. 69% of U.S. smartphone owners had downloaded a mobile app as of October 2010 based on Ask.com and Harris Interactive research.
  2. The average number of downloads per smart phone downloader is 27 according to The Nielsen Company.
  3. The U.S. mobile app sweet spot is the 35-44 year-old age group, according to  Ask.com and Harris Interactive research.
  4. Smartphone users with income above $75,000 were more likely to download mobile apps according to the Ask.com and Harris Interactiveresearch.
  5. The top ten app categories for 2010′s fourth quarter based on page views were games, social networking, music and entertainment, mail/messaging, education/employment, weather, sports, maps, news/current events, and travel, according to Millennial Media.
  6. We won’t pay or will we? Apps continue to grow, free apps grow faster according to Distimo.
  7. Over 3 million downloads each day during December 2010 were generated by the top 300 free apps in U.S. while  350,000 paid apps were downloaded daily.
  8. Paid U.S. app downloads in December 2010 were 30% higher than June 2010 which shows that consumers are willing to pay for mobile apps (Distimo).
  9. Three different app payment options have emerged: paid app, free app with in-app purchases and paid app with in-app purchases according toDistimo.
  10. Average mobile app price has decreased since January 2010 according toDistimo.
  11. Total global mobile applications market is projected by the World Mobile Applications Market (2010 – 2015) research to be worth $25.0 billion by 2015.
  12. Apple’s App Store will account for about one in five dollars of the total global mobile applications market in 2015 according to World Mobile Applications Market (2010 – 2015).
  13. The global mobile applications market is expected have a CAGR of 29.6% from 2009 to 2014, the World Mobile Applications Market (2010 – 2015)calculates.

Mobile Advertising

  1. The mobile advertising market is sufficiently mature that IAB and Mobile Marketing Association has announced Mobile Web Advertising Measurement Guidelines.
  2. The U.S. is the second largest mobile advertising spending market globally after Japan, according to Smaato
  3. With a 2011 forecast of $1,24 billion growing to $5 billion in 2015, U.S. will close the gap according to Smaato.
  4. Average U.S. mobile advertising campaign range is $75,000 – $100,000 according to Smaato.
  5. The creative spend on U.S. mobile advertising campaigns averages 10-15% of the budget according to Smaato.
  6. Marketers use or plan to use a variety of mobile marketing techniques in 2010 and 2011. Most striking is the fact that less than half of them have a mobile website according to Forrester Research via eMarketer.
  7. Still searching for you on the go. US Mobile advertising market breaks out as follows: 46% search, 29% display/banner advertising, 20% SMS/text opt-in messaging, 3% mobile games and video and 2% apps according tomobileSquared via Smaato (October 2010).
  8. One-sixth of US mobile users have engaged with some form of advertising on their mobile phone based on Lightspeed Research for mobileSquared via Smaato. With anticipated growth of US mobile market, this translates to more users who will interact with mobile advertising.  
  9. Mobile ads are more effective across brand metrics based on Insight Express research. Bear in mind that this can be attributed to the medium’s newness.
  10. The top five mobile video stations are YouTube, Fox, Comedy Central, ESPN and MTV according to The Nielsen Company. These stations reflect the high usage by the teen and twenty-something demographic. Further, it shows that users are looking for entertainment, sports and news.
  11. U.S. Mobile local advertising market is expected to grow to about $2.0 billion by 2014 according to BIA/Kelsey.

SMS/Text Messaging

  1. 66% of U.S. mobile phone owners send SMS/text messages according to The Nielsen Company.
  2. Women send more text messages per month (716) than men do (555) based onThe Nielsen Company tracking.

Mobile Commerce

  1. One in three mobile phone owners accessed a retailer site or mobile shopping app based on research by ForeSee.
  2. 26% of mobile phone owners who haven’t accessed a retailer site or mobile shopping app, plan to according to ForeSee. This means that retailers must be on mobile platform or risk loosing opportunity.
  3. 73% of survey respondents favored using their smartphone to handle simple in-store tasks compared to 15% of survey respondents who preferred to interact with an employee, according to Accenture researchdone in ten countries (Note: This information doesn’t state which countries where surveyed.)
  4. One in nine shoppers (11%) bought something using a mobile device during 2010′s holiday shopping season, up from 2% in 2010 according to  ForeSee.
  5. How’s your mobile website experience? Shoppers preferred computer experience to mobile experience based on ForeSee‘s survey results.
  6. Almost seven out of ten shoppers check the store’s website while they’re in the retail establishment! (ForeSee)
  7. Shoppers use mobile websites to check for price comparisons (56%), product comparisons (46%), product information (35%) and product reviews (27%) based on ForeSee’s research.
  8. The competition is just a click away even when customer is physically in your store! Almost half (46%) of shoppers checked competitors’ website using a mobile device while in bricks and mortar stores, ForeSee found.
  9. Mobile commerce is approaching the same level of sales as online retail, based on Mary Meeker‘s projections.
  10. One out of three customers are interested in mobile loyalty program from trusted brands, based on Zoomerang’s October 2010 research for HipCricket. Of these shoppers, 90% received value from the program revealing potential marketing opportunity.
  11. 46% of those surveyed expressed willingness to use mobile coupons according to  Zoomerang’s October 2010 research for HipCricket.  More than double the amount from last year.

Location-based services (aka LBS) – Where are you now?

  1. Location-based service users increased roughly 200% in 2010, based on SNL Kagan.
  2. Location-based services are made for smartphone usage. This is shown by the drop in Internet usage on both Foursquare and Gowalla according toCompete.
  3. Location-based services as an advertising platform is still evolving as evidenced by the fact that less than half of advertisers have included it in their plans.

With smartphone usage projected to reach 50% in 2011, it’s time to consider how you’re going to incorporate mobile into your overall marketing mix. One thing is certain, whether you’re an online or offline organization, you need a mobile destination with supporting mobile search advertising, otherwise, you’re leaving an opportunity on the table. The reality is that consumers use smartphones to gather information about their purchase alternatives while they’re in a retail establishment. If you’re not present when they use their phone to search, they may leave and buy from your competitor.

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Google Plus Resources – A Complete Story

Have you earned your Google Plus (aka Google+) cred yet? If you’re not one of the Pluserati, chances are that you’re still coming up the Google+ learning curve or maybe sitting on the sidelines because the thoughts of building a presence on yet another social media platform seems too daunting.  The reality is that if you’re a marketer or involved in technology or social media eventually you’re going to need to take the dive. Granted that Google+ is another Google product and Google hasn’t been very effective at social media beyond YouTube, but give it a test drive. As the old ad said, try it, you’ll like it!

To help you get your Google+ on, here’s a round up of the best resources to get you up to speed quickly and efficiently.

Google Plus: The facts, nothing but the facts

While there’s no doubt that Google+ is off to a running start, you may want to take a closer look at what’s behind the numbers.

  1. comScore weighs in on Google+’s growth with some details about who’s using the service.
  2. Experian Hitwise provides another perspective on Google+’s growth.
  3. Google+’s growth trajectory is included in this Gigaom piece explaining why Google screwed up on the topic of brand pages. This is important for brands, media entities and lawyers. (Several sources are all using the same information. Here’s the analyst behind the chart, Leon Haland.)
  4. How Google Plus Stacks Up Against Facebook. In this data-rich report by Jackie Cohen (no relation) on AllFacebook.com you’ll find hard numbers comparing Facebook and Google+.

Google Plus how-tos

These resources are the Google+ manuals. Dip into them to see which ones work best for your needs. Remember that Google+ is still in beta and this information continues to evolve.

  1. The Google+ Demo. Google put together a fun interactive map of the features of Google+. Mouse around and explore. There’s a lot to learn.
  2. The Google+ Project Home page. Tap into all of the content Google’s put together to explain Google+ including a video overview. Tabs on the project home page lead to detailed descriptions of the various features.
  3. Google+ discussion forum Stop by to pick up on the very latest Google+ news and info and follow the trends.
  4. The Google+ Help Center. This is the support page for all Google+ users. It’s reachable from a link on any Google+ page. Being Google, it’s search engine based.
  5. Google+ Tips & Tricks, a collaborative document. In true social media form, here’s the ultimate guide to Google+ created by over 120 people!
  6. Mashable. As the repository for everything social media, Mashable editors have been using Google+ and sharing their insights regularly. Here’s their comprehensive Google+ Guide. Even if you’ve got some Google+ experience under your belt, you may want to check this article to get a list of Mashable staff on Google+.
  7. How to get started with Google+. Social Media Examiner has a lengthly post to get you started.
  8. Google+ for Newbies. 40 tips from Travis Campbell that use screenshots to guide you.
  9. Google+ in 15 minutes a day Here’s a post that Getting Things Done’s author David Allen would love. SEOmoz shows readers how to prevent Google+ from being a time suck.

Who’s who of Google Plus

These are the folks who’ve risen to the top of the Google+ ranks. Don’t get discouraged since many of them had a head start by having strong followings on other platforms.

  1. The Google Pluserati. Alltop.com has gathered on one webpage the RSS feeds of several dozen influential bloggers who are active on Google+ including Danny Sullivan, Scott Monty, Ann Handley, Paul Allen and Matt Cutts, to name just a few.
  2. Facebook employees. If you can’t beat them, at least keep tabs on what they’re doing. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, is one of the most followed people on Google+. Marketers, this is a great lesson in competitive intelligence. Get onto competitive platforms or buy competitive products to understand their customers.
  3. Andy Hertzfeld who has been working at Google since 2005 is the design lead on the project and the one to thank for the great-looking Google+ interface. You’ll likely recognize his name from his time spent at Apple (1979 – 1984) where he was a key designer for the original Macintosh software team. Read about the design effort in Steven Levy’s,Inside Google+ article on Wired.com.

Google Plus meets the spin cycle

Here are some articles from established media sources to share how they view or assess Google+.

  1. Econsultancy assesses Google+ in light of new psychological research from UCLA. The research alone is worth your reading time.
  2. What’s In a Name: Google+ Is Your Plus One Mashable explains how Google chose the name for their new social media platform and how the philosophy of +1 enhances every other Google product and service.
  3. Techcrunch ran a long article, Google+ Project: It’s Social, It’s Bold, It’s Fun, And It Looks Good — Now For The Hard Part, last month describing the features of Google+ and some of the underlying technology.
  4. The New York Times takes notice of Google+ in an article by Paul Boutin: What Google+ Is All About appearing in the Personal Tech column on June 30th.
  5. Wall Street Journal. presents a top line assessment of Google’s entry into the social media ecosystem  A Review of Google+.
  6. Znet. Every party has a pooper. Znet found ten features that they think should be incorporated into Google+. (Did anyone tell them that it’s in beta?)

What the experts say about Google+

While everyone wants to be in the know and part of the cool circle (Google+ speak for gang), take some time to discover what some of the social media marketing thought leaders are saying. Interestingly, many of these experts have found that their articles on Google+ are among their most popular to-date.

  1. Jay Baer in his post Why Google Has the Hammer To Make Businesses Use Google Plus makes the case for business use of Google+. (Hint: Search!)
  2. David Berkowitz presents a useful Google+ FAQ. David is a social media tester par excellence and gives his feedback.
  3. Olivier Blanchard (aka The Brand Builder) weighs in on eight questions about Google+. He gives thoughtful responses.
  4. Chris Brogan’s top 50 thoughts on Google+. As a top Ad Age 150 blogger, Chris knows his way around new social media platforms. His testing of Google+ had an organized approach. Therefore, it’s a good starting place for anyone looking to get a feel for the platform before they take a deep dive.
  5. Jeff Bullas has an interesting perspective on Google+’s high level of engagement which is useful to marketers.
  6. Brian Clark (aka Copyblogger) weighs into the discussion by questioning whether Google+ is useful for content marketing.
  7. Heidi Cohen makes the case that Google+ is a battle for your time. (Okay, I know it’s linking to my blog!)
  8. Jason Falls created a ten minute video to give you a tour of Google+ combined with his feedback. It’s useful to watch Jason’s video before you start clicking around.
  9. John Jantsch, (aka Duct Tape Marketing)  small business know-how expert, shares his five tips for integrating Google+ into your business routine.
  10. Christopher S. Penn, Blue Sky Vice President of Marketing, has put together a starting point for those of you who want to track your Google Plus results. No surprise, his step by step tutorial uses Google Analytics.
  11. David Pogue says, in his July 13th , New York Times Personal Tech column, Google+ Improves on Facebook, that even though this is a first test version, “Google’s less sprawling, more video-centric, better-controlled new service is already too good to ignore.”
  12. Robert Scobbles (aka Scobilizer), the enfant terrible of blogging, weighs in about Google+. If you’re not familiar with Robert, you’ve probably been hiding under an outdated, overweight computer. When Robert blogs, the tech world listens and so should you.
  13. Brian Solis wrote a very long post last week about everything Google+, claiming  Google will not run Circles around Facebook, but it gets a +1.
  14. Danny Sullivan writes from a personal viewpoint commenting on the usability of Google+ and Twitter in his post, Google+ Vs. Twitter: A Personal View. He takes a “watch and see” attitude.
  15. Mark Zuckerberg, While he didn’t give Google+ a thumbs up or a thumbs down, he did say that the rise of social in more companies was in line with his view of the world. “I view a lot of this as validation as to how the next five years are going to play out,” he noted in a Facebook video chat.

Can you find me now? What Google Plus means for search marketing

What do the search experts have to say about Google+ and what do you need to know.

  1. Google+: The Good, the Bad and The UglySearch Engine Landweighs on the search giant’s social media move.
  2. Google+’s impact on Search in old media’s marketing bible, Ad Age, by Dave Williams.
  3. Optimizing your Google Profile. At a minimum, make sure you’re getting the most from your Google ProfileSEOptimise has ten tips.
  4. Google+ and Twitter Impact on Search. SEOmoz’s experiment is a must read if you’re concerned about social media and search.
  5. Local Only. Also on Search Engine Land, Andrew Shotland explores the possible impact of Google+ on local search in his post, What Will Google Plus Google Places Equal?

Get your tech on – Integrating Google Plus and technology

Do you want to be on top of how to integrate Google+ into platforms and tools? Then this section’s for you!

  1. The Google+ Cheat Sheet. Google+ is geeky. It has a number of keyboard shortcuts and editing macros. This cheat sheet from Mashable includes most of the common syntax, hotkeys and tips to enable you to use Google+ like a pro.
  2. Google+ Icons anyone? Here are 14 options to add to your social sharing on your blog or website.
  3. Photography anyone? Photographer Colby Brown has done a great job of laying out how to use Google+ for photographers including addressing IP rights and TOC. Even if you’re just a amateur using your smartphone, this post has useful information. Remember that photographs are important content!
  4. Google+ Sparks. Nate Riggs gives pointers on using Google+ Sparksas a listening post. This is a must for every marketer and PR expert.
  5. Searching Google+It’s ironic that the 900 pound gorilla of search doesn’t enable participants to search their stream on their social media platform. Here’s a work around for searching your Google+ stream but be warned it’s VERY geeky.
  6. Chrome Extensions. Google+ doesn’t do everything yet. However, if you use their Chrome browser, you can add extensions to power up your Google+ experience, including one that will cross-post your feed items to Twitter and Facebook. Business Insider put together a review of the best Google Chrome extensions.
  7. Add your Googlecard to your WordPress blog or website. You can download a plugin from PlusDevs.com that will create a sidebar widget displaying your Google+ Profile card.
  8. +1 Everywhere. Google has not yet published a Google+ Application Programming Interface (API) to distribute its functionality to other websites as  have Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. However, you can add a plus one button to any web page to encourage your readers to share your content on the new service. Find out how on the Google +1 page.
  9. Google+ WordPress Themes. Google always gets good reviews from designers for its minimalist approach to web page design. Now, WordPress users can style their blogs like Google+ using one of a number of Google+ inspired themes, such as Reflex+ from CSS Reflex.
  10. Google+ goes mobile. Google announced a Google+ app for Android smartphones and tablets when it first opened the service. You can find it in the Android Marketplace.  Now there’s also an app for iPhones. Search the App Store or download it from iTunes using your smartphone’s browser. While there’s no iPad app yet, you can still use Google+ on the popular tablet via the Safari web browser.
  11. Google+ wish list. Yes it’s Google but we can hope that they’re listening. Here are twelve items Google must get right. Josepf Haslam is on the money. What do you think?

Let’s play – How marketing can use Google Plus

While Google Plus isn’t ready for prime time marketing, you should be testing it on your own and making sure that it’s in your plans for next year. Here are some early indicators for marketers.

  1. How Google+ compares to other social media networks (Chart included!) This chart is a must-see for every marketer since it includes marketing implications.
  2. Google+, Businesses and Beyond‬‏. In this YouTube video, Christen Oestlien, a Google+ Product Manager, talks about his company’s plans to support “businesses, brands and other entities.”
  3. Google + for marketersClickZ Executive Editor Anna Maria Vizi gets feedback from columnists.
  4. How to use Google+ for your brand. Here’s 5 tips on how to get ready for Brand Pages on Google+ by Rob Schott via Search Engine Watch.
  5. Ford test drives Google+. Here’s ClickZ’s account of Ford’s presence on Google+.
  6. GooglePlus supports content marketing. Here are three content marketing tips via Content Marketing Institute.
  7. Google+ versus Facebook. Here’s an infographic for the visual among you.
  8. PR conferences anyone? Here’s an example of using a Google+ hangout for a press conference via Fast Company.
  9. Are you paying attention to how journalists are using Google+?If you’re a marketing or a PR professional, the media is critical to helping you get your message out. Here’s how journalists are testing Google+ as reported by TNW (aka The Next Web).

Regardless of your feelings for Google, Google+ is here to stay. Therefore, the sooner you get onto the platform and test it out, the faster you’ll be able integrate it into your marketing plans. One thing’s for certain, it’s critical to include it in your next year’s plans and related budget.

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Elvis Presley: The King of Social Media

Top 50 Elvis Presley Hits Inspire Social Media

 

Elvis Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) indelibly changed contemporary music as traced through the over 700 tracks he recorded during his career. In honor of the thirty-fourth anniversary of his death, here are the King of Rock and Roll’s Top 50 hits and the social media lessons they contain.

  1. Hound Dog. Do you stalk people on social media platforms? Do the people you follow perceive that your actions are creepy? While following and engaging with others on social media networks is expected and encouraged, as in real life, you need to respect people’s boundaries.
  2. Suspicious Minds. Social media assumes a level of transparency in your interactions. As a result, there’s a level of trust that helps to overcome doubts.
  3. Mystery Train. While Elvis sings about the fact that even a runaway train can’t take his gal away, on social media, it’s hard to keep an air of mystery. Being open and above board are the basis for interactions.
  4. Heartbreak HotelBy building your social media tribe, you don’t need to feel the sense of desolation Elvis expressed in Heartbreak Hotel.
  5. I Just Can’t Help BelievingThis Elvis song could be an ode to social media where positive contributions to the greater community and a pay-it-forward mentality makes everyone feel welcome.
  6. Suspicion. This song’s focus on a victim points to the need to use social media responsibly.
  7. Good Rocking Tonight. This song could be dedicated to some of the more active social media meetups and Twitter chats like Sunday night’s BlogChat.
  8. Doing the Best I Can.  Social media platforms can require time to get used to the protocol. That said, it’s important that you contribute to the community in a positive way.
  9. One Night. For marketers, social media is about having an on-going relationship not a one shot promotion.
  10. Tomorrow is a Long Time. Elvis’ cover of the Dylan song. On social media, information gets transmitted in real time as well as in lapsed time. For a business with angry customers, twenty-four hours can seem like an eternity, especially if the customer’s communication goes viral.
  11. Can’t Help Falling In LoveSocial media platforms are important for building relationships over time that are both personal and business (although falling in love is rarely the objective.)
  12. Little Sister. On social media platforms, it’s important to be supportive of newbies and others who may not have your level of knowledge. Again, pay it forward.
  13. Don’t Be Cruel. Another Elvis ode that emphasizes treating others well on social media platforms. Remember you don’t know how others will interpret your words and actions.
  14. It’s Now Or Never. Social media demands that you take a stand. It’s not a place where being wishy-washy is tolerated. That said, take time to think through the implications of your actions since words travel straight from your brain through your fintertips.
  15. Polk Salad AnnieJust as the name of this song makes no sense, the same may be said of many social media handles that are attributable to common names or strange abbreviations.
  16. All Shook Up. With its ability to communicate in real time, social media brings news home almost instantaneously. Think of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and the Egyptian revolution.
  17. Please Don’t Stop Loving Me. On social media platforms, this translates to follow me back and don’t block or unfollow me.
  18. Blue Moon. It’s the second full moon in a month that’s come to mean “rarely” as in the phrase once-in-a-blue-moon. With the current time spent and level of interaction on social media platforms, it’s hard to believe that any engagement is rare.
  19. Crawfish. On social media platforms, it’s possible to find like-minded people who share your interests or needs. It’s the law of large numbers at its best and the means to connect.
  20. A Mess of Blues. Just as Elvis is feeling blue, social media platforms can expose your heart to pain. You’ll see how people who don’t know you react without understanding your perspective. This is why it’s critical to have a social media tribe.
  21. That’s All Right. Social media’s technology enables users to connect with family, friends and others who help support you in difficult times.
  22. Long Black Limousine. While Elvis sings about a poor southern singer whose gone too soon, social media provides the means for everyone to build their following. While social media is egalitarian in approach, the reality is that star power builds followings on these platforms.
  23. Guitar Man. Many musicians take advantage of various social media platforms, especially YouTube to help build their following and to get noticed by established labels.
  24. Jailhouse Rock. Some social media platforms are set up to prevent spam and limit your communications. For example, Twitter won’t let you send more than 100 tweets in an hour or 1,000 in a day. When you do, they put you in Twitter Jail and prevent you from tweeting for a period of time. ( Yes, I’ve been there!)
  25. Love Me Tender. Treat everyone with respect on social media. It’s just a good policy for living.
  26. That’s Someone You’ll Never Forget. When it comes to social media platforms, you want to put your best foot forward because you don’t want to be unforgettable in a bad way. If you’re not sure of how you’re coming across, ask some friends and colleagues you trust for honest feedback.
  27. Any Day Now. Social media platforms enable both instantaneous communications and asynchronous communications. As a result, most participants expect to hear your response quickly.
  28. Burning Love. This Elvis song about overwhelming passion translates to having employees who are social media evangelists for your brand and/or business so that their feelings come through their social media interactions.
  29. Viva Las Vegas. With Location Based Services, you can check-in in Las Vegas or anywhere else.
  30. An American Triology. When it comes to social media, the three main platforms are Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. With Google+’s meteoric growth, it’s likely that it will unseat one or all of these platforms.
  31. Trying to Get You. Social media is all about engagement! ‘nuff said!
  32. A Fool Such As I. When you make mistakes in social media as in love, the best course is to own up to it like the King did.
  33. Reconsider Baby. While the power of Elvis’ blues may not come through on social media, you need to be open to new ideas.
  34. Trouble. Since social media provides every consumer with their own megaphone to amplify their message and discontent, businesses must monitor the landscape 24/7 and have a Crisis Management Plan in place to take action when appropriate.
  35. I’m Leavin’. With social media, you’re able to share your location and activities to a broad audience.
  36. Are You Lonesome Tonight. By contrast, on social media, you don’t have to be alone. At any hour of the day or night, you can find others to interact with, either across town or across the pond.
  37. In The Ghetto. Here’s where social media’s social conscious hits its stride.
  38. Return To Sender. While few social media users still use old-fashioned postal mail to which this song refers, social media runs on email to keep members abreast of what’s happening and coming back for more.
  39. She’s Not You. While this song involved a love triangle, on social media platforms, you need to be open to new connections and relationships.
  40. The Girl of My Best Friend. This title is ready made for social media where everyone is less than six degrees away. Who do you want to connect to?
  41. I’ve Lost You. With the power of relationships on social media, you have to work to not get found. On the other hand, on social networks, you can be overly zealous in your communications and turn someone off so that they block your messages.
  42. Baby Let’s Play House. While not the intended song reference, many social media platforms use game mechanics to engage participants and keep them coming back.
  43. Always on My Mind. With many social media platforms, you’re able to see who’s on the system so that you can communicate in real time. Therefore, unlike Elvis, you don’t need to keep thinking about them.
  44. I Need Somebody to Lean On. With your social media tribe and other social media groups, you always have a community to help you whether it’s words of support or information.
  45. His Latest Flame. On social media, you need to be true to your friends and others. Further, you shouldn’t use social media as a gossip conduit.
  46. It Hurts Me. As a social media participant, sometimes you need to grow a thick skin because you can unintentionally get hurt by how people say something.
  47. Way Down. Is this what you think of your social media standings as measured by Klout and other influence trackers?
  48. Love Me. On social media, participants accept you for the value you provide and your engagement.
  49. Too Much. Like Elvis and other rockers, sometimes too much social media interaction is too much and you get burned out. At times like this, you need to take a break and unplug.
  50. You’ll Never Walk Alone. Build your social media network and you’ll always have real people ready to support you.

Regardless of which Elvis Presley ballad’s your favorite, one thing’s for certain, they all ring true with human feelings that are at the core of social media.

Are there any other Elvis Presley favorites that you’d add to this list?  If so, what are they and what’s the social media lesson they contain?

Happy marketing,

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