A great travel site that was featured on Time Magazine's 2010 list of the Best 100 Websites somehow slipped our radar. Oslo based Stay.com is a travel website and iPhone/Android app that allows you to create your own personalized travel guide using exclusive information from 114 cities over the world. But Stay isn't just some nice website with travel pictures; Stay.com's cool feature is how easily you can access your sightseeing information offline.
According to Helsingin Sanomat (Largest Finnish daily), Rovio, the makers of Angry Birds mobile game, have pocketed approximately 14 million euro ($20 million US) in revenue during the first quarter of 2011. Two thirds of the revenues come from app sales and about a third from advertising. Overall, Mikael Hed, Rovio CEO, stated that the game has been downloaded more than 120 million times.
Amazon has joined the Android app race with their own store in the US, according All Things Digital. The store isn't available at least in Finland and an attempt to access it simply redirects one to the Amazon front page. Amazon is claiming that since it's a retailer already, it can do a better job in selling apps than Google itself. For developers, it adds fragmentation as there are now at least three sites one has to be present in if you want to reach the masses, The Google Android Market, Amazon App Store and the Baltics originated GetJar.
According to Mobile News, T-Mobile is introducing something all mobile operators Europe wide should adopt to increase data usage, something mobile service developers would certainly applaud. At Mobile World Congress 2011, Deutsch Telekom Chief Technology and Innovation Officer Edward Kozel has announced fixed fees for data roaming for its customers - anywhere in Europe.
When we think privacy concerns what usually comes to mind is either Facebook with their messy and ever-changing privacy policies or Google with their vast amounts of user data from the many services they offer. However, a recent study by Wall Street Journal revealed that mobile apps pose a bigger threat than previously thought. Out of 101 most popular mobile apps tested, about half sent unsolicited private data, like your location, email, gender, age, your phones identifiers and in some cases even ethnicity and sexual orientation to outsiders, usually ad networks. Those networks are in the business of passing on that data to advertisers who can target more and more precisely their potential demographic. (Un)surprisingly, the biggest online ad networks are Google, Facebook and Apple - the very same companies that provide platforms for the apps.
The Kinetik, a Danish StartupBootCamp company, is offering cross promotion advertising on mobile apps. The concept is very much similar to that of Applifier's. The Kinetik offers tools for developers to attract new users to their apps for free. The company is able to offer free visitors as developers also advertise other apps in their own. For each installed app through the advertising, developers will receive credits minus the commision by The Kinetik.
Internet Apps And Native Apps: Why Neither Is Going Away, But The Coming Years Will See A Tremendous Power Shift
People love a good story, no matter what form of content it is they're consuming. Journalists, especially those who cover the technology industry, like to apply the same elements that make up an attractive narrative to their writing, so what most people get today is a tale of two or three competitors, the hurdles they have to overcome to deliver the solution they've envisioned and marketed, and then the demise of the one who couldn't execute properly. No matter how enticing it may be to remove the complexity of the battle for consumer's hearts, minds and wallets in order to make the story easily digestible, reality is often quite different. Take for instance the current obsession with mobile applications and how they're going to eclipse the internet as the delivery platform of choice for services and software.
Foodie, the mobile application to help you better manage your groceries, is expanding its offering to Nokia phones. the application has recently been available to the iPhone and also as a separate application in Facebook. Foodie isn't your ordinary shopping list app. Foodie is able to learn what you shop for over time and then suggests items based on this learning. What's better, it's able to list the items in a way that they are layed out in the store.
Foodie is currently building its service offering in FInland. Due to a long history with Nokia, it is natural to expand to this platform. Nokia's domination in Finland is still very strong and according to Foodie, the service has been frequently asked to support Nokia phones as well. Users are able to download the mobile app from the Ovi store for Nokia's most recent smart phones, such as N8, E72 and N97.
It seems that the Finnish gaming monopoly, RAY, is the latest in the game of playing the big bad wolf who doesn't want to play nice. Finnish Helsingin Sanomat reports that they are ready to sue an iPhone app maker Elias Pietilä, for creating a game of the similar concept from one of the oldest coin games in Finland, Pajatso. Elias Pietilä calles his version of the game Pajatzo.
RAY (or the Finnish Slotmachine Association) has referred to the trademark law, law regarding good business practices (laxly translated) as well as the ever-so-famous copyright law. The first odd issue that puts the whole case into perspective is that RAY does not own the trademark to Pajatso, the original game concept.
I talked very briefly to Kimmo Sainio of Cellictica, a Finland based mobile applications company focusing into translation services in Slush. Their service Trippo is available in the Nokia download catalogue in about 10 different countries, which has proven a good partnership for Cellictica. Trippo is a Java language based server-client application that can be used to translate a number of phrases. It currently supports translations from/to English-French, English-Italian and English-Spanish.
The cool thing about Trippo is that even if you're shy - you can use it, the service itself can dictate the translation and thus help you out in an awkward situation abroad. The only question that comes to my mind is about the required internet connection to the server. John Biggs of CrunchGear once again reminded people travelling abroad to avoid data roaming - it still costs a fortune. This is a huge show stopper for many mobile consumer applications. Once we sort that out, a ton of applications will become a lot more useful.
MyWidz is a Swedish startup aiming to create a mobile widget community and taking user generated content to the mobile phone. The service is currently in early Beta.
The company plans to tab into the mobile marketing market that they estimate to grow into a 19 billion USD market by 2012. I am not quite as optimistic about the mobile marketing as such, but if done right via an innovative community approach it might yield better results than what have been more traditional approaches, namely blind spamming.
MyWidz is a community service that takes user generated content to the mobile phone by aiming to make development, sharing and collection of widgets easy. WyWidz widgets can be developed by anyone with simple step-by-step widget wizard and then get them send to one’s mobile phone. More advanced users can use MyWidz unique script language to write their widgets from scratch, or use other users widgets as templates.
Before one can start using the service she needs to install a Java client to her phone. For me the client did not work that well as I only got an error message after a several tries. I will keep fiddling with the client on my Nokia N95 and hopefully get to work on my first widget soon, but so far I’ve not seen beyond the MyWidz home page.
That said I did see lots of potentially useful widgets on that home page including a CNN News widget, an Aljazeera News widget, a Weather-Stockholm widget, a UK traffic information widget, and even a Find McDonald’s widget. When the MyWidz guys can push the service beyond the early Beta they are facing tough competition from the likes of Nokia Widsets and Plusmo.
As a market the mobile widget area is as hot as it can get even during economic times like these. Just look at the Apple App Store growth figures. The question is how you can beat Apple in their own game call it a widget or an app, and whether the app market will develop into a centralized or decentralized one over time.