Author Archive

Even handheld computers should be backed up.

http://onefps.net/post/6496478249/50-percent-of-iphone-owners-dont-backup

This 50% figure is beyond my wildest imagination, as most anecdotal evidence I’ve seen indicates synching along the lines of once every month or two. Then again, I’m no Apple Genius.

WordPress for iOS › 3/4 of all crashes fixed

I have to say this chart is impressive in that it shows how much WordPress users on iOS are updating this app. Anecdotal evidence suggests that mainstream iOS users are not terribly religious about synching with a computer or updating their apps.

At the same time, one can see that 2.6.3 through 2.6.5 all experienced the same level of crash rates, so there may have been a sense of desperation driving users to update in order to avoid historical problems.

I know myself that I have yet to have my faith reinstated in this app, though that was mostly due to login issues. I think that those issues have now finally been resolved. I realized the last time I looked at the comment feature that the app is also pulling in comments previously marked spam, so I’ve now got to figure out the proper workflow for that in order to avoid duplicate work. (For some reason I prefer dealing with comments on the iPad vs. on the Mac.)

At any rate, this is great feedback for the users that hard work has paid off and it is a valuable support for the “fail early, fail often” mindset that runs through the lean startup entrepreneurial community.

WordPress for iOS › 3/4 of all crashes fixed:

NewImage

(Via .)

Is Mobile like Computing in the 1990′s

Some words were exchanged on the internet this weekend about whether Android and iOS market share and whether Android is analogous to Microsoft in the personal computing revolution of the ’90′s(ish). I tend to think not, but first to clarify a few things:

Points were made & points were missed as Fred Wilson posted a follow up to an earlier post where he recommended devs program for Android as it will be the dominant share & he supported this with Comscore numbers that showed iOS stagnant in the marketplace, interpreted by Business Insider as being “dead in the water” based on the same info. John Gruber posted at Daring Fireball and Marco Arment posted at Marco.org that, generally speaking, the iOS platform is larger than the iPhone as the iPod touch and the iPad weren’t represented in the numbers and that the iOS platform is more profitable to developers to boot.

Without having read through hundreds of responses to posts such as these, I think that there are a few things to clarify on this subject. Each of the above are right in their own way.

  • Fred Wilson has stated before that he is looking predominately at always-on, always-connected and always-with-you devices. iPod touches & iPads are not 100% in all three of these categories, so he sees them as not relevant for a business that is using mobile to target customers in a time-sensitive, geographically relevant way. The key here is that mobile is an extension of a larger business opportunity but is really only relevant when it leverages all the power of the mobile network as well as the device.
  • From the other side of things, Gruber and Arment are looking at the platforms from the perspective of small or independent developers who are looking to profit directly from an app they have developed or a service that supports the app. At this point not only does the more expansive interpretation of iOS devices become important, but so does the relatively frictionless iOS store experience both from the perspective of the consumer and the dev.

Moving beyond that, is Android like Windows in the 90′s? It has been argued that it benefits from a wider range of hardware & carriers leading to a similar commoditization that happened with computers in the early to mid-90′s. iOS is said to be on the high end of the spectrum in terms of hardware price, services (due to more constrained availability through carrier contracts) and even app pricing. So Apple is doomed to play a minority role at best or, at worst, slide into irrelevance and wither away.

I don’t believe that things will play out in the same way as the adoption of computing did two decades ago and here are a few reasons why:

  • People bought computers and then figured out what to do with them. People are clearer about what they want from a smartphone than they were when they bought their first computers. Email, address books, social networks, internet search, news, weather, reference all have prior expectations for the next generation of smartphone adopters & platforms must live up to or exceed that baseline. None of these existed in any real form when people were buying computers in the early ’90s and most still didn’t have the kinks worked out at the end of that decade.
  • Early personal computers did not really replace anything except possibly a typewriter. Note that I didn’t even touch on music, photos and video, the handling of which have their own expectations as defined by other devices, whether owned by the smartphone shopper or by a close friend/relative. Purchasers of smartphones may be replacing standalone devices—iPod, camera, video camera—as well as their ‘feature phone’ and will judge devices on a wide set of parameters as a result.
  • Compatibility is not the issue it once was. It used to matter if a disk from one computer would be readable when inserted into another, be it a friend’s or on your desk at work/home. Files are generally cross-platform compatible and physical networking and exchange of files is the exception rather than the rule. This breaks a huge tie to any specific brand or platform. Note, though, that there is a huge iTunes ecosystem that perpetuates loyalty to that platform and those roots grow deeper and stronger with each passing year and million devices sold.
  • Computing had little or no ecosystem. I almost didn’t include this as it seems to live with bullet one above, but I think it’s important enough to stand alone. Even if people knew what they wanted the computer for (like keep track of recipes or do their bookkeeping & taxes) there was not a solid ecosystem to support it. Modern ecosystems assure compatibility and standardisation, afford broad exposure and consumer ratings & reviews as well as a payment system and direct revenue stream for developers. Some will say that Microsoft ruled because of a stronger or more diverse ecosystem but I feel that it was mostly a perceived benefit rather than a real one and certainly pales in comparison to the expectations of today. Mobile hardware may or may not be judged on the viability of its ecosystem, but the standards have definitely changed since the ’90s.

This is obviously a deep vein to mine & I look forward to exploring it with consumers. Overall I tend to side more with Gruber & Arment insofar as the short term money for independents is much more likely to come from iOS and the overall mobile computing experience will continue to be shaped by non-phone devices in addition to those sold by carriers. While I definitely understand the Android as most penetrated smartPHONE platform, I disagree that this is analogous to the PC wars of the 1990′s and think that it is an erroneous reason to choose a platform as a basis for development.

 

You’re probably warmer than you think about the iPad 2

I normally leave this to others, but I just read about the Ideas of March & have promised myself to finally try to blog often (or at least more often.) And it turns out that finishing a blog post for a change is more fun than my other homework.

Picked up this review on twitter—I’m giving @lessien the credit, which is probably 90% right. There are 7 points, mostly subjective and I’ll leave the bulk of them alone with that label, but there was one point which seems to get mangled in most tellings of the tale…

Why the iPad 2 Leaves Me Cold – PCWorld Business Center:

“Are you content to let Apple dictate that you can’t watch Adobe Flash content on your device? Well you’d better find something else then, because that’s just what it has done. Isn’t it better to have the option? How could removing choice be a good thing?”

The problem with Flash ultimately is that it drains battery life through processor and graphics chip cycles, not to mention that it depletes data limits through downloads and system memory through larger web page files. This note on Daring Fireball reference an Ars Technica review that saw a loss of two hours of battery life with Flash installed—somewhere in the neighbourhood of 33% of the unit’s overall performance.

The fallacy that is being perpetuated by K. Noyes is that the average consumer can choose to use Flash or not as if it were only used for watching video or playing games. Most Flash usage, though, and the attendant battery drain as outlined above, happens without the consumer making a choice. These take the form of Flash-based ad units & Flash versions of websites—both are significantly larger in size requiring more bandwidth, more memory, more processing power & battery life. But there is never a “Do you want to load the Flash ads for this page?” or “Do you want the fancy version of this site?” dialogue. These just load automatically on the basis of the plugin’s existence on your system.

How many consumers do you think want to make the choice to give up 2 hours (or 33%) of their battery life to see fancy ads? I haven’t seen any research against this, but my guess is very few would be cold on the iPad in this regard.

(Via @lessien and the Ideas of March.)

Black Friday & Mobile Phones, or rather, Mobile Devices

Ok, have been thinking about stats coming out of this major commerce weekend, key reading can be found as follows:

So, no surprise with more smartphone and internet capable mobile devices in the marketplace we saw a larger share of traffic going to this type of device. What surprises me is the amount of impact being attributed to devices purchased and activated in the same weekend the traffic occurred. I think this is odd from two standpoints:

  1. The numbers don’t feel like they add up: We have been reading about fantastic product and incremental market share all year long—iPhone 4 was a huge success with lines that lasted weeks (or more), millions of iPads sold over the first several months and the increase in market share for Android. How, then, are we to accept reporting that suggests that two or three days of retail traffic and activations have outweighed 10+ months of selling?
  2. The consumer experience doesn’t feel like it makes sense: I haven’t had the pleasure of activating an Android phone, but I still remember activating my iPhone 3G (and sitting through the process again with my wife (almost worse the second time around.)) I don’t see this as a desirable activity on the busiest shopping day(s) of the year. It takes too long & people might be getting all kinds of great deals on TVs and other stuff while you are waiting. I’m not saying noone got a new phone activated mind you, just not in droves.

The iPad is another story, of course, being one of the hottest products of the season, selling at a relatively accessible price point and even being mildly discounted by Apple for Black Friday. I expect many were sold, activated and used but only time will tell to what extent these new activations (and those of the iPod touch) drove additional traffic over this crucial weekend for retail.
Which reminds me: doesn’t anyone buy actual gifts on Black Friday anymore? The kind that don’t get ‘activated’ for almost a month…?

Well if that’s the cart, then this must be the …

It’s an amazing thing in this day and age that we can buy a domain and activate a good looking site via a WordPress blog in very little time. The product of such an effort is what you see here. I had an idea and now I have an email address and a rustic outpost on the web. Eventually this blog will be the mouthpiece for the company, but right now it is the front door. The horse, as it were, always precedes the cart.

Eyeon reporting begins

I thought this would be much more favourable to look at than the standard WordPress opening post. More to come as the roots of the site take hold.