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NPR’s Planet Money podcast covers Facebook from a couple interesting sides. First an interesting story of a New Orleans pizza place wanting to do some Facebook advertising and then the second half of the show features a despicable company that sells likes to companies who have no clue why one is valuable.

RIM Reveals Blackberry 10

RIM has finally shown off the long awaited (and delayed) Blackberry 10 and the interface looks like a mix of a little Windows Metro, a little WebOS, and even a little Facebook thrown in for good measure. Overall it looks like there are some solid ideas and a heavy reliance on gestures, but based on the limited reveal it’s hard to tell how well it’s all coming together.

Check out a video overview of Blackberry 10 from The Verge below:

It’s still a ways from launch but right now the home screen tiles, messaging, and phone calls all have different feeling UIs and seem like they could each be from a different operating system. The camera app certainly has a lot of “wow factor.” The reliance on gestures is also interesting, as a tech geek it appeals to me but studies show the average user has an incredibly difficult time with gesture based interfaces and gesture discoverability is low.

From a development side of thing, Blackberry 10 will support apps developed with C/C++ but is also pushing their WebWorks SDK hard. WebWorks will allow devs to build apps that integrate with core Blackberry functionality using web technologies such as HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. If WebWorks works as advertised it could lower the barrier of entry and help bring app developers aboard that would otherwise ignore the platform.

Blackberry 10 is awfully late to the party. With WebOS already dead and Windows Phone struggling to make a sales dent, will BB10 be able to be keep up at all with iPhone and Android? It’s going to take great software, hardware, app and media ecosystem, and a whole lot of marketing to spur renewed interest from either consumers or app developers. They’ve got a long way to go and good interface ideas won’t be enough.

Measuring Android Version Fragmentation

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Comparing Android version market share and adoption rates over time.

Android fragmentation is a dirty little buzzword you’ve likely heard everywhere from Angry Birds to Steve Jobs and probably in strategy meetings with us here at MarketNet about that big app idea your company has.

Just what exactly is fragmentation and how big of a problem is it for Android and your project? Chris Sauve at pxldot has done a great job summarizing and charting the issue on his blog post Android Measuring Stick.

One of the best things about Google’s Android operating system is that it’s open source and available for other developers and device manufacturers to pretty much do whatever they’d like with it. That means we can get cool things like fitness accessories and Fossil watches powered by Android, but it also means that there’s no one true version of Android out there that to develop for.

Right now there are three versions of Android still out there in numbers large enough to require support, and that’s ignoring the brand new Android 4.0 (also called Ice Cream Sandwich) that was released in November and is currently running on about 1% of Android devices. It’s easy to predict that in just a month or two there will be four versions of Android out there, each with huge numbers of users. Even if version 2.1 (Eclair) is “only” at a 7.6% share, with the number of total Android devices out there numbering in the hundreds of millions that is a lot of potential customers you could be turning away if your site or app doesn’t work with that version. Add in the diversity of screen sizes available and you’re starting to understand what a difficult and important issue market fragmentation can be for a mobile project.

Google Chrome Coming to Android Devices*

Google Chrome is finally coming to Android phones and tablets. A beta is available for download now if you’re one of the lucky few already running Android 4.0/Ice Cream Sandwich (hence the asterisk* in the post title.) No word on when (or if) Chrome will come to other Android versions or become the operating system’s default browser.

In general the user interface looks very intuitive and clean, particularly the tab view and tab switching functionality. Chrome for Android will also reportedly bring improved performance and better rendering of pages. Plus if you’re signed in with a Google account you can sync things like tabs and bookmarks across devices (phone, tablet, and desktop.)

Get more information and some hands-on impressions over at The Verge.

Update: Chrome for Android won’t support Flash. From Adobe, “Adobe is no longer developing Flash Player for mobile browsers, and thus Chrome for Android Beta does not support Flash content.”

Microsoft Says Goodbye to IE6

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Goodbye IE6!

If you’re a web developer, I hope you’re not all partied out from your New Year’s celebrations because there’s an even better reason to celebrate: Internet Explorer 6 usage in the United States has now officially dropped below 1%!

It depends on the project, but there is often little reason to spend the time and money it takes to attempt to provide the exact same experience for users of a 10-year-old browser. Even Microsoft agrees supporting IE6 should be a “low priority.”

Link: The US Says Goodbye to IE6

More Consumers Use Mobile Internet Daily than Fixed-Line Internet

The phenomenal growth of mobile Internet usage continues.

Based on the recently released MEF Global Consumer Survey of over 8,000 consumers in nine countries (including the US), more people now access the mobile Internet on a daily basis than do fixed-line Internet. This was true of each market in the survey.

Other numbers that immediately stand out from the report are that 72% of survey respondents use the mobile Internet daily and an amazing 18% no longer access the Internet using a land line at all. Product research for both online and offline shopping was a huge driver of mobile usage.

Is your company still neglecting mobile? Then you are also neglecting a good (and rapidly increasing) portion of your visitors. Talk to MarketNet about what your company’s mobile strategy should be and we’ll make sure you’re not just meeting but exceeding your customers’ mobile expectations.

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RIP Steve Jobs. 1955 – 2011.

Shocked and saddened by the news of the passing of Apple CEO and founder Steve Jobs tonight. Despite his illness and his resignation as CEO just a few weeks ago, this still has affected me greatly. I had to excuse myself from dinner to compose myself and acknowledge my feelings when I learned of the news tonight, via a push message from CNN’s iPhone app of course. As US President Barack Obama put it, “There may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.”

From Apple.com:

Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.

Amazon Announces New Kindles, New Cloud-Accelerated Web Browser

amazon-kindle-fireamazon-kindle-fireSome huge technology announcements from Amazon today as they introduced three new Kindle devices, a new $79 Kindle, the Kindle Touch, and the Android powered Kindle Fire tablet. As a web agency, the most interesting device is the new 7″ tablet. So far the iPad has largely been the only tablet to capture enough market and mindshare that it is even considered during the design and development of new web sites. With the Kindle Fire’s low price ($199) and Amazon’s ability to slap it front and center everyday on the homepage, the tablet has a strong chance to make a significant impact.

Equally interesting is the announcement that the Kindle Fire will feature a cloud-accelerated web browser called Silk that splits the work of fetching and rendering web sites between the device and Amazon’s cloud services. The browser promises to speed web browsing by reducing DNS requests, caching site data on Amazon Web Services cloud, optimizing site files such as images, and prefetching webpages based on aggregate browsing data.

Continue reading → Amazon Announces New Kindles, New Cloud-Accelerated Web Browser

No Flash Support in Internet Explorer 10 Metro

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The touch friendly, Metro-style version if IE10 will not support Flash or other plug-ins. (Image: Favbrowser.com)

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 10 will not support any browser plug-ins when running in the new slick Metro mode. Most notably, that means no Flash support and a reliance on HTML5, JavaScript, and other standards-based technologies for video and other interactivity. When running in standard desktop mode, IE10 will support both plug-ins and extensions.

Metro is the touch-friendly, full screen interface that will run on top of Windows 8 and be the main mode for touch devices such as tablets. According to Microsoft, “running Metro style IE plug-in free improves battery life as well as security, reliability, and privacy for consumers.”

This is another big blow for Flash, which is already not supported on many mobile devices including iPhones and iPads. While there are still things Flash does better (or more consistently across browsers) than HTML5 and JavaScript, developing in Flash is making less and less business sense as mobile web usage continues to explode.

Source: Metro style browsing and plug-in free HTML5