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Showing posts from December, 2012

What's your usage of free vs. paid apps?

When I read reviews of free apps in tech publications, they often have a line to the effect, "There is paid advertising which is/is not intrusive. I would gladly pay a dollar to turn the ads off".

There is a line of thought that subscriber payment can support the app developer and also provides an alternate business model to ad-funded apps. It is an extension of the ad-free model of paid television - subscribe to the channel and we will turn off the ads.

In practice though, it does not work  that way for consumers, or for businesses. 

I presume that in the course of a customer life cycle, showing ads will earn more revenue than the $1 or 2 that I pay one time to remove  them. The scale increases exponentially when we talk of hugely popular free  apps with  millions of downloads. 

Also, strangely, I do not mind it if mobile apps display ads. I do not find them obtrusive, I don't worry about how much data they consume and I would not find it a value proposition to pay purely t…

The war of the social networks has begun!

If you are a user of Twitter and Instagram, you must have noticed the controversial clash between the two companies which has been widely reported in the media, and escalated after Instagram rejected a buy-out bid from Twitter in favor of being acquired by Facebook. The latest episode involved Instagram revoking the ability of users to see photos in their Twitter Stream, and Twitter retaliating by launching their own  photo filters which compete directly with the photo sharing apps' functionality.

Twitter has been in the news for other hard hitting decisions notably increasing restrictions placed on developers of third party Twitter applications like Tweet Deck and Twitterific. Twitter's new policies appear to be directed towards creating and owning the unique user experience of Twitter rather than leaving it to competition. Instagram has made a similar move with the launch of web profiles, which make pictures taken with the app publicly viewable and searchable. 

I am not a heav…

Why Android Jellybean has overtaken iOS

Over the weekend, I have been using Jellybean 4.2.1, the newest Android OS update from Google, on my Galaxy Nexus. I have been using iOS 6 on my iPad since a month as well. After comparing the latest operating systems from Apple and Google, I have to give it to Google - in a remarkably short time span, Android has surpassed iOS in terms of features, user experience and sheer future potential. It is clearly the most dynamic operating system in the market now, and competition will have its work cut out to deliver something more compelling.
Here are my reasons why Android has pulled ahead of iOS with this update
1. Google Now - the future lies in telling you what you need, before you search for it
Google Now represents a huge breakthrough in search interface and technology innovation. Search till now has been a passive  tool - as a user, you have to type a search query - and the search engine uses algorithms, a knowledge of your profile, and an understanding of what other users searched for…

Wearable tech and the future of health

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Last week, I started using the Fitbit wireless activity tracker. Of course, fitness and activity monitors have been around for years - the Nike FuelBand, Jawbone Up and Fitbit are just some of the products that come to mind. Till today, all the activity trackers are basically pedometers/altimeters, with some (like Fitbit) offering an additional functionality of tracking sleep, linking with inputs from other mobile apps etc. 

The real differentiation apart from design and looks comes from the software interface and the way it presents statistics and graphs of your activity level to help you understand and modify your lifestyle to be more active. For example Nike Fuel is designed to share data and competitively motivate each other to perform better. Fitbit is more oriented to people who like to monitor their own stats personally

I really like the Fitbit for a simple reason - as a researcher, I believe that data empowers us to change. At work, I deal on a regular basis with customer data a…