We’ll be up in Duluth this Wednesday promoting our TeenAgree app at the Toward Zero Deaths conference. Come see us at the Edmund Fitzgerald Hall (no Gordon Lightfoot, please) in the Duluth Convention Center!

This is not a Steve Jobs Tribute

We’re well behind the curve on the Steve Jobs tributes, and, frankly, I’m not in a position to offer one. Many more people have known him better (which wouldn’t be particularly difficult), have been Apple devotees for longer, and have put a great deal of thought into what Steve Jobs has given to the world. Instead of a tribute, I want to take this opportunity to talk about why I love my job.

I’ve been working here at Eye Phone Group for just seven months, but they have, without a doubt, been some of the best seven months of my professional life. When I first began the interview process, I was seriously nervous. Sure, I was showing up with years of business and marketing experience, but aside from Angry Birds and my banking apps, my experience in the world of mobile technology was pretty limited. Nonetheless, I walked in to the Northrup King Building with my head held high and the words “what I don’t now know, I can learn” on my lips.

Jump forward to today, and I have accumulated an insane amount of knowledge about mobile technology. I’ve learned that the world of mobile is paradoxically limitless and limited, I’ve watched mobile transform the way companies do business and the way people live their lives, I’ve seen adoption of new technology speed up to unprecedented levels, and I’ve determined that being a programmer is a job I never, never want. Terms like API have found their way into my vernacular, much to the dismay of my non-techy husband.

In short, working for a mobile app development firm has changed me, and I’ve fully embraced the change. I enjoy learning new things and gaining knowledge, but that is just the smallest part of why I love my job. It’s how my non-technical background combined with what I’ve learned can help our clients understand mobile making this new frontier a little friendlier and less intimidating that makes my day, it’s seeing our customers realize business efficiencies and achieve their goals using a technology that, like me, they never even dreamed could do more than entertain teenagers that gets me excited for work. I can’t wait to see what new challenges await our team each day and how we will overcome them, pushing the boundaries of what has been done by anyone.

As I mentioned, this isn’t a Steve Jobs tribute, it’s a thank you note to him and all of the pioneers who made the world of mobile what it is today. Without them, I wouldn’t be half so thrilled to go to work each day.

Alice Kirchhoff, VP Operations

We launched our TeenAgree app at an event leading up to the Teen Choice Awards in Hollywood, CA. 

The Fading Line Between Smartphone and Tablet

Two recent product announcements by Samsung highlight an interesting direction in mobile technology: the crossover device. Both the unveiling of the Galaxy Note and the anticipated UK launch of the Galaxy Wifi 3.6 show that the line between what is tablet and what is phone is becoming increasingly tenuous. 

The Galaxy Note is, in fact, a smartphone, though it may initially be difficult to see this around it’s enormous 5.3 inch screen. In addition to its in between size, the Note comes with a dedicated stylus which has its very own slot in the Galaxy Note case, the exact same processor as the Galaxy Tab 7.7 (dual-core 1.4GHz), 1GB of RAM and either 16GB or 32GB of built in storage. The device unveiled at the IFA trade show in Berlin was running Android 2.3.5, but, with no announcement about a release date, it seems likely that it will eventually be running the upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich Android OS.

The Galaxy Wifi 3.6 is a whole other animal. With a mere 3.65” screen, and Android’s Gingerbread (2.3) operating system, one may think that this is just another Andorid smartphone from Samsung. Certainly, it comes with all the typical features; GPS, earphone jack, mini USB, micro SD card slot, bluetooth, accelerometer, etc… However, it lacks one major feature of smartphones: a phone. This wifi only device is an interesting addition to Samsung’s product line, assuming as it does that there are those who want the features of a smartphone without having to pay monthly data charges. Or, on the flip side, the usefulness of a tablet without the size.

For the time being, both phones will be out of reach to US consumers. The Galaxy Wifi will be released only in the UK, and the Galaxy Note is not currently slated for release, but if Samsung is calling this correctly, we may be seeing more products bridging the gap between smartphone and tablet before too long.

Check out this video highlighting our TeenAgree app!

Mobile apps as part of a short-term campaign

August 22, 2011Magnus Jern

Magnus Jern is CEO of Golden Gekko

By Magnus Jern

It is becoming as natural today for a brand to have a mobile application and mobile Web site as it was to launch a Web site in the 1990s.

This is not a question about technology or effectiveness – brands simply need to be where consumers are, and consumers are spending more time on app stores and interacting with apps.

At the same time, most users only have about 10 apps that they use every week or month.

One-off-apps effective as core business apps
But is there anything wrong with 1 million people using your app only once?

Mobile apps as part of a short-term campaign may only be used just a few times, but the marketing effect can be just as efficient as that of a core business app or mobile Web site.

You can draw a parallel between a mobile app and a viral video, an advertisement on YouTube or a brand microsite. Most people will only visit it once, but the brand manager will be very satisfied as long as the interaction has made a longstanding impression.

Examples of great mobile app campaigns include:

Waterslide Extreme (Barclaycard)
A fun 3D game, based on the TV advert, which received more than 20 million downloads during its first year.

Malibu Bowling (Pernod Ricard)
The first branded bowling game in which users can bowl with melons and coconuts, in one player or multiplayer mode, achieved 10 million-plus downloads.

Lynx FX mobile apps (Unilever)
A series of mobile apps that “turn a mobile phone into a pulling machine” encouraged sharing of the mobile app experience and was one of the most talked about mobile marketing campaigns in Britain.

Virtual Zippo Lighter (Zippo)
One of the first branded iPhone apps which is still going strong with 20 million-plus downloads across the world.

Note: Downloads figures are based on public comments from each of the brands.

Campaign apps are quicker to develop
While core business apps and mobile Web sites can take up to a year to develop including the required backend integration and testing, one-off apps are less complex and can be developed and launched within weeks.

As a matter of fact, mobile platforms seem to be getting more complex at the moment due to technical factors such as integration with legacy systems for customer registration, product catalogues, ordering systems, payment systems that require PKI certification, all combined with tough security and reliability requirements.

But there is no reason why you cannot launch other apps in parallel with these being built or upgraded.

Examples of core applications and mobile Web sites include:

A high-complexity app, it allows both Pay As You Go and Pay Monthly customers to check their tariff details, see how much of their inclusive allowance of texts and calls has been used, and view their latest bill or any bolt-ons that are on their account.

This extremely well-developed, high-complexity app allows users to access the eBay marketplace including the ability to shop and sell.

Tesco Clubcard app
This medium complexity app can be used in place of your Clubcard at the checkout in most Tesco stores and has more than a half-million downloads to date.

Heathrow Airport 
The high complexity Heathrow app provides access to travel planning tools including parking and public transport, terminal information, flight monitoring, weather, news and special offers.

One-off apps offer more freedom in terms of innovation and creativity
One of the beauties of software development is that concepts can be turned in to real apps that can be tested by the end users within a matter of days or weeks.

This means that, rather than spending weeks on requirement specifications and designs which never get developed, time can be spent on creating and testing the apps with customers.

This potentially means that they can be more innovative and creative and leave a deeper impression with the end user. It also allows the company to try a new idea in one market and incorporate the concept and learnings into the core service later.

Remember that consumers are easily bored and constantly looking for new things.

Campaign apps and core apps complement each other
It is also important to remember that there is no need for an either/or situation.

In the same way that brands usually have corporate websites which live for years and microsites launched throughout the year for targeted campaigns, we expect brands to do the same with apps.

For example, a three-month campaign app for Marks & Spencer’s Spring season collection could very well be the main driver of traffic to an mobile commerce application or mobile Web site where customers can go to buy the goods.

Apps can be cross-promoted and they can also invoke each other on some platforms, such as Android and Windows Mobile 7, where the purchase button in a campaign app launches the core app or provides a direct link to the mobile Web site where the product can be purchased.

So what are you waiting for? Go away and develop some exciting apps for your next campaign and get some quick wins while you are building your mobile platform for the future.

Magnus Jern is CEO of Golden Gekko, London. Reach him atmj@goldengekko.com.

Our latest app is now available for download on iTunes and the Android Market. If you want more information, visit TeenAgree.com!