Smartphone users have a wide range of mobile photo-sharing services, the latest phase of social media, to choose from. It’s starting to feel like if you’re not using a photo-sharing app, then you must be building one.
This week more new photo-sharing apps launched, while existing app Instagram passed a milestone.
Perhaps the only surprising thing about Apple’s long-expected decision to end its US exclusivity with AT&T and bring the iPhone to Verizon Wireless is that it didn’t wait for the No. 1 network’s upgrade to much-faster 4G, which is still in process. The fact that it couldn’t wait shows how badly Apple wants to boost growth both for the gadgets themselves and more fundamentally for its slice of the mobile audience, where Google is pulling ahead.
There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth this week about some dismal iPad magazine app sales figures from the US Audit Bureau of Circulation.
Apple’s wonder-tablet was a contributing factor in the FT’s awarding Steve Jobs its person of the year and has been a huge success. But that success doesn’t seem to have rubbed off on traditional media companies just yet.
Ebay is betting big on mobile shopping. Last month we revealed what a hit the Ebay iPhone app already had proved — ringing up $400m in sales.
“More than 4.6m people have downloaded the Ebay app,” we wrote, “using it to buy not just books and clothes, but also a Lamborghini, a $150,000 boat, and a Bentley.”
Now Ebay is rolling out a suite of new and upgraded mobile offerings. In addition to a refreshed Ebay iPhone App and a updated mobile website (m.ebay.com), it is also debuting a new app called Deals.
Starbucks unveiled a first-of-its-kind app today that lets users pay for in-store purchases using their iPhone, a move that could pave the way for a new generation of e-commerce applications on Apple’s popular phone.
With the Starbucks Card Mobile App, users can sync their prepaid Starbucks Card with the app, check their balance and refill it using a credit card. At some stores, they can also use the app to pay for Venti coffees and Frappuccinos.
When users select the “payment trial” function on the app, a QR code appears on the iPhone screen. A barista then scans the iPhone, deducting the cost from the Starbucks Card balance, and completing the purchase.
The trial is being rolled out at 16 locations in Seattle and Silicon Valley, where there is high usage of both iPhones and Starbucks Cards. But expect the programme to go nationwide soon, and for other retailers to follow.
We all know that Google can count. The company based its IPO on a billion times the mathematical constant “e”, so I don’t doubt the arithmetic credentials at Mountain View.
So the launch of the Android market, the application store for the new G1 phone, indicates that the Android team needs to check their calculations.