Every other month or so I get another comment from Joe Koufman, the VP of Business Development and Marketing at Engauge, on how Android is gaining ground on Apple’s iOS. These reminders are actually friendly — Joe and I have been at it ever since I wrote late last year about whether developers should embrace the Android OS. Joe knows that I’m passionate about my iPhone as he is about his Android. And we’ve spoken on numerous occasions about how Android is available on smartphone devices by multiple mobile equipment makers where Apple’s iOS is only available through AT&T (well, at least until the upcoming rumored announcement by Verizon this December) so the deck is stacked in Google’s favor.
I watched a short video this past weekend on Business Insider that featured Shopkick co-founder and CEO Cyriac Roeding who spoke about location-based services (LBS). In the video, Roeding provided a simple explanation that mobile LBS applications generate value for retailers by generating traffic. True and personally not too surprising consider how I noticed that my initial interaction with Foursquare was an odd game where I felt motivated to consume by checking-in at new places.
While earning points or rewards can make the check-in experience entertaining and interactive, LBS applications take it a step further by allowing shoppers to expose a storefront and/or products to an entire network of friends. Knowing that we tend to socialize with friends with similar values, tastes and interests, retailers can expect that the exposure will not only bring foot traffic but it will actually attract shoppers that are motivated to make similar purchases. Considering that retail sales were relatively flat in August according to MasterCard Advisor’s SpendingPulse (August 2010), retailers should be looking for every trick in the book to encourage consumers to open up their wallets this final quarter of the year and beyond.
The iPhone developers were walking around the office yesterday with smiles on their faces. Not only was it Friday but news spread that the iOS terms of service drama was over. In case you missed it, Apple reversed course on the decision to force developers into using Xcode/Objective-C. They issued a press release that outlined new terms that allow developers to:
Use third party development platforms, such as MonoTouch and Appcelerator, to create iPhone applications. In a blog post on the decision, Jeff Haynie signaled that Appcelerator was in the clear and thanked developers for their continued support.
Use mobile advertising platforms other than iAds/Quattro. Google was also gushing about the new terms of service and how the mobile community will benefit by having multiple platforms in the mix.
Use third party mobile analytics platforms, such as flurry, motally (now owned by Nokia) and Distimo.
On the third point however, the new terms reinforced the need for developers to respect user privacy. Continue reading →