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When I visited Berlin for the first time, it was shocking just how much graffiti was all around the city. On buildings, on trains, everywhere – reminded me of the 1980s on the NYC subway. While I can’t say I am a fan, some of my friends have searched out graffiti installations in cities as they travel. Today a new mobile app is launching that will help make those searches easier.
Art.mapped is a mobile app for the Apple iPhone (coming soon to Android) that maps out street art, graffiti, public art and architecture. Founder Michael Stearne notes regarding Art.mapped, “(we) catalog(s) the locations of great graffiti, street art, public art, architecture and design. Great graffiti and street art goes away and art.mapped would like to help keep a record of these works and their locations over time.”
It’s a pretty neat idea to help you find art outside a typical museum – especially as you visit new cities. And you can help the app grow by sharing art that you find in your travels. I wonder how you report where you find subway graffiti since it’s a moving target.
The app is free and you can download Art.mapped in the Apple iTunes App Store.
Continue reading “Art.Mapped Helps You Find Street Art, Graffiti, Public Art and Architecture” »
Back in December, Walmart offered the Apple iPhone 4 for $147 which included a $50 gift card. Today Walmart has announced they are bringing back the Apple iPhone 4 special for $147 with no gift card required. The sale model is a 16GB version available for both AT&T and Verizon as your carrier choice. And you can select from the black version or the new OMG OMG OMG white version. The deal is available in Walmart stores that have a mobile department.
This is a $50 savings over the Apple store price — you still need to sign a two-year contract. There are still refurb deals on the iPhone 3GS direct from AT&T for $49 and $99 however now I would steer you towards spending the extra $100 for the latest Apple iPhone model. Of course there is talk of a new iPhone arriving later this summer.
Even though AT&T is working on acquiring T-Mobile, if you live in Seattle you will want to continue reading this post. This weekend, T-Mobile stores in the Seattle area are going to hold a speed contest. If you own an Apple iPhone on either Verizon or AT&T, you can win a quick $1,000. It’s a brilliant marketing strategy because it gets customers of competing carriers to open the door to T-Mobile and to have a look at the latest Android 4G phones. It will be interesting to see if T-Mobile can convert anyone who owns an iPhone over to an Android device since we know that speed isn’t the only reason consumers select one device over another.
To win the cash, your Apple iPhone needs to beat the T-Mobile Galaxy S smartphone on the T-Mobile 4G network. The rules clearly state you can’t use the WiFi option on the iPhone, it must be on the 3G network. Additionally, the rules state, “Speed challenge consists of three tests of the Galaxy S 4G versus the iPhone based solely on download speeds as measured by the Application; participants will be eligible to receive $1,000 if their iPhones are faster in two out of the three tests.”
I am sure some of the gadget blogs will create some good 3G routines which you can use to get your iPhone ready for the competition!
I wonder what odds Vegas gives to a 3G phone beating a 4G phone in terms of download speed.
I know, I know…Apple does nothing wrong, the iPhone is perfect, yay Apple. With the required Apple is awesome statement out of the way, I’d like to share a very important bit of poor usability in the Apple App Store. The good news is that the issue can be corrected very easily.
This past week on the tech blogs there were two major stories: the launch of the $41-million, VC-baked photo sharing app Color; and the beginning of fun posts about whether we are in a bubble or not. Rackspace employee Robert Scoble wrote a rant where he described how Color will basically never be able to recover from their initial App Store launch. I haven’t installed Color but one of the things Robert noted is that Color has a large number of “scathing reviews” and two-star ratings.
I read a few of the blog posts around the Color launch and wanted to check out the reviews and ratings Robert mentions in his post so I loaded iTunes and landed on the App Store page for the Color app. Below is a screenshot of what I see when the Color page loads. If you look at the red arrow, it points to the Rating for the Color app. It says 4+ which clearly means that Color has a rating of higher than 4 but less than 5 probably meaning the average is 4.xx. This was very confusing to me because Robert said that Color had a much lower overall rating of near 2.
Oh! While it doesn’t look like a link, the “Rated 4+” actually means that the application itself has an age rating of 4+ which means it’s basically approved for all audiences.
When you scroll down on the Color app page, you see what I’ve posted below – the customer ratings for the app. This is horrible usability – it makes nearly all apps with “Customer Ratings” of below 4 appear as if they have much higher overall ratings.
Apple could easily fix this by changing “Rated 4+” to “Age Rating” and placing “Average Customer Rating” right below it with a link that takes the customer down to the customer ratings section seen below. Assuming others agree with me, it would certainly be interesting to look at download counts for low customer rating apps after the change is made to see if in fact this major usability issue led to higher download counts.
While attending Lean Startup day at SXSW 2011, I met with Ask.com VP Communications Valerie Combs to learn more about their new group texting mobile app. It seems that this year you aren’t cool if you don’t have a group texting app. Ask Around lets you view and engage in conversations near you.
You select your radius and then you can see what’s happening around that zone. You can also change the location — for example, you might be at the SXSW conference in Austin but want to see what’s happening at the Berlin main train station. You can also select a “spot” which will give you a list of popular locations to monitor the conversation.
The app doesn’t appear to have topics so it looks like everyone is just bundled together – I wonder how that works in terms of conversation flow. I guess it’s like Twitter – everyone just messages in whatever they want with no actual focus – but in this case the idea is that the conversation should be focused around a specific location.
I asked Valerie what makes Ask Around different than the 847 other group texting apps that have recently launched. She noted that Ask Around is specifically focused just on location – there are no algorithms, no matchmaker services, just a focus on the conversation around a location.
The Ask.com Ask Around app is free for download and currently only available for iPhone.
Below is Valerie’s video demo of Ask Around – you can check out another demo with Abby Johnson of WebProNews who spoke with Ask.com Chief Product and Technology Officer Lisa Kavanaugh.
Continue reading “SXSW Video Demo: Ask.com Ask Around Mobile Group Texting App” »
My First 24 Hours With Android and Virgin Mobile and Why Apple Currently Has Won The Experience Battle
When I was a youngster, I busted my butt at the supermarket every week. And about once a quarter, I bought the new Nike Air Jordan sneakers. These sneakers were crazy expensive and my mother would yell at me (mainly because people were robbed for their Jordans in NYC) that I shouldn’t spend so much on sneakers. But I remember that even though they were expensive, there was something magical about wearing them. I can’t dunk a ball (though I was good at the three) but walking around Brooklyn in the sneakers just made me feel a bit cooler than if I bought just the basic sneakers.
When people ask me why the iPhone has been so popular, I reply by saying, “it’s the white headphones.” I only owned an iPhone for three weeks when it first launched because there was no AT&T signal in my apartment building in Manhattan. When I returned the iPhone, I went with a Samsung ACE which has Windows 6 Mobile. The phone has been great, it handles email great, phone calls with Sprint have always been rock solid and I like the keyboard. It’s a great utility phone, but it doesn’t have the white headphones.
I’ve taken two flights with Virgin Atlantic in their Upper Class service (I used points back in the day when the points from Delta transferred – it was sweet!). The experience from the second I arrived at JFK and LHR was absolutely amazing. Virgin Mobile has tried to copy the “look” of Virgin Atlantic but I am not sure the experience offered is the same.
I am not an Apple fanboy, but there is no doubt that when you buy an Apple product or visit one of their stores, it’s like slipping your feet into a pair of Air Jordans. I think Apple has realized that making a phone is easy, it’s making an experience that is much harder. These mobile devices are attached at our hips, in a purse, a fanny pack, or a belt clip night and day. And so the experience is so important today with technology. I bought an Apple iPod Touch during the holidays on Amazon and just opening the packaging made me think the device was made for the experience.
If you have been looking to purchase an Apple iPhone 4, here’s the deal of the season. Apple sells the iPhone 4 mobile phone for $199. You can also purchase the iPhone 4 at an AT&T store for the same price.
Over the next week, Walmart will be selling the iPhone 4 for $199 plus a free $50 Walmart gift card. The deal begins on Saturday so don’t head over to Walmart today. What makes this deal great is if you were planning to buy an iPhone anyway, use the gift card immediately to buy an iTunes gift card and use the $50 to load up on apps and music.
Here are the terms of the Walmart deal, “Gift card offer not available online. Offer valid from Saturday, December 18 – Saturday, December 25, 2010. Offer only applies to Apple iPhone wireless phones sold with new 2-year contract or qualified upgrade. Store selection may vary. While supplies last. No rainchecks. Gift cards are not eligible to be used with the phone purchase. Offer available at select stores. See store for details.”
You can also get a discounted iPhone by purchasing a refurbished iPhone 4 through AT&T.