Friday, 25 January 2013

The Shift From Paid Apps to Freemium

For the last year then there has been a big shift away from paid apps to Freemium Apps in the App Stores. What does Freemium mean I hear you say! Freemium basically means that the App is free to initially download and use but that you then upgrade using in-app purchase. The best example of this is downloading a Freemium game that has 3 free levels and then you pay within the App to get the other 50. This has the big advantage for users as they are getting quality Apps for free and if the App proves itself to be decent it's only at that point that they part with any cash.

This model seems to really work commercially too as if you look in the Apple App store then most of the top grossing Apps now use this business model. Of the top 20 top grossing Apps today (25th January 2013) then 17 of them are Freemium Apps. That's a whopping 85%!

So if the end user is getting a great deal and only paying for Apps they try before they buy, and the developer is earning more money, then surely everyone wins? Well yes but with one caveat; there are Apps out there where a couple of in-App purchases just aren't enough. The best example of these are the strategy type games where you need to buy power ups to be successful or virtual currency. These things get used up within the game and then you need to buy more. There are cases where children have racked up huge bills on their parents phones on these kind of games by simply buying more and more within the App.

Our advice is to know exactly what you're downloading and if children are involved then make sure your phone settings are set to require a passcode to make any in-App purchase. Instructions on how to do so are below:

To turn off in-app purchasing, do the following:

1. From your home screen, tap on the Settings app
2. Tap on General
3. Scroll about halfway down the page and tap on Restrictions
4. Tap the Enable Restrictions button
5. You'll be asked to Set a Passcode. The Passcode is a password that locks certain functions of the iOS device.
6. Once the passcode is set, scroll down to the Allowed Content section. Slide the In-App Purchases slider to Off. This will prevent anyone who doesn't know your passcode from making in-app purchases.

Friday, 18 January 2013

TV on the Go

As TV and media channels become increasingly on-line many of us can claim we have not sat and watched the TV for months, when in fact we have watched TV programs but just on our laptops or mobiles. It is now possible for us to watch TV on the go, whether we are waiting for a bus, on a lunch break at work or tucked up in bed. It is now loads easier to stay entertained while you’re on the go.

There are mobile catch up services such as BBC iPlayer, Hulu and Xfinity TV that have Apps available for your iPhone so you can watch what you missed while you were at the pub with your mates. Then there are other services that can cost a couple of pounds a month and you get unlimited access to your favourite TV programs, past and present.

You can also stream live TV from your home signal to your mobile phone, wherever you can get signal. You can watch exactly the same thing on the train journey home that your wife is watching on TV while curled up on the sofa.

It’s not something you’d want to do all the time as it can become costly, but you can buy your favourite programs through iTunes. You can then watch them whenever you have an Apple device to hand. It’s similar to the idea behind a Kindle, but you’re building up a library of films, instead of books.

It seems that Digital Video Broadcasts are soon to come to our phones, the theory being that you will be able to pick up ‘real’ TV broadcasts on your phone by using a built in antenna. Sadly Nokia are the only company to have introduced Digital TV Receivers into their handsets, but we are sure the rest are to follow.

TV is definitely now a lot easier to watch on the go!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Leave your wallet, just use your phone!

Do you remember years ago when a mobile phone was invented so you could phone people on the go, so you could be mobile but still keep in touch? Then you could text people as well, so you didn’t have to call them if you were in a rush. Then you could take photos on your phone, play games on it and surf the internet – now you can make payments for real items on your phone too.

You can now do your banking on the move, check your bank balance on the internet; you can download apps to buy things through your smartphone you can text to donate to your chosen charity, or, most excitingly, you can make contactless payments on your mobile phone.

There are now around nineteen million contactless bank cards in the form of credit cards and debit cards, these allow the phone owner to pay for products in the UK up to the value of £15 by simply holding the card over the reader, no pin or signature is required to authorise the payment.

The technology that has made this possible is called NFC (Near Field Communication) and it is now being incorporated into the latest smartphones.

Having the Near Field Communication in your mobile phone means that you do not need to have your actual credit or debit card, you just hold the phone over the reader in the shop and the payment is automatically taken from your account – as easy as that!

Currently it is just Orange and Barclay Card that are offering this technology and it’s only available on one phone, but experts have predicted that many more companies will be offering it over the next few years meaning that you never have the embarrassment of leaving your bank card at home and having no cash in your wallet.

The contactless security is built on exactly the same secure technology as Chip and Pin was. For the phone owners own security you are only able to make a certain number of contactless transactions before the phone owner is requested to enter their Pin Number at the terminal.

If your phone was to become stolen, as with your bank card, you would have legal protection from your bank. Exactly the same legal protection would be offered on your phone being stolen and payments being made, as to your credit card being stolen and payments being made.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Over 1.7 Billion Apps Downloaded Over Christmas

Mobile analytics firm Flurry have just published some stats from the week between Christmas and New Year's. It was the largest week for new device activations and app downloads in iOS and Android history!

Analyzing more than 260,000 apps running on the majority of iOS and Android devices, Flurry said that approximately 17.4 million iOS and Android devices were activated and 328 million apps were downloaded on Christmas Day alone. During the Christmas week, more than 50 million gadgets were activated and and 1.76 billion apps were downloaded, the firm estimated.

Last year people downloaded 1.2 billion iOS and Android apps in that same week so a 40% increase over last year shows just how much the market is still growing.

Flurry expects that in 2013, it will become the norm to see more than 1 billion App downloads per week, maybe even hitting 2 million by the fourth quarter of the year.

"Following a year where Google and Apple drove unprecedented adoption of mobile devices, Facebook declared itself a 'mobile' company, and Amazon and Microsoft both made significant investments into mobile computing, we look forward to continued record-breaking adoption of smart devices and applications," Peter Farago, VP of Flurry said.