56% of U.S. adults have a smartphone: What is your business doing to take advantage of this?

According to Pew, 56% of American adults now own a smartphone.

What is your business doing to take advantage of this?

If your business does not have a plan in place that reflects this reality, you may be missing opportunities to grow your company or setting up your business for failure in the future (probably both). If your company has not considered a website optimized for tablets/mobile phones or a mobile app on the top smartphone platforms, it is in your best interest to research this and determine what best fits your company moving forward. Please have this conversation and weigh the pros and cons of doing something versus doing nothing.


E-Reading increases and physical books decline

E-Reading increases and physical books decline

With prices that vary considerably (E-Books may be as much as 30-50% cheaper online or more) and with options such as the Nook or Kindle apps for PCs, it is no wonder that electronic reading has jumped and traditional books have declined. Then, if you add in how dedicated E-Readers have gotten cheaper and  tablet and smartphone ownership has spiked, more and more readers have the option of having a decent, cheaper reading experience than traditional books.

This does not mean that E-Books are better than traditional hard copy books, it just means that the value and price equation has convinced many readers to favor e-books over hard copy, physical books.


Tablet ownership has increased

Tablet ownership has increased

Tablets, when compared to other computing devices like Laptops and Desktops, cost a lot less. They do not necessarily have to have subscription service for data, unless you want to have 3G or 4G service supporting it (Smartphone and Tablet plans range anywhere from $35 to over $100  a month, depending on carrier and coverage). So, when the economy retracted between 2007 and 2009, and the recovery was not as robust as many of us have hoped, users were faced with some stark financial choices. They were also compelled to adjust their entertainment dollars as well.

That was the financial side of things. Now, if you look at the functionality, many users just want to check email, respond to social network updates and notifications, and check the news. Tablets are great at this and have battery life far better than most laptops. Apps have also made tablet use more productive and allowed some users to avoid their laptops and desktops unless there is a task that is just more efficient to do on a laptop or desktop. Tablets and smartphones, because of this increased functionality and productivity at a lower initial cost, are probably the biggest reasons that the PC market is in decline (not Windows 8, although some cite it as a reason).

So, it is not a huge surprise that tablet ownership has increased.


The stylus is not dead

Warning! The stylus is not dead!

Touch can be a great addition to the computing experience for a number of users. However, for complex or complicated tasks that require precision, a stylus can make a big difference in the productivity of mobile users. Therefore, it is no surprise that from Samsung includes a stylus with the Galaxy Note and Adobe has recently focused more on the stylus in some of its development plans.


Windows 8 Learning Curve: All true or all hype?

Windows 8 Learning Curve: All true or all hype?

Having used Windows 8 since the launch date, personally I do not see any hurdles for computer literate or tech savvy users. Not productive? Hardly. Windows 8 store contains a number of productivity apps to help a business that does not have a large IT budget. From OneNote and Evernote Modern UI apps to open source software such as GIMP and Paint.NET that are Windows 8 desktop apps, there is a little bit for everyone. Machines boot faster and are more secure than Windows 7 (Still room for improvement of course). The only issues I have seen relate to drivers (Multi-monitor was buggy at first, so was Wi-Fi).

When it comes to regular users, the fact that many of them litter their desktop with numerous documents does not mean that they are necessarily endeared to the Start Screen displaying apps in their face. Many users do not know how to use file explorer. So, the fact that they have to click a Metro UI tile to go to the desktop is already a bother. Also, being unfamiliar with starting Microsoft Office and then opening a file, there could be some users who could get frustrated with the process (may not realize that they can pin a doc to start screen).

People will adapt, but it will take time. By offering some help in Windows 8.1 should allow users to better ease into the new UI.


Lumia 1020 and its camera

What will be the market reception towards the Lumia 1020?

Having a 41 megapixel camera is an impressive stat. The question that will come when tech users examine the hardware is, “Can I take advantage of it?” Case in point, some Android devices have a low heap size. This means that images will not be taken that exceed this memory size, so many phones are set to reduce the resolution to prevent this. Will users notice? Sometimes. Other times, no. Users want cameras that take great photos and provide quick and easy access to them to show and share.

What will Nokia and Windows Phone be able to do? As part of this discussion, it also comes up whether or not Windows Phone is a compelling enough OS to get users interested in and excited about the camera. Only time will tell.



Windows Store reaches 100,000

Windows Store reaches 100,000

It took longer than what was anticipated, but it is finally at this first big milestone.

If Windows 8 (Metro UI and app store) and Windows Phone 8 are to be viable, the perceived gap in available core apps must be bridged. Windows stores do not need to exceed iOS or Google Play (How many duplicate apps are out there? Argument: Quantity or Quality?) to be considered at least passable. However, they do need to have apps that users are using quite frequently. Facebook and Youtube are or will be addressed (Why did it take so long?). However, where are LinkedIn and Instagram? If Windows has these core apps covered and a good overall selection of most types of apps, the numbers are not an automatic reason to prefer Android or iOS as a platform that you as a user want to join.

Developers, on the other hand, follow the users and their dollars. By making great strides in trying to help developers port over native code and HTML5 apps, some developers will be more receptive since the cost of adapting their application to this platform have decreased. Others are going to wait until they see what the users are going to do.