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Google Glass – Is there a use for it?

In June last year Google announced the release of Google Glass in the UK. It had a very hefty price tag at £1000 which was designed to deter consumers and promote use amongst hard core techies and those who really intended to explore and find new uses for the product.

At Footsqueek we are always keen to explore new technology and see what it can be used for so we thought we would invest.

Initially its fair to say that glass had a WOW factor – no-one had seen anything like it before and it was surprising the number of people in the street who wanted to try it on and have a play. It was a little disappointing how few apps were available in the Glassware store but for the first 3 or 4 weeks we literally could not put Glass down.

Then the novelty wore off – we became irritated by how limiting the interface is; quirks such as it being impossible to hashtag from glass when sending a tweet and also the lack of integration with iOS. We also found one of the biggest limitations was that you need to spend so much time talking to it “Ok Glass” this and “OK Glass” that – talking to yourself just doesn’t “look” cool. Also imagine if 10 people in the same room had Glass – surely we would all end up talking to each others devices and having our own devices activate when we don’t want them to.

So with all of that said …. does that mean we hate glass?

NO! We just don’t think its ready yet – and given that Google isn’t pushing it perhaps they don’t think it is either. We are also not convinced that it will ever become a true consumer product and that it has a far greater appeal for use in business. Maybe the role of Glass is to assist supermarket staff when doing a stock take, or finding products on shelves. Or maybe it could help on a building site when a bricklayer has his hands full and needs to consult a document.

Or maybe Glass has another use that we haven’t yet considered ….. to this end we’ve decided to see what we can come up with. On 31st January we are holding a Footsqueek Hackathon and the topic is “An App for Google Glass”. It will be interesting to see what ideas we can come up with – and of course we’ll let you know!

Have you tried Google Glass?  Or do you have an opinion to share? Let us know!

The demise of foursquare

Do you know what foursquare is?

I’ve been a reluctant user of the service that allows users to “checkin” and earn badges based upon checkin locations. A couple of years ago I got really into it, particularly when on holiday and would literally check in 10’s of times every day.

The social side of the service never really took off though – a few of my friends had it and it was fun to compete to become the mayor of some local hotspots. Then life took over and I found I didn’t really have a need for it and although still installed on my phone wasn’t an essential everyday app.

In 2014 Foursquare came back into my life (briefly). I opened the app and the service insisted that I download SWARM. This is apparently the new foursquare, and the foursquare app is apparently used for other things. I didn’t really understand the new foursquare or SWARM so out of interest I did a little research. Apparently the core functionality of Foursquare is its “yelp like experience” – clearly I had been missing something.

Having researched it – I still didn’t understand what foursquare was now for, so I deleted it. I wonder how many others did the same? The usage data reported here seems to suggest many did.

So on the back of that my prediction is that 2015 will see the true demise of Foursquare.

What does this teach us? Companies need to focus on what they do well and make sure that they don’t confuse their customer base. I believe that consumers like things simple and easy to understand – if you’re going to launch a new product don’t replace an existing product with something that is totally different and unexpected. Seems simple but even the largest and most well financed companies sometimes get it wrong – and sometimes once it goes wrong there is no way back.

Do you think Foursquare will recover?

Generating Money from Mobile Apps

A couple of weeks ago I was privileged to attend IOSDEVUK in Aberystwyth. The conference, which is organised by the University of Aberystwyth is a chance for IOS developers from around the UK to come together share ideas and find out what’s new in the world of mobile apps.

One of the most interesting things at the conference was a talk given by Craig Lockwood (@craiginwales) entitled “The state of the Union”. The talk focussed on some fascinating facts which are important to anyone considering developing an app.

In recent years apps have received much publicity in which it is demonstrated that creators have made huge sums of money. This is certainly the case with apps such as angry birds having generetaed in excess of $70,000,000. What I hadn’t realised was that only 1.3% of apps downloaded on android are paid for by it’s user base – this lead @craginwales to the conclusion that “Android Users Are Broke”.

It would a fair question to ask how android developers make their money. In terms on Angry Birds the answer is simple – Advertising. The company generates an estimated $1 million each month. This model is fine for apps that are extremely popular and well used, but what about the lesser known apps …. how do they generate a revenue?

Compare this to downloads from IOS where an estimated 18% of apps are paid for resulting in $2.5 billion paid out to developers.

Whether you have an iPhone, Android, Windows Phone or a dare I say a Blackberry mobile devices are here to stay. More than half of us mobile users now use our phone in place of an alarm clock. 28% of us use our phone instead of a laptop and the iPAD alone is now outselling PC’s from all manufacturers combined. The fact that surprised me most was that currently more iPhones are being purchased in the UK each day than there are people being born!

So why is all of that interesting? For me it demonstrates that IOS devices have the most longevity because they have the most robust financial model. It also re-enforces the potential market if you can come up with a new and innovative app idea. The problem? The more apps that are created the harder it is to come up with an idea that no-one else has done.

So what’s your idea?