Welcome to ZenUnwired; a blog dedicated to tracking developments in technology and strategy, and to deciphering the impact of these developments on wired and wireless ISP's, device manufacturers, OS and application developers, and most importantly - you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Black Friday! Are you ready yet?

If you're like me then you're up early on most Black Fridays in front of your favorite store(s) - my personal favorite is Best Buy :). Regardless of where you choose to shop, it's always a good idea to do a little research ahead of time so that you'll know which stores are offering the best deals so that you're not wasting your time just driving around the city. As long as you have an internet connection, you can probably stop by one of the several
websites that are up and running that have been able to compile all the leaked Black Friday ads and make them available to those that enjoy planning ahead.

If you have an Android device however, there's the TGI Black Friday app which is currently available for FREE in the Android Market. I have been using this app for the past couple days and I've been very pleased with it. TGI Black Friday allows you to plan ahead by viewing the already several Black Friday ads that have been leaked and new deals are added as soon as they become available.

The app will arrange deals based on popularity, most recently added, stores or by category depending on your personal preference. Once you find a deal that you like, you can simply use the Add To My List feature which as the name suggests creates one big list of all your favorite deals, allowing you to stay organized. If you find a deal that's so great that you just have to tell a friend, there is also an option to share specific deals with friend via email and the app will simply provide a link to the specific deal located on it's main website www.TGIBlackFriday.com.

Another cool feature is that the app will also provide a .PDF copy of the actual store ad that you can download directly to your memory card. To use this feature you will need to select the Stores tab then select a specific store that you're interested in. Once you've selected your store you'll be provided with a list of various categories relevant to the deals being offered by that store. Simply scroll to the bottom of the list and select Download Adscan PDF and file will begin downloading. I'm not sure if this feature is available to every single store however so far I have not found a store where it was not.

There's not a whole lot that I didn't like about this app. It's pretty straight to the point and the learning curve is pretty minimal. Of course this is not something that you will find useful all year round, but those that plan on doing any kind of shopping over the holidays should get plenty of utility from this app.

To download the app, head to the Android Marketplace - or simply scan the barcode below

Happy Shopping!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pre-loaded Apps: Good, bad or just plain ugly?

Like many of you, I am NOT a fan of the apps that come pre-installed on many of our smartphones. Its not the pre-installing that irritates me; its the 'if you want to uninstall these apps, you're outta luck' attitude that really gets my goat. For example - I have absolutely no interest in Nascar but the app stays on MY phone taunting me everytime I'm scrolling through my list of apps. On my earlier devices (Blackberry Pearl & Palm Pre), there was just no way to remove these pre-loaded apps unless you literally hacked into the phone. On Android, I at least have the option of deleting the shortcut from my Home screens. That said, I know the app is still on my phone, consuming my phone's memory, eating into my battery and other scarce resources, and generally being that itch I cant scratch. 

This got me to thinking: Beyond the obvious revenue/strategic/legal agreements etc., why do carriers put these apps on our customers phones? Do our customers even like having these apps on their phones? Do they use these apps or are they just as frustrated as I am?

The reality it seems, is that I am in the minority. I recently came across an interesting research report called "Preloaded Applications– The Hype and the Reality" by iGR Research that contained the answers my questions. Here are some of the highlights of the iGR Research study that really caught my attention.

  1. Only 5% of respondents indicated that they had "jail-broken" or "unlocked" their cellular phone
  2. 25% of respondents said that the kinds or quality of applications pre-loaded or pre-installed on their handset was a factor in their purchase decision.
  3. More than two-thirds of all respondents said the pre-installed apps were a factor driving the purchase of their device.
  4. When asked how they discovered new apps, 48% of respondents said they tried the pre-loaded or pre-installed applications on their phone; 33% said they heard about apps from friends and family; and 26% said they browse the app stores.
  5. The most popular selections for the kinds of apps consumers wanted pre-loaded were maps/navigations/GPS (64%), call control applications like caller ID and call blocking (49%), and music applications (46%).
  6. Only 35% of the respondents stated that they did not use the pre-loaded applications on their current phone. Of these consumers, 55% said they did because of charges/fees associated with using the pre-loaded applications
  7. iGR asked consumers what they usually do if their cell phone has pre-installed/pre-loaded applications that they do not want. The majority, 63% said they just ignore the applications and their presence does not bother them. Another 20% said they try to uninstall the apps through trial and error and just 5% said they call customer service at the operator.

Therefore, the findings of this research report seems to suggest that not only do customers like pre-loaded apps, they frequently base their purchase decision on the kinds/quality of these pre-loaded apps. Also, most customers (unlike you and me) are not bothered by apps on their phone that they dont use. 

A definite eye-opener for me.

For the full report from iGR Research, CLICK HERE