Socialcast App Receives Update

Socialcast App Receives Update

Sep 13, 2014

Socialcast, the mobile iteration of the popular enterprise collaboration utility, is getting an update that brings a host of new features and enhancements.

Per the Google Play app page, this update brings:

New design and optimized performance
Improved search now lets you see results for Messages, People and Groups
Search results now highlight the search term
Infinite scrolling
Send and receive ‘Thanks’
Enhanced user profile to include Photos and ‘Thanks’
Contextual message posting based in groups
See group members and leave a group; leave a conversation
Support for viewing Challenge Ideas, polls and Project Tasks
Messages & conversations update in Real-time
Chrome used to authenticate with SSO

Socialcast is available for free on the Play Store.

The Hills Are Greener: If Google Can’t Beat Them, Join Them

The Hills Are Greener: If Google Can’t Beat Them, Join Them

Apr 23, 2012

A lot is made of the fact that Amazon is using Android to power their own device, and their own app store is making more money per user than Google Play. The separation is interesting. But why does it continue to exist? Why haven’t Google teamed up with Amazon?

Now, the two companies are competing, particularly in that both are trying to sell music, movies, books, and apps to consumers. It might make such a relationship thorny because of that competition, but it’s no more competitive than Apple and Google, is it? Steve Jobs was famously no fan of Android, but Google still finds ways to make money off of iOS – and possibly even more than they do with Android, as was widely and possibly falsely reported.

The Kindle Fire

So what if Amazon wants to skin Android to look the way they want? Google would be remiss to not try and get their services on there. Get Gmail, their web browser (particularly Google Chrome), and their other services on the Kindle Fire.

They need to treat devices that use Android like they do Gmail. Users will sometimes use their own email client with Gmail. However, the ultimate goal is to keep them coming back to Gmail, and to Google services. They need to get on the Kindle Fire and keep people using Google services while they use their OS. Will it be possible to merge the Amazon Appstore with Google Play somehow? Unlikely, but the point of Android’s openness is that it was possible for this to happen. Even a possibility of merging purchases, like the way that some computer games offer Steam codes without actually selling the game on Steam, would help get people back on the Google ecosystem.

Of course, Amazon may be weary of relying on Google in the way that Apple may regret having Google services so tied in to their system. But Google is such an institution that it’s difficult to make a competent mobile device without integrating with Google services in some way. It would materially benefit the Kindle Fire and future Kindle tablets, if not Amazon. That’s where Google could come in from a position of strength.

As we’ve seen with the BlackBerry Playbook, it could be possible for Amazon to make their own OS while maintaining Android compatibility. Over time, that Android compatibility could be unnecessary, given how attractive the Kindle Fire ecosystem is. So Google needs to make sure they’re still a part of it, or they’ll be left behind.

If Google can’t beat Amazon, they need to join them if they still want to have some semblance of control over Android.

The Hills Are Greener: Apple, Google, Samsung, and Money

The Hills Are Greener: Apple, Google, Samsung, and Money

Jan 30, 2012

Apple had big news to announce recently: for the quarter of October-December, they made a lot of money. How much is a lot? Well, they had the second-most-profitable quarter ever. Apple literally made more profit than Google brought in revenue in the last quarter.

The difference between Apple and Google is that when an iOS device is brought, that is money going straight into Apple’s pocket. When an Android device is bought, not much if any money goes into Google’s pocket because Android is free to use on any phone, restrictions only pop up when manufacturers want access to the Android Market and other Google services. A device like the Kindle Fire doesn’t bring any money or users to Google at all.

In fact, Android seems to bring in more money for everyone but Google. Samsung has used Android to power their wildly-popular Galaxy S lines of phones all the way to being number one in terms of smartphone sales in 2011.

At the risk of making a big, heaping stew of claim chowder, here are my two hypotheses on what will happen next:

  1. Google will try to collapse the Android manufacturing market in order to bring more revenue directly into themselves through their own devices, manufacturered by the Motorola Mobility division. To facilitate this, they will push more mandates that make competing Android phones more like stock Android devices, instead of customized experiences, in order to help push their own Android phones down the line. Essentially, they want Android devices to be vertically integrated like Apple with iOS. Android can and will remain a free and open OS to use, but for anyone that wants to use Google’s features, it’ll be difficult.

  2. Samsung, the biggest Android manufacturer, will hitch their horse to another OS long-term. Quite possibly even their own, with a global rollout of their Bada OS. They have a much bigger profile now than they did even several years ago thanks to Android, and if they wanted to do something like launch new Galaxy phones with their Bada OS installed instead, they could be in the position to do so. They would need a massive developer initiative to fuel a global launch (even a service like what the Blackberry Playbook has to easily port over Android apps would be a killer start), but Samsung could be at a point to where they could do it.

The fact is that it’s more viable for a company like Apple to be a vertically-integrated device maker, and it has to be attractive to the big names out there to act similarly in order to at least consider a similar approach, and I certainly believe that they will. The face of the Android landscape may be dramatically changing over the next year or two, and the battle may not be against operating systems after all, but manufacturers.

The Hills Are Greener: The Truth About Android’s Growth

The Hills Are Greener: The Truth About Android’s Growth

Sep 26, 2011

It’s always interesting to read about the mobile market and where the growth is occuring. While Android is becoming more popular, it appears as if it is cutting into the ‘dumbphone’ market as much as it is the market of smartphones, particularly the iPhone’s market. This doesn’t necessarily mean that iPhone should be declared as supreme overlord of Android or that everyone who uses Android will eventually move on to the iPhone, but it does shed some light on some of the tendencies of the Android app market. It also reveals a lot about the long-term potential of Android as a platform for selling apps.

What this means is that there are a lot of potential customers for Android apps. There are a lot already, but the revenue potential from these users has been less than on iOS, in particular. But we’ve seen evidence that Android users can make up for their lesser individual revenue by way of sheer numbers. Remember the story of Stardunk – one-third the revenue per user, but triple the users. If this ratio can hold true to a point of equalizing with iOS, then Android can truly be an economic viability, or at least not the kind of risk that it’s often portrayed to be. While the challenge will still be in getting people to download apps, there’s no reason why if Android keeps up its growth, even into the ‘dumbphone’ market, then that’s just more consumers that will buy apps and in-app purchases, and with a higher population of Android users, it’s just more likely that apps can be discovered.

Because Android is so versatile (especially now that Intel chips can run Android), even low-powered Android devices can take advantage of some apps, which will help the continued growth of Android. Will they be able to play the latest and greatest games and innovative apps? Probably not. But many mobile apps don’t require extremely powerful hardware in order to succeed. Angry Birds doesn’t require powerful hardware to run. Android can become viable for developers just by continuing to grow and grow, and maybe not even as a secondary market to the iOS App Store.