JacApps
By | March 11th, 2014

Last week, the hottest new iPhone app concept came from the team at Oscar Mayer.  It’s an alarm clock app that awakens you to the smell of bacon.  That’s right – an iPhone attachment that you have to apply for (yes, there’s the rub) produces the aromas of bacon.

While this may not go over well in kosher households and it is a bit clunky, it underscores the creativity and fun that has defined the app business.

AppsI know this on a first-hand basis. Roughly 100 days after Apple opened its App Store, we launched jacAPPS.  In many ways, it reminded me of the birth of the Classic Rock format – some early believers, a lot of cynics, and many predictions that it would never last.

In the case of mobile apps, we had an intuitive belief (later reinforced by our Techsurveys) that Americans would become addicted to their smartphones.  And they love the idea of pushing a colorful little button (or icon), and something amazing happens as a result.

We have had our share of debates about apps vs. the mobile web, and a few potential investors along the way have told us point blank that apps are a fad, pointing to Europe, Asia, and other sectors of the world where opening up a browser and surfing to a mobile site is popular.

Not in America.

We’re about convenience, simplicity, and elegance.  And that’s why apps work.  Apple and Android may be in a virtual dead heat, but when it comes to apps, you have to give Steve Jobs and the team in Cupertino credit for nailing this phenomenon, and making “app” a household word.

Now Nielsen has come along and affirmed what we’ve seen and believed all along – apps kick mobile websites’ ass.   From their newest “Cross Platform Report,” Nielsen clears it up – in a big way.  The numbers below for men and women tell you all you need to know about app usage and growth:

Monthly Usage_App_Mobile Web

As we have said to radio companies since 2008, the industry is blessed that our brands can occupy prime real estate on the desktop of iPhones and the hottest Samsung handsets.  To be part of the app ecosystem is an amazing opportunity given that mobile is the most exciting technological event of our lifetimes.

Great radio brands should have their own apps – and not share this incredible space with hundreds of other stations in the same space in what we call “umbrella apps.”  In the mobile space, the biggest and best stations have an opportunity to create multiple apps that give consumers opportunities to have better mobile experiences – whether it’s discovering the best local music, skiing conditions, sports scores, or games.

For an industry that is guilty of over-commercialization to a point where consumers want to scream (or just leave), the mobile space provides more opportunities to make money, serve audiences, and grow brands.

BTW, Nielsen is truly providing the industry with some strong research.  Thanks to them for showing us the data path with these new avenues and exciting platforms.

Now that they’ve cleared up another of those digital dilemmas, isn’t it time every radio company developed a true mobile strategy.

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By | January 21st, 2014

Smartphone popularity has been on a steady increase making it no surprise that analyst Gartner is predicting high figures; mobile ad market spending should reach around $18 billion this year and could rise to about $42 billion after three years. The catalyst for the growth will be “improved market condition,” taking away from radio and print advertising budgets. The most popular ad experience will be video due to the increasing tablet popularity. And this isn’t just for the United States; people will witness the mobile shift in ads globally.

 

Read more about the shift here.

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By | January 17th, 2014

Business Insider posted their chart of the day which features mobile application popularity. According to Flurry, mobile apps are generating more and more interest in smartphone users. Social and Messaging applications had a 203% growth while Utilities and Productivity was at a 149% growth.  The third largest category of growth was found in overall app usage, which stands at a 115% growth. Other categories that saw growth: Music, Media, and Entertainment; Lifestyle and Shopping; Games; Sports, Health and Fitness; News and Magazines.

 

View the chart here.

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By | January 16th, 2014

Larger screens are what smartphone consumers are looking for. Last year the “phablet” (a phone-tablet hybrid) trend was quite large and it seems Apple could be continuing the trend into 2014. The iPhone has been criticized for having small screens (4-inch display on the 5s model) and compared to other competing smartphones, it is. Motorola Moto X has a 4.7-inch display while the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Google Nexus 5 have 5-inch displays. Samsung wants to go even bigger; two of their phones have been rumored to feature 5.25-inch and 5.7-inch displays. Rumor has it that Apple will be diving into the previously unchartered territory by offering both a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch display on the iPhone 6.

 

Read more about the “phablets” here.

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By | January 15th, 2014

Privacy issues have been a hot topic recently with the NSA’s phone metadata program. Silent Circle and Spanish startup Geeksphone have established this joint venture in Switzerland to team-up on projects with their first one being Blackphone. The collaborative effort has created a way to counteract privacy breaches with their smartphone. The device is, “designed to enable secure, encrypted communications, private browsing and secure file-sharing.” While there are other secure phones, Blackphone is focused on the mainstream smartphone user and not necessarily the tech savvy; their website avoids overly technical wordage and uses a video to market the product. Phil Zimmermann, who also has a in the endeavor, stated that the phone has everything users will need to ensure privacy and take control of their device, “along with all the other high-end smartphone features they have come to expect,” through PrivatOS, an Android based operating system.

 

Read more about Blackphone and watch their video here.

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