The following is a guest post on mobile payments from Michelle Ma. Michelle is a marketing specialist and occasional blogger at Fueled, a mobile design company in New York City.
In today’s world, when you want to buy an iced coffee, they ask you, “cash or credit?” In a few select locations around the country, though, there’s an additional option: mobile payment.
Think of all the hassle that comes along with paying for your purchases in the traditional ways: you fumble around for your wallet, probably deep within the clutter of your purse or pockets, finally reach for it and fumble around some more to find your credit card. If that particular merchant happens to not accept credit, you have to do some additional fumbling for cash (perhaps dropping a few coins along the way). Not to mention the additional time you spend waiting for change.
The Big Players
With this new trend in mobile development, you can buy a drink without taking out your wallet (or even your phone with the Square app). And for merchants, long gone are the hassles of applying and waiting for approval after a lengthy credit check; Square allows small businesses everywhere to get on the credit card bandwagon with their Square Card Reader and Square Register. The card reader is free and connects to any Android, iPhone, or iPad, and all you need for your own professional register is an iPad and the free Square Register app.
Beyond Square, many other companies have launched their own forms of mobile payment, from the ubiquitous Google Wallet to eBay’s PayPal. An increasing number of credit card businesses and financial giants are trying their hand at e-payments, but the irony in this is that the more different forms of payment that exist, the less likely merchants would be willing to convert to mobile payment. Without a universally accepted format, both consumers and merchants will be slow to convert, especially since cash and/or credit are readily accepted everywhere.
The new direction Facebook is taking is further proof that the tech world is focused on mobile app development. As covered by Alex Williams of TechCrunch, Facebook’s Peter Deng recently spoke about the company’s new mission to focus on mobile development. In the video below – from the stage at the TechCrunch CrunchUp yesterday – Deng says, “It’s a start of a new journey for us… we’re set up to shift very quickly on mobile, now.” Throughout the clip Deng emphasizes that smartphones are now the most important personal computing devices we own. Check out the video below:
Gingerbread has been the dominate Android platform for a while now, retaining its title through the releases of Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. But the ranks are shifting and interestingly it’s not because of the latest release – Jelly Bean. Instead, it looks like things are beginning to pick up for Ice Cream Sandwich.
But now, Ice Cream Sandwich has jumped a whopping 9 percentage points and to claim 16% of all Android share. The share shift dropped Gingerbread down to 60%, dipped Froyo to 15.5% and (finally) left Eclair far behind with only 4%.
As far as Android’s newest confection, Jelly Bean is sitting at a measly .8% – but that’s sure to change as more devices get the roll out. Besides, it took Ice Cream Sandwich awhile to gain traction.
Mobile apps are a big deal, and by 2015 IDC predicts that 182.7 billion mobile apps will be downloaded. This makes testing apps early on to identify technical, design and functional challenges that much more crucial.
One of the biggest testing challenges is testing apps across platforms. Apps on both Android and iOs devices need to be tested differently, and both present very different challenges. In this webinar, Mobile Test Expert Elena Houser, presents mobile app testing best practice tips – and breaks down the major differences between testing for Android or iOs. Check out the presentation below:
Mobile security is a hot topic – and not just on this blog. Prior to the recent 2012 Blackhat event, ComputerWorld interviewed Kevin Mitnick, one of the most notorius hackers security professioanls of all-time. Here is a short clip:
Do you believe exploiting NFC vulnerabilities, such as when people pay with their smartphones, have the potential to be goldmines for malicious attackers?
Mitnick: NFC vulnerabilities require physical access to the device, which requires being near the target. Malicious attackers will try to gain remote control of the device instead of having to risk being close to the target. Also, attackers will likely send 100 emails with malicious links to your organization (see KnowBe4.com) instead of attempting to get near the victim. Without any additional security controls with VPN access, smartphones are the easiest way to infiltrate an organization remotely. As such, layers of security are a must! That’s why I believe that zCore IPS adds value as a layer of protection against malicious attackers.
In regard to joining Zimperium’s team, you said, “Mobile devices are the new target-rich environment. Based on lessons learned in the early days of the personal computer, businesses should adopt a proactive approach to mobile security so they don’t repeat the same mistakes that resulted in billions of dollars in economic loss.” What do you think are the biggest security threats on the horizon for mobile devices?
Mitnick: We can see the same issues affecting the computing world. For example, smartphone updates are not rolled out in a timely fashion and the existing users remain exposed.
Interested in testing iOS apps but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’re developing an iOS app and are afraid you’ll overlook something vital. Well fear not! uTest has two, yes two, different ways to help you get acquainted with the ins and outs of iOS app testing.
The different aspects of the iOS matrix to consider (there’s more to cover than you’d think)
iOS app problem areas – from tricky UI features to common App Store rejection reasons
Tips that will save you time before you even start testing
Tools to help you cover everything that needs to be done
So before you send an app to the App Store for review take a look at our Essential Guide to make sure you’re not missing something important or wasting time.
If you’re looking for a more interactive form of learning, check out our up-coming Introduction to iOS Testing webinar. Amy Klatt, a gold rated uTester, will be leading webinar attendees through the steps of:
Setting up your device for testing and properly installing and handling a test app
A walk-through on capturing logs and useful screenshots
The fall is right around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about that school shopping list. With the ever-growing app industry, there are now many educational apps that can make school-life easier. Devin White of the Shreveport Times put together a list of the top 5 apps parents should consider including in that back-to-school shopping. These apps are all available across Android and Apple devices (Available for Android, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch):
MyHomeWork: Free- Keep assignments and important dates organized with this mobile planner. Color-code by due date and synchronize schedules with a computer.
Stack the States: $1.99- Learn about the 50 states and their capitals, shapes, nicknames and flags. Includes hundreds of questions, an interactive map, flashcards and games.
Alego Graphing Calculator: Free- Draw functions, find intersections and show table of values of the functions with an easy-to-use interface.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Free- Look up definitions for thousands of words including synonyms, antonyms and example sentences.
gFlashPro: $3.99- Use Google Spreadsheet or Microsoft Excel to create a deck of cards that can include sound clips or YouTube video. It also connects users to a flashcard directory enabling users to share and download pre-made cards with others.
Know of any other good back to school apps? Let us know in the comments section.