Top 5 Mobile Apps to Make Traveling Easier

There is so much to think about and keep track of when traveling. It’s not easy to keep calm when you are worrying about when your flight is, finding a hotel or simply getting a taxi.

Here are 5 mobile apps that will make traveling easier:

  1. Travelocity: Travelocity is a good all-in-one app. It helps you manage your flight, hotel, and other arrangements.
  2. Tripwolf: Tripwolf is a great app if you need maps and guides for sight-seeing. What’s even more helpful is that it can be accessed without internet.
  3. FlightAware Flight Tracker: Flight Tracker lets you track the status of any flight worldwide.
  4. Taxi Magic: This app will help you find a taxi near you. You can also track the arrival of your taxi with dispatch updates.
  5. AroundMe: This is a good app for finding out what’s around you such as movies, restaurants, pubs, and shopping.

With these apps traveling is a lot easier, and they are all offered for free.

Know of any good travel mobile apps? Let us know in the comments section.



Mobile Testing Must-Have: Moms

Mojiava Mom StatsIf you’re testing your e-tail app in-the-wild (you should be!) be sure you have some mom testers in the mix because connected moms are putting up some huge numbers in the mobile shopping arena. A new study by Mojiava (a mobile ad company) and Distmo found that moms spend more time with their smart devices than with any other type of media. And e-tail apps are some of their favorites. Here’s a breakdown of the study and some of the most interesting findings, from TechCrunch:

Moms are heavily engaged with their tablets and phones. One third own a connected device. They spend 6.1 hours per day on average on their smartphones – that’s more than magazines, TV or radio, to put it in perspective. 62% use shopping apps and 46% took action after seeing a mobile ads. This an active, active group of users to target here. …

The really interesting numbers here are the engagement levels. Even moms without smartphones spend 2.5 hours on average per day on mobile. One-third of moms own a connected device (a non-smartphone). Of these, 9.8% own an iPad, 9.5% own a Kindle and 5.7% own an iPod Touch. And they like to shop from their tablet, too. In surveying 1,500 tablet-owning moms, 97% made a purchase using their tablet in the last month. That’s huge. 31% log more than 10 hours per week on their tablet but log less than 2 hours on their PCs. …

Plus, 62% of connected moms report using a shopping app, and 46% say they want to receive info on their mobile device while in a store.

Read the full article at TechCrunch >>>

So if you’re developing or testing a new app, make sure it’s mom-friendly.

3 Apps for Managing Your Passwords

“The Password You Entered is Incorrect” says the red block on your screen as you try to think back to all the possible passwords you could have used.

It’s not easy to manage so many different accounts and passwords, and it’s not safe to use the same password for all your accounts. So how do you keep track of them?

Ian Sherr of the Wall Street Journal pulled some mobile apps that can help you manage  your passwords:

  • 1Password- The app stores your passwords and lists the corresponding websites alphabetically. You can connect to the site using the in-app browser.
  • AgileBits Inc.- An app that lets you sync to your computer, so whenever you log into a site the list will be automatically updated on the app.
  • SpashID Safe- Helps you build a strong password and will warn you if the password you choose is not safe.

Before you use any type of native app to manage your passwords, it is important to address how well the app has been security tested. If an app that stores your passwords contains security vulnerabilities, a hacker could hit the jackpot and be able steal all your personal data.

Know of any other apps for managing your passwords? Let us know in the comments section.


Best Apps for College Students

Busy College CampusThe last few weekends of August and the first few weeks of September are filled with a whirlwind of college activity. Students are moving in, setting up their rooms, making new friends, battling homesickness, starting classes and acclimating to a looser schedule and different learning style than they’ve experienced for the first 12 years of their formal education. Luckily, there are a slew of apps to help with almost every aspect of a student’s new life at university. Check out these apps highlighted by CNet:

If you don’t know what it is, it’s a cloud-based note-taking app that automatically syncs from device to another. Transcribe your English notes on your laptop, and they’ll show up on your smartphone whenever you need them.

The app allows you to save websites, news articles, or online research documents for offline reading later on. This is perfect for that long subway ride when there’s no Internet connection. It’s even more useful if you have a tablet with no Wi-Fi or cellular connection.

For Android users, why not wake up in style? Doubletwist offers a more attractive alarm clock than the typical stock version. The two versions — an analog clock and retro flip clock — can be tied to your favorite tunes, giving you a wake-up call of your choosing.

Continue Reading

10 Worst Mobile Reception Cities in the US

No Mobile ReceptionTime recently partnered with OpenSignalMaps to figure out which cities in the U.S. experience the worst dropped calls, slow download speeds and generally horrible mobile reception. Here are the top 10 worst places to try and use your mobile:

10. Detroit, Michigan
Worst Carrier: AT&T
Best Carrier: Sprint

9. Lexington, Kentucky
Worst Carrier: T-Mobile
Best Carrier: Sprint

8. Jacksonville, Florida
Worst Carrier: T-Mobile
Best Carrier: Sprint

7. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Worst Carrier: T-Mobile
Best Carrier: Sprint

Continue Reading

Facebook Defriends HTML5

For quite some time users have moaned and groaned about Facebook’s iOS app, and its poor speed and performance. While Facebook has put the bulk of their focus on desktop and web apps, the new native iOS update shows a switch in priorities.

Facebook 5.0 was released to users yesterday, and aims to be faster and easier to use. While Facebook has been a major backer of HTML5 web technology – Thomas Claburn in InformationWeek says the company has made some major modifications (to Objective-C, in fact!):

“Facebook remains under pressure to prove that its social network will thrive as much on mobile devices as it has on desktop computers. Lack of a coherent mobile strategy has contributed to the company’s stock woes and to its decision to acquire mobile photo sharing service Instagram. An enthusiastic reception for Facebook 5.0 for iOS could help the company regain its stride.

Johnson says that Facebook engineers ‘rebuilt the app from the ground up’ to make it launch and load content faster. Much of the app is now written in native iOS code, Objective-C, primarily for the sake of speed.

This is being seen as a rejection of HTML5, a Web technology that was hyped too soon and has since seen early adopters moderate their initial enthusiasm. Facebook itself has been one of the more vocal boosters of HTML5.”

The update certainly helped. When I downloaded Facebook 5.0 myself, I found the app to be much easier to use. Scrolling speeds improved, and notifications seemed to load much faster.

While the majority of users are pleased with the app’s improved speeds, some feel the UI is still lacking intuitiveness. The major takeaway here is that having a quality native app is tremendously important. With native as a new company focus, and hopefully some usability testing on the horizon, Facebook’s application can only improve.

What do you think of Facebook 5.0? Let us know in the comments section.


Are 4G Apps a Waste of Time?

Don't CareApps labeled 4G or LTE are all over the app markets these days. But is developing an app for the new network, or including the buzzword in your app’s title going to attract more users? According to a new study measuring public opinion on 4G it’s about a 50-50 chance. From CNet:

Nearly 47 percent of those surveyed by market analyst Piper Jaffray don’t feel they need access to a 4G LTE network, while another 26 percent said they thought all 4G LTE networks were largely the same.

Piper Jaffray Senior Analyst Christopher Larsen wrote in a research note, “We think this shows that despite all the 4G advertising, consumers aren’t really focused on it.”

Another interesting take away is that people don’t seem to know or care who has the best 4G network. But just because the public doesn’t care doesn’t mean you don’t have to test on each network you’re planning on offering your 4G app on. If your app has trouble loading or is sluggish users aren’t going to blame the network, they’re going to blame you.

So while having 4G or LTE in the name of an app isn’t a bad thing, it’s not exactly the road to gauraunteed riches either. 4G simply isn’t on the radar for almost 50% of users. Food for thought before you dive into your next project.

An Inside Look at the Application Performance Mindset

Success or FailureShunra, a company that specializes in network visualization and application performance engineering, recently conducted a survey of 246 IT specialists, managers, architects, developers and engineers from around the world to get their take on the importance of application performance. Here are some of the findings:

How focused on application performance is your company culture?

39% Half-way there
26% So close
18% Partially
14% Performance zen
3% Not at all

What are the top efforts used to develop a performance-minded culture?

  • Facilitating open channels of communication between operations, support and development
  • Measuring the financial impact of post-production failures
  • Providing incentives to motivate employees to consistently meet or achieve service-level objectives
  • Adding performance testing very early in the software development life cycle (SDLC)
  • Proactively plan for continual performance monitoring, testing and validation

Continue Reading

Windows Phone Revving Up in the Mobile Market Race

Rooting for your favorite mobile maker is like rooting for a favorite sports team. The score is constantly changing, and researchers continue to make speculations on the ultimate winner. Right now, iOS and Android hold the mobile market battle, constantly pushing ahead of each other for the lead. But now it seems a collective group of research firms are putting their bets on a different mobile OS.

According to Jordan Crook of TechCrunch:

At least three major research firms believe that Windows Phone will overtake iOS by 2015, but peering that far into the mobile ecosystem’s future is damn near impossible. We can, however, get an idea of what will be happening in the next few months, and StatCounter predicts that Windows Phone will overtake BlackBerry very soon.

According to WMPowerUser, Microsoft’s mobile platform will surpass BlackBerry in the United States by November of this year.”

Windows Phone overtaking iOS doesn’t seem like something that could happen soon, but it seems plausible that it could quickly hit the third spot in the coming months.

Are these researchers on target and will Windows Phone overtake iOS? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


Major in Mobile Computing

Mobile Computing DegreeWebster University (based outside St. Louis, MO) is introducing a new major this year: Mobile Computing. The bachelor of science degree will teach students how to conceptualize, design, code and test mobile applications.

According to a report by the St. Louis Business Journal, the major was created in response to booming job demand.

“These students are at the center of mobile development,” said Walker School Dean Benjamin Ola. Akande. “They will be qualified to analyze, design, implement and test mobile applications as well as develop the required skills to maintain and update existing mobile applications. Their computing knowledge and technical understanding will allow them to move an organization into the mobile computing arena.”

Webster University Computer Science Professor Martha Smith helped create the program’s curriculum. She says a high demand exists for workers skilled in programming for mobile devices. “A simple search on job recruiting websites showed a dramatic increased demand in employment in mobile app development, mobile architecture, mobile design and other mobile technology-related fields,” Smith said.

The degree will require a combination of traditional computer science classes and newly created classes on mobile computing and development.

A quick round of research turned up quite a few community colleges that offer mobile development focused degrees, but this is the first instance of a full blown university offering a B.S. in mobile that I could find. Just more proof that the mobile revolution isn’t ending any time soon.