Mashable published a great infographic piece this week detailing the ground being gained by mobile devices in the digital marketplace. They postulate that by 2014 there will be more mobile device users worldwide than those using desktops. Here are a few recent examples of how the paradigm is shifting toward mobile devices integrating themselves more and more into our everyday lives.
First off, for most of us, our mobile phones have become our go-to point and shoot camera. It was only a few years ago when digital images captured by phones were little more than grainy, 1.3 megapixel novelties. However, today, most new phones ship with 5, 8 and soon to be 10+ megapixel cameras as standard equipment. These resolutions are more than adequate for capturing most of life’s moments with decent enough image quality for posting to Facebook, Flickr and Twitpic. Add cool filtering applications like Instagram and Retro Camera into the mix and you can leave your vintage Polaroid or Holga camera at home on your next trip to the local dive bar and none of your hipster friends on Tumblr will know the difference.
Second, the media we consume is becoming more and more integrated with smart phones and mobile devices. Don’t feel too bad for all those Canon Powershot and Kodak Coolpix cameras gathering dust in junk drawers across the country – it won’t be long before everyone’s iPods and Sansa mp3 players join them as well. As mobile device battery life gets incrementally better and flash memory storage capacity increases in size and decreases in price every few months, people are quickly replacing their portable music devices with their smart phones.
So, mobile phones (and soon to be tablets) are replacing many of the daily electronic items that we refused to live without back in 2005. But it doesn’t stop there. Mobile devices are also making tremendous gains toward replacing our wallets and pocketbooks as well.
This week American Express announced its foray into the world of digital payments with a service called “Serve.” The service launched with apps that run on both the Android and Mac iOS platforms. It’s been reported that AMEX developers are working on architecture for swipe-and-pay payments in the near future as well. And they’re not the only ones.
Internet juggernaut Google announced this week that they are partnering Mastercard and Citibank to create a “wave-and-pay” system for mobile devices using near-field communications (NPC) technology. Once deployed mobile device owners will be able to simply wave their mobile devices in front of point-of-sale NPC scanners to make in-store purchases at retail locations such as clothing stores, restaurants and coffee shops.
Speaking of coffee shops, Starbucks announced this week that consumers have made over 3 million purchases using their Starbucks Mobile applications for iPhone and Blackberry since its launch in January. Today it’s cappuccinos. Tomorrow you’ll be able to purchase a TV or maybe even a car with just a swipe of your cellphone.
What’s all this mean for the future of social media, application development and digital marketing?
Well, for one it means that companies will have to be open-minded and flexible when it comes to delivering content and digital services to consumers. The mobile platform, once thought to be just a nice add-on to catch early adopters, is now becoming the industry standard when it comes to media delivery and consumption.
It also means that will be a lot more opportunities for brands to leverage emerging technologies to get their messaging and products to consumers. As mobile devices continue to gain market share and dominate our daily activities, savvy brand managers and marketing strategists will be able to make their products part of this lifestyle integration as well.
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We hope by now you’ve realized that My 4Square Alibi is a joke. We do not recommend that you use it to commit crimes. Nor do we recommend that you use your check-ins as evidence in a court of law, to cheat on your spouse or to neglect your children.
We do recommend that you use My 4Square Alibi to have a good laugh with friends and maybe get into a little harmless online mischief. Again, strong-armed robbery, prescription drug abuse and clandestine exotic pet theft are not playful mischief. Please remember this.
Foursquare is a new and rapidly growing social utility whose potential for mash-ups with other applications is limited only by one’s own imagination. Foursquare provides an API for developers which can return either XML or JSON (the latter of which is recommended at this time for future migration to version two of the API). While .NET provides adequate methods for reading XML or deserializing JSON, working directly with objects best lends itself to rapid development. This being said, I took it upon myself to develop a .NET wrapper for the Foursquare API.