Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mall Maps Deluxe App Can Help with Holiday Shopping

mall maps deluxe
As the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes settled in many content individuals' stomachs, other people were throwing on their hats and scarfs and rushing out at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning to catch the very best of the early bird Black Friday specials.

Many different companies did incredibly well with their Black Friday sales. Sears had great sales figures to report from Black Friday. A Sears spokesperson said, "Following the rush [Friday] morning, both Sears and Kmart stores across the country continued to see a steady flow of customers. Customers took advantage of our Doorbuster deals on home appliances, consumer electronics, jewelry, apparel and holiday trimmings – while also earning valuable Shop Your Way Rewards points at both retailers."

Although crowds flooded stores searching for the best Black Friday deals, the largest amount of sales were from online shopping. Internet retailers were the biggest winners concerning this year’s Black Friday sales, as many customers decided to make their purchases from the comfort of their own homes. is one of these online retailers that did very well. The company reported that this year was the most successful Black Friday in the company’s history. Their sales grew by more than 45 percent compared to last year. As of 5 p.m. on Friday, reported their 45 percent growth, a 100 percent increase in their marketplace sales, and “record numbers” of online consumers.

"Shoppers have come to know as a one-stop destination for the best return on their dollar," said chief executive and president of, Neel Grover. "Our initial holiday results point to a strong start of the season, as consumers responded favorably to the newest initiatives we put in place to create an even more wallet-friendly shopping experience."’s Black Friday deals included things like free shipping with no minimum purchase on over 2.7 million products and huge discounts on tons of their featured items. Most of the company’s deals were sold out by Saturday, but a few remained, such as a 23-inch Samsung B2330 LCD Monitor for $145, compared to its original price of $310.

Other Web sites like American Eagle and JC Penney did not do so well with their Black Friday sales due to terrible problems with their Web sites. On Saturday, WatchMouse reported that was only functional 64 percent of the time November 25 and 62 percent of the time November 26 (Black Friday). also suffered Web site outage problems and was only operational 78 percent of the time on Black Friday.

Other companies' Web sites including Fry’s Electronics, Office Max, Williams Sonoma, and Toys ‘R’ Us also suffered outage issues.

For those who didn’t get all of their holiday shopping finished on Black Friday and are looking to ease the stress of holiday shopping, there are a variety of different apps that can help you with all of your shopping needs. Developer Medl Mobile has created Mall Maps Deluxe for the very serious shoppers in the world. The developer dubbed the app “the shopaholic’s Bible.” It features a GPS-based search that will help you find all of the nearest malls. It will browse mall databases by state, show store lists with directory numbers, give addresses, phone numbers, and URL of every mall, and even give you a detailed floor plan of the malls you are interested in.

Holiday shopping can be an extremely stressful ordeal if you don’t have a very detailed shopping plan. With an app like Mall Maps Deluxe, you can easily plan what malls you need to visit to cover all of the stores you need to hit to get all of your holiday shopping done in one easy trip. If you’re deciding to brave the holiday crowds, let your phone assist you with your shopping and make your trip as stress-free as possible.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Smartphones Can Help with Black Friday Shopping

shopping appSmartphones have turned into devices that can help individuals with almost every aspect of their lives, and a new survey shows that they will even have an effect on the way that users do their holiday shopping this year.

According to the newest study from market researcher IDC, mobile devices are going to have a very large impact on the holiday shopping habits of American consumers. The survey was conducted with more than 1,000 consumers in September. It showed that customers who use a mobile device for shopping assistance will have a “greater advantage as they engage retailers.”

More than one-third of individuals who were surveyed said that they planned to improve the efficiency and ease of their shopping experience by utilizing their smartphones. They will be able to use their mobile device to search different stores' “price and product information” and also to search for “merchandise availability.” This will help to cut down a lot on stress and wasted time. Of those surveyed that said they plan on using the smartphone, 45 percent said that they would use their mobile device to compare the pricing of certain products to other stores' prices in the area, and 32 percent said that they will be using their phones to browse reviews of certain products that they are interested in.

It has been predicted that the holiday shopping season this year will generate somewhere around $447 billion in revenues. Of the $447 billion, IDC predicts that $127 billion in revenue will be spent by shoppers utilizing their mobile phones to enhance their shopping experience. One thing that is important to note is that these figures do not mean that shoppers are spending cash and purchasing items through their smartphone. IDC says that it simply means that these shoppers will be using their smartphones to help them to ease the stress of holiday shopping and to assist them with their buying decisions.

Now as amazing as these developments may sound to a consumer, it is not necessarily the best news for all retailers. IDC has said that “these new behaviors will exert pressures that weaken the store's immediate influence on purchase decisions at the shelf.” This is a very true thought that I’m sure has many retailers nervous. IDC continued discussing the topic saying that only those retailers that have “superior mobile and social media commerce strategies in place will have a decided advantage."

IDC’s study followed the study conducted by Yahoo that claimed that two-thirds of individuals with a mobile phone will be utilizing it this year while they are doing their holiday shopping. The Yahoo survey also discovered that the average American consumer will be spending close to $900 during the holiday shopping season this year.

These numbers that have been released by IDC and Yahoo are incredible. Mobile devices are increasingly becoming a very essential tool in many individuals' lives. Although it may not be the ideal thing for retailers, utilizing your smartphone to check pricing, availability, and quality of products is smart. It will help shoppers to find the best deals and best products available this holiday season. I know that I will definitely be utilizing these mobile benefits while I’m out doing my shopping. If you’re looking to ease some of the shopping stress of the holiday season, maybe you don’t need to look any further than your smartphone.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Netflix Coming…But Only to “Select” Android Phones

netflix on android
Netflix is showing up in a lot of different places these days. Phones, TVs, laptops, tablets, game systems, etc. are all starting to have Netflix capabilities. Well, Android phones are about to be added to that list of devices, but only a few “select” smartphones. A blog that was posted by Netflix on Friday, November 12th said that by next year the company will have their service fully extended to the select phones. The reason why Netflix is not able to provide their service for all Android platforms is due to some concerns about security, privacy, and content protection.

Android product developer Greg Peters wrote, “The hurdle has been the lack of a generic and complete platform security and content protection mechanism available for Android. The same security issues that have led to piracy concerns on the Android platform have made it difficult for us to secure a common Digital Rights Management (DRM) system on these devices.”

Peters continued saying that unless there are some developments made to assist with protection, major studios won’t provide their content for Netflix. So, as Peters has stated, Netflix simply does not have the “common platform security mechanism and DRM” that is necessary for an Android phone. On the other hand, Netflix has recently been working with individual manufacturers to add content protection to their devices so that they can utilize the Netflix service. So hopefully, all Android phones will be able to utilize the service sometime in the near future.

“Unfortunately, this is a much slower approach and leads to a fragmented experience on Android, in which some handsets will have access to Netflix and others won't,” Peters said. This may be disappointing to some Android users, but as of right now, there isn’t much that can be done. "This clearly is not the preferred solution, and we regret the confusion it might create for consumers," continues Peters.

Peters adds that he feels that providing the Instant Streaming Netflix service to some Android users is better than to not provide it to any. That is why the decision was made that by next year certain Android-based phones will have the ability to utilize Netflix’s streaming service. As of yet though, it has not been revealed which “select” Android phones will feature the service.

Peters finishes by saying, “We will also continue to work with the Android community, handset manufacturers, carriers, and other service providers to develop a standard, platform-wide solution that allows content providers to deliver their services to all Android-based devices.”

Google has made no comment about this so far.

Most recently in August, Netflix added their streaming service to Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch. They also made it available for the iPad. Apple’s Steve Jobs is mostly likely getting a kick out of Netflix’s use of the word “fragmented” to describe Android platforms. During Apple’s most recent earnings call, he made a comment about the devices that caused a bit of a stir. He said, “Android is very, very fragmented, and becoming more fragmented by the day.”

Well, despite everything, some of the “fragmented” platforms will soon have Netflix streaming capabilities, and hopefully, all Android phones will have streaming abilities soon.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

SquareTrade Research Reveals the Most Reliable Smartphone

squaretrade research
There are tons of smartphones available from a multitude of service providers these days: the Droid from Verizon, the iPhone from AT&T, the HTC EVO from Sprint, etc., but which phone is the most reliable? Well, according to SquareTrade Research, a company that analyzes more than 50,000 different phones, Apple’s iPhone is the most reliable smartphone available to date.

The study that SquareTrade Research conducted analyzed four different phones from four different smartphone manufacturers: Apple, RIM, HTC, and Motorola. The last time that the company had conducted research concerning the reliability of a smartphone was back in 2008 when they analyzed phones such as the iPhone 3G, BlackBerry, and Palm Treo.

For their recent study SquareTrade Research utilized four months of data from the iPhone 4, one year of data from BlackBerry, and eight months of data for both the HTC and Motorola smartphones. The study utilized the Droid, the Droid X, and the Cliq to evaluate Motorola. To look at HTC’s smartphones, SquareTrade Research used the Nexus One, the EVO, the Droid Incredible, the Aria, and the Hero. For Blackberry observations, they used the Curve, the Bold, the Storm, the Torch, and the Pearl.

The study, which was conducted in November of 2010, found that the iPhone 4 was the most reliable phone, but it also found that the Android-based Motorola and HTC smartphones were actually pretty comparable to the iPhone when it came to dependability. Within the first 12 months of the iPhone’s existence, 2.1 percent of the phones were “projected to have non-accident malfunction.” In comparison, the Motorola smartphone had a malfunction rate of 2.3 percent, and the HTC smartphone had a rate of 3.7 percent. The study clearly showed that the RIM’s BlackBerry devices were much less dependable compared to these other smartphone options. It showed that in the first 12 months, the phones had a 6.3 percent malfunction rate.

The study did clarify that 75 percent of smartphone malfunctions were a result of “accidental damage.” In this area, BlackBerry did better than the other phones. These “accidental damages” only occurred in 6.7 percent of BlackBerrys. The iPhone 4, which did so well when it came to dependability, had the highest rate of “accidental damage,” coming in at 9.4 percent, which is nearly 1 in 10 of the iPhones researched.

The study stated, “There is a good deal of variance in the failure rates of different smartphones. The iPhone 4 is the most reliable phone in the study, but also has the highest risk of accidental damage. BlackBerrys had the least risk of accidental damage and may be the best choice for the clumsiest consumers but had a relatively high malfunction rate.”

It can be extremely difficult to decide on the smartphone that is best for you. If you just go into your service provider's store, you will most likely be overwhelmed and not know which direction you should go, but if you do a little research and consider some of the things that were discussed here, you will be able to march into your service provider’s store and make an educated decision. Don’t let buying a new phone stress you out. There are plenty of options out there that will fit any of your smartphone needs.

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

New App Store for the Droid Incredible

v cast on the droid incredibleOn Thursday, November 4th, Verizon announced that their new Droid Incredible software update, which will be available within the next week, will add the V CAST App store to the phone. Basically, Droid Incredible users, who are currently utilizing Android Market for their apps, will have a second app store to browse.

Due to this new change, app developers will now have to decide whether they want to offer their apps with Android Market or the Verizon app store. The only real difference is the billing format. Unlike Google’s app store, which allows users to return their apps for a full refund up to 24 hours after the purchase, Verizon’s V CAST will only consider refunds on a case-by-case basis. One nice thing about the Verizon store though is that it will allow users to send the bill for the apps that they purchase to their existing wireless bill. With the Android Market, users are forced to utilize Google Checkout.

The update that Droid Incredible users will receive next week won’t just give them a new app store, but it will also update their Flash player, improve their visual voicemail application, enhance Yahoo IMAP email, update their Slacker application, give them the ability to attach files that are larger than 5 MB, update COX and Comcast POP3 mail, and a variety of other things.

The V CAST App store was originally launched by Verizon in July of 2009 for the RIM platform. A Verizon spokeswoman said that the company has always planned on expanding the V CAST App store to other platforms. “We think of it as sort of complementary to the other marketplace out there,” she said. "It gives consumers an opportunity for discovery and to choose.”

So far Google representatives have chosen not to respond to the question as to whether or not they view the Verizon app store as complimentary or competitive.

In contrast, Apple offers a single app store. Steve Jobs, chief executive at Apple, has said that Google’s OS itself is “very fragmented.” In an October conference call Jobs said, “Many Android OEMs, including the two largest, HTC and Motorola, install proprietary user interfaces to differentiate themselves from the commodity Android experience. The user's left to figure it all out. Compare this with iPhone, where every handset works the same."

Jobs added, “The multiple hardware/software iterations present developers with a daunting challenge. Many Android apps work only on selected Android handsets, running selected Android versions. And this is for handsets that have been shipped less than 12 months ago. Compare this with iPhone, where there are two versions of the software, the current and the most recent predecessor, to test against."

I think that having two app stores is great. A little competition has never hurt anybody. Verizon says that they are excited about the V CAST App store because it will allow them to have “the opportunity to do marketing and merchandising” for the developers. The Verizon spokeswoman did add that Verizon will offer the same 70/30 revenue split with V CAST that Google offers with Android Market. It will be interesting to see what V CAST has to offer in contrast to what is currently available with Android Market. I think that there are advantages and disadvantages with both of the app stores, so I guess it will simply come down to what apps you are looking for and which store is offering them.

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