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Archive for the ‘location-aware apps’ Category

tomi ahonen has an interesting warning about the mobile/ipad apps market, comparing it to the dotcom bubble ten years ago. and the numbers speak quite clearly: according to morgan stanley, total iphone apps revenues in 2009 were 780m dollars. minus 30% to apple, that is 546m. so at the end of 2009 there were over 100,000 apps in the store – which gives us a revenue per app of around 5000 dollars.

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i have just figured out how to make locative media applications that work across different mobile platforms. that is, one application that works both on the iphone, android, maemo and probably soon any other mobile platform. how? through the browser-based w3c geolocation api. i briefly mentioned this in yesterday’s post, but was suffering under the misunderstanding that this was somehow still a vision for the future. it is not! the geolocation api is currently supported by the iphone os (3.0), android (2.* – gears geolocation works in 1.6), and anywhere you can use firefox (on mobile, that is currently only nokia’s maemo and the upcoming MeeGo, but the android version is on its way).

here’s a good overview, which introduces a third option (geo.js) which claims to support several other platforms such as blackberry, nokia n97, windows mobile, palm pre and more.

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locative media is the big thing at south by southwest this year, according to an interesting article in nytimes.com. in particular, locative social media – you know, the kind that lets you broadcast your location to all your friends. very practical for those of us that just can’t find the time to answer all those sms’s saying: “where are you? i’m dying to meet you again!” people, you have to understand: it is great that you care so much about me, but there are just too many of you, please just check the radar and i’m sure you will find me.

but of course, sometimes you just want to shield yourself from the throngs, so the new innovation is services that let you check in at a location whenever you want to be found, and just skip it if you don’t want it – as opposed to just an automatic tracking service that you must actively shut off if you want to hide.

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…or location-based, or whatever you wanna call it. point is, you will soon be able to share your location with all your “friends” – according to the nytimes “bits” blog. that’s cool, of course – if my facebook friends can see on my profile that i’m in town for a few days, maybe they will call me up and invite me for a beer. writing this feels kind of like reading old science fiction – duh, this is just SO 1999. but of course, even though we’ve had google latitude, foursquare, loopt, gowalla etc etc for a while, the value of this kind of connection only really materialises if all your friends are on – and the one place where they all are, is facebook.

on the other hand, that is actually where they all really are, also the ones who you might not want to know where you are.

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SkyHook, the people who have the misfortune of competing with Google in providing a (apparently quite good) hybrid positioning system, have counted the number of location-aware apps available for iPhones, Android and Blackberry. Those numbers are surprisingly low, if you ask me: Out of the 140,000 apps in the App Store, only 6,000 are location-aware. For Android the number is 900, and for Blackberry 300.

But most striking of all is the number of (location-aware) apps that are available across all three platforms: 43. (And the number of these which are paid apps: 6.) More than anything, this points to the sorry state of cross-platform app development for mobile devices. In particular if you take into account that the world’s largest smartphone platform, Symbian (roughly 45% market share) is entirely left out of this picture. Of course, on Symbian, the simple task of developing an app that works across the many variations of that platform is in itself a herculean task.

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