No surprises really, but early reports suggest that Instagram on Android is as popular as people expected, with over 1 million downloads of their app in the first 24 hours. The iPhone version has steadily built a strong following, with over 30 million users, and it looks like the Android version will match that. The question that most people are asking was ‘why did it take so long’? According to Instagram, trying to develop for two platforms earlier would have made other innovations harder to implement.
Although a number of brands, such as Starbucks, Topshop, Ford (Feistagram) and Red Bull have used the channel, the potential for co-creation remains under-used. Perhaps the Android version will see brands making more use of Instagram.
See new article, How to Make QR Codes Work in Advertising
Whilst QR codes haven’t exactly been a roaring success, other technologies are appearing that take the basic concept but add more engagement and interactivity. Essentially this is the next iteration of image recognition. Last year, technology company Kooaba showed of their app, which works on the basis of taking a picture, leading to more information. The obvious applications are in brand marketing and the company is focussed to these needs, including an API to integrate into their app. Last month, Royal Mail (yes, the people that occasionally deliver the post in the UK) showed off their Digital Watermarking scheme. Working with technology company Digital Space, they have created an iphone and Android app which provides enhanced information to users who hold their phone over an relevant image. Royal Mail’s interest in this technology is to offer a more exciting, engaging experience from direct mail.
The newest trend on the image recognition front is to combine it with augmented reality (AR). So far, AR on mobile has largely used location to overlay the image with additional information. With Image Recognition AR, you hold your camera over a picture and stuff happens in a virtual environment. Blippar, which was announced this week, showed off this technology in their video (below). They even got their app onto the UK TV news (no name check though) which is good going. They are calling it ‘Image Recognition Advertising’ which Blippar claim that this will make QR codes redundant. This seems to be a strange analogy. QR isn’t exactly universally understood in the way that apps, for example, have become. AR Image recognition actually offers much more than that, by providing a rich and interactive content.
Of course, as with any new technology the bit ‘if’ is that of consumer adoption. Will anyone actually use it? Mobile always works best when it taps into existing behaviours. We want to communicate, we want to play games, we want to shop, we want tools for an easier life. All these needs existed before the mobile phone, and technologies from SMS, to apps or the mobile web simply tap into this. Will the new image recognition apps meet those needs or will it be another technology that brands and marketers love, but most consumers just don’t get?
The rise and rise of Android continues. After becoming the most popular smartphone OS earlier this year, it would seem that there are more free apps available for Android than the iPhone. Although based on US-figures, data from app research company Distimo shows that whilst iTunes has more apps in total (300,000 vs 200,000 Android apps), over half of the Android Market ones are free. The forecast also predicts that there will be more apps in The Market than iTunes before the end of the year.
The other interesting bit of data is the trend in iPad apps, which grew by 12%. Whilst app costs have dropped for other (mobile) platforms, the iPad app prices have risen.
The Apple/Google relationship has been become increasingly sour recently. The latest manifestation of this seems to be the censorship of the word ‘Android’ in apps in the iphone appstore. According to a report in Mobile Crunch, one developer had a reference to their entry into the Android awards removed from their appstore review.
Apple has previously censored words on the grounds of profanity, but have been largely ridiculed for removing ‘boobs’, ‘booty’ and ‘piss’ from apps such as dictionaries. The censoring of other brands appears to be a new step for Apple.
In a move that appears to be a shift from Apple’s high moral policy over app content, they have allowed Playboy’s app. The magazine will be available on the iphone at a cost of $1.79 per issue.
Previously Apple has banned content on the grounds of language or content. Whilst Playboy’s nudity is relatively tame these days, it still seems to be a change in the app store policy. Or is it a case that Playboy (logo is as iconic as Apple’s own) are being favoured as a brand?
Apple has taken the high moral ground when it comes to certain areas of specialist entertainment. Yup, we’re talking about porn. The iphone appstore has been very prudish when it comes to adult related content. They even banned a dictionary app which included the words ‘fuck’ and ‘piss’ – it was later accepted as R15 after the f word was removed. Whilst I wouldn’t expect Apple to endorse adult entertainment (and they clearly do not), the exclusivity of the appstore means that it is not possible (without jailbreaking an iphone) to have any adult apps. The interest in porn clearly exists with iphone users. One of the most read articles on this blog was about a midly titilating app called iblush babes. Furthermore, a recent report showed that one in five people have viewed porn on their iphone, presumably via the mobile web.
The companies that are supporting Android, haven’t endorsed porn either – far from it. There is a big difference, however. They don’t control the delivery of apps in the same way as Apple’s iphone. One company called has done the indecent thing, taking advantage of Android’s more open approach to set up an app store for adult entertainment called MiKandi.
When it comes to technology, history would suggest that porn is the killer app. VHS took off (and ultimately won out over Betamax) with it’s adoption by the porn industry. Similarly broadband took off because it provided easy access to adult websites. So, is it possible that easier access to porn through the Android will see Google’s mobile OS win out in the end?
This seems to come under the heading ‘gratuitous apps with no obvious benefit’. Whilst I think that branded iphone apps have undoubted potential to enhance customer engagement and service, the Brittney Spears iphone app seems to serve little purpose.
Whilst the app itself is feature packed: photos, videos, apps, tickets, chat etc, it is the iphone demographic that I have a problem with. It’s only 3% of the US phone market (and probably the same or less in other territories where it is sold), users are over 18, usually over 24 years old. So who in this marketing would be interested in the activities of Ms Spears?
It’s every teenage boys’ dream (and probably everyone else’s nightmare), an app that can ‘remove’ someone’s clothes so you can see them in the nude. And that’s exactly what the NUDE IT, iphone app does. Except that it’s a spoof! (You really thought it existed? Er, no. It isn’t possible … and while we’re at it, there is no Santa Claus). Still, the video of the ‘app’ is fun. (totally safe for work): http://tinyurl.com/yb483m3