Category Archives: News

Ken Fang presents at the HowTo.gov Mobile First Webinar

Federal agency mobile implementation is an important aspect of the Digital Government Strategy, so last week the Mobile Gov team and Digital Gov University partnered for a “Mobile First” Webinar. A “mobile first” approach is where new websites and applications are designed for mobile devices first, instead of designed for the traditional desktop.  Representatives from government and the private sector spoke about what it means to be “mobile first.” You can listen to the entire webinar, but here are some highlights:

Ken Fang from Mobomo Inc. talked about the importance of a mobile first approach, citing the increasing percent of traffic routing from mobile devices. Fang  proposed three steps to consider when choosing a device and platform to develop.

  1. Consider your audience needs and remembering who and what you are making the app for.
  2. Think about what kind of content will be sent out.
  3. Think platform strategy —answering whether you develop for one device or choose a different route such as an API or responsive design.

Mobile First Presentation

Mobile First – July 2012

Watch to the webinar here: http://bit.ly/mobile_first_webinar

Mobomo talks Next Gen Federal Sites in April’s Tech Bisnow Newsletter

It’s annoying when you pull up a website on your iPhone but have to be the size of a mouse to actually read it. Mobomo (including founder Barg Upender, creative director Brian Lacey, and president Ken Fang) is trying to solve that one federal agency at a time. The Bethesda, Md.-based company is developing device agnostic websites and consumer apps for GSA, Department of Commerce, the International Trade Administration, and the National Library of Medicine. One of its first projects was building GSA’s USA Search iPhone app. Now Mobomo is seeing even more demand for mobile web despite shrinking budgets. The company is working on redeveloping an app gallery for GSA and re-writing Export.gov. Ken says the company’s commercial-inspired agile approach makes it affordable to agencies.

Barg launched Mobomo in 2009 after seeing a huge disruption by the iPhone in the device space. The company is now 39 people with revenue tripling in the last three years. The company also has commercial clients, including Votifi, which uses a Mobomo-built app to gauge public opinion. Barg (who also mentors other entrepreneurs) says Mobomo’s success has been by staying ahead of trends. For example, Brian is working on tweaking apps for the iPad’s latest retina display. It’s a challenge to keep up considering there are 99 different view ports on a smartphone. “In the old days there were just a few sizes. So we’re helping commercial companies and government agencies deal with this rate of innovation,” says Barg.

Original Article: http://www.bisnow.com/tech/2012/04/05/the-app-solution-to-gas-prices

 

Mobomo Releases Pill Finder

Pill Finder enables rapid identification of unknown solid-dosage medications (tablets/capsules) based on physical characteristics including: imprint (characters or number printed on a medication), shape, color, size, and scoring. Once a medication is identified, Pillbox provides high-resolution images of tablets and capsules (if available) as well as links to drug information and drug labels. Pillbox uses the National Library of Medicine’s Pillbox API which is not intended for clinical use. Images contained within this resource are not part of the Structured Product Label and have not been verified by the sponsor/manufacturer.

Pill Finder

Download it here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pill-finder/id454149950?mt=8#

Apple's iPhone Manufacturer to Increase Wages

Foxconn, the Chinese company that manufactures Apple’s iPhone has had over a dozen suicides either on its premises or from the homes of workers. The why of this is still being investigated, but so far it’s chalked up to high-pressure, low wages. As a result of this, Silicon Valley Watcher’s Tom Foremski asks whether it’s time for a “Fair Trade” iPhone

Foxconn’s Taiwanese parent company Hon Hai has promised a 20% raise to all 420,000 employees, but says that this has nothing to do with the suicides and does not address the reportedly sweatshop-like work conditions at Foxconn. Foxconn had been playing Buddhist music, presumably to soothe workers, and apparently went as far as sending a letter to employees asking them not to kill themselves, which they retracted. In addition to manufacturing iPhones for Apple, it produces devices and components for Dell and HP.

Mobomo Mobisphere Roundup — May 26, 2010

pic-iClothing+iTee+iDressAT&T customers in New York City will be able to access free WiFi in and around Times Square. This is the company’s temporarily solution to data congestion. This will of course be great for New Yorkers with iPad WiFi-only models. Just don’t go near Yankee Stadium, as iPads are banned there since they’re being classified as laptops. On the other hand, if you do go to Yankee Stadium with an iPad, you might want to put on iClothing‘s iTee ($44.95) or iDress ($89.95), right, both of which have a pocket which will hold an iPad. Given how heavy the iPad is, I’m assuming the stitching on these clothing items is strong. Let’s just hope stadium security doesn’t search your body.

Planning to travel and need worldwide Internet data plan? XCom Global is offering unlimited data in any of 21 countries, including USA, Canada, Mexico and the UK, for $14.95-17.95/day. Access is provided through either a USB broadband stick or a Novatel MiFi. Sounds expensive, but apparently Vodafone’s rates, which are by the megabyte, could be considerably higher if you plan to be online a lot.

Unlocked smartphones are in enough demand that AT&T will provide unlocks for most of their handsets, with the exception of the iPhone, thanks to the pre-trial settlement of a class-action lawsuit.

The Android-powered Dell Streak 5″ slate computer/ GSM phone launches in the UK in June. It has two cameras (to support video chat), amongst other features. The device, which was formerly known as the Mini 5, will make its U.S. appearance in late summer. I don’t know; this former factor seems a bit large to use as a phone, unless you utilize the speaker or earbuds.

Android-based smartphones are selling at about 100K units per day, though given there are over 60 different handsets, that’s not too surprising. What is surprising is that Android phones outsold iPhones in the U.S. in Q1 2010.

If you think the iPad is too costly, take note $100-150 Android-based tablets could hit the market by the second half of 2010. While I think Apple will drop the price of the iPad next year when newer models come out, I doubt they’ll go as low as they devices, which will be powered chips from Via Technologies. I’ll have seven, please — one for each day of the week.

Mobomo Mobisphere Roundup — May 24, 2010

pic-white-iphone-4thgen

There’s been yet another “leak” of a possible prototype of the 4th-gen Apple iPhone. A photo (above) shows both a black and a white phone with larger screens. Given all the rumors and SDK evidence, it seems obvious that the OS 4 iPhone will have video calling and the larger screen resolution necessary to pull that off.

Fortunately, in just 2 weeks, all the speculation will be put to rest when Apple’s 5-day WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) kicks off on Jun 7th. Steve Jobs will start the event off with a keynote address to over 5,000 developers at the sold-out event. There’s an email circulating around the Web that’s supposedly from Jobs telling someone that “you won’t be disappointed,” in reference to what he’s probably planning to announce at the conference. I.e., probably the new iPhone, other features of the new SDK, and a mention of the countries where the iPad will by then be available.

What Jobs might not know is the new but celebrated iPad hasn’t only been banned in some countries but also in New York’s Yankee Stadium of all places. Apparently the stadium’s security policy considers the iPad to be in the laptop category, and laptops are not allowed in the stadium.

Has anyone told Yankee Stadium security that even the TSA (Transportation Safety Authority) differentiates between iPads and laptops? That’s actually a very disappointing fact. If more venues ban iPads, then carrying a tablet computer around might not become a common practice. I carry my iPad with me wherever I go, almost without fail. Now if I’m driving, I could always leave my iPad hidden somewhere, but if I’m walking or taking public transit — which is very likely in New York — then what am I supposed to do with it? Considering London will have full Wi-Fi access for the 20102 Olympics, I’m guessing they won’t be banning the iPad at venues there. Well, given that many Apple stores are sold out of the iPad, especially the 3G model, I’m guessing not a lot of people are going to be worried about this sort of ban, at least for now.

Is Apple stealing the market? Google announced last week that they were shutting down their online store and now Nokia is closing their flagship New York store. The Chicago store, on the other hand, is not closing. Wait a minute; doesn’t New York have a larger population than Chicago? Wouldn’t it make more sense to do the closing the other way around?

AT&T just got the Palm Pre Plus, but they’re charging $150 for it despite Verizon’s lower price. However, if you’re a new AT&T customer, you can get the phone for $50, but without the free Palm Touchstone charging dock. AT&T’s Pixi Plus will be available Jun 6th, to join the new AT&T Palm Pre Plus. The free Touchstone charge deal doesn’t apply to the Pixi Plus [Engadget]. If you get any smartphone from AT&T, be forewarned that they’ve increased the early termination fee from $175 to $325, effective Jun 1st — whether you’re a new subscriber or renewing your service.

The U.S. FTC finally approved Google’s purchase of mobile ad network AdMob Inc. While it took them six months to approve, the decision was partly to do with Apple’s own purchase of ad network Quattro Wireless. If I’m not mistaken, Apple’s purchase will result in their iAd network, announced at the same event earlier this year where Steve Jobs revealed some of the features that iPhone OS 4 would have.

The iPad might have a very long lasting battery but most smartphones seem to fizzle out in just a couple of hours of use. For example, the Palm Pre Plus I bought for it’s Mobile Hotspot feature (to power my WiFi-only iPad), has a battery that dies long, long before the iPad. But Google’s Larry Page recently said that if your Android-powered device isn’t lasting a day, there’s something wrong with your apps.

Mobomo Mobisphere Roundup — May 21, 2010

This is a stream-of-consciousness roundup of news in the mobile platform space from the past week. It covers Apple, Palm, Android and the mobile platform in general.

iPad sales in 2010 in the U.S. might hit 8M units, up from a previous estimate of 5M units [MacRumors]. Obviously, the international release is going to play a big factor in this, but at least iPad apps are now available internationally [Engadget]. Tablet devices in general could go from 7.6M units in 2010 to 46M units in 2014, according to IDC research [IDC]. To qualify as a “tablet” in IDC’s research, a mobile device must have a 7-12 inches in diagonal screen size and have no physical keyboard. IDC compares that figure to the nearly 400M portable PCs that they expect will ship in 2014. Also noteworthy is that while U.S. Mac sales were up nearly 40% [Fortune] in April 2010, iPads are outselling Macs [All Things Digital], are nearing iPhone sales levels, and are taking away iPod sales [Silicon Alley Insider].

iPad and general tablet device sales might be up, but DisplaySearch says that 376M touchscreen phones shipped in 2009 [Mobile Entertainment News]. Gartner Research says that mobile phone sales worldwide grew 17% in just Q1 2010 [Gartner]. With this rapid sales growth, it’s a bit refreshing to know that an extensive study does not conclusively tie cell phones to cancer [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]. Though unfortunately that doesn’t mean they don’t [Mobile Burn]

The number of Android-powered devices that Google is activating daily has increased from 30,000 last year to 100,000 now [TechCrunch]. Other news: there are now over 50K apps in the Android Marketplace, and with Google officially announcing Android 2.2 (Froyo) [MobileCrunch], that will increase. A couple of welcome changes with 2.2 include Internet tethering for carriers that choose to support it, and the ability to install apps on the SD card [PC World]. Google’s Android 3, aka Gingerbread, will be released in Q4 2010 [MobileBurn], thought it might actually be numbered as 2.3 or 2.5.

Adobe has revealed Flash 10.1 for Android-based mobile devices [Mashable], with the intent of showing Steve Jobs he’s wrong, that Flash can work smoothly on mobile phones [BusinessWeek]. Jobs’ issues with Flash is that it’s slow, power hungry, not touchscreen-enabled, and would cause mobile apps to crash. Now if they succeed in proving their point, and Jobs’ does rescind his ban, it still might be a year before iPhone OS devices get Flash, if ever. (Rumor is that Apple Mac computers will also stop supporting Adobe Flash, which is a serious disappointment to me as an Apple products owner and tech evangelist. While the fact is that Flash does crash regularly on both my PC and Mac, I’d still like the choice to view Flash-enabled Web sites, considering Hulu has yet to adopt the HTML5/ H.264 video format.)

Barg on the iPad in the Washington Post, Panelist at iPhone "Lean Startup" Event

Last week during the all-iPad-all-the-time event, we took some press calls. Barg got quoted by one of our favorite columnists, Rob Pegoraro of the Washington Post in an article entitled, Apple reveals the iPad tablet after months of hype. Is it worth the wait?:

“I think it’s definitely going to kill the Kindle,” said Barg Upender, founder and chief executive of Mobomo. But he did express a little disappointment that the iPad fell short of the most enthusiastic prophecies — for example, control by voice commands. “It’s a step in the right direction but not as revolutionary as we thought it would be,” he said.

In others news, he’ll be a panelist at next week’s DC Lean Startup Circle event. Barg will be discussing his ideas on applying lean startup principles to iPhone development.

We are speaking at AlwaysOn – OnDC

AlwaysOn Mobomo

Barg will be joining fellow entrepreneurs Hooman Radfar, Matthew Voorhees, and PV Bocassm in a panel titled “Technology Innovators in the WDC Region.” Our goal is to discuss ideas for fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in the government. The event is being held October 19th-21st at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Apple improves search in the iPhone App Store

When I created the App Store content for our TrafficTweet application, I created a nice list of tags. I was disappointed to see that the App Store didn’t have an area to insert these tags in the submission forms. The iPhone analytics vendors like PinchMedia and Medialets already supported tags.

I was pleased that Apple finally added keywords field to the application submission form to improve the poor search feature. So I pasted my carefully crafted keywords (283 characters) into the field. It immediately rejected the entry for exceeding the 100 characters limit. So, I painstakingly prioritized and trimmed the keywords to 97 (an interesting exercise). Ok, this time, it took the values. I went back to change one of the keywords, but it wouldn’t let me edit. Lesson learned: you have only one shot at adding keywords. Also, I noticed you can’t change the app’s title anymore. One step forward, one step back!