MobileNoter is available in Amazon Appstore

April 26, 2011

Amazon approved MobileNoter SE into its Appstore a few days ago, and the first sales are rolling in. Amazon Appstore is weird in many ways. For example, they have the right to change the price of your app. Unlike Android Market, they take time to approve apps and they don’t reveal identity of the buyers to the vendors. On the bright side, they got transaction export into Excel right, which is still a great problem for Google.

So far, customers’ activity is about 10 times less than that of Android Market. On the other hand, all our competitors like Evernote, Catch Notes, Springpad are on the Amazon, so we couldn’t sit on the sidelines.

I find the most helpful customer review of Evernote to be very remarkable: Great app for organizing and keeping track of things as they happen, however the terms clearly states they can use, modify and distribute anything you upload for purposes of the site and sell to partners. 18 of 22 people found this helpful.

That’s exactly the biggest difference between MobileNoter and its competitors: we don’t and won’t own your notes and data. Use Dropbox, SkyDrive, or your personal server to store your notes and don’t ever worry about who can access your data.


7 ways Microsoft adCenter failed on a single day

April 10, 2011

I tried to set up an advertising campaign for MobileNoter via Microsoft adCenter recently. The idea was pretty cool. I wanted to put an ad into office.live.com pages. It should be context sensitive. For example, when there is a word “Onenote” on a page, our ad would display, offering to work with Onenote notes on iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. Another idea was to display similar ad on the tablet devices. These two properties seemed to be very relevant for MobileNoter advertising. However, I was to a big surprise. Things seemed to be so weird that I turned to the adCenter support to ensure I wasn’t missing something obvious. Below is the list of things that failed with Microsoft adCenter, including some Q&A with their support:

1. Cannot create graphics ads

Question (me): I have no option to create a graphics ad. I tried it for both keyword targeting and network/site targeting.

Answer (support): At this time we only have support for text ads.

It turned out that you can place graphics ads only if your monthly ad budget is over $10K, but the process would be manual, i.e. not through the automated interface of the adCenter.

2. No way of knowing what’s inside Microsoft Media Network

Question: What sites are included into Microsoft Media Network? Is there a list anywhere that I can take a look?

Answer: Unfortunately there is no list available of what sites are include in (sic) the Microsoft Media Network.

3. No way of knowing the sites that display adCenter ads

Question: What are specific sites that can be selected to display ads on (when you select sites, not networks)? No matter what I enter into the box, when I click “View available placements”, the system doesn’t find any suitable site for me. Is there a way to see the list of sites?

Answer: Unfortunately there is no list available of what sites that can be included in the available placements; you have to use the trial and error method of discovering these sites.

4. Cannot combine keyword and site targeting

Question: Is there any way to combine keyword and network/site targeting? I would think it’s a great way to increase ad performance.

Answer: At this time there is no way to combine keyword and network/site targeting.

5. adCenter plain crashes on Firefox, doesn’t work on Safari either

Whenever I go to http://advertising.microsoft.com/using Firefox, I get the following:

Application Error

Sorry, you have encountered an application error. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please try again later.

When using Safari, it gives a polite message to go away, because your browser is not supported.

One would wonder why Microsoft can’t get a simple web application to work under different browsers.

6. Cannot select target mobile devices

When I tried to setup a campaign specifically for tablets, the only option I have is ““. You know guys, this is not good enough. I need options like to select iOS, Android, smartphones or tablets. I don’t want our ads to show up on Nokia “smartphones”, which are totally irrelevant for MobileNoter.

7. Outright scam ads served on Microsoft adCenter

When I go to live.com, most of the time it shows me an ad, which tells me that my IP address won something! If you already guessed it was a scam, you were right. The ad leads to a site, which offers to do some little SMS magic and make me eligible for winning an iPad. What the site also says in a hardly readable font is that I will purchase a subscription and be paying about $2.00 per day. Pay them money every day for a chance to win an iPad, good deal! Most of the time people who are tricked into this forget about the subscription later. One day they remember about it and discover that they already paid enough so that they could actually buy an iPad for the money. They try to cancel the subscription only to find out that it can’t be done for some silly reason, like the site gives them “Application Error”. And how it started? With an ad served by Microsoft adCenter. Very nice job, guys.


Who is this guy?

April 5, 2011


Lesson learned: native wins, HTML loses

February 25, 2011

We are now witnessing the coming of a new era. 

The internet without the web.

Read it again.

The holy grail of the internet developers, the only multi-platform technology than can reliably run everywhere, including them shiny iOS devices – HTML (and HTML5 in particular) is losing battle against a bunch of proprietary SDKs like Objective C, Java ME, and Silverlight. You can’t even call these a programming language!

The mobile development is all the rage now, and apparently for many years to come. The number of mobile devices is going through the roof and all of a sudden, a tablet is going to be enough of a computer for 95% of the users. And if you develop for mobile, you don’t want HTML5 for many reasons:

- if you need access to camera, notifications, or run in the background;

- if you need the app to look good and have decent performance;

- if you need to make money from the app, like charge for it;

- if you need the users to somehow find you app.

Right now, almost any HTML mobile app is a joke comparing to its native counterpart. And because the mobile apps are not scarce (they stopped counting the AppStore when it reached 400,000) the users will choose only the best apps with the best user experience. If you read it as “the users will choose only the native apps” you read it right.

Funny enough, Google, which is supposed to push HTML5 the most is not doing the job very well. Their Chrome OS, built around HTML5 and web apps is virtually non-existent. While Android is very alive and is flourishing with native apps at accelerating pace.

So, when people stop buying computers and stop going to the web sites from their mobile devices, the web will again become a hacker thing. Remember Gopher? Look it up here, if you haven’t ever seen it.

 


Lesson learned: iPad wins

February 14, 2011

It was a year ago when people started making funny jokes about the iPad. Then the device showed up in stores and turned out to be a good one. People loved our MobileNoter for iPad, and it helped our sales a lot. But more interesting is that Apple sold 14.8 million iPads in 2010.

That’s huge for a market created overnight, out of nowhere.

Even more interesting are analysts predictions for iPad sales in 2010. Remember, these are high paid analysts, whose insights are taken into account by top investment banks in the worlds (figures are in millions):

- David Bailey, Goldman Sachs           6.2

- Kathryn Huberty, Morgan Stanley     6.0

- Shaw Wu, Kauffman Bros.              5.0

- Mike Abramsky, RBC Capital Markets   5.0

- Ben Reitzes, Barclays Capital           2.9

- Chris Whitmore, Deutsche Bank       2.0

- Scott Craig, Merrill Lynch               1.2

- Doug Reid, Thomas Weisel             1.1

- Yair Reiner, Oppenheimer             1.1

Analysts data are taken from here. It goes to show how disruptive this Apple’s shiny tablet turned out to be. Apparently, more surprises to come. Apple is about to unveil iPad 2 while there are still no worthy competitors out there for the old iPad.

 

 


Microsoft ditches Windows Phone 7, part 2

January 25, 2011

In addition to the Microsoft Office coming to iOS, there are other signs that Windows Phone 7 is not going to enjoy a long and thriving life. One of them is Intel’s plan to conquer the ARM processors market. Neither Intel nor Microsoft can longer ignore the flourishing market of ARM-based devices. So Intel is going to make ARM chips and Microsoft will make Windows 8 run on ARM-based systems. When they talk ARM devices, it’s not just tablets and netbooks. They explicitly meant smartphones too!

Let me state this again:

 – Intel is going to produce ARM chips that are going to be effective enough for smartphones;

 – Microsoft is going to make their next version of Windows run on Intel’s ARM chips;

 – This combination is going to power smartphones in the future.

While this is a good thing overall (more hardware and software for smartphones to choose from), it’s a death sentence for WP7. If an ARM version of Windows 8 runs on Intel chip based smartphones, nobody will need the current stack of hardware and software known as Windows Phone 7.


Microsoft ditches Windows Phone 7

January 20, 2011

Microsoft still hasn’t revealed sales numbers for their Windows Phone 7 and they probably have a reason not to. Meanwhile, Steve Ballmer said during CES that Microsoft “is going to continue to invest in WP7 aggressively in the future“.

 However, there are several indications that they already lost faith in Windows Phone 7 and are not willing to bid everything on it. One of them is the release of OneNote for iPhone.

Why did they release it at all? Microsoft will never move a finger for a market smaller than say $1b. Obviously, they don’t expect to make any significant money off OneNote for iPhone. But if they port their entire Office suite to iPhone and iPad, that’s a totally different matter. With the number of devices going into hundreds of millions that’s a $1b market.

Here is the problem: if Microsoft kept Office suite exclusively to Windows Phone 7 platform, it would have been a strong advantage of WP7, especially in the eyes of corporate users. Apparently, the Office division in Microsoft won over WP7 group and the exclusivity won’t hold. And WP7 is doomed without all the help it can get from Microsoft.


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