Archive for Mobile

Is Android Unsafe?

// March 16th, 2013 // No Comments » // Mobile

Is Android unsafe? Recently have come across a lot of noise around
‘Android being Unsafe’

  • Your Passwords are not safe
  • Your Photos are not safe
  • Almost 85% of data on Android is not safe
  • How is your data (passwords, photos, contacts, etc.) not safe?

    An application on Andriod is generally independent of other apps in the sense that it cannot read or write the files of other applications. But this is good till there is no app which has root access, a superuser, with access to complete file system. Do you know, applications like your email client and/or your browser, store the user passwords without any kind of encryption. Ever wondered how this app ‘True Caller’ has information on who is who. Coz Android community is open source and is the most popular slash used mobile platform, it is quite vulnerable to geeky malware attacks. Lately it has become as easy for an app to gain access to your data as just installing and clicking a button.

    Explained in detail here with some recommendations:

    Unsafe Mobile Security System

    Recent articles by Wired and PCWorld claim the same! Both these articles refer the same McAfee report, which ofcourse can be a marketing gimmick to sell more AV products for obvious reasons… Android has 48% market share and growing with crazily high rate of 73% year on year.

    Android lovers may counter argue by saying security is more people dependent than system dependent. If you use your common sense while downloading and installing apps you are absolutely safe. But can you really expect this common sense and/or know-how from every single person. Ideally yes, coz I cant imagine anyone being not concerned about the security of his/her personal data. But traditionally there is a huge gap between an ideal and practical world.

    Keeping common sense aside, I decided to dig more information on the security architecture Android offers. Sandbox environment in Android shields one app to gain access of another, of sensitive OS features and asks for permission for various data points – access internet, adressbook, files, etc. All of this sounds good but the main problem with Android is one can not confine an android app to access only a specific url. Either there is all access to internet or not at all. The same applies to other sensitive data points – contacts, SMS’s, public folders in file-system etc… So till we have No “access on demand” feature in Android plus furhter fine grained security settings, this OS is not secure enough. As an open source platform it does have the possibility to achieve more secure system, but open is open for all even for bad geeks!

    And am not even talking about iOS or Windows here. So the game is on… :)

    Research in Motion (RIM) 2012 Roadmap: New Playbook 2 and BlackBerry Curve 9220 & 9320

    // January 30th, 2012 // 1 Comment » // Digital Marketing, Mobile

    With the data pulled-in my earlier post (Top mCommerce Trends in 2012), Blackberry isn’t in a good shape or in other words has lost quite of its hold in the market. Here are some fresh news from a leaked report by BGR (Boy Genius Report) talking about RIM’s 2012 Roadmap:

    Wondering what should we understand when the data is reported as “leaked”. Anyhow, RIM doesn’t mind as long as the news is exciting for Blackberry Boys and Girls:

    According to the report, Blackberry’s one year Handheld and Playbook Roadmap brings:

    • The new BlackBerry® PlayBook™ will have a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, will be endowed with 3G capability (42Mbps HSPA+ connectivity) and a built-in NFC hardware
    • New BlackBerry Curve, a new Torch, and a new Bold in the third quarter with upgraded OS.
    • A new “Wireless Media Server” feature for media sharing (Photos/Music/Video) with other devices.
    • New Blackberry Curve smartphones (9220 and 9320) will boast sleak looks with both QWERTY keypad and touch functionalities.
    • Next Gen OS is still a year and a half away (3rd Qarter, 2013) though.

    BlackBerry 2012 Roadmap BGR

    You can learn some more details on the matter through the slides available with BGR.

    Recently, Research In Motion replaced co-chief executive officers Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis with COO Thorsten Heins on Jan. 22. The new boss, in his first conference call said “I don’t think that there is some drastic change needed,”. Not sure what he means considering current trend where Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android is stealing the show, global mobile market. Looks like RIM needs to get back to what its called, ‘Research-in-Motion” and continue to focus on both hardware and software. May be with the new OS BlackBerry 10 based on software used to run nuclear plants, acquired from a company in 2010. Now does this sound strong enough? Consumers will tell…

    Another good news is, ex Boss Lazaridis have faith in Thorsten and believe BlackBerry will get back what it has lost to competition in recent past and this shows in his plans to buy additional stock worth $50 million (said in an Interview to The Record).

    More and more news-makers are sure making the Mobile space exciting!

    Top mCommerce Trends in 2012

    // January 13th, 2012 // No Comments » // Digital Marketing, Mobile

    Mobile has been personal to consumers and being web-enabled this media has been ever evolving to be explored by marketers. At the onset of 2012, Mobile commerce has taken off to an unprecedented degree. Retail markets along with other top eCommerce platforms are experimenting to give their consumers the best shopping experience.

    Let us explore the top mCommerce trends in 2012.

    • Point of sale – NFC and Cellphones
    • Technology is moving faster than consumers’ comfort levels. [Read my last post to understand the basic difference between NFC v/s QR Code v/s Bar Code]. Every 3-6 months there is something new. We need to wait and watch what stays as its directly proportional to its consumerization. NFC (Near-Field-Communication) chip making us fast approaching the time when the bulk of our purchases will be made via the Mobile phones.

      As more and more people do mobile banking, there’ll be more purchasing with mobile phones and the new technologies (NFC enabled Google Wallet | Intuit Gopayment etc.) are making their way in biggest retail markets across globe.

    • Business Perspective of Social Media
    • Does your marketing strategy allows you to not only sell products through social media, but also create brand ambassadors from consumers themselves? Top retailers have understood this and they are on it 24×7. Sumana Samuk, a Social Media expert, explains this in her interview with Business Today, “At times, people get so possessive about a brand that they come to the brand’s defence when someone else criticises it”.

      Mobile enables marketers to be interactive with their consumers on a real time basis. But there are some dirty little secrets of the game. First of all are all your followers are serious followers? Nope, there are only 40% of your followers who are genuine. Another dirty secret is about how many of your followers/fans are on it all the time? Twitter feeds, for example stream fast, but are all last 100 tweets are dead tweets? Not really, believe me! Twitteratis are always on it. Among those genuine followers, a very small percentage is actually reading posts as it goes live on your page or twitter stream as others tweet. So how small is this small percentage? Its significant, especially when mobile has made this number of your fans/followers to growing every passing minute. A comScore study says, Mobile Social Networking Audience Grew 44 Percent Over Past Year in EU5 (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom).

      So, when did you or your agency last monitor your Twitter on a Sunday evening and respond to a complaint in real time?

    • Smart Phone Sales are UP!
    • Above two trends make it obvious that the Smartphones sales are going up and 2012 will see more of this. Biggest show stealer in 2011 are Android phones with (I don’t wana say its coz of Angry Birds though)… and ofcourse Apple’s iOS is not behind. Here are some figures:

      Smartphones OS Marketshare

      comScore Reports November 2011 U.S. Mobile Subscriber
      Gartner’s Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System

      Android, being on Open Standards, allow vendors to deliver Android-based devices and continue to fight for market share. More a reason for customer’s rejoice as prices will further decrease. Android is going to maintain its strong position at all ends of the market through 2014. Greatest volume opportunity for all major players in the longer term will be in the mid- to low-cost smartphones, above all in evolving markets. Wondering, if everyone’s favourite Apple is listening!!

    NFC v/s QR Code v/s Bar Code

    // November 7th, 2011 // No Comments » // Digital Marketing, Mobile

    This is a classic example of how fast technology world is changing in search for the better and the faster life. How many of you actually used the QR codes even once to get further information on a product or service? The QR code is already on its way out (as has been the buzz). What’s replacing QR Codes? There is something called near-field-communication (NFC) chips…

    Let us understand the technologies in the order we have used them and are going to use:

    Bar Codes -> QR Codes -> NFC Chips

    Bar Codes – You might have come across the use of BAR Codes on each and every product you buy from supermarket while checking out of the store. Its a linear or 1 dimensional representation of Data in the form of parallel liines with varied widths. A Bar codes once scanned will give information about the product for billing which has automated the tasks and provide important information about the inventory.

    Bar Code Image

    QR Codes – also called as matrix barcode (2D) or Quick Response Codes. The only change that QR Codes brought is the fast readability and comparitively large storage of data in it. Its usage was more than that of Bar Codes in the sense that you can get almost all the updated information about that specific product of the brand including user reviews and special offers.

    QR Code Sample Image

    NFC – Near-Field-Communication chip works on RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) Technology, wherein radio waves are used to transfer data from an electronic tag attached to an battery run object (primarily a mobile phone). Now NFC is not only smarter in terms of being faster and being able to handle much larger capacity of data but also there is no need to take your device to scan the code. RFID Tags can be read from several meters away and beyond the line of sight of the reader. it also enables parallel bulk reading, unlike earlier codes where user had to scan one code at one go. A smartphone or tablet with an NFC chip could make a credit card payment or serve as keycard or ID card. NFC devices can read NFC tags on a museum or retail display to get more information or an audio or video presentation. NFC can share a contact, photo, song, application, or video or pair Bluetooth devices. More on NFC and its possible applications – Read Here

    Near field communication

    Marketers would be mostly interested in the deployment probabilities of NFC and how well it gels well with consumers. It all depends on the business case it carries for brands, retailers and most importantly the experience it initiates for the consumers. Any technology will not be a hit just because its available. If only consumers say that they are loving it, it can be made that they start living it. What we are talking about is the integration of NFC with the mobile technology, media which is growing much faster than any other media. Mobile formats (SMS, QR Code, image recognition, audio recognition or NFC) enable end customer to initiate an interaction with a commercial interest.

    NFC’s adoption is indisputable, only delay would be to decide on the standards and formats based on its usage. Although its already deployed in Asian markets, NFC’s use is capricious for the most part of marketers and users in terms of the value proposition it will carry, hence there is still a delay in adoption in the biggest internet/mobile market, the US.

    What else is changing, to change the way you and me live?? :)