Shaun Mccran

My digital playground


New Samsung Galaxy Gear advert shows you how to get the girl

A somewhat bizarre Samsung advert was recently released telling the story of two chaps competing for the attention of a young lady. The one with the Samsung Gear appears to have an advantage over the other in a series of incredibly contrived scenarios.

Its quite un-pc for a modern TV advert from the Telecoms giant. Its also a little bit creepy, what with the covert stalking and picture taking etc.

I've got a Samsung Note 3 and in no way does this entice me to go out and spend £250.00 on a postage stamp sized watch, even if it does make me a wonder with the ladies. Lets be honest, you'd look like a massive nerd, there's no way Samsung is fooling anyone with this advert.


Has the golden age of massive Mobile Application growth come to an end?

Statistics over the Christmas period show that mobile App market usage is still on the increase (by 11%), but that growth has significantly slowed year on year, from 97% (2011) to 90% (2012) to 25% (2013). Is this the beginning of a mobile app decline? Or are customers just changing their usage patterns? This article looks at how I think mobile users develop their patterns and where this has led us to.

Welcome to the all-you-can-eat-App-buffet!

Let's start off by looking at previous mobile app usage patterns. Early adopters and new mobile platform customers (Tablet and handset) are initially 'wowed' by whichever App store they visit. The wealth and availability of applications in an App store is impressive, and they are all available within a few clicks. People have little to no experience with any of these new applications now available to them, so they skip around a lot, downloading applications without a great deal of thought. We snack on different applications until we are gorged with a wide selection of them. There are no repercussions to installing a lot of these things, after all the only currencies are disk space (plentiful on modern devices) and a few pounds if you are purchasing applications. We haven't really got a plan, or a usage pattern here, it's an exciting new world of easily downloaded applications.

This slightly chaotic, unfocussed view on downloading applications gives people an opportunity to find the programs that work for them. It would be really interesting to see the discard rates for installed applications. Users try them, find that it wasn't what they thought and get rid of them. Often to then try something else very similar to see if the issues they had with the first App are fixed in a competitor or if that extra bit of missing functionality they thought was there is present.

Building Application loyalty and discovering a usage pattern

There is no App loyalty at this point. People are still adding and removing Apps until they settle on a relatively stable core set of applications. Consider the last time you upgraded a device. Chances are you simply reinstalled half of the same applications that were on the old device onto the new device. Apple and Google have actually built this data migration functionality into their ecosystems now. Its become the expected behaviour. Users develop a pattern of usage, and then they tend to stick with it. Barring significant life changes that introduce new categories of interests such as Marriages, children, house moves etc. people stay within their comfort zone. It takes a lot of marketing, or a trusted social recommendation to instigate someone to try out a new application.

A statistic that has an important bearing on this is the early adopter (or repeat upgrader) figure. New Smartphone sales are slowing. This is due to all of the early adopters having already adopted them, and in all likelihood are now on their third or fourth device due to the length of contracts. So the user base is more familiar with the way smartphone work, and integrate with everyday life. There are less and less completely new users to the ecosystem. The pattern described above is attributed to these new users, so the 'snacking' phenomenon is decreasing. This is evident in modern examples of Apple and Samsung's advertising campaigns which are both aimed at the casual user, the fringes of their traditional market segments, such as the 40+/50+ or budget conscious.

Application market Stagnation? Or User Stability?

I think when you take these factors into account the figures make a lot more sense and can be explained more as a repercussion of user stability and established practices. Experienced users have experience using online App stores and don't download a dozen applications in the first ten minutes just to test them out and remove them. Downloads are more considered and planned, time is taken to find the right application as the novelty value of having ALL THOSE APP's(!!) right on your fingertips has gone. This really helps to separate the chaff, and poor applications find themselves falling by the wayside quickly.

Rather than having a statistic around downloaded applications it may be more useful to view how many times an application was opened on a mobile device. Typically applications that are kept by a user are more heavily used. Users end out in a model of fewer applications, but more heavily used.

If you want to view more or this, or see a statistical view then have a look at either of the following two articles:


New report recommends Limiting teens web access to two hours a day

A report released in the last few days by the University of New Mexico has recommended that a two hour per day limit on web access should be enforced by parents, on children.

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1Under the advice, a two-hour limit should be imposed on using the internet for entertainment, including Facebook, Twitter, television and films.

The problem with this report is that it is let down by its traditional view on internet usage, and thus data consumption. The report has a central theme, and its findings also align to this theme, despite pointing out new device usage patterns within the report.

The traditional (historic) view of internet usage is that consumers require specific devices or workstations to access the internet. This lead to a 'resource' measuring model. Data and speed became the measurements for how fast your access is, or how much you are allowed to consume.

With the growth of internet and the ease of access to it, both from a proliferation of network access and the abundance of internet enabled devices this traditional resource measuring model simply isn't applicable anymore.

The modern view of the internet should be realigned to one of that of a persistent layer, a non-tangible pervasive entity that sits comfortably over our existing social infrastructure. This is quite a common view when you go back to classic internet literature like SteamPunk or Manga.

The internet is integrating into everyday life so much that it is becoming impossible to separate it from the fabric of everyday activity. We need to stop viewing it as a commodity resource and instead move it into an amenities category. Would you deny your children access to lighting or heating? No, you wouldn't but go back in history a little bit and you'll find that those two items were also rationed against a resource model.

The best thing you can do is inform them of best practices in using the internet. You wouldn't ban them from spending all day in a library, instead you'd teach them how to use it. Now this does rely on parents knowing how it works (often far less technology savvy than their children) and there is still a strong requirement to shape exactly what content they can get to. The idea here though is to shape their desire to access inappropriate content, rather than shaping their access to it. No present day internet management software can blanket cover all items of concern in terms of access, it just isn't possible.

Instead of trying to measure access out, why not help integrate it into everyday life, the usage pattern will develop on its own. Otherwise education establishments will continue to produce inaccurate reports based on historical understanding that just propagate a jaded view of our modern digital era.

A link to the Telegraph article is here:


Where is Google music stored on the Android OS?

After synchronising several albums into the Google Music service recently I thought I'd copy them from my mobile onto my work laptop, as I can't install Google Music manager on it, with Corporate security policies and all that.

Having a dig around on the mobile I couldn't find the music files anywhere. How was I to copy my music? Turns out that Google Music stores the music files in a sector of the memory card that you cannot access unless you have root access.

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So you cannot move them around easily. Also watch out for the fact that Google Music applies its own indexing system so all your files are renamed to match a cloud based index database. They have numeric names now instead of the original ones. To work out what each song is you'll have to listen to them each in turn.