Nowadays, with smartphone image quality nearing that of most point-and-shoot cameras, along with the inherent convenience of mobile, more and more people are using their devices as their go-to camera.
As a result of this trend, we are seeing a constantly increasing amount of photography apps popping up. These apps offer users a variety of innovative features not found in native apps. One such app is creating somewhat of a buzz latley, by offering its users an opportunity to make money doing something that they are already doing for free.
Much like Instagram, Foap allows users to create profiles, upload photos, rate photos and follow other users. AND, remarkably similar to a stock photography site, Foap has created a marketplace where photographs can be bought and sold.
That’s right! Users can actually make money selling the digital photos taken with their iPhones – capitalism wins again!
However, it should be noted that uploaded photos must first be reviewed by someone, we assume a photography expert, at Foap. So, only the approved photos are uploaded to the Foap market and put on sale for $10, with all transactions processed through PayPal.
When a user’s photo is sold, the generated revenue is split 50/50 between Foap and the user. I know $5 doesn’t sound like much, but just consider what Instagram users get for uploading their photos (hint; the answer is nothing).
It’s not very clear exactly what Foap looks for when reviewing photos, but from what I have read in the app’s FAQ section, photos must be clear and of good quality, and of course free of any sexual or violent content.
I have also read elsewhere, that editing photos decreases the chance that they will be published. I, myself was unable to upload some cropped images. I received an error message stating that either the width or length of an image must be at least 1000 pixels.
Once photos are successfully uploade, reviewed and published, they are showcased in the app’s market section. Users can access the market through a tab menu found on the home screen. The home screen is very easy to learn and navigate, making for speedy discovery and exploration of the app.
Once in the market, users are able browse through published photos, leave comments and rate them out of a possibe five stars. Top rated and recently sold photos have their own dedicatd sections in the market, while the entire selection can be found under the “Explore” tab.
Users are not actually able to purchase photos directly from the app, but I predict that will change eventually. Until that time, however, anyone wishing to purchase a photo must do so through the company’s website.
However, while viewing a particular photo, users can tap an arrow icon loacated at top right of their screens, which gives them a few options. Selecting “View on Market” will launch Safari and take users to that particular picture’s page on the website.
I have been playing around with this app for a few days now, and I must admit that I have become a bit addicted. For the purpose of this review, I actually snapped this photo and uploaded it. Once it was approved and published, my picture quickly picked up a few five-star ratings and made its way onto the top-rated chart under the “Today” category. In fact, it made it all the way to #2!
Every since then, I have been snapping away, trying repeat my accomplishment. I have introduced a few friends to Foap who are now also hooked. We’ve even mafe a friendly bet between us as to who will be the first to actually sell a photo.
Even is you have little interest in selling your images, I would still recommend giving this app a try. Foap is well designed and easy to learn and use. It can also be alot of fun and can even possibly get you paid for your amateur photography! Yay!
So far in 2012, Plastic has been a big hit in the awards circle. We have won 10 awards, and the year is only half over!
Most recently, we won a Gold award for Pizza Pizza’s iPhone ordering app at the Applied Arts Interactive awards.
And the Creativity International Media and Inteactive Awards liked us so much, they gave us four awards:
And the Horizon Interactive Awards toasted us three times for:
Pizza Pizza also brought in yet an additional two awards including a Silver from the Communicator Awards as well as an Official Honouree Award from the Webby’s this year.
We can’t wait to see what the second half of the year has in store for us, and we want to take a moment to send out a huge thanks to everyone involved in all our mobile solutions – we know it takes a village to raise a child, and we couldn’t have done it without you – you know who you are!
A few weeks back, Plastic’s CEO, Sep Seyedi, was attending WWDC 2012 and sent an email to us here at the office recommending we checkout a specific application. Right away, I knew it was going to be something great because Sep wouldn’t waste our time with anything less than fantastic.
National Geo’s Parks in an App
National Parks has all the elements of a great app. It is beautifully designed, easy to learn and use, and the attention to detail is impeccable. It also offers substantial amounts of functionality for those want it. However, what impressed me most about this app was its clean, intuitive and uncluttered UI, coupled with its cool transitions and animations. Not to mention the stunning photos that utilize the iPhone’s retina display.
This app is perfect for those who want to plan their next great camping trip. Users are given all the basic park info that is necessary to plan a getaway to any of the 20 most visited national parks in the United States.
This includes information on how to get there, when to go, entrance fees, special advisories and of course the parks contact info. Users are also given weather conditions (current and a five-day forecast), stats about the park (number of annual visitors and park size) and some amazing photos of the scenery.
Additional information is available in the form of park guides, which users can purchase in app. The first guide is free of charge and subsequent guides cost anywhere from $0.99 – $1.99. With the guides users get additional photos, park secrets, suggestions of what to see, what to do and photo tips.
Photo tips are a great feature of this app. The National Geographic Society is known for amazing photography and now, with this app, users get all the information they need to snap their own masterpieces.
With the photo tips, users get the location (GPS coordinates), time of day, camera details and difficulty levels for each individual photo. They also get an overview and some fairly detailed instructions from the actual photographer who took that particular photo.
All in all, National Parks delivers a great mobile app experience. It offers a bunch of features wrapped in a very pretty package and believe it has a little something for everyone.
Granted, not all people are into camping and the outdoors. However, most people do appreciate the beauty of nature, and some people, myself included, value the beauty of a great app.
I have discussed this app with some colleagues and, as people who truly appreciate great design, attention to detail and great usability, we know that those elements are extremely important to producing a great experience for the end user and we all agree that the Apple Design Award was well deserved
There has been a lot of conversation about mobile payments lately, but I feel much of it is simply future predictions and speculations. While I understand why – widespread adoption on the retailer’s side, although growing, is still lacking – it’s time for some action. So when, “Pitch the Plastic: The Mobile Payment Era Has Begun,” showed up on my radar, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only does the title carry our company name (Plastic Mobile, woo!), but also a few examples of some great startups pushing the movement forward with innovative new mobile solutions.
The first of the two, iCache Geode, launched just a couple days ago and hopes to thin out your wallet (while bulking up your iPhone) significantly. iCache Geode is an iPhone case that carries a detachable card with a rewritable magnetic stripe within it, which performs as any of your credit cards. Also, it offers an e-ink display on it’s exterior which displays barcodes in substitution of loyalty and membership cards.
How secure is it? Each time you open the app, you must first pass a fingerprint test to enter. To use either feature, download the app and input your credit card numbers and take pictures of barcodes on existing cards. With just a few clicks, the card within the case becomes whichever card of your choosing and the barcode whatever you’d like to display. Take the card out and swipe/scan at any existing POS system. Pretty neat.
While I obviously 100% support mobile innovation, I can already see a few things potential going awry. For instance, if I purchase iCache Geode (at $199 I might add), I would absolutely have to justify the buy by not carrying my credit cards, loyalty and membership cards with me. But what if my phone dies? What if I drop my phone and break the case? Just like that, there goes my investment.
My clumsiness aside, I’m afraid that retailers’s adoption rate will be very slow. Most retailers have been trained to be careful when accepting credit cards as it is, checking the card, name and signature. Will there be hesitation on their part when seeing the unfamiliar? Do they need a dotcom giant, Like a Google or PayPal, behind them to give them the necessary cred?
Last, many of us are anxiously waiting for the next generation iPhone later this year. If there is a hardware redesign, this case won’t do. It’s been designed solely for the iPhone 4 and 4s and that may pose an issue in the future. In addition, with rumors of Apple bringing NFC to the iPhone, this product might become all together obsolete.
All in all, it’s great to see some headway with mobile payments and I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see how the iCache Geode delivers and hopefully helps to move this space forward. What have you heard about the iCache Geode? Tweet us your thoughts @plasticmobile.
Retailers of all kinds are gearing up for this first-ever conference on mobile transactions. Taking place at the Old Mill Inn & Spa on June 26 and 27, 2012, Mobile Transaction and Commerce Summit, promises to be a networking and learning opportunity for every customer-based company from big name retailers and online merchants to banks and financial institutions.
With speaker sessions hosted by retail industry experts and enterprise pioneers, attendees have the chance to hear solution-focused presentations and discussions on how to better integrate mobile payment and commerce into marketing strategies.
Some of the speakers include top marketing executives from Gap, Best Buy and Deloitte, as well as the Head of Mobile for JetBlue Airways and our very own Plastic Mobile Co-founder and President, Melody Adhami, who will discuss using m-commerce to transform the retail experience.
Basically, this inaugural conference is a must-attend for any retailer with a transaction-based business model and a customer base. Why? Because mobile commerce and transactions represent a huge piece of the puzzle in retailers’ imminent future, with mobile shopping predicted to account for $163 billion of sales worldwide (12% of global e-commerce turnover) by 2015.
The Mobile Transaction and Commerce Summit is an excellent opportunity to get a deeper knowledge of focused trends and hear some practical examples of dos and don’ts from those in the know.
Tweet us @plasticmobile and let us know if you’re attending the MTCS this month.
For my inaugural post as the resident Plastic Mobile intern, I’d like to focus on the eTail event we attended last week where I learned a number of interesting facts and stats about m-commerce.
First, and this one made my jaw-drop, a stat reported in late april by the eTailing Group in their annual merchant study, Making the Right Choices in a Connected World: Customer Experience Escalation: 85 percent of merchants say mobile commerce is a focus in 2012, up from 68 percent in 2011.
With nearly four out of five respondents suggesting that m-commerce is in their strategies, the mobile retail arena is about to get a lot more competitive. With so many merchants now simultaneously making the move to mobile, they will have to quickly develop effective mobile strategies that will also help engage their customers and bring their brands into the new world of mobile retail. I for one hope that the need for speed won’t hinder the need for quality initiatives.
Second, the Interactive Bureau reports in their study, Mobile Phone Shopping Diaries May 2012, that 73 percent of consumers say they have used their mobile phones in a store and that 40 percent of respondents said they want mobile ads to allow them to browse the brand’s broader product offering. This is interesting because it suggests that retailers can look to in-store mobile solutions and other alternatives to just mobile websites.
For instance, earlier this month Sephora went through a complete Digital Makeover. Their new and exciting cross-channel initiative includes a new mobile app with improved UX, sharper search capabilities, m-commerce enabled shopping and all the social network bells and whistles. Some of Sephora’s stores are seeing iOS devices being launched in-store to allow sales agents to speed up checkout times with mobile POSs. Other stores are implementing in-store iPads that provide extensive product information, style tips that customers can send to themselves via email and, of course, more social media integration.
There are definitely other brands implementing some fantastic m-commerce initiatives, but Sephora stood out to me as a leader because of the grand scale and quality of this mobile initiative.
Last, a recent study by Juniper Research estimates that mobile transaction volume will grow to $670 billion by 2015! I can’t wait to see which brands will follow Sephora’s fantastic example and make that prediction a reality.
So there you have it, a few interesting m-commerce stats and one very extensive and exciting new initiative to enhance consumers retail experiences.
Do you have your own mobile insights or thoughts on other great initiatives? Tweet us at @plasticmobile and let us know!
For more recent information on m-commerce, and to learn about the initiatives of other brands, I recommend some of the following articles:
Plastic Mobile and our infamous Candy Shop are sharing our sweet treats and mobile innovations at eTail this week. There to show attendees of the electronic retail conference how mobile is poised to change the face of the storefront, the Candy Shop team is handing out delish sweets and working on changing the way retailers connect wit their customers.
Melody Adhami is also there, chairing the conversation about the rapidly evolving retail space and what’s in store for the future of shopping.
Stay tuned for our follow up on highlights from the conference later this week.
Are you at eTail this week? Tweet us @plasticmobile and let us know what you’re finding interesting – and don’t forget to stop into the Candy Shop to say high and get some Blue Jellies and Berryliciousness!
We have always known that putting the user first is the cornerstone to any successful mobile solution. And we know that our clients have the utmost confidence in the quality work that we do. That being said, a little nod like being profiled as Forrester Research’s poster child for mobile UX/UI and design gives us that warm and fuzzy feeling all over.
But we won’t gloat too much – mostly because we are just really excited to see mobile UX getting its day in the sun. The international research giant put out their case study, “Pizza Pizza Cooks Up a Successful Mobile App” because they felt that “Firms new to mobile and even those that are planning second- or third-generation mobile offerings can learn from Pizza Pizza’s example.”
Plastic Mobile’s award-winning Pizza Pizza iPhone ordering app revolutionized the pizza ordering game by pairing down the ordering process to give the user what they want, faster and simpler. The app offers a complete and immersive m-commerce experience that allows customers to customize their pizza, repeat a previous order and save their favourite locations in just a few quick taps.
Reports such as this Forrester study really highlight the distinct gap in the market between mobile solutions that are approached with user TLC, and those that are built quickly and technically, without designing for the user.
Our president and COO, Melody Adhami, has been talking about these missed opportunities for a while and often says that as a result of approaching mobile from a technical perspective ”agencies are not putting enough focus on usability and design, and the end user is left unsatisfied – tech should help, not hinder, the user’s experience with mobile.”
The Forrester Research report details the challenges, best practice guidelines and some of the tremendous results of the mobile app. Read the entire report on our site, and learn more about the importance of designing for mobile UI and UX.
Our pals at Mashable.com are already looking to a post-mobile world, where these five trends will determine who succeeds and who gets left behind.
1. Augmented Reality - Look in the mirror and what do you see? Today’s weather? Your day’s appointments? Then you must have the latest mirror from Cybertecture, a Hong Kong firm that’s making tomorrow’s smart homes a reality today. We may not all have money to burn on a high-tech mirror, but brands are certainly looking at ways to capitalize on this technology and make it the norm.
For example, the wizards at Corning provided an inspiring look at how touch screens made of glass might soon be seamlessly integrated into our environments. Brands such as Starbucks are already seeing strong revenue from their mobile AR program.
2. The New Biotech - When I say biotech, I mean data comes from everywhere, including from within. Companies like FitBit andNike are finding new ways to record and utilize that data. For now, they seem to be focused on helping athletes (and wannabes) build better workouts, but it’s only a matter of time before brands begin to look more closely at how such data might be used to develop new customer relationships.
Nike has already opened its FuelBand API to allow music platforms to experiment with incorporating personal physical data. As these technologies gain traction and developers look at new ways to leverage information, one day soon we could see insurance companies providing discounts to individuals who share their device data. This would be the equivalent of auto insurers, such as Progressive, offering savings to drivers who share their driving behavior.
3. Consumer-controlled Media – One of the most interesting trends we’ve seen is the fragmentation of ownership. Technology has empowered the masses, and they’re leveraging that power in new ways. If brands want to remain relevant to their audiences, they’re going to have to engage in these contexts and in a media landscape where the traditional publishing model no longer exists. In this not-too-distant future we will watch all of our programming online in whatever form that takes. And we will engage with media that we create (not what the media “owners” create) or remix, re-purpose, and pass along.
4. Multi-platform Marketing - Consumers don’t think in silos, so neither should your company. Prepare your brand to work on multiple platforms. As you do that, consider what unique aspects of your offering, your history, and products will resonate with the consumer of the future?
Communicate your brand’s essence through new channels and devices, in an integrated, cohesive manner. But be aware of how and when they want to interact with brands, and the new possibilities to bring them value and not just marketing noise.
5. Innovation Without Borders - Brands and products are no longer geographically confined in the way they once were, and neither are marketing campaigns. Big brands are increasingly tapping into local talent and culture, testing new approaches in one market, and re-purposing them elsewhere.
Coca-Cola took the best of gamification, Shazam, and the second-screen experience and ran with it in China. Tesco is testing out interactive mobile shopping experiences in Seoul that the U.S. is not quite ready for, technologically or socially. It is clear that in the near future, brands will pitch locally but think globally
While all of the above insights offer a tremendous amont of food for thought for the future, it was the fifth point that struck us as the most interesting. Not only are brands and their marketing campaigns no longer geographically confined, but neither are their users. We can now shop in Japan and talk to friends down under straight from our mobile devices while picking up our morning copy.
What does it all mean, you might ask? A lot. While mobile has stealthily been infiltrating our lives over the past few years, it has also been evolving in ist own right. As experts start to look at future mobile trends, they are more and more recognizing how mobile is poised to transcend our actual devices and start to shape our worlds in other ways, through alternative channels.
Take m-commerce, for instance. Not only has mobile changed the way we are able to shop, allowing us to browse and buy from our smartphones, but it is now gearing up to change the actual brick and mortar shopping experience, with mobile devices powering NFCs so we can pay with a swipe and file our receipts in an app, as well empowering sales people to know more about the customers walking through the door by giving them devices that connect with our devices.
The future is mobile and we can’t wait! Can you? Tweet us @plasticmobile and let us know what you think about Mashable.com’s points, or taking mobile out of the phone and into other devices.
From our luxury press release on Tuesday in Toronto and New York City, to our presence and presentation at San Diego’s Mobile Shopping Spring Summit, this week has been a flurry of cross-continent activity for Plastic.
For the Mobile Shopping Spring Summit in San Diego this week, Plastic Mobile took our Candy Shop on the road to spread the word about retail’s new store front – mobile! For the second time since Dx3, the Candy Shop has been a success. Mobile Shopping Spring Summit attendees left the candy shop with an insightful message, and a serious sugar high. Attendee’s flew in from across the continent and a few of our fellow Canadians from Beyond the Rack, Montreal, and Central1CU, Vancouver, joined us in the not-so-sunny San Diego. Locals assured us their weather is normally more balmy, but at least bad weather is always a good ice breaker!