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NewsRob best Android application for Google Reader

Newsrob is my favourite application for Android mobiles, it’s been covered in my 10 Best Android Apps list a few times. Newsrob integratess with your account for Google Reader (which allows you to manage and read all your RSS feeds). Newsrob recently turned 1 and celebrated by introducing a Pro version and an Adfunded Free Version.

What’s fantastic about Newsrob Pro

Newsrob Pro has a new feature that is great for any social media or mobile specialist. Newsrob Pro allows you to now share your articles with comments. In the free version you can only add it to your shared list.

Newsrob Share with Note

The Newsrob Share with note is saved in the client until it next syncs with Google Reader.

Newsrob Free Version

The Adfunded Free Version is still the best Google Reader app. No features have been removed in the freeware version. The advertising is intrusive but you don’t notice this when you are on buses or the underground and ads only show on navigational menu pages. In the first image you can see the space that is ‘reserved’ for banner ads.

Newsrob has many helpful timesavers such as

  • Press the Star icon to indicate an article that is important to read again or print out at the office / home
  • Share by E-mail, Gmail to send that article straight to your colleagues
  • Offline sync / wifi download, so you can read articles anytime anywhere
  • Share Socially if you have Seesmic installed on your phone you can share the article you are reading there.

How to install Virtualbox on a Mac

This is 2 minute guide covering how to get Virtualbox and install it on your Mac. You would choose to use Virtualbox for 2 reasons

  • Virtualbox is freeware in comparison to Fusion for Mac
  • Virtualbox runs inside your Mac so you don’t have to reboot like Bootcamp

It’s been some time since I visited my favorite topic, which is using my Mac OSx Snow Leopard to run virtual operating systems like Tiny XP, Windows 7RC or Ubunutu.

Getting Started with Virtualbox

You download Virtualbox from the main site, it should take only a few minutes. Always download from the main website just incase the files are corrupt or infected by viruses

Double click on the download to mount the .dmg file (for Windows converts a .dmg is like a disc image or an .iso)

Virutalbox dmg click on make package

Double click on the make package icon to run the installer. You don’t need to drag the icon to the Applications folder like other Mac apps.

Once its completed the install just close the Installer.

Virtualbox Installation Completed

You can now think about how to install Windows 7, TinyXP or Ubuntu on your machine

3 Reasons SMS marketing will die this year

Have you had a funny feeling in your pocket lately? Have you noticed a distinct lack of marketing SMS or that you only get SMS from your bank or your mobile operator – no more unwanted SMS. Smart digital agencies and mobile marketing specialists are already moving their clients from this type of communications.

There are 3 very good reasons that this year is the year SMS marketing will die.

1. High Cost of SMS Marketing Campaigns

Sending an SMS campaign still has real costs – typically these costs would double if you want customers to able to reply to your ad message (for example – to get a free code, answer a quiz question or just to reply with STOP). So a campaign with a set of 1000 numbers may cost you up to £100 – and if only 5% respond then your campaign costs are £2 per response.

The same £100 budget could be used smartly on a Google Adwords Campaign and a trial budget of £1 a day would last about 3 months! You would serve out 1000’s of impressions a week and get more CTR or leads.

Targeting Mobile Search or Mobile SEO would also be an attractive option for would be marketers.

2.Limited Marketing Budgets for 2010

Many companies are cutting their budgets again for this year. Predictably, high cost campaigns with low response rates will be the first to go. SMS campaigns that focus on buying something, going somewhere or ones from unsolicited sources are all suffering. Even banks will stop sending balance alert SMS’s unless it can be adfunded.

3. Strong Smartphone sales means you need to use a mobile website or app

All smartphones will come with unlimited monthly internet plans and have access to some kind of app stores. The better smartphones will be more like pocket computers with big screens, HD video playback and more. Customers will be able to connect almost anywhere with your brand.

Strong Smartphone sales including Androids (from manufacturers like Google, HTC, Sony Ericsson, Motorola) will increase in popularity along with iPhone and maybe Windows 7 mobiles. Nokia will continue to have some dominance in mass market 3G devices.

Finally .. now is the time to build a mobile marketing plan that is integrated – think mobile search and SEO – check what your website looks like on your mobile phone. Then contact me.

Now have your say … will SMS Marketing die in 2010?

5 Essential tips for promoting your charity or cause using mobile marketing

For non-profit organisations, charities and cause related marketing the mobile can provide the best integrated marketing solution for campaigns. There are a number of tools and techniques which can be used to promote your cause or help to raise donations.

1. SMS Premium Text Donations

Making donations using your mobile is as simple as sending a text to a special number. For the not so concerned and the lazy its a quick way to send a few dollars, euros or pounds to a worthy cause. The SMS premium text solutions that you choose must work across all major operators and the solution should mean that the service provider and operator minimise their cost for the charity.

2. Mobile Apps & Games – Branded Content

For cause related marketing and integrated marketing mobile apps and branded games are a viral marketing tool. Today’s mobile phones allow for fun based games which also can teach the user about your cause (ie teaching people how to take care of their land or water supply). Development of an app does take budget – but the rewards are something fun that can be easily promoted via the iTunes Store, Android Market or your own web or mobile site.

Of course any app should link to your mobile site and allow the user to sign-up for email alerts or status updates.

3. Mobile Internet and Websites

Mobile websites are no longer the little brother. As more people get smartphones with richer functions a fully ‘grown up’ website can be created for customers to experience. The same points apply – allow people to sign up for alerts to stay in contact or to download any mobile app straight to their phone.

4. Campaign Tools & SMS Status Alerts

Once you have people opted-in to receive status alerts, you will be able to quickly let people know about important events and invite them back to your mobile website to make a donation or find out how they can help. It makes sense to have a solution that integrates with a mobile and email CRM allowing for campaign promotions.

5. Branded Content – Videos, Music, Tones, Images & Wallpapers

Branded content is one of the best ways to get recognition of your brand. Wallpapers can be downloaded to desktops or saved on phones (even shared with friends!). Content like videos can also feature your brand as part of the digital overlay or a pre-roll or post-roll sequence

It is also easy to build your own digital download content shop into any existing web or mobile site using solutions that mmCHANNEL provides (who I currently work for).

Now have you say … are you working with Charities?

Foursquare Best Location Based Social Networking for Android UK Users

Android mobile owners in the UK will be pleased to know that location based social networking apps have begun to improve and increase in the number of users. In the past few weeks, top location based social networks such as Brightkite and Foursquare have really improved the quality and details of UK locations.

It is a problem of user experience that meant many of these services had few UK users and no UK points of interest. It has been a ‘crying-shame’ or an indictment of the mobile apps industry to focus ‘within’ their country of origin during launch, while leaving their websites and apps ready for for international users to signup and login. This meant potential users were really locked out (ie Twitter was pointless in the UK as there was no UK mobile operators)

After studying several of these location based services during the past 3 months – it appears that Foursquare is currently ahead of Brightkite in terms of users and engagement. Why is this?

1. Brightkite has fewer real people checking in

When a user is logged in, a key features is seeing other users that are around you. However users are more likely to find spammers and bots making autoposts. In the pic above, you can clearly see who are real users and who are bots.

2. Foursquare has more of my ‘friends’

Perhaps this was due to the amount of internet news and hype, but when I logged into Foursquare this week, I found more real ‘friends’ to add to Foursquare. So far I’ve found no friends via Brightkite.

3. Brightkite still has few London centric points of interest

With Brightkite you can check-in in the vacinity of your current location. Originally you had to be specific about your location before checking-in. This will be a critical change for Brightkite, which hopefully will make it easier for new users / would be users to try the app.

4. Foursquare makes more noise on Facebook and Twitter

The amount of cross posting to Facebook and Twitter can only help grow awareness. However this was the one feature I turned off recently, after realising my status and tweets were getting out of hand.

There are plenty of other location based social networking apps around … even specific ones such as Wefi the social community for wifi finding, which I have mentioned before. Plenty of these suffer the same problem – a lack of users due to the lack of any internationalised UK points of interest.

5. Memory Hog Brightkite causes phones to freeze

Brightkite seemingly randomly will steel your 3G network connection and take all available memory causing your phone to freeze. There seems no clear reason for this background data usage. After restarting the phone making sure the app was not running in the background, it still opened every few hours until it was deleted from the test phone.


Based on the current trend – location based social networks will need to get more local in the UK to attract more users. However it seems Foursquare is ahead so far.

So have you been using Foursquare or Brightkite? What’s your preference?