After a decline in the mobile space over the last couple of years, the big M is on a roll. This week, Motorola invested an undisclosed sum in Scanbuy, a developer of mobile barcode products and services. Motorola is just the latest player in this mobile barcode market.
Scanbury, which has apps available for the Apple iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Java-based and Symbian handsets from Nokia, is a full service barcode service provider as well. The company works with mobile carriers, advertisers and media companies to generate and even analyze 2D mobile barcode promotions and campaigns. The technology involved utilizes the built-in cameras available on just about every mobile handset on the market.
For this reason the use of barcode readers in apps has greatly increased in the past year. Multiple apps for the Android and iPhone support standard barcodes on products, and this is used for price comparing among other uses. And Motorola isn’t the only big name in this game either, as Microsoft has its own barcode service, Microsoft Tag, while Google has been using barcodes for various promotions as well.
Stanza App Removes USB Sharing
This week TechCrunch noted that Stanza e-reader app had a key feature removed. This was the ability to share books in the ePub or eReader format via a USB cable. The app from Lexcycle, which was acquired by Amazon.com last year, is free for iPhone and iPod Touch owners, and was used as a way of transferring books to the handset.
The new 2.1 version removed the USB function, which was reportedly required by Apple. The word going around the Internet is that Lexcycle won’t (and can’t) talk about it, and that many users were fittingly mad about the removal of this feature. Even hardcore Apple fans are arguing that the company is being a bit too controlling in the apps, and app features it allows. I personally have a feeling this is just the beginning of a story that is likely going to get much bigger in the days and weeks to come.
E-Mail Gets iPriority
If you are like most smartphone users you check your e-mail every few minutes while on the go, or maybe it just seems that way. To help ease that sense of having to constantly check, Ahlquist Software and Bulls-eye Studios have developed the iPriorityMail app for the iPhone 3G and 3GS. This provides immediate pop-up and ringtone notifications for important e-mails (is there any other kind) and messages that users might receive via LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.
The app can be used with SSL by default for both IMAP and POP3 e-mail servers, including Hotmail, Gmail, MobileMe and Godaddy; and it can be set up to provide repeat notifications so you don’t miss important messages should you actually step away from your handset. The app offers about 30 different ringtone alerts, with the option for critical e-mails to be flagged until actually read. The app is available now from the Apple App Store for a free 30-day trial, and is $0.99 per month after that.