Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Android for girls: a new frontier

According to last year's AdMod Mobile Metrics Report, nearly three quarters of Android users are male. Sure, other tech gadgets and smartphone operating systems do tend to show a slight male bias, but why is the percentage of Android female users so dramatically low? And can anything be done to make Android more appealing to women?

These were the two key questions I tried to answer while searching for a topic to present at the recent MobileCamp Ljubljana, Android edition. I was pretty sure more than three quarters of the audience at the event would be male (I was correct), so that seemed like a nice topic to explore with the guys, mostly app developers.

You can see the slides from my talk embedded below. As the slides attracted quite some interest on SlideShare (my first presentation that got featured on the homepage!), I also decided to do a little write-up on my blog, to expand on some of the key points.
So, why aren't more girls using Android? What can we do to make Android phones feel right and not (only) a geek device?

Note: This is just an archive post. The blog has moved to a new home at blog.ialja.com, where you will also find a copy of the entire blog.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7: the classroom potential [Part 2]

In part 1, I talked about my personal experience with three of the most popular operating systems for mobile devices of today and the future. In this post, I'd like to continue my analysis by looking at which OS has the biggest potential to become a hit product of our classrooms.

So, we have three main contenders running for classroom OS of the year:
  • iOS, the app focused OS running on incredibly sexy Apple mobile devices,
  • Android, the geeky OS of many choices and opportunities that can even be installed on an e-book reader and
  • Windows Phone 7, Microsoft's attempt to catch up by focusing on a simple user experience (and making Apple fans feel bad for liking a Windows device).

What the school is looking for

And we're at Sunnydale High School. Helen, the principal, really wants to make their school cool and fun by providing their students and teachers with one-to-one technology. After all, it's so hard to capture students' attention these days, and being proficient with computers will surely give students a competitive edge in the information society of the future.

But here's the thing: the school is on a really tight budget and they have to decide what to invest in. Should they install interactive blackboards in every classroom? Get a computer in every classroom? Give each student their own computer?

That's all very expensive, and the investment they made in those tiny netbooks two years ago didn't really pay off. Nobody likes them. The teachers hate them because the screens are so tiny and because Word is so slow to use. The students hate them because they are slower than the computers they have at home and because even their phones provide a better Facebook experience. And the IT stuff hates them because they are just as annoying to maintain and support as their big brothers in the computer lab. So, the netbooks are mostly collecting dust in the closets. or being used as paperweight - at least something they're sort of good at.

Is the answer in those new mobile, post-PC devices everyone keeps talking about? Let's take a look!

Note: This is just an archive post. The blog has moved to a new home at blog.ialja.com, where you will also find a copy of the entire blog.

Friday, March 04, 2011

iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7: the facts and my experience [Part 1]

Q4 2010 brought a big milestone to the mobile industry: smartphones outsold PCs for the first time ever. And that's not even taking into account tables and iPods that provide similar functionality. In short, mobile devices - or "post-PC devices", as Steve Jobs calls them - are hot stuff right now.

However, it's easy to get lost and confused by all the devices and even by all the mobile operating systems we can choose from. Apple is certainly leading this new revolution with the iPhone and the iPad, but other software and hardware companies are trying their best to catch up and capture our imagination.

Last Summer I started blogging at Mobitel Tehnik, a blog about mobile technologies, on which my posts (in Slovenian) mainly cover news and tips related to mobile app development. As part of my assignment, I've been using and following the development of some of the recently most popular smart mobile operating systems on the market.

That is why I've decided to sum up some of the thoughts and experiences I've had with various platforms on my blog in two parts: in the first part, I focus on introducing facts and my personal experience with 3 of the most talked about smartphone operating systems: Apple's iOS, Google's Android, and Microsoft's Windows Phone 7. And in part 2, I will try to imagine the potential of using iOS, Android and WP7 mobile devices in classrooms.

Ok, so let's take a look at the facts and my personal experience with each of the three platforms first.

Note: This is just an archive post. The blog has moved to a new home at blog.ialja.com, where you will also find a copy of the entire blog.