Google Brings Offers To Maps For Android

If you’re a fan of offer sites like Groupon, you might already know that Google has it’s own discount offer site, Google Offers. While still in Beta, Google Offers has already shown me a few great offers, so what they’re doing now is great. Google is bringing Offers to your mobile Google Maps application.

Offers For Beginners

For those unaware, here’s a summary of how these offer sites work. A business decides to give a really good deal on their product or service and offers it through the offer site. The site then approves and features some of the better offers and puts these offers in front of people. Enticed by a great deal, consumers buy offers and redeem them with the company. Many of the consumers are first-time customers, willing to take a chance on a new product or service because the cost risk is greatly reduced. The company provides this discount in hopes that they will gain many new loyal customers. This works very well for dining because, as a consumer, you can try many new places without spending a lot.

Why Integrate With Maps?

That’s a silly question, really. Perhaps we should ask why it took so long. It makes a lot of sense to have offers available to you right in your map application while you’re on the go. I use a couple apps that show me where I can eat nearby, but it would be better if I could see what new places I can try at a discount nearby. Honestly, I’ve already been doing this to some degree with FourSquare. When I’m out, I always check for a special anywhere I am already going to be, but I often also look at who has specials near me. I can’t wait to see this with Google Offers.

What About Mobile?

Google is already rolling out the update for their Maps application in Android, but us iPhone users will have to wait for the update. How long? It’s unknown, but it’s no surprise that Google would favor Android users for this update. At least I can convince my wife to let me play with it on her Android phone while I wait.

The Nokia Lumia 800 Attracts Gamers

The Nokia Lumia is designed to attract new fans to the Windows Phone ecosystem, and one of its key targets is gamers.

700-nokia-lumia-800_black

2011 has been the year when smartphone gamers have been able to pick from a wide selection of large-screened devices to make it easier to play games in greater detail in sharp focus. As a Windows Phone, the Nokia Lumia also has greater integration with Microsoft products; Xbox Live support makes it easier for gamers to pick up a game on their console and then their phone, or to check their status remotely when away from their Xbox.

Two of the most popular games so far for the device are Jet Car Stunts and Burn the Rope.

Jet car Stunts comes with 3D graphics, perfectly utilizing the AMOLED screen with 800 x 480 pixels and the ClearBlack technology reducing reflection glare. With a fast 1.4 GHz processor and 512 MB of memory, the device is more than capable of keeping gameplay speedy.

The 3D graphic accelerator is put to good use as well in Jet Car Stunts. With colourful tracks, which increase in difficulty the more your progress riders jump through hoops, leap over divides and ramps using 3D graphics to enhance gameplay and the experience. The handset is held like a steering wheel so users tips and turn to navigate the tracks. To speed up or slow down there are large buttons on the screen that only needs users to move their thumbs while playing. The game is available at the Windows Phone Marketplace for $2.99

Burn The Rope again utilizes the Lumia’s fast processor to incorporate movement of the device into gameplay. The aim of the game is to set fire to a rope and then twist and turn the phone to guide the flame until the rope has burnt away. The flame has to be directed upwards so while it may sound simple the phone needs to be tilted to make sure the flame is heading the right way, or it will burn out. The path of the flame gets faster and more intricate as users pass through the different levels. The game is available from the Marketplace for $2.99.

The speedy processor and screen resolution, along with the 3D capability means the Lumia 800 has a real potential for the gaming market. The new device marks the first delivered in the new partnership between Nokia and Microsoft, suggesting a desire to make a greater splash in the smartphone market. Whereas the App Store and the Android marketplace have made a big splash in encouraging gamers to turn off their console and instead play on their smartphone, Windows Phone has not had a similar appeal. Some critics blame this on a limited number of apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace but it could be more to do with a focus on the Xbox as one of the main Microsoft gadgets on the market. The interactivity and integration between the Nokia and the Xbox suggests this is definitely a target market for the Windows Phone. Their existing dominance in the gaming market, and the appeal they already garner amongst gaming fans, suggests Apple and Android may well be looking over their shoulder.

Simon writes on behalf of Best Mobile Contracts, the UK’s leading mobile phone comparison website, where you can find the cheapest mobile phone contracts for the new Nokia Lumia.

Which Mobile OS Is Your Poison?

There was a time when Microsoft and Windows ruled the roost; it’s not so any longer. With many other players in the fray, the once ubiquitous Windows has now been pushed aside unceremoniously by upstarts like Android and the iPhone OS; and going by the numbers on a recent survey carried out by Zokem’s US
Mobile Life panel, the iPhone is the indisputable king of the mobile OS ring.

    • iPhone owners are the most loyal to their brand, with 73 percent saying they would stick to Apple no matter what, with Android lagging behind with only 40 percent loyalty. Also, many who don’t currently own an iPhone, say that their next phone will be from the Apple stables.

    • Rating loyalty for the Android is a trickier proposition because the OS is available for use on many mobile brands. So its collective sales may be much higher than that of the iPhone OS, especially with the phenomenal success that Froyo (Android version 2.2) is experiencing. Also, according to Zokem, 89 percent of Android users are likely to stick with the same brand of mobile phone, beating the iPhone which has only 85 percent.

    • Another once-mighty player in this business, RIM and their BlackBerry OS, rate a poor 30 percent in terms of loyalty. Perhaps this is because of all the new entrants into the field and the low rate of innovation achieved by RIM.

    • Windows Mobile and the Palm Pre OS rate very lowly with loyalty scores of 10, but maybe this state of affairs will turn around, what with the prediction that Windows 7 is going to be fastest growing platform for smartphones in 2011. Only time will tell of course, if this OS enjoys the same success in the mobile world as it does in the world of computers.

However, the competition in the mobile industry is fierce – BlackBerry has come out with many new models in the last year and are constantly updating and tweaking their software and OS; the iPhone is looking to stay ahead of the curve by offering multi-tasking and many more options on the mobile, and best of all, Android is being used to simulate a virtual desktop computer when combined with a keyboard and mouse – it has
become powerful enough to act as the CPU of a desktop device (check out Motorola’s Atrix if you’re curious).

So what does the mobile OS industry hold in store? From the looks of what has happened so far, we can see that the main players will be Apple, Google, RIM and Microsoft. And since most mobile platforms offer similar features barring a few minor differences, popularity and sales will boil down to brand loyalty and carrier efficiency (in countries like the US where most smartphones are tied in to a two-year contract with a service provider) – if you’re satisfied with your brand and your carrier, you’re not going to want to switch loyalties unless the competition has something really out of the world to offer.

This guest post is contributed by April Davis, she writes on the topic of Accredited Degrees Online. She welcomes your questions and comments at her email id: april.davis83(@)gmail(.)com.