Tag: smartphone

The vast majority of museums are totally ignoring mobile apps.

At present, ~350 iPhone apps have been actually created by museums. Of those, only one out of ten was created by a U.S. museum (the rest are non-U.S.). The other 760 iPhone apps matching “museum” in their title or description were created by travel and culture publishers, most of which are poor quality.

These pathetic numbers ignore smartphone reality. In the U.S. alone, half of all mobile phone customers now have smartphones, and there will soon be 1 million new smartphone (smartphones run apps) subscribers a week. This will be virtually all U.S. households in 5-7 years. Currently, Android and iOS are the two main app platforms. Numbers in Europe are similar.  (more…)

It is getting easier and cheaper for cultural and scientific organizations make mobile, handheld tours. According to Nielsen, 40% of Americans with mobile phones are carrying smartphones; of those 40% run Android, and 28% have an Apple iPhone. This is a huge market, and by 2012, approximately half your audience could use your app from the smartphone in their pocket. Or, you can loan iPod Touches to visitors on site.

Keeping it simple

Apps just need to be good enough. No need to get too fancy or reinvent the wheel. While custom apps run from $25-100k, many vendors will create an app for you for less than $25k, and some for well under $5k. This is a summary of the vendors offering apps for less than $25k at yesterday’s 3rd Museums & Mobile online conference. (more…)

QR codes are a way to send information to mobile devices (e.g., a smartphone) using its camera. You send a short blurb of text, or a web address (URL) by representing it as a code which people photograph from their phone.

The codes are easy to generate. Several web sites and software programs will make the codes for you.

To read the codes, users need a QR reader app to take a snapshot of the code with their device’s camera. The app returns the decoded text or web URL.

In the photo at left, a pedestrian takes a photo of a QR code promoting an Andy Warhol show.

There are hundreds of barcode-reader apps (e.g., RedLaser and QuickMark for iOS and Android devices, and the Kaywa reader for dumber smartphones), and code-reading can be included in custom apps, e.g., a museum tour. (more…)

Mobile is exploding, and this has vast implications for education. Here’s a summary of top news and trends for mobile this summer…

Smartphones are popular phones. According to Nielsen, 38% of Americans now own smartphones, and 55% of those who purchased a new handset in the past three months bought a smartphone (rather than a dumb one), up from 34% a year ago. Android’s growth curve flattened in 2011 while the iPhone’s got a boost. Collectively, Android and iOS are activating over 800k devices per day.


Smartphones (e.g., the iPhone or Android) are commonplace, and education outreach projects need make use of this reality. People use their smartphones while doing all kinds of things. For example:

(Left to right, top:  while waiting in line, socializing, in the bathroom, while watching TV; bottom: while using a computer, playing video games, reading a paper, or a book.)

The most common place to use a smartphones is at home (93% of smartphone owners), but people use their smartphones all kinds of places: (more…)

More people are using fast smartphones, and expect to get their information on their phones. In the last quarter of 2010, approx 95 million smartphones shipped worldwide. Are you ready to reach these people? Following are some graphs relevant to how the public gets information: