The missing Location feature for both iOS and Android

I was doing a walk through post about the iPhone app, Orderly. It is a ‘task’ manager app that allows for whole lists of ToDo items have their priority change easily. I recognized the app as a way to switch quickly between work and personal task lists depending on when and where I was.

This reminded me of a OS level feature that keeps coming up when talking with my friends/coworkers. Why can’t we change the way our mobile device responds to us depending on time and location? Google recently showed that they know when it is time for me to head home with a Card that pops up in the Search area telling me the path I should take and how long it will take to travel home. That is interesting, at first creepy, but ultimately useful information.

When using a mobile device, the interaction with the device and it’s apps are different when at work versus being at home. There are apps that are used more often in one location than another, many will cross over though. So, today we are challenged to arrange apps on Launcher screens so that the most often used apps are easiest to get to. Then, lesser used are on follow up Launcher screens. Attempting to find a workable arrangement so when at work and at home, it doesn’t take a lot of work to get to the app we need to use.

Mobile OS providers recommend putting Work and Personal app icons on separate Launcher pages. Then just have that one the front most when in those areas. This works great as long as you never use an app at work and at home. Before the iPhone and Android mobile phones, we had Palm OS devices which allowed for skinning of the Launcher. Many of those skins where working with aliases of the actual app icon so you could have the same icon across multiple launcher tabs. Back then, there wasn’t much in the area of Location awareness so the switching was manual. Both of the major mobile OS platforms offer ToDo apps that know when we are moving around to shuffle tasks differently per location information. Why not let us have the same power for the Launchers through location based profiles?

When I leave the office, shuffle my social apps to the front, tasks from the cookie jar list, move the meeting note taking apps to the second screen, photo editing apps should move near the top of the list, and the Business presentation tools way back away from the front page.

Buy and Sell, Today and Tomorrow

How many times do you change your mind about buying something around how  you can pay for it? How easy is it to buy things in a store compared to online? Do you feel safe handing over your credit card information? Does paying options tie into your gift buying decisions?

I’m going to skip the stories and the ‘how I got here’ discussion today. This post is straight to how things have to change.

Amazon is doing record numbers of Kindle and Kindle book sales. Many of my friends jumped onto the Kindle wagon and those that have not can view Kindle books on their iPads and desktop computers. With eBooks becoming so popular, it means that Amazon now makes money on every reader of that book. Gone are the days of reading a book and then handing it onto others to enjoy. The writing is on the wall that the price of Kindle eBooks will be slowly rising up to the level of print books. If that is the case, can I get a discount on a book I want to ‘share’/buy for someone else? At least down to the eBook pricing of today. Of course, that would mean that I could buy a eBook for someone else and ‘send’ it to them. I hadn’t noticed till I tried to buy a book for my sister in-law that there was no way to give her info so the purchased book appeared on her Kindle. I guess I wont be giving books as gifts anymore since my friends use Kindles and wouldn’t want a print book but I have no way of buying a book for them outside of a dollar amount gift certificate.

Since I’m in the mood for buying. You may remember my earlier post about the yesteryear days of PayPal on the Palm. I could beam money to a store cash register via IR rather than handing over cash. The problem, the store had to buy IR ports, just a couple bucks, but they never did it.

Now, the iPhone PayPal app includes ‘Bump’ technology. Will I soon be able to Bump my iPhone to a cash register at the store to pay? While a cash register doesn’t move much, they aren’t connected up to the Internet… generally. So, there is no geo location associated to know the payment send and receive are next to each other. Again, the best solution will be an add on item, much like the card swipe. To make me feel better that the transaction is for the one time and is only for what I wanted to pay for, the store’s device should give me a number that I put into my PayPal ‘Bump’ app. An extra step from just bumping the two, and many folks buying beer at the Gas Station wont care. For those making a 50 dollar purchase at the local grocery store or a couple hundred at the local clothier, they will take the extra effort for peace of mind. No more paper receipts floating around the store, no more credit card magnetic strip getting copied.

When I think of rolling out a system like this around the world it seems like a huge task. But then, think back when someone said we could have a personal transportation device, all we needed was fuel distribution facilities on every corner.