Tag Archives: Mobile Internet

This week in apps – a summary of the mobile phone application ecology

Original image by Sean Macentee published under Creative Commons

Each week, the mobile application ecosystem presents new and exciting possibilities to entertain, share information and communicate. From apps that wake you, waste time, develop your communication or promote your productivity, we are witnessing an ever-increasing marketplace of apps that are published across several platforms (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows etc). Alongside these possibilities of new media technologies are the emergent concerns of how to adequately manage and regulate the potential challenges of mobile applications. This is one area the Moving Media research project is exploring, presented through a weekly series of ‘this week in apps’ – a series that provides a quick snapshot of what has been happening in app development, publishing, privacy and policy. This week in apps will also include the most recent developments in mobile news diversity, mobile health apps (mHealth apps) and locative media.

As user habits shift across mobile media, for example one in four teenagers now access the internet via their mobile phones, a dynamic business environment emerges. Nokia has partnered with the Harvard Business School on an Indian based app incubator to “boost mobile app development on the Nokia Lumia and Windows platforms”. Facebook has bought Parse, to not as first thought develop a Facebook phone, but to boost the development of what will become the centre of Android phones, Facebook Home. Social gaming company King has overtaken Zynga to become the largest global social gaming organisation. In the business world, there are growing demands for enterprise apps as the bring your own device (BYOD) movement gains momentum.

There have been recent developments of apps in news diversity, mHealth and locative media. Four recent news apps continue to challenge the news aggregation market. Increased connectivity of households and their Internet of Things, presents an increase of apps to control IoT devices resulting in increased revenues for niche app developers. It is predicted that mobile health applications will increase by 70% annually, however there are concerns over the slow adoption rate of these technologies. And while some are touting that Apple has revolutionised mHealth, others are focussing on specific advancements in apps to improve disease management.

Chatty apps seem to be the flavour of the month, where for the first time chat apps messaging has overtaken SMS texting, with some potentially shady bug issues.

If you’ve ever wondered how to create your own Android app, here’s a fantastic 101. However, other developers are approaching app building from a holistic perspective by employing RAD Studio XE4 to produce apps for multiple platforms. Heroku (US cloud app platform) has emerged in the open data arena by providing tools and hardware resources for developers. Shifting from developing to publishing, have you ever wondered about the politics of publishing your app through an app store? Here’s a great article on how the politics of app publishing can be improved. And while Samsung has recently blocked access to its app store in Iran, Google have implemented new policy to disable developers bypassing Google’s Play Store when updating apps.

New app development and the code used to access them across various devices also gives rise to privacy concerns. As many users are still unaware of their personal details being shared by applications, the FTC have launched an enquiry that challenges the privacy policy of apps. Likewise, there is significant pressure for the FDA to start regulating mHealth apps.

Aims of Moving Media

Aims of Moving Media

Internet and mobile media technologies are at the heart of the transformation of traditional media. Internetworked, personalized, portable media, such as smartphones and e-readers, are central to new expectations held by consumers of media and communications. Such media are becoming pivotal to participation in society, education, work and commercial life — and in Australia this importance will consolidate with the development of the National Broadband Network (NBN). Thus mobile Internet will have a cardinal influence on media industries, political and societal arrangements, and Australian society.
To realize the potential of mobile Internet, and indeed digital media technologies generally, there is a need to ensure emerging networks and platforms provide all citizens equitable, inclusive means of representation, and participation in public life. Appropriate policy and regulatory frameworks are critical in securing this goal of participation. This is an international challenge with which researchers and policymakers alike are currently grappling, heightened due to the pace of technology change, the closely associated yet still little-understood dynamics of user innovation, and the fundamental changes to the role of nation-states in policy, law, and regulation.
Equally challenging, and to date the subject of little research or systematic deliberation, is the manner in which mobile Internet — in particular — appears to profoundly expand the domains, modes of policy, actors and processes of deliberation and engagement with publics. Reaching above and beyond traditional media (press, broadcasting) and relatively established newer media (telecommunications, Internet), mobile Internet is an important part of the expansion of the concept of media to encompass a much wider range of technologies and settings.
Against this background, Moving Media aims to:

  • identify and theorize new kinds of media centring on mobile Internet;
  • map traditional and non-traditional institutions, actors, and modes of deliberation and engagement shapingpolicy, regulation, and standards for mobile Internet;
  • evaluate whether consumers, users, and citizens are adequately engaged in media policy processes relevant tomobile Internet;
  • gauge the scope and significance of potential challenges to realizing mobile Internet as a cultural and mediaplatform for all citizens;
  • offer new options for media policy adequate to the challenges of mobile Internet presents.