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Interview: Justin Esgar, founder of Autriv Software Development

esgarJustin Esgar, founder of Autriv Software Development, talks about their app SignMyPad that allows you to sign and secure documents on a tablet. He’s also founder of NYC Truck Food.

Listen to Justin’s interview here. Read the rest of this entry

Square and Payment Methods for Entrepreneurs

As smartphones and tablets become more and more prevalent in the market place, mobile payment methods are a more viable solution for small businesses and entrepreneurs to manage their money.

Square, a dongle based credit card swiper for the iPhone, was an advancement in technology that demonstrated the potential the smartphone had for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Since it’s introduction, some businesses have been able to get rid of cash registers entirely and shift their entire platform to tablets and mobile phones. Square is trying to remain on the cutting edge by getting rid of the hardware and enabling geofencing, making payment possible by proximity over rather than actual card swiping.

While security issues are still being sorted out, Square has remained on the cutting edge of mobile payment technology. Behind them, PayPal is attempting to pick up the slack and offer new ways to pay by phone, as well. PayPal here again offers a physical device to swipe the card with, but doesn’t have a dedicated app for iPhone or iPad.

Intuit GoPayment offers a similar device as Square. It plugs into your phone and requires swiping the card. One major benefit of using the Intuit method is that the transaction syncs automatically with your Quickbooks software.

Many different companies are offering ways to turn your mobile device into a cash register. Is the mobile wallet going to be the new trend? Several credit cards, banks, and cellular carriers got together to form Isis, a place where standards could be set for mobile payments.

The biggest concern that remains is security. All the information is flying through the air. How can we be sure no one will pick it up? Some researchers are even devoting their time to punching holes in any wall that Square builds.

While mobile payments are a great way to take your business with you anywhere, you need to make sure you are up to date on security issues. You need to protect yourself and your customers before going mobile.

What are some of your concerns? What would keep you from or encourage you into using mobile payment?

Slogan Week: Think Different

This week, Biz Television takes a look at its favorite slogans.

A slogan is a memorable motto or phrase used in a political, commercial, religious and other context as a repetitive expression of an idea or purpose.

Slogans play an important role in advertising. They linger in one’s mind even when the advertisement is long gone. A slogan needs to stick in your head even when the ad is gone.

Today’s slogan: Think different (Apple)

A play on the IBM “Think” slogan, “Think different” was created for Apple Computer in 1997 by the Los Angeles office of advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day. It was used in a famous commercial, several print advertisements and a number of TV promos for Apple products. Apple’s use of the slogan was discontinued with the start of the Apple Switch ad campaign in 2002.

What makes it such a great slogan? While Apple seems to be the definition of trendy, in 1997 it wasn’t. Before the iPhone, before the iPod, Apple was the other guy. PC’s and Microsoft dominated the market. The “Think different” slogan was a layered message.

First, explore your originality, don’t submit to conformity. The Apple posters showed great thinkers and unique personalities to portray their message.

Second, and most important, think of a different kind of computer.

Two words make an amazing slogan and “Think different” is the shortest slogan on our list.

Apple eases app restrictions

The court system recently decided that jailbreaking your smartphone is legal. While Apple stood the most to lose in such a case, the iPhone producer never brought tried to prosecute anyone who had jailbroken their phone. Jailbreaking voids the warranty, but a quick restore factory settings tends to erase the damage.

This week, Apple Inc announced easing restrictions for building iPhone and iPad applications, a move that should allow for the use of third-party tools such as Adobe Systems’ Flash software.

Shares of Adobe surged over 12 percent at mid-afternoon on Nasdaq on Thursday, after Apple announced the changes.

Apple’s about-face follows a high-profile spat with Adobe last spring that saw Steve Jobs sharply criticize Flash technology.

Apple had been criticized by developers for what they called onerous restrictions on building apps. Apple had effectively banned developers from using the popular Flash software and other technology to build apps for iOS, the operating system that powers the iPhone and iPad.

Gleacher & Co analyst Brian Marshall said Apple was feeling huge pressure from app developers.

“What spurred this on was the uproar from the growing iOS developer base,” Marshall said. “People liked using Flash, and now they’ll be able to use a bunch of different technologies.”

The Tablet War heats up

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has puffed out his chest and thumbed his nose at the iPad as Microsoft prepares to do battle with Apple.

Ballmer announced most major PC companies, including Dell, Acer, Samsung, Toshiba, and Sony, have tablets in the pipeline at the company’s annual partner conference in Washington, D.C. All these devices will be running on the Windows 7 operating system.

Hewlett-Packard was not mentioned, as it will be designing a slate device that runs off Palm software.

At the same conference, Microsoft announced that online auction firm eBay Inc, tech services company Fujitsu Ltd and PC maker Dell are among the companies testing Microsoft’s new Windows Azure platform appliance, which lets customers implement Microsoft’s newest “cloud” server technology in its own data centers.

Launches for Amazon and Borders

US online retailer Amazon.com Inc has opened an Internet grocery store in Britain, joining a competitive market. Amazon competes with Tesco, Wal-Mart’s Asda and J Sainsbury, as well as online specialist Ocado, though Amazon will not offer the one to two-hour delivery slots provided by these operators.

Online sales of groceries are booming in Britain and grocery specialists IGD forecast they will almost double to 7.2 billion pounds ($10.9 billion) by 2014. Amazon recently launched a grocery store in Germany recently and already provides grocery services to the US.

Another major launch this week was Borders ebookstore. It simultaneously launched applications for smartphones. Borders assures customers that several file formats including ePub, mobile technology, and PDF. Borders also offers several different ereaders through its website. They hope to sell at least ten different e-readers by the end of 2010.

Borders is trying to catch up to Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Apple, who started selling ebooks sooner and are ahead of the curve.

If you would like to know more about the e-reader wars, you can check it out here.

Apple overtakes Microsoft

The apocalypse must be near. Apple has reached a total value of $222 billion.

Microsoft is at $219 billion.

Okay, maybe it’s not the sign of the first seal being broken, but it is pretty momentous. Remember how Apple almost went out of business in the 90’s? What saved the company was the iPod in 2001. It worked with Microsoft-running computers, but really made people take a second look at Apple computers.

In 2007, the iPhone changed the way people looked at touchscreen smart phones.

Now, if I could only figure out what to use an iPad for, I’d be all set.

Nokia sues Apple again

Nokia Oyj, the largest mobile phone manufacturer, has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple, Inc. The suit was filed in that hot spot of legal activity, Madison, Wisconsin (actually, the Madison court has a record of fast patent trials).

The suit references patents that relate to enhanced speech and data transmission. These are different patents than the ones Nokia filed a lawsuit about in December 2009.

That lawsuit, taking place in Delaware, targets patents on “device construction methods, camera sensor optimization and touch-sensitive screens.”

Apple believes Nokia is digging for a piece of the pie. Obviously, the iPhone is wildly popular. This is the fourth complaint Nokia has filed against Apple, and the complaints haven’t been limited to the iPhone. Nokia claims the technology appears in Macbooks, as well as Apple’s mobile devices.

Apple is currently cooperating with investigations.

iPad Breakdown

On April 3rd, the most anticipated gadget of the year, the Apple iPad, hit stores. The iPad starts at $499 for the 16GB. This comes with Wi-Fi, no 3G Wireless. Adding 3G coverage bumps the iPad up to $629, and 3G capable iPads aren’t available until late April. Apple reported they sold 300,000 iPads on the day of their release.

A study by ISuppli Corp. shows the iPad costs about $259.60 to make. The touch screen costs $95. The Samsung manufactured processor costs $26.80. The aluminum back costs $10.50. That means over 36% of the cost of manufacturing the iPad goes toward the visual/tactile interface. The iPad’s touchscreen is about twice as expensive as comparable products.

With the price of the iPad set at about double the cost, Apple will turn quite a nice profit. Of course, once you get your iPad, you’re gonna need a cover to go with it…

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