An Open Source WebOS

Today’s announcement from HP that WebOS will be set free as an Open Source project opens up room for some interesting changes in the mobile landscape.  Both CNET’s Stephen Shankland  and The VAR Guy think nothing much will come of this move.  As both a long time Open Source zealot and a mobile developer, I think there is more there there than they do.

Continue reading

RecallCheck Post-Mortem

Recently, I’ve been answering a lot of questions about about RecallCheck, which was an Android based mobile application to allow uses to scan UPC bar codes on packaged food and find out about any recent recalls involving that product.  Developing and marketing RecallCheck, I worked with my business partner Scott. With the project is now over, I’d like to cover some of the learnings and reasons I believe we were ultimately unsuccessful. Continue reading

The Best Business Card App for Android (or any other Smart Phone)

One of the best business card tricks you can use is to turn your contact info into a bar code that can then be scanned into most smart phones. While this post will deal with the free bar code scanner from The Google for Android, apps are available for iPhone,RIM’s Blackberry, and Nokia’s Symbian OS. By encoding the information on your business card in a QR Code, any one with a modern mobile smart phone, like Android, can then scan the information directly onto their phone.  This blog post will walk you through creating the bar code and using the Android app to read the business card information.  Continue reading

A Neat Android Feature–Finding Apps with QR Codes

The above image is a QR Code.  These two d codes are remarkably versatile.  You can store just about any text in them.  Things typically encoded this way include contact information, addresses,  and web urls.  Most smart phone manufacturers  support at least scanning the contact information (e.g VCARD), but Google supports a whole range of other uses.

One of the more interesting uses Google supports is encoding a text string representing an application in the Google Market.  When the example above is scanned into a Android based phone, it will launch an app I’ve been working on called RecallCheck (see below for more details).

This week the Google announced it was implementing QR Code stickers for businesses to put in their window.  When scanned into an Google Android phone, they will bring up information about the business from Google.  Expect to see a lot more about QR codes in the coming years as they work to connect the physical world with the Internet via phones.

Is Google Serious About Paid Apps for Android?

Recently I’ve been working on an application for the Google Android platform and the experience has been interesting.  Google’s application market appears to be response to Apple’s success with the iPhone market rather than an organic expression of Google’s strategy or culture.  The result is an implementation that feels bolted onto Android and  provides tepid value to independent application developers.  In support of my assertion are the following facts:

Continue reading

A New Product for Food Safety

A recent study from Rutgers asserts that more than 80% of Americans pay close attention to information about food recalls, but that only 61% have ever looked for a recalled product in their home.  While this might be a surprise for food researchers, any one with a busy home can understand these statistics.  First you have to know about the recall.  Then you have to search for the potential product.  Then you have find the notice on the Internet to determine whether your particular grocery (e.g Pistachios) is covered by the recall.  I’m amazed that 61% of the respondents actually looked.

But we have a better way.  My partner and I have created a new application for phones based on the Android operating system (e.g. TMobile’s G1) that allows users to scan the bar code directly from the package and search the US Food and Drug Administration’s website for product recall notices about that specific product.  The application is: RecallCheck.

With RecallCheck it just takes seconds to scan the bar code and find out whether the product in your kitchen is covered by an FDA recall.