Posts from mobile

The Apple Watch – How Is It Doing?

Continuing my obsession with the Apple Watch, a device I don’t own and don’t intend to own, I’m curious how its doing.

I read a report yesterday that suggested the early sales are disappointing and that a respected research firm has cut first year sales projections to 15mm watches although Morgan Stanley still has their estimate at 36mm watches.

But more than how it is selling, I am curious how it is doing with those of you out there that bought it.

If you own an Apple Watch, please complete this short survey. I appreciate it. I will post screenshots of the results as they come in.

Feature Friday: Google Calendar for Android

Since moving back from iPhone to Android, the thing that has been the most pleasing to me is the evolution of Google Calendar. It has gotten a lot better and it keeps getting better seemingly every day.

It is starting to understand things about my day that it did not understand before, like people, places, and things I do.

Here are some examples:

In this calendar entry, Google Calendar understands that I am going to this event with Joanne and inserts her photo into the calendar entry.

people in my calendar

In this calendar entry, Google Calendar knows where this event is and puts a picture of the place right into the calendar so I know what it looks like.

places in my calendar

In this calendar entry, Google Calendar knows where this event is and puts a map image right into the calendar so I know where I’m going.

maps in my calendar

In this calendar entry, Google knows what Yoga is and puts an image of a yoga mat right into the calendar entry.

yoga mat on calendar

And, naturally, I am getting notifications on my phone that are smart like “it’s time to leave for your breakfast in brooklyn.”

It might seem like a little thing to have a smarter calendar but to me it’s so fantastic. I love what Google is doing with this product and it’s a joy to use it.

Project Fi

One of the areas we are investing in and trying to build a portfolio around is next gen internet access. We have one investment and are close to another. We’d like to build a portfolio of a number of innovative and disruptive approaches to broadband internet access in the next few years.

So any new service that attempts to make internet access easier and better is of interest to me. AVC regular John Revay sent me an email today asking if I’m going to get a Project Fi account. I told him I was thinking about it. Right now it is invite only. I’ve put in a request for an invite and maybe this blog post will help me get to the front of the line.

Here’s what I like about the Project Fi offering:

1) it’s a network of networks. i get to roam on two mobile carrier networks instead of one.

2) it supplements the two carrier networks with over a million “free and verified” wifi hotspots

3) you can get mobile data internationally at the same cost as you pay for it in the US

It’s only available right now on the Nexus6, which happily is what I’m using right now.

So I’m hoping to give it a try as soon as possible. And when I do, I will let you all know how it goes.

The AVC Apple Watch Survey Results

I’ve gotten a lot of requests to share the results of the Apple Watch Survey I ran yesterday. I haven’t had time to do a lot of analysis on the results which I will do and follow up with another post. But here are some quick stats. These numbers are for the AVC readership. I did not tweet the survey out and it didn’t get shared much so I feel that it really is representative of the AVC community and not the broader Internet universe. There have been 1,827 replies so far.

Likely to Buy – 26%
Might Buy – 22%
Unlikely to Buy – 52%

These numbers were very consistent by operating system (iOS, Android, other), geography, sex, and age.

There were a few differences to note though; The youngest cohort (24 and under) was 7% less likely to buy 19% vs 26%. That was the only cohort where that was the case.

iOS users did not differ from Android users except that they had a much higher propensity to preorder vs waiting for it to arrive in the store.

We could read these numbers many ways. We could say if Apple sells watches to 26% of iPhone users they will have a huge hit on their hands. But I don’t think we can extrapolate from the AVC community to the broader market. This is a geeky early adopted crowd.

We could note that there are almost as many people in the maybe category as the yes category. Apple has a huge opportunity to convince people over time to get a watch. I think how the maybe crowd breaks over the next year will be the single most important thing to watch in the watch category (pun intended).

Finally its quite interesting to note the relative apathy among the youngsters. We also saw them making fun of the watch in the comments. I see the same thing with my kids and their friends who are in the 18-24 crowd. It makes me wonder if the youth culture is mystified when it comes to watches or weather this is just a money thing. Maybe they see the price tag differently than older people with more disposable income.

In any case, its clear that Apple is going to sell a lot of version 1.0 watches. There is real interest and demand out there. Whether we will all be wearing them in six months is another question. We will ask that as year end approaches.

The AVC Apple Watch Survey

With the Apple Watch available via pre-order, we are starting to get some data on how it is doing. I thought I’d take this opportunity to survey the AVC community, an early adopter crowd if there ever was one, about it. Please take a minute this morning to answer five short questions about your interest and intentions for Version 1.0 of the Apple Watch.

Click here to see the early results (roughly 700 responses at 9am eastern)

Feature Friday: The Swarm Widget

One of the best things about being back on Android is widgets. And my favorite of them all is the Swarm Widget. You can see it on my home screen all the way to the right second row down.

home screen april 10 2015

I started checking in on Foursquare sometime in 2009. And I’ve been checking into the places I go every day since then. I don’t know exactly how many checkins that is (probably around 5000), but it’s an incredible database of where I’ve been and when that I value very much. When checking in was part of Foursquare it would take two or three clicks to checkin. When they moved the checkin to Swarm it still took a few clicks. You had to open the app and hit the checkin button and then confirm it.

With the Swarm widget, it’s one click, plus a confirm. It works great. I love it.

Back To Android

Last September, after spending a month on sabbatical in Europe, I decided to try the iPhone after being on Android for many years. My plan was to start switching back and forth between iOS and Android every six months. So I got an iPhone 6 and used it as my only mobile device from early October 2014 until this past weekend. I continued to use a bunch of Nexus7s we have in our homes but the iPhone was the only thing I took with me when I left home each morning.

After a few days on iOS I wrote a post about what I liked and did not like about iOS. Reading it now after six months on iOS, it is still pretty accurate. But now that I am back on Android, the two things I really miss about he iPhone are TouchID and iMessage. If Android had both of those two things, I wouldn’t miss anything. I don’t totally understand why Apple doesn’t make an iMessage client for Android. They have the most popular messenger in the US (maybe the world) and they aren’t taking advantage of it. They are doing the same thing with iMessage that Blackberry did with BBM.

I will also miss the apps that are iOS only. I am keeping my iPhone6 and will use it on wifi in my home and office to stay connected to five or six apps that I use that are iOS only. Hopefully this will make it easier when I switch back to iOS in six months.

But now I’m back on Android and happy to be back. I am using a Nexus6. I am not sure I love the 6″ form factor but I’m getting use to it. The switchover is a pain in the butt. Getting the google apps working on the phone is a breeze. I just sign into the Android device with my Google login and they are all working. That part is really sweet and way better than what I have to do on iPhone. But getting the rest of the apps I want on my phone is a pain and then logging into all of them is a real chore. I use strong passwords and 2-factor wherever possible and so that process for close to 100 apps takes hours. I spent a fair bit of time this weekend getting the phone set up the way I want it.

So what are the things I missed about Android? Here’s my list:

1) gmail with offline sync. this is a huge one for me. i’m on the subway, planes, places with no public wifi and bad cell service a lot. gmail on iOS doesn’t do offline email very well. gmail on android does it beautifully

2) google calendar. there is no google calendar app for iOS. the google calendar app for Android works perfectly for me. i missed it.

3) notifications. i thought that iOS had caught up to Android in terms of the way notifications work. but it hasn’t. android still does notifications way better. and certain apps, like twitter, work way better with notifications on Android than iOS.

4) widgets and launcher – i didn’t realize how much I would miss the ability to customize my home screen with third party launchers and widgets. Android does this way better than iOS.

5) google maps and chrome as defaults – i never was able to figure out how to direct all my apps to use chrome and google maps as defaults. so i found myself using two browsers and two maps apps on iOS. on Android I only have one and all the android apps use them as defaults. this works way better for me.

But, as I said last October, these two mobile operating systems are pretty similar to each other. There are differences for sure, as I’ve outlined, but they are actually pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. Switching back and forth is pretty easy except for the part about downloading all the apps onto a new phone and logging into into them and customizing the screens. Once you do that, it’s more or less the same experience on both devices.

Feature Friday: Archives of Live Broadcasts

I wrote about the live broadcasting craze earlier this week. There are three significant players in this market, YouNow, Twitter/Periscope, and Meerkat. I’m a shareholder in two of them (YouNow is a USV portfolio company and we own a lot of Twitter stock personally). So I’ve been quite interested to see how this market is shaping up and I’ve been using all three apps this week.

I should say that I don’t see myself as a broadcaster. That may change. But I honestly don’t know what parts of my day are interesting enough to broadcast and would be appropriate to broadcast. I’m sure the USV monday meeting would be interesting to broadcast but it would not be fair to all the companies we talk about in that meeting confidentially to broadcast that. I’m sure the SoundCloud board meeting would be interesting to broadcast but I’m equally sure the company would be mortified that I would even dare to think of such a thing. I know that I will get some suggestions in the comments and if any are good, I will reconsider the “I’m not a broadcaster” attitude I have right now.

I did accidentally broadcast two seconds on Meerkat this morning.

That happened because I accidentally pushed a button and went live without realizing it (and tweet spammed almost 400,000 followers) to my great annoyance. That’s a UX fail as far as I’m concerned and I’m not sure I’m going to open that app again.

But I do see myself as a consumer of these broadcasts. We’ve been an investor in YouNow for something like three years and I’ve spent time watching broadcasts on YouNow. It’s a classic Internet content marketplace. There’s brilliance right next to silliness. But when you catch something brilliant on YouNow, it’s kind of magical. Tyler Oakley did a YouNow last night that had 120,000 viewers and he raised $20,000 for his Prizeo challenge during his live broadcast. You can watch Tyler’s broadcast via YouNow’s archive mode.

Which leads me to my feature friday topic – archives of live broadcasts. I’m getting real time mobile notifications on my phone from Periscope and YouNow and Meerkat and I’m also seeing invitations to join these live broadcasts in my Twitter feed. But I’m pretty busy during the day when all of these broadcasts are happening. I realize there’s value in watching live (the chat, the engagement, the favoriting, etc) but honestly I can’t tune in live very often.

What I’d like to be able to do, ideally right from my mobile notifications or the tweet, is to favorite or mark to watch later (I use the favorite button on many platforms as my “read later” button).

Twitter’s Periscope also has archives. I snapped this screenshot today from my Periscope app.


I watched my friend Howard”s broadcasts via this archive screen this morning, further confirming that I (and Howard too) are not interesting enough to be broadcasters :)

But regardless of whether or not that particular archived broadcast was any good, I think ironically archives are an important part of the livestreaming experience and I think the leading apps should support this functionality if they want to reach the broadest user base.