Property Management Going Mobile: Mobile Websites and Apps “Must-Haves” Now?

I was out to dinner the other night in Uptown Charlotte and saw the typical 21st century young, urban couple. They were dressed stylishly, moved with grace, were good-looking, and barely talked or looked at each other the entire time I saw them at the restaurant. Were they:

A. In a fight?
B. Shy mutes?
C. Engrossed with their mobile phones?

Of course, and sadly, the most probable answer in today’s world is C. I have a difficult time with this! I want to say, “Buddy, wake up! You’re with a good-looking woman; I can’t believe I have to tell you to look up and talk to her, instead of texting your friend, Chuck! What’s wrong with you?”

So, being a grown man, I had to decide whether to cry about this newer phenomenon or accept it. After some internal wrangling, I’m happy to report that my righteous indignation has passed and I’ve accepted this digitally-inspired apathy towards fellow humans as the “new normal”. So what does this consumer love affair with mobile phones mean to property managers?

It means we better get in the game in the mobile realm. Regular websites have worked really well for a while, but change has come again. New renters are going to want to use their smart phones to search for rentals near them (aided by GPS), fill out rental applications, pay application fees, and put down deposits. They want the whole rental process available from their mobile phones.

What specifically does this mean? It means we better have mobile websites that allow them to do this; the mobile websites need to include only succinct information potential renters would want when on the go. It also means we need a mobile application (a custom company “app”) that customers can put on their devices so we own some real estate on their phones. Trends show that home internet connections are on the way of landline phones; the new battleground is the mobile phone. We need to be on as many as possible.

A mobile website is critical when consumers search for property management companies from their smart phones. Will yours come up? If it does, can consumers easily find rental homes, contact you (even text you!), and do everything you want them to do (like they can when you see them in your office or when they are in front of their home computer?)

An app is critical to sealing the relationship with customers. How can they remember you when they are on their mobile phones? Your app (with your company logo) sitting with the rest of the apps they use everyday is a good start. This is a good way to build mindshare and also to make it easy for your customers to contact you and refer you to their friends. Not an apps believer? Apps are set to be a $36B business by 2015- a lot of people use them and will be using them!

Change is hard, but the mobile revolution is not going away. If making a property management company last long term is the goal, mobile websites and apps are now “must-haves”!

Android TV and Apps

Did you hear about the new Android TV? These televisions have caught the fancy of people and offers a new way to watch television. Be it playing games or browsing the net, an Android TV offers a lot.

However, Android apps haven’t been that easy to make. So, if you are looking forward for developers to make apps for Android TV as well, you need to consider certain aspects first.

Here is a look at the difficulties developers face when designing an Android TV box app.

Developers work hard, putting in lot of thoughts, time and energy into making a great product. However, many developers fail to take a few key steps that can help them create that magical app. It has to be remembered that almost everyone has a smartphone today. While there are millions of apps for the Android smart phones, apps which are specifically designed for playing with Android TVs are still not that high in number. Developers need to meet different challenges to design newer and better apps. Creating the right product and managing to get loyal customers requires a good strategy.

All about apps

The app icon and the user interface should be clean and be easy to use. Users begin to form opinions about the app once they download it. Developers should read the reports from users to find out the requirements.

Determination of the demographics

Developers get vast information about app users and usage from users. If you are thinking to create a new app, you need to think like a marketer and critically analyze the market to determine your target demographic. For instance, if your app is targeted at low-income people within a particular age group, why would you concentrate on building apps for iOS?

Of course, if you do that, you will spend more money and energy building apps for the wrong audience. Android TV apps in particular, need to be more appealing.

Investing on metrics that can be quantified

Most developers don’t understand how to make proper use of app usage data. As a developer, you ought to read usage of app data by users on a daily basis. Developers should also use reports which show how effective their ads are and how much they can possibly monetize it.

Network for discoverability

Networking with other app developers is a great way by which you can take your apps to even greater heights. Utilize social networks and also guest blog about your app in other app developers’ blogs. You can also simply attend seminars or webinars where app development is the topic. Building relationships in the right circles can offer results that you never anticipated.

Conclusion

Developers require extra effort and research to come out with something innovative. If they are developing an app for an Android TV, they need to first know the audience well to understand the needs and preferences. There are several ways of doing this. As a developer, the end product should actually be user friendly for the users.

Top Smartphones and Apps of 2011 Holiday Season

When looking at what type of smartphone you should purchase, there seems to be so many options out there nowadays. Between the Android devices and the Apple devices, there are many choices tailored to your needs and willing to give you everything you could need in a phone and so much more. Gone are the days of just using it to talk. Now they are used to surf the internet, text and play games. For that reason, you have to look at specific types of smartphones but knowing the right ones can be somewhat difficult.

One option available is the Motorola DROID RAZR. Billing the phone as the thinnest smartphone around, it is both sleek and light which means it is easier to carry for you. Made of Kevlar, steel and aluminum it creates a phone that is a very good option after the original RAZR. This smartphone comes with the highly touted Android software and weights a little under 4.50 ounces. The physical size of the phone is 4.30 inches with a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels. Of the main features available you get a light sensor as well as a proximity sensor and scratch-resistant glass. One of the most important factors when one buys a smartphoneis battery life. The Motorola DROID RAZR offers an average of 12.50 hours of talk time and an amazing 204 hours of stand-by time. The camera features are also spectacular as you can take HD Video and the camera has 8 megapixels. Lastly, the system hardware comes in at 1024 MB of RAM with roughly 16 GB of built in memory. This phone should be available in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Another great option is the Galaxy Nexus. This is the first phone to run the newly created Android Ice Cream Sandwich, which is being sold as the version which puts an end to fragmentation. Powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4460 processor, it clearly is one of the fastest phones available on the market today. The weight of the phones comes in at 4.76 ounces. The physical size of the phone is 4.65 inches which continues to be consistent with most of the Android devices with how light and small they are to carry. The phone also takes HD video with the camera offering 5 megapixels. The system memory comes with 1024 MB RAM and roughly 32 GB of built-in storage. This phone should be available in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Lastly, the third most popular smartphone of those released or to be released is the Apple release iPhone 4S. Many were disappointed that it came out as the iPhone 4S opposed to the iPhone 5 but it has not disappointed. It comes with a reworked iOS 5 and introduces a really cool new feature called Siri, which is a personal assistant for you to verbally communicate with for reminders and information. It comes with a 3.5″ screen with a resolution of 640 x 960 pixels; however the inside of the phone is a very powerful and impressive dual-core A5 processor. Coming in at a weight of a little under 5 ounces, it may be a little heavier than its Android counterparts but nothing that would deter the customer. It offers HD video capture and a camera with 8 megapixels. The system memory comes with 512 MB RAM with up to 65 GB of built-in storage.

One of the most appealing features of smartphones are the apps available for download. Some must have Android apps are Google Sky Map, which allows you to see the stars in the sky by pointing your phone to the sky, ASTRO file manager which allows you to manage files on your device and Seesmic which is one of the top Twitter apps available for any phone. For the iPhone, some of the tops apps available are Amazon, PayPal and who can go anywhere without their very own copy of Angry Birds, available on both Android and iPhone devices.