Free mobile apps are also less secure

April 8, 2012

Not only free mobile apps are killing your battery with their ads, they also a significant security threat. A new research reveals out that the third-party ad libraries used in the free apps are likely to expose the phone to security threats: “Our study has so far uncovered a number of serious privacy and security risks from existing in-app ad libraries on the popular Android platform... Such threats range from collecting unnecessarily intrusive user information to allowing third-party code of unknown provenance to execute within the hosting app. Since Android’s permissions model cannot distinguish between actions performed by an ad library and those performed by its hosting app, the current Android system provides little indication of the existence of these threats within any given app, which necessitates a change in the way existing ad libraries can be integrated into host apps.

In other words, a typical ad-powered Android app is a Trojan horse waiting to be exploited.


Free mobile apps are killing your battery

March 31, 2012

All right, it is an overstatement. The correct title should be: a new study claims that free ad-supported apps use about 75% of their total energy consumption to power the advertisement displayed in the app. Most energy is being spent during multiple connections to the server to download fresh ads.

Indeed, the cost of this electricity waste does not offset a dollar or two the consumer would have to pay for an ad-free version of the app. However, it is not hard costs, it is an inconvenience of killing the battery while one is killing time.

Needless to say, MobileNoter for both Android and iOS doesn’t carry any ads and no, it’s not free.

Interestingly enough, Microsoft released a light ad-supported version of its Office suite for PCs some time ago and may decide to roll out the same thing for mobile platforms.

MobileNoter SE for Android syncs with SharePoint Server!

February 25, 2012

Another update to MobileNoter SE for Android – this time it’s a huge addition – an ability to sync your OneNote notes with the SharePoint Server. This puts MobileNoter into the leader of note-taking software in the number of sync services supported. Why is it important? Because the major vendors use the sync service to lock users up.

Take Evernote – it’s a nice service, but you have to cough up $5 a month for a premium plan (read: for ability to really use it), your data are locked on the Evernote servers, and you just don’t have any choice. This is a terrible proposition for most users. Evernote started strong a few years ago, but their expensive subscriptions are going to significantly slow their growth down as more alternatives appear.

Let’s review sync options for the MobileNoter users:

  • Dropbox. This is great for personal usage. Dropbox is a well-known service that’s been around for a while. You get 2GB of storage for free, and you can get more if you help them with their marketing.
  • SkyDrive. Again, great for personal usage. You get 25GB of storage for free.
  • Personal computer. This option comes with advantages and some disadvantages. It is harder to setup, because it requires a Windows sync client to be installed. Another disadvantage is that when using cloud sync (as opposed to WiFi), there is a monthly subscription, even though it’s not nearly as expensive as that of Evernote. The advantages are that the storage is only limited by your hard drive, and that you have complete control over your notes.
  • SharePoint Server, which is great for enterprise usage. I doubt that an average IT department is going to be thrilled over sensitive company information sitting on Dropbox, SkyDrive, or Evernote servers. The best option is to deploy a SharePoint Server, and give the employees the ability to use it for cloud note syncing.

Finally, I can’t help, but notice: even Microsoft OneNote for iOS/Android isn’t able to sync with Microsoft SharePoint Server. You are welcome.

Microsoft releases OneNote for Android

February 11, 2012

Microsoft released OneNote for Android 3 days ago.

Microsoft doesn’t stop from surprising us again. First, they started with releasing OneNote for iPhone, which didn’t even launch on the phone for most users. Now, they are releasing software for Android, a Google’s platform. Yes, that Google, which is not even a real company, according to Microsoft’s CEO.

To be fair, this release does start on Android devices for most users. The user comments are filled with complaints though, about the things that work perfectly in MobileNoter for Android, including search, formatting, tags, etc.

To keep up with the coming competition, we just slashed the price for MobileNoter SE version.

MobileNoter in 2011

January 15, 2012

2011 was a monster year for MobileNoter. We didn’t get to our goal of 100,000 customers by the end of 2011, but still we are several tens of thousands users in. If you decide to compare these numbers to other services, like Evernote or Catch, remember that these are paying customers we are talking about, not people who download free stuff with the intention of never paying. The 100,000 customers milestone is postponed to the year of 2012 now.

Microsoft released Onenote for iPhone in January and then Onenote for iPad in December 2011. What’s good about these releases: first, they determined the price and trial terms. It will definitely influence our decisions in the future. Second, their release allowed us to differentiate our product from theirs pretty easily. Microsoft provides basic access to their Skydrive stored notes, which is totally free for everyone except power users. MobileNoter gives you full access to the notes stored on Skydrive, Dropbox, your computer, while preserving all graphics, drawings, and provides complete Onenote for Windows experience on the mobile devices. The release of Onenote for iOS from Microsoft has some positive and negative impact on us. Overall, it is a somewhat neutral event.

Android was our top platform in 2011. The sales of MobileNoter for Android went from zero to more than that of for iOS during the year. Two factors helped: exceptionally great releases of MobileNoter for Android and skyrocketing growth of the platform itself. Even MobileNoter sales in Amazon Appstore showed significant growth despite a slow start. The Kindle Fire is to thank for this.

We expect to have some great releases of MobileNoter of iOS in 2012, so this platform is not to be ignored. The dominance of iOS over Android is however evaporating and soon it will be gone forever, as more as more developers find their income from Android growing over that of from iOS.

Our plans for BlackBerry lost some priority as the year of 2011 clearly demonstrated that the platform is struggling to survive. If the enterprise mobile users move to Android/Windows 8 and leave RIM products, then those Blackberries may never see a native MobileNoter and thus receive access to their Onenote notes.

Finally, 2011 was the year when MobileNoter as a startup reached several important financial milestones. If you ever ran a startup, you know what I’m talking about. We never doubted that the day would come, but it’s nice to actually experience it.



Microsoft releases Onenote for iPad

December 13, 2011

Microsoft finally released Onenote for iPad, almost a year after they released Onenote for iPhone. While it seems to be pretty nice looking, the users complain about the following problems:

– Does not work without a Skydrive account;

– No inking support, neither read or write;

– No text formatting (bold, underline, etc.);

– No ability to move or resize images;

– No ability to create new sections or notebooks;

– No ability to zoom in/out;

– Links/hyperlinks don’t work;

– No file attachments.

To be fair, MobileNoter doesn’t completely cover this list either, but at least we have most of it. The latest update of MobileNoter for Android just received inking “read only” support. The ability to draw on Android phones and tablets is coming out pretty soon too. But the biggest news is a totally new release of MobileNoter for iPad coming out beginning of 2012. Some competition is good for the users.





Microsoft Office is coming to iPad

November 30, 2011

According to various sources, including The Daily, Microsoft Office is coming to iPad in 2012. It seems as Microsoft finally admitted the importance of iPad platform. On the other hand, releasing MS Office for iPad is a bad strategic move for Windows 8 based tablets and therefore for Windows 8 that will also appear in 2012. If the Windows 8 tablets were the only to offer the super popular office suite, it would have been a serious advantage for them, especially in the enterprise field. Even more surprising is that Microsoft will start paying the “Apple tax” – the 30% Apple takes from all sales in their Appstore…

It is taken for granted that the iPad Office suite will have Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It is interesting to see if it includes Outlook and Onenote as well. The latter is somewhat important for us, because we are going to release huge updates to our MobileNoter for iOS pretty soon.