Erica at The Unofficial Apple Weblog introduced me to my new favorite phrase: pants-based computing. Come one, which would you rather carry around? A mobile phone (think Zack Morris) or a pants-based computing device?
Anyway, the point of the article is that the combination of a GPS-enabled iPhone along with a seamless way to download 3rd party apps (AppStore), a new development trend is about to begin:
The iPhone is a platform that lives in your pocket. So you can pull it out, check your options and make some decisions without all the overhead associated with laptop use. It’s this fundamental difference in the way we use the iPhone with “pants-based computing,” with a device that travels with us and knows where we are, that powers this paradigm shift. We’re sitting at the edge of a location-based computing revolution, and the iPhone is pulling us there. From our pockets.
So in honor of the forthcoming revolution and in homage to my previous blogging contributions, here are some ideas for three killer PBC apps.
1. Stadiu.ms – A Temporary Social Network for Stadiums
For people who are all gathered together in one very large venue (sporting events, concerts, etc..), Stadi.um is an app that would allow you to network with other people at the event and get extra add-on information about that event (for a baseball game, think detailed player stats for the specific batter at the plate, mini-games such as trivia or mini fantasy baseball games, etc..). You could also chat with other fans in real-time about the event, or see a map of the stadium with little pins showing where each Stadiu.ms user was sitting. The beauty of an app like this is you get around the whole chicken-and-egg problem inherent with most mobile..err, PBC-based social networks (need users, but users won’t use the service until other users are there). You could simply buy out an ad at the beginning of the game to flash the info needed for people to get signed onto the app, and you’d instantly have enough users with the same basic interests who are in the same general geographic area to make the service immediately interesting and useful.
2. TravelWithMe – A Portable Travel Blogging Tool
For travelers who are looking to capture more than just a few grainy photos of their overseas adventures, TravelWithMe offers an easy-to-use set of tools to share your travel with your friends and family back home. Instead of relying on long blog posts or cumbersomely uploading a set of photos to a website, TravelWithMe would offer a Twitter-like ability to very quickly share thoughts, pictures and short videos. Each time travelers share something, it is automatically tagged by time and by location, and uploaded to a website. The site would display a dot on a map for each item that was uploaded, and based on the time the item was uploaded, lines would show the daily progress of the traveler. Users who are following along on the website could post comments on each item, and the travelers could be notified of the new comments either directly through the app or via SMS alerts.
3. BluLight – Distributed “Woot” for PBC
For stores that are looking to attract nearby customers and users who are looking for deals, BluLight is a woot-like system that allows retailers to advertise limited-time-only in-store deals. Retailers could log into the BluLight system and post a deal, which would then be broadcast to all BluLight users who are currently within one mile of the store. One advantage this system offers retailers is the scenario when customer traffic in the store is temporarily low, retailers could quickly post a deal to the system and use it to generate foot traffic on-demand to maximize their efficiency. For customers, this would be a fun way to spontaneously get notified of amazing deals, which would create almost a real-life game-like buzz around the product.