Handset Detection Wants YOU to Help Us Chart Our Course!

We’ve grown by leaps and bounds since our humble beginnings in 2008, but our next step is to make sure we’re growing with our customers. As you see more and more mobile handsets detecting your websites and online stores, you most likely see new challenges and have new questions. That’s why we need to hear from YOU! Take our survey to let us know what you’re looking for an for a chance to get a sneak peek at new Handset Detection features before they go live. Thank you!

The Future of Apps

There was an interesting article on Techcrunch the other day that, in hindsight, shouldn’t have been so surprising. The big news they unveiled was that 89% of app downloads in 2012 will be free apps, and 90% of the remaining 11% will cost under $3.

Ok, that was a lot of math and percentages. Basically what it said was that people love free and cheap stuff and it won’t change. In fact, the article also said that by 2016 the free app downloads will have increased to 93%, if not higher.

The reason it shouldn’t have been so surprising is, well, we have smartphones and tablets here at Handset Detection. We use apps all the time and when we’re not using them we’re looking for cool new ones to try out. The ones we naturally gravitate towards are the free ones. Only in rare cases do we grab paid apps and it’s only when we REALLY need something.

Plus, even when you need a paid app, if you look hard enough you can find a free alternative. As time goes by this will become truer as app-creation software becomes more prevalent. So what does this mean for the app world? Will it eventually crush under its own weight or find a healthy balance?

Bubbles Bursting

It’s easy to compare the app world to the “dot com” explosion of the late 90s. Back then everybody and their brother had a website and was going to make a jillion dollars even though they didn’t actually sell anything. Of course that bubble burst and people lost money and livelihoods like crazy.

In the app world you see many companies making their fortunes by offering free stuff but plastering ads everywhere. Or a tactic that’s even more annoying is to give a free version of an app or game but lock features away until you pay a dollar more or whatever. But can these methods last forever?

The reason the bubble burst on the dot com explosion was that people realized there was no substance behind a lot of the hype. And in the end, how much substance is there behind Angry Birds or Draw Something? We’re already seeing the lackluster response to Rovio’s follow-up to Angry Birds “Amazing Alex.” But of course that has a lot to do with the product itself (the sophomore slump is rough, man!).

Of course there’s another aspect to take into account: piracy. If I really wanted Angry Birds with no ads I could go find it illegally in no time flat. If app creation gets easier over time, it will be no problem to whip up a (for example) tax calculator app in no time flat rather than pay a dollar or two.

Apps may end up going the way of movies and video games and integrate their ads into the actual product. Look out for the next Angry Birds where a drink of delicious Coca-Cola gives your birds extra flying abilities!

NFC Capable Devices Supported by Handset Detection

We explained a little about near field communication here, and as promised, here’s our list of NFC devices Handset Detection supports. Happy detecting!

Vendor Model
LG T500
HTC Incredible S
HTC ADR6400L
LG LS685
Huawei Sonic
Samsung SHW-M250S
Samsung SPH-D710
Samsung SHW-M250L
Samsung GT-S5230
Nokia N9
RIM Blackberry 9360
Nokia 700
HTC Amaze 4G
RIM BlackBerry Montana
RIM BlackBerry Sedona
RIM BlackBerry Curve 9370
RIM BlackBerry 9380
RIM BlackBerry Bold 9790
Motorola Spice XT
Nokia N5
LG P692
Nokia 6216 classic
Samsung Galaxy Note
Samsung SGH-i677
LG Optimus LTE
Samsung S7250
Samsung Wave Y
Nokia 600
Nokia 6212 classic
Nokia 701
Motorola XT912
HTC Droid Incredible 2
HTC Rezound
ZTE PF200
Samsung Galaxy Ace 2
Sony Xperia P
Acer E330
LG Optimus L7
Panasonic Eluga
Samsung GT-i9210
Panasonic Bizpad
Sharp RW-T110
Samsung SCH-i515
Samsung SGH-T989
Samsung SGH-T989
Samsung Galaxy Note 5.3
Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket
Samsung SGH-T769
Samsung Galaxy S Advance
LG LS840
LG VS920
Lenovo K800
Sony Ericsson Pepper
Sony Xperia Ion
Samsung I9250
Samsung I9020
Nokia 808 PureView
LG P880
ZTE Skate Kis
HTC One XL
ZTE Blade II
ZTE Orbit
Acer Cloud Mobile
Samsung SGH-I777
Sony MT27i
Pantech Vega LTE M
HTC One X
Nokia 603
LG Optimus 3D Max
Nokia Oro
Nokia Lumia 610 NFC
HTC Evo One
LG Optimus Elite
Lava Xolo X900
Samsung SGH T879
Panasonic Eluga Power
RIM BlackBerry Porsche Design P’9981
LG Optimus LTE2
HTC Droid Incredible 4G
Samsung Galaxy Mini 2
Sony Xperia S
LG Optimus LTE Tag
Lumingon T2
Toshiba 808
LG LS970
Samsung SPH-L300
HTC Desire C
Samsung Galaxy S II
HTC Droid Incredible
LG Optimus L5
LG Optimus Net
LG 3D MAX
Galaxy Galaxy S III
Samsung GT-S578
LG F100L
LG P940
Nokia 6212
Sony Xperia acro S
Sony Xperia Ion HSPA LT28h
Sony Xperia acro S LT26w
Samsung SHW-M250k
ZTE Racer 2
Google Nexus 7
RIM BlackBerry PlayBook 2012
Turkcell T11
RIM Blackberry 9981
Acer Liquid Express e320
Pantech IM-A820L
Motorola Motosmart Flip XT611
Huawei U8661
RIM BlackBerry 9900
Turkcell MaxiPlus 5
Fujitsu Arrow μ F-07d
Sharp RW-T107
Orange AZ210a
Casio DT-X8
Android Galaxy Note (Fake)
DoCoMo SC-05D
Mpman MP948

eCommerce Site Owners Who Don’t Know Their Traffic are Dead in the Water

If you’ve never thought about collecting and analyzing your web and mobile traffic stats before, you may be wondering why you should even bother in the first place. After all, customers are customers right? Who cares where they’re coming from or how they’re reaching you. If they’re buying product that’s all that matters.

Except that’s obviously not true at all! There’s a veritable treasure trove of information hidden within your visit stats, stuff you would never have considered otherwise. Let’s take a look at some recent numbers and what you could potentially do with them to improve your business.

Using Resources

When running a business you naturally want to use anything and everything you have at your disposal. If you had a magical tool at hand that could tell you how to make more money than you’re currently making, you would use it, right?

Getting specific stats from your users is that magical tool. According to recent polls, just under half of all adults in America own a smartphone. Around half of all smartphone owners go on the Internet with them – a weird statistic, to be honest. What are all those people doing with their smartphones if they never go on the web?

Anyway, you can probably already see how this gets useful. There are approximately 250 million adults in the United States, so that means around 125 million own a smartphone. That’s a lot of people to consider who you’re marketing to, no matter what you’re selling! And that’s just the US – there are roughly 6 billion mobile users worldwide. Think about it – that means nearly everybody has a cell phone.

You also have to take what these people are doing online into consideration. 1 in 7 searches online comes from a smartphone with a lot of this traffic from China and India. Online sales keep growing, up to over 15% of all digital purchases. The holiday season was even crazier, with mobile sites doubling their power from 2010 with no signs of slowing down!

Why It’s Important

We could continue to throw these numbers at you until the cows come home (with smartphones). But you probably get the idea by now: mobile sales are becoming more prevalent over time. Your customers are not just bored desk jobbers using their desktops to browse Amazon at work anymore.

When you look at the stats on how folks are visiting your website you get a much better idea of who your customer base is. The users coming to your store and buying your stuff are from all walks of life. How can you properly market to them if you don’t know what they’re like…or what they like? And how can you get them to purchase something if they’re on a tablet and your website makes the touchscreen ridiculously difficult for them to navigate.

Perhaps more importantly, no two smartphones are the same. An iPhone user is going to have a vastly different experience on your website than an Android user or a tablet user. If you’re treating them all the same, you may end up driving away your biggest customers – Blackberry users. (Hey, it could happen.)

Consider if you found out the majority of your visitors are using Blackberry smartphones with trackballs to access your site and almost no Android users have visited. You have several options now that you know this, the biggest of which is to make a Blackberry-centric mobile site that makes it that much easier for your customers to navigate your site and buy your things!

Mobile isn’t going away. But eCommerce site owners can harness the lightning and make sure they’re the ones who reap the benefit.

RIM Blackberry Javascript, Whats the deal ?

By Tim Lee @ Flickr

All modern versions of RIM OS support javascript however in some cases older versions of RIM OS have javascript disabled.

According to the good folks over at blackberry support forums, Javascript was disabled by default on RIM OS versions 4.0 to 4.5, enabled by default for Wifi only on OS 4.6 to 4.7 and enabled by default on OS 5.0 and above.

RIM OS 5 was released late October 2009.

http://supportforums.blackberry.com/t5/Web-Development/Default-BlackBerry-Browser-configuration-options/ta-p/445729
http://supportforums.blackberry.com/t5/Web-Development/Javascript-and-blackberry-web-development-I-heard-its-not-a-good/m-p/633492
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BlackBerry_OS

One interesting point of note is : “While RIM develops and releases updated versions of its operating system to support each device, it is up to the individual carriers to decide if and when a version is released to its users. On April 2010 RIM announced the new BlackBerry OS 6.0 version, which will be released in the 3rd quarter 2010″.

So, its up to your carrier when new versions hit your handset.

iPad Detection and Redirection

We’ve had a few emails over the last week or from folks wanting to detect iPads and/or redirect iPads to iPad specific sites. Its super easy and takes a few minutes to set up. Here’s the scoop :

  1. Login, browse over to Sites and click Add Site Profile.
  2. Enter the Site Name and the Website Address (see below)
  3. Check ‘Smart Redirection’ (This allows people to jump backwards and forwards between your iPad and normal websites without being redirected).
  4. Click Add New Rule to add a new redirection rule for iPad devices
  5. Give the Rule a name like ‘Redirect iPads’
  6. Add a condition – In this case its a match for the Model
  7. Enter the URL that iPads should be redirected to

Job Done.

Happy iPad Redirecting.

Mobile Detection with the Zend framework.

Today’s quick tutorial is from Peter Johnson. Thanks Peter, take it away.
—–

Getting up and running with Handset Detection under Zend Framework is Quick & Easy.

To start performing detections you’ll need to download the latest PHP API kit from http://www.handsetdetection.com/resources/api-kits

Extract the whole hdapi folder into your Zend library folder, mine is /application/library, it should be named /application/library/hdapi

Copy your hdconfig.ini file from the kit into your public folder, mine is /public, it should be named /public/hdconfig.ini

Now you should be able to start using the API directly, but to simpify the process even further you can use this wrapper class.
Create a file called ‘HandsetDetectionService.php’ in your Zend library folder, mine is /application/library, it should be named /application/library/HandsetDetectionService.php

< ?php       class HandsetDetectionService   {       private $_instance;       private $_caching = true;       private $_hdapi_path;              public function __construct()       {           $this->_importHdApi();
          $this->_instance = new HandsetDetection();
          $this->_instance->setTimeout( 10 );
          $this->_instance->detectInit();
      }
             public function isMobile()
      {
          if( !$_caching ){ $this->_instance->clearCache(); }
          return $this->_instance->ismobile();
      }
             public function mobileRedirect( $url = "http://m.google.com" )
      {
          $this->_instance->setMobileSite( $url );
          if( $this->isMobile() ) $this->_instance->redirectToMobileSite();
      }
             public function detect()
      {
          if( !$_caching ){ $this->_instance->clearCache(); }
          $this->_instance->detect();
          return $this->_instance->getDetect();
      }
             public function vendorList()
      {
          if( !$_caching ){ $this->_instance->clearCache(); }
          $this->_instance->vendor();
          return $this->_instance->getVendor();
      }
             public function modelList( $vendor_name )
      {
          if( !$_caching ){ $this->_instance->clearCache(); }
          $this->_instance->model( $vendor_name );
          return $this->_instance->getModel();
      }
             public function getError()
      {
          $error = $this->_instance->getError();
          return ( $error == 'Not Found' ? '' : $error );
      }
             private function _importHdApi()
      {
          $this->_hdapi_path = APPLICATION_PATH . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . 'library' .
              DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . 'hdapi' . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR;
                                             require_once( $this->_hdapi_path . 'class.wsse.php' );
          if (!function_exists('json_encode')) require_once( $this->_hdapi_path . 'json.php');
          require_once( $this->_hdapi_path . 'hdbase.php' );
      }
         }
?>

Now you can use this code in any controller to test out the API:

< ?php   // Setup Connection   $hd = new HandsetDetectionService();   // Perform a Basic Detect, Just to see if it's a Mobile Handset   $ismobile = $hd->isMobile();
  $error = $hd->getError();

  // Output Some Data
  if( $error ) echo "An Error Occured: $error";
  elseif ( $ismobile )
  {
      // Do a Full Detection, Only needed if you want the Device details
      // ..such as Model Name or Handset Capabilities.
      if( $ismobile ) $detection = $hd->detect();

       echo "It's a Mobile Handset! - " . @$detection['product_info']['brand_name'] . " " . @$detection['product_info']['model_name'];
       echo ""; print_r( $detection ); echo "";
  }
  else echo "Not a Mobile Handset.";

  // Query for a list of Vendors & Models
  if( !$error )
  {
      echo "Vendor List";
      echo ""; print_r( $hd->vendorList() ); echo "";
      echo "Models from 'Apple'";
      echo ""; print_r( $hd->modelList('Apple') ); echo "";
  }
?>

or, if you just want to do a basic Mobile Redirect, use this:

< ?php   $hd = new HandsetDetectionService();   $hd->mobileRedirect( 'http://m.digg.com' );
?>

Note: If Zend is having trouble loading the HandsetDetectionService class, you probably have Autoloading disabled and you’ll need to include that file manually, to do this add the following before you call ‘new HandsetDetectionService()’:

require_once( $this->_hdapi_path = APPLICATION_PATH . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . 'library' . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . 'HandsetDetectionService.php' );

Firefox User-Agent-Switcher – Excellent for mobile website testing!

Last week I discovered an excellent tool for mobile website testing. Its the Firefox User-Agent-Switcher extension by Chris Pederick.  Its so simple to use.

  1. Install the Firefox extension.
  2. Browse over to the Handset Detection device list, select a device (eg Nokia N95) and copy one of the user-agents.
  3. From the Firefox menu, Select Tools >> User Agent Switcher >> Options >> Options
  4. Click User Agents the Click Add
  5. In description put ‘Nokia N95′ and paste your user-agent into the user agent field.

Now all you need to do, for Firefox to mimic a Nokia N95, is select Tools >> User Agent Switcher >> Nokia N95. Viola ! Your website will now think you’re browsing from a Nokia N95.