September 18, 2012

Apps, Startups and Real Stars – My Personal Highlights from Techcrunch Disrupt

Posted in events, mobile news by afeiner

Last week I went to Techcrunch Disrupt here in San Fransisco and showed mysms lots of people, played with other disrupting technologies, and listened to real stars of the industry. In short – I had a great time. That’s why I would like to share my favorite moments with you!

Techcrunch Disrupt - Main Conference Hall

Techcrunch Disrupt - Main Conference Hall

First of all, it was a huge event. When I entered the conference center, I was blown away by all the startups showcasing their apps and products. But it did not stop here. I made my way to the main conference hall, where all the sessions took place. There I was welcomed by an amazing light show and a special music theme that would follow me throughout the conference.

Startup Alley

Startup Alley

Probably the most famous person that talked to us on the first day was Jessica Alba, founder of “The Honest Company”, but much better known due to her career as an actress. When asked what was the most surprising thing for her about running a company she said,

“It’s so hard! You’re working day and night. If you’re not so passionate and working day and night, it’s not going to happen.” Jessica Alba

I agree, but it’s worth it 🙂

Jessica Alba talking about her role as entrepreneur

Jessica Alba talking about her role as entrepreneur

I also really liked the fireside chat with Dave Morin (Path). He clearly talked about mobile being the future. We all shifted from having 1 computer to using several computers (smartphones, tablets or even Google Glasses) throughout the day. He said at the moment there are more mobile phones than toothbrushes in the world. But he also made clear providing a simple and useful product/app is not as easy as most people would think.

“True simplicity takes a long time” – Dave Morin

Although the focus of the event was clearly on software solution, also one hardware product stood out of the crowd. I think everyone of you who watched sequences of the event knows what I am talking about. Lit Motors showed us a new form of automation. Their product – the C1 is fully electric, will be available for $12,500 and aims to shake up the electric vehicle market.

The C1 - enough space for 1 person and 2 bags

The C1 - enough space for 1 person and 2 bags

The second day of the event was driven by the exitment of seeing Facebook founder Marc Zuckerberg’s first interview after the company’s IPO. Before his talk, the hall was so crowded that I had a hard job to get back to my reserved seat (people where just sitting and standing everywhere).

Everybody waiting for Zuckerberg entering the stage

Everybody waiting for Zuckerberg entering the stage

Zuckerberg’s clear focus was Facebook’s mobile first approach.

“Facebook’s future development will be about how well we do with mobile. A lot of people underestimate how good mobile is for us.” Marc Zuckerberg

The 30 min talk pushed Facebook's share prize back to the right direction

The 30 min talk pushed Facebook's share prize back to the right direction

But there were also other great speakers. I really liked one statement of Matt Cohler (Benchmark Capital) who said “Think of apps as remote control for life”. I think that’s what it is all about – applications should help make your life easier and more convenient, just what we are aiming to do with mysms.

Another application that tries to simplify your life was the winner of Techcrunch’s Battlefield competition. Your Mechanic promises that most of your car issues can be solved in “less than 60 seconds”. They launched at the day of the event, but are aiming to disrupt the whole mechanics market worldwide.

Hope you liked my personal highlights of Techcrunch Disrupt. If you were there too, and you think I missed something important here. Let us know in the comments.

September 13, 2012

5 Alternative Ways to Charge Your Smartphone on the Go

Posted in Just for fun, mobile news by Lisa Leitner

Over the last decade we’ve seen impressive developments in mobile technology, with quad-core processors, 4G connection and high-resolution displays. However, it seems like battery development has been neglected. Nowadays our smartphones are superslim; there’s simply not enough space for as big a battery as our mini-computers would need. That’s why we have to find alternative ways to prolong battery lives of our mobiles. Some time ago I wrote about 5 eco-friendly ways to charge your smartphone, today I’d like to continue the discussion with 5 alternative ways to charge our smartphone on the go.


5 alternative ways to charge your smartphone


1) Vodafone’s Solar-charging Umbrella

Booster Brolly Vodafone Solar Charger

Booster Brolly by Vodafone

First of all, I’d like to introduce you to Vodafone’s Booster Brolly. This umbrella is a great way to boost your signal and charge your smartphone when you live in a country where rain is a steady companion. If you ever come to Austria, I advise you to bring your Booster Brolly! Anyway, it works like this: Solar energy is gained through 12 solar cells and stored in a battery placed in the handle. You can then charge your phone via the USB port. It is said to charge a mobile within 3 hours. Sounds excellent to me!


2) ECOXPOWER Pedal-powered Smartphone Charger

ECOxPOWER bicycle pedal-power charger

ECOXPOWER pedal charger

If you are a dedicated cyclist and have a power-hungry mobile, this might be perfect for you – the ECOXPOWER charger for bicycles. It is a gadget that collects energy through your pedal power. With the gained energy it charges your phone as well as it lightens your way with a LED front headlight and taillight. A USB adapter cable that runs up to a water resistant phone case comes with it.


3) Eton iPhone Solar Cover

iPhone Cover as solar charger by Eton

iPhone Solar Cover

The Eton Solar Cover captures power from the sun and diffuse light. Ideally you use it as a cover of your iPhone constantly, so – theoretically – you don’t have to charge your phone with a regular charger anymore. About 1 hour of solar charge with the Eton cover gives you 25 minutes of talk time or 20 minutes for internet use, 35 minutes of video playback or 145 minutes of audio playback.


4) Sony Hand-cranked Charger

Hand-cranked Charger by Sony

Hand-cranked Charger

Sony’s hand-cranked charger works as you might already fear. You have to turn the crank in order to produce energy. Brilliant idea! It features a 4,000mAH battery, which is enough to fully charge your smartphone. Also, it’s got 2 USB ports, so you can charge multiple devices. Just to give you an idea of how exhausting this is going to be for you: three minutes of cranking will give you more or less one minute of talktime. But, we would do anything for our mobiles and mother nature, wouldn’t we?


5) PowerTrekk

Fuel Charger PowerTrekk

PowerTrekk Charger

This little gadget might be helpful for you, if you’re a camping kind of guy/gal. The PowerTrekk is a smartphone charger that uses water to produce hydrogen gas. You simply pour water (can be water rainwater, river water, etc.) into the tray, the PowerTrekk mixes the water with sodium silicide to power the fuel cell. The fuel cell then provides power for about 10 hours of phone battery life.


We constantly stumble upon fascinating new ways to charge your smartphone. There are continuous developments and innovations worth trying and writing about. If you happen to know one, we haven’t already mentioned, please let us know in the comments. Meanwhile: Happy alternatively charging!



September 6, 2012

mysms for Windows Phone is Here!

Posted in apps, messaging, mysms news by Lisa Leitner

Here at mysms we made a big step towards platform-independence last weekend, when we released mysms for Windows Phone. Our messaging app is now available for 88 % of all smartphones. In other words, the amount of your mysms friends is growing continuously. That’s brilliant news, right?

Until now mysms has been available for iOS and Android smartphones only. These days are over! With the rise of Windows Phone OS we decided to broaden our portfolio. So here it is, our mysms app for Windows Phone:


mysms for Windows Phone is here

mysms for Windows Phone


You can find our mysms Windows Phone app at Windows’ Marketplace and download it for free. Invite your friends, no matter if they own an iPhone, Android or Windows Phone, so you can send them messages free of charge.


Also, Windows Phone users can now use our Android Tablet app and web apps. Our web app portfolio includes mysms for Windows (desktop), Mac, Facebook, Chrome and any other web browser. Using mysms on a personal computer allows you to enter your messages comfortably on your computer keyboard. Believe me, you will love this!


mysms apps

mysms family


When designing mysms for Windows Phone, we stuck to Windows’ design elements. mysms adapts colors to your current theme and uses buttons you’re familiar with. Consequently, it’s intuitive and easy to use as well as it’s a feast for the eyes 😉


As mysms for Windows Phone is still in beta, we’d love to hear what you think about our newest mysms family member. Let us know in the comments.


Please note: We decided to stop the development of our Windows Phone app in October 2013. This has several reasons, which you can read in this blog post.

August 29, 2012

What is NFC and Why Should I Care?

Posted in mobile news by Lisa Leitner

NFC is short for Near Field Communication, which is a technology that enables two communicators to exchange information wirelessly over a short distance. This might sound very similar to bluetooth, however there’s a crucial difference. While bluetooth works great between two devices (e.g. two smartphones), NFC doesn’t necessarily need two active devices. NFC can do more! It also supports the communication between one device and a passive tag.

You might have been using NFC already and are not aware of it. NFC technologies have arrived in our everyday life and are used, for example, in tickets for public means of transport and ski lifts and also as keys.


NFC tags


What is an NFC Tag and What Can I Do With It?

An NFC tag is tiny, low weight and super thin. What makes it really interesting is that it works without any battery; its power comes from the RF field of the initiating device (which is, for example, your smartphone). The most hyped use of NFC is contactless pay. However, there are other (more fun!) ways to make use of NFC tags:


1. Business Cards

Integrating an NFC tag in a business card is simply awesome. You just tap the card with your smartphone and automatically save the contact details in your phone’s contacts.


2. Posters

An NFC tag can be a part of a poster. By holding your smartphone close to the poster you get a gift coupon (best case), are linked to a website or Facebook page, can check in on Foursquare, or anything else companies might think you could find interesting – hopefully no commercials (worst case).


3. Museums

It’s never been as easy to understand art! You just – guess what – touch the NFC chip (probably) next to a piece of art and it gives you all the information the museum provides.


4. Photo Presentation

Photos you have taken with an NFC equipped smartphone can be displayed on an NFC equipped TV screen by holding the phone close to the TV.


5. Paper Chase / Geocaching

Using NFC you can read hints during a paper chase or while geocaching. If you install an NFC application, you can even change the information saved on a tag, which can be great fun 😉


NFC at the Museum and on a poster

NFC at the Museum of London and on a poster


How can I use NFC?

In order to be able to use NFC you need:


Apps have revolutionized the signification of mobile phones in the digital world; NFC could revolutionize the signification of mobile phones in the real world. Plane tickets, wallets, paper coupons, product authentication could all be replaced by NFC. We’re excited how this story continues…what do you think?



August 23, 2012

What Happened to Our Mobile Manners?

Posted in Just for fun by Lisa Leitner

Have you ever found yourself replying to a text message or an email during a business meeting or a dinner conversation? Let me tell you, Emily Post would not be amused with your behavior. Neither would she like to hear that 3 out of 4 adults text while driving nor that 63 % of Americans answer phone calls while going to the bathroom. However, this seems to be the inconvenient truth about our mobile manners of today.

Mobile Manners in the Bathroom


A recent survey from Online College shows that our mobile manners are not quite as sophisticated as we might think they are. It starts with the young (9 in 10 students text while they are in class), but likewise affects the old (15 % of all polled adults said they will answer a call while they devote themselves to the most beautiful matter in the world). We seem to forget everything our parents taught us about etiquette when it comes to our beloved smartphone.


My personal favorite result is that 3 in 4 Americans use their cell phones while in the bathroom. For Emily Post’s sake please tell me you’re not reading this in the bathroom.


What happened to our mobile manners?