THE BLOG

Expanding Mobile Innovation

05/13/2010 12:22 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Mobile technology has come a long way in the past few months. With the release of the iPad to the latest Android phones, devices are more powerful today than they've ever been in the past.

However, most of this has been platform innovation. Large companies have gone out and created a platform that has limitless potential to those who're determined to accept the challenge.

In this post, we'll take a look at 2 companies that have developed on top of current platforms. They come from different backgrounds and offer different services. Nevertheless, they innovate, they create and for the most part, they deliver a better experience.

1. Square:

Square allows nearly anyone with an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or an Android phone to collect credit-card payments. After signing up, users can request a "Square," which goes into a device's audio port and can be used to swipe credit cards.

How it works:

Square is an idea that could reach the masses and one that could have an impact on mobile payments. Despite it's significant potential, it's very easy to use:

  • Install the application on your desired platform (currently available for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android)
  • Sign-up for an account.
  • Request a card reader.
  • Activate the service.
  • Setup financial information.
  • Collect payments.
It takes just a few minutes to setup and the results are impressive.

Cost:

Accepting credit cards for a small business is expensive. You need to pay monthly fees and transaction fees. With Square, you only pay a transaction fee. No monthly commitments or long term contracts.

Availability:

Square is available now for Apple mobile devices and certain Android phones.

2. Magellan GPS:

Unlike Square, Magellan has been around for a long time. It's best known for GPS products that vary in features and prices.

However, unknown to many is that the company also sells products for the iPhone and the iPod touch.

How it works:

  • iPhone users can purchase and download the Magellan RoadMap App from the iTunes store. iPod touch users have to purchase the application as well as the Magellan Premium Car Kit to enable GPS functionality.
  • After making the appropriate purchases, iPod touch users simply mount the device with the Car Kit and launch the application. The application is very similar to a traditional GPS application.
  • Although not required, purchasing the Car Kit would also benefit iPhone users as the kit provides a mountable dock and speakers for audio calls.

Cost:

The application starts at $49.99 for US only maps. The mount is available for $129.99.

Results:

The results are fairly impressive. With the iPod touch, it might take a few minutes to get a satellite signal. However, once signal is available, it's a pleasant experience. While the dock is optional for iPhone users, it's highly recommended.

The above are just a few examples of how different companies from different backgrounds are innovating on existing mobile platforms. While technology will continue to evolve and change, it'll be interesting to see how companies create solutions.

Full disclosure: For the purposes of this article, Magellan provided a review unit of the car dock and a coupon code for their application. You do not have to use the Magellan application for GPS purposes. You may purchase the dock and can use it with other apps.

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Aanarav Sareen is a content creator and digital media consultant. He blogs daily at Digital Media Business and publishes the monthly Digital Media Newsletter.

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