Tag Archives: Android

iphone

New App for HR Professionals

Fisher & Phillips LLP announced that it has developed a Smartphone and Tablet app that allows employers to calculate certain FMLA leaves of absence. The Beta FMLA Leave Calculator app will allow human resource professionals and other managers to calculate basic leave requests and determine how much FMLA leave an employee has available. This Beta version of the iPhone and Android app was introduced during the SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition in Chicago June 16-19.

Fisher & Phillips Chairman and Managing Partner Roger Quillen said: “The FMLA is a complicated law and FMLA leave calculations can be challenging for employers. Our attorneys frequently field questions about calculating FMLA leave. This new app is a free tool we’re providing to anyone to help them with basic FMLA leave requests. The Beta version covers requests for leave for employees working a standard 40-hour work week. The next version will cover more complicated situations such as employees working reduced work weeks. We’re very excited about introducing the app for the first time to the SHRM members attending the national conference in Chicago.”

Quillen added that the firm is eager to receive feedback from the SHRM members who test the new app. The app will provide an easy way for users to call or email the firm with comments and suggestions.

How the app works

The app offers a user-friendly interface and works very simply utilizing the rolling 12-month method measured backwards from the date of any FMLA leave.

• Enter the number of FMLA leave days the employee is requesting
• Enter the number of days of FMLA leave the employee has already used
• Enter the start date of the requested leave
• Indicate the days of the week the employee works
• Click “Calculate Now!”

The app then reports:

• Number of days of FMLA leave available
• When the employee should return to work based on the new leave request
• How much leave the employee has remaining after the current leave request is completed; if leave has been exhausted at the time of this request, it will indicate such

The HR professional or other manager using the app can then email the information directly to the employee who requested the leave. Of course, further documentation to the employee should be provided as required by the FMLA.

How to get the app

The Fisher & Phillips FMLA Leave app can be downloaded at the Apple App Store or Google Play. On the Apple App Store or Google Play search for “Fisher & Phillips.” You can also visit www.laborlawyers.com/FMLALeaveApp to get the app.

Fisher & Phillips attorneys and marketing professionals worked with developers at Saturno Design to create the new app.

iphone

BBVA Compass unveils bilingual iPhone app

BBVA Compass further expanded the reach of its mobile banking apps with the introduction of its bilingual iPhone app.

“This is part of our ongoing commitment to continually improve our mobile banking solutions, adding features and services to better serve our customers’ needs,” said Alex Carriles, executive vice president and director of Mobile Strategy and Retail Innovation at BBVA Compass. “We currently serve a number of markets with a growing Spanish-speaking population, so we wanted to give those customers access in the language that is most comfortable to them.”

The bank remains committed to providing native applications for the most popular mobile platforms, allowing users to enjoy a mobile banking experience that is consistent with their chosen devices. In addition to the iPhone, BBVA Compass provides mobile banking apps for iPhone and iPad mobile digital devices, BlackBerry devices and the Android mobile digital platform, and soon will be updating those to add bilingual capabilities.

“We already operate as a fully bilingual bank in the U.S., and these additions will support that commitment,” Carriles said.

The latest iPhone app offers access to such mobile banking features as bill pay, account transfers, balance review, an enhanced branch locator and improved views of paid checks with zoom capabilities. This new version also introduces a full feature Bill Pay service by allowing customers not only to issue payments, but also to add payees, manage payment source accounts, display past payments, and display or cancel pending payments.

To download the free BBVA Compass app, visit the iPhone app store and search for BBVA Compass.

For more information on additional BBVA Compass mobile banking applications, visit www.bbvacompass.com/go/mobile.

kindle

How to Use Kindle to Generate Free Business Leads

Imagine Amazon sending you business leads regularly and even paying you to do so. Why would they do it?

“Amazon is desperate for reading material and you can publish your content for free as Kindle books,” says V. Michael Santoro, a managing partner with John S. Rizzo of Globe On-Demand, an internet technology company. The two are also the co-authors of, “Niche Dominance: Creating Order out of your Digital Marketing Chaos,” (www.NicheDominance.com).

“The twist is to use them as a generation system for sales leads.”

The audience is huge – Kindle is no longer just for people who purchase Kindle tablets. Amazon has also written Kindle Reader applications for every major smartphone, tablet, and computer including the Android phone or tablet, iPad, iPhone, Mac, Windows 8 PC or tablet, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone 7, Santoro says.

“Most businesses hesitate to use Kindle to generate sales leads because they think they need to write an actual book,” says Rizzo, “But that’s not true. You can write and publish short reports — as long as the content is original, of high quality and does not violate its Terms of Service (TOS), Amazon will publish your material.”

The key is to include a compelling free offer with a strong call to action and a link to a lead capture page – the page on your website where people can sign up for more information, special offers, your newsletter, etc.

And Amazon will even help market your book – for free!

When a new Kindle book is approved and published, Amazon will:

• Feature it in their new releases section.

• Email their customer base announcing it to those who have previously purchased a Kindle book in that genre.

• Offer the Kindle KDP Select Program for ongoing free promotion.

• Allow customers to highlight, make notes, and share your book’s content via Twitter and other social networks.

“By enrolling in the free Kindle KDP Select Program, you give Amazon exclusivity on a renewable 90-day basis,” Santoro says. “This program allows their readers to borrow your book from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and when they do, Amazon pays you a royalty, as well as for book sales. However, the real benefit is that Amazon provides five days per quarter to give your book away for free.”

Why give your Kindle book away for free?

“Because, as a lead generation system, you want as many individuals as possible to download your Kindle book and visit your lead capture page, Santoro explains. Additionally, Amazon views each book download as a vote and rewards your book with higher page ranking. The more downloads, the better the chance of an Amazon Page 1 placement.

To create your Kindle report:

• Use Amazon to determine what current Kindle books or paperbacks are published about your topic.

• Decide what information will be helpful to your potential customers. Make sure it is original and offers value. Avoid information that is easily found on the Internet.

• Create your report in Microsoft Word and include images if appropriate.

• Include your call to action – a message that prompts readers to visit your website — and link to your website’s lead capture page.

• Create a cover graphic.

Publishing on Kindle is fairly simple:

• Go to http://kdp.amazon.com and sign up for a free Kindle account.

• Watch the “How To” Kindle publishing video.

• Fill out the Amazon Author Page to track your statistics.

• Reference the book on your website and link to your Amazon book page.

• Announce it on your Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter accounts.

“The goal is not to sell books, but rather to generate leads from Amazon’s huge customer base,” Rizzo says. An additional benefit is that you will differentiate yourself from the competition by being a published author. If your content is excellent and helpful, you will also build trust which will help to increase sales from these new leads.

Mint.com screenshot

Five Great Apps For Mobile Finance

Mobile finance is about to boom (some say we’re already there). You may have dabbled a little with your own bank’s mobile app for easy money transfers and to check balances. Or you might be quite savvy with Google Wallet and PayPal on your phone. There are a myriad of new apps to help you with all of your financial needs and are great for both personal and business use.

Most of these apps are available across Apple, Android and Blackberry platforms, and new ones are coming out every week. They help with everything from debt reduction, to managing how payments, to investing.

Here are five mobile finance apps to check out:

Debt Tracker

Most Americans are carrying some debt right now, and businesses are no exception. Debt Tracker helps you store all of your debt information in one place, plan how to pay it off quickly, and it calculates how long it will take you to pay off each debt. This app subscribes to the popular “snowball theory” of debt-repayment — where you aggressively pay off one debt at a time, while paying the minimums to the rest — and has tools to help guide you through. Free and paid versions are available.

Mint

You’ve probably heard of Mint.com, as one of the first free and easy-to-use budgeting tools to hit the Web. This app is free and connects your phone to your bank accounts. It helps you track spending, and stick to a budget. The features in both the online version and the app make it almost a no-brainer, doing all of the hard work for you. If you’re trying to stick to a budget, this is a dependable way to go.

Pageonce

This company claims to manage all of your financial data, and lets you pay bills, from one simple app. They also claim to take security quite seriously, which is important for anyone accessing financial data online. Keep in mind that the payment card industry hasn’t kept up with mobile transactions, in terms of security standards. Anyone who accesses financial information via a mobile device should heed this. However, Pageonce makes a point of touting security as one of the best values of this application.

BillTracker

Sometimes you just forget to pay a bill. It happens to even the most responsible of us. BillTracker keeps you in line and lets you know when bills are due, so you’ll never suffer from a late fee again.

iExpense

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little financial planner in your pocket? That’s the point of this nifty app. iExpense does more than just help you budget and make payments, it actually gives you advice on how to achieve financial goals — whatever those goals are. This app was designed by financial advisors. While it can’t quite replace a real professional, it can act almost like a coach to keep you in line between that annual visit with your planner.

Just keep in mind that mobile finance apps like these are only as good as the person using them. They won’t suddenly make you a financial guru or do all of the work for you. But they can help keep you in line to achieve your financial goals — whatever they may be.

Mobile payments - AZ Business Magazine March/April 2012

Mobile Payments – The Pay Of The Future

They’re not here yet, but expect mobile payments to change the way we pay

If your wallet feels thinner in the upcoming months, blame your cell phone, not the down economy. Mobile payments, also called mobile money and mobile wallet, are the future of commerce. If they haven’t already, mobile payments will soon revolutionize the way you receive, spend and monitor your money — no plastic required.

Instead of swiping a conventional debit or credit card when you’re at the grocery store or out to dinner, mobile payments digitize the process. Simply open your smartphone’s finance application and tap your cellphone on the checkout counter’s PayPass terminal.

Voilà, the transaction is complete.

Your cell phone, operating a technology called Near Field Communication, uses a semiconductor chip housed in your smartphone to transfer the payment from a pre-paid or credit card account with the application. Though not many existing smartphones possess NFC technology, few released in 2012 won’t have it.

LG, Panasonic, Microsoft, and Toshiba say they plan to incorporate the technology in their phones soon. Motorola, Samsung, Nokia, BlackBerry and Android released smartphone models with NFC chips in 2011, but most don’t yet have compatible applications on which to perform mobile payments.

Google Wallet, the first major NFC-enabled mobile payments application in America, is only operational on Sprint’s Nexus S 4G (also created by Google), using Citi Mastercard. Naturally, Google plans to support more payment and phone types in the future.

Tailing by a hair, Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T plan to launch ISIS — a similar mobile payments system — later this year.

Alas, though the future feels so close, your reimbursing cell might still take a few years, according to a study released by Gartner in July.

Gartner estimates that 50 percent of smart phones will be NFC-enabled by 2015.

“We believe mass market adoption of NFC mobile payments is at least four years away,” says Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner. “The biggest hurdle is the need to change user behavior by convincing consumers to pay with mobile phones instead of cash and cards.”

So, though financial institutions and software providers race to offer NFC, most customers are too accustomed to contemporary payment forms, Gartner speculates. A main motive for consumer hesitation is financial security.

David Peterson, founder of electronic payment software provider Goldleaf, says that fortified firewalls and other electronic gatekeepers make mobile payments quite trustworthy.

“NFC works only for a very small distance, say a few inches,” Peterson says. “By narrowing the field in which NFC works, it enables individual transactions with more accuracy and privacy.

“And, if I lose my phone, I can go to my computer and kill it, remotely,” he says. “I don’t care where it is or who’s got it – I can wipe out anything.”

Despite protective measures to stop fraud from occurring, what if the inevitable happens? Should a customer dispute a mobile transaction, unfortunately, there are only limited regulations regarding liability … for now.

Depending on which application is used and who the provider is, customers have different levels of protection.

“People need to be smart, because there’s not been a new prudent body of law saying banks or apps have to offer specific protection,” Peterson says. “If a customer has issues with stuff going on with a bank’s mobile payments application, then there are not any separate regulations that covers them than if they were online, or frankly, in the bank’s lobby … But any time a purchase is made bypassing the bank with a service provider, consumers and businesses should assume that there is not much protection of liability.”

For banks, customer liability isn’t the biggest problem. It’s staying modern.

Companies who have successfully created NFC mobile money applications, like Google Wallet, will determine banks’ and financial software companies’ relevance in the increasingly pertinent world of smartphones.

Eric Haler, retailer market manager at Bank of Arizona, says that after Bank of Arizona developed its iPhone, Android and iPad mobile banking applications last year, they quickly became indispensable.

“It’s definitely been good for business, and is certainly something clients like to have,” Haler says. “Now, for customers, it’s an expectation instead of a luxury.”

However, like most mobile money applications, Bank of Arizona’s does not yet use NFC technology, and customers’ smartphones cannot be used in lieu of a credit card.

“I haven’t heard of anyone leaving their bank over that or even really needing that feature, but obviously a lot of people are using it and it’s growing so it’ll be important to see that we keep up,” Haler says.

Keeping up, however, is an enormous undertaking. In today’s world of fleeting modernity and ever-evolving technological horizons, it can be hard to know in which direction to shoot.

Some companies, skeptical of NFC’s practicality, are skipping NFC entirely. Instead of following the latest trend, their finances operate with cloud computing.

Scottsdale-based Apriva LLC, a mobile payments processing and security service provider founded in 1987, says it looks ahead of NFC for the future of mobile commerce.

“Many people believe it’s going to grow rapidly over the next 50 years and become an important page in technology’s history. But today, it’s a just fraction of the market,” says Paul Coppinger, Apriva’s president. “Yes, our applications work with NFC, but the deeper end is they don’t have to use NFC. We’re independent of that fact, because our wallet isn’t built into the point of sale or phone, it’s in the cloud.”

Cloud computing, a wireless system of sharing via servers and the internet, doesn’t require additional hardware.

“With NFC, if you want advanced mobile payments capabilities, you have to get a special phone with NFC in it and merchants need to use it, too,” Coppinger says. “When you take all those special things and net them together… it’s impractical.”

Whether NFC is fleeting or conducts your finances forever, mobile, contactless payments are imminent.

Arizona Business Magazine March/April 2012

CES 2012

The Best Of The Consumer Electronics Show, CES 2012

Another year, another Consumer Electronics Show. Forgive my late “best of” blog; I had to rest a little after this year’s show. Every year I tell myself I’ll have a plan of attack, and every year I find myself wandering way off track and aimlessly between the halls — no bother as it’s hard to turn any corner at the International CES 2012 and not find something incredibly cool.

I didn’t get a look at Snookie or the Beib’s, but I did see some really cool innovations. Here’s a list of the best in the most popular categories.

Ultrabooks

Haven’t you heard? Laptops had to re-brand. At the show this year, it was all about the Ultrabooks; these are laptops that meshed the lines between notebook, tablet and high-powered machine — for around $1,000.

One might not think Lenovo, akin to the clunky ThinkPad, could produce something absolutely elegant in this category. They did. Enter the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga. The beautiful machine has a slim but sturdy frame, advanced multi-touch, Windows 8, and … wait for it … the double-hinge design lets you use it as a tablet or a notebook. Pick your poison.

Coming this February is the HP Envy 14 Spectre, equipped with a nine-hour battery life, Intel Wireless Display, HP’s CoolSense technology and premium software, including Photoshop, and a two-year subscription to Norton Internet Security. And, by the way, it’s stunning. This Ultrabook is a tad heavier than the others debuted at the show, weighing in at a hefty 3.8 pounds. And its price tag is a smidge heavier, too, at $1,400.

Tablets

Last year was all about tablet-mania at CES. This year, we got to see some serious next-generation goodies.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab really caught my eye as a nice improvement over last year. Samsung is calling their Galaxy Tab 7.7 the thinnest and lightest of Samsung’s tablet line.  It’s the first tablet with a 7.7 inch Super AMOLED Plus display at a 1280-by-800-pixel resolution. The screen is incredible, and gamers will like the vivid lighting and color display. This tablet will only be available through Verizon for now, but here’s hoping that will expand to other carriers by the end of the year.

Android, of course, had a big year again, powering some of the best tablets and smartphones being shown. One example that created quite a bit of buzz at the show was the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime. This beauty runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (yum) and is extremely powerful for a tablet. Playing with this, you may realize you don’t need a laptop at all. Asus announced at the show that the Prime will have a 1080p panel to boot, making the display unparalleled. It’s also blazing fast with a Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor that will be appreciated by serious business users and gamers alike.

Smartphones

Speaking of Android, smartphones featuring the new Ice Cream Sandwich OS abounded. I was really impressed with Sony’s venture into the smartphone world, launching the Sony Xperia Ion through AT&T. This phone, also a gaming device, has a very nice 720p glass screen and a 12-megapixel camera. Its dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor is in there to handle PlayStation games as well as other media, such as music and videos. Right now it’s running on Android Gingerbread, but Sony promises an upgrade later this year.

The LG Spectrum was a great example of something else new this year — HD smartphones. This device also sported a 720p screen but with advanced HD features that make text, images and color on the screen really pop. There’s even an HD-specific app store (HD Angry Birds?). Like the Sony Xperia, right now this slim Spectrum is just running on Gingerbread, but an upgrade soon to ICS is promised by the summer.

For more information about CES 2012, visit cesweb.org.

 

Photo: Flickr, norwhicnuts

New Forms Of Communication Causing Generation Gap

Social Media Gap

New forms of communication are causing a generation gap in the workplace — but who’s really at a disadvantage?

Look around your workplace. Chances are you’re seeing younger and more employees on Facebook, Twitter, iPhone and Android apps, and hundreds of other social media applications and platforms. The prolific little snippets of social interaction have spread like wildfire.

To the younger generation, they blur the line between personal interaction and a professional business tool. The Old Guard still often sees them as noise compared to established traditional channels of business communications. Both generations often wonder how the other gets anything done.

The work force 10 years ago was dominated by personal relationships, marketing savvy and big personalities. The phone, e-mail, cocktails and personal meetings dominated the corporate environment. The traditional work force relied heavily on building long-lasting relationships. It was not uncommon for deals to be forged over golf games and wine tastings. Access to key players was controlled by “gate keepers” who kept people’s time at a premium. Employees worked harder on fewer relationships with higher returns. Patience was a virtue and personal networks were closely guarded. This made the world harder to operate in, but also kept the noise down.

From the perspective of the social media savvy work force, tools such as Twitter and Facebook allow them to reach people more quickly and on a broader scale. As both producers and consumers of small bite-sized pieces of information, the younger generation views it as a time saver all around. They say, “Twitter is great. I can get hundreds of followers and talk to them all at once.”

If only a few of them engage it’s a win because so little time went into the relationship. For the more advanced social media users, the medium can be used to boil down complex human interaction into simple metrics. Suddenly, interacting with 500 people on Facebook becomes a game of which word in a sentence sells more product. This drive toward obtaining results immediately fits perfectly with the behavior of social media, as well as the millennial generation’s mind set.

The question isn’t about how well employees will communicate with each other across the gap, but rather, how they will communicate with customers. Companies looking to bring in social media talent must first learn if the consumer they are serving is ready for that type of engagement. A traditional work force will have a difficult time communicating with social media consumers. The solution here is simple: Hire a younger, more Twitter and Facebook happy employee. The Old Guard then assumes a more managerial role. Minor training will be required to bridge the intra-office political gap, but at least the consumer is being served.

If the company is serving a traditional consumer through a younger work force heavily engaged in social media, there may be a significant impact to the bottom line. It’s usually impossible to retrain consumers, and very hard to undo the customer interaction expectations social media has set for many younger employees. Given characteristics of the millennial generation, training social media employees to use traditional means may also be next to impossible. With a significant supply of traditional employees still on the market, companies will probably end up matching their employee base to their consumer base through hiring practices.

Employees have the option to transition from traditional to social media communicators. Traditional employees have the advantage of growing up in a world that did not know social media; that world will never completely go away. Social media can be learned at a fundamental level fairly easily. However, younger employees have grown up with social media. They’ve learned to use it in many creative ways and can ride the wave of social innovation with little effort. The new generation will, however, have to rely on the Old Guard to pass down hard lessons learned in the traditional space.

So what does social media mean for employees in the future? Based on trends, it will probably be a requirement soon. The world is embracing social media, and the medium is just in its infancy. As new tools to manage and control social media emerge, it will become more complex and essential to both office politics and customer interaction.

Everyone graduating today is steeped in social media and only a few years away from key workplace positions. The Old Guard will transition to areas requiring less and less social media and then fade from the workplace, leaving behind only a handful of the most effective old school communications techniques. By then, it may not matter; social interaction is evolving so quickly the social media we know today will be old school in the very near future.

Paul Kenjora is founder and CTO of Arkayne Inc. Arkayne helps marketers improve online sales conversion. Kenjora can be reached at pkenjora@arkayne.com.


Arizona Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011

Provided By Flickr

Five Monopolies, Methods of Communication Losing Their Hold

1.

Landlines

According to CITA, an International Wireless nonprofit organization, 91% of Americans carry a cell phone as of 2009, and those numbers have continued to expand.  Now more than ever, with the growing popularity of the iPhone and Droid, cell phones have become both a necessity and an addiction.

In past decades, landlines were an essential part of the home, but with cell phone giants like Apple, wireless communication is quickly eliminating the need for both a home phone and cell.  Now, phones do much more than dial, and let’s be honest — landlines don’t have Angry Birds or Restaurant Finder Apps.

Landline Phones No More

2.

“Snail” Mail vs. Email

Once a monopoly on long-distance communication, mailing letters to friends or loved ones has been virtually phased out of everyday conversation and proven to be the least efficient means of interaction.  What was once a necessity for love notes, bank statements, and college acceptance letters, “snail” mail is quickly becoming replaced with the popularity of social media platforms and widespread use of email.

Since cell phone’s and the internet explosion in the early 1990’s, this generation’s lack of composition skills have been harshly scrutinized.  In 2009, The United States Postal Service stated that 177 billion pieces of mail were delivered in the US, compared to 14.4 trillion by email.  Now, young people rely heavily on a keyboard, 140 characters and auto-correct spelling.

"Snail" Mail Replaced by Email

3.

Newspapers

Electronic tablets, such as Apple’s iPad, Samsung’s Galaxy Pad, Amazon’s Kindle or the BlackBerry Playbook, have been 2010’s newest toy.  According to the Washington Post, “average daily circulation of all U.S. newspapers has been in decline since 1987″ and “has hit its lowest level in seven decades.”

Newspapers have been undoubtedly hit hard — as major stations are reporting record losses, cuts and even closures across the country.  Despite the change in the medium which news is delivered, there will always be a desire and need for the public to be informed and educated on current events.  It’s just that now news is viewed on a 9 x 5 LED screen — not paper.

Physical Newspapers Moving Online

4.

Video Rental Stores

Some of my fondest childhood memories include “Power Rangers:  The Movie” and the newest Nintendo 64 game — both of which were rented from the local Blockbuster.  Video rental stores, like Blockbuster, have been slowly declining in business over the past 6 years as online sites such as Netflix and RedBox have stolen much of the business which these stores once had.

Having closed over 600 stores in just the past three years and reported record losses in the hundreds of millions, it’s no wonder Blockbuster is struggling to stay afloat.  According to an article by MSNBC.com, “Blockbuster Inc. may close as many as 960 stores by the end of next year,” primarily in response to appeal and ease of online streaming — in a society glued to their computer screens.

Video Rentals Like Blockbuster Replaced by Nexflix, Flickr, Scott Clark

5.

In-Person Classrooms

As a current student at ASU, I recognize that most classes still meet in a physical room with a paper syllabus and wooden desks from the Jimmy Carter administration.  However, as technology of educational tools increases, so does the medium with which it is taught.

Arizona State University offered over 700 online classes this spring, which range from Managerial Economics to History of Hip Hop.  It’s not just ASU, but virtually all major universities across the country offer online classes and degrees, and sites like Blackboard allow professors to post assignments and readings for the week online.

Classrooms Moving Online
the majority own phones with Apple iPhone, Blackberry, Android or Windows Mobile operating systems

Which Smartphone Is Right For You?

Smartphones are becoming more and more a part of everyday life.  As of October 2010 data from the Nielsen Company shows that 29.7 per cent of U.S. mobile phone users have smartphones with full operating systems.  Of those, the majority own phones with Apple iPhone, Blackberry, Android or Windows Mobile operating systems.  However, as the mobile phone market becomes flooded with a slew of smartphones, the decision on which phone to pick becomes increasingly more difficult.  The following infographic will guide you through the decision making process and illustrate smartphone trends in the U.S.

Smartphone operating system trends in the U.S.

Mobile Phone From iPhone to Android

Mobile Phone News From iPhone to Android

Almost every American owns and uses a mobile phone. They’ve become such an integral part of our lives that we feel naked without them. People of my generation (I’m a recent college graduate) wake up to their phone’s alarm, then they text, tweet, call, chat, e-mail, or BBM until the moment their heads hit the pillow. Then they wake up and do it all again.

Since they’re as everyday as eating and sleeping, here’s an update on what’s happening in the mobile world.

Kik It Up A Notch

The newest app to take the world by storm is Kik

Kik is a free messaging system similar to Blackberry’s Blackberry Messenger (BBM) or AOL’s Instant Messenger. Kik works across several platforms, including Blackberry, iPhone and Andriod.

Last week this app hit two million users in only three weeks.

Kik’s goal is to bring instant messaging away from the computer and onto the phone so that you’ll never leave home without it.

Information from Mashable.com’s Kik article.

Netflix Holds Out On Android

iPhone, iPads and Windows 7 have a Netflix streaming app, but Android users will have to wait a bit longer.

According to a Wired.com article, the Android platform’s security issues made Hollywood take a step back. Piracy is a major issue with the film industry and most of the Android phones didn’t meet its standards.

However, since there are several Android models, some Android users will be able to get the Netflix app starting in early 2011.

And finally the old stand by question:

Will Apple Stop Teasing Verizon Users?

According to a Wall Street Journal article, the answer is, yes.

In October. an article detailing that Apple is making an iPhone for Verizon Wireless appeared on WSJ.com, whetting the appetite of all Apple-loving, Verizon-using, smartphone junkies.

There has yet to be any final word. However, another WSJ.com article claims many Verizon users are so sure the iPhone is coming their way that they’re waiting to update their phones until the magical day Apple stops teasing them.