Social Shopping links for 27 Dec 2010

LA Times article on” gameification,” the trend to add elements of gameplay to applications.

Carl’s Jr. has just released their own check-in program for their restaurants. Rather than partner with one of the big location-based providers, they decided to roll their own. Eschewing Gowalla, Foursquare, and Facebook Places, they opted to roll out a solution which involved installing special point-of-sales software.

The benefits? For one, they own the customer relationship (and whatever data they collect). Also, they were concerned about fraud protection and efficient administration of the program. Since they are offering free menu items and other merchandise, this makes sense, and no doubt a big part of any successful deployment of such a program is tailoring the tools so that harried fast-food employees can do what they need to do, even during lunch rush. Not like you can run off to log in to the Internet to see if someone wins fries when there’s a big line of hungry people in front of you.

The mobile app part of the program, Happy Star Rewards, is available on iPhone and Android. Too bad my local Carl’s just went belly-up, I would have owned Sherman Oaks.

Prominent in the LA Times article above, SCVNGR is also profiled at GigaOM.

Mobile links for March 11, 2010

On Android, Myspace is the number one social networking app. Seems that the facebook client on Android doesn’t measure up to the slickness of their Blackberry and iPhone versions.

Apparently 80 million Farmville users is not enough.Facebook games head Gareth Davis thinks that the ‘Mario’ of social gaming is still out there waiting to be discovered.

Uh-oh. More App Store approval drama. Really, though, there’s a lot of shovelware on the App Store, and asking developers to at least tryisn’t so heinous. Templated apps aren’t all bad, but if you are going to just hook up some RSS feeds, why not just use Dashcode to make a web app and avoid Apple’s approval process entirely?

The wi-fi only iPad may be a back door to drive sales of MiFi devices at Verizon and Sprint. So far prices aren’t so hot, compared to AT&T’s new no-contract plan; even though the wi-fi iPad is $130 cheaper, these plans more than make up the difference, and all require contracts.

You’re doing it wrong. I can see AT&T hedging their bets by offering an Android phone, but removing Google search and locking the phone down pretty much misses the point, doesn’t it? Even Verizon got this one right by letting their Android phones be.

We know Android is going to be significant, but when? Android’s growth is still building, doubling over the last quarter. Is it inevitable, or will there be a ceiling, as fragmentation and carrier interference (see above) take the luster off of the open-source OS?