nokia lumia 800, windows phone 7

In praise of older smartphones – unlike Skype, Gotya continues to support Windows Phone 7

Microsoft recently announced that Windows Phone 7 users will no longer be able to use Skype  “within the next few weeks”.  Not just discontinuing updates, bug fixes, or support, but terminating use altogether – not allowing sign-ins from Windows Phone 7 devices.

According to data from AdDuplex published on WMPoweruser, there are still 8-10 million active Windows Phone 7 users out there.

In contrast to the Skype decision, we here at Gotya are all about supporting older smartphones by enabling consumers to turn them into connected motion detection cameras for a near-free, portable DIY security and surveillance system.

Gotya supports and will continue to support Windows Phone 7. If you’re a WP7 user or  if you have upgraded to WP 8/8.1 and have your old WP7 device (like a Lumia 800, the first-ever WP7 Nokia Lumia from November, 2011)  lying around doing nothing, turn it into a near-free motion detection camera with remote snapshots and alerts with Gotya. And, you can use your current WP8/8.1 device as a remote control for your Gotya WP7 motion detection camera!

WP7 users and device owners, we got your back.

Advertisements
android, multitasking, nexus 7

Get immediate sound alerts when motion is detected on Android even when running in the background

Android is known for being the most open of all the mobile O/S, which means that developers have access to some APIs that can do more and/or have fewer restrictions than the corresponding API on other platforms.

An example of this is background processing. In a multi-tasking environment, the user has multiple apps open and is switching back and forth between them, a very common scenario with modern smartphones.  Only one app can be in the foreground at any given time, with all the other open apps  in the background. The Featured Image shows four open apps on my Nexus 7 – Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and Gotya.

When Gotya for Android is running in the background, it can still listen continuously for (and process) events from the Gotya Cloud Service (GCS). For the Gotya user, this means that with the Gotya Remote Control running in the background, audio alerts are immediately played on the device just like they are when it’s running in the foreground. This is of great benefit because Gotya is “always-on”, listening for motion alerts and then proactively sounding them as soon as they are received. This saves the user from having to bring the Remote Controller to the foreground to check on any alerts that might have been triggered while Gotya was in the background (which is the case with Windows Phone).

Background processing on Android means the user can “set it and forget it” – open the Gotya Remote Control, then go about their daily business using the apps on their device as they normally do, with Gotya always listening for alerts from GCS. If something moves, you’ll hear the audio alert immediately and then you can bring the Remote Controller to the foreground to see pictures of what’s happening. With Windows Phone, you would still see all the picture alerts when you bring Gotya back to the foreground – nothing is missed – but you wouldn’t hear the audio alert instantly like you do with Android.  Of course, if the Gotya Remote Control is running in the foreground on both Android and Windows Phone, then you’ll immediately hear and see pictures of the motion alerts.

windows phone store, app of the day, gotya

How to get your app featured on Windows Phone Store

In the last two and a half weeks (since July 9th), Gotya has been featured on Windows Phone Store seven times in forty-five countries, including today in the U.S. as the Featured App Of The Day. In addition to the App of the Day promo slot (for as the name implies, one app), there are also the  App Icons (three apps) and the Spotlight (eight apps) promo slots.

See this Windows Phone Developer Blog post including a video from Inside Windows Phone, to see what criteria Windows Phone Store merchandising team uses to choose which apps to feature on the Windows Phone Store. In other words, “what is a quality app” ?

We’re thrilled that the Windows Phone Store merchandising team has deemed Gotya to be a high quality app, and just as thrilled that with nearly 200 reviews globally averaging 4.5/5 stars, our users feel the same way.

lumia 900 windows phone

7 Things You Can Do With Your Old Smartphone

Consumers have several options for what to do with their old phone when they upgrade to a new one,  something that is happening more often than ever with programs like T-Mobile JUMP!  that encourages customers to upgrade their smartphone as often as every six months with a credit for up to half of the old phone’s original cost.  The other big mobile operators in the U.S. have similar programs having followed T-Mobile’s lead.

  1. Sell it to an end user consumer on EbaySwappa, or other used phone websites/marketplaces. If your phone is still in good condition,  fully functional with a clean ESN and ready for activation you can get a decent price. For a Nokia Lumia 900, if your phone meets all their selling criteria, the avg selling price on Swappa for June is listed at $55. If your phone is damaged or broken, you can try and salvage something by selling it on the Swappa Boneyard.
  2. Sell it to a used phone dealer/business. Trade it in at a mobile operator store or operator website  for a promotion card good for buying more stuff from the operator,  or get a credit to your mobile phone bill. Or sell it to Gazelle. You’re going to get a lot less money this way. See the screenshots below.
  3. Pass it on to a (junior) family member
  4. Destroy  it with a hammer or back over it with a car (or whatever your preferred demolition method) so that it’s unusable/won’t power on, and then take it to an electronics recycler. It’s better to destroy it before recycling to ensure that your personal data on the device won’t fall into the wrong hands.
  5. Throw it in the trash. But that wouldn’t be very environmentally friendly now would it.
  6. Put it in a drawer and forget about it.
  7. Extend its useful life with a utility/tools type app, such as a security camera, music player, or a flashlight.

With options 1-2 there is the risk of not properly wiping your phone (specifically, doing a factory reset which you would think would be enough but isn’t – on Android devices, you also need to turn on encryption) and thus leaving your data (pictures, emails, text messages, address book, and so on) vulnerable to hacking.  With option 2. there is also the question of how much money you’ll get. In the case of the Lumia 900 according to the AT&T Device Trade-In Appraisal tool, the absolute most it’s worth in good/normal use condition is $10 in the form of store or website credit. At Verizon, their maximum price is $11.

used smartphone, lumia 900

Used Lumia 900 maximum price AT&T will pay

At Gazelle, it’s worth $0 with a cracked screen (as shown in the featured image at the top of this blog post). On the plus side, they do provide a link to recycling resources.

Lumia, Windows Phone, motion detection camera

Lumia 900 w/cracked screen worth nothing to Gazelle

 

If you’re not comfortable with the data vulnerability issue or can’t get the price you want via 1. or 2. and don’t have a suitable family member to give your old phone to, option 7. is not a bad one. Certainly better than 4., 5., or  6., one would think.  Especially if it’s got a cracked screen, a not uncommon ailment of used phones.

See the cracked-screen Lumia 900 reborn as a Gotya security camera! Even though the screen is cracked, it functions perfectly well as a motion detection camera.

motion detection camera, lumia 900, windows phone

Lumia 900 w/cracked screen gets new lease on life as a motion detection camera

If you’ve recently upgraded your phone, let us know in the comments what you’ve done or plan to do with your old one.

Over-thinking and over-complicating SJC perimeter security

As originally reported in this blog post, perimeter security at Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) needs some serious beefing up, and we suggested a simple solution – put in cameras with motion detection and alerting capabilities and make sure they cover all areas of potential intrusion. 

“…he picked a spot where cameras didn’t pick him up”.

“Once on the airfield, security cameras captured an image that appeared to be the boy, airport officials said, but apparently no one monitoring the closed-circuit video system saw it.” 

Hence the need for motion detection and alerting on all perimeter cameras at SJC and ensuring they cover 100% of the perimeter. And of course, if not blatantly obvious already, make sure the cameras have night-vision.

The alerts can be in the form of SMS text messages backed up by audible alerts to the companion mobile app for the cameras being used. The text message can contain a link to a short video clip or high-res snapshots of the moving object and the security personnel can then react accordingly, immediately, without having to constantly watch video monitors. Many  cameras have two-way audio capability (as well as audio-triggered alerts in addition to motion) so warnings could be immediately made (shouted or barked) to the intruder that they’re about to be apprehended.

Does it really require bringing in a national non-profit safety group to figure this out? We’re with San Jose councilman Sam Liccardo who called it a “straightforward challenge” akin to building a better mousetrap that should be no problem given the airport’s location in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Come on SJC, get on your horse.

Gotya reviewed on WPCentral

We’re fortunate enough today to have the good folks at Windows Phone Central do a thorough hands-on review of Gotya for Windows Phone.

We’ve studied the review and appreciate the positives and the negatives as it will help us improve the Gotya app and Cloud Service.

We also really like the cool pic of the annoying leaping squirrel that was taken by Gotya running on a Lumia 520.

Thanks to George Ponder at WPCentral for the well-written review.