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The Next Generation of Small Business Software Has Arrived

Eric Poole
7.16.17 Huntington Beach, CA

My name is Eric Poole and I am the lead developer of the Next Gen Apps platform. The NGA app platform was designed in Orange County, California to offer small businesses a simple, affordable way to build customer loyalty and increase foot traffic and revenue. With retail and restaurants in mind, the NGA team studied hundreds of mobile apps designed for medium to large businesses to determine the few true benefits that matter most to customers and the many other features that go ignored.

Our research revealed that customers today are not bargain hunters, but bargain gatherers. Customers are exposed to an endless parade of promotions year round. The "bargain hunt" has become more like shooting fish in a bargain barrel. Customers have learned to expect bargains and rewards from businesses trying to sell them goods and services. As far as a customer is concerned about a business's mobile app, if it saves them money or gets free things, great! Every other "mobile feature" falls by the wayside when compared to a money saving, deal scoring loyalty app.

So the real question has become, "how do you convince your customer to choose your deals over every other business competing for that same customer's dollar?"

The results of our research are surprisingly simple and the solution is already in your customers' pockets. Engaging with your customers through your own personal branded app places your business logo on their phone screen to remind them throughout the day how awesome your business is. Once a day, your customer can play the daily scratch off deal in your app and hope to win an excuse to come spend money at your business. Each time they make a purchase, they stamp their rewards card so in only 3 more visits they can score that awesome free gift or deal you are offering. And when they return home completely satisfied with their experience, your customer can revisit the app and find all of your social media links so they can tell their friends how awesome your place is. The savviest business owners even offer an engaging arcade game built in to their apps home screen to entertain their customers (and their kids!) while they wait for a table or for an order to be filled.

The next generation of small business software has arrived and it is more powerful, simple, and affordable than anything ever before.

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How Powerful is Microsoft's "Most Powerful Console in the World"?

Eric Poole
7.18.17 Huntington Beach, CA

Earlier this summer, Microsoft unveiled what has been branded "The Most Powerful Console in the World." Previously known as Project Scorpio, the Xbox One X is Microsoft's latest flagship home entertainment console promising truly next-gen 4K gaming graphics as well as a cutting-edge built in 4K Ultra HD Blu Ray player.

But exactly how much more powerful is it? Technology has come a long way since the original Xbox One was released in late 2013. Graphics processors have gotten significantly stronger and much more affordable. Early benchmarks suggest the Xbox One X will be somewhere around 40% more powerful than any other home entertainment console on the market today. The chart below highlights how significant the Xbox One X's individual components improve upon the original.

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As you can see, the most notable improvements have been made to the graphics to support modern 4K tvs. The Xbox One X's graphics (measured in teraflops) are nearly 5 times more powerful than the original Xbox One. Being the "most powerful" comes at a significant cost, however, as the Xbox One X will be nearly twice as expensive as other home entertainment consoles already available. I will be updating this article with hands on first impressions of the Xbox One X shortly after launch.

The Xbox One X will be released on November 7th, 2017 for $499.

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Mixed Reality and the Next Generation of PCs

Eric Poole
7.19.17 Huntington Beach, CA

Next month, developers and engineers will get their hands on the new Windows Mixed Reality headsets. This next generation computer accessory allows user to interact with their Windows computers in an entirely new and exciting way. Soon the days of staring at glossy, rectangular monitors will be replaced by interacting and moving about 3D virtual worlds. These mixed reality experiences can vary in complexity from simply adding digital elements "on top" of the physical world via augmented reality (AR) all the way up to sending the user to an entirely different virtual reality (VR) environment.

Microsoft's short video below best illustrates how Windows Mixed Reality blends AR and VR in an easy to understand, easy to navigate virtual world.

But what are the real world applications for Mixed Reality? We can only dream of the possible applications and their uses for now but this question will only remain unanswered for a few more months. For around $300, you can delve into the next generation of Mixed Reality later this year as headsets from Acer, HP, and Lenovo are scheduled to ship to consumers late 2017 with an Asus MR headset following shortly behind.

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How much are you willing to pay for the next gen iPhone?

Eric Poole
7.20.17 Huntington Beach, CA

The iPhone 8, like every iPhone before it, is one of the most anticipated new devices with many consumers willing to camp out in line over night to purchase one on launch day. But just how much is "too much" for Apple's latest iPhone? According to a research note by a JP Morgan Analyst, Rod Hall, the iPhone 8 is suspected to launch in September of this year with an entry level version priced at $1,100. Alternate versions with higher memory capacities are suspected to be priced at $1,200 and up. Other analyst predict a slightly later launch date in October of 2017 at similar price points. By comparison, the entry level iPhone 7 is currently priced at $649 with a higher memory option for $769.

Apple somewhat surprised the tech world in June of this year by failing to anounce a new Macbook Air, the popular entry level Mac computer. Tech theorists saw this as a strategic shift for Apple to focus on bolstering sales for their higher end computers like the new Macbook Pro, iMac, and iMac Pro. Apple has built their reputation as a company focused on quality and features over affordability and it is appearing this strategy will hold true for the next gen iPhone as well. After all, it would seem somewhat odd for a 2017 entry level iPhone to be slightly more expensive than a 2017 entry level Macbook as the Macbook Air line has traditionally been around at $999.

Undoubtedly, the iPhone 8 will be the most expensive model to date. New features are expected to include a bezel-less edge to edge screen, an OLED display, and next gen 3D camera sensors on the back. Apple's latest and greatest device is most likely going to sell out quickly when it launches in Q4 of 2017.

I will update this article later this year when we discover if these early analysts predictions prove true.

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