Tag: Android App development

Is Apple losing its shine?… Seems so.

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iOS is still be the dominant operating system for tablet devices. But the latest Good Technology Mobility Index Report is starting to show interesting underlying trends in the crowded, but high growth area of tablet use for enterprise mobility apps.

Once dominated by Apple its looking like they are losing their shine, with cost aware businesses opting for cheaper Android-based Tablets. Its also interesting how traction for Windows is growing up from 4% to 11% in Q2 ’15, and commanding just 1% a short while before that. With Windows 10 mobile release and the huge cross format advantage this will give to the many businesses deeply invested in Microsoft technologies, Windows Mobile’s progress looks set to continue.

Key highlights of the report are

  • iOS fell from 81% share to 64%
  • Android showed a huge gain with 1/4 of the market up from just 15%.
  • Windows up from just 4% to 11% in the recent report.

Time will tell whether iPad Pro will revert the fall and turn Apples fortunes in this very lucrative market. But on recent reports the normal bullish Apple look less confident than normal and report to be “Conservative” over upcoming sales.

Overall Good Technologies view is what we see day to day when we talk to App Developers building Tablet Apps for Enterprise.

  • Where the Enterprise is looking for a low cost device to run workforce efficiency apps they are increasingly opting for Android. There’s a good choice of low cost devices. What’s more they can avoid the complexity and higher testing overhead that normally comes with the fragmented Android devices ecosystem.
  • Windows Mobile is increasingly becoming a viable option for businesses that are largely or wholly Microsoft. Windows 10 mobile could be the game changer for them in the tablet and hybrid market.
  • Apple are betting big (but talking small) on the iPad Pro to defend their slipping position in business tablets. Cost of the device is the biggest turn off for businesses, its unlikely that iPad Pro will see much change here.

So overall all the pointers are showing that Apple’s shine is gone and it’s only going to see Android and Windows take more and more share from iOS.

3 Pillars of Mobile App Success – What We’ve Learnt

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A while back we got really interested in what makes one mobile app success and other mobile projects flop. This got us thinking. Sure the idea could be the thing, but we’ve all seen apps ideas that should have been a run away viral success but just didn’t catch on. This led us to think that it had to be more than the idea (and the market fit for the idea), there had to be other things, things that the app developer/app owner can do to increase the chances of success. So we locked a couple of our smartest developer brains away in our “idea-incubator” and they built Karma.

From the hundreds of app projects that have been put through the Karma check and balance tool, its clear there are a lot of app development businesses and app owners that are missing a trick or two. Some simple things, thought about up front, that could make a huge difference to ensuring the ultimate success of the app.

So what does Karma tell us about overall trends and the areas that look most out of balance.

1. Think, Think, Do… could be a better approach

It looks like more time could be spent defining the purpose and the clear business benefit of the app, right at the start of the project.  It seems that many projects should spend more time mapping out the strategy, clear objectives and measures of success of the app before the project kicks off.  Its tempting to get on and build something, but its often the first steps that define the ultimate outcome being a success or not. So spending just a little more time at the start, working closely with key stake holder on what its critical for the app to do well, could give a much much better outcome at the end.

For example, a clear understanding of the critical functions and purpose of the app will help define the minimum viable product (MVP). Focusing on delivering a MVP App 1.0 not only gets your app in use faster it also ensures that your app offers the most value for the least development effort. It also gives the app a good start point to learn, adapt and evolve what it does. Nothing better than real users to teach you what’s good and what could be done better.

2. Data Driven Development is unusual

Data at the heart of development doesn’t seem to be as important as it should be.  We see less time spent at the design phase mapping out analytics metrics and even less time post launch interpreting and building insights from actual users during on-boarding and in app behaviour. This means some are missing a trick here. Baking the measures, metrics and benchmark objectives into development of the app at the design stage and making sure the build phase delivers these is a key measure of success. Also ensuring that effort is focused in post launch follow on activities to drive results against those metrics is equally key. The concept is  simple, if you don’t set out the clear tangible objectives and measures of success for the app at outset then how can you be sure your on a successful track.

One example could be cadence of the app – how frequently the app is being accessed and used. Its going to be different for different types of apps, of course. But knowing at outset how often your most engaged app users will be in and using your app is important. Making sure that the app is built with the optimum cadence in mind and then setting success metrics on monthly, daily, hourly use of the app, makes sure you have a closed loop view of how well the app is performing. If you don’t get the user cadence you expect when you go live, you’ll have an early flag that remedial work in the app is needed to get users more highly engaged.

3. Iterate and learn… and improve

Third, and the biggest surprise was time spent post launch. Its almost like “job done” once the app is born. But in reality that’s just when the hard work begins. We see huge variations in the amount of time different app projects dedicate efforts to grow adoption and engagement within the app. It could be that most just don’t see that as their remit. It could be, if you are an app development business building apps for other businesses, that you are leaving a huge amount of money on the table. Recurring monthly income that could provide a highly stable income stream to smooth out lumpy project revenue. When we speak to app owners we hear time and time again that they look to their app development partners for help not just in the build, but in the full life-cycle of the app.

Also if you are an app owner working with an App Development team you need to make sure those working on your app have the right shape and balance to the project, after-all you carry the can if things go wrong.

Conclusion

We are not saying that just get these three areas right and you’re guaranteed to have a roaring success on your hands. What we do see is that paying more attention to these areas will reduce the risk of failure. That’s got to be a good thing, surely.

What is Karma?

Karma is free not-for-profit venture that’s completely confidential and anonymous.  Using it could mean better apps, so what’s not to like. Check it out here https://karma.kumulos.com/

All the data in Karma is completely anonymous by design, so those completing it can be confident to input the information openly.

Karma measures the 19 most important elements of a mobile app build. Grouping these under 5 main headings that broadly follow a typical app life-cycle; Design, Build, Test, Release, Optimise, looking at the amount of time each project spend on each phase. It then maps these against the 4 most important areas that drive app success; Strategy, Risk Management, Deliverables, and Billables.

Karma takes these 19 data points and 9 measures, plots the effort in days of each project against all the other project entries, showing how the shape and balance of this particular project compares. For the individual project it shows where focus may be heavy (spending too much time or too many dollars perhaps) or where focus could be too light, skipping over important areas, things that could threatening the success of the project. Of course, no two app projects are exactly the same, but mapping the shape and balance against “the norm” and understanding why there should be variance, provides real insight into where effort and money is being spent.

Project Karma can be found here https://karma.kumulos.com/

Android 6.0 – Sweet Taste of Marshmallow – Are you ready?

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Get ready for the latest Android OS release, Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Releasing first on Nexus devices with roll-out planned on other devices and over-air updating in the coming weeks and months.

There’s a long list of improvements, you can get the full official summary here.

So this is just a summary of what we see as the highlights. In sort, its mix of interesting developments and Google playing catch up. There are a range of improvement including improvements to contextual search, battery management, biometric security & permissions and smoother set-up and OS migration.

Multi-Tasking

One of the biggest pains on both Android and iOS is poor multi-tasking. iOS9 sees some leaps forward here, marshmallow also brings some multitasking. Now on TapTime will tell who gets this important feature most right. In truth Marshmallow is more “contextual assistance” than multi application multitasking and its a natural extension to the contextual intelligence released in Googles search engine, but at least its a start. Now on Tap  makes it easier to get contextual information on a subject. It’s also got some interesting voice based actions and cross app sharing. Android Runtime (ART) performance improvements will also help multi-tasking with reduced memory overhead.

Battery Management

The bane of every smart phone users life, the dreaded red battery warning. No one has yet cracked this, but Android 6.0 shuffles forward with some 31981417_m (1)improvements. Their Doze function puts the device to sleep mode automatically and reduces the battery juice drain from rarely used apps. And if the device supports it, introducing USB type C support should significantly speed up recharge times. So not live changing, but progress at least.

Privacy Controls

Where the device supports biometric security Marshmallow will use the 22411097_mfingerprint sensor to unlock the device and allow purchases both within Google play and in stores. Their rather late response to Apple Pay. There are also a few interesting improvements in how apps ask for permission to access users information, which will be a big improvement in the user experience. Now only asking for permissions when they are actually needed within the app.

This is what we see as the main highlights from Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Full summary is available here.

We’d love to hear your views on 6.0. Particularly around whether the gap is widening around native functionality and hybrid html 5.

 

Moto X, a second opinion

MotoX

We talked last week about the new Moto X. This is Motorola’s entry into the high end smartphone market, the Big One. The new contender that we all hoped would shake everything up. But looking at the specs, looking at the questionable release schedule and the very gimmicky customisation options, we’re left with an overall feeling of “Meh”.

The Moto X looks like it’ll be a decent phone, it does, but it’s a phone that arrived about 6 months too late. In the Android world, the S4 and the HTC One are great examples of what high end Android smartphones can be if the manufacturers put their minds to it. They have ridiculously fast computational power (for phones), slick interfaces, more features than you can shake a stick at and the One also has incredibly high construction standards.

In comparison, the X only has mediocre specs, some mostly inconsequential visual customisation and a set of sensors that are cool, but an always on mic during the ongoing PRISM and NSA spying debacle is probably not what people want in a phone.

It’s doubly disappointing that this phone came out of a manufacturer that is, essentially, under the flag of Google; who gave us the continually excellent Nexus line of hardware. The Nexi balance specs, build quality and price to make for almost irresistible offers if you’re an Android user. But Motorola don’t seem to be following the same path. Instead they’ve given us a middling to high end phone with gimmicky customisation and a price tag that rivals the One’s, except with none of the benefits that the HTC brings.

The fact that Motorola seem to be trying a different strategy than “Make it faster and give it a bigger screen!” which has been the high tier Android race to the top for the past few years, is interesting and admirable; but they just didn’t bring the goods with the hardware. They are rumoured to be bringing out a budget handset next, but budget isn’t how you make it big in the current mobile hardware business; Apple has proven that. Unless this is all some kind of bait and switch game, we’re going to call it and say that Motorola have missed the boat.

It’s sad really, after years of being silent, we all hoped that the original mobile phone maker could come up with something more, but legacy does not equal success.