Tag: backend as a service review

The Unstoppable Rise of Backend as a Service (BaaS)

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For any of you skeptics doubting the commercial feasibility of Backend as a Service (BaaS), you should check out Facebook’s acquisition of Parse for a rumoured $85 million (And then the subsequent fallout in 2017). The acquisition enables Facebook to provide their own proprietary backend solution for app and game developers. The integration between Facebook and Parse will enable the social networking company to provide a superior user experience through enhanced responsiveness and reduced latency.

Parse has been described as BaaS (backend as a service) and XaaS (everything as a service). If you’re an app developer, this means you can focus on the front-end design and development of your apps and games, without having to worry about setting up a server. This can enable app developers to manage messages between users, push notifications and storage of apps and games.

Kumulos is neatly listed as a BaaS provider on both Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backend_as_a_service) and the Developer Economics website (http://www.developereconomics.com/sector/baas/). These various BaaS platforms have been emerging now for nearly 7 years and here at Kumulos we’re proud to say we were one of the first. Kumulos was actually launched before the term ‘backend as a service’ had ever been created.

Find out more about mBaaS and Kumulos here.

iPhone 5S’ fingerprint scanner; real or no?

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We talked yesterday about the iPhone 5C and how, despite being the “ugly sister” of the 5S, it’s the one getting all the attention, mainly cause it’s new. Apple have never done budget before, so we’re all curious to see what it can do with the 5C.

Having said that though, we do still have the 5s on the way, and from what scant details we’ve had, there is highly likely to be a dual LED flash there, as well as; potentially, a fingerprint scanner. Now we’ve been hearing about fingerprint scanning tech in smartphones for years. The way we interact with them it seems almost like a done deal to the imagination.

We’re always putting our fingers on the screens, we don’t need to let anyone else use our phones so we don’t need multiple user accounts and also, it’s some mission impossible style stuff. Having a biometric lock, or using biometrics in general is something that makes perfect sense in a smartphone. Google are already doing it with Face Unlock (not that it works very well, but the sentiment is there) and the Moto X has its “always listening” voice activation.

Apple have always been trend setters and disruptors. If they release a phone with fingerprint scanning tech, it will only be a matter of time before the major Android manufacturers are out in force doing the same thing. Although there is even a rumour that the 5s may even sport NFC, despite Jobs having said that he didn’t see any point in the technology (yeah, cause Apple have been doing a great job of listening to those mantras).

As always, the “s” models of the iPhone are only a stepped upgrade rather than a leap and a bound, but we hope that fingerprint scanning tech isn’t the only thing the 5s brings to the table. After a fairly stale 5 launch and nothing exciting all year, Apple needs something to knock it out of the park. So now all eyes turn to Sept. 10th. We shall see what Apple brings to the fore.

Until then, if you’re an iOS app developer that wants to grab the new 5s excitement but need a Mobile Backend, talk to us at Kumulos. We’ve got you covered with a Mobile Backend as a Service that’s powerful, customisable and there for you in whatever form you need it to be. So why not talk to us today?

The iPhone 5C, Apple’s salvation or poison?

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The rumour mill has been turning in overdrive since Apple’s announced September 10th 2013 conference date. We all speculating exactly what Cupertino are going to bring to the table after what feels like a long hiatus.

The 5C has had a lot of attention in the leaks circuit. Photos are cropping up daily, but we’ve not had an official yay or nay from Apple (not that’d we expect one, honestly).

The question, and we’ve looked at this a little bit before, is just what the 5C is going to do for Apple upon its release.

Apple is built on a premium branding, it’s whole design ethos is aesthetics, user experience and quality based. Releasing a budget handset seems like a step in the wrong direction when you take all that into account. It seems like it will cheapen the brand, add that plasticy tinge to an otherwise shiny metallic logo.

But then, the 5C isn’t for the premium crowd to begin with.

It’s for the emerging markets in India and China, and it’s for those of us who like our SIM only packages and aren’t as fussed as to whether we have the latest and greatest piece of hardware. After all, and it’s sometimes hard to believe when your daily existence is to keep yourself up to date with the cutting edge, but not everyone wants to be running a 2 month old handset that can run half the stock market on its own. A good majority of customers just want a handset that’s capable, reliable and of good quality; and the 5C will likely provide all that in spades.

It also makes business sense for Apple because their only budget offerings right now are the 4 and 4S, and they’re still being manufactured with aluminium and glass, which is expensive. The margins are low on these handsets now, and their 3.5inch form factor just doesn’t really cut it these days. The 5C will have the same size and shape as the 5 but will be much cheaper for Apple to produce.

When thought of that way, it looks like we could be onto a winner. What it may also do is inspire a whole new range of iOS app opportunities as those who couldn’t afford an iPhone before now suddenly have one in their grasp.

Whatever the case, Kumulos will be here to support your app development project from its initial conception all the way through to its launch and beyond. Our Mobile Backend as a Service is designed by app developers, for app developers. So why not contact us today?

 

Unbuntu Edge crowdfunding breaks record, but that won’t save it

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At Kumulos, reported a little while ago about the Ubuntu Edge, the Linux powered smartphone that, if it gets funding, will be easily the most powerful phone on the market for a good while. The company behind it, Canonical (which also created the Ubuntu Mobile OS), started a crowdfunding effort on Indiegogo, to the somewhat absurd tune of $32 million.

There was a lot of skepticism surrounding the crowdfunding project, and understandably. $32 million is 3 times the highest crowdfunding record ever recorded by Pebble on Kickstarter of $10 million. But the makers of the edge continued undaunted and now, they have officially broken the crowdfunding record set by Pebble, pulling in over $10 million.

However, with only a week to go, it seems increasingly unlikely that anyone is going to see their Edge.

This is quite a sad case of too much hope being put in the generosity of strangers, but also an interesting study of where the potential limits of crowdfunding lie. With Pebble and now the Edge topping out at around 10 Million, is it a sign that crowdfunding can only potentially take you perhaps as far as say, $15 million before people’s interest wanes. We all only have so much money after all.

What has been said to Canonical is that they should have been seeking more traditional funding as well, VC, Angel Investors and the likes; which makes sense. These rounds of funding can push a project’s budget up immensely in a short space of time.

This isn’t to say that Canonical have had no interest, they’ve been in talks with large manufacturers and have been praised for going straight to the buyers to find the project; as they are the ones who will ultimately be the users.

With a week left to go, it will be interesting to see if Canonical can pull something out the bag that pushes their successful, but not successful enough campaign over the edge (pun intended).

For now though, we’ll just have to see if the all powerful dual boot Android/Ubuntu monster phone see the light of day. Until that time, if you’re an app developer looking for a Mobile Backend as a Service, we at Kumulos have got you covered with a powerful, customisable Mobile Backed as a Service that’s designed to let you the user, get exactly what you want from it.

So why not get in touch today?

UPDATE 2017: If you stumbled on this article and want to know a little more about the whole Ubuntu Edge episode, here’s the Wikipedia page.

You’re doing it wrong LG

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Marketing is tricky, we all get that. In this all connected world, where we know what everyone is doing, all the time, it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd. Which is why companies are turning to more and more… interesting ways to put their product out there. So, in that vein, LG decided the best way to attract attention was to tie 100 vouchers for a free, brand new, G2 to helium balloons and then tell people when and where they were releasing them.

The results were, in a word, predictable.

The crowds turned up with BB guns, knives tied to sticks and essentially any kind of weapon that was likely to bring down a balloon; and then they surged when the balloons were released resulting in 20 people being injured. LG have offered to cover all the medical bills of those injured and that they take “full responsibility” and that other events have been called off for “safety concerns”

You can see the reasoning behind LG’s idea. Get people hyped up about getting a new smartphone, and then gamify it so people don’t get all sore (no pun intended) when they don’t get the phone. But really, someone somewhere should have probably been able to predict that telling people they can get a £600 smartphone for free if they bring down a balloon with a voucher attached would result in a situation like this.

Of course, this event puts LG front and centre in the public eye, but it doesn’t paint LG in the best light. This is the really tricky thing about good marketing, attracting attention is not that difficult, but you want it to be the right kind of attention. The Russian tampon advert was good because it had a sense of humour, was edgy and turned heads. The Marmite ad linked earlier has got a lot of negative reactions from people claiming it to be trivialising the plight of real animal abuse cases and the people who deal with them and despite 400,000 views, has had no appreciable increase in sales.

LG will go home and lick their wounds and their next publicity stunt will probably be quite safe and tame, but it will be interesting to see what the ultimate fallout from this event will be for them.

Luckily, Kumulos won’t be asking you to chase balloons through the streets; we just offer a solid Mobile Backend as a Service that promises to make your app development life that much easier.

 

Ashton Kutcher’s acceptance speech for the Teen Choice Awards is worth watching

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Now usually at Kumulos, we like to talk about the tech and mobile industry, because that’s where we work and there’s where our interests lie. But, that’s not to say that something can’t catch our attention outside of this, of course not. One good example is Ashton Kutcher’s recent Teen Choice Awards acceptance speech.

Now, it’s easy to dismiss Kutcher. He started out as a model, moved to being an actor playing a dumb teenager in the 70s before carrying on to play a series of throw away, silly and/or just cringeworthy roles. Oh and he was the presented of Punkd. And he married then divorced Demi Moore. Overall, he’s not had what you could call an inspiring career in terms of inspiring intelligent debate.

Like with all people though, there’s more to him than appears apparently. He’s spent the last few years investing in some very smart people and ideas such as Airbnb, Spotify, Fab and Uber. He’s also got a real thing for listening to the wisdom that Steve Jobs passed down, no surprise really considering Kutcher looks more and more like a butch version of Jobs as he gets older. And at the Teen Choice Awards recently, his speech wasn’t just a “Thank you for your parents money, good night.”, in it he genuinely tries to impart some wisdom on these kids.

It’s not every day you get a celebrity with some serious clout in the younger demographics talking about how “Smart is sexy” and that everything else is “crap”. It’s quite heartening really. Even though he borrows heavily from Jobs own speeches, what Kutcher is saying is no less relevant. It certainly can’t do any harm for teens to hear someone they admire telling them that they should work hard for opportunities, that they shouldn’t worry so much about being “sexy” and that they don’t have to conform to the patterns set down by those around them.

Whether it has any impact is yet to be seen really, but maybe it’ll inspire more of those who are, whether they like or not, role models, to act like them. And with that linked vid already closing in on 2  million views, we can but hope that it does some good.

This is Kumulos signing off for now.

Why Window’s failings may be Google’s winnings

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Google have always been ones to slip into any market that looks like its got some wiggle room. They did it with mobile, they did it with browsers, they’re doing it with wearable tech, and they’re also doing it in the PC market. That self same PC market that has been on the blink for years, shrinking and slowly spiralling down as Microsoft see their profits and margins go with it.

The result of this has of course been that Windows OEMs are getting twitchy. Acer has been seeing dropping profits recently, their Windows 8 tablets and computers really not doing well at all. So how can OEMs like Acer recover their loses?

Well, if Google has anything to say about it, it’ll be through Chromebook and Android.

Already Acer make the C7 Chromebook that sells for $199, riding on the back of the netbooks of old. Running Chrome OS, these Chromebooks aren’t the biggest players in the PC market by far, but they’re a strong indication of where things are headed. Acer are predicted to have some 12% of their revenue come from either Android or Chrome based devices by the end of the year, and Chromebooks alone are looking to be 3% of their sales. A small number perhaps, but when you take into account that these Chromebooks are essentially running experimental software and are largely cloud based in their storage, it’s quite an impressive number in such an entrenched market.

Windows 8 and especially Windows RT seem to be increasing the rate of the market move away from PC. ASUS have come right out and said that RT is killing their windows tablet sales, whereas the Nexus 7 is doing rather well for itself in comparison. If this becomes a trend, where Windows won’t sell but Android and Chrome will, Microsoft will be likely to see Mountain View take more and more of their customers.

Google have been very savvy in how they are managing their move into the PC market; by using OS that can all talk to each other across multiple different devices, we could easily see the day where your phone, tablet and laptop all sport the same OS and even the same homescreens as Google creates the “One account to rule them all” style mindset.

2013 has so far been the year of Android and Google, and as we approach fall, we can only wait and see if Apple can bring the magic and capture us all back from the little green robot.

 

Moto X, a second opinion

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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.

 

Ubuntu Edge: Pipe dream, or the future of mobile?

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Is it us, or are the advances in smartphone technology getting a little… samey? Since the beginning of the year we’ve seen multiple new handsets arrive on the scene and whilst they’ve all brought something new (the S4 probably being the standout here), they’ve not really brought anything too inventive to the table. The S4 brought the fastest processing we’ve seen yet on the market, HTC gave us the best sounding phone speakers and Apple… we’re yet to really see what they’ve got up their sleeves, but we can only hope that something interesting.

The Ubuntu Edge is hoping to change this, by aiming to do what smartphones and mobile devices seem eventually set to do anyway; and that is replace our desktops entirely. How will it do that? Well, according to the indiegogo page, it’ll do it by being absurdly powerful. Aside from having a screen protected by sapphire crystal, reportedly so hard that only diamond can scratch it (although no mention currently of how it takes a solid knock to the corner); the Edge is set to have “the fastest multi-core processor”, at least 4Gb of RAM and 128Gb of storage. That and the battery is apparently going to use silicon-anode technology so it’ll have more power than the nearest equivalent tech. In terms of mobile, these specs are massive; the S4 is only about half as powerful as the Edge promises to be. Heck, the Edge is looking to be more powerful than most mid-level laptops.

What the Edge is looking to do is be the all-in-one, the desktop and the smartphone. Using Ubuntu’s docking capability, it can attach to a monitor and the usual PC peripherals and instantly become a full blown working for your work. The implications are big, especially for big business. Suddenly they don’t need to fork out for 2 devices, they just need to buy one and it can do everything. Lower costs, and easier device management, win-win right?

So what’s Canonical, the UK based company behind the Edge, looking to get as their final crowdsourcing figure? $32,000,000. Yes, that’s 32 million dollars. With the current highest earning Kickstarter being just over $10,000,000, it seems something of a pipe dream to ask for 3 times as much as that for something that is essentially an incredibly geeky item. Whilst we in the tech world know Ubuntu and Linux, it isn’t exactly a frequently talked about thing between friends over drinks. And also, we’re starting to drift into the Alienware style marketing for mobile. Just as AW claim to make the fastest computers out there, the Edge is looking to do the same, but most of us don’t need a phone or computer than can run the economy of a middle sized nation.

With 29 days to go, there’s still plenty of time for the Edge to prove us wrong, but at the moment… we’ll hedge our bets.

So what happened with the Edge? We posted a followup to our original post here.

 

Backend as a Service: The Latest Market Trends & Drivers

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The global backend as a service (BaaS) market is set for phenomenal growth between now and 2016. The key driver in the adoption of BaaS technologies is the need to make app development less complex. Today we want to explore some of the factors that are creating this demand, such as the vast influx of smartphone and tablet devices. As consumers increasingly shift from desktop PC’s (sales have been down 15% on average, every year for the past 5 years) to mobile, the demand for mobile apps has skyrocketed.

As the demand for mobile apps and devices continues to explode, so too does the demand for BaaS technologies like Kumulos that make the whole app development process so much more intuitive and quick. When running a comparison of backend as a service companies, you’ll find the market has been flooded since 2009 with all types of offerings. With Kumulos, the pricing for using backend as a service is simple, scalable and you only pay a tiny amount when your app actually goes live. We’re tried and trusted by indie developers and app development studios from across the world.

One of the key things to look for when conducting a review of backend as a service technologies, is understanding how quickly and easily you can access your data. With Kumulos, there’s no minimum tie-in and you can access and retrieve your data whenever you like. But what will the backend as a service market look like by 2016? The mobile landscape and the demand for mobile technologies is growing at an astonishing rate. As the demand for mobile services, apps and devices becomes more vigorous, so too will the need for flexible, scalable and affordable backend as a service platforms.

Kumulos has been developed by app developers, for real app developers. We’re not VC backed and bloated – we’re profitable. Kumulos has been developed in a real world app development studio, helping a dedicated team of app developers to ace their projects, whilst enabling us to test and deploy lots of cool new features. What’s more, is that we have over 2000 app developers and app development studios using the platform across the globe. We’ve been doing this now since 2007, so we understand a whole bunch about successful app development and what’s going on in the backend as a service ecosystem.