Tag: backend database for mobile

So, Google apparently owns 40% of the internet

google-logo

On Saturday here at Kumulos we noticed Google’s services simultaneously dropped and took roughly 40% of worldwide internet traffic with them. They were only down for a few minutes, but in that time many internet users world’s stopped altogether.

Can we all just take a step back here and think about the mind boggling implication of that statistic?

FORTY percent?

In the internet world owning more than about 10% of anything is considered a win; so Google going down for a couple of minutes hamstringing more than a third of global traffic is downright disturbing. It shows just how much Mountain View’s services have managed to integrate themselves into our lives. Think for a moment, if ALL of Google’s services went away, just how many things would you lose that you use daily? Your email, free cloud storage of files and music, search, most of what makes Android worth using and of course Youtube. And that’s just the most used parts of Google’s cake, there’s so much more there.

Should we be worried that one company has managed to so heavily embed itself in our online lives that Google is now somewhat synonymous with the internet as a general thing?

But then, that’s where the internet is going these days isn’t it?

Civilisation is starting to catch up to the lawless frontiers of old, the small towns like Google and Facebook are now sprawling mega-cities. This is the age of the “stack” where most of the internet is controlled by a few massive, vertically integrated corporations. Amazon, Google, Facebook, they all do the same thing. They want our money, they want our loyalty and they want our data and in return we get our lives entirely catered for online.

Should we be worried? Perhaps, but what’s the other option? Cobble together our services from smaller, specialised companies who don’t talk to each other and have no way of integrating? Sorry, but tabbed Google services beat that headache any day.

And speaking of headache solving services, Kumulos’ Mobile Backend as a Service is meant to do just that. It’s our own problem solver to keep your app development world ticking over smoothly, so why not talk to us today?

The future of Apple, is it really that uncertain?

Tim-Cook-Steve-Jobs-300x2

There’s been a lot of speculation in recent days about the future of Apple. They have been quiet essentially all year, with the biggest update to any of their products being the the MacBook Pro. Not that that was any slouch, the jet-engine looking computer promising to be a mid-range server instead of a computer in terms of power.

And it’s not like they haven’t got things in the pipeline, the iPhone 5s is almost certainly coming, and the budget iPhone has been heavily rumoured to be in the works; oh and there’s probably some kind of iPad update coming too. So lots of stuff on the horizon, but it’s being met with an overwhelming “meh”.

Don’t get us wrong, there will still be people lined up around the block to get their latest iCrack; a good number of us at Kumulos will be right there with them. Apple isn’t one of the biggest companies in the world for no reason after all. The trouble is that we all want more.

And that “we” happens to include the company’s board of directors, who are getting increasingly antsy with Tim Cook, claiming that the company isn’t “innovating fast enough”. Aside from the somewhat questionable untone that innovation is somehow something you can just control the pace of rather than something that comes in unpredictable fits and starts, there’s also the issue of whether Apple is really doing badly.

The answer is no.

Of course it is, they have more money than half of the developing world. Even if they start to bleed money for a couple of years whilst they look for that next big thing; they’ll still be doing better than Microsoft or Google in terms of pure profit. And if money is the goal, then why is everyone worried?

The unlying issue here is of course, that Apple showed absurd growth during the end of the 00s and they kept doing it for years. Whereas most company growth is only in spurts, Apple kept a consistent push going all the way through from the release of the iPhone to around Jobs’ death. And now they’re still growing, but they’re not growing fast enough. Wall St wants them to be pushing that 80% growth mark still, but since when has any company ever managed to do that? The answer is not one (that we know of at least).

Like an athelete who, due to a perfect storm of events, sets a near unbeatable record during one Olympics, Apple have raised the bar so high that they themselves can’t measure up in the long run. But that doesn’t mean they’re doomed, just returning to a more sustainable pattern of growth. Sure, it’s anti-climactic and a little disappointed, but what do you want? A flash in the pan, or a slow burn that lasts as long as you want it to?

Internet popularity and gaming the system

global-internet-thumbnail

In marketing these days, virility is everything. Why spend thousands on a TV advert that people are most likely to switch off of when you can make something catchy, post it online and bang, you’ve got hundreds of thousands of people talking about you and your company. Just look at Psy (remember him?); despite Gangnam Style seeming to be an accident, it really was nothing of the sort. Go back and watch the video with a neutral eye; it has all the hallmarks of an incredibly clever plan to hook people in.

It’s got a catchy tune, a singer that looks and sounds unique (to western audiences anyways), he’s doing all kinds of zany things that you instantly want to mention to your friends and, of course, there’s a dance that’s as silly as it is fun and easy to learn. Package all that up and you have one of the biggest cultural phenomenons of 2012.

There was no good reason not to share Gangnam Style, and as soon as the shares and the likes started coming, they carried on in a state of perpetual growth. This is the power of social proof at its finest.

Incidentally, Apple understand the power of social proof all too well. Their products are expensive, deliberately so. Sure, the build quality is solid, but that’s no reason to charge an extra $300 for a computer with, let’s face it, average specs for the price. It’s the same with the iPhone. Compare it to any flagship Android currently in terms of tech specs and it falls flat on its face; and yet iPhones are consistently more popular overall. Why is this? To those who value performance over pure aesthetics, it can be baffling; but it’s simple really. Apple is premium, Apple is expensive, and Apple is social proof that you only buy “the best”. It’s the same reason why people buy Sony products for their living room even though, objectively, they are no better than other big manufacturer’s efforts usually.

It’s all about proving yourself to be cool, in the end.

And if you’re trying to market online, this is something you need to tap into. Recent research by Sinan Aral has found that by posting a link that’s already supported by a few likes or other shares, he could artificially boost its popularity by up to 32%. This is supported by the idea that, generally, we want to share things that are positive and/or if they are negative, they’re funny about it. After all, no one wants to be seen as a constant downer.

So if you’re marketing your latest app, bear all this in mind, you never know what will become the latest viral sensation. And if you’re still developing your app and you need a Mobile Backend, look no further than Kumulos.

Android’s market share only keeps growing, now close to 80%

android-phone

Android’s market share is now becoming a story that we’ve all heard before, the reports of its dominance in terms of pure handset numbers have been coming out for the last couple of years. We all know that Android can move handsets; but this new data from IDC is showing that Android is starting to really forge a proper lead that could result in some interesting changes coming to the smartphone market in the next couple of years.

According to IDC, 187.4 million Android smartphones were shipped in the last quarter, that number being equal to 79.3% of all smartphones shipped during that time. iOS is still easily the next in line with 31.2 million units, coming to somewhere around the 13% mark of full market share. Android has seen very strong growth in the last quarter as well, with all of the major OEMs seeing sales in the double millions of digits.

The other stand out here is Windows Phone, which has grown some 77.6% year over year, with its market share sitting somewhere around 3.7%, making it certainly the strongest 3rd place OS. There was only more bad news for Blackberry however as they managed to drop a full 2% of their already small market share, leaving them at 2.9%.

As the table shows, only Android, iOS and WinPhone had any growth at all recently, with every other competitor starting to fall away. IDC attribute Android’s continuing growth with two main factors: The release of high quality, premium handsets like the S4 and HTC One and the continuing movement of emerging markets from feature phones to budget smartphones, where Android is currently king. The big event to watch at the end of this year will be Apple’s supposed, and now heavily leaked, budget iPhone, and what that does to the market tables.

 

Is technology making us less human?

cyborg

As you’re reading this, where are you? In front of a computer probably, or maybe on your mobile device. Are you alone? Or at least, are you currently not talking to your fellow workers? Perhaps you’re at home on your own, or maybe on public transport, are you also talking to your fellow passengers? Probably not.

There is now a very real condition called “Digital Dementia” that is starting to appear in hyper connected countries like Korea where young people are suffering a deterioration of cognitive abilities more associated with brain damaged or dementia patients. They can’t remember simple everyday details like their phone numbers because they are so reliant on technology and the internet to do it for them. Now at the same time, the research behind this is perhaps sketchy, but if you think about it, you know that feeling. Things you’d force yourself to learn and to recall you no longer bother because, why should you? One quick Google search will give you answer in seconds.

We all know, underneath, that creeping buzz of technology in our minds. It’s always there, it’s always around us, and it’s possibly making us less human, or so it seems. Our interactions with our fellow humans have definitely become more stunted in some ways, messaging technology makes it very easy to talk to people without ever actually seeing them. There are even tech detox camps that force you to get away from the internet and your technology.

But on the other side, technology is allowing us to connect to people we would otherwise never meet, it has sparked world changing debate, and we know that our friends and family are only just a message away.

And at Kumulos, we think that as much as it can occasionally seem detrimental, our technology is helping us become better than ever. App developers are key to this, and Kumulos want to help app developers make the best app they can.

China now 24% of the global smartphone market

Chinese_flag_Beijing

When we talk about app development and the smartphone market, it’s easy to only think of that market as being only the EU and US. But of course, the global market is just that, global, and in that market China is dominating.

Last year Flurry pointed out that China was the fastest growing market for iOS and Android devices, passing the US for the first time in terms of mobile. The knock on effect was of course that many manufacturers started to sit up and take notice of the Chinese smartphone market in a way that they hadn’t before. Apple have been pushing the iPhone hard, Samsung rule the roost and a range of other smaller Chinese companies are snapping at the giants’ heels.

Flurry have continued to track the Chinese mobile app market and have just released a report on mobile activity in China, which is worth its weight in gold to any developer thinking of moving into that space.

Chinese mobile gaming is big

Perhaps not being a huge surprise considering the gaming pedigree that Asiatic countries have (like that guy who died playing Starcraft 2 for 3 days straight), but interesting to know none the less. There isn’t a huge amount of difference between the Android and iOS numbers, although Android does have a stronger gaming contingent, whereas iOS has a higher productivity and news reading side, which points to iPhones being used by more business orientated users.

OS bases are predictably two sided

As with the rest of the world, Android and iOS are easily dominating the market with Android sitting close to 70% of the share. Samsung are the biggest Android manufacturer, as you can see, holding 15% of the market all on their own, with iOS taking respectable 35% over all; which in the Android heavy Chinese market is nothing to sniff at. One interesting tidbit is Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi who have been doing increasingly well and have been touted as the “Chinese Apple” in some areas. In a market as flooded as the Chinese one with different manufacturers, the fact that a homegrown company can grab 6% of the market is impressive and is definitely one to watch in the near future.

It seems that overall China is a market that, as an app developer, you should really be considering. With its growth still through the roof and with the smartphones there modernising and (starting to) standardise away from the endless masses of cheap knock offs and replicas, Western app developers have a solid opportunity to move into a brand new market.

Self-Driving cars, the future is right around the corner

self driving car

Watch any decent cyberpunk sci-fi and there’s a consistent but perhaps overlooked element present in most of them; the self-driving car. Blade Runner, Demolition Man, Fifth Element, iRobot, the list goes on and on. We’ve been looking at not having to drive ourselves for decades, but now it’s looking like we may be heading towards actually seeing it as a reality.

Of course everyone knows about Google’s self driving cars which recently just passed the 300,000 mile mark in terms of distance travelled between the dozen or so vehicles that Google has on the road at any one time. When you divide that down that’s about 20,000 miles that each car has travelled, so far without an incident caused by the automatic systems. In both cases that the Google Driverless cars were involved in accidents, humans were involved. To maintain overwatch on the cars, they have a driver and a Google engineer in them as they drive, with the driver able to take control of the car at any time. In one of the incidents the car was being driven manually; in the other it was rear-ended by another driver.

Volvo have also just announced their own program of automated cars recently as well. Whilst not as immediately as ambitious as Google’s work, Volvo’s seems to be much more immediately applicable. They’ve announced a range of different features such as Cruise Control with steering, which is essentially smart cruise that allows the car to not only maintain a safe distance from the car in front of it, it also helps the driver steer with the road and can actively prevent lane drift and other issues that are common on highway driving. They’ve also got pedestrian and large animal collision detection, which uses radar and camera technology to detect people and animals at the side of the road, to warn drivers if they look like they will present a problem and even brake the car if the driver takes no action.

The final, and potentially coolest feature Volvo have been looking into is automated parking. Whilst in its infancy right now, the idea is that you get out of your car at your office and then, using your phone, tell your car to go park itself and it will toddle off to do just that. Then when you need it, you just use your phone to tell it to come to you and it’ll be waiting for you when you get out from work. The idea that in the future parking lots will be filled with driverless cars gliding around looking for spaces is perhaps a little creepy, but also rather awesome in another way. How these automated cars will deal with space snatching bastards is a question they’ve yet to answer.

What they will do though is open up yet another avenue for app developers. There are already multiple in car app development opportunities, but how cool would it be to be writing something that helps a car drive itself?

UPDATE 2017: Want to see how far self-driving cars have come since this article was written? Just take a look at Waymo, the Google car project. 

Jelly Bean 4.3 accidentally arrives in the wild

jellybean

In the tech world, were all just waiting for the next, newest thing to come around. Sometimes that comes predictably with a scheduled announcement by a big company, sometimes a surprise release, and sometimes someone at one of these big tech companies does something silly.

There were of course, the now infamous cases of Apple employees who kept leaving then unreleased models of the iPhone at bars, which allowed us all to see these devices before their appointed times. And now a Google employee has gone and done something very similar (although the creeping dread that must have instilled the Apple employees at the thought of the then alive Jobs’ fury will likely be absent).

According to reports, a yet unnamed Google employee sold on their Nexus 4 to a member of the public, one Jeff Williams, but forgot that they were running Jelly Bean’s next iteration version 4.3 on the handset. After some confusion,Williams posted a screenshot from the phone showing the apparent upgrade to the OS:

After some debate it was decided by the internet that this seemed to be the real deal and since then Williams has extracted the code and released it to the wider Android community, with Nexus 4 users claiming to have got the new update working sans radio.

If you’re curious you can go download the update right now, although with a Google event upcoming on the 24th it could be worth just waiting until then as it is very likely to be an announcement of the new version, along with a possible reveal of the new Nexus 7.

$2.1 Trillion will be spent on IT in 2013 according to Forrester

2013-it-spending

The numbers are in folks, and IT looks like it’s only set to grow this year. Forrester just released their latest estimations of spend on IT, and the overall breakdown is that we are looking at around $2.1 Trillion spent by organisations around the world and that mobile apps are getting the heaviest investment.  The U.S. will also be the country leading the charge in investment in IT.  Gartner also recently released figures for the same subject but they had a much more optimistic view, pointing towards the higher figure of $3.7 Trillion.

The U.S. is looking stronger now currency wise and this is having a knock on effect on its position in the spending chart, with the stronger US dollar allowing them more financial muscle globally. The continuing recession in the EU and China’s now inevitable economic growth slow down are also aiding this current strength in the IT market.

Overall, the two main trends to be taken away from this are as follows:

Software is big

Out of that estimated $2.1 Trillion, software makes up a sizeable chunk, equating to something along the lines of $542 billion. “Software is where most of the big changes in technology are taking place,” writes Bartels, one of the writers involved in the report. This is something of a two part evolution. SaaS (software as a service) is becoming the new model for many major software developers, for example Adobe’s new Creative Cloud subscription service that has replaced their one time purchase model. The second part is mobile apps. Out of the entire spending on IT, apps are seeing a massive investment of over $230 billion alone. This, of course, bodes well for app developers out there.

Apple and tablets are where hardware is going

As we recently reported, the PC market is shrinking fast, and even though it’s still currently the biggest market in IT hardware, it’s fading out. If you’re looking for growth, of course you should look to Apple and tablets, with the iPad being the most significant merger between the two. Apple will be taking $14 billion more this year than last from the iPad and tablet market, whilst the tablet market itself will grow by a very noticable 36% or $21 billion.

So if you’re investing in IT, the way to go is Apple, tablets, SaaS and apps. If you’re already an app developer, you’ll be pleased to know that you’re on the right track. And as service providers, at Kumulos we’re pleased to provide you with a Mobile Backend as a Service that is designed to help your apps and you stay ahead of the curve and to get you a slice of that big IT investment pie.

So why not talk to us today?

PC sales are doing great! Said no one ever.

pc-sales

It’s not a secret these days that PCs aren’t exactly as popular as they once were. Mobile has been rapidly eating into their market share and mobile data useage is coming up behind PC data use fast. Microsoft is posting shrinking profits and is having to be content to take 3rd place in the big tech company races. Obviously they’re still not short of cash, but compared to Apple’s regular hauls of enough money to buy up large portions of the developing world, it’s not as spectacular.

Now Gartner have just released a report that is continuing the flow of information toward PC’s demise.

In the report Garner point to 5 consecutive quarters of shrinkage in the PC market, which is, in their words; “longest duration of decline in the PC market’s history,”. Almost entirely across the board PC manufacturers are seeing falling profits and shrinking markets, with Acer seeing a huge reduction of 35% from 2012 to 2013. HP and Lenovo are still battling for supremacy, but Lenovo seem to be hanging on grimly and have seen the least amount of shrinkage in the market, with only 0.8% of a reduction of sales.

HP are just behind Lenovo in terms of overall market share, but they apparently control significant markets such as the US and EMEA whereas Lenovo have more control in the Asian and Oceanic markets, balancing out the numbers.

Overall the sales figures don’t paint a good picture, with the sales this last quarter dropping to 76 million units which is a 10.9% drop in sales from the same period last year. It seems that the massive tablet sales we’ve been hearing about are taking their toll. After all, if you’re just a casual PC user who only wants to browse the internet, occasionally send an email and watch a video or two, why would you need a PC when a tablet can do all of these and be lighter and cheaper in the process?

That question is what’s driving many people to abandon their old PCs in favour of something flatter and more modern. Obviously there is still a market out there for PCs, for example, you try to do any kind of serious typing on an iPad without a good quality wireless keyboard and see how far you get. That said though, as tablets evolve, PCs are more and more a niche market.

Let’s just not tell Microsoft that people blame Windows 8 for all this.

Thankfully though, the mobile market is growing as happily as ever and there’s no better time to make an app. So if you’re an app developer, you just carry right on what you’re doing. If you need some help along the way though, we at Kumulos have a Mobile Backend as a Service designed from the ground up to make sure your app development project goes off with the least amount of hitches.

So why not get in touch today?

UPDATE 2017: We were pretty much spot on, as PC sales continued to decline through 2016