Tag: best backend as a service

The Unstoppable Rise of Backend as a Service (BaaS)

kumulos-updates

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?

fingerprint-scanning_iphone

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?

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

ashton-kutcher-teen-choice-awards

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.

Backend as a Service: The Latest Market Trends & Drivers

kumulos-cloud

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.

Fake Hacking – The new viral marketing trend

hacker

It seems like we can’t go a week without there being another story about how some big company has been hacked. Either they’ve lost thousands of users’ data, had their website defaced or they occasionally lose control of their social media, especially Twitter. It just goes to show that none of us are safe and that even big companies can’t keep themselves from being hacked.

Even from themselves, apparently.

Last Friday Chipotle’s Twitter account put up some strange tweets, including what looked like a password for something. Obviously this was a hack ongoing and they were spilling some of Chipotle’s secrets, right? Well… not really. Turns out the hackers were… Chipotle.

Yes, this was a fake-hack. A coldly planned pr stunt designed to get people talking about the fast food Mexican chain like they do about so many other hacks. It would seem that standard internet and viral marketing just isn’t holding the same kick that it once did.

Is this where things are going? Really?

Companies are now thinking that the best way to attract our attention is to pretend that some evil hacking group has taken over their stuff. You have to admit though, these hacks usually get a decent amount of press attention, especially if they’re creative or of an unusual level of malice. Well, that or they grab user data like it’s heroin at a drug addict’s convention. We all want to know where the hackers are going because first, schadenfreude (otherwise known as Nelson’s “ha ha” laugh), second because wherever the hackers are right now, means that you and your business are where they’re not. Much like a couple of camera men in Africa being chased by lions, all one of them has to do to survive is not outrun the lions, just his fellow man.

It is, however, an incredibly cynical move and one that seems doomed to fail. This is the internet we’re talking about here, being pedantic, nit picky and finding out information is essentially what the hive mind does in its spare time in between watching porn (although not for much longer in the UK if glorious people’s leader of freedom Cameron gets his way) and finding increasingly effective ways to procrastinate. Of course we were going to find out this is a fake hack, why did they think this would work?

Of course, maybe it was the plan all along to be found out and then we’d all be talking about Chipotle and they’d get even MORE viral marketing because the internet is really good at sharing outrage…

Surely not right?

 

Google’s just done an Apple

7-google-new-nexus-7-240713-300x200

So yesterday Google had the breakfast meeting that it had announced a couple of weeks ago. It was heavily rumoured going into the meeting that we’d be seeing the new Nexus 7, and lo and behold, there it was for the whole world to see. Sleek, sexy and a strong upgrade to the older model 7.

New 7

The new Nexus 7 has had a modest upgrade to its processing power, now sporting the exact same Snapdragon S4 Quad core and 2 Gb of RAM set up that the Nexus 4 has; which anyone who’s used an N4 will tell you, is more than enough for today’s current app demands. The most notable upgrade however has to be the screen. Moving from a fairly “meh” 1280×800 to a stunning 1920×1200 and keeping the same 7” form factor means that you have one of the highest pixel densities of any tablet screen, including the retina displays in the iPad. The colour capability of the screen has been upgraded which has given the screen a much more vibrant look, something that was a small problem in the old Nexii which tended towards looking a little dulled and greyed out. Connectivity wise, there’s a wifi version and a 4G LTE version, although currently the 4G is only available in the US (here’s hoping it comes over here soon), and there’s also NFC to back it all up and Wireless charging to boot.

 

The basic 16Gb version will go on sale in the US on the 30th of July priced at $229 (£149).

chromecast_dongle

 

Bait and Switch

The other announcement though, took us all by surprise. The Google Chromecast dongle seems like a fairly innocuous piece of tech, but it’s been making big waves. For just $35 you buy the Chromecast, connected it to an HDMI port on your TV and then you have instant access to Netflix, Youtube and Google’s Play services (in the US they also have access to Pandora). It runs Google’s own Chrome OS and you control the dongle with your phone. Google announced that for a limited time, buyers would get 3 months free Netflix, even if they already had a subscription. So obviously they were selling like hotcakes, so fast in fact that Google had to pull the deal because people were buying the ever loving crap out of it.

The most interesting thing about these two releases is how… Apple like they are. Here’s a premium upgrade to an already great product, and a little piece of innovative tech that people want. In a year where Apple have been almost suspiciously silent, Google have clearly been watching Cupertino’s moves and then are looking to copy them. With Google Glass on its way and with rumoured upgrades to more of the Nexus line, this could be an interesting year if you’re an Android fan.

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. 

UK porn blocks to go ahead; internet’s reaction predictably furious

uk-porn-block

After much discussion, threatening and harumphing the UK’s Tory party have decided to push a bill through parliament that will require ISPs to filter all porn automatically, with citizens who want to get their share of skin having to “opt-in” to get the filter turned off.

In a speech Cameron said:

“I want to talk about the internet.The impact it is having on the innocence of our children. How online pornography is corroding childhood.”

“And how, in the darkest corners of the internet, there are things going on that are a direct danger to our children, and that must be stamped out.

“I’m not making this speech because I want to moralise or scaremonger, but because I feel profoundly as a politician, and as a father, that the time for action has come. This is, quite simply, about how we protect our children and their innocence.”

This line from the Simpsons comes to mind.

It’s comforting to know that in this time where our economy is only just starting to show signs of recovery after a triple-dip recession and we’re still entangled in 2 wars that our government is focusing on the important things. It’s also comforting to know just how out of touch your government is where they think something like this even has a hope in all hell of working. Anyone remember SOPA? Yeah, us neither.

But they at least managed to stop people accessing torrent sites right?

Course they did.

Overall this move just smacks of a government and moreover a general society completely out of touch with how the online world works. Blocking access to torrent sites did exactly zero to stop people downloading illegally because they’re like the Hydra, for every head you defeat, 3 more replace them. It will be the same for porn, only perhaps worse because we’re not just talking about people being denied some movies they want to watch, we’re talking about their fix of sexy time with their five digit partner (and yes we mean everyone here.

In addition, most of us grew up with the internet, sans filters, and you can bet your arse that we all went on illicit missions to find porn on our 56k modems when we were teenagers. Did it turn us into slobbering perverts, screaming through the streets raping and kidnapping uncontrollably? No, no it did not.

Essentially it comes down to this, those who want porn, including teenagers, will access it regardless of what restrictions are in place. The internet is too nebulous, its users to numerous and its nature too chaotic to pin down and control. The real issue here is that this is further pushing the idea that sex is bad, that it’s something to be ashamed of and that we should only do it if we’re wanting to make babies.

Because that attitude doesn’t cause major issues later in life…

After much discussion, threatening and harumphing the UK’s Tory party have decided to push a bill through parliament that will require ISPs to filter all porn automatically, with citizens who want to get their share of skin having to “opt-in” to get the filter turned off.

In a speech Cameron said:

“I want to talk about the internet.The impact it is having on the innocence of our children. How online pornography is corroding childhood.”

“And how, in the darkest corners of the internet, there are things going on that are a direct danger to our children, and that must be stamped out.

“I’m not making this speech because I want to moralise or scaremonger, but because I feel profoundly as a politician, and as a father, that the time for action has come. This is, quite simply, about how we protect our children and their innocence.”

This line from the Simpsons comes to mind.

It’s comforting to know that in this time where our economy is only just starting to show signs of recovery after a triple-dip recession and we’re still entangled in 2 wars that our government is focusing on the important things. It’s also comforting to know just how out of touch your government is where they think something like this even has a hope in all hell of working. Anyone remember SOPA? Yeah, us neither.

But they at least managed to stop people accessing torrent sites right?

Course they did.

Overall this move just smacks of a government and moreover a general society completely out of touch with how the online world works. Blocking access to torrent sites did exactly zero to stop people downloading illegally because they’re like the Hydra, for every head you defeat, 3 more replace them. It will be the same for porn, only perhaps worse because we’re not just talking about people being denied some movies they want to watch, we’re talking about their fix of sexy time with their five digit partner (and yes we mean everyone here.

In addition, most of us grew up with the internet, sans filters, and you can bet your arse that we all went on illicit missions to find porn on our 56k modems when we were teenagers. Did it turn us into slobbering perverts, screaming through the streets raping and kidnapping uncontrollably? No, no it did not.

Essentially it comes down to this, those who want porn, including teenagers, will access it regardless of what restrictions are in place. The internet is too nebulous, its users to numerous and its nature too chaotic to pin down and control. The real issue here is that this is further pushing the idea that sex is bad, that it’s something to be ashamed of and that we should only do it if we’re wanting to make babies.

Because that attitude doesn’t cause major issues later in life…

UPDATE 2017: The porn bill is still being finalized in the UK. Here’s some of the latest information from November 2016.

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.

The Nokia 1020 is here and it’s bringing a ridiculous 41Mp camera with it

nokia phone

Despite tempermental sales and Windows Phone just not really managing to make a significant impact, Nokia have always been a little different from your average smartphone manufacturer. For one, they makes most of their money from selling cheap feature phones in the developing world, the smartphone market just being something of an aside. Having said that, Nokia have always had a very distinctive style when it comes to designing phones that can be quite refreshing. After all, what other company are currently offering their flagship device in day-glo yellow?

They also tend towards concentrating on features that other manufacturers don’t spend as much time on, especailly the camera. The Lumia 920 has an 8mp camera that can outperform its generation of smartphone competitors from a standing start, and Nokia are looking to carry that one on with the 1020. As the title says, this thing has a 41mp camera. Yes that’s right, 41 megapixels. Is that number necessary or even with purpose? Probably not, but you have to admit, it’s pretty cool that they even managed to fit that size of sensor into the damned thing.

Internally, it runs Windows Phone 8 a 1.5Ghz dual core snapdragon – although no word on which chipset specifically – 2Gb of RAM and 32Gb of internal storage memory. So not a slouch, but in the age when the Galaxy S4 is easily more powerful than most low to mid tier laptops (and about as expensive), nothing much compares. Again though, Nokia have never tried to compete purely on spec alone.  That and Windows Phone is a pretty robust OS that doesn’t actually need as much processing power to operate smoothly and cleanly, unlike the somewhat bloated version of Android that are usually installed on the world’s current most powerful handsets.

Just officially announced yesterday (although rumoured and leaked for ages), the 1020 has had some handling by various tech outlets and the overall opinion is pretty positive. The 41mp camera pod is necessarily larger than any other phone camera you’ve seen and has a permenant bump on the back to contain all that sensor, but apparently the phone is also surprisingly light and good to hold. Performance is slick as you’d expect from a Window’s Phone, and the options for the camera are massive. With full setting customisation including a real time preview of what your picture will look like as you change the options, mobile snappers will be able to take some pretty pictures indeed.

No word on a release date yet, but it’s good to know that Nokia can still make a nice looking, slightly different from your average, smartphone.

And luckily for app developers, if you’re wanting to make an app for this new smartphone on Windows Phone 8, Kumulos works with that OS alongside iOS and Android. Our Mobile Backend as a Service is there for your app, regardless of what OS you use. We can give you the tools to create the Mobile Backend that you need.