Tag: cloud mobile backend as a service

Pavlov Poke: The painful way to wean yourself off Facebook

facebook-poke

Are you a Facebook addict? If you’re online, it’s at least probable that you check it once a day, probably more like multiple times a day. Do you even know how much time you waste on it? Probably not, but it’s a good bet that it’s way more than you think, or would be comfortable with. Afterall, just exactly what are you doing there? Unless you’re actively talking to someone, is not the case that you’re essentially people watching, but online, on your own?

 This video is food for thought.

Anyways, two P.H.D.s at MIT tallied up how many hours a week between them they were wasting on FB a week. Turns out, a lot. How much is a lot? 50 hours. 25 hours hours a week they were wasting each. That’s a part time job right there, just on Facebook. They realise they had to do something, but what?

Well that’s where the Pavlov Poke comes in.

They hooked up a metal plate to their keyboards that, every time they went on Facebook, would give them a painful (but not dangerous) electric shock. It’s essentially aversion therapy 101, and it’s a hilarious way to go about trying to aid your productivity. We all could probably use that for our own keyboards; even if we’re not Facebook users. We’ve all got our little vices online, websites that we sink hours into because they give us our daily hits of information. Imagine how much more we could get done if we weren’t always alt-tabbing out of whatever we’re supposed to be doing in order to watch stupid videos of animals failing or to follow a link train and end up reading up about how Taylor Swift only wants to be in a relationship to get new material to write about (seriously, this happened and that is true, look it up).

A little aversion therapy may go some way to curing us of our crippling need to read that one little bit more information. Or just make our offices really funny.

Whatever the case, Kumulos is here to provide you with a non-addictive but oh-so-useful Mobile Backend as a Service to cure your app development woes. So get in touch today, if you can tear yourself away from Facebook long enough that is.

 

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.

Google’s just done an Apple

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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).

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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.

Jelly Bean 4.3 accidentally arrives in the wild

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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.

 

Mobile gaming, the only way forward?

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Mobile gaming is big, really big.

But then we all knew that right?

Well, apparently Zynga didn’t, and they are somewhat unsurprisingly going straight down the toilet. To give you an example, two mobile gaming companies Supercell and Gung-Ho have made something in the region of $250 million in revenue over the last year, and Supercell alone took in some $100 million inprofit. Zynga made about $250 million in revenue and made about $4 million in profit. That’s a number most would call unsettlingly low and it appears that Zynga agrees because they’ve now hired Microsoft’s Don Mattrick is taking over as CEO to try to bring the ship back on course and away from disaster.

Which in itself is a bit of an interesting choice as Mattrick’s previous position at Microsoft was heading up the team who managed to quite spectacularly destroy a large portion of the Xbox One’s market through a series of terrible decisions related to features and marketing. The accusations leveled at him and Microsoft were that they were out of touch with the consumer and that they had no idea what the people on the ground wanted from a games console.

So his departure from Microsoft may appear like he’s decided to move to greener pastures, but as to how much of that decision was made for him may never be known.

In other areas of the mobile world, it would appear that Facebook wants to move into becoming a mobile games publisher. For a good while it seemed a little odd that Facebook had acquired Parse (UPDATE 2017: We all know what happened there.), what did a social network want with a Backend as a Service? But now it seems that question may be answered by looking at where the money is at in gaming. It might appear to be the developers who are making a killing, but you just have to compare those amounts with what the average publisher makes and you’ll see who’s really raking it it. As Facebook continues to struggle to monetise itself, setting up what could essentially be a money printer for them is a smart move, and it will engrain them heavily into mobile culture in a way that they’ve not been before.

So it seems that it’s still all systems go for mobile game development, and if you need a Mobile Backend to go with your development project, look no further than Kumulos. We’ve got a Mobile Backend as a Service that can help get your app, whether it’s a game or not, straight through development and launched out into the world faster than you ever thought possible. So why not talk to us today?

 

The non-Nexus S4 and HTC One Are Almost Here

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So a short while ago at I/O, we all waited in tense anticipation of a new set of Nexus devices, and the blossoming of demand for Android Backend as a Service. With Apple announcing big things at the end of the year, could we perhaps see a Nexus device arrive early to snap up the (relatively) bored tech loving hordes? Well, turns out no. I/O came and went and we exactly squat to satisfy our Nexus lust. However, all wasn’t lost, as we did instead, get the announcement of the Galaxy SIV Google Play edition. An SIV, with all the power that that allows, without the piles of stuff that Samsung likes to pile in on top of Android. Shortly after that, HTC announced they were also doing a Google Play edition of the One.

Android fans rejoiced.

Now, it’s important to note that it isn’t a Nexus edition. Why is that? Well, aside from being Google’s own brand of phones, the Google Play editions aren’t running pure stock Android because these phones have features that won’t really work without the specialist manufacturer software. So, it’s almost stock, with a couple of little additions to keep the gears turning. That said though, both of these phones are big hitters in terms of performance and feature lists, and being able to grab them unlocked means that you can have them without ever worrying about getting tied into long and/or expensive carrier contracts.

So how much are these super phones up for sale for?

Well, the SIV is going for $649 and the One is just behind it at $599. So Nexus prices these are not, however if you’re planning on keeping the phone for a while they could very well still be the best deal in terms of long term value for money. There’s also some speculation that as these phones won’t be running the *ahem* “Manufacturer software” (read mostly bloatware), their already impressive performance will improve even more.

That remains to be seen however, as they’re not out yet but they’re set to ship starting July 9th.

Until then, well, there are always pictures.

Why App Developers Should Be Paying Attention To The Middle East

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Here at Kumulos we talk a lot about trends in mobile and in particular back end as a service. The markets in the US, Europe and Asia and how they’re driving the mobile world. Emerging markets in India and China are the next wave, ready to break on us at any moment. But there’s another market in the middle of all this that’s got huge potential and numbers. Where? The Middle East of course.

You may or may not know it, but the Middle East is a hotbed for mobile right now. The United Arab Emirates has one of the highest smartphone penetration percentages in the world at 62%:

mobile back end as a service trends

If you look at the graph you’ll see that that’s a substantial amount more than the US and Europe, whilst a little better, isn’t doing much better.  There’s also some interesting numbers that show that mobile users in Egypt use their smartphones for shopping much more than those in the west. How much  more? 80% of smartphone owners say that they’ve used their phone for shopping, compared to 62% in the US and 56% in the UK. Google also have noted that mobile advertising is more effective, with 90% of users surveyed saying that they have noticed adverts and many had also clicked on them.

The demographic in the Middle East that are using smartphones are overwhelmingly young, more than 72% of smartphone users are under 34 and more than 60% are male. When surveyed over half of respondents said that they wanted a smartphone as their primary electronic device, citing the portability and flexibility of the devices as their main reasons.

It’s also reported that in many of the more affluent countries in the area, having more than one smartphone is so common that phones outnumber people; this is an especially prevalent thing in Saudi Arabia apparently.

So with all this evidence out there, why are app developers ignoring this location? Get out there and start bringing your app development skills to the table and tap into this under reported but eager market.

Looks Like Google’s Not Happy About PRISM Either

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Unless you’ve been in a cave for the past couple of weeks (and thanks to Google’s new balloons you may have had internet access there), you’ll know that PRISM has been a big deal. The backlash has been almost universal and many have been horrified that such large scale surveillance has been going on. And right in the thick of all of this have been the major tech companies: Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter and more have all been linked to this.

These companies between them know more about us than we probably do, and they are being constantly hammered by government agencies for data.

Apple have been making great efforts to step away from the furore by releasing data on what requests they’ve taken from the NSA, but a lot of the data is lumped together. This means that requests for data from law enforcement and such are together with requests from the intelligence agencies so the data isn’t particularly accurate. This isn’t exactly inspiring confidence in these companies and despite their best efforts, suspicion is only growing.

Google are looking to assuage this by refusing to comply with the government deal that Apple took which meant all the requests for data were together in one lump, and then putting in a request to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to be able to release data on requests not as a lump, but in separate categories which will let users see just how much data has been released to these NSA requests and how many people have been affected.

Google have stated that out of around 8-9k data requests only around double those numbers of users have been affected, so it’s not like one request = 1 million users data gone. There is, however, still the problem of we don’t know what “data” the data given actually encorporates. Is it email? Gchat? Our texts on Android? Search histories? The data supplied could make the difference between people being mildly uncomfortable and horrified (admit it, your search history is the one you’d be horrified about).

It will be interesting to see what comes of this petition of Google’s, but it is nice to know that Google are willing to go out of their way to prove that they are not being frivolous with our data. And considering how much of it they have, that’s probably a good thing. For now though, it’s probably better to concentrate on more important matters, like that app you should probably be developing rather than reading this.

Google Enters the mBaaS Space with Mobile Backend Starter, Mountain View

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Google are a company that seem to be on an ever expanding quest outward in the tech world. They are slowly bringing together a host of disparate but connected services under the one multi-coloured banner of Mountain View. For some this may seem like a slowly growing monopoly attempt, but for the majority of us it only spells good things. Gmail has long established itself as one of the best email clients out there, and Google’s cloud services have managed to separate themselves from the herd of other providers by being as useful as they are simple to use, mostly.

With that in mind, Google have recently announced that they are moving into the Mobile Backend as a Service market. The logic here makes sense, Google make Android, so why not also use the tools they’ve made to support app development on the OS? This move also manages to put Google into competition with Facebook, who recently acquired mBaaS providers Parse (UPDATE 2017: We all know what happened there.) in a move that continues to fuel rumours Facebook wants its own app-space and maybe even its own phone. Although after the dismal fail that Facebook Home has been, those rumours are sounding less and less likely.

Google have described their mBaaS solution as: “a one-click deployable, complete mobile backend that allows you to reap the benefits of a cloud backend with none of the headaches. It provides a ready-to-deploy, general purpose cloud backend and a general purpose client-side framework for Android.”

Alongside the new Android Developer Studio IDE that Google also announced at I/O, it seems that Mountain View is wanting to capture app developers and get them sitting firmly inside the Google camp by providing them with a range of services that are, usefully, all in the one place and can talk to each other well. They want to make the Android app development eco-system developer friendly and, in some ways, nurture them so that the next generation of high quality apps can be on Android and not iOS.

They’re not alone in this space though, mBaaS is becoming big business, and at the moment Google’s foray into the space is not exactly as well equipped as some of the big players in the area and if they want to stay competitive, they’re going to have to push some new features out there, and fast.