Tag: iOS backend

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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.

Video To Account For A Huge Majority Of Mobile Traffic In The Future

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The spread of mobile has been something quite amazing in the last few years. We went from a world where no one had an internet capable phone to one where around a quarter of the world’s population are regularly accessing the internet from their mobile devices. Already one of the biggest parts of mobile bandwidth is video. With youtube being heavily mobile optimised and more and more sites embedding videos as broadband and mobile internet connection speeds constantly climb, and our insatiable appetite for cat videos, mobile video is only set to grow.

Network equipment maker Ericsson have just published their latest report on the state of mobile and according to them, mobile video is on its way to total domination in about four years time. According to the report, mobile traffic for voice has remained about the same, but mobile data has in the space of 2 years grown four times the numbers we were seeing in Q1 2011.

The numbers for video are even more impressive, with Ericsson estimating that by 2018 video will account for over half of all mobile traffic:

Social networking and web browsing are looking to even out in their share of mobile traffic and music streaming, whilst small now, is set to grow as well.

Of course, all of this is driven by the rollout of LTE (4G) and the promise of the versions of mobile internet that will follow being even quicker. Ericsson estimate that by 2018 around 60% of the planet will be 4G capable and this will contribute to the massive amount of video being consumed. And with the rise of Vine, Snapchat, and other short video and image sharing platforms, this is a part of the industry that is about to explode; even if Vine can apparently be Rick Rolled.

All of this points to one thing, that apps in the future will benefit from including more and more video options as standard. Mobile networks are getting to the point where they are viable alternatives to broadband at home (non-fiber optic of course), and the mobile app development world would do well to keep up with these changes.

UPDATE 2017: Cisco is now expecting that by 2020, over 75% of mobile traffic will be video

Turns Out Leaving Your Facebook Profile As Public Was A Bad Idea, Who Knew?

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There’s been a lot of debate and furore about the internet privacy issue in the past month or so, and with the latest new leaks from Facebook, that’s not looking to stop any time soon. In a perhaps predictable story, using a vulnerability in the graph search there have been 2 separate cases of hackers scraping personal data from Facebook, totalling up to somewhere around 8.5 million users having some form of contact details being pilfered straight from their profile.

Now, there are a couple of sides to this story, one that’ll make you relax, and one that’ll probably make the more privacy minded amongst you pucker up uncomfortably.

On the one hand, as it would turn out, the data taken wasn’t private. All of it was swiped from profiles that had the user’s contact data already made public by the user’s choice. All that happened was that the hacker took a lot of the data in one go. So, if you don’t want that to happen, setting your Facebook profile to private and maybe not including your phone number and other contact details in your profile will go a long way to making sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen to you. Facebook has also jumped on the exploit and say that they’ve disabled the code that allows it to happen until they can fix it.

On the other hand though, this hack has shown something a little more insidious going on in the Facebook world. Have you ever heard of Zombie profiles? Or perhaps, a more accurate metaphor would be Frankenstein profiles. Even if you don’t have a Facebook profile, your friends who do will be, unwittingly, building one for you through casual mentions, uploading of their contact data and connecting with other social networks. Facebook absorbs all this data about you and begins to corrolate it into a stitched together, not yet alive but still there set of background data about you. So, if and when you decide to make a Facebook account, all that data is just sitting there waiting to embrace you with its cold, reanimated fingers.

This is a certain issue with Facebook now apparently. Even if you’re the most ghostly of online presences, if your friends are more non-chalant about their privacy, you’re probably going to get dragged into the light as well just through proxy. You could spend your whole life not releasing your phone number into the internet and it’d probably still end up there thanks to your douchebag friends and their lack of data control.

What can be done about it? Well, there’s always the tin-foil hat we guess.

Mobile Advertising: The Cresting Wave

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When someone says the word “Advertising” what do you think of? TV ads, billboards, posters, radio ads, internet ads; all of these are the traditional fare of the advertising world. But there is another medium out there that we use all the time, Mobile. Mobile advertising is becoming big, really big. $11.5 billion is the rough estimate of what Mobile marketing is worth this year, that might not sound like too much, but that’s up by almost $3 billion from 2012. The mobile market’s extreme growth is not looking like it’s going to stop any time soon.

At least, according to a report by Gartner that projects by 2016, mobile marketing will be worth more than $24 Bn.

(UPDATE 2017: In 2016, advertising on mobile passed the $100 Billion mark.)

It’s not really that surprising when you look at the evidence; mobile data usage has doubled almost year on year since 2010 and that’s a trend that looks to continue into the foreseeable future as mobile devices penetrate more and more into the global society.

What is interesting though, is that as much as mobile advertising is worth, many businesses and industries are effectively overlooking it in favour of more traditional marketing forms. This is a major mistake.

Whereas with more traditional advertising where the mediums you’re talking to your customers through mediums that you can’t guarantee they’ll be able to see, with mobile it’s a near certainty that they will have their phone on them at all times. You essentially have a captive audience for your ads, all you need to do is target them effectively and you may just find that your revenue will start increasing.

After all, retail businesses that have created mobile apps for themselves have seen an up to 26% increase in revenue just because they were easily reachable through mobile means. 26% is nothing to sniff at in terms of revenue increase, but many businesses are not even considering mobile as an option.

This is evidenced by the vast number of non-mobile optimised websites out there, businesses are currently not considering how powerful mobile is. Google is on a crusade to help this by downrating non-mobile optimised websites in search results, and this is another reason why businesses should get with the times.

If you don’t catch up, you’re very quickly going to be left behind. Mobile is still expanding at a massive rate, and whilst it is guaranteed to slow, by the time it does the world is going to look like a very different place. Just like the .net revolution in the 90s, Mobile is set to change the way we interact with information forever.

Mobile advertising is where businesses should be aiming, and the earlier they get in there the better. Of course this applies to mobile apps as well, although we are assuming that as you’re an app developer, you’re probably aware of mobile advertising. Just remember that marketing is the key to a successful app launch.

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%:

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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.