Tag: mobile app backend android

You’re doing it wrong LG

LG-g22-300x217

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

303512_news120511-chromebook-logo_big-300x278

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.

 

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.

 

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.

$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?

The non-Nexus S4 and HTC One Are Almost Here

htc-one-nexus-backend-as-a-service-300x162

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.

The SAY Award App and Kumulos’ Role

say-backend-as-a-service

The Scottish Album of the Year Award happened last Thursday night, and aside from being a great night (with apparently excellent cocktails according to the members of our team who went along), it also is a fantastic chance for up and coming Scottish artists to compete and establish their names. At Kumulos, we’re all about helping the little guy get themselves going, that’s pretty much the whole purpose of our Mobile Backend as a Service after all, helping developers get their apps out there.

Kumulos’ Backend is also used by our sister app development company Waracle quite regularly to develop client apps, and one of those was the app for the SAY Awards. Waracle have made the app for the awards for two years now, and Kumulos has been there to support the development process. The app itself is designed to let users listen to the various albums on the awards list, watch the music videos of the artists involved and vote for the albums they want to see in the short list.

Kumulos hosts the lists of which albums to show on the app, and when they should be shown, holds artist and album bios, tracklistings and tracks user votes. Without Kumulos all of this would have to be held on a bespoke Mobile Backend, which, as most developers know, is a pain to create and makes things like upgrading and maintenance more difficult. SAY Award is also cross platform, covering iOS, Android and Windows Phone, which, again, Kumulos made much easier for the folks over at Waracle by allowing the various app versions to reach the same information without having to fight about incompatibilities.

Looks Like Google’s Not Happy About PRISM Either

google-prism-backend-as-service

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.

A More Open iOS? Sadly Not from iOS 7

ios-7

There was a fair amount of speculation before WWDC as to whether iOS 7 was going to finally open its doors a little and let developers have a tinker with its inner workings, and maybe even enable some user customisation. After all, Tim Cook did say something to that effect when interviewed at AllthingsD a short while before the conference took place. During that interview it was implied that Apple had been looking at which way the world was going and have decided to start (emphasis on start) opening up iOS.

There were quite a few speculative articles on what this openess could warrant. Some were saying that it could mean Siri would be opened up to developers. Like an alienated girlfriend, Apple has been mostly ignoring her after the initial excitement of when she first appeared in their lives. But, continuing with the metaphor, they’re also jealously guarding her from anyone else having any influence on her life. Okay that’s probably enough of that before it gets too dark.

Developers have been wanting to use Siri integration in their apps for a while now, it’s a good selling point for an app and it has the potential to create a richer user experience. And, let’s be honest, Siri could use the publicity after Google has been slowly stealing the show with Google Now.

There was also talk of customisation options, of letting developers access and change things in the notification centre and perhaps finally the addition of widgets.

Well, going on what we saw at WWDC, I think we can sadly say that this is not happening.

iOS 7, for better or worse, is still a mostly closed system.

Of course Apple has never had any allusions towards the openess of Android. They prize a uniform end-user experience much higher than an open one, and that’s something that’s stood them in good stead. 600 million users can’t be wrong after all, and it’s not like developers are having a hard time on iOS, it’s still the most profitable place to have an app and many developers target it first in their development cycles.

The trouble is not how things are now though, it’s what could potentially be in the future. As mobile tech advances and more and more open source OS like Ubuntu, Firefox, Sailfish and Tizen all start making stronger inroads into the mobile market, Apple’s walled off garden is maybe going to start looking like a stale option to developers who are looking to expand their capabilities. Users are also becoming more and more tech capable (overall at least, there are still plenty out there who are not so much), and being restricted by Apple might start feeling like they’re using a “Fisher Price: My First Phone” rather than a fully fledged smartphone.

Whilst iOS 7 is looking very pretty, underneath it doesn’t seem like much has changed. Sounds very much like the iPhone 5 really… A lack of innovation can kill a company like Apple who have spent the last few years essentially only innovating. It’s, of course, too early to tell what the overall reaction to iOS 7 will be, that will have to wait until its release. Until then, all we can do is speculate and wonder what Cupertino’s next move will be.

iOS7: What Does It Mean For App Developers?

ios-7

Yesterday Apple revealed iOS7 to the world, and it’s looking a lot sexier than some were expecting. It’s minimalistic, understated and very modern looking, and it’s probably going to cause some division amongst the design community as a whole. Certainly iOS has been due for an upgrade, but there are those who think that moving away from Skeumorphism isn’t the way to do it. After all, it’s that tying the digital with the real that has let Apple capture a customer base full of people who aren’t tech savvy. They want technology that looks good, is easy to use and “just works”, with none of the mess or fuss that comes with more open and complex OS like Android.

This focus on the end user is why Apple has done so well across such a broad spectrum of customer bases. Do they risk alienating this customer base by not only upgrading the features of iOS 7, but also the entire look and feel of it?

By looking at the redesign, at Kumulos we’re saying a tentative no.

After all, iOS 7 isn’t being released into a market who’s never seen anything like it before. Even customers who are otherwise uninterested or uninitiated in the rest of the computing world will have used iOS for a while. They’ve watched the OS grow up and mature and will be more capable of adapting to the changes than they would have had Apple done this upgrade say, a year or two into iOS’s lifetime.

The main question here won’t be customers working with iOS 7, it will be developers.

With a new design comes new design principles for making apps inside the new OS, and that means iOS developers are going to have to change their way of thinking. Apps that followed in Apple’s Skeumorphic tendancies will now likely look out of date and tacky by the more modern and stripped down v.7. This is likely to mean a slew of updates to older apps, and a fairly rapid change in the way newer apps are designed.

But will it be the devs following Apple, or is Apple following the devs? There had been an increasing trend of app developers going for very flat designs with solid colours and large, easy to distinguish buttons well before iOS 7. It could be that Apple has been paying close attention to the emerging styles in app development and has adjusted to match. Of course Ive is also a vocal proponent of flat design over skeumorphism and as he’s in charge now, we’ll likely be seeing a lot more of it in the near future.

What does iOS 7 mean for app developers, at least in terms of design?

Keep it simple, keep it flat, keep it colourful, keep it easy to use.

From what we’ve seen, you won’t go far wrong if you follow those tenants.