Why apps are a business “must have”

imagesIncreasingly we turn to the web or an app for goods and services. Both provide the ideal shop window for any business wanting to be seen and heard. Apps have a further appeal because by their nature they are mobile.

Mobile media has become the number ONE media for consumers. To ignore this is to limit your business opportunities, reduce your market share and frankly, be left behind…the word on Commercial Street is written large and clear, get a mobile app, bring your website up to speed and link the two.

Smartphone ownership is growing. Here’s a quick check-list of the benefits of an app for business small or large, established or start up.

smartphone-sales-projection

  • An App will help grow your business, increase incomes, turnover and cash flow.
  • An app is always on, always available and always putting your brand in front of your customers.
  • An App will help promote your identity, your brand and your perceived image as modern and up to date. Your business icon will be visible on the user’s phone.
  • Add Push Notification and you have an immediate and easy to manage direct communication channel to those of your clients who have downloaded the app. For marketing departments this is the Holy Grail. Engage with your customers!
  • Apps will enable you to collect and collate information from your consumer base. What they like and what they want.
  • Retain existing customers by communicating with them through the app.
  • Keep updating the app either through inbuilt content management system or by refreshing content through your developer periodically.

Link the app to your website. A simple URL link will take your customers to your website where they can purchase goods, register their needs and more. All on the move. The mobile website in conjunction with the mobile app is here to stay and whilst many businesses have already seen the opportunities the combination offers, many are yet to adopt this beautiful synergy of app and website. In a couple of years the picture will be different as competition drives business’s investment into this channel. If they ignore it or leave it until later, their competitors will steal a march on them and grab market share. The advice from those who have already shifted gear would be;  act now, bring the app and website relationship to life for your business.

There are, in addition, a plethora of productivity apps which have helped business’s . The streamlining of working practice through communications and data collection, formatting and transmission in real time has sped up so many processes, reduced paper trails and increased overall efficiencies. Each month there are new releases and not all of these are distributed widely. There are many thousands of Enterprise release apps which have helped business’s gain an edge on their competitors.

Here at AppDevelopersUK we have created several business apps in this category and know from first hand testimony how powerful these apps can be out there in the field. One client commissioned us to create an app which links to their in house database of over 50 thousand component parts, each with a varying price. These can be schematically created on an iPad on the customer’s premises to give a real immediacy and to create a superb sales opportunity, whether it be fulfilling a need of the customer or up-selling. A business without an app is like a business without a website. Lost and rarely found.

 

Apple V Android: Market Share

imgresApple V Android: Market Share. When we think of smart phones people often think first of Apple before Android. That’s interesting in light of the fact that in terms of numbers of people using Android devices the market is split as follows: Android 79% of the market, iOS 14.2%, Windows, 3.3%, BlackBerry 2.7 %others 0.7%.

Pretty comprehensive domination from Android then! So why is it so many of us think Apple when we consider the concept of the smartphone?  Surely it must be the branding, the marketing, the product simplicity the single design purist approach with only black or white models available. Android is happy to be diverse in design and manufacture to carry its OS. There are in excess of a thousand devices carrying the OS.

Smartphones, like many other products sell worldwide but the world is not a simple single marketplace. The development of a market in emerging nations of Asia and Africa in particular has undoubtedly helped the Android OS. Devices priced under£ 60.00 help popularise Android, in short its relatively affordable whilst iOS needs an expensive Apple iPhone to run on which are several times the price.  According to Gartner, Asia/Pacific, Latin America and Eastern Europe had the highest smartphone growth rates of 74.1%, 55.7% and 31.6% respectively, compared to the same quarter in 2012. This is largely growth in Android OS based devices.

Apple is recognized as more of a luxury item and hence may be considered as niche. Android on the other hand is  increasingly the people’s phone.  Between Apple and Android -with a teeny bit of help from the likes of Windows and Blackberry (though for how long is anyone’s guess)- smartphones account for 51.8% of the market share for mobile phones. It’s amazing to think that  it was only last month that the number of devices sold in a quarter finally out sell on the smartphone OS’s as opposed to the traditional “feature phone’s”.  This 51.8% figure is startling considering that 12 months ago the smartphone market accounted for only 36% of the market. meanwhile the never tiring wheels of marketing will grind on. Apple have their high profile annual jamboree very shortly…. Watch this space.

 

Apple iWatch

Apple iWatch is a soon to be seen item to be added into the category of “Wearable Technology”. As Google Glass ramps up for its big push in 2014….Apple are already pushing hard with their iWatch. We noted the trend toward the iWatch type device some time ago but now Apple are really pushing ahead and have plans afoot to ship their iWatch in vast quantities in 2014. The mock up below has been seen across the internet for a considerable time. As to how close to reality this mock up may turn out to be, is unclear.

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It seems likely that the iWatch will be hitting the shelves at around £130.00. But what will it do and what’s the point? Well it’s a watch, it will tell the time…..yes, and….? Well it’s unclear and as always with the new products bought to the world by large tech companies there’s a degree of mystery and cloak and dagger so that rival firms (Samsung are also in the game apparently) cannot get the jump on features and looks. But there must be an upside for them somewhere with that sort of price tag its got to do more than tell the time! Maybe it will link to the Glasses, or to your iPhone, or ….we don’t really know.

 According to Bloomberg, Apple has a team of around 100 designers working on “a wristwatch-like device that may perform some of the tasks now handled by the iPhone and iPad” Maybe the burgeoning fitness apps will sit well on the iWatch for performance monitoring and ready visibility it seems a good fit. But that’s pure conjecture, nothing more, nothing less.Only time will tell for certain…groan….”watch” this space (double groan).

The Canal & River Trust’s eNatureWatch app

mzl.ciwsksnh.320x480-75AppDevelopersUK.com  have re developed the Canal & River Trust’s  eNatureWatch app.

Press Release July 2013 from the C&RT.

USE YOUR EYES AND IPHONE TO PROTECT WATERWAY HABITATS

Following a national report earlier this year stating that 60% of more than 3,000 animal and plant species have declined in the UK in the past 50 years, the Canal & River Trust today [Monday 29 July] launches Great Nature Watch – a campaign to get members of the public to help to protect 2,000 miles of waterway habitats.

The old industrial routes of canals and inland waterways have become a unique corridor for wildlife, providing essential shelter, food and breeding grounds.  The habitats they provide are helping to support many of the UK’s most valuable, yet threatened wildlife species such as kingfishers, butterflies and dragonflies.

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With the State of Nature Report highlighting that ‘freshwater and wetland habitats occupy just 3% of the UK’s surface but support around 10% of our species’, the Trust is asking for help to map its waterside habitats to ensure they remain a thriving place for hundreds of animal and plant species.

By using a free app called enaturewatch, or online via the Trust’s website, visitors will be asked a series of questions which will help paint the picture of a cross section of canal or river habitat being surveyed.

Peter Birch, Head of Environment for the Canal & River Trust, says: “Our ultimate aim is to ensure there are plenty of habitats for wildlife to move up and down our waterway corridors, through city centres, as well as remote parts of the countryside.  We’re hoping Great Nature Watch can support the great environmental progress we’ve made over the years. People power can make a big difference so we hope visitors to our canals or rivers will get round as much of our waterway network as possible and help create a ‘living map’.

“The countryside has been fragmented over the last 50 years with increasing urban environments.  Our 2,000 miles of waterway corridor are unique and we need to do all we can to keep them this way as we’re seeing so many species struggling for survival.  To do this, it’s vital that we continue to learn more about the state and health of our habitats so that we can help them flourish through our ecology work.”

Whilst out on the towpath, budding environment enthusiasts and families will be able to learn about what they see through a ‘spotter’s guide’, a section of the app designed to teach people about the wildlife, plants and trees that can be found on the towpath.

The revamped free enaturewatch app is available from iTunes and Google Play.  For more information on Great Nature Watch please visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/great-nature-watch.

For media enquiries please contact:Claire Risino, National Campaigns ExecutiveT: 0203 204 4430  M: 07785 920 863   E: claire.risino@canalrivertrust.org.uk

Every day 1.5 million newly activated Android devices

Every day 1.5 million newly activated Android devices join the 900 million already out there. It’s hard to imagine the seemingly non stop demand for new Android devices, but here’s proof. The story mirrors and probably eclipses the Apple success curve.

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Only 5 short years have passed since Android phones were launched.  The positive for Google is that the more of the devices there are, the more apps get downloaded, it’s a perfect model. There are already a total of over 900 million devices worldwide on the Android system and at this rate it’s only going to be 6 months until the billionth device goes live. Staggering numbers which must be daunting for all the competition no matter which part of the world it is coming from.

Ok so niche markets will continue and Apple will continue its fantastic success story but with Google’s Android platform becoming so prevalent, surely  something’s gotta give !

But maybe the bigger concept to muse on here is that the position of Android is strengthened by it being increasingly seen as a solution for all sorts of electronic chip based gadgetry.  Cameras’ TV box’s, tablets basic browsing laptops and watches all come into the Android sphere with increasing frequency.  HPAndroid_One_Billion_2017-630x354 has already started pushing Android on it’s notebooks and PC’s. Next year they will probably start pushing Android to enterprise more seriously, too, and into more sales channels, where they are now pushing Windows PC’s. Google browser, Maps, phones, glass, and so on.  Pretty high profile business and pretty good foothold in our modern technology lead lives. Google recently announced 48 billion application downloads and as more devices go live so too will the sale of the Android app accelerate. This diversity gives Android a depth which perhaps rivals will envy.

Apple:50 Billion downloads.Android poised to overtake!

 

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Apple hit 50 Billion downloads. Android poised to overtake! As reported on this blog Apple are now proud to have announced the 50 billionth app download. It’s a breath-taking number in a breath-taking world of technical accomplishment.  What makes this so noteworthy is the fact that at present smart phone penetration is still only around 50% of mobile phone users.  It is predicted that by 2017 the penetration rates in Europe will reach 80 to 90%, increasing the number of potential customers for the App store and its competitors. Penetration of Smartphones in the USA lags someway behind Europe. There is therefore obvious potential for this number to accelerate towards 100 billion in the coming years is clear.

The App store has only been open for 5 years. Its “doors” opened in July 2005 with only 500 apps available to download. That number has grown to a current choice 850,000 different apps across 23 different categories. As if that’s not enough, these apps are available alongside a further half a million or so across the other major platforms.

In fact whilst Apple celebrates this milestone the fact is that Google’s Android platform is poised to take a more prominent position in the market and currently there are 500 million more Android apps from Google Play per month beingdownloaded.  There are now 900 million Android based devices out there as compared to 600 million Apple devices.  Google claims that it has had 48 billion downloads to date and is achieving 2.5 billion per month compared to Apple’s 2 billion monthly downloads. The trend is set for the coming months. Android will be pushing for top spot in the app distributing business sooner than those at Apple may wish to admit.

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Apps Mean Business

images FOR APPSIncreasingly we turn to the web or an app for goods and services. Both provide the ideal shop window for any business wanting to be seen and heard. Apps have a further appeal because by their nature they are mobile. Mobile has become the number ONE media for consumers. To ignore this is to limit your business opportunities, reduce your market share and frankly, be left behind…the word on Commercial Street is written large and clear, get a mobile app, bring your website up to speed and link the two. Smartphone ownership is growing, for the first time ever more than 50% of all phone sales during the first quarter of 2013 were SmartPhones. Thats why Apps Mean Business.

Here’s a quick checklist of the benefits of an app for business small or large, established or start up.

  • An App will help grow your business, increase incomes, turnover and cash flow.
  • An app is always on, always available and always putting your brand in front of your customers.
  • An App will help promote your identity, your brand and your perceived image as modern and up to date. Your business icon will be visible on the user’s phone.
  • Add Push Notification and you have an immediate and easy to manage direct communication channel to those of your clients who have downloaded the app. For marketing departments this is the Holy Grail. Engage with your customers!
  • Apps will enable you to collect and collate information from your consumer base. What they like and what they want.
  • Retain existing customers by communicating with them through the app.
  • Keep updating the app either through inbuilt content management system or by refreshing content through your developer periodically.

 

Link the app to your website. A simple URL link will take your customers to your website where they can purchase goods, register their needs and more. All on the move. The mobile website in conjunction with the mobile app is here to stay and whilst many businesses have already seen the opportunities the combination offers, many are yet to adopt this beautiful synergy of app and website. In a couple of years the picture will be different as competition drives business’s investment into this channel. If they ignore it or leave it until later, their competitors will steal a march on them and grab market share. The advice from those who have already shifted gear would be: act now, bring the app and website relationship to life for your business.

There are, in addition, a plethora of productivity apps which have helped business’s . The streamlining of working practice through communications and data collection, formatting and transmission in real time has sped up so many processes, reduced paper trails and increased overall efficiencies. Each month there are new releases and not all of these are distributed widely. There are many thousands of Enterprise release apps which have helped business’s gain an edge on their competitors.

Here at App Developers UK we have created several business apps in this category and know from first hand testimony how powerful these apps can be out there in the field. One client commissioned us to create an app which links to their in house database of over 50 thousand component parts, each with a varying price. These can be schematically created on an iPad on the customer’s premises to give a real immediacy and to create a superb sales opportunity, whether it be fulfilling a need of the customer or up-selling.

 

Smart Phones Rule the World.

smartphoneSmart Phones rule the World. Or at least they do in the world of mobile telecommunications. Smart Phones sales in  2012 outnumbered sales of the alternative Feature phones for the first time . For some observers it’s surprising that it took so long! These days the ability to personalize this most personal of items gives the mobile phone a social and economic significance beyond merely a means of communication. In decades to come the current explosion of social networking sites, together with communications on the move will be seen as a key period of transition from desktop communication  to  pocket and mobile communication. The picture is however complicated because there remain many areas of the globe which do not have the appropriate levels of infrastructure which are needed to support the data rich services enjoyed by Smart Phone users. In these developing regions the feature phone remains dominant and extremely important aspect of the communications network.

dumbphone

Indeed as is increasingly touted, the mobile phone is now more accurately described as a pocket computer that just happens to have a phone built in. The computing capability of these Smart Phones has increased at such a fast rate that the expectation for a mobile phone to achieve ever more complex and high quality functions has hardly shown signs of slowing. Apps enable personal fine tuning of the device and crate enormous revenues for the app platforms as well as for the developers. Its almost a perfect synergy between manufacturer, developer and consumer need.

With this in mind its not surprise that Smart Phones finally hold the bigger slice of the mobile phone market across the globe. Of all phones purchased throughout 2012, 51.6% were Smart Phones.  According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly mobile Phone Tracker the total sales for all phones shipped during the first quarter of 2013 has reached 418.6 million phones. So annually just shy of 2 billion mobile phones were shipped in 2012 and a billion of these were Smart Phones.

Amongst the big hitters in the Smart Phone world the competition is fierce as each strives for increased market share. So far this has helped bring us fantastic styling, great features and an increasingly robust range of devices. Samsung, Apple, HTC, Nokia to name but a few are already household names in the West and making increasing inroads into the relatively new but rapidly emerging markets in the rest of the world. There’s a long way to go before certain developing nations are able to benefit from the data rich services carried by Smart Phones and until networks are strengthened throughout these economies the Feature phone will retain its place as an important communications tool.

MWC 2013 Mobile Security: Key Points

mobile world congressSecurity was a big theme at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Every major name was in attendance, touting their latest innovations for smartphones and tablets. But aside from promoting their products there were some very interesting points being made about the current state of mobile security around the world.

 Users don’t understand mobile security

This was one point made over and over by everyone we spoke to: a lack of awareness is allowing mobile viruses to propagate and opening users up to dangerous security breaches.

It took years for computer owners to understand that they needed to have anti-virus and that you shouldn’t just go clicking every attachment found in an email, and unfortunately mobile security right now is in the same state as PCs in the mid-90s.

Too many people are surprised to discover that anti-virus is even a possibility on a mobile phone, and users will blindly trust apps without taking the time to check permissions. Many don’t even have a PIN code or password protecting their phone – Norton Antivirus thinks this could be around 35% of users, but McAfee estimates it might be as high as 50%.

Security companies are trying to educate (of course, they want to sell software) but manufacturers could do a lot more to raise awareness.

 Android is the most popular target for viruses

Android is, unfortunately, the mobile platform most under threat from viruses and hackers.  There are two main reasons for this.Android is, unfortunately, the mobile platform most under threat from viruses and hac

First is popularity. Last year alone 144 million Android-powered devices were sold all over the world (compared to 43 million iPhones). That’s a huge, tempting target for nefarious types who want to create the biggest impact. And with so many of these Android phones being sold in developing countries or to kids and smartphone newcomers, the victims are more likely to fall prey to their tricks.

Secondly, Android is a much easier target. It’s not that it has a significantly higher number of exploits than other platforms, but its focus on openness and freedom means virus writers have other options for getting their malware onto an Android phone. Which leads to our next point…

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Piracy and unofficial app stores pose a huge threat

These are two of the major avenues for distributing Android viruses.

By default an Android device will not allow you to install software from somewhere other than an official source, however this is simply an option in the settings menu. Disable that and you can ‘sideload’ by copying .APK installations to the device memory.

That’s why Android piracy is such an issue, but it doesn’t just pose a problem for developers having their hard work used for free – virus writers like to attach their code to pirated apps then send them out into the wild where they’ll be available on forums, file sharing networks and even pirate app stores. Users just think they’re getting something for free, not realising that there’s an unpleasant surprise hiding in the background.

App stores are another trouble spot. Google Play is the standard app store but there is nothing stopping third parties setting up their own, which is often what happens in places such as India and China where they do not fulfil the requirements for carrying Google Play.

Unfortunately these sources are often poorly curated so it’s very easy for viruses to slip in and end up on the phones and tablets of unwitting users who think they can trust the outlet.

Now this isn’t to say that viruses never appear on the iPhone, but with nothing other than the Apple App Store (and no way to install software) on unmodified iPhones this is not the issue it is with Android.

Author Bio: Matt Powell is the editor for the broadband, smartphone and tablet information site Broadband Genie. You can follow him on Twitter @broadbandgenie

Google Glass. Excitement Mounts.

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Google Glass. Excitement Mounts.The heat is being turned up on the Google Glass front. This week Google has been dropping hints and appetizers about what the Google Glass product will actually deliver in terms of specification.

On Monday the news concerned an exciting sounding Explorer edition for starters. These will include a 5 mega pixel camera with ability to capture up to 720p video as well as an impressive 16gb on board storage.

In terms of the usefulness or desirability we have already aired some doubts here at App Developers UK but it has to be said that with a marketing budget and brand such as Google we are expecting a significant interest from the buying public. Will you be amongst the early adopters or will you wait for subsequent iterations? Its fun to be in on a product early doors but the fun may be reduced by cost factors. As yet we are not sure what the price of these little Goggle, er,…. Google Glasses will be but rumour has it you will need to part with “serious dollar” to get hold of a pair.

The idea of having a stream of images in front of your eyes may get your juices going, and according to insiders the effect is going to be a little bit like looking at a medium sized TV from a distance of 8 feet away. That’s amazing. How the deuce does this impact on normal daily function’s like walking? I mean in a crowd, you have a high def. TV image in front of you, aren’t you in danger of walking into traffic?  The sound moreover is to be delivered by “bone conduction”. Wow!

Back to basics, there will be a decent Wi Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and a micro usb for charging and data transfers. The MyGlassApp which is already available on the Google Play store, will enable interactivity between the Glasses and any Ice Cream 4.0.3 loaded Android mobile.

In all of this the one fact we cannot ignore is that the availability of this product in the Google stable is important because its a clear differentiator between Android and its biggest rival handset producer, Apple.  Will Apple devotees now consider a cheaper Android device as a second device so that they can run the Google Glass device? Willl this allow Google to tempt these cross platform users to further treats via their Glasses?The future is Clear, the future is Glass. Or not?