Uber: A lesson from History.

imagesJudging by the headline this afternoon the UBER app which we wrote about a couple of weeks ago is about to deliver a lesson from history. UBER is causing unrest amongst the traditional Black Cab drivers. As reported on the BBC this afternoon, the situation is summed up thus:

“Black-cab driver Lloyd Baldwin is in no doubt. “Our beef with Uber is that these drivers have come straight into London, and have been licensed straight away by Transport for London. We’re regulated to within an inch of our lives.”    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology

Which is a pretty legitimate reason for concern.  The question is however, just how much should the rise of technology be tempered by the logic of social  adhesion, social order or tradition?

This isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened. Remember the luddites? Not first hand ofcourse but through your school days their place in history was often featured.  For a quick reminder visit http://www.victorianweb.org/history/riots/luddites.html  where the following makes the parallel clear.

“Luddites were men who took the name of a (perhaps) mythical individual, Ned Ludd who was reputed to live in Sherwood Forest.  The Luddites were  trying to save their livelihoods by smashing industrial machines developed for use in the textile industries of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire………  The men merely were attacking what they saw as the reason for the decline in their livelihoods.”

And since then there have been countless similarly impassioned cries to temper or regulate the march of technology as it smashes through the professions and skills of our forefathers. Any automation in any factory has destroyed livelihoods of many and created new jobs for a few. The GCE level knowledge of social history that most of us carry around should be enough to help us recognise the tensions that are inevitable when technology advances.  Motor industry, Henry Ford’s first production line, The Coal industry, Steel, and above all, farming. Imagine the dissenting voices as the first motorised tractors took to the countryside, doing the work of 20 labourers for a fraction of the price. There were indeed ructions and convulsions throughout the land as transport improved, allowing movement of machinery by canal and later by road, increase in commerce developed and new methods and ideas spread quickly to revolutionize land use.

The Black Cab drivers are appealing to that great friend of civilized society – “Justice”. Their position is that only they, who are regulated by Transport for London, should be permitted to use a “metering system”. This is seen to be sacrosanct amongst cabbies and they are adamant that the use of a smart phone which measures time and distance via satellite and GPRS technology, constitutes metering.  Thats a no brainer isn’t it? Measuring time and distance……. is metering, no argument there! That being a fact they argue that its unfair for UBER to use such a meter. That’s their point and some may say that it’s a pretty feeble one based on arbitrary rule dreamt up in a bygone era (ie the 60s!). Rules change, sands shift, horizons adjust. Why not allow a competitor to meter i.e. measure time and distance?. Cabbies have no IP of measuring time and distance surely?

Well, since this is not meant to be a social history blog that’s history finished for today. Lets treat this topic as food for thought. The UBER app (available on both Apple and Google Play, seems to be a further advancement in what is a technologically determined age that we live in. That’s the point surely. It is widely acknowledged that this is the age of technology so why would anyone be surprised when a little advancement occurs and disrupts the traditions and rocks the Status Quo. Roll on UBER 2. As sure as chips are chips, and satellites are satellites ringing the planet enabling the communications, mapping and other technologies of today, it’ll be along sometime soon. Brace yourselves. or er…beam me up scotty.

Innovative App Launched by NHS

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Innovative App Launched by NHS

App Developers UK have developed a highly innovative new app on behalf of the NHS. The App is called Test Checker and it will tell clinicians which preoperative tests are recommended for adult surgical patients, according to the latest (June 2003) guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK.

The app works by allowing the user to enter the grade of the surgical procedure together with the ASA grade of the patient, the system(s) of co-morbidity and the age of the patient. The app uses this information to produce of the recommended tests as well as other tests to consider.

The app does not override the individual responsibility of health professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patients.

Using a very simple design the app is deliberately designed to appeal to both the patient and their clinician.

The app is available as a Free App on both Google play and on the Apple App Store, this app is expected to be a really tremendous tool for hospital practitioners.

Find it Fix it Love it – Official Press Launch.

 

fifili press launch banners 2AppDevelopersUK recently released Find it Fix it Love it, a smartphone app created on behalf of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (LBTH). This innovative app brings “people power” to the fore as it allows any member of the public to download a free app with which they can send positive or negative observations about their borough directly to their local authority. The LBTH team can assess the incoming submission and decide on appropriate actions. If there’s a broken paving stone, an upturned litter bit for instance, the appropriate service can be organised to tackle the issue.  On the other hand, if someone wants to report how much they like a particular flowerbed bench or other amenity, they can report this too. Everyone likes positive feedback and the LBTH is no exception.

We expect that this approach has added benefits of allowing the council to work in a highly efficient way, collecting useful information from the residents of the borough. In addition the feel-good factor between council and its residents is promoted because there is the sense of the local authority listening and acting upon news and information provided by its residents. The app enables a really useful channel of real communication to be developed with all participating residents. The app is available on both Apple and Google Play and the official press release is shown below.

Tower Hamlets Council launches Find it, Fix it, Love it App

Tower Hamlets Council has a new tool in its armory to further improve the appearance and maintenance of the borough in the shape of a new, innovative smart phone app, Find It, Fix It, Love It.

The Find it, Fix it, Love it app has been launched as part of the council’s commitment to making the borough an even cleaner and safer place to live, work or visit and will enable users to share what they love about the borough.
Through Find it, Fix it, Love it the council wants people to send pictures and share their thoughts of the many great aspects of the borough; anything from a special place or landmark, to a quirky shop or local character.

By using the app residents and visitors can also instantly tell the council about any issues that need addressing such as graffiti, fly tipping, broken play equipment, pot holes or over flowing bins.

Users simply take a picture of a problem and the app will pinpoint their location and send the details directly to the council’s environmental contractors, ensuring that problems are dealt with swiftly. The app also allows residents to highlight specific areas on the image or send comments and contact details if they want feedback, but this is optional, making the process very quick and simple.

Launching the app, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, said: “Find it, Fix it, Love it” is simple to use and an innovative reporting approach for issues. The app will also be great for showing what people love about the borough. There are so many good things in Tower Hamlets and it will be fascinating to see what people think are our hidden gems.”

Cllr Shahed Ali, cabinet member for the environment, added: “The reporting side of the app will enable us to efficiently and effectively deal with problems. I encourage residents to help with reporting issues as we can’t be in all places at all times. I’m excited by the potential use of the app and the role it can play in reducing costs and improving efficiencies in dealing with clean and green issues.”

Jamie Blake, Service Head, Public Realm, said: “Find it, Fix it, Love it has been developed to meet the reporting needs of the mobile generation. The app is unique as it focuses on the positives of the borough whilst also allowing users to report problems that may occur. The app will hopefully capture the imagination and allow us to build a unique picture of Tower Hamlets through the eyes of our residents and visitors to the borough as they tell us why they “love it.”

The app has proved popular during the pilot phase with over 100 reports being made to date.

Download the Find it, Fix it, Love it app for free at the Apple App Store or via Google Play, search for FiFiLi. For more information about using the Find it, Fix it, Love it app visit www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/clean.
October 23, 2013

XploreGhana! App from AppDevelopersUK

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XploreGhana! App from AppDevelopersUK has just been released on both the Google Play and Apple app stores.

This is one of those apps that has been fun for our developers to work with. Its very simple and very useful for all those planning a trip to this fantastic country.  The app includes an RSS feed of news views and opinions about subjects relevant to the user. Rather than use further words describing it I will include a number of screenshots and a live link to both stores so that you can check it out for yourselves. It’s completely FREE to download.

Give it a try.XploreGhana!

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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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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?

Advertising on Apps

imagesSpend on digital advertising has grown past the 5 billion dollars during 2012. Advertising on Apps is big buisness, infact the mobile element of this growth accounts for over 50% of the growth. That’s even more impressive against falling or stagnating Ad spend in other sectors.  Mobile adverts, so often carried in apps are right there at the forefront of the advertising business.

What does this mean for apps? The exciting aspect of this growth is that it gives additional weight to the view that apps can generate significant advertising income. If even a small share of the huge advertising spend is being channelled via the app world then this should give inspiration to those looking to develop an app.

The numbers show an increase in the mobile sector of 323 million pounds in 2012. Not forgetting this is an austerity phase of economic activity adds even more weight to the significance of these figures.

In the UK  the high take-up of broadband and the continuing rise of smartphones and tablet computers have helped establish this improvement in sales into the mobile sector and helping the advertising community see mobile as just as important as any other digital platform. In Britain the market has 2/3 penetration in terms of smart phone ownership. That’s a very large section of the population and gives advertises confidence that their message will be seen and heard. Further segmentation by platform naturally follows.

“Advertisers are increasingly buying integrated campaigns across online and mobile rather than regarding mobile as an afterthought,” director of research and strategy at the IAB Tim Elkington said.

And what of the future. Analysts think that when 4G is established the power and potential will leap further as speeds of delivery of data will enhance the experience for users. Better muliti- tasking, faster downloads, higher resolutions all add value to this already burgeoning sector. Here at App Developers UK we are expecting a maturation of the market as the tail begins to wag the dog. In other words the ads may become the prime motivator for the creation of an app rather than the other way around. Watch this space.

 

Introducing: SMS Spin

Our latest app is here! SMS Spin is a fun app for iPhone and Android users with a twist. Ever wanted to break the ice with somebody, or perhaps get a conversation started with something completely random and out of the blue? SMS Spin does just that.

Available on iPhone and Android through the App Store aniOS Simulator Screen shot 15 Mar 2013 16.57.00d Play Store respectively, SMS Spin is a fun app that allows you to play a sort of Russian roulette, but with text messaging.

Choose low stakes, pick a contact from your phone book and spin the wheel to send a completely random pre-written text message. Watch out for the naughty and embarrassing options though, which could result in some very interesting replies indeed!

Opt for high stakes and things get really interesting. Here you don’t get to pick out a contact to send your random message to – SMS Spin picks somebody from your contacts list completely at random. Combine that with a spin of the wheel to decide which type of text to send and things certainly get interesting.

When spinning the wheel you’re dicing with random text messages that come under a selection of categories; Funny, Random, Smart, Naughty, Embarrassing and Random. Once the wheel has landed on one of these categories you can choose to send an SMS. Then all that’s left to do is sit back and nervously await a reply!

SMS Spin uses slick casino table-style graphics with gorgeous fonts and a smooth user interface to make the app both simple and a pleasure to use. Thanks to the layout it’s easy to pick up an iPhone or Android phone with SMS Spin loaded and start having fun within seconds.

Check out SMS Spin in action below and download it from the App Store on iPhone or the Play Store on Android now. A word of warning – don’t go using the high stakes option if you have your boss saved in your contacts book!