Coming soon! – iBeacons

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iBeacons-Coming to a venue near you soon!

It seems to be on the lips of every marketing agency, it’s the buzzword of the year, it’s the retailers recurring fantasy come true, it’s the ….  ” but …  but……WAIT a minute!!  surely it’s just a bit of technology and it’s got some obvious retail and other public space applications”. Thanks Homer.

iBeacons use Bluetooth 4 technology to broadcast messages to Mobile phones. The iBeacon itself is inexpensive and mobile. They can be put almost anywhere. Imagine you are at a rock concert and the merchandiser wants to get a message to all the audience in front of the stage, or arriving in their thousands at Wembley Stadium… but how?.. what about pairing?, what about distance and …..hold on there fellah !  with the iBeacon there’s no need to have paired devices and the range is typically greater than you would associate with standard Bluetooth, up to 50 metres at the moment. Imagine the potential  where the beacon could reach every one of the tens of thousands of people walking down Wembley Way towards or away from the stadium. The possibilities are many and varied for selectively blatting a message to these passers-by as they exit a game, hungry, thirsty and tired perhaps. Hotels/restaurants, bars , burger joints and hot dog vans  alike will be able to entice people with direct marketing appeals at specified events  turning it on or off like a tap as their facility fills to capacity…………..or their beer runs out….ibeacon2

When will this “hit the streets” so to speak? Well…that’s a good one, it’s definitely about to land in a significant way, in fact, 200 million iOS devices can already serve as transmitters and receivers  – yes, Apple have built in  the technology and it’s called Apple iBeacon into the iOS7iPhone operating system.  To be clear, the Apple iPhone beacons are two way iBeacons for receiving a signal and for transmitting.  There are other,  third party beacons, which simply act as transmitters of data /messages which are received by the iPhone and numerous Android devices too including the ever popular galaxy range from Samsung.

…. Any more objections?  Yes sure, what powers these iBeacons?  – great point, they are low energy, have self contained power source – (cell battery!), so can be installed and left alone (low maintenance) and are thought to have a battery span of about 2 years…. since they work on pulse rather than continuously draining a battery… Yes two years!. Next.? How does it work in practice…? Ahaah, OK, yes… well,… from a user perspective it’s a case of “Wow – where did that come from?”. But in fact When a smartphone enters within an  iBeacon’s range (up to 50m), the beacon’s signal triggers content from either a local database or cloud-based storage. The smartphone user will see a notification on their home screen saying a discount, incentive or appropriate product is available at such and such a place .  What if the phone is locked? It gets to them even if the phone is locked, relax.ibeacon3

That’s what I’m talking about, targeted marketing , targeted by time, place, people events products …what about putting this into a shop, there’s a special offer on those shoes, lets hit everyone within 15 metres of the shoe shop with this offer, lets sell shoes !….and everything else besides. Beacons will be used in all sorts of public spaces to inform as well as to sell. Maybe airports will use them to direct people to the right gate, maybe an art gallery will have information on the artwork on its walls and a guide through the building to keep those crowds moving. Crowd control is a really big business in the days when mass participation activities seem to be on the increase through the marketing efforts of social media. These iBeacons may be the link on the ground that contacts and communicates any number of kinds of information to the crowds once they get together at the venue. iBeacons are here folks… let’s get ready to ……..er… be…. contacted. Yeeey!

 

 

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).

BirdTrack App Well Received

BirdTrack App Well Received - App Developers UKBirdTrack organised by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has maintained its high placing in the reference app category.

The iOS version of this fantastic resource, created by App Developers UK and featured on this blog recently, has been used by thousands of bird enthusiasts to watch the movements and track the sightings of hundreds of species of birds visiting the UK. Ratings from the app store show how well received the app has been.  As of Saturday 20th April the app was ranked 66th in the reference category. Considering the tens of thousands of reference apps on the market that’s a very impressive position.

With an estimated 5,000 downloads since its recent release. The app has been garnering some very positive feedback, for instance:  I was aware that this App was imminent and was eagerly awaiting its arrival. I wasn’t”t disappointed. This App was obviously created by someone who’d put some thought into its use. Once downloaded and synched to my BTO account I was able to enter data within seconds. Excellent App, highly recommended”

The chances are that more and more will begin to enjoy BirdTrack. If you are interested to learn about the development of this app then drop us a line here at App Developers UK.

Malware on Mobile Devices rockets by 163% in 2012.

malware A recent report on malware from mobile service provider NQ Mobile highlights that in 2012 malware threats on mobile platforms grew 163%.  This comprised of more than 65,000 identified distinct forms of app repackaging, malicious URLs and SMS phishing. 95% of all the attacks were geared towards Android devices which is normally seen as the platform of choice for malware.

Malware threats and more elaborate attacks are only likely to increase according to NQ. One of the more concerning malware attacks uses an Android device as a launch platform when connected to a computer via USB, enabling it to infect a far greater number of hosts. In a recent release, NQ Mobile co-CEO Omar Khans said that what’s needed is a system that can detect threats in advance of infection and prevent them, something that so far hasn’t really been widely available.

According to NQ Mobile’s report in excess of 32.8 million Android devices were infected in 2012, this is an increase of over 200% on 2012.  This figure does need to be put in to context in relation to the explosion in mobile devices over the course of the last year.  According to ABI Research there will be in excess of 798 million active Android devices by the end of 2013 compared to 300 million from early 2012.

The iOS platform does suffer from infection but on a much lower scale mainly due to the strict review process that all apps have to pass through before being allowed in to the App Store.  Some still do get through but mainly these are apps that are leaking more personal data than is strictly required for the app to operate.

www.appdevelopersuk.com have put together some handy tips that will help to protect your mobile devices from unwanted malware.

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  • Before downloading apps make sure that they are from a reputable source.
  • Always be wary of downloading an app that has no user rating or poor user ratings.
  • Read the user reviews before downloading.
  • Popular apps are frequently cloned so make sure you are installing the app that originates from the company that developed the app in the first place.  If in doubt Google.
  • Be suspicious of tapping links in emails even if they are from friends.
  • Never click links from that are sent from unknown SMS senders.
  • If running an Android device look in to installing an anti virus app like AVG Mobile or Norton.

WhatsApp for iOS changing to annual subscription fee

What’s App for iOS changing to annual subscription fee

WhatsApp for the Apple iOS platform will be getting a slight change in the coming weeks as the cross platform messaging service will be going from its current flat fee download charge to the more standardised Annual payment system that is used by other platforms.

WhatsApp has historically been available on the Apple App store for iOS for a small nominal fee of £0.69 and from then onwards it has been free but with the explosion of the app on other platforms including Windows Phone 8 OS and android the app is now going to follow on with the Annual pricing system.

All other OS users get access to the WhatsApp messenger free for the first year of service (this is when you build up contacts and messages with your friends) then after this time the service goes to a yearly subscription for just 0.69p.

As anyone who uses the service will attest it is well worth the meager 69p that it costs for the annual subscription as the Messenger allows you to send free messages, Images and videos across the world and to all platforms free of charge.

WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum has reportedly revealed the change in iOS price plans to a Dutch journalist Alexander Klöpping, saying that while the company is relaxed on exact dates, the switch is definitely on the 2013 road map.

Koum also stated that the new pricing will only happen for new users so if you’ve already downloaded WhatsApp on iOS, you won’t need to pay for the Annual premium.

No reasons were stated over the pricing change but it makes sense to streamline and bring all of the pricing’s for all OS’s into one line.

Source: TechCrunch

Download: WhatsApp

 

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