The Distimo API provides access to download data, app sales revenue, in-app revenue, rankings, and reviews for all major app stores as well as breakdowns by location and devices. This is an incredible tool for developers, as they can build systems that will respond to this data in real-time, increasing their ability to build user-bases and monetize their apps. Users can track 10 apps at a time, and developers can track all of their own apps, but to see all the data for all apps, an AppIQ subscription is needed. The cost of the AppIQ subscription is 1,200 Euros every month.
The Mendor Discrete is a device meant to simplify the process of measuring blood-sugar levels that diabetics have to do so often. The supplies that a diabetic must carry and use are as follows: the meter, test strips, a control solution, and lancers – the Discrete contains all of these items and is currently being tested with 1,000 people in Finland. Mendor has also developed the Mendor Balance, which is a cloud-based service for doctors and patients to communicate meter results efficiently and stay healthy.
Here’s the article on VentureBeat: http://venturebeat.com/2013/11/14/mendor-simplifies-life-for-diabetics-with-a-blood-sugar-metering-kit/
Pre-fetching is a method for loading Webpages and other content in a (ideally) quick way; necessary content for the requested page is loaded first, while subsequent pages are loaded in the background. The goal of this method is to load an entire site at once, making the user’s navigation to other pages faster and more seamless. For example, a user opens a website and the Home-page opens. While the user is looking at the Home-page, the other pages are pre-loaded in the background so they won’t need to be loaded when the user navigates elsewhere. However, if this method is done incorrectly, the Home-page can fail to load quickly while other content is being loaded and the entire process defeats itself.
Keynote, a company that runs analyses on websites and applications, released new data on startup times. Uber, an application for finding personal drivers and transportation, was tested as having a very long startup time of 19.6 seconds. The Uber app uses pre-fetching to load its content, although it is an excellent example of using the method incorrectly. When the Uber website is loaded, over 50 HTTP requests are sent, and the slow startup time is due to many non-essential elements being loaded before those that are essential to the user.
Here’s more about how the Uber apps use Pre-fetching, and why it is implemented poorly: http://venturebeat.com/2013/11/07/why-are-ubers-apps-slow-to-load-its-due-to-pre-fetching/
A Vancouver-based company called Roam Mobility will be releasing the first data plan for accessing the mobile Web that is based on being anonymous. The service operates via a SIM card and an unlocked mobile device.
Here’s how it works, from the article on VentureBeat: “You buy a self-activating Ready SIM card for an unlocked smartphone, tablets or hotspot. You insert that Ready SIM card into a GSM-compatible device, such as those that connect to T-Mobile’s network. You can send a text message with your ZIP code to activate the plan. You don’t have to register or reveal any personal information. The SIM activates immediately, and Ready SIM uses the ZIP to assign you a phone number with a local area code.”
Around 7,500 people from various major world cities were polled by Ericsson for a new report on their mobile device desires and needs. Here are some common topics that were mentioned:
- Traffic – Almost half of those surveyed want an improved personal navigator/GPS for both inside and outside navigation.
- Childcare – ICT-enabled child-care services are desired/predicted in the future.
- Communication – People mentioned a need for improved mobile communication with authority (such as contacting police).
- Food – A desire for restaurant ingredient-checkers was frequently mentioned and expected in the near future.
Mobile technology is inevitably booming, and smartphone users are clearly embracing any and all innovations in the field. It is important to understand that people are ready for change and welcoming of any improvements that mobile technology can help bring to their lives.
Here is the press release from Ericsson – http://www.ericsson.com/news/1738816
And the report in its entirety – http://www.ericsson.com/res/docs/2013/consumerlab/smartphones-change-cities.pdf
The Nexus 5 is planned to be released on Halloween, and some information about the device has already leaked to media outlets. A new report from Rightware, a company that does performance ratings on mobile devices, claims that the new Nexus 5 will be the most powerful Android device for gaming created yet. Apple’s latest iPhone 5S is the only mobile device that has posted higher scores than the new Nexus 5.
Here’s an article about the report: http://hothardware.com/News/Google-Nexus-5-Posts-Best-Gaming-Benchmark-Among-Android-Smartphones/
Juniper Research’s new report is predicting that mobile advertising will grow from the $13 billion/year that it is today and grow to just under $40 billion. In-app advertising is also reported as the fastest-growing method of mobile ad delivery, while India is the fastest growing region and is predicted to grow 400 percent by 2018 (also, the most receptive to mobile advertisements according to Nielsen’s Mobile Consumer report).
Here’s an article about the report on VentureBeat: http://venturebeat.com/2013/10/22/mobile-advertising-to-grow-300-hit-40-billion-by-2018/
Here’s the report by Juniper: http://www.juniperresearch.com/reports/mobile_advertising
A second version of Lenovo’s Miix tablet will be released this month; the Miix2 runs Windows 8.1 on an 8″ screen using Intel’s latest quad-core processor. The mobile device will cost approximately $299 USD, and for an extra $20 you can include a protective cover and stylus.
Here’s Lenovo on the Miix2: http://news.lenovo.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=1726
Article with images: http://www.gizmag.com/lenovo-miix2/29434/
A mobile app by the name of “Breathometer” received $2M in funding yesterday (October 17, 2013) – the app’s goal is to give BAC readings via a breathalyzer device that is integrated with the app. If you give a reading that is over the legal limit, the app will help you find alternative transportation. In April of this year, the app raised a little over $138k through an IndieGoGo campaign, while yesterday’s round of funding came from Mark Cuban (the creators appeared on his show “Shark Tank”) and firms Structure Capital VC and Dillon Hill Capital. Available now for preorder, the device will cost $50 and connects through the mobile device’s audio jack.
Article here: http://venturebeat.com/2013/10/17/breathometer-funding/
Sony has begun development of a device that will supply twice the supply of previous chargers, and allow for this to be done through wireless charging specifications. Wireless charging is not necessarily a brand new concept, but Sony’s new device is planned to be able to recharge a mobile device quicker than any other method.
The device is expected to be at market in late 2014.
Article here: http://e.nikkei.com/e/fr/tnks/Nni20131007D07JSN02.htm
More on the wireless charging can be found here: http://www.wirelesspowerconsortium.com/
Google has extended their Cloud Platform to iOS developers (made available to Android developers in April), which will take care of server-side development while allowing developers to focus more on their applications.
The Mobile Backend Starter can:
- Store data in the cloud and share between users
- Send device-to-device push notifications
- Use continuous queries to notify devices of data changes
- Authenticate users using Google Accounts
Server-side coding is optional, which frees developers to focus on the user-interface, logic, and other tasks that are specific to the application being developed. The Mobile Backend Starter, like other Google AppEngine applications, is free to use until significant scale is reached.
Here’s an article about the tools on VentureBeat: http://venturebeat.com/2013/10/09/googles-new-cloud-development-tools-for-iphone-apps-are-a-complete-strategic-masterpiece/
And on Google’s Developers site: https://developers.google.com/cloud/samples/mbs/
A dossier is a collection of information about one subject or person – “Refresh” is a mobile application that collects information about people that you encounter with the intention of enabling quicker social connections and productivity. The app pulls its data from social media and other websites to create a report that can be used quickly and on a mobile device. “Refresh” is being developed by a company of the same name and although the app is still in beta, Refresh, Inc. received $10m in funding from three venture capital firms.
Here is an article about the Refresh app and its new funding: http://venturebeat.com/2013/10/08/refresh/
Here is the app in the App Store (still in beta): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/refresh-app/id582438442?ls=1&mt=8
Phone cases that supply extra battery power have been a new fad among mobile devices. There are many new choices that will give devices a longer charge via an external power supply enclosed in the case. Mipwr, a startup that is raising funds via Kickstarter, has a new take on a charging case: mechanical power. Their “Dynamo” case contains a lever that can be repeatedly squeezed by the user and will turn a magnetic dynamo (an electric generator) to supply more power. Mipwr estimates that a minute of manual lever-squeezing will equate to about 30 seconds of extra talk time on the device.
Here’s an article about Mipwr’s charging case: http://www.gizmag.com/mipwr-dynamo-iphone-charging-case/29235/
Apple iOS 7 users have taken to the Apple Support Forums to discuss how the new mobile operating system is making them (literally) sick. The zoom animations and parallax effects are new features to iOS 7, and has caused many discussions on the Apple Forums with keywords like “headache”, “motion sickness”, “dizziness”, and “eye strain”.
Here is the article, with links to discussions on the Apple Support Forums and a brief guide to reduce the motion of certain effects on the operating system: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/09/26/apples_ios_7_makes_some_fanbois_want_to_puke_literally/
Twitter reportedly has one billion registered users, but only about a quarter of those are active. Twitter has announced that they plan to redesign the app in order to provide an “easier, faster, and richer experience.” There will be new navigation buttons as well as features like “mini profiles” and “related content” to add to the user experience. Just like with iOS 7 and any other major user-interface update, it’s not unlikely that people will despise the new changes.
Here’s the details on Twitter’s blog: https://blog.twitter.com/2010/better-twitter
On Monday (9/23), Microsoft released new iterations of their tablet line; the Surface 2 and the Surface 2 Pro. Microsoft also released a new version of their Touch Cover keyboard to go with the Surface devices, which is equipped with more sensors and is thinner and lighter than its predecessor.
Here’s a look at the new devices on TechCrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/23/meet-microsofts-surface-2-surface-pro-2-new-touch-type-covers-and-more/
The Telepathy One is a device being developed by Takahito Iguchi, and is planned to be a direct competitor with Google’s Glass device. Iguchi states that he plans to beat Google to market and sell for a price lower than what Google will sell their devices for.
Iguchi’s device is still in its development stages and could be rushed so that its deadlines can be met, but being first to market can be incredibly advantageous regardless of the quality of the product.
Here’s the article on Mashable about the Telepathy One – http://mashable.com/2013/04/24/telepathy/
The latest iteration of the iPhone, the 5S, has a new A7 chip with a 64-bit architecture – a first for mobile devices. This article presents some thoughts and criticisms from developers that CNET apparently spoke to – the largest improvement mentioned is the 64-bit architecture ‘s ability to access more memory than its 32-bit predecessor.
Read the entire article here: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57603700-94/ready-or-not-iphone-5s-pushes-apps-into-the-64-bit-future/
Starting on July 22 of this year, Canonical Ltd. started an IndieGoGo campaign (similar to Kickstarter) to raise funds for bringing a Ubuntu-based phone, called The Edge, to market. Their goal was $32million, which they needed to reach by August 21 or give it all back per IndieGoGo’s fixed-funding rules. They ended up raising just under $13million by that date, which would have set a record for crowd-sourced funding if they didn’t have to give it back to the donors (record held by Pebble smartwatch – $10.2million – on Kickstarter).
Although this funding campaign technically failed, it still proved that there is almost $13million in interest right now for a Ubuntu-based mobile device. Android and iOS are dominant operating systems in mobile technology at the moment, but that is not to say that mobile users aren’t hungry for something else. It is important for developers and users of technology to keep looking towards the future and not get stuck in any one paradigm – don’t be surprised if (when) Ubuntu finally debuts on mobile and disrupts the market we’ve known.
Read the article here: http://techcrunch.com/2013/08/22/edge-crowdfunding-fail/
Smartwatches are coming – Nissan just released the Nismo Watch, Qualcomm with their Toq, and Samsung has their Galaxy Gear. Giovanni Mancini of E Ink provides some food for thought on why these new smart watches will not necessarily take off right away; they create an extra distraction for the user without providing them a new and unique service.
- Size and Weight – Smartwatches are bulky at the moment – the screens, processors, and especially the batteries create a larger device on the wrist than humans are accustomed to. Mancini suggests that smart watches can be made smaller by having only enough computing power for handling a specific niche (such as exercise) and defer to its smartphone counterpart for any heavy processing that may need to be done.
As developers and technologists, it is important to pay attention to these trends and understand them as an experiment in usability – how do users really want to consume mobile content?
Companies are searching for a way to allow people to use their devices without digging in their pockets and staring down at their smartphones as they walk down the street. Google Glass is one approach, and perhaps a Smart Watch is another – only time and the hype cycle will tell if these devices are needed or if users would just rather lose themselves in their smartphones and tablets.
A concise user-response on Reddit about the costs of mobile app development and how they are commonly misunderstood by people with the “next billion-dollar app” idea. An important read for protecting yourself as a developer and understanding some of the realities of mobile application development.
An intriguing explanation of how many mobile and social games have been successfully monetized. Techniques include creating app-specific premium currency (like chips in a casino), relieving users of difficult tasks/levels with a small fee (sometimes referred to as a “boost”), and creating the illusion that advancement in the game is based on skill and not on spending.