Monthly Archives: May 2014

14 Wearable Smart Devices You Should Watch Out For

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
Hussain Fakhruddin
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Wearable smart devices are the new in-things, in the domain of mobile technology. As techies all over wait for the final verdict on Google Glass and the arrival of iWatch, we do a roundup of the wearable gadgets that have already been commercially launched in the market.

There is considerable buzz at present over the probable success (or otherwise!) of the Google Glass. As far as Apple is concerned, it is being said that the fortunes of CEO Tim Cook hinges on whether the soon-to-release iWatch becomes a hit worldwide. iWatch and Google are, however, far from being the only two wearable smart devices of note. There are many other types of such sophisticated, web-enabled tools and gadgets. In this piece, we take a look at some of them:

Garmin Vivofit

Dedicated to monitor personal fitness and activity levels on a real-time basis, Garmin Vivofit comes with enhanced GPS support features. On the device, you can set your ‘goal countdown’ for burning calories, and keep track of the distance covered by you at any time of the day. Alarms can be set, to remind you that it’s time to get up and do your exercises. If you stay curled up on the couch for over an hour, a red bar (which grows with time) appears on the curved display screen of Vivofit. The pocket pinch for this smart fitness accessory is a reasonable $130.

Basis Health & Heart Rate Monitor

Disturbed sleep leads to lingering feelings of tiredness, and, in the long-run, an overall deterioration of health conditions. You can now get an early pointer about the duration and quality of sleep you are catching up on every day, with Basis. The device has multi-feature sensors, to monitor heartbeats and calorie figures – when you are taking a nap. In short, it’s a tool to ease you into a healthier, better lifestyle.

Space FPS Gaming Vest

Contemporary mobile application developers and gaming software experts regularly churn out exciting video games – and this gaming vest is perfect for enjoying these games to the fullest. The vest has as many as eight active zones, which lets users actually ‘feel’ the impact of first-person shooting and explosion games. It is priced at $139, and is just ideal if you are looking for that additional adrenalin rush while gaming!

Razer Nabu

The appearance of Nabu has some resemblance with Samsung Gear Fit – but the similarities end here. Razer has come up with this smart device to help people keep track of their phone calls and messages on the move. There are two separate screens on the device, meant for getting message notifications and for reading them. If you do not want to receive an incoming call, shaking your wrist is all that you need to do. Oh, and you can even exchange phone data with fellow-users – via a simple handshake! Cool, ain’t it?

Misfit Shine Activity Tracker

The brand name might be ‘Misfit’, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more sleek-looking mobile health device. Irrespective of whether you are walking, jogging, swimming, or even cycling – Misfit Shine will keep offering updated stats on your activity/workout levels. All the reports can be seamlessly synced with your smartphone too. The full-metal body of the tracker adds to its longevity.

Novero Bluetooth Pendant Necklace

When a call arrives, it allows you to engage in hands-free conversation – and at all other times, it serves as a lovely fashion accessory! This one-of-a-kind pendant necklace has won rave reviews from device analysts and app development companies worldwide. Apart from the Bluetooth 2.1 support, the device offers a whopping 4 hours of continuous talk time – and comes with a Micro USB charger too. The price ($348) ain’t the lowest – but the convenience factor offered by this Novero device definitely makes it a good buy.

Qualcomm Toq

While the Android-powered Qualcomm Toq smartwatch is not lacking in innovativeness, its overall sales figures remain lukewarm till date (the makers even had to announce a discount offer during CES 2014). There are chances that the device will pick up though – since touchscreen features of the Mirasol color display screen are excellent, and it boasts of a wide range of interesting, useful features. If the prices are permanently slashed by a bit, Toq can become more popular than wearables with OLED screens.

Nike Fuelband SE

Most iPhone app development experts have singled out SE (the second iteration of the Nike Fuelband series) to be the most user-friendly wearable pedometer at present. The SE is available in multiple colors, and can be automatically synced with iOS devices (without any manual actions). The connection is established via the built-in Bluetooth 4.0 of the device. Nike has improved the waterproof features of the Fuelband SE as well. At $149, it’s competitively priced too.

Lumoback

Don’t quite trust yourself to follow regular exercise routines? Get the Lumoback wearable fitness device, strap it on to your lower back – and keep getting reminders! Lumoback automatically vibrates when you remain static for a couple of hours – so that you know it’s time to get up and burn some calories. The health reports (activity charts, calorie counts, etc.) can be seamlessly transferred to iPad and/or iPhone too. Lumoback isn’t just another smart device – it’s almost like a caring guardian!

Acoustic Sheep RunPhone

If you fancy listening to music on the go, you’ll absolutely love these headphones. Two alternative brands – the Intensity and the Wireless – are available, at $150 and $100 respectively. The former model has an in-built WAV music player, while the standout feature of the latter is its wire-free headphones. The earplugs are embedded in thick, sporty headbands and even offers exclusive ‘pace-setting’ options. RunPhones bagged the prestigious Design award at CES 2014.

Sync Burn

Until we manage to get a first-hand feel of the Healthbook app on iPhone 6, Sync Burn will remain the external fitness tracking device with the most reasonable price tag ($99). Both motion intensity levels as well as cardiac rates are monitored constantly by this smartwatch, which also has Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity options. Thanks to the reversible straps of Sync Burn, it fits easily on wrists of all sizes as well.

Cute Circuit K-Dress

Oh well, this stunningly beautiful taffeta and silk chiffon smart dress does not perform any specific function, other than to, well, make the wearer look lovely. The dress has a large number of built-in LED lights, which can be switched on/off via a one-touch controller. The battery is relatively long-lasting, and recharging the dress is easy. If you don’t mind splurging a bit to look pretty, get this dress. Katy Perry was spotted in it, and she looked like a million bucks!

Magellan Echo

Yet another smartwatch (looks like iWatch will have a fair bit of competitors to deal with!), and this is an award-winning one as well. Right from streaming data to and from your smartphone handset, to letting you keep track of health metrics (heart rates, running speeds, etc.) – Echo is a smartwatch that brings to users an awesome range of functionality. You can even enjoy mobile music through the device. Sports-based mobile apps, like Strava and iSmoothRun, can be easily used with the Magellan Echo.

Vuzix Wrap 920AR

Priced at $1499, this gadget is likely to be the chief rival of Google Glass. The near-eye view of the Vuzix Wrap makes it ideal to be used with Windows computers. Pictures in both two and three-dimensional (stereoscopic) formats can be captured via the device, along with high-quality (HQ) videos. The AR feature ensures that connecting with PCs remains a glitch-free process.

 

Pebble Steel, another smartwatch which can work in collaboration with multiple Android and iPhone applications, is gradually becoming popular among users across the globe. Jawbone UP is a top-notch fitness-related wearable device, while Silicon Micro Display ST 1080 makes video-watching a richer experience than ever before. Some of these smart devices will be successful, while a few would fade away – but each of them are contributing their bit to the worldwide evolution in mobile technology.

Happy Birthday, Mark Zuckerberg! We Know These Little-Known Facts About You

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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‘Zuck’ to friends and ‘Princely’ to his mother, Mark Zuckerberg is one of the most talked-about entrepreneurs in the entire planet. On the occasion of his thirtieth birthday, we look up some intriguing facts about the life and works of the chief founder of Facebook.

Facebook founder MArk Zuckerberg

Any discussion about ‘young achievers’ across the globe would inevitably feature the name of Mark Zuckerberg. The man was not yet 20 years of age, when he conceptualised Facebook – by far the most popular social networking site in the world. The inspiring tale of Zuckerberg has even been spun in the form of a Hollywood blockbuster, ‘The Social Network’ (2010). Yesterday, Zuckerberg celebrated his 30th birthday – and we mark the occasion by sharing these interesting yet little-known tidbits about him:

Mark, the prankster 

Zuckerberg was a prankster in his teenage years

He might be one of the top entrepreneurs at present – but during childhood, Zuckerberg was the very epitome of ‘naughtiness’. Exactly at midnight on the 31st of December 1999, he and his sister switched off the main power connection at home, plunging the house to darkness. Everyone was tricked into thinking that the Y2K bug had finally arrived, and it was doomsday!

Zuckerberg’s presence on Twitter

Zuckerberg is highly popular on Twitter

Researchers from web as well as mobile app companies would agree that Facebook and Twitter are bitter rivals. That does not mean the founder of the former does not have an account on the latter though. He has – and what’s more, Zuckerberg’s Twitter account has well over 300000 followers. Zuckerberg tweets very rarely, however.

What is a television?

Mark Zuckerberg does not have a TV at home

Mark Zuckerberg, of course, knows what a television is – but he does not own one. The self-proclaimed atheist can’t care less about television programs, and prefers spending more time on the web (no surprises there!) instead. Incidentally, Zuckerberg is of Jewish origin, but is not interested in religious beliefs.

Facebook’s predecessors

Facemash preceded Facebook

Facebook did not always look like the way it does now. When Zuckerberg was a psychology sophomore at Harvard University, he came up with an inter-institute site called Facemash. Through it, students could anonymously rate their peers’ attractiveness. The site received scathing criticisms from teachers as well as many students. Zuckerberg followed it up with thefacebook.com – another profile-collection website for the university students. It was made open for the general public in 2006.

Elliot is the middle name

Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is his full name

Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is the full-name of the father of Facebook. He is part Bulgarian by birth, and was named after Marco – his maternal grandfather. Zuckerberg’s current abode? At White Plains in New York.

Blue is the warmest color

Mark Zuckerberg has red-green color blindness

Nopes, we are not quoting the name of the award-winning French movie. The vision of Zuckerberg, in the literary sense, can be summed up by this phrase. He suffers from red-green color-blindness – and has publicly stated that he can see ‘all of blue’. It’s not coincidence that the default design of Facebook has a predominantly blue theme.

Lack of interest in dressing up

Zuckerberg is probably one of the worst dressed entrepreneurs ever!

For a man of net worth more than $26.5 billion, Zuckerberg’s reluctance to experiment (or at least, vary) with his dressing style is remarkable. His day-to-day ‘Facebook t-shirt, hoodie and jeans’ combination earned him the dubious distinction of featuring in a list of ‘Worst-dressed people in Silicon Valley’ (published by GQ). To be fair, in 2009, Zuckerberg was mostly spotted wearing ties – via which he wished to convey how important it was for Facebook to tide over the worldwide recession that was raging then.

His first innovation was Zucknet

Zucknet was created to help family-members stay in touch

If you are not aware of Zucknet, you can’t be blamed. It was a messaging tool that Mark Zuckerberg came up with (at a tender age too), only for his family. His parents could send/receive messages through Zucknet – which was really handy for everyday communication requirements.

The roaring success of Synapse

Synapse Media Player was Zuckerberg's earliest successes

While still studying at high-school, Zuckerberg developed the Synapse Media Player app. From app development experts and software analysts, Synapse got positive reviews – and corporate hotshots like AOL and Microsoft came forward with lucrative job-offers to procure Zuckerberg’s services. Thank goodness he rejected these offers. Otherwise, we might not have had Facebook!

Love at the washroom

Priscilla Chan is Zuckerberg's wife

Don’t take this in the wrong sense. The founder of FB met his sweetheart, Priscilla Chan, while waiting at a queue to the loo (during a private party). The two hitched up and moved together in late-2010. A doting husband, Zuckerberg gifted his lady love $25000 worth marriage ring – to mark the special occasion. He even learned Mandarin/Chinese to communicate with his in-laws better. Understandably, Chan was one of the very first to have a Facebook profile.

Zuckerberg did not have the capital to start Facebook

Eduardo Sarvin provided the startup capital for Facebook

He currently features in the list of top-20 richest people in the world (by Forbes) – but back in the day, he did not have the capital to kickstart Facebook on his own. The social networking site received the necessary startup capital from Eduardo Saverin – a roommate of Zuckerberg’s at college. Dustin Moskovitz, another Harvard student, was the third co-founder of FB

The $1 annual salary

Mark Zuckerberg draws an annual salary of $1

This is something that Zuckerberg has in common with Bill Gates, the late Steve Jobs, and several other top-ranked tech entrepreneurs. Instead, he owns Facebook shares worth nearly $26 billion. The man used to draw a $500000+ salary till 2012, and decided to join the $1 annual salary bandwagon from the next year.

The popularity of Beast

Beast is Zuckerberg's much-loved Hungarian Shepherd

Let alone Mark Zuckerberg – even his pet Hungarian sheepdog (a Puli) has a separate profile page on Facebook, with over 1.8 million followers. The page is regularly updated with fun pictures of and posts related to the evidently much-pampered animal. Beast is quite a celebrity himself!

The youngest billionaire ever

MArk Zuckerberg became a billionaire when he was 23!

Few CEOs or even senior mobile app developers can hope to match the glittering finances of Mark Zuckerberg. He became a billionaire at the age of 23, thereby setting a record. He had started displaying his knack for creating user-friendly, innovative computer programs since he was 11, and earning big money was something that came to him easy.

Not impressed by the biopic on him

The Social Network did not impress Zuckerberg

‘The Social Network’ wowed audiences and critics all over, but the movie did not impress the man on whom it was based. After attending a screening in 2010, Zuckerberg expressed his dislike of the way in which the film showed that Facebook had been invented to earn social recognition for him. The man clearly had bigger plans even when the site was in its nascent stage.

The cheating allegation

Zuckerberg was accused of cheating at Harvard

Zuckerberg was never quite the person who always played by the rule-book. He took an independent decision to create thefacebook.com – when he was assigned to develop a site called HarvardConnection. A ‘cease and desist’ letter duly arrived from Divya Narenya and Cameron Winklevoss – the students helming the HarvardConnection project. The issue was later settled via Facebook.

Vegetarian, but with a condition

Zuckerberg follows a strict vegan diet

Mark Zuckerberg is a vegetarian, but is not dead against having meat. There is only one condition though. He will eat only the meat of animals that he kills on his own. That, understandably, hardly ever happens – and Zuckerberg manages to stay away from non-veg preparations. Strangely though, he ‘likes’ McDonald’s on Facebook!

Has special security sponsored by Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg gets special security

Zuckerberg is the life-and-blood of Facebook, and he fully deserves the additional special security he receives. Right from the security system at his home, to his personal guards – everything is paid for from the Facebook funds. Officially, the security is given due to the importance of the company, and the relevance of Mark Zuckerberg to it.

The man and his vehicle

Zuckerberg presently drives an Acura TSX car

A suave Subaru Forester was the very first vehicle that Zuckerberg owned. He currently drives around in a smart Acura TSX (black). As Zuckerberg himself said, he prefers comfy, spacious cars over those that sport flashy appearances. We are guessing that he will never think about buying a flaming red Ferrari!

Zuckerberg, the music lover

Zuckerberg lists Lady Gaga as one of his favorite singers

Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Beyonce are listed on Facebook as Zuckerberg’s favorite music stars. Daft Punk is mentioned too. In comparison, he is probably not a vociferous reader – with only ‘Ender’s Game’ listed as his favorite book.

Going one up on Google

Zuckerberg has many followers on Google Plus

Mark Zuckerberg has emerged as a more than worthy competitor of Sergey Brin and Larry Page, if popularity figures on social media are anything to go by. In 2011, Zuckerberg’s follower count on Google Plus overtook those of the latter duo. Having more followers on G-Plus than the founders of that site – now that’s something!

Dedication to work

Zuckerberg's business card has a bit of fun!

Like every successful entrepreneur, software company head, or even mobile apps expert, Zuckerberg is a hard taskmaster. Many of his colleagues recount the way in which he rebukes anyone who asks to be excused for a bit – during meetings. During the early years of FB, Zuckerberg gloated on the fact that he was a CEO, and even typed out business cards that proclaimed – ‘I’m CEO, B****.’

C++ For Dummies was given by Edward Zuckerberg to his son

For all his professionalism, Mark Zuckerberg has still remained a fun-lover at heart. He programmed Facebook in a way that, whenever someone types @[4:0] in a comment, his name is displayed. You cannot, of course, ‘block’ his own FB account. Zuckerberg’s dad, Edward deserves credit for piquing his son’s interest in programming, by gifting him a book titled ‘C++ for Dummies’. Here’s a man who has fully lived up to his promise, and then some more.

Mark Zuckerberg's tale of success is truly amazing

There’s only one thing left to say: ‘Way to go, Zuck!’

 

Android Silver – 14 Things You Should Be Aware About It

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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The Android Silver program is being billed as the next big thing to be churned out by Google, for strengthening its position in the worldwide smartphone sector. In the following piece, some key likely features and aspects of Silver have been highlighted upon.

Initially touted to be a supplementary program to the Google Nexus series of devices, Android Silver currently seems to be a much bigger initiative than that. If reports from the Android Police blog and The Information are to be believed, Google is planning to completely replace Nexus with Silver – in a bid to offer premium-grade Android experience to users. We will here acquaint fans of the Android OS with some vital tidbits related to Android Silver:

 

  1. Presence of a dedicated anti-mobile theft software – Many mobile app development companies have already released anti-theft tracking applications – but Silver would have such a software embedded in the system. It would be named ‘Never Lost’, and would literally rule out the possibilities of a handset getting lost. Tracking down your misplaced/stolen device would become easier than ever.
  2. Greater support for device manufacturers – With Silver, Google will be able to extend support to a large number of device manufacturers. The latter would be helped to manage their production, marketing as well as distribution expenses. Whenever an update would be released on the software, the handsets produced by these participating companies would be given special treatment.
  3. More consistent performance – Those up top at Google probably feel that a mobile program that adheres closely to the company’s tech specifications is required – and it is customizing Android Silver accordingly. In addition to releasing software updates at regular, frequent intervals – Silver would also boast of high-end hardware architecture. In all probability, Google will be promoting its Silver platform exclusively to the wealthier segment of Android’s worldwide customer base.
  4. Silver will reduce unnecessary competition in the market – Many software developers and mobile application development experts feel that Nexus – although qualitatively fine – stands out as a competitor to HTC, Samsung and other Android-powered phones churned out by renowned brands. Since the fight for market share between Android and iOS (the former leads by a fair distance at present) will rage on, Google is opting for the sensible option of taking down Nexus, and removing the competition between Android devices. Sure, there will be Samsung Silver jostling with HTC Silver to grab buyers’ eyeballs – but in the end, the new program will be the winner.
  5. Smooth data transition options – What if you have a Google Nexus phone, or any other old handset – and wish to transfer data from it to your new Silver device? Google will be making sure that this will never be an issue. Right from documents and files stored in the old phone, to mobile apps installed in it – almost everything can be seamlessly migrated to Android Silver devices. The data security on the Silver line of phones will also be top-notch.
  6. Better promotion support – As per reports and rumors, Google is really loosening its purse strings, to make Android Silver a big hit. Over $1 billion will reportedly be spent, to set up Silver stalls and kiosks. In-store ad displays would include video tutorials for prospective buyers (just like the ones at Amazon stores). Company personnel are also being given special training to promote the new program in the best possible manner.
  7. Android would help Google retain control over device specs – Both the hardware and the software of Nexus phones are pre-specified by Google. With the new line of Silver handsets, Google would, once again, have the final say on the design and system specifications. Individual manufacturers would have to work with similar, customized mobile development frameworks – as specified under the Silver program. Mobile development and marketing companies won’t get much scope to really differentiate their products from that of their rivals.
  8. Compatibility with third party apps – There is a buzz among Android app developers regarding this. Google has plans to pre-install a wide range of native applications in Silver – along with a selection of non-Google apps too. People would have the option of removing bloatware and/or any of these default apps as well. Android is, in any case, a more customizable OS than Apple iOS, and Silver would build on this factor.
  9. Silver would probably be rolled out sometime in 2015 – It can happen earlier, but chances for that seem unlikely. Google has already announced the Nexus 10 device – and is almost certain to not hurt its chances of success, by releasing Android Silver immediately after that. It seems like the new mobile program will make its debut in the first or second quarter next year.
  10. Silver will have the best features from Nexus and Play editions – Researchers from almost every mobile apps company feel that Silver would replace the popular Google Play Edition (which supports multiple versions of same devices) as well. There will be devices specifically designed for Silver, while simultaneous support will be provided to multiple devices. This, in essence, would mean that Silver would be an improved version of both Google Play and Nexus.
  11. Availability of more essential features – Android Silver will not be ‘just another’ replacement program scheduled to be rolled out by Google. It will have several features and controls – which are not available in existing Nexus devices, and even certain high-end iPhones. The new line of phones would have reliable waterproof properties, and would come with voice recognition software. Silver is for that ‘premium Android experience’ – and Google is trying to ensure that it lives up to the hype.
  12. Samsung might come up as a competitor – There have been telltale indications in the recent past that Samsung might be looking beyond Android as the default OS on its devices. Silver would serve as a buffer against such a scenario too. Motorola and LG have already been brought onboard for developing and marketing Android Silver phones. Even if Samsung does not part ways with Android, a strong presence of Silver would reduce the former’s overwhelming market dominance to some extent.
  13. The price factor – No concrete information is yet available regarding this issue. It might well be that Android Silver would be available at relatively low off-contract prices, like the Nexus devices. Google is presently in talks with carrier companies, and a pricing decision is expected to be reached soon. In any case, Google will be roping in multiple carriers for Silver – to ensure that device availability is never a problem.
  14. Presentation of the mobile program – The newly released Samsung Galaxy S5 bootup screen bears the words ‘powered by Android’ – and it is almost certain that devices that would come with Android Silver will have similar messages in their startup screens. That way – the brand presence of Google’s mobile OS will be strengthened. The Silver program has been designed to help OEM companies get maximum visibility for their devices too.

Android Silver, as its name itself suggests, would have a nice-looking silver case (instead of the boring plastic ones). If Google succeeds with Silver, it will not only sync the overall Android market under a common set of specifications – but would also help it maintain its edge over Apple, at least in terms of market share. From forums, blog reports and tech magazine publications, Android Silver indeed seems to be a more than worthy successor of Nexus. The actual word-of-mouth feedback would determine its final fate though!

 

AppBoard Tuesday – How to Create Great Mobile Applications?

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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Howdy, everyone!

It’s time for another edition of AppBoard Tuesday, and this time we are covering a topic that all of us are interested in. Now, all of you mobile app developers (and others who are reading this) might be aware of the technicalities involved in creating smartphone applications. However, making a useful and easy-to-operate app is not as easy as it seems at first – and getting it approved at iTunes/Play Store at the first go is a bit tricky as well. This edition of our newsletter would be focused on addressing all the queries you might have, regarding effective, successful (and financially rewarding!) mobile application development:

 

Keep the design simple and systematic

 

You guys are experienced enough in customized mobile app designing – but newbies often mess up on this factor. From the very outset, a developer needs to keep in mind that the mobile screen is way smaller than a computer – and hence, what works great on a general website is likely to appear cluttered in an app. Whatever might be the features and controls put into a smartphone application, the design has to be simple and you should never include too much of text/images/graphics in it. A slow app never works!

 

Make use of icons

While focusing on putting in visual branding elements in the splash screen and other tabs of a mobile app, the importance of icons often take a backseat. Remember, smart usage of mobile app icons serves two purposes. Firstly, if you choose well-designed, colorful ones, they can attract the attention of new users. Also, icons with pictures on them minimize the need for putting text on the app display screens. Everyone would get what an icon is about, if it has the image of a video camera on it, right?

 

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!

 

What’s the purpose of the app?

We organize workshops regularly at Teknowledge Software, and they are attended by representatives from several other mobile app development companies. It’s surprising to note how many new developers are solely concerned with showing off their programming skills by developing complicated apps – which do not have any clearly specified function. At the end of the day, your app has to be saleable – and for that, people have to feel a need for it. Clearly specify what each of your apps is supposed to do, and do not put in too many functionalities within a single application. A confused user won’t take long to uninstall an app from his/her phone!

 

Don’t make users work/think too much

Another often overlooked point. Surprising as it may sound, an average smartphone user is too reluctant to tap their way through multiple screens (no matter how creatively they are designed), to arrive at the page they are interested in. Keep the navigation simple, and make sure that all the key features of an app are accessible within a maximum of 3 taps/clicks. You can use the enormously popular Angry Birds app, or our very own Story Time For Kids application for reference.

 

Make your app customized for all devices

There are smartphones of various models. And tablets. And phablets. And feature phones. If you create a static mobile app and lie back, thinking that it would work like a charm on all devices – you are sadly mistaken. Research about the popular mobile devices in the market, their screen sizes, display resolution levels, and other such important features. Make sure that your app has custom features – so that the version displayed varies correctly with the device on which it is installed. An iPhone app that does not work on an Android handset (or vice versa) has only limited profitability scopes.

 

Use images and graphics that go with the flow

It’s a fine line between making an attractive mobile app and going overboard with high-end graphics and images that take an eternity to load. This is precisely where the importance of having an expert UI/UX designer comes into the picture (our designing team is, thankfully, world-class – according to client-reviews!). The pictures included in the app display should never distract users and/or disrupt the navigation flow of the application. Similarly, the app development graphics used should never affect its speed. Pictures that go with the flow of an application make the latter charming – while those which distract make the task of using it an absolute pain!

 

Choose the text fonts carefully

You wish to create apps that would keep users engaged, right? Well, that’s not going to happen – if the poor souls have to squint to make out what messages, instructions and other stuff that are written on the display screens. Too curvy, ornate fonts are an absolute ‘no-no’, as are fonts that are very small or stylized in any other way. Large, clear, plain fonts always work best in a mobile application – since people do not (understandably) have the patience to spend minutes to read single lines of text on their mobile.

 

Do not use too many colors

This is a factor where you need to tread with care. You do not want to create a ho-hum black-n-white app (no one would be interested to download boring apps!) – but it’s equally important to not make mobile applications a total riot of colors either. You should ideally pick and implement a main color theme (for business apps, kindly choose sober colors), and not introduce too many other color shades/motifs. Using too many colors in a single app reeks of amateurishness on the part of the developer.

 

Note: On mobile apps for kids or select gaming apps, you will have to use more colors than that on a serious business application. The onus is on you to judge the extent of color variations that would be apt for different categories of apps.

 

Avoid Flash files & Bitmaps

If you are a specialized iOS app developer, pay particular attention to this point. iPhones/iPads do not support Flash (yeah, okay, that’s a shortcoming of the OS – but what can you do?) – which makes it imperative that you do not use Flash on the splash screen or the internal display panels of your application. On Android/Blackberry apps too, do not put heavy flash files which might slow down the software. In addition, avoid using bitmaps, which do not have scalable properties. On a mobile app, vector graphics work much better.

 

Be aware of the difference between mobile websites & mobile apps

A mobile website is a customized version of a main website, meant to be viewed on the go – via the built-in browser of mobile handsets. On the other hand, an app is supposed to help users perform specific tasks/get particular information, irrespective of where they might be. As such, it would be a folly to adopt a run-of-the-mill fluid website design theme for mobile applications. Your app may or may not require online connectivity – but it is not something that is meant to be ‘viewed’ on the World Wide Web.

 

The index fingers of every individual are not of the same size, which makes it essential to design relatively wide buttons and tabs (so that those with relatively thicker fingers do not face any difficulty). Keep keyboard input options minimal – since typing on virtual or QWERTY keypads for operating an app is not a particularly attractive idea. At the start of this newsletter, we had said that making a user-friendly app is not very easy. If you follow these basic guidelines, the task ain’t difficult either!

 

That’s about it for this week’s AppBoard Tuesday. You guys have already churned out well over 500 apps – so it’s likely that you are familiar with many of these points. Still, doesn’t hurt to take another look, right?

 

Do let us know if you want any specific topic to be covered in the next edition of AppBoard Tuesday. Till we meet again, stay zapped with…you know it…apps!

 

Get The Facts Behind 15 Misconceptions About Steve Jobs

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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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Steve Jobs was much more than being the founder of Apple and a first-rate innovator. He was an enigma in the truest sense, and over time, many myths have developed around him. We here flout a few of these mistaken beliefs about Jobs.

Ask anyone about Steve Jobs, and (s)he will be able to tell you that he was the ‘magician’ who co-founded Apple Inc. Those who take more of an interest in tech topics would rattle off details about Jobs’ ouster from and return to Apple, the NeXT company he founded, and maybe even a list of the major products the man launched. There, however, still remains an air of mystery and misconceptions about one of the finest entrepreneurs of the contemporary era. Over here, we will be highlighting the truth behind some popular Steve Jobs-related myths:

 

  1. GUI was a creation of Jobs – It was not. The credit for bringing the concept of Graphical User Interface (GUI) to the market goes to Xerox (1975). The company incorporated all the GUI elements (pointers, icons, etc.) in a device known as the ‘mouse’. Jobs tried to work with GUI during Apple’s much-hyped Lisa project in the early ‘80s, but soon found himself shifted to another, smaller (Mac) department.
  2. Steve Jobs is the founder of Pixar Animation Studios – Pixar was established way back in 1975, and Jobs came onboard as an investor almost eleven years later. By the time he stepped in as the head of the company, it had already tied up with Disney – and ‘Toy Story’ had been released. However, Steve Jobs was the person who made Pixar a public company, lending it the much sought-after financial stability.
  3. Steve Jobs did not have a license plate on his car – According to several bloggers, the great man used to have barcodes instead, on his vehicle. The myth was, Jobs never wanted to get into any sort of traffic problems – and hence came up with this out-of-the-box solution to keep the police at bay. Now, no one knows Jobs’ car plate number – but it’s highly unlikely that California Police would have allowed him to drive around without a number plate. Even geniuses have to abide by laws!
  4. If it hadn’t been for Jobs’ iPhone, there would have been no apps – The Apple iPhone deserves all the accolades for popularizing the concept of mobile application development, and making apps an integral part of smartphones. However, well before Steve Jobs launched the iPhone, there had been devices like TreoSmartphone (Palm), which came with multiple third-party apps. Many don’t realize this – but even Snake (popularized so much on early Nokia handsets) was also an app.
  5. The Xerox PARC concept was ‘lifted’ by Jobs – It’s true that Jobs made the mouse a vital component of the Macintosh in 1984 – but that was well after the tool had been released in the market by Xerox. Technically, it is not possible to steal any concept that has already been released to the public. Jobs first came to know about Xerox PARC in 1979 – but considerable modifications had to be made in it, to make it compatible with the Mac.
  6. Steve Jobs was all about innovation – While there’s no room for doubting Jobs’ flair to innovate, not everything he churned out at Apple were absolute originals. According to Jonathan Schwartz, an ex-head of Sun Microsystems, Steve Jobs was not at all in favor of open-source systems. For the Mac OS X (arguably, Jobs’ most famous creation), he liberally borrowed from the NeXTStep operating system, created by himself at NeXT. WebKit, a HTML tool derived from Konqueror, serves as the underlying base for the Safari browser. Even the Apple iPod does not have unique font-rendering – since FreeType is an open-source resource. Steve Jobs was among the best innovators of all time, but he was smart enough to take ‘inspirations’ from other sources too!
  7. The annual salary of Steve Jobs was $1 – On paper, this was true. However, with a $1 peanut compensation package, one cannot get into Forbes’ list of top-140 richest people in the world, something Jobs did in 2010. Apple, like several other companies, follows the practice of offering ownership stocks and performance-based prizes – instead of the regular salary-and-perks system. For instance, Jobs received a private jet, worth $88 million, as a gift from his company in 2000, simply because he had managed to surpass the projected computer-sales figures. There are many well-known iPhone app development companies around the world which presently follow this practice as well.
  8. Elegant computer typefaces would have remained unknown if hadn’t been for Jobs – Steve Jobs attended calligraphy classes at the Reed University – and what he learnt inspired him to create brilliant, imaginative typefaces for Mac systems. However, with Microsoft and IBM always being fierce rivals of Apple, there was every chance that they could have discovered typefaces earlier. It’s another thing that they did not – and Jobs used this lucky break to give smug speeches about being the ‘inventor’ of typography.
  9. The iPhone was a brilliant device to start off with – Any experienced software analyst or mobile app developer would tell you that this was far from being the case. When the first-gen iPhone was released in 2007, it was little more than a voice-enabled iPod Touch. Jobs had released it as a concept device, and he duly built on it over time. However, thinking that Apple phones were always as chic as the iPhone 5 would be a folly!
  10. Steve Jobs hated Japan – Steve Jobs allegedly ran into some troubles with the Kyoto airport authorities, while returning from a well-spent holiday in Japan. The officials are said to have prohibited Jobs from boarding his private jet, with souvenirs bought from the country. The truth, as learnt from John Paczkowski, indicates nothing of the sort. Jobs himself had said that his Japan-trip was lovely, and he definitely looked forward to visit the country again. Whether he did so is not known though.
  11. Jobs died in 2008 – Steve Jobs breathed his last in October 2011 – three full years after the news of his death had whipped up a storm in the media. It’s surprising that a news source as well-respected as Bloomberg would make the mistake of reporting that Jobs had succumbed to pancreatic cancer, before confirming all the details. A large number of corporate personnel received the report, everyone was enraged when the truth (that Jobs was alive and well!) came out – and a couple of Bloomberg editors had to issue a public apology.
  12. Steve Jobs was a brilliant product designer – He was more of an examiner than a designer himself. In fact, he once had to face a lawsuit issued by Creative, for using patented designs on the sly, for the Apple iPod. In general too, the design plans for most of the major products of Apple were chalked up by Jonathan Ive and his team. Jobs took a look at them, and either expressed his approval or ordered the designs to be redone.
  13. Steve Jobs was a big bully at work – There is a fine line between acknowledging that Jobs was a stickler for perfection, and simply referring to him as a bully. There had been plenty of situations when he had reached out and congratulated/rewarded his best-performing employees. However, there was a brash and irreverent side to Jobs too. If someone won his praise one day, that did not mean (s)he would remain his favorite forever after. Jobs demanded perfection from all his executives at Apple, and did not simply bully colleagues at random.
  14. The power to innovate led Jobs to the top – As Steve Jobs himself admitted, innovation was not the most important thing he concentrated upon. Instead, he focused on having the courage to kill off products and processes that seemed non-viable to him. When he was at the helm of Apple in the mid-80s, the company was struggling – and Jobs had to be more aggressive than his more conservative competitors. He was a master of innovation, but he made it a point to say ‘no’ to all useless things first.
  15. Steve Jobs introduced tablets – Again, he made tablet computers popular – but cannot be credited with the original concept. Almost a decade before the launch of the Apple iPad, the Tablet PC had been released by Microsoft (which, admittedly, was a big flop). The first idea about tablets can be traced back to Alan Kay, who came up with the kid-friendly Dynabook in 1968. Unfortunately, Dynabook was never properly launched in the market.

Jobs has been photographed in t-shirts, suits and even tuxedos in public – effectively quashing the myth that he always put on the ‘black turtleneck and jeans’ combination. Gary Kildall was the man who ‘invented’ personal computers – yet another feat that Steve Jobs is often given credit for. The more well-known a person becomes, more myths start to do the rounds about him/her – and Jobs is an ideal case in point!

Why Is Android Still Way Ahead Of iOS In The Worldwide Markets?

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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In the battle for supremacy in the smartphone markets, Android clearly enjoys an edge over Apple iOS. We here analyze the main causes for the greater popularity of Android over its chief rival.

As per the latest available reports, Google Android is the undisputed leader in the international smartphone sector, in terms of market share. In the United States alone, the former has a device share of nearly 52%, and the dominance is much more pronounced in several other countries. Although the availability of lower-end Android phones does influence this figure (a strategy that Apple burnt its hands with, thanks to the flop show of iPhone 5C), there are many technical aspects too – where Android outscores iOS. Over here, we deliberate on some of the key factors which justify why Android enjoys a clear edge over iOS across the globe:

 

  1. Better choice of hardware – Since Android is an open platform, users can easily take their pick – when it comes to the hardware system on their mobile devices. Right from Motorola Droid to the hugely popular Google Nexus – a vast collection of setups come under the domain of the Android mobile OS. On the other hand, iPhones only allow you two choices – the 16 GB and the 32 GB models (apart from, of course, the black and white color alternatives). Apple does not quite offer a customized mobile experience – something that Android manages very well.
  2. Installation of third-party keyboards – The built-in keyboard of iOS 7 is not horribly bad – but it is nothing to be overwhelmed about either. While the quality of the default keyboards on Android devices can also vary, it is way easier to simply download and use third-party keypads on them. To do this on an iPhone, you will need to do a jailbreak (with the Cydia app) first. Many people, particularly new smartphone users, are reluctant to do so.
  3. The ‘rooting’ option – Speaking about iOS jailbreak, it practically pales into insignificance, when compared with the ‘rooting’ option on Android handsets. The latter is a relatively easy 15-minute process (and there’s nothing illegal about it either!), which allows you to do a cool assortment of additional things – like adding kernel codes, getting rid of bloatware, and even overclocking the default phone processor. There’s no chance for such deep-level personalization on iOS devices.
  4. More user-friendly app store – Experts from most leading mobile application development companies would agree to this. iTunes might have more, and better-quality apps – but it is rather difficult to get new applications approved by the Apple authorities. The store has the right to decide which iPhone apps are to be featured. Now, compare this with the Google Play Store, which lets the apps that enjoy the most popularity to occupy the top slots (and with it, get the maximum visibility). Since there is no censorship on Android apps, people can find practically whatever application they are looking for.
  5. More convenient file-management – There is an air of familiarity in the way files and documents are arranged on Android phones, which adds to their usability factor. When you plug on the device to your PC/laptop – the entire file system is displayed – and copying/sharing/editing any document is hardly a matter of minutes. The file system on iOS devices is slightly more complicated, and lacks that additional user-friendliness.
  6. Toggling between alternative system settings is easier – Once again, the better customization features of Android comes to the fore. On an iPhone/iPad, if you wish to switch on/off the wi-fi connection, or use the 3G resources – you will have to manually change the settings on the device. On any standard Android handset, there are widgets that lets you directly activate or deactivate these settings. Smarter, and quicker, management of system resources, in turn, leads to the phone batteries lasting just a tad longer too.
  7. Seamless multitasking and notifications – Both mobile app developers as well as average smartphone-users prefer operating systems that offer better multitasking options. Android leaves iOS far behind on this count. The latter still uses the pop-up notification scheme, which is not only rather tricky to keep a tab on – but also requires to be closed one by one. If you are an Android-user, you can view all notifications at once, on the designated notification bar. This functionality remains, even when the phone screen is locked. iOS has smart notification options for Apple’s native apps – Android is a better gadget for overall multitasking.
  8. Adding photos to contact names – Probably not a standout advantage of Android – but this also contributes to the more personal feel of these handsets. You can automatically add images of your contacts in the address book – next to their phone numbers. The virtual address book of the iOS 7 platform does not provide this option, and can look somewhat bland at times.
  9. Option to check out different interfaces – Now, we are not saying that the default iOS interface isn’t cool. However, wouldn’t you love it, if it were possible to try out different user-interfaces (UI), and pick the one that seemed to be the most convenient for you? Android lets you do just that – via the custom ROM installation feature. Professionals from any good mobile apps company would be able to show you the steps for porting these custom UIs from one Android device to another. It’s your phone – why shouldn’t you be able to use it just the way you want?
  10. The home screen is much more informative – On a standard Android handset, the widgets of all the mobile apps installed in it (including the third-party applications) can be viewed on the home screen with absolute ease. On an iPhone, however, you will have to browse through the entire list of applications, to find the one you want. Locating and launching any app on an Android handset is quicker and much simpler – and evidently, users love this factor!
  11. Setting up multiple user accounts – The Apple iPad has lost its earlier craze, and this might have something to do with its diminishing popularity. It can be possible that the data stored on a tablet has to be shared in a team at office, or among friends. Android tablets address this requirement by providing the option of setting up multiple user accounts on them. An iPad can, of course, be lent, to someone else – but two or more people cannot have user-accounts on it.
  12. The price factor – Apple specifically caters to the premium segment of the market (until it released iPhone 5C, at least), while Android has devices for both ends of the sector. On an average, the latter is nearly $375 cheaper than the latest iPhone models. Couple that with the large-number of low-end smartphones that are powered by Android, and you’ll easily get it why more people own these smartphones. Apple can harp over its quality excellence all day long, but it does not have Android’s mass appeal.

 

The carrier support for Android phones is much better than that available for iOS devices (which are still primarily dependant on AT&T). There is one point to be noted though: even with a much lower overall market share, iOS has significantly higher market capitalization as well as quarterly revenue figures. The profitability of iPhones is not under the scanner – but the fact remains that Android scores over it on various usability factors, its average selling price is much lower, and it, not surprisingly, has more impressive acceptance figures in the worldwide markets.

 

An iOS device is still, after all, a niche product!

 

12 Tips To Create Effective Splash Screens For Mobile Apps

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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Every good mobile application needs a smart, elegant splash screen – there are no two ways about it. In what follows, we would highlight some points that app designing experts need to keep in mind, while making these intro screens.

To stand a chance of becoming popular, a mobile app has to make a positive first impression on people checking it out. It’s all very well to include a host of advanced features and controls in it – but if an app looks dull to start off with, few would feel like downloading it from the stores (or even, finding out more about them). This is the point where the importance of splash screens comes to the fore. These screens serve as the intro page of mobile applications – and they need to be designed in a way to capture the interest of users from the very outset. Here are a few handy guidelines to create great splash screens for mobile apps:

 

  • Make it appear as a part of the app – Splash screens are, in essence, tools to kill off those extra seconds that are required for a mobile app to load fully on a device. However, mobile app developers need to make the screens seem an integral part of the applications, and not an extra page. The duration of the splash screen has to be kept short. After all, your mobile apps (hopefully!) won’t take forever to load!
  • Avoid using long texts or heavy graphics – There is no point in writing long lines of text on the splash screen – simply because no one would get the time to read them. Ideally, use an interesting tagline, which offers viewers a proper initial idea about the application. Use simple yet elegant app development graphic themes on the splash screen. Otherwise, the screen might become slow, hurting the overall performance of the app.
  • Make the screen scalable – Splash screens take up practically the whole of the display area of smartphones. However, the screen size figure differs from one smartphone model to another – and this makes scalability a must-have feature in these screens. For instance, professionals from dedicated iPhone application development companies have to keep in mind the screen dimensions of the latest iOS device models, while creating splash screens for apps. Those involved in cross-platform app development have to be even more conscious about making their splash screens properly scalable.
  • Use it as a branding tool – Considering a mobile splash screen to be only a medium to show off cool animation effects would be rather naive. You should ideally put your company as well as the unique app logo on it, along with other visual branding elements (images, symbols, punchlines, etc.). The screen would be displayed every time the app is launched, and you can easily use the former to enhance the general awareness about your company.
  • Edit/crop images properly before using it on the screen – Remember, once you have created and included a splash screen, altering it is practically impossible. This makes it imperative that you select appropriate, colorful and properly-cropped pictures on the screen. If you are experienced in working with photo editors like Sumo Paint and/or Adobe Photoshop, editing images in an efficient manner before putting them up on the app intro screen won’t be a problem.
  • Don’t make it too long – There are many mobile app companies who mess up on this factor. A splash screen display should never go on beyond a maximum of ten seconds (if anything, it should last between 5-8 seconds). As soon as the app has loaded, users should be redirected to its main page. On average, 1 out of every 4 mobile users close/uninstall apps simply because they have too long splash displays. A quick, short intro – that’s what you should create.
  • Check the screen resolution level – What looks great on an iPhone 5 handset might look distorted on an iPhone 4 – and would, in all likelihood, appear too stretched on the iPhone 6 (which would have a larger screen size). In general too, the average resolution levels on the display of Apple phones is radically different from that on Android handsets (e.g., the Samsung Galaxy range of phones). While creating separate splash screens for every model would be way too time-consuming, you should ideally have three screen versions ready. That way, you can implement low, medium and high-resolution screens, depending on the device an app is downloaded on.
  • Focus on the center – Inspite of careful cropping and resizing, the edges of a splash screen might not be visible/appear blurred on certain smartphones. If you have images/text in these areas, they would not be viewable. You can tackle such probable problems, by putting in all your designs and other UI/UX creative work at and around the central portion of the screen. No one should have a problem in getting a clear view!
  • Do not use Flash files – Can any mobile application development expert be absolutely certain that every user has Flash-enabled browsers in their smartphones? The answer would be negative, and iPhone handsets, in particular, do not support Flash files at all. A person won’t be able to help feeling irritated, when (s)he sees an intro page with the message ‘Flash Player Required’, on launching an application. That, in turn, can translate to high bounce rates from your app.
  • Show the loading progress – For all your creativity and imagination used on a splash screen, the latter is nothing more than one (or, a series of) still images. There’s no scope of user-interaction on the screen – and many new mobile users might not have the patience for the entire splash display, even it lasts for only a few seconds. Put in a display bar that shows the loading progress of the app. It will lend a dynamic feel to the screen, and would assure users that the main app would be launched soon.
  • Be aware of the ‘bleed’ area – Since the aspect ratios of mobile devices vary from one to the next, this is something you need to consider. If you contact any well-known app developer, (s)he would advise to keep around 100px of ‘bleed area’ on the left and right side of the screen, and approximately 200px at the top and at the bottom. Do not put anything inside these ‘bleed’ margins, they are not likely to be visible on most devices.
  • Splash screens should never come in the way of app-usability – A simple, elegant splash screen always works better than one overcrowded with pictures and/or is too slow. Avoid using any element in the screen that might distract viewers, and make the screen optimized for devices that have relatively low-speed internet connectivity (if it is a web-supported app). Tasteful images, shown in an interesting manner before the main screen comes up, need to be used.

 

Splash screens should, almost always, be set up in the portrait mode. Test the screen carefully on the device(s) on which the app would be used, prior to the latter’s release. Android app developers, in particular, need to ensure that the size of their APKs is not increasing too much due to the inclusion of splash screen patches. It is not ‘necessary’ to have these screens from a technical perspective – but they can go a long way in piquing the interest of mobile-users at the very first go!

AppBoard Tuesday – The Latest Teks Apps

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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Last Wednesday, we had launched the first issue of the monthly Teks newsletter. It’s time for another new, regular feature to appear on this blog. We will be calling it the AppBoard Tuesday mini-newsletter, which, as you already must have guessed, will be published every second working day of the week. What is it going to have? Well, the AppBoard is going to be about us – the apps our mobile app developers create, the ones that get the best reviews from clients/social media followers, and, at times, what’s happening in our office (by the way, it was the birthday of our senior graphic designer yesterday, so wish him!).

First edition of AppBoard Tuesday

So much for the introduction of AppBoard Tuesday. In this inaugural edition, we will be presenting some recently released Teks apps, which have grabbed eyeballs online and at the stores. These include:

 

Smart Cert

Smart Cert - App For Electrical Inspectors

 

Developing sophisticated, customized applications has always been a high point about our mobile apps company. Smart Cert, released in stores last month, is a classic example of such personalized apps. It is an ideal tool for electrical inspectors and project managers to keep track of all the tasks they are helming. In the app, detailed records of an unlimited number of projects can be stored. There is a designated screen in the app, where the risk level of a task, the number of workers assigned on it, if it is a new task or an alteration, and whether unskilled people have been employed, can be recorded. There are options for audio recording and capturing task images too. Certifications are obtained after test results are generated by Smart Cert.

 

Pocket Navigator

Pocket Navigator - The Efficient Mobile Travel Assistant

 

We so love our off-site tours, don’t we? That’s why we realize the problems that people can face while traveling to a new/unknown locality. Pocket Navigator is the app which will make sure that you never have to worry about getting lost, anywhere. Once activated, the in-built GPS of this mobile app will automatically record your current location – and generate detailed maps to the place(s) you want to visit. You can save the routes you frequently travel along (ah, that home to office to home to office cycle!). Pocket Navigator even lets you know whether there are any curves/lanes ahead. What if you go off-track while following a route? No worries, our app will automatically inform you of your mistake – and get you back on the right track. Literally.

 

Melhor Oferta

Melhor Oferta - Bringing Buyers & Sellers Together

 

Getting good deals on stuff you wish to buy or sell can be a tricky affair – but only when you do not have the Melhor Oferta app on your smartphone. All that users have to do is download the application, get it installed (hardly takes five minutes!), and register themselves as vendors or buyers (as the case may be). Our mobile app experts have included a vast range of product categories in the app, so that sellers do not have any problems in finding their most appropriate niche. Whenever a buyer submits a purchase request – notifications are sent on a real-time basis to multiple sellers in the concerned category. Both parties get the opportunity to compare among multiple transaction options, and choose the best deal. Melhor Oferta is a virtual marketplace – where you decide what, how, and from/to whom you will buy or sell anything.

 

Timesnaps

Timesnaps - For taking images and creating mobile videos with them

 

Life’s busy, right? One moment you become a proud daddy – and poof! The next time you really manage to take time out for a family tour, that baby has become a toddler walking with uncertain steps. Timesnaps is an app that keeps such precious moments of life safe on your mobile. You need to set up a reminder, for taking pictures of anything or anyone – at intervals of your choice (weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, your wish!). That way, you’ll know how that thing you so cherish is growing up/changing form over time. Oh, and Timesnaps is not only for new parents – you can track the growth of pretty little garden plants, or take pictures of the places you visit during a tour. There is an option to make high-quality (HQ) videos with the snaps you take. The same can be shared on Facebook and YouTube directly too. If something matters in your life, you can now keep a constant ‘eye’ on it!

 

FitTube

FitTube - Stay Fit, Your Way!

 

The latest offering from our iPhone app development company. This one is all about letting you stay fit – in just the way you want. Users can browse through YouTube fitness and exercise videos, and download the ones they like, directly on the application. From neck and chest exercises, to hamstring muscle strengthening and building stronger biceps – FitTube is the perfect aid for the type of exercises you wish to perform. You can even design your own exercise routines and positions. Simply select exercises from the sidebar, watch videos, start loosening your limbs – and you are good to go!

 

Gym King

Gym King - What's Your Fitness Rank?

 

And what if you wish to hit the gym, instead of exercising at home? Teknowledge has an app that serves as your virtual gym trainer as well. Gym King comes with cool display features, easy controls, and a host of useful tabs and sections. Users can compare their fitness levels with that of others in their own gym, as well as other fitness centers. A unique rank is assigned on the basis of how an individual fares in such comparisons, along with other pertinent health-related stats. All your fitness figures are stored in the personalized database of the app, and can be retrieved any time with absolute ease. By the way, you can share the stats with your buddies via Facebook, through the app as well. If you indeed manage to become the King of the Gym, why not show off a bit?

 

EventsApp

EventsApp - Your mobile will ensure you never miss an event

 

Ever felt that sadness when it’s Saturday night, your favorite rockstar is performing in your city – and you do not manage to get tickets for the event? Many of us have, and that was one of the key reasons that drove us on to create EventsApp. When you have this application on your mobile handset, you will get regular notifications (from well in advance) about all the glitzy, high-profile events that have been scheduled to be held…anywhere. What’s more – you can check out live feeds on what the celebs are tweeting regarding any upcoming concert, fashion parade, music night, or other such exciting happenings. There are built-in maps too – to make sure that you can reach the event venues without any hassles.

 

That’s about all we had to share in this edition of AppBoard Tuesday. There are many other apps newly launched by Teknowledge Software that are doing well at Play Store and iTunes – and we’ll surely talk about them next week (or maybe, the week after that!).

 

Then again, how can our internal newsletter (that too, the first edition) be complete without a mention of Story Time For Kids – the kids’ app that has won rave reviews from general users, software analysts and peer mobile app development companies? There’s exciting news to be reported on this front too.

Story Time For Kids mobile app

The storybooks of the app (at least, most of them) are now available in paperback format – at extremely competitive prices. There are hefty discounts on offer too, on this limited stock of books. All that you need to do is…you guessed it…hurry!

 

Here’s to the developers who were in charge of creating the mobile apps featured in this newsletter. Good work, people – keep it up!

 

Till the next AppBoard Tuesday – stay zapped with apps!

 

Marissa Mayer And Yahoo!: Not The Perfect Fit?

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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Everyone was looking forward to how Marissa Mayer would fare at Yahoo, after her largely successful thirteen-year stint at Google. Over time, things have not gone exactly according to plan for Mayer and those who placed their faiths on her though. We here analyze some key problems with her reign at Yahoo.

It has been over 21 months since Marissa Mayer took over as the CEO of Yahoo, and the jury is still out as to whether she is actually making any headway towards reviving the ailing company. Sure, stock prices have gone up by decent amounts, interest among prospective employees (mostly engineers) have increased – but most of Mayer’s strategies have come in for severe criticism from web analysts and experts. The ouster of Henrique de Castro, the chief operating officer of Yahoo, is also being looked upon as an example of Mayer’s poor man-management skills. Here are some pointers that indicate that Marissa Mayer has not quite been able to steer Yahoo in the right direction:

 

  1. The starting point was not ideal – To give where credit is due, Marissa Mayer never got a solid base to frame her growth strategies on. Yahoo’s popularity had taken a nosedive when she took over (in July 2012) – and there was hardly any buffer for testing out tactics that might or might not work. Steve Jobs pulled Apple out of an almost similar mire, but that was an one-off case. Also, Mayer is no Jobs – at least, there have been no indications till date about that!
  2. Flop product releases and revamps – There’s quite a bit of confusion as to whether Mayer wishes to project Yahoo as a tech product-based company, or a search/media engine (as a focused competitor to Google). If trends are anything to go by, the former appears more likely – but the response to Yahoo’s latest offerings have been far from favorable. The redesigning of Yahoo Mail interface was roundly booed by practically all users. Even Flickr, the photo-sharing portal, has witnessed a decline in its fan base. In case media operations are to be the focus area of Yahoo, the sacking of Ross Levinsohn (the person Mayer succeeded) does not make any sense.
  3. Unsatisfactory forays into the mobile markets – Yahoo’s new CEO has talked the talk about the need for the company to make a strong entry into the mobile markets. Mayer and her team are yet to live up to expectations in that regard, however. As confirmed by reports from leading mobile app development companies, Yahoo’s recently launched applications have failed to break into the top-fifty apps at the Apple iTunes store (none of them!). There’s no visibility for Yahoo mobile applications, and that’s hurting the company.
  4. Too aggressive acquisition strategies – Have you heard of Loki Studios? Even if you have, most people aren’t even aware about teeny-weeny tech startup companies like these. Probably taking a cue from Facebook and Google, Mayer has been on a spree of ‘acqui-hiring’ such companies – in a bid to build a pool of the best talents, while cutting down on extra recruitment costs. What she has not bothered to consider is that, randomly picking such newbies and offering them fat paychecks might (and probably is!) not be looked upon kindly by long-serving Yahoo employees. Discontent among the in-house personnel at the company is growing, which is never a good sign.
  5. Failure to implement effective HR policies – The stack ranking policy, which Mayer evidently likes so much, is a classic example of her precious little command over human resource management. At a time when Microsoft – the company which pioneered this system of employees being monitored and ranked by their respective managers – has moved away from it, Yahoo is clearly interested in making stack ranking the only guide for scrutinization of employee performances. Unknowingly, Mayer is encouraging the engineers and executives who are more interested in buttering up their managers, instead of putting in that extra bit of effort at work.
  6. Why was remote working abolished? – Even average software firms and iPhone app development companies have flexible working options – so why did Yahoo do away with it? Marissa Mayer probably wanted to make a statement as to who was in charge at the company, when the policy of remote working was abolished. At present, more weightage is given on the onsite presence of people at Yahoo, instead of how much they are actually contributing for the company. It’s the latter that matters – but sadly, Mayer has not yet understood it!
  7. Attempts to bring too much of Google into Yahoo – Marissa Mayer was the twentieth employee at Google, and served at the company for as long as thirteen years with distinction. Understandably, she is making an attempt to repeat her recipe of success at Google in her new company too. The problem is, apart from the online search engine bit, Google and Yahoo have precious few similarities. What worked like a charm at the product-based Google are not likely to be effective at Yahoo, which is, in essence, an online media company. There has been no horses-for-courses strategy-making from Mayer till now.
  8. Yahoo’s surge in stock prices look hollow under the scanner – An increase of over 105% in the stock prices of Yahoo is nothing to be sneered at. However, a closer analysis would reveal that Mayer’s words, instead of actions, have had more to do with this apparent boost in investor confidence. Yahoo’s share in the online advertisement market in the US has declined since her appointment in 2012, and overall sales figures have not shown any upward trend. The rise in share prices has not translated into a push to the company’s earnings and profit figures.
  9. Lack of optimism for a quick change of fortunes – Now, everyone realizes that transforming Yahoo from a loss-making organization to the market-leader is not an overnight task. That, however, does not mean that the CEO would make public statements that positively reek of pessimism. Mayer has come out with the statement that it would take ‘years’ for the company to make a really strong comeback. The question is, Carol Bartz, Scott Thompson and Jerry Yang were not allowed much time to turn around the company’s fortunes – would the owners be patient enough to stick around with the not-too-hopeful Mayer for long?
  10. Yahoo’s attracting talents, but not the best of them – Large-scale media companies invariably look for the best talents from across the globe, app companies are always on the hunt for the top mobile app developers – but Marissa Mayer can’t be less bothered by such common sense-driven policies. The moment she abolished telecommuting at the Yahoo headquarters, geographical barriers were put on the pool of employees which the company could hire. The total number of CVs Yahoo received last year was impressively high, but there was no chance of remote workers (even if they were really good) to work from off-site locations. Mayer’s justification for this autocratic policy is childish – she is at the office, so all her employees have to be present there too. Is Yahoo a school?
  11. No clarity of vision – Marissa Mayer is a talented Stanford graduate, a successful ex-employee of Google – but she lacks the experience of helming an online media company. Her talents as a product engineer are beyond all doubts (Mayer’s A/B testing procedures at Google were a rage), but she cannot really be considered as a strategic mastermind. Under her watch, Yahoo’s products and services are getting increasingly non-unified, there has been hardly any brand-building, and the acquisitions have mostly been hunch-driven. Yahoo badly needs a marketing visionary, and Mayer clearly does not fit the bill.
  12. Questionable handling of the editorial department – Celebs like David Pogue (a former columnist at New York Times) and Katie Couric (a TV anchor) are now members of Yahoo’s editorial department. Whether they have indeed added to the company’s image as a sophisticated online media firm remains under doubt though. Jai Singh, former chief editor, has already left Yahoo – a telltale sign that all is not well in this department. Mayer has made it mandatory for all editors to report to Kathy Savitt (the CMO) – yet another decision that has not been well received.

It’s not that people do not wish Marissa Mayer to succeed at Yahoo. With Microsoft not being the force it once was, it would be great to have a worthy competitor to Google. Mayer is surely giving it her best shot at reviving Yahoo – but this might be a classic scenario of where her best efforts are simply not good, or apt, enough!