Monthly Archives: June 2014

Top Ten Reasons Why Samsung Might Ditch Android Soon

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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Samsung has used the Tizen OS for its all-new Gear Fit smartwatch, and most industry experts believe that a Tizen phone might also be coming along soon. In the following discussion, we highlight a few points that justify Samsung’s gradual move away from Google Android.

Many techies were taken by surprise when, at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) this year, Samsung launched its Gear Fit smartwatch – a device that was powered by the Tizen operating system. It only added fuel to the already buzzing rumors that the South Korean company is looking beyond Google Android as the default platform for its next line of gadgets – including, of course, smartphones. We here take a look at some of the key factors why Samsung is starting to promote Tizen OS instead of its long-time ally, Android:

 

  1. Expansion of activities – Samsung Mobile has been in the smartphone business long enough to start expanding its line of activities beyond developing only mobile hardware. Tizen OS is its in-house platform, and if it starts gaining in popularity – Samsung will no longer have to stay overly reliant on the periodic Android updates released by Google. Owners of Samsung phones would also get more customized features.
  2. Insecurity – Google Android powers Samsung phones, but it is the default platform for Motorola devices as well. It’s understandable why the former company would start looking for a different OS, from that of one of its biggest rival brand. At the end of the day, product-differentiation matters – and Samsung wishes to be perceived ‘differently’ from Motorola.
  3. Profitability from mobile apps – With nearly 65% of all Android devices being made by Samsung, there is no room for doubting the dominant position of the company in this sector. However, experts from mobile app companies agree that this does not translate to hefty revenues for the South Korean mobile giant. On app and game downloads from the Play Store, Google reaps the dividends. If Samsung has a separate OS, it can start earning more from mobile apps (particularly from the wildly popular Galaxy handsets).
  4. Lowering bug and malware risks – Android is, by far, the leading mobile OS in terms of market-share – but things underneath are not as uniformly rosy. Over the last couple of years, there have been reports of many Android handsets getting infected by Trojan viruses and/or other malicious bugs. Although Google started providing Verify Apps, cases of users unknowingly installing virus-ridden apps from the Play Store is still pretty common (a point where Apple iTunes steals a march on the Android store). Samsung would surely make Tizen more secure, to bring down such complaints.
  5. Having its own mobile ecosystem – Microsoft has Nokia, Apple uses its proprietary OS for iPhone handsets, and Motorola Mobility is owned by Google. There seems to be hardly any reason for Smsung not willing to/not being able to create its own mobile OS, instead of staying dependant on Android. Samsung might not have come this far without Google’s support, but it can now start using an OS that can hold its own.
  6. Tizen would serve an entire range of electronic gadgets – Thanks to the high-on-functionality Tizen platform, Samsung no longer needs to hope for more profits from its smartphone business alone. Choi Jong Deok, a senior executive from Samsung, has already stated that the new OS would power television sets, refrigerators and wearable devices (like the already launched Gear Fit) too. If Tizen lives up to the hype Samsung is building up around it, there will be plenty of earning channels for the company – even after it parts ways with Android.
  7. Growing interest among developers – Samsung recently concluded the Tizen App Challenge, which had a $4 million prize money for the mobile application developer who could create the best apps for the Tizen platform. Well over $2 million was spent for conducting this competition – clearly indicating that the company was treating the development of Tizen extremely seriously. The response to the contest was very good, indicating that Samsung won’t face a shortage of developers, if and when it decides to fully replace Android with Tizen.
  8. Steering clear of controversies – Samsung and Apple have been at loggerheads at most times. During the recently concluded lawsuit between the two, the role of Google came to the fore like never before. Samsung had to seek the help of Google to testify that it was already working on the mobile technologies for which Apple had brought in patent infringement charges. A completely new OS like Tizen would, hopefully, help Samsung to stay away from such legal tussles in future. Steve Jobs had once referred to Android as a ‘stolen product’ – and Samsung no longer needs to cling on to it.
  9. The Linux assurance – Tizen is a HTML5-based mobile OS, supported by both Samsung as well as the Linux Foundation. In theory, it can become more than a match to Google Android – in terms of quality, security, reliability, and other key aspects. The open-source nature of Android has often come in for criticism, and Tizen might just be a better alternative for Samsung to use on its smartphones in future.
  10. Need to focus more on mobile software – Samsung’s mobile hardware business is profitable – but the ever-increasing competition might cause the earnings to taper off in the foreseeable future. In the budget smartphone sector, the earning potentials are, in any case, limited – while for the more pricey mobile segment, Samsung cannot yet compete on its own with Apple’s well-established ecosystem. The only way out to remain viable over the long-run is to focus more on the underlying software for handsets. Samsung cannot dictate Google how Android upgrades should be planned – but with Tizen, it will have full freedom to establish an ecosystem of its own.

Although Samsung’s switch from Android to Tizen seems to be in the offing, the transition might not be as seamless as originally envisaged. The Tizen project has already been delayed multiple times – and in case it has a limited collection of mobile apps, it would be blown away by iOS and Android (much like what has happened with Blackberry 10). The good thing is, Tizen has been modeled on the lines of Android itself, and Samsung has no plans to launch it on smartphones before ironing out all probable issues with it. It will be fascinating to watch how Samsung fares with its Tizen, against the might of Google Android.

 

AppBoard Tuesday – Avoid The ‘This Looks Fine’ Syndrome!

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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Hello everyone! It’s Tuesday – which means this week’s edition of AppBoard Tuesday (ABT) is all ready. By the way, we apologize for the no-show of our newsletter last week, owing to unavoidable circumstances. Anyway, we are back – and you can look forward to ABTs every Tuesday from now on.

This week, we won’t be talking about any particular app development technique or marketing/promotional methods. Instead, the agenda in today’s edition of ABT is the importance of ‘quality work’ over ‘quick work’. At times, service providers tend to overlook certain apparently minor bugs and other issues in their offerings. Such lackadaisical ‘This Looks Fine’ syndrome often has a nasty way of biting back, pretty soon!

Let’s start off with a general example. Last week, we had missed out on an ABT. We could easily have brought out the edition on Wednesday or Thursday, and just called it a ‘delayed publication’ or something, right? But then, the ‘Tuesday’ in AppBoard Tuesday’ would have been lost, there would no longer be any consistency about our weekly newsletter, and it would have been relegated to ‘just another thing’ we do every week. That was not something we set out to do when ABT was first launched, and it never shall be.

 

Okay, then – let’s now come back to our professional domain. Every mobile app developer in the world is aware that clients love companies that can complete projects very quickly. Let’s here take a pause though. If a mobile apps company were to deliver applications well before pre-specified deadlines without properly testing them, would that be okay? At first, there would be the ‘This Looks Fine’ feel (maybe even the client would be convinced) – but as cracks start to appear (read: bugs, app crashes, viruses, and the like), negative feedback would start pouring in. And as we all know, in the corporate world, bad word-of-mouth publicity can absolutely ruin a company.

 

So, how should one fight with this short-term ‘This Looks Fine’ approach? At Teknowledge Software, we have a very stringent set of policies for the purpose. In-house readers are no doubt already aware of the detailed code reviews and unit/cloud testing performed for each of our mobile apps (prior to launch). Multiple revisions in the app framework and UI/UX designs are done and clients are constantly kept in the loop. What ultimately matters is creating and delivering applications that do not give any scope of complaints on the part of buyers. Most of our clients have nice things to say about our after-sales services – but we do not like the sight of user-grievances being registered. A faulty app reeks of unprofessionalism – and that’s not a label any self-respecting app developer would like to get attached with.

 

Many companies that offer cross-platform mobile application development services tend to rush through the testing phase – simply because deadlines are fast approaching, and the app ‘looks fine’ on devices. Nothing can be a more dangerous ploy, from a purely business perspective. We keep advising our app development team to meticulously test every code/program/wireframe and prototype that they come up with. At times, a minor mistake in the code might not affect its operations at first – but over time, such ‘small’ problems can assume much larger proportions. Remember, it’s never about hiding defects with a piece of tape – you need to repair the problems in their entirety. What ‘looks fine’ to you now might seem absolutely junk a few weeks later. Clients would be enraged, and your market goodwill would take a nosedive. Why take a shortcut, when it can lead to serious complications pretty soon?

This brings us to the issue of maintaining high quality standards while completing app development projects within time. Although we work on multiple Android, Blackberry and iPhone app projects simultaneously, and our portfolio has got applications belonging to diverse genres – meeting deadlines has never been a challenge, and we have never had to compromise on quality for that. Our belief, that detailed tests at every stage of the app development processes actually makes the final round of testing quicker and easier, has been vindicated over time. We may be working on an iPhone app for kids or an Android app for business – a blend of quality-commitment and time-maintenance will always be our hallmark.

 

Some say, as you gain professional experience you become more confident – which makes it less necessary to check and re-check your work. Makes no sense, in our opinion. We have over 600 apps in our portfolio (and we are sure many companies have even more!) and have been in this business for close to a decade now. If anything, our app testing procedures have become even more rigorous over the years. We recently launched ‘Real Talk’, our 622nd app, – and the tests for it were as systematic and detailed as they were for our very first few apps. With experience, you become wiser – and wisdom definitely does not preach that you can get away with quick and shoddy work.


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If you want to be a successful mobile app development expert, stop staying cocooned with the ‘This Looks Fine’ syndrome. Remember, the most plump and red apples can have worms in it – and apps with the very best visual effects and illustrations can have bugs that are slightly tricky to find. Test your apps for all such probable problems…and then, well, test some more. Make sure every line of the inserted code and every feature/control is working properly – in the device(s) on which the app would be downloaded. Have a multiple screening process in place, so that bugs that remain undetected at the first go are found and removed later. Don’t lose your sleep over project timelines – they won’t be affected. What’s more – you will manage to keep your clients satisfied, always. After all, that’s the key objective of any business, right?

 

There’s an old adage – ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. If you are in the business of making mobile apps, it doesn’t have much significance for you. A developer agency simply cannot afford to wait till their apps – filled with covered-up buggy codes – actually break down, before starting to look for fixes. Make apps that offer complete quality assurance – it’s a policy that works, we can vouch for it!

 

Good apps can potentially last a lifetime on users’ smartphones – while the bad ones get deleted soon after being downloaded. The sooner you can get out of the escapist ‘This Looks Fine’ feel and make sure that things are ‘actually fine’ – the greater will be your chances of being able to churn out great apps, continuously.

 

Lo and behold – the discussion on the importance of maintaining high app development quality standards has now brought us to the end of this edition of AppBoard Tuesday. It ‘looks fine’ to us – but once again, we are only too eager to hear from you about more tips and tricks to improve service quality. By the way, we have started working on a couple of new apps – you will get all the inside details on them in later editions of ABT.

 

Till next time then, have a great week, and yes…stay zapped with apps!

 

Native Apps And Mobile Website – A Comparative Analysis

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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Entrepreneurs and marketers often wonder whether they should depend on mobile websites or develop native apps for lending their businesses the requisite amount of exposure. We have here compared these two tools on the basis of several important criteria.

 

Targeting prospective clients who access the web on the go has emerged as a key element of the overall marketing strategies of most companies. In the United States, the use of mobile devices is increasing by the day (a rise of nearly 5% was reported last year), and the trends are pretty much the same in most other developed/developing nations across the world. There are two major channels to gain business exposure on mobile devices – mobile (responsive) websites and native mobile apps. Contrary to popular belief, the latter concept is the earlier one, with its origins being traced back to 1998 – when Nokia pre-installed the blockbuster Snake game in its handsets. In the following discourse, we will compare the merits and demerits of native apps and mobile websites:

 

  1. Creation – Responsive websites take this round easily. To create a successful, engaging mobile application, a fairly large amount of time, money and professional UI/UX designing expertise is required. Making a mobile version of an already existing website is way simpler – all that’s required is to create and test fluid designs and select the sections/text/graphics that would be present in it.
  2. Speed – Mobile app developers treat app-speed as a virtue. They know full well that if an application takes minutes to load, no one would bother taking a second look at it. The same is broadly true for mobile websites too – but they generally take significantly longer to load completely than a seamless, user-friendly app.
  3. Marketing & Promotion – This one is a stalemate. Mobile websites, like their original computer versions, require continuous search engine optimization (SEO) to gradually gain traction on the World Wide Web. Similarly, for ensuring a high download count for apps, strategic marketing campaigns need to be conducted. Broadly speaking though, since iPhone and Android apps are present in the stores of their respective platforms, additional marketing requirements are just a tad less.
  4. Approvals – A good mobile website will have a steady, high number of regular visitors, while a slow, cluttered one will flop – but there is no way it can be banned by any authority (except, of course, if a website promotes drugs, gambling, and the like). On the other hand, a mobile apps company has to constantly keep the factor of app-approvals at iTunes and the Play Store under consideration. Particularly at the former, the approval regulations are rather stringent.
  5. Offline performance – Websites, by definition, are not supposed to work offline. That, in turn, means that if a potential buyer does not temporarily have online connectivity on his/her phone, (s)he cannot check out the portal, for that specific span of time. Native apps clearly hold the aces on this count – since most of them function perfectly well in the offline mode.
  6. Usage of phone resources – Leading mobile app development companies make it a point to come up with such applications that utilize all the available resources of a smartphone optimally. GPS features, camera, video-recording and social media connections would be some of the most common examples in this regard. A responsive website is, however, more of a standalone feature. Users can read the content and browse the pages – but they can’t expect it to integrate with other mobile resources.
  7. Role in building brand-value – Both mobile websites and apps deliver in this regard – but the latter has just a little edge. Once a user closes a website on his/her device, (s)he has to relaunch it – to be exposed to the visual branding elements present on it once again. An Android or iPhone application would, however, remain present on the home screen of the device. Provided the icon of the app is smartly designed, it would serve as a source of continuous brand-recall.

Note: A word of caution here though. Lousy apps are deleted pretty quickly by users from their phones, which erases this advantage – and in fact, generates a negative buzz about the concerned company.

 

8. Flexibility - There are companies that offer cross-platform app development services – but in general, an iPhone app won’t work on an Android device, and vice versa. Mobile websites, on the other hand, might have browser-compatibility-related issues. The codes used to make a mobile app are not portable from one handset to another either. Both app and website developers strive to offer customized services, and they need to keep in mind the above factors.

 

9. Maintenance – A responsive website requires maintenance, but not to the extent needed for mobile apps. Developers typically have to release upgrades/updated versions of apps at regular intervals – and proper app testing procedures have to be carried out for each of them. A mobile website, on the other token, generally has a single version – making the task of bug-testers just a bit easier.

 

10. Interactive features – This has been one of the main reasons for smartphone apps surging ahead of mobile websites in terms of user-popularity across the globe. An app is meant to engage users – be it playing games, performing mathematical calculations, tracking incomes and expenses, taking/sharing media content, and performing other such functions. The mobile version of a website cannot incorporate so many interactive features – simply because they might compromise the site’s speed.

 

11. Level of competition – The demand is more for native apps – and hence, it is understandable that the worldwide app markets are way more competitive too. Right from business-related applications, to mobile apps for kids – every category of app has many entries (and new ones coming along every quarter). On average, an app lasts for around 35-40 days (except for the ones that really gain users’ favor) on a mobile device. Now compare that with a mobile website, which cannot be removed unless the parent company decides to do so. An app-maker has to compete with a lot more rivals – a website designer can focus only on making the web pages user-friendly and optimized.

 

12. Visibility – A featured app at iTunes and/or Google Play Store would always have high download potentials. People can find them easily, read up reviews, and get them on their phones. Mobile websites are not similarly listed anywhere – and unless the SEO job on them is done well, they won’t rank high on the search engines. That, in turn, makes discoverability an issue.

 

13. System requirements – Slow websites are irritating. A mobile web portal would have high footfall and low bounce rates only when the devices used to view them have strong and fast internet features. There are select smartphone models (iPhones, for instance) which do not support any Flash content on websites. Apps, in most cases, do not come with such constraints. Flash is not (mostly) used in them anyway, and experts from mobile application development agencies keep the size and bandwidth requirements of apps low. A website CAN be fast, a native app is ALMOST ALWAYS faster!

 

14. Popularity – And finally, we come to the benchmark that has the maximum influence on companies’ decisions to go for mobile apps or a mobile website. In terms of user-engagement, apps (a daily engagement duration of almost 2 hours and 20 minutes) are streets ahead of responsive sites (less than 25 minutes). What’s more, the time people spend on using native apps is increasing over time, while that for mobile websites has remained flat.

 

There is, however, no reason to consider native apps and mobile websites to be perfect substitutes. Ideally, a company should create a well-working, responsive website (without any multiple URL-concerns), and then develop personalized mobile applications. A website can be formed in the form of a web app too. To capture the eyeballs of mobile users, both the channels have important roles to play – it would be a mistake to neglect any one of them completely!

 

Apple WWDC 2014: A Quick Round-Up

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 iWatch did not make an appearance during WWDC 2014, but the annual developers’ conference organized by Apple had its fair share of major announcements. In the following piece, readers will be acquainted with the news bytes from WWDC that have made the headlines.

 

It’s the final day of the 2014 edition of the World Wide Developers’ Conference, at San Francisco. Right from the keynote session, Apple has used this platform to unveil a slew of new programs and concepts – although no major product launches have featured during this event. Professional developers, however, have particular reasons to feel pleased with how this year’s WWDC has panned out. We here provide a quick recap of all the important announcements from Apple WWDC 2014:

 

  1. Handoff and Airdrop – Apple has focused in a big way on offering ‘continuity’ of service to users of iOS devices. The newly announced ‘Handoff’ feature would allow people to create, edit and sync their emails and other documents between their iPhones and iMacs. Files will be shareable from now on across Macs and mobile handsets – a functionality which had not been present earlier.
  2. Siri – A newer and better virtual assistant – that’s what Siri promises to be, on the next line of Apple phones and tablets. At the WWDC, it was announced that Siri would boast of complete voice-control features (hands-free) from now on. The activation command would be ‘Hey Siri’ – somewhat similar to the ‘Ok Google’ command for Google Now on Android devices.
  3. iOS 8 – According to most professional mobile app experts as well as general Apple-enthusiasts, this was the biggie of the 5-day annual conference. The much-anticipated new mobile platform was finally launched – and what immediately stood out were the robust (much more user-friendly than iOS 7) message support and management features on it. Apple has made improvements in the notifications area as well – something that used to remain cluttered in earlier versions. External widgets can be installed on devices powered by iOS 8 devices too. The platform is still not a patch on Android in terms of customization – but Apple is surely moving in the right direction.
  4. Xcode 6 – This was one of the more unexpected announcements at the WWDC, although iOS app developers won’t mind it one bit. In this Xcode update, programmers would have the option to check out bits of codes, without having to create entire projects. Animated SceneKit and SpriteKit are present in the sidebar section (where the coding results are also displayed). The built-in UI inspector tool is expected to offer some extra help to app testers.
  5. HealthKit – Confirming all pre-release rumors, Apple iOS 8 has arrived with a dedicated HealthKit application. It has been created to help users monitor all important fitness and health metrics, at home as well as while on the move. There is a special hub section, to study overall personal fitness trends over time. Apple has entered into tie-ups with several noted clinics and fitness centers for HealthKit, including Mayo Clinic and Nike.
  6. OS X Yosemite – Apple’s well-hyped OS X Mavericks, in its initial form (launched during WWDC 2013) was not entirely free of glitches. This year, the company has unveiled the first look of its ‘sequel’ – the OS X Yosemite, and this one does look truly impressive. The overall look and feel of Yosemite is evidently inspired from the latest iOS platform (in particular, the attractive layout of the Notifications Sidebar). iCloud Drive is probably the biggest talking point on the new desktop platform – since it will make every document stored on iCloud easily searchable via Finder. A beta version of OS X Yosemite is expected to roll out this summer, before the free full version hits the markets towards the end of the year.
  7. Instant Hotspot – A relatively minor announcement, but a very interesting one in its own right. With the Instant Hotspot feature, iMacs will be able to share the cellular properties of iPhones automatically. That, in turn, will let people to place calls right from their computer. Till date, there have been no software that offer similar services, from any web or mobile app development company in the world.
  8. Photos App – In a further indication that Apple is finally realizing the value of personalized features, the company announced the launch of Photos App, for iPhones and iPads. All pictures taken by users would now have easy sharing options across different mobile devices. The iCloud accounts of people would serve as the picture storehouse, with Apple providing 5GB space for free (more space can be bought at specified rates). The shared pictures would have editing options as well.
  9. HomeKit – Another much-in-vogue Apple rumor that was substantiated at the WWDC. Apple launched HomeKit – an innovative mobile-operated program for making ‘smarter homes’. The program would be controllable via Siri – and it would let users manage practically everything about their homes, simply by issuing voice commands. Irrespective of whether you want the garage doors opened, the bedlight turned on, or the lamps switched off when you leave a room – talking to your iPhone will be all you will have to do.
  10. Swift – What Apple has lacked in terms of major product launches during this year’s conference (the iPhone 6, in particular, was not even expected to debut during the event), it has more than made up with newer, better facilities for iPhone/iPad app developers. The new Swift language has been reported to be significantly faster and more secure than both ‘C’ and ‘Objective C’. However, to ensure that professionals working on mobile app projects are not inconvenienced, Swift would have easy integration features with the earlier coding languages.
  11. Predictive keyboards – For those who have been complaining for long about the ho-hum nature of iPhone virtual keyboards, this is a great piece of news. The revamped Apple keypads have ‘auto-learning’ features – enabling them to study and learn from users’ previous typing behavior. A special query-resolving feature, named QuickType, has also been embedded in the keyboards. Oh, and iOS 8 will allow users to install third-party keyboards too. Finally!
  12. Maildrop and Markup – These are the two major updates in the email system of the latest OS X platform. Via Maildrop, ‘heavy’ mail attachments (upto a maximum size of 5GB) can be uploaded on iCloud, and the link shared with the intended recipient(s). Markup, on the other hand, has been designed as an image editor – right inside the mailbox. With text and shape-editors, magnifying features and enhanced drawing help, Markup adds a fresh feel to the email setup of iMacs.
  13. Spotlight updates – On both computers as well as on iOS mobile devices, Apple has decided to add new features to Spotlight. On iPhones, Spotlight can now be used to look up various forms of local information (e.g., movie listings) and iTunes content, in addition to the contacts and iPhone apps stored inside the handset. On Macs, Spotlight has got a new launcher tool. Users can now even go through Apple Maps and other web content, directly from Spotlight.
  14. Family Sharing – A maximum of 6 family members will be able to share the same downloaded content from iTunes – provided that the same credit card is used to link all the accounts. Pictures and other documents can, hence, be seamlessly be shared across family networks. The Family Sharing feature also rules out accidental downloads of apps from iTunes.
  15. Better app collaboration – To enhance the app-experience of users, Apple has got rid of the ‘sandbox’ feature that used to be a trademark of all iOS applications. Users can now share app details in a third-party application, so that the functionality of two or more apps can be combined. From now on, iPhone/iPad apps will be able to ‘communicate’ with each other – a welcome change from what used to be case till now.

The announcement of iMessage now offering audio and video support was a high point of the WWDC 2014 too. The new OS X will also have customized storyboards – another welcome update for iPhone app development experts. Interestingly, Apple’s stock prices fell significantly on June 2nd – when it became clear that iWatch won’t be making its debut during the event. The WWDC this year has seen Apple make several major announcements to further improve its products (both computers and mobiles), as well as extend loads of support for developers. It’ll be interesting to see if the major product releases that the company has in pipeline turn out to be successful too.

Is The iPhone 6 Set To Be A Flop?

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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Speculations about when Apple would release iPhone 6 are rife – but more interestingly, doubts are mounting as to whether it will be able to manage decent sales figures. In what follows, we have taken a sneak peek at some factors which can cause iPhone 6 to ultimately fail.

The much-anticipated iPhone 6 was not unveiled during the ongoing World Wide Developers’ Conference (WWDC). While Apple generally announces new lines of smartphones around September, this wasn’t particularly surprising though. What the no-show of iPhone 6 did do was add momentum to the murmurs that the handset might not live up to its frankly excessive hype. In Britain alone, a survey found that over 65% of smartphone-users believed that the next-generation iPhone would fail. More strikingly, a much higher percentage of people are of the opinion that the Samsung Galaxy S5 would be a much bigger hit than iPhone 6. Here are a few reasons which might lead to iPhone 6 turning out to be a flop:

 

  1. General perception that there would be nothing new – Apple has been dropping subtle hints about the Healthbook app that iPhone 6 would come with. This, however, has failed to really excite mobile app company experts or general users. About 1 in every 5 users of Apple products think that iPhone 6 will broadly be similar to its predecessor – the iPhone 5. As such, they believe that the upcoming model is not worth buying.
  2. Lower than average battery life – A point on which the iPhone 6 is almost sure to lose out to the latest phone model from Samsung. The Galaxy S5 offers battery backup of eleven hours and a quarter – while that of the iPhone 6 will be, at best, something around six hours. People who don’t like to carry mobile chargers wherever they go (and that’s most individuals!) are likely to stay away from Apple’s hugely hyped product.
  3. Saturation in most international markets – Make no mistake – smartphones are being launched by the dozen every quarter, and many of them are finding takers worldwide too. However, for a handset exclusively targeted for the premium segment of the market – things might be slightly different. With the price tag likely to remain on the higher side, it won’t find a decent opening in cash-crunched nations in South America and even some portions of Asia. On the other hand, the US and UK markets are already filled up with a deluge of relatively new smartphones. Only time will tell whether the iPhone 6 packs in enough punch to justify its price tag and mark its niche in the global markets.
  4. Sharing options will probably not impress – There are iPhone application development companies that release apps with social sharing options – but that won’t be enough to mask the woefully poor default sharing options on iPhone 6. If the developers do not go for a major shake-up of the app settings system, what buyers would get is a device with pre-loaded apps (like iPhoto), which allow sharing only to a small set of other applications. Those who love a customized app-experience would stay in favor of Android devices.
  5. A belief that Apple’s quality standards have gone down a bit – This is probably the most potentially damaging belief, that is taking form in the minds of techies and general people across countries. About 25% of all people opine that Apple products no longer promise that lofty excellence that they used to, when Steve Jobs was at his prime. The iPhone 6 might yet surprise everyone with its quality, but most people won’t buy it before reading the reviews meticulously.
  6. Extremely limited options for personalization – What worked great in 2007 comes across as irritating in 2014 – and strangely enough, the experts at Apple seem oblivious to this fact. At a time when Android handsets are highlighting enhanced customization options as their USP, iPhone 6 (like its predecessors) will have the same standard layout – with default displays and apps on the home screen. Doing an iOS jailbreak is, of course, an option – but would people purchase it in the first place, when other, cheaper (not necessarily better though) alternatives are available?
  7. Lack of interest among existing iPhone users – Even those who own iPhones at present do not seem too confident about the success of the soon-to-be-released model. During the research study in UK, those who had predicted that the Galaxy S5 would trump iPhone 6 with relative ease were mostly…hold your breath…iPhone-users. Apple CEO Tim Cook definitely harbors hopes of making a dent into Android’s overwhelmingly high market-share, but the pre-release buzz about the iPhone 6 is remarkably lukewarm.
  8. Will the presence of two different versions help? – Ideally, it should – but the fiercely competitive mobile markets worldwide might wipe off such potential advantages. The 4.7-inch version of iPhone 6 is not likely to create much of a ripple – since people have long been hankering for a handset with a larger screen from Apple Inc. There will be a phablet-sized 5.5-inch version (as reported via Foxconn) as well, but it will have to be absolutely outstanding in terms of features – to stand out in the already overcrowded phablet markets.
  9. Not much of use as a camera device – If you are one of those who like to snap high-quality pictures with your smartphone, iPhone 6 won’t be your ally. The Nokia Lumia phones might have their fair share of shortcomings – but the 41 MP camera pre-installed in them has, till date, no competitors. Even Sony Xperia Z2 and Samsung Galaxy S5 have 20.7 MP and 16 MP cameras respectively. These figures are streets ahead of the 8/10 MP camera that the iPhone 6 is likely to have.
  10. The market dominance of Samsung will hurt iPhone’s prospect – This is, in essence, a vicious cycle. The popularity figures of Samsung flagship mobiles have soared over the past few years, while Apple’s iPhone 5S performed at just about average levels, and the ‘budget’ iPhone 5C was the very definition of disaster. This, in turn, has helped Samsung in particular, and Android in general, to create a market clout – which the iPhone 6 might find difficult to break into.
  11. Absence of NFC – Near Field Communication (NFC) technology was launched over 3 years ago, and even certain laptop models/brands have them now. Inexplicably, Tim Cook and his team have decided to stay away from using NFC in iPhones – and they are not likely to make an exception for the iPhone 6. People are increasingly getting used to one-tap digital security at home and single-touch mobile payments. The latest iPhone might come across as slightly backdated to them.
  12. Keyboard functionality is likely to be ordinary – If you are expecting Swype or haptic feedback features from the built-in keypad of the latest iPhone – well, get ready to be disappointed. Unless the predictions of software analysts and mobile app developers are way off the mark, the keyboard will remain considerably less functional than those on Android devices. Chances of Apple integrating usage patterns in the keyboard of iPhone 6 also appear slim. At least the new iOS 8 platform (unveiled during WWDC) supports third-party keyboards – otherwise that would have been a bone of contention too.

If iWatch arrives before iPhone 6 and is poorly received, that can create a further air of negativity about the latter. Apple has an enviable track record of success – and it has the capability of turning all these projections and survey results on their head, by ensuring that the iPhone 6 appeals to general buyers and techies alike. It would be a huge mistake to write off iPhone 6 before it is launched – but as things stand now, it does not seem like a big winner waiting in the wings!

 

16-Point Checklist For Hiring The Best App Development Company

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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Practically every app development company claims itself to be the ‘best’ – but not all of them are able to meet their extravagant service promises. If you are on the hunt for a reliable developer firm, you need to consider the factors mentioned in this checklist.

 

Mobile app development is a sub-domain in the tech sector that has witnessed amazing rates of growth over the last couple of years worldwide. In India alone, the total number of developer companies is in excess of 300000. Apart from gaming, music and entertainment purposes, business-related apps are becoming increasingly popular too. If you do not yet have a dedicated mobile application to promote your professional operations, you are, in all likelihood, missing out on a significant chunk of your potential clients. That, however, does not mean you should hire the first app developer you come across. To get customized applications at competitive rates, a certain amount of prior research is of the essence. The following checklist should serve as a handy guide:

 

  1. Check the track record – Looking for a cheap Android or iPhone app quote is not all that you should be concerned about. At the end of the day, the company you choose should be able to cater to your precise needs – and this makes hiring an experienced company vital. Always opt for a company that has a portfolio of at least 200-250 successfully created applications. Teknowledge, for instance, has already completed well over 500 mobile app projects.
  2. Consider the domain of expertise – With most companies specializing in cross-platform mobile app development, a bit of online research is all you need for this. Even if you need only an iPhone or an Android app at present, don’t go for a company whose operations are limited to that platform. Apart from iOS, a good mobile application development service provider should be equally at ease while working on the Blackberry, Android, Windows Phone and HTML5 platforms.
  3. Inquire about the team of developers – There are many companies which either employ developers on a freelance basis, or delegate projects to smaller, third-party organizations. You cannot expect any form of accountability from such firms. Make sure that the mobile apps company you have zeroed in upon has a permanent, well-trained team of developers. The entire project should be done in-house.
  4. Look up client testimonials – If a developer company has been able to provide complete customer-satisfaction to many clients, chances are high that its quality of service is indeed high. Check the testimonials page on the website of the companies you have shortlisted, and go for the one that has the most number of favorable reviews. Ideally, a well-established app development company should have at least a few reputed Fortune 500 organizations as clients. Ask for the contact details of a few clients too, for getting first-hand feedback. After all, fake testimonials are not particularly uncommon on the web!
  5. Are free quotes available? – Developing a mobile app involves expenses (at times, pretty high levels) – but a company should not charge anything for providing a service quote. Either contact app developers directly, or look on the company’s site – to find out how you can apply for a free Android or iPhone app quote/estimate. If the concerned company demands hefty advance payments, start looking for alternatives.
  6. Scope of interaction – Irrespective of whether you do or do not have any technical knowledge, you should always be kept in the loop – when the app project is going on. Find out at what intervals your chosen company would share (and explain) detailed mockups and wireframes of the application(s). Ideally, there should be meetings scheduled between you and the representatives of the app company on a weekly or fortnightly basis. You should have the option to call up/email the service provider whenever any emergency requirement crops up.
  7. Intellectual property rights – Interestingly, not many app clients pay due attention to this extremely critical factor. Make sure that you would have full rights over the source codes and other elements of intellectual property – once the app(s) is completed and delivered. There must never be any confusion over establishing your ownership on it. Of course, if you are buying an already existing app from iTunes/Google Play store, you need not worry about this issue.
  8. App interface designing skills – A balanced combination of technical excellence and creativity is what your selected app company should be able to provide. Remember, an over-complicated and/or bland-looking mobile application has minimal chances of becoming popular – no matter what its overall range of features might be. Select a company that has experienced, knowledgeable UI/UX and graphic designers. It’s immensely important that your app looks easy on the eye and is user-friendly.
  9. Read through the contract document – A free quote and a relatively reasonable final cost estimate – is that all you should be after? Far from it! Study the contract document provided by the app company carefully, and clarify all doubts from the company personnel. Be wary of hidden charges that might push up the final payment figure. Ask about the intervals at which you will need to make payments. Do not settle all dues till you have received the app and tested it properly.
  10. App-monetization help – Yours might be a paid app or a free app – but it should ultimately generate revenues. This, in turn, brings to light the importance of app monetization. For paid mobile applications, your chosen agency should help you in determining the correct pricing strategy. On the other hand, if you are looking to create a free app, select a firm that has the expertise to implement effective in-app advertising and additional download schemes. Story Time, our free app for kids, would serve as the perfect example.
  11. Reliability of the company server – In a bid to lower the total mobile app development costs by a few bucks, many people make the mistake of hiring the services of low-profile, rather obscure firms. These companies are not generally able to provide any assurance about the quality of their servers and systems. Ideally, you need to find out from beforehand whether continuous build servers would be used for creating your project. During the testing and even after delivery, the company should stay in charge of app deployment and maintenance issues.
  12. Check the network of the company – There can be no compromise with the quality of an app, if it has to get approved at iTunes or Google Play Store. However, it does help if the company you select has a few people who are in constant touch with the authorities at the Apple/Google stores. The app review and approval process might get expedited by just a bit.
  13. App testing and quality assurance – Adhering to strict quality standards is the hallmark of any decent app development company. The quality assurance (QA) statements in the contract document should include details on the mobile app testing procedures that would be undertaken. Make sure that the prototype of your app would be tested for bugs on actual devices (focus group testing) as well as in the cloud network. You should also have a password-protected virtual location, for conducting tests on your end.
  14. Ratings of the company’s previous apps – If a company has been in the app development business for a fairly long period and enjoys a good market goodwill, several of its apps would invariably feature in the top/featured lists at the online stores. From our 500-odd apps, around 80% do have focused presence on such lists, while a few of them have also bagged professional awards. Go for an app agency which has quite a few products that are featured at the stores. If your app becomes popular, your business would automatically receive a boost.
  15. Customized app creation services – There are many companies that are into marketing and selling their in-house apps only. For a brand new app, these are not the ones you should contact. Instead, get into a deal with a company where developers would listen to your exact requirements and app-concepts, and initiate the development project accordingly. Pay money for app(s) that would actually serve your needs – don’t let a company coax you into buying their own, existing apps.
  16. Press and media contacts – The duties of a professional app development firm do not end with delivering mobile apps to clients. It should take up the responsibility of creating an initial buzz about them too – via online press releases, events, and through their social media channels. Look for a company with active presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest and Behance. Proper exposure of an app is crucial for its ultimate success.

 

Keep a tab on all the cost elements involved in your app development project. Gather quotes from four to five firms, and compare their charges and expected quality of service – before getting in touch with any one of them. Being in a tearing hurry to hire an app developer might leave you saddled with expensive, sub-standard applications – and that’s certainly not what you want!