Archive for the ‘Mobile development’ Category

All about the Microsoft Windows 10 Store

Saturday, March 7th, 2020

All about the Microsoft Windows 10 Store

Love it or hate it, Windows 10 is by far the most commonly used operating system for computers, laptops and desktop PCs. Out of all computer operating systems, Windows has over 77% market share as of 2020. This means that over 3 out of 4 computers that are working as of today use some version of Windows. But out of those, over 70% are using Windows 10.

Windows 10 is great, and it has seen a huge adoption rate by users. It is critically acclaimed and seen as one of the best operating systems, if not the best, for desktop PCs and laptops.

The Microsoft Store

microsoft store

Bundled with every version of Windows 10 comes the Microsoft Store. This is Microsoft’s own app store, and is a host to a great variety of applications. These range from games to the most commonly used apps by all types of users. A few examples are Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, Mail, etc.

Why would anyone use the Microsoft Store?

Well, think about it like this. Let’s say you want to check your most recent tweets, what do you do? Instead of reaching for your smartphone, or navigating to Twitter.com through your computer’s browser, simply use the Windows app. Just as you would on your smartphone – it’s so much easier and faster!

The cool thing about the store is that it even includes games, lots of them. And what’s great, this store is actually the same store that you have on your Xbox gaming console. This means that if you purchase a game on your Xbox, it will also be available for download on your desktop PC. Yep, you can play Xbox games directly on your Windows 10 machine, how cool is that?

Why would developers even consider making apps for it?

Well, the Microsoft Store has a lot of potential. Ever since its introduction with Windows 8, it has seen some slower adoption from the developers. But it has grown a lot, and missing out on it would be bad for business.

Why, you might ask? Do you remember the statistics that we gave out a couple of minutes ago? Just think about the hundreds of millions of people that are currently using Windows 10 worldwide. Those are all potential users that could download your app!

The store contains a multitude of applications, it’s very quick and responsive, and more importantly, it’s very accessible. All you have to do is click on your Start Menu, and it should be right there! It contains a plethora of apps, games, tools and so much more. More importantly, it feels familiar, because it’s very similar to the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store. You just open the store, search for the app, click on Install, and you’re set.

It has great potential

The Microsoft Store is difficult to compare to other app stores because it’s unique. It is a unified vision of both code being shared across form factors by developers and a marketplace for users that includes apps, games, movies, browser extensions, and hardware. There is no other app store that has this combination, but the Microsoft Store still struggles to grab many users’ and developers’ attention.

iOS is considered the most successful app store by many, and when it comes to apps for phones and tablets, the Microsoft Store pales in comparison. Windows 10 Mobile is dead, and tablet mode and the library of tablet apps on Windows 10 is far behind that of Apple’s iPad. The Microsoft Store is also behind Android when it comes to phone apps and to a lesser extent tablet applications. But you can’t just measure the Microsoft Store on mobile use because the vast majority of its users are on PCs.

With Windows 10 reaching 700 million devices, there is a massive potential install base. While a large portion of users will never install something from the app store, developers have taken note of the audience and brought over their apps. Affinity Photo, Slack, and Adobe Photoshop Elements are just a few powerful desktop applications on Windows 10 compared to lighter variants and similar apps on mobile platforms.

To sum up

Microsoft has repositioned the Microsoft Store as a tool to make it a more viable option for users downloading apps safely from one place. With the exception of Chrome and a few other apps, I think a large number of casual consumers could get their apps from just the Microsoft Store and be fine.

r-tech welding magento eCommerce solution

The Microsoft Store has its flaws of course, but the people at Microsoft have made a number of improvements that I think are largely unappreciated by people who only tried the Microsoft Store when Windows 10 first came out.

The store has come a long, long way since then, and it’s actually great. I personally use it quite a lot, and I use apps downloaded from the Store every day. Maybe you didn’t even know the Store was there, so why not give it a try? We’re sure you’ll find some great apps there. And if you have an idea for an app that you want developed and put on the Microsoft Store, feel free let us know.

 

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Top mobile app development trends 2020

Saturday, February 29th, 2020

The mobile app industry is constantly changing – regardless if you are a digital product development company or a mobile app developer, you have to keep up with the latest trends to stay on top.

What are these trends?

mobile app development trends 2020Well, trends have a way of making their presence felt – humans, in general, easily gravitate to something that is becoming popular. First, it excites our imaginations, and the next minute, we are already experiencing them.

When it comes to mobile apps, what we experience is always better than our expectations – if you look at them from a business perspective, they are highly productive and functionally they are highly advantageous.

App development companies bring these trends to users via mobile apps – making our lives a lot easier, and as the app becomes more popular, more and more users jump on the bandwagon.

 

The first major trend that we would like to start with is the Internet of Things or IoT

Internet of thingsNobody ever thought that the internet would crawl its way into our livelihood to this extent – nobody could have predicted that one day it will have full control over our homes and environment.

Let’s say you take a couple of days off from work and go on a short holiday. After arriving at the hotel, you’re not sure that you have locked the back door. If you have an IoT powered lock system and an app that is compatible with it, you can just connect to the hotel’s wifi and check on the app and if needed, lock the house from your current location- it’s that simple!

 

IoT products such as the Philips lighting system, Google Home Doorbell, robot vacuum cleaners are already winning users over. Soon your fridge will be able to write a shopping list for you based on the products that are in short supply.

IoT is a vast field that has different branches that are still in development, such as Smart homes and cities, Ai-powered IoT devices, Smart self-driving cars and IoT in healthcare

The second major trend is the use of AI and machine learning

the use of AI in app developmentWe’ve heard these terms hundreds of times so far, but what really comes to our mind when we hear about artificial intelligence on smartphones?

You’ll probably say: well, there are AI-based photo filters available on Instagram and Facebook already, or there are the virtual assistants on our phones ( Google Assistant, Siri, Bixby )

In 2020 AI will play a more active role in our lives – besides the existing features that it offers, we will also have active voice translators, user predictions and activity-based battery savers will find a new home in our smartphones.

A combination of AI and Machine Learning can be useful in complex activities such as building mobile apps. We can teach the program the development process and it will be able to detect problems and fix them in real-time – all we need to do is to feed it data from the previous process.

AI can even learn our behavior patterns through our regular usage and optimize the operating system on our smartphones for optimal battery usage.

Next in line is Virtual and Augmented Reality

augmented reality appsWe have talked about Virtual reality and Augmented Reality before, now let’s see how they will be used in 2020.

We can expect AR-based app ideas turning into reality this year, they will offer many features like motion tracking, people occlusion, environmental understanding, and light estimation. These apps will be very beneficial for industries like healthcare, tourism, education, retail, marketing, etc.

By using gadgets and VR/AR, doctors will be able to perform surgeries from different regions – without being in the same room as the patient.

 

Blockchain technology

Remember the cryptocurrency craze of 2018? That gave us the first taste of blockchain technology.

Blockchain offers complete security for all our sensitive information, whether it is our transactions, data exchanges or documents – nobody can track it.

If Bitcoin gave us a taste of cryptocurrency, then Etherium showed us the real potential of blockchain technology. The scope of decentralized apps and how it widened opportunities for app developers is a great example of that.

Decentralized apps don’t need mediators to function or to manage information – they can connect users directly, without the need to store the data on a mediator platform.

Summary

Integrating these trends into our smartphones is a big leap – you need a professional mobile app development company for that. These technologies – since they are at their infancy, are hard to implement in current frameworks, so that’s why you need an app development company with the right knowledge and expertise to implement your ideas the right way. We will be continuing this article with part 2 where we will have a look at another set of technology trends for 2020.

 

 

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Swift – Apple’s own programming language

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

Swift?

Swift

I won’t blame you if you’ve never heard about Swift before. It’s a programming language just like C++, Java or Python. So why did Apple reinvent the wheel when there are so many alternatives to it?

Simplicity. Just like everything made by Apple, Swift is simple, elegant and very easy to understand and work with.

What is it?

Swift is a compiled programming language for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and Linux applications.

It’s safe because its syntax encourages you to write clean and consistent code. It also provides safeguards to prevent errors and improve readability.

And more importantly, it’s fast. Very fast. Swift was built with performance in mind. Not only does its simple syntax and hand-holding help you develop faster, it also lives up to its name. And keep in mind, it is 2.6x faster than Objective-C and 8x faster than Python.

A brief history about Swift

First introduced at Apple’s 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Swift programming language has generated considerable debate ever since. Chris Lattner, Apple’s Senior Director, Developer Tools Department, started designing the basic concepts of the new language back in 2010.

It wasn’t until 2013 that the team was able to solve a strategic question about how the new language would fit in with the existing Objective-C ecosystem. Forcing all iOS developers to move to a new language could have had a major disruptive effect on the community. So, the company decided to continue investing in Objective-C while also committing to the development of a new “safe programming language.”

But in 2015, there was a major turning point for Swift – it became open-source. Ever since then, it’s growth has been huge, being adopted and loved by millions around the world.

Swift 5.0

In March 2019, Swift 5.0 was officially released by Apple. The current version of Swift now contains a stable version of the application binary interface (ABI) across Apple’s platforms. This is a giant step toward helping developers use Swift on dedicated OSs like iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS. Needless to say, Apple is building a solid ecosystem, as now standard Swift libraries are included in OS releases.

SwiftUI was introduced in the release, which is basically a library of controls, graphic elements, and layouts for Swift applications that can be used to design user interface. The update also brought renewed documentation, updated CLI Xcode 10.2, and binaries for Ubuntu. Swift also became backward compatible with its previous versions. The list of languages that it is interoperable with now includes Ruby, Python, and JavaScript.

Since the release version 5.0, standard Swift libraries are integrated into every macOS, iOS, tvOS, and watchOS release. That means any app built on those platforms will be smaller, because these libraries are included. With this advancement, stable application binary interface (ABI) was also released. This allows Apple to provide support of Swift across its platforms.

Why you would want to use Swift over other alternatives

Swift

An example of how simple Swift can be

Well, first of all – the development process is extremely fast. Swift is very easy to write and read, being very concise, which means less code is required to perform the same task, as compared to Objective-C. Automatic Reference Counting (ARC) does all the work tracking and managing the app’s memory usage, so developers don’t need to spend time and effort doing that manually. Accordingly, it usually takes less time to build iOS apps with Swift.

In addition to faster development time, we can say that Swift is future-proof and can be extended with new features as needed. Thus, Swift projects are typically easier to scale. The fact that Apple is more likely to support Swift than Objective-C should also get serious consideration for long-term investment.

Additionally, Swift allows you to add more developers to your team if needed: The on-boarding is relatively fast due to the simplicity and conciseness of the code-base. The syntax of Swift is considered near to natural English, thus it offers easy readability for new team members.

Static vs. dynamic libraries

Usually, when you build an app, you use a lot of third-party code – reusable and often open source frameworks or libraries compiled into your app’s code. These libraries can be static and dynamic (or shared). Swift first introduced dynamic libraries to iOS when it launched. Usually, static libraries become the part of your executable file, thus increasing its size and load time. They also can’t be automatically updated since they’re stuck in the version you compiled at. Dynamic libraries, on the other hand, exist outside of your code and are uploaded only when needed. Static libraries need to have copies in all files of your program while dynamic ones do not.

Even though it takes more time to reach for the dynamic code from the outside than call to it when it’s already included, you have a choice to keep using static libraries when you want to isolate apps that aren’t meant to be shared.

ARC – Automatic Memory Counting

Swift uses Automatic Memory Counting (ARC) – a technology aimed to add a garbage collector function that wasn’t introduced to iOS before. Languages like Java, C#, and Go use garbage collectors to delete class instances that are no longer used. They are useful to decrease your memory footprint but can add a lot of extra unnecessary CPU usage.

Before ARC, iOS developers had to manage memory manually and constantly manage retain counts of every class. Swift’s ARC determines which instances are no longer in use and gets rid of them on your behalf. It allows you to increase your app’s performance without lagging your memory or CPU.

To sum up

For such a young programming language, Swift surely has an great variety of resources to help developers accelerate adoption. Apart from official e-books, there are tons of community guidelines, podcasts, online and even real-life courses and even third-party apps.

Swift has become an even more mature language with the latest update, but there are still a few things that need fixing. Apple is creating its own ecosystem with a stable ABI over its platforms, but it still lacks tooling and support for earlier versions. As such, Swift adoption will continue to grow, which soon might lead to a complete displacement of Objective-C as the leading first-class language for iOS mobile application development.

For business owners, it is important to be ready for any changes the market might impose. Thus, being prepared to switch to the new language with minimum effort and at a reasonable cost should be one of the key strategies for the near future.

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The steps of quoting a mobile app development project

Saturday, February 1st, 2020

In 2019 the total number of global mobile app downloads amounted to 204 billion and users (IOS and Android combined) spent over £120 billion on apps – subscriptions and in-app purchases.  This research was gathered by Techcrunch. Apps have become a central piece of the user experience on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Many companies invest in customer-facing apps and internal apps to address the growing demand for mobility.

With timelines, costs, features, and platforms, there is a lot to consider when quoting a mobile app development project. Gone are the days where you could write a scope of work for a website project and then tailor that to be used to quote an app development project. As mobile apps moved to the forefront of smartphone usage, we had to adapt our methodology when it comes to quoting a mobile app.

Mobile app development has many variables and its price can range from 5K to 500K. It can be hard to estimate the cost. However, we are here to help you as we don’t charge anything to give you that initial estimation enabling you to get a good idea of the project size and cost of development.

 Our mobile app development process

With over 14 years of experience and many software projects under our belt, we’ve been fortunate to work with some very large companies. Many of the most used apps in use today have been accredited to our developers.

Our entire development flow is broken down into defined work phases. Using them to plan, design, build, test, and deliver the final product to our clients in time and within budget.

Let’s start with the first and most important step: Planning & Business Analysis

Planning in quoting a mobile app

This process involves time and preparation.  Research & Development – We need to ensure that the product we develop will meet our client’s expectations. This thorough planning process helps us to understand the functionality of what is required to identify any unknowns and begin sketching the User Interface.

We carry out meticulous market research to understand if there is any demand for the app idea and to see what your possible competitors are up to.  We use a SWOT analysis to identify all your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses so we can make sure that we can make your app that much better.

The second step is all about the Technical Specifications

With your help, we will outline the functional requirements of the app in detail to help us storyboard the idea and then run this past you to ensure it is meeting your requirements.  Outlining the coding language, we will use it.

The third step is letting us do all the work – Prototyping and Designing the app

Prototyping and developing the appWhat is a prototype? – you might ask

A prototype is a rudimentary working model of your app. A prototype can help with testing the viability of the idea and can help save a decent amount of time and money in the overall development.

Prototyping an app involves the following process:

During this stage there are multiple sketches and wireframes done, with each step of the creative process we help to develop the idea, even more, simplifying some processes to make the app more user-friendly and easier to use.

Development stage

Top developer Clutch badge

At this stage, we divide the app into two parts: front-end and back-end.

Front-end development involves building the visual part of the app – the user interface UX. Depending on the size of the project we like to get this done in 4-6 weeks so that it can be tested.

Back-end development involves building the framework that supports all the functionalities of the App – this can involve connecting to other frameworks through API’s and often requires an understanding of how the third-party frameworks.

Testing and Quality Assurance

We test every part of the App’s functionality.  Ensuring its simple to use and intuitive.  The speed of delivery is tested at every stage of the development.  Ensuring the coding meets our rigorous standards.  We make sure that all the bugs are ironed out and our QA engineers pass it before presenting it to the Client for acceptance.

The final stage of app development involves Publishing the app

At this stage, your app is ready to be submitted to the app store by yourself – you can ask us to help you by guiding you through the steps.

The work on an app is never-ending after its release. Every app needs updates – note that post-release maintenance isn’t included in the initial cost of the mobile app estimate.

Final thoughts

quoting a mobile appAt the end of the day, the cost of app development depends on the app’s complexity, number of integrations and the platforms you want it to run on. To receive a precise price estimate we need to know all about the app’s proposed functions and business goals. Now that you know all about what quoting a mobile app development involves, it will make it easier for you to know what costs it might involve before asking a development company.

 

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How can you turn your app idea into reality

Saturday, January 25th, 2020

Many of us would like to become an entrepreneur and start an online business – we’ve all had that moment when we thought that we have a good idea for an app that could make us rich but then it never got anywhere. So what can you do with your idea of an app? How can you turn your app idea into reality?

As the number of mobile users increases year after year, there are more and more opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs who have an app idea. Mobile apps are strongly connected to the service offered by a business, they can help drive more sales that can translate into more revenue.

Whether you want to reach out to new customers or have strong retention over your existing ones, here are a couple of tips when it comes to understanding how to develop your application.

Make a list of all the features that you want your app to have

writing down your app ideasIt is essential that you put your points down on paper – absolutely everything that comes to your mind should be on paper. Mobile apps do not have any practical value if they only stay in your head – that’s why it is essential for you to move away from that “I have an app idea” phase as soon as you can.

By writing down all the features you’d like your mobile app to have, you’ll adhere to those ideas and add more to them later on. This refines your idea to a point where you will have a clear vision of how to turn your app idea into reality.

You will also have to remember that this feature list will have to contain unique features – that are essential for differentiating your product from apps that are already available on the market.

 

 

Analyze the Market

market analysisAfter you have written down the list of features you’d like your app to have, you will have a rough understanding of how to develop your app idea.

The next step before turning your app idea into reality is to get an idea of the apps that are already out there, trends, and specific requirements of the market. Firstly you should look at apps that serve a similar purpose when compared to your app and then keep track of their reviews, feedback, and ratings – this will allow you to get an idea of their weak points.

Once done with the market research, add those features that are capable of making your app unique and more attention-grabbing to your feature list.

 

Know your audience

The success of your app depends on your audience. Their type range may include particular industry orientations, region, gender, age group, income group and so on.  Now that you know your audience, you need to know something specific or special that your audience or users desire to have.

The better you know the needs of your audience, the better you can tailor your app to suit their needs. After all, the only reason why you said to yourself that your app idea would work is that there was something you knew that hasn’t been done before – and it’s something that a specific audience desires.

 

Find a way to make money with your app

Find out how you can collect the fruit of all your labor – you can make money off of your app using the following ideas:

Now that you have the ideas – you just need to know which one is more suitable for your app, audience, and market.

A popular way of making money using applications is by following the Freemium model – this involves making your app free with an in-app purchases option for extra perks.

In-app ads are getting out of date – it’s because nowadays it’s more up to the user experience, which gets ruined if users experience pop-up ads when they are having fun using your app. However, keeping used data ( of course, with the consent of the user) can help you refine the in-app experience for users and help you use it in various other ways to serve the user’s needs.

Prepare the wireframe of your app idea

wireframe- turning your mobile app idea into realityPut all of your notes to use and start building a wireframe of your app. This wireframe will allow you to define the concept much better- it will also help you refine the needs of your product.

You can start off by simply drawing a rough sketch with a pencil and paper –and use online tools to create a wireframe. After finishing the wireframe you can have a look at the way your concept functions and you can polish off the rough edges.  There is no technical skill involved, you just need to use your common sense to come up with an idea of how in-app navigation works.

Using this wireframe and ideas, it will be easier to get estimations from developers.

Get an estimation from app development companies

You have come very far in your journey – now that you have a wireframe and a rough idea of how your app works – it’s time to seek the help of app development companies to take care of the technical part.

For this, you can use Google to search for the best app development companies nearby – and it’s time to get in contact with them. After the initial contact, it’s best to get them to sign an NDA with you, so you can give them the project details.

An experienced app development company will then bombard you with questions – it would be best to answer them – then they will give you suggestions to make your idea better.

Getting a proposal from vendors is wise – with cost and time estimations for development and comparing them properly, you can choose the app development company to go ahead with.

The app development company will build your app and test it for you – obviously, you will have to do some testing yourself, to make sure that everything works as specified.

The final step is Launching your app

Before the launch, you should consider investing in marketing and branding – so your app has a pre-launch hype already built up. Use Twitter and Facebook to spread awareness – these are also the most efficient ways to get new people to use your app.

Now that you’ve read this blog post, what’s stopping you from turning your app idea into reality? An idea is just the start – it’s knowing what to do with the idea is what gets you to jump-start a profitable venture.

 

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Submitting your app to the iOS App Store – how does it work?

Saturday, January 18th, 2020

Submitting your app to the iOS App Store – how does it work?

 

So, you’re just launching your brand new app. Submitting an app to the App Store isn’t as simple as pushing a launch button, but it’s not as complicated as it may seem either.

Assuming that you are already enrolled in the Apple Developer Program, your app follows Apple’s App Review and Human Interface Guidelines, these are the steps that you need to follow. As previously mentioned, even though it seems a bit complicated, it really isn’t.

  1. Code signing

 

iOS apps on an iPhone
The development provisioning profile and development certificate that you’ve been using are only for specific devices. Now, in order to distribute your app to beta testers or to users through the App Store, you’ll need a separate distribution provisioning profile and distribution certificate.

 

Our recommendation and the easiest way to do this is through Xcode. If automatic signing is enabled, Xcode will create and manage certificates, signing identities, and handle device registration for you. In some cases, you might prefer manual signing. Honestly, we would just recommend leaving automatic signing on and Xcode should take care of the rest.

  1. Create an iTunes Connect account

app store - iTunes connect

 

Simple, just sign in with the Apple ID you used to enroll in the Apple Developer Program. Now let’s add a new app to it:

-In the iTunes Connect dashboard, select My Apps.

 

-Click on the + sign in the upper left-hand corner, then New App.

-To create a new iTunes Connect record, you’ll need these details: platform, app name, default language, bundle ID, and SKU. You can’t really change these details later, so be sure of what you enter.

-Use keywords in your app name to optimize for discovery.

-The bundle ID must be an exact match of the bundle identifier in your Xcode project Info.plist file (in the target’s General > Identity section).

-The SKU is not visible to users and is up to you to set. It can be an identifier you use in your company or something else that is meaningful for you. Acceptable characters include letters, numbers, hyphens, periods, and underscores, and it must begin with a letter or number.

  1. Archive and upload your app using Xcode

app store - app submission

Now, before you can submit your app for review through iTunes Connect, you need to upload the build through Xcode. You can do this by following these steps:

-In Xcode, select Generic iOS Device as the deployment target.

-Choose Product from the top menu and click on Archive.

-The Xcode Organizer will launch, displaying any archives you’ve created in the past.

-Make sure the current build is selected and click on Upload to App Store in the right-hand panel.

-Select your credentials and click Choose.

-In the next window that appears, click on Upload in the bottom right-hand corner.

-A message will appear when the upload has completed. Click Done.

  1. Configure your app’s metadata in iTunes Connect

Under the “App Store” tab in iTunes Connect, in the “App Information” page you can add additional languages, categories, and your app’s Privacy Policy URL.

Under the “Features” tab, you can add configurations to any App Store technologies in your app, like Game Center and in-app purchases.

At this stage, your app is marked with a yellow dot and the status “Prepare for Submission” in the left-hand panel under “App Store”. Select the build you want to configure. This is where you will add the information for your product page on the App Store.

  1. Submit your app for review

-Scroll to the “Build” section in your app’s iTunes Connect record.

-Click on “Select a build before you submit your app.”

-Choose the build that you uploaded through Xcode. Click Done in the bottom right-hand corner, then

-Finally, answer the Export Compliance, Content Rights, and Advertising Identifier questions and click Submit.

So, how long does it take in order to get the app approved?

app store app upload success

In most cases, it should take about 1 to 3 days to receive approval, and it can take up to 24 hours for your app to appear in the App Store after approval. Also, you’ll receive e-mail notifications at each stage.

If your app is rejected, you’ll have to make the necessary fixes before submitting your app for review again. You can use the Resolution Center in iTunes Connect to communicate with Apple if you have any sort of questions. You can also submit an appeal if you think your app was wrongly rejected.

If your app gets approved – Congratulations! You’re now on the App Store. You can view downloads, sales, ratings, and reviews directly in iTunes Connect.

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Why Mobile Apps are better than Mobile Websites

Saturday, January 11th, 2020

The number of people using mobile devices is growing year after year – it is projected that the number of mobile phone users worldwide will reach 6.95 billion by the end of this year. This means that the number of mobile users is far greater than the number of desktop users

Many business owners have thought about ways to win this audience – and the strategies they need to apply: whether to build a mobile website or an application. Unfortunately, there is no single answer to this question, because the options really depend on a number of factors, including the business plans, required features, resources and the web properties they might need.

Some studies have shown that users generally prefer mobile apps more than mobile websites – this makes for a strong enough reason to create mobile apps to attract potential customers.

Let’s have a look at a couple of reasons why mobile apps are better than mobile websites:

First of all, mobile apps offer better personalization

With mobile apps, the users have the option to set up their preferences at the start, based on this information, users can then be served with customized content. Mobile apps can also track and observe user engagement, and use their behavioral patterns to offer custom recommendations and updates to the users.

These apps also have the ability to track the user’s location – this allows the apps to provide geography-specific content.

These personalization options not only improve the user experience, but they also help to improve the conversion rate. When users are pampered with personalized content, they have a higher chance of making a conversion.

Easily send notifications and offers

 

mobile appsFor the last couple of decades, emails have been the main form of communication used to keep in touch with customers – businesses have extensively used emails to reach out to their customers, sometimes spamming their customers with daily emails. As a result, email has lost its effectiveness, this means that open rates and click rates have significantly dropped.

Now, there’s a new way for companies to communicate with their customers – Mobile apps

Mobile apps have two types of notifications built-in: Push notifications and in-app notifications – both of them are exciting new ways for communicating with users in a less intrusive manner.

This ability to send instant and non-intrusive notifications to users is so desired, that this is one of the main reasons why many businesses want to have mobile apps in the first place.

In-app notifications are the notifications that the users receive when opening the app and pop-up notifications are the ones that users receive regardless of any activity they are doing on their mobile device.

Users spend more time on Apps

Mobile users spend about 86% of their time on mobile apps, and just 14% of their time on mobile websites – and to add on top of this, the average time a user spends on mobile apps is also increasing.

Another advantage would be making use of the mobile device features

Mobile phone cameraMobile apps have the advantage of using the features available on a mobile device such as the camera, contact list, GPS, accelerometer, etc.

These features, when paired with an app, can make the user experience a lot more interactive and fun – they can also help reduce the efforts users would have to make otherwise. For example, when accessing their bank account, users can use the built-in face ID or fingerprint scanner to quickly access their banking app – if they would have to do this on a web browser, they would have to type in their passwords, wait for the 2-factor authentication message to arrive, type that in the textbox and then they would be able to do whatever operation they want.

These device features can significantly decrease the time it takes to perform certain tasks and can even boost conversions.

Mobile Apps can be used as powerful eCommerce tools

Mobile App buildingIn the eCommerce sector, mobile apps are blowing websites out of the water – they are much more superior when it comes to closing deals with prospects and leads, pushing them faster through the purchasing funnel.  It is estimated that mobile apps have a 3 times higher conversion rate than mobile websites and 1.5 times higher conversion rate than desktop versions. In total, more than 40% of people that download an eCommerce app make a purchase afterward.

Why do eCommerce apps have such a dramatic effect on conversions?

It’s because they save users data and spare people the ordeal of filling out credentials every time The in-app environment allows effortless, once click checkouts and fast loading times.

 

Final thoughts

Developing both a mobile website and mobile app for your business can prove to be a costly affair, depending on the size of your business, budget,and goals, you might have to choose one of the two channels. While both channels have their pros and cons, mobile apps can help you get higher conversion rates. Mobile apps offer greater personalization and operational efficiency, along with multiple other exclusive features.

 

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Android vs iOS

Friday, December 20th, 2019

The smartphone market has grown to become one of the largest markets when it comes to tech. As manufacturing processes have improved over the past decade, smartphones have become a pinnacle of modern technology. But without the proper software to power them, these phones would be high-priced pieces of glass and metal – or plastic sandwiches.

If you’re buying a new smartphone today, the chances are that it will run on one of the two main operating systems, Android or iOS. These two operating systems have been used in all of all new smartphones shipped this year – according to IDC. After Microsoft and Blackberry threw in the towel, Android and iOS are the only mainstream operating systems left – the good news is that both smartphone operating systems are excellent. These two operating systems have their similarities, but there are some important differences that you’ll have to consider when buying a new phone.

To compare Android vs iOS, we have selected a couple of categories and we will compare each one – but the final decision depends on you. Only you know which features/categories are most important for your day to day use.

First, let’s talk about the first thing what comes to our mind when we decide on buying a smartphone – The Price

Android vs iOS

Apple has always been known for being at the higher end of the market in terms of pricing. This year they’ve launched their iPhone 11 Pro with a starting price of £1049 and the iPhone 11 Pro Max with a starting price of £1149. If you are looking for the iOS experience, but you aren’t prepared to give out a ton of cash, you can grab the iPhone 8 for £479 – this is as cheap as it gets unless you want to buy a second-hand phone.

Android, on the other hand, is unbeatable when it comes to the sheer scale and variety. You can spend a lot if you want to on top tier flagships such as the Galaxy note 10+ or the Google Pixel 4 XL – their prices almost match Apple’s iPhone pricing. You can also go for mid-range devices that are a lot cheaper than the flagships and yet offer almost the same experience when it comes to UI and software – these manufacturers have deliberately optimized Android to run on low-end hardware.

Applications

Android leads the field of free apps- should make it the natural choice for budget-conscious users.

Let’s have a look at how many apps exist on the Google Play Store and on the App Store

Numbers aren’t really the best metric in this case – the most popular apps usually have versions on both app stores. Traditionally, iOS has been a more lucrative platform for developers, so there is a tendency for new apps to appear on iOS first.  Usually, the latest and greatest apps first come to iOS and later get listed on the Google Play store.

 

Battery life and charging speeds

Battery life is an important factor when it comes to choosing your smartphone – it’s difficult to compare Android and iOS because of the lack of common hardware. iOS is optimized to squeeze the most out of the battery per mAh rating, but you can find Android devices with much larger batteries that can outlast an iPhone easily. Both platforms offer battery saver modes that can extend the battery life by limiting the power consumption of the devices.

When it comes to charging speed, there is no question that Android devices are faster. The Oppo Reno Ace, for example, is capable of fully loading its 4,000mAh battery in just 31 minutes. Whereas the iOS devices, like the iPhone 11 Pro can take about one and a half hours to fully charge.

Comparing similarly priced Android phones with iPhones, they tend to have longer battery life and they always have fast chargers included in the box with and Android phone.

Updates – can be an important factor when it comes to features and security

Android vs iOS updates

Apple’s iOS offers consistent and timely software updates and security patches for all of its newer devices. If you want the same experience on Android devices, then you will have to buy Google’s Pixel devices. According to statistics, almost 90% of all iOS devices are now running the latest version of iOS. By contrast, only around 10% of Android devices are running the latest version of Android 10.

If you want the latest features and security updates, then you should choose iOS.

Voice assistants – Android vs iOS

Google Assistant vs Siri

Both Siri and Google Assistant offer almost the same features, Siri is more like a straightforward helper for setting up calendar appointments, searching the web or making calls. Google Assistant on the other hand, has an extra layer – it can preemptively offer useful suggestions, plus it has a more conversational side that offers entertaining games and contextual information based on what you are doing.

Camera

Android vs iOS cameras

Last but not least – the Camera. Some people choose their smartphones based on their camera. It’s difficult to call – in the past, we’ve argued that Apple does a better job at capturing lighting, coloring and other details – but the latest Android devices are casting a lot of doubt on that assertion. Nowadays flagship cameras are very close in terms of picture quality and lighting, mostly it’s up to the final user to decide how do they like their pictures – do you like it with natural colors or with some image processing? Weaker or stronger HDR? – it mostly depends on you.

 

At the end of the day, the final decision mostly depends on you – whether you are already used to one ecosystem – UI, functions, and usability. This Android vs iOS comparison was written to guide you to making your final decision.

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How smartphones and apps have evolved in the past decade

Sunday, November 24th, 2019

How smartphones and apps have evolved in the past decade

With 2019 quickly coming to an end, it will mark the end of a decade that brought along a multitude of technological improvements and advancements. However, today we will focus on smartphones and apps, and take a closer look at how they evolved throughout the decade.

Remember 2010?

iPhone 4 – the peak of technology in 2010

Yep, it was exactly 10 years ago (I can’t believe how fast time flies). But here’s a reminder of how technology used to look like a decade ago and we’ll see how it compares to modern tech.

The best smartphone of the year was the iPhone 4, while on the Android side we had the Galaxy S1. Nowadays we have the iPhone 11 Pro with the amazing 3 camera setup and other great Android phones such as the Galaxy S10. They look so much more futuristic than their 10 year-old cousins.

What about the apps?

Back in 2010, everything used to be much simpler. Apps were a lot simpler, they weren’t full of ads, and each app had its own properly defined role in our lives. Nowadays… apps are multi-functional. Want to take a picture? You can now do it directly from the Facebook Messenger app, or directly from the Viber or Instagram app. However, a few years ago, you would have to take the picture from the phone’s “Camera” app – that was the only way.

Modern apps such as Facebook do a lot more than they used to 10 years ago. You can use the Facebook app to access the Marketplace to sell/buy items. You can also use it as a messaging service, or to watch videos directly from the “Watch” portion of the app. It can also be used to create a business page and to manage to your business, or even display ads to potential customers. But it didn’t used to be like this. Facebook was Facebook – you would only use it to see your friend’s pictures and upload your own.

Evolution

As you can see, apps have evolved a lot in the past decade. Smartphones have evolved together with them as well. Here are a couple of examples of how apps are now vs. how they used to be years ago:

eBay app in 2010

Instagram app – 2010 vs 2019

Facebook app 2010 vs 2019

 

Well, as you can see, even if most apps became a lot more functional, the interface was kept as user-friendly as possible. This is a key aspect for app development – having a welcoming and intuitive UI.

Another thing that has changed but isn’t immediately noticeable from screenshots is the speed of the apps. You probably don’t remember how long it took for an app to load, let’s say 8 years ago. You would tap on the app, then wait… for a good 5 seconds at least. But since technology has advanced and smartphone processors have become a lot faster, apps take advantage of that processing power. Apps are now optimized to use that extra horsepower in order to make the app faster and a lot more responsive. This is another key aspect of mobile development – optimize your app to be as responsive as possible. Nobody wants a slow-to-respond and sluggish app.

Looking back at the past

The old Instagram app

There are valuable lessons that app developers can learn just by looking at this evolution of apps. As you can see, apps have improved in certain key aspects, and this is what made them much easier and friendlier to use. So what are these key aspects that a developer has to always keep in mind when creating a new app?

-Interface: Have a friendly and intuitive user interface. One that can be used by anyone, from kids to even our grandparents.

-Speed: Having an app that is very responsive and quick is a given. Nobody wants a slow app. Optimize the app so it is as fast as possible!

-Stability: Nobody wants an app that crashes all the time! Test your app and make sure it won’t randomly crash. Remember how often apps used to crash 10 years ago? I do… and it was painful.

-Optimization: Make sure your app doesn’t drain too much battery and make sure it is suited for all smartphones. Not long ago, apps weren’t tailored to specific smartphones. So if you had a smartphone with a larger screen, most apps would be blown-out and would look bad. Nowadays, no matter what phone you have, most apps are well-optimized to look and feel great on your specific device.

Conclusion

These are the key aspects that we consider extremely important when developing an app. And the past decade is a perfect example of this. These are the aspects that improved the most and the ones that matter the most to users.

So, if these 10 years held so much technological advancements, we’re curious to see what the next 10 years will serve us. We’ve been in the app developing business for over 10 years, and we’ve seen and done it all… but we honestly can’t wait to see what 2020 and the next decade will bring us in terms of smartphones and apps! If history is anything to go by, we should see even bigger improvements and advancements.

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Agile vs Waterfall – which is the project management methodology for you?

Saturday, November 9th, 2019

One of the first decisions we face when starting each of our project implementations is “Which development methodology should we use?” – that’s why we thought an article about Agile vs Waterfall would be useful.

This is a topic that usually generates a lot of discussions and debates among the people working on the project. If this is not something you’ve worked with before, a definition of development methodology is in order; put very simply, it’s a way of organizing and breaking down the work of software development. This is NOT about a style of project management or a specific technical approach, although you will often hear these terms all thrown together or used interchangeably.

There are two basic and very popular methods of managing projects in the modern software development industry:

Let’s dive deeper into the two different methodologies:

What is Agile methodology?

 

Agile iterative developmentAgile methodologies – in our case, the “Scrum” variant – are built on the idea of a self-organizing, cross-functional team. This team develops a product using adaptive planning, evolutionary development, as well as early and frequent delivery with ongoing communication with the customer. Simultaneously, there is continuous improvement using customer feedback, this way each step of the project is tailored to the customer’s needs.

As the name suggests, Agile is a very flexible and fluid method of working – any change in direction or scope can be quickly implemented without messing up the whole process. This is because instead of working on the entire product in one go, the team develops the project in phases.

The process starts with the most basic version of the product – bare minimum functionality, and all subsequent iterations are built up from it. These iterations are delivered to the client – or Product Owner – at the end of each sprint (phase).

A sprint is how the project’s timeline is divided, each sprint can last up to two to six weeks. The team decides on the tasks to be completed at the beginning of each sprint, including what product features they will develop and how they will test them. That means the product evolves, adapting to, and delivering on, the most important and valuable features at that point in the project.

It often means a product can be put into use before it’s even fully finished, so the project team can get early feedback from users.

What are the advantages of the Agile method?

What is the Waterfall methodology?

 

Waterfall methodWaterfall methodology is the traditional method of software development, meaning that each phase is distinct and well-defined. The team completes each stage before they move on to the next.

First, the team designs the product, then develops it, and finally test the product once the development is complete.

The methodology is efficient, with each stage properly developed and documented. If the project is handed over to another team, they would not find it difficult to pick up from where the previous team left off because the planning and documentation is so comprehensive.

This does, however, mean that this methodology can be rigid. The planning stage is very distinct from the development stage, so there is not much room for changes once the product design has been finalized.

Typically, Waterfall is chosen where the buyer of the software has a clear specification and the development company needs to deliver exactly as required, often under a fixed price arrangement.

 

 

What are the advantages of the Waterfall method?

Summary – Agile vs Waterfall

Agile vs Waterfall methodology

When it comes down to Agile vs Waterfall, it really depends on the type of project you are working on. Both methodologies are good for different types of situations and can help you to reach your project goals. To help you decide on which of these methodologies suit your project, here are the main differences between the two:

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