Posts tagged "iphone"

Mobile App Revenue to Hit US$18.9 billion by 2014

Number crunchers Juniper and other research firms estimate big numbers as Internet use switches from the desktop to the smartphone.

Mobile Commerce is the Place to Be

It would appear logical that a lot of desktop activity is switching to the mobile space as smartphones become evermore capable. So the estimates by Juniper that demand for mobile access to Web 2.0 applications and services will hit US$ 18.9 billion in 2014 sound pretty reasonable. That figure was followed by a US$ 17 billion estimate from Getjar on the value of mobile apps in just 2012.

With workers and consumers both heading mobile, Juniper reckons that presence and location features and mobile Voice-over-IP (VoIP), will be the primary market driver. In fact, a second piece of Juniper research, published today, reckons that the presence segment will be worth US$ 6 billion alone, covering geolocation and social web services.

On the consumer side, app stores and social gaming-gone-mobile will eat up staggering amounts of cash. Such is the drive towards mobile, that a third report, from Canalys, reckons that some 65 million smartphones will be sold in the U.S. this year. This will bring the smartphone from vocal, but significant, minority to a market leader over the majority of feature phones currently in use.

Who Will Be In the Money?

With all these statistics flying around, the big question is, who will be raking in most of this revenue? On the hardware side, clearly BlackBerry from RIM and Apple's iPhone, but the reports expect Android to start claiming some of the share. On the software side, those making a major presence in the major app stores will gain.

Joomla Admin Mobile and Squarespace have an early start in the mobile CMS space (on Apple's store at any rate), but there is room for a lot more action and major players will be revving up their services in the near future. Certainly it will take some creativity and effort to produce a slick method of managing sites from a 4" screen.

Trouble in Store

Among all the hype and big numbers, it is important to consider the downside. As users and enterprises are finding that 99.9% uptime for a funky cloud service isn't the same as 100% uptime, they will find themselves struggling to connect and having to revert to old-fashioned laptops and networks, as backup plans for areas where service is patchy, or signal quality is poor.

Perhaps the major drive to mobile services won't start for a few years when LTE and other 4G mobile networks are up and running. This does give larger enterprises and developers the time to come up with the right solution. At the same time this will allow smaller, agile, developers to make their mark. All developments we will follow with interest.



Is Microsoft's New Windows Phone 7 Smartphone Competition for iPhone?


The mobile space is always ready for a good dust-up, will Microsoft's (site) Windows Phone 7 be the one to shake the Apple tree?

One Ringtone to Rule them All?

Technology empires regularly come and go. When was the last time you heard the phrase "IBM PC", "Hayes Modem" or  "Sega Console"?.

In the mobile space, things seem to happen even quicker. PDAs — now smartphones — were long considered executive tinker toys. It is only in the last few years with BlackBerry, and then Apple's entry into the market (approaching a dominant 70% of the smartphone market between them) that cemented the idea of doing business on the phone.

Windows Phone 7 goes straight for the consumer with its bold, block-panel display, slick all-in-one interface and use of large font sizes. It all looks a million miles away from those HP iPAQ's that were de-riguer but much-despised before the rise of the BlackBerry.

The hype around the announcement is rather reminiscent of Windows 7 blowing PC users away after the botched launch of Windows Vista. It's a big improvement on Microsoft's existing product, therefore generates much noise, but still has to appeal to the wider phone market and picky real-world users. Even Microsoft staff seem loathe to drop their iPhones, to the annoyance of the head honchos.

Microsoft has come a long way in interface design, but is it enough?

But can Microsoft and its many hardware partners (including; LG, Samsung, Garmin, Sony Ericsson, Dell HP and HTC) really storm the iPhone's market share in any meaningful manner?

A Brave New Rebirth

Apple, while hardly being innovative on the ideas front, has redefined the idea of apps and touch screens firmly in the consumer conscience and created a controlled environment to change the market.

Which brings us to the late market re-entrant that is Microsoft. Ever since the early PDAs and smartphones, Microsoft OS-based mobile devices have been clunky and boring to say the least. So, a total refresh was obviously needed. Something it took a brave decision to do, even as Windows 6.5 for smartphones was also in development. 

What the Experts Say

Mark Hattersley, Editor-in-Chief of Macworld UK, took some time to point out what he thinks are the pros and cons of the Microsoft's new play in the market.

The greatest strength is, of course, that it's Windows. Despite everything, that's still an operating system that many people are familiar with and integration with the desktop edition is always a strength Microsoft will have — especially integration with Office.

Beyond that key features such as tethering (available as standard on Windows Mobile phones) is something you have to pay for on an iPhone. Plus, of course, the OS supports a range of handsets giving consumers choice for things like keyboards, larger screens, haptic screens, and so on."

Too Little, Too Late?

Hattersley also points out the cons:

Weakness is simply timing, above all. Microsoft has been extremely slow to react to the iPhone, and Android, and it's hard to genuinely see a standout feature that Windows 7 Mobile has over the iPhone. The runaway success of Apple's App Store means that many iPhone owners have invested not just in hardware, but software, and it will be hard to convince them to lose all that for a phone that doesn't offer something substantial."

How does he think it will do in the overall marketplace? 

I think it'll struggle to take on Android, let alone the iPhone. Certainly for the next year or so. But Microsoft plays a long game and the mobile market is still incredibly new. I have no idea on numbers - shall we say"

Slightly more optimistic, Ben Harvell, editor of iCreate magazine, reckons

It seems the UI has more of a social bent than the iPhone which is a bonus for today's web-focused, social networking obsessed market. I also like the fact that (according to MS) all of the contacts I need and the information I'm after is available quickly and from the interface, not within individual apps. I would even go so far as to say I like the design! XBox Live integration will be a major deciding factor for a massive user base of gamers."

Under Pressure

The pressure is on Microsoft to get this right the first time. Apple got a lot of flack for issues with its early iPhones that have taken many updates and the recent 3GS model to put right. Apple still hasn't mastered multitasking, although that should be sorted by summer, and refuses to let Flash run.

Microsoft will not have the luxury of time (Zune, anyone?) on its side to get issues right. The phones, user interface, app store, the number of apps and marketing, all need to be 100% present and correct on launch day. 


On the plus side:

Range: Compared to Apple's single choice (barring memory sizes) of three different phone-types lets the buyer pick the phone of their choice:

  • Large touchscreen (iPhone)
  • Keyboard at the bottom model (Palm Treo-style)
  • Candybar or (possibly) slide-out keyboard (To be confirmed)

Office: Compatibility with SharePoint and Microsoft Office means instant access to most of the world's businesses.

Games: Linking into the Xbox Live brand could tempt gamers and the power of the SnapDragon CPU and portability of DirectX means a big gaming cross-over. Something that could produce better PSP-style gaming rather than the iPhone staples of cutesy time wasters.

On the minus side:

Brand: The name, "Windows Phone 7 Series" is already a confusing, jumbled, marketing loser. Hopefully, something snappier will be available by release — or phone makers will use their own branding — but that too will dilute the idea of a unified ecosystem which is where Apple has made its mark.

Late, late, late: Microsoft is so far behind the curve, to be almost off the chart.

Fortune Favors the Brave

Perhaps the biggest advantage Microsoft has is that a large core of phone users are gadget buyers who want the latest, coolest toys. It's this vocal minority of people who brought Apple into the market and they could do the same for Microsoft — if the product hits the right notes.

Time will tell if these people are Apple-followers in the Mac sense, or just a passing crowd willing to leave their iPhones behind.

Check it out for yourself:

NewsGator Adds Microblogging, iPhone Client Support to SharePoint

NewsGator (site)  has released a couple of new tools for SharePoint. Technically they are for their Enterprise 2.0 solution Social Sites, which is built on top of SharePoint, but close enough.


Connecting to SharePoint via your iPhone

The iPhone is a mobile client for Social Sites, allowing users to do things like:

  • Send status updates and view updates from others
  • Upload videos and photos
  • Comment on updates
  • View notifications if someone comments on your updates
  • Participate in discussions
  • Look up contact information for other users

Along with the iPhone client, there will also be an iPad client available — with all the same capabilities — when that product hits the shelves.

Back in December we talked with J.B. Holston, NewsGator CEO and President, about the future of social computing. When we talked about predictions for 2010, Holston said that enterprises will have to directly confront mobile.

With the increased popularity of the iPhone and the new buzz — no not Google Buzz — around the upcoming iPad, it makes sense that NewsGator would provide clients to its SharePoint solution as one of their first steps in the mobile access arena.

Microblogging in the Enterprise

One of the other things Holston talked about back in December, was that NewsGator would be releasing enterprise microblogging capabilities for SharePoint as well. Back then, we were told to expect it before the end of the year, so it's a little late arriving.

NewsGator's microblogging suite is integrated into Social Sites offering functionality such as:

  • A global conversation page showing all updates for everyone
  • The ability to send messages to specific people or a community
  • The ability to view community streams and conversation modules
  • Hashtag support
  • The ability to offer feedback via a "like" button
  • Emails for updates and notifications like comments or "likes"
  • Standard and custom filtering
  • Inline viewing of attachments like photos or videos

In addition, the NewsGator microblogging suite offers new APIs to integrate consuming and publishing activity information in other applications.

It's all available Now

If you are using Social Sites, both the iPhone client and the microblogging suite are available in version 3.1 today. Otherwise, head over to NewsGator's website and check out all the functionality included in Social Sites 3.1 to see how SharePoint has been leveraged to provide an enterprise social computing solution.

5 Ways Web Design Focuses on Usability

TechRadar recently delivered what they and top experts consider to be key trends for the next 12 months in web design. At the core, is an increased focus on usability. Smashing Magazine sought to promote better user experiences with storytelling, encouraging designers to capitalize on users' emotions. The bottom line: by focusing on usability, a better website can be built.

Plagued by a turbulent economic outlook, web designers are finding it in their best interest and those of their clients to scale back on building micro-sites and head-to-toe redesigns, and focus more on improving the overall usability of their websites.

According to TechRadar, the advances the industry has provided have also enabled "clients to take advantage of the web's efficiency and modularity" perhaps making usability and functionality all the more important because they now know what to expect. 

As well, better usability can help web designers assert their authority about how the web is used and how it can translate into revenue and brand loyalty for companies. But usability, as we often find, just makes sense.

1. Functionality

In 2010, functionality incorporates elements of common sense and viability. Integrating third-party enhancements into a site are often more user-intuitive and free, saving designers lots of time and money spent recreating the wheel.

Video and photos are best to be showcased using well-known distribution channels like Flickr and YouTube, while Twitter and other social media APIs can be integrated within sites.

2. Interaction

While seemingly complex, website interactivity can actually simplify user interfaces. Richer interfaces that use Flash are diminishing their threat, being replaced, instead by JavaScript.

Meaningless (and cumbersome) visual animation will be replaced by beautiful interaction that works to promote specific user engagement behaviors. Pretty and functional interactive displays will be essential to the user experience.

3. Dynamic Content

Smashing Magazine says,

storytelling and user experience have common elements — like planning, research, and content creation — that can be utilized for effectively developing an experience.

Putting a face with a name essentially helps users relate to personas and makes them want to contribute to the story, either helping to shape it with their own words or how they choose to share it with others.

Blending emotions with design can help steer users in the direction appropriate for your website, ultimately improving functionality and customization.

4. Web Standards

In the last few months, we've covered the measures taken by the W3C on how to handle inaccessible websites, CSS3, HTML 5 and the semantic web, among others. As designers and developers adapt to changing web standards, they must also be mindful of anyone using browsers that don't support cutting-edge technologies.

Web standards don't just target traditional websites, but those that are mobile-based, as well. In the interest of time, money and accessibility, creating mobile-specific sites may be less important than designing better accessible websites altogether.

5. Expanding Skill Sets

Whether it's designing apps for the iPhone or working with open source technologies, designers and developers alike need to get skilled. Customers are already demanding cutting edge applications and enhancements. Being able to make educated decisions about designs that promote new technologies, web standards and good usability will be a challenge, but ignoring it all together, won't make them less relevant.

Overall what design and usability intend to do for websites in 2010 is very similar to what the underlying goal of any website should be: making information easy to find, navigate and engage.