App Enterprise Challenges

mobileworldliveThe GSMA has a new article based on an Accenture survey of 2,000 executives in nine industries and 15 countries. While 87% think that apps are vital to business, only about half of them are using apps for productivity, sales channels or customer service.


Security, performance and integration are seen as major concerns. However, those companies holding off mobile development should take note of Accenture’s finding of a “correlation between a company’s profitability (relative to competitors in its industry) and its approach to, and perspectives on, mobile apps”.

End User Motivations

pewresearchI recently posted on how you might think about screen orientation support. This led to possible consideration on how devices are held in the hand(s). Following the theme of adapting your app design to how your app might be used, you might like to take a look at the free Pew Research paper (pdf) into mobile etiquette.

The report shows under what situations people think it’s ok to use their smartphones, what they do on their phones when taking part in a social activity and how this varies by age group.


Depending on your app, the results of this research might help you determine whether your app is likely to be used in particular contexts. Alternatively, you might even target a popular context such ‘Look up information about where you are going or how to get there’ or make other contexts more easily achievable, for example to help ‘Avoid interacting with others who are near you’! Tapping into common end-user etiquette and motivations might be used as a way to improve app use and retention.

Google Press Event

androidGoogle’s press event today revealed that there are now over 1.4 billion (30 day active) Android devices. Google Play has over 1 billion (30 day active) users. I wonder what the other 0.4 billion people are doing? Maybe there’s some OEM somewhere that uses non-forked, CTS tested Android without the Play store?

The event confirmed most of the leaked details on the LG Nexus 5X ($379) and Huawei Nexus 6P ($499). The main new features are USB Type-C and the Nexus Imprint fingerprint reader. They also have a low light camera sensor originally designed for camcorders and digital cameras that, with the laser focus on the Nexus 6P, should make it useful for imaging-related apps.


Google also demo’d Now On Tap. As they said, it’s ‘super convenient’ but, unfortunately for privacy advocates, depends on Google knowing even more about what you are doing.

There was no mention as to whether the new devices have wireless charging – sadly something which has been rumored to have been dropped.

The new devices will be available towards the end of October.

Trend of Vertical-only Orientation Apps

horizontalvsverticalI have been noticing a trend in apps I have asked to develop, also in apps developed by others and some of Google’s own apps, for example the default launcher on Nexus devices: A fix of app orientation to vertical.

There was a time when the advice was to develop apps so that they always dynamically handled any orientation. I think this came about because the original slide out keyboard-based Android G1 and popular Moto Droid relied on a horizontal screen. Rolling forward to more recent times, I am increasingly receiving designs that are vertical only with no thought or even hint that horizontal orientation has been considered.

Users are becoming more used to keeping smartphones vertical. Whether it’s because it takes effort to re-orientate a device or whether it’s a cause and effect of more apps becoming vertical-only, 29% of view time is now vertical vs 5% five years ago.

Vertical-only has the benefit of less to design and code and some types of content will never look great when horizontal. However, keep in mind there’s still a minority of phones, for example the Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere II where vertical-only apps are extremely difficult to use with the keyboard.

Should you make your app vertical only? I happen to be working on a specialised app, used for one purpose, on only one type of device, that fixes the app to landscape! Lists of things tend to work better on the vertical while image or vector based viewing, with panning, tends to work better on the horizontal. Take a deep look at your content and consider possible screen layouts before you decide. You might also like to take a look at how people hold their phones together with the context in which you expect your app to be used.

Content Trends and Mobile

fippFIPP has a free Content Trends report (pdf) that, while aimed at magazine media, has some useful insights for mobile developers.

The first surprising statistic is that 9 percent (137.7 million) of Internet users worldwide are smartwatch owners…


It’s also interesting that smartphones and tablets are taking over desktops/laptops in all types of use. There’s no one genre that people prefer on mobile or desktop…


Social media is a growing and influential source of traffic referrals. FIPP recommend that publishers don’t just invest in Facebook pages and Twitter handles but actively invest in social media strategies to drive traffic to content and brands in order in drive growing revenue.

This data tends to suggest smartwatches are not a short-lived fad and need to be taken seriously. Organisations need to take mobile seriously if they aren’t doing so already. Finally, the key to marketing your mobile content is probably via social media strategies.

Mobile Security Miscellany

androidsecuritylogoHere are a few recent mobile security related items that don’t seem to have made the mainstream media yet…

  • FireEye have found that a mobile app company is taking control of Android Phones. They have a detailed breakdown and have observed re-packaged apps such as Amazon, Memory Booster, Clean Master, PopBird, YTD Video Downloader, and Flashlight.
  • Hacker News has a story claiming XCodeGhost is similar to that developed by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
  • Google have been relatively quiet about their SafetyNet anti-tamper detection, masquerading as a CTS compatibility test. has a detailed breakdown of what it does and how it works. The article also explains how to call the test from your app. However, as the higher levels of SafetyNet are Java calls, it’s likely that it can be hooked (bypassed) using something like XposedBridge.

Android Security Symposium

usmileIf you are interested in Android app security you should take a look at the Android Security Symposium that took place earlier this month. It was run by Josef Ressel Center u’smile at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria in cooperation with SBA Research and the Institute of Networks and Security (INS) at Johannes Kepler University Linz. The program gives links to the video presentations and slides.

Of particular interest are:


See the program for 14 further presentations.

Counterpoint Research

counterpointCounterpoint has new research and a new infographic on Q2 mobile market handset and smartphone shipments based on more than 75 vendor shipments Worldwide. Huawei has became the world’s third largest handset now beating Microsoft. Asus is the fastest growing brand.