Tablet Sales Down – Possible New Opportunities

idcIDC has new research that shows that while tablet sales are declining, detachable tablet sales are growing fast “because end users are seeing those devices as PC replacements”.

idctabletsq42015
This might provide opportunities for Android and iOS developers. Users will be looking to do more desktop-like tasks on their detachable tablets. There might be some opportunities if you can identify applications on the desktop not yet well-served on tablets and create iOS/Android apps that make great use of the keyboard.

Beacon Demonstrator App

beaconzoneI recently wrote about how many articles on iBeacons and Eddystone obscure or confuse what beacons actually are due to over emphasis of the (retail) business benefits or description of proprietary server side CMS features. I also mentioned I had written some articles explaining the basic concepts.

Following on from this I have created some simple Android and iOS apps for BeaconZone that demonstrate beacon triggering. The apps work with any iBeacons and allow you to set up triggering within the app itself rather than via a web-based CMS. The triggering settings can be shared, via a common ‘group name’ across phones and even across iOS and Android. If fact, it’s easier to set up on Android as you can detect any beacons but on iOS you can only detect predeclared ones. Hence, it’s easier to set up on Android and sync the trigger data with iOS. Both iOS and Android apps also trigger on beacons when the app isn’t running.

It has been a while since I last developed for iOS. As it happens, getting back into iOS development prompted an existing client to ask me to write an iPhone app for them. So it seems I am back into iOS development for a little while. I have been writing predominantly in Swift which I am enjoying but the change in syntax over time has broken many online code samples. I haven’t ever come across a language that breaks the old syntax over time. It’s very strange because languages are usually forward compatible in that old code never breaks but just becomes deprecated. The iOS app review process is still as onerous as ever and is particularly troublesome for iBeacon development. It took four times as long to get the Beacon Demonstrator app reviewed as it did to write it. However code signing, uploading and sharing beta versions is much easier than it used to be in the early days. Regarding newer iOS features, someone was having a bad day (or a joke) when they added auto layout to iOS, especially the Xcode tooling which is unintuitive and frustrating until you know the quirks. Apple should have taken some time to look at Android Studio.

The beacon ecosystem is maturing what with companies such as Estimote getting substantial funding and Nokia funding Sensoro. However, beacons are still only mainly being used in retail and visitor spaces. I believe they can do a lot more. The link between Bluetooth Beacons, IoT and sensors provides some opportunities and is an area I will be exploring further.

Thoughts on parse.com Shutting Down

parseIt’s less than a month since I posted about being impressed with Parse and talked about it’s “presumed longer-term continuity through being owned by Facebook” and yesterday parse announced it is shutting down.

I have always been cautious about using BaaS in production apps due to unknown service levels, uncertain longer term continuity, privacy issues and security concerns. Just as BaaS was getting my trust, it lost it again. Remember, take care if you are using a backend service provider, whatever their pedigree.

However, all is not lost. The closing of parse.com has caused the server side to be open sourced. This now provides a new way of providing for an easier server side. You get most of the advantages of Parse (no server side development and easy to use app SDKs) without the uncertain longevity risks of using a BaaS provider. I also expect a few ‘hosted parse server’ providers might surface to make the installation and setup easier and ease migration for the 600,000 developers using parse.com.

App Security as a Competitive Advantage

arxanAraxan has a new free 5th Annual State of Application Security Report (pdf) where they surveyed consumer attitudes to security and analysed the most popular mobile
health and mobile finance apps for security vulnerabilities.

arxanappvulnerabilities

82% of app users would change providers if apps offered by similar providers were more secure. At the moment, 50% of organisations allocate no budget for mobile app security. If you are in an organisation that ignores app security you have the opportunity to make security a competitive advantage. It’s possible to use security to attract and retain customers.

Smartphones, IoT and Consumer Interest

accentureAccenture have report Igniting Growth in Consumer Technology (PDF) that covers how smartphone sales growth is coming to an end and how IoT devices are not filling the gap.

accenturenotpurchasingsmartphone

Price is the top barrier to purchasing IoT devices while security comes next when it comes to people’s concerns. People are also finding IoT devices difficult to use.

Accenture provide some suggestions to help prevent stalling of consumer interest. These include improving consumer experience, building security/trust and leveraging IoT to create new types of solutions. Ecosystems are partnering are ways to enable growth.

With Security Comes Liability

thehackernewsTwo bits of news today related to legal proceedings due to security…

 

Samsung Get Sued for Failing to Update its Smartphones
and
Las Vegas Casino firm Affinity Gaming sued Trustwave for allegedly failing a data breach investigation

Both these demonstrate that security involves responsibility and ultimately liability. This makes me wonder how many apps out there with poor security could end up being an expensive and/or reputation-busting liability?

TrendForce Smartphone Research

trendforceTrendForce has new research that shows that Samsung smartphone shipments are in decline while Chinese OEMs are making larger market share gains…

trendforcejan2016

What does this mean for developers? While Samsung is still very strong, over time we will have to broaden our device testing portfolio to include more of the long tail of devices. The good news is that such devices will be less expensive than the high end Samsung devices we have been used to having to purchase in the past.

New Articles on iBeacon and Eddystone Bluetooth Beacons

beaconzoneThere are many articles on iBeacons and Eddystone that obscure or confuse what beacons actually are due to over emphasis of the business benefits or description of proprietary server side CMS features.

I have recently written several new articles for beaconzone.co.uk. The articles explain what beacons are, ways they can be used and pragmatic tips how to set them up based on past experience…

What are Beacons?
Ways to Use Beacons
iOS and Android Apps
Choosing UUID, Major, Minor and Eddystone-UID For Beacons
Choosing an Advertising Interval
Choosing the Transmitted Power
Determining Location Using Bluetooth Beacons

Also take a look at my recent article on this site on Bluetooth Beacons, iBeacons, Eddystone and IoT. You can also follow @TheBeaconZone on Twitter for the latest news on iBeacon and Eddystone.