App development has long-been a race with primarily one winner. With Apple’s iPhone conceivably setting the standard for smartphones and touchscreens, the concept of applications on your phone and the way in which users could now make their mobile device work for them ushered in an industry of app development where the sky was the limit. That same sky became the subject of apps and the wallpaper for smartphone user interfaces, with the weather prominently displayed on phones, apps, and operating systems. As the iPhone commercial once proudly proclaimed, “there’s an app for that,” yet iOS was routinely the victor, stop one for app developers and users alike. However, with the growth of Android devices, the number of apps on Google Play has finally overtaken the numbers on Apple’s App Store. Today, we look at what this means for app developers, and what it could possibly say about smartphone use as a whole.

In a recent report by appfigures, Google Play now boasts a total of at least 1.43 million apps, while Apple’s App Store comes in just below, with only 1.21 million apps in 2014. While Apple has long-touted its extensive App Store as a primary unique selling point, Google now trumps Apple, with more developers actively contributing to Google Play more so than Apple’s App Store.  What does this mean for Google, Apple, app developers, and users?

Developer Numbers at the Root of App Increase

A big reason why Google’s Android platform has been able to attract such an influx of apps is a pretty simple correlation--more developers work on Android than on iOS. The fact that the Android operating system speaks more to the open-source, versatile development that many software and technology die-hards have come to love, and also points to markets where Android is fast outpacing its primary competitors.

For the third year running, the amount of developers focusing on app development specifically for Google Play has surpassed those that are working on iOS. Each year, the difference tends to become more pronounced. In the 2014 survey, nearly 400,000 developers were working on apps for Google Play, while the App Store could only boast under 300,000 developers. As a result, we can expect to see Google’s app library continue to surpass that of Apples simply by the numbers.

Android

Different Apps for Different Chaps

While Google Play had an instrumental influx in the amount of developers that were creating apps for its platform, it also has a very specific niche. A pronounced division has begun to form between iOS and Android apps, with each targeting a very different user base. Android app users tend to focus more frequently on games, while iOS app users tend to focus on Business, Lifestyle, and Food.

Since Android caters to such different devices, with differing capacities, UX needs, and more, it becomes interesting to note that despite these intricacies, Android app developers still see the biggest reception from games rather than some of the more tried and tested categories in Apple’s App Store.

Apple’s developers tend to stray away from simple games, and instead focus on more practical and pragmatic applications for a smartphone. The primary sectors that grew in 2014 for Apple included business and enterprise apps, lifestyle apps, and food and drink related apps. This hints at the idea that Apple users are more prone to incorporate their smartphone into big projects, like work, health and lifestyle goals, or checking for the nearest or healthiest place to grab a quick bite.

Amazon Priming

The runner-up in nearly every category on appfigures.com’s report was Amazon. While Amazon is still far from the top, they are by all means a major player, and this report nods to a few alarming statistics that should be encouraging for anyone looking for Amazon’s next big venture.

First, Amazon’s number of developers grew at the same rate as Apple’s throughout 2014, and the number of apps grew by 90% in the year previous. While they are still third out of three in many categories, they still represent healthy competition. As Amazon develops products like its phone, the Kindle Fire, and other app-friendly devices, expect to see them raise their claim as one of the Big Three in the app development world!

For more information on programming the app of your dreams on different platforms, contact us today. 

After a series of posts wrapping up 2014 and taking a look at some of the exciting things on the horizon for mobile app developers, today we wanted to look at three specific sectors in mobile apps, and how these will be affected in the year ahead. While mobile app development has been making strides in each of these sectors for years, new mobile apps and releases in mobile technology are taking each of these to new plateaus in 2015. From the race to enter the wearable marketplace, to mobile money, to the share-economy, mobile apps are making major changes to modern life.

Wearables

It’s a bit of a no-brainer that this would top our list of things to look for this upcoming year, especially with Apple’s forthcoming release of the Apple Watch, and Google’s Android wearables already landing on shelves around the world. However, the wearable war is really starting to heat up as brands and businesses start seeking out competition in the marketplace. 

While some have hailed the arrival of the smart watch as simply the death of the pedometer, apps and their ability to monitor and maintain health are starting to become increasingly more robust. Jawbone UP 24’s coffee app provides an exciting example about how segmenting a certain component of your health can really isolate how particular habits are affecting you rather than just giving you data on the amount of steps you took or movements that you made. In addition to the data and statistics, wearable technology is leading to smarter apps for everyday athletes. As Fast Company was keen to point out in an article detailing 2015 tech trends, smart clothing and wearable coaches offer more in-detail training about movement and biomechanics. The wearable app war will be an interesting as the year shifts into focus and the big players begin pushing out new wearable products. And it’s not just Apple and Google, either--this stunning wearable from Withings offers a beautiful, classic-looking watch with some great smart functionality under the hood. We can’t wait to see what comes next!

Mobile Money

Mobile money was a heavily discussed topic when iOS 8 introduced Apple Pay. However, yet again, the plot thickens. With mobile money, we are seeing brand new ways to pay ushered in by things like fingerprints as security measures. Mashable posits that the adoption of mobile payment in Starbucks and the big partnerships that Apple was able to secure seem to foreshadow an economy in which customers feel comfortable paying for low-cost goods and services using their phone.

Similarly, with the advent of BitCoin and evolving mobile payment applications, we’re seeing a heavy interest in people leaning on their mobile device to manage their money. From money-management apps that communicate to you in colloquial slang to let you know you have “less than a Benjamin”, to bank apps that now alert you every morning with a daily balance, apps that revolve around money are beginning to engage users and be more proactive and user-friendly.

The Sharing Economy

With the conversation surrounding Air BnB, Lyft, and Uber all making major news headlines, the sharing economy will continue to thrive via mobile applications. As developers help app users turn into entrepreneurs, the conversations surrounding regulation, use, and their ability to compete and dent the big corporate players in each space will continue to amplify. We expect these apps, offering a solution for both buyers and sellers, to continue to evolve and carve out a way to meet the needs of consumers while also empowering users to profit.

For more information on how to get your app idea off the ground in 2015, contact us today.

We nearly all make the resolution to be more productive, whether at the start of a new year, after a much-needed vacation, when starting a new job.

And then a few weeks pass and we're back in the routine, in a rut and running on the wheel, wondering where all that determination to be better, faster, and quicker went.

So Tech Times went straight to the source -- productive company leaders -- and asked five to share one tip on how they boost productivity.

1. Listen, Listen and Listen

There's that old saying about why one should never "assume," says one top company chief, as it leads to time wasting and extra work, and um, well, you know. The key, says Segmint President Bob Heiser, is to listen.

"Being a great listener has a major impact on productivity. I try to understand exactly what someone needs prior to assigning tasks by asking questions and making sure my team has everything they need to be successful in advance. This cuts down on the incredible amount of rework that comes as a result of making assumptions instead of asking questions up front," the chief executive officer told Tech Times.

2. Get Active Outside the Corner Office

It can be easy for a CEO to be stuck in the office, sitting at a desk all day. However, several leaders suggest getting out and remaining active, outside of the job role, is extremely important when it comes to productivity. Alan Masarek, at the helm of Vonage, says his endurance regime plays big into his leadership role.

"I've completed five Ironman triathlons and dozens of triathlons of shorter distances, all of which require many hours of training each week," Masarek, CEO of Vonage, told Tech Times. "The repetitive routine of training for long-distance sports provides an incredible opportunity for reflection and to think through and solve problems. I get tremendous clarity of thought during my long swims, runs and bike rides. In fact, I have frequently stopped in the midst of a training session to grab my phone and dictate a note to myself with a new idea or a solution to a problem I've been pondering."

3. Avoid the Comfort Zone

While some believe being comfortable is paramount to being more productive, others clearly don't agree and say ultimately it could pove to be a leader's downfall. The trick is to avoid the comfort zone and and embrace challenges, says CEO Vivian Chan.

"I set myself challenges, both as a CEO and beyond, to expose myself to a range of experiences and hopefully pick up a diverse set of skills along the way," Chan, CEO and co-founder of Sparrho, a personalized recommendation engine for science news, told Tech Times. "These can be as varied as shadowing CEOs, working with the British Army at London Olympics, or hiking to Macchu Picchu (later this year)."

4. Be Selfish. Take "Me Time"

It is important to step back from running the business for "me time," as it can prove rejuvenating and invigorating, says Steven Berlin, who runs Uskape.

"I mandate ME time. It's actually on my calendar. I must carve out time to take a step back and make time for myself," Berlin told Tech Times. "Stepping away to refresh helps me refocus, so I can ultimately be more productive. But it only works if you stick to the routine -- put it on the calendar and don't skip it."

5. Use Post-it Notes. Yes, Post-it Notes.

Post-it notes are a great tool for staying on point and organized, with several company leaders noting the creative stationery is even getting more productive as a job aid these days.

"Post-it notes make a huge impact on productivity. I keep Post-it notes in my wallet at all times, then I can scan them into the Post-it Plus app, which allows you to back up, share and organize notes," Jordan Edelson, CEO and founder of Appetizer Mobile, told Tech Times. "As someone who primarily works in the mobile space it's important for me to have access to all of my notes from my phone. This system constantly reminds me what I need to do next."

View the entire article at: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/26182/20150113/top-productivity-tips-tech-ceos.htm

The Technology Behind the Apps: Mapping Your New Year's Resolution

As the days wind down on another incredibly eventful year in 2014, many will undoubtedly resolve to lead improved lives in the coming year. While many New Year’s Resolutions start off with optimistic intentions and an almost spiritual-fervor and enthusiasm, they tend to taper off at just about the same rate, as people slip back into rusty old routines and unhealthy habits. The advent of the mobile app has always promised to turn this around--from apps that monitor your health to those that help you curtail vices with messages of encouragement, there are plenty of applications designed to help people become the best versions of themselves that they can be. However, the Apple Watch, coupled with other wearables, transforms how these apps are made possible. Let’s look at a few different technological advances and how they can help you keep your goals in 2015.

 Wearables Become Your Mobile Monitors

As New Year’s Resolutions begin to abound, exchanged around water coolers or dinner tables, many will inevitably involve improved health. From exercising more to eating healthier or drinking more water, an increase in exercise and a change toward healthier habits is never generally far from the top of a list of Resolutions. Now, the apps that can help you track your progress are also tied to devices that dramatically reduce the burden on the user to track or enter this information.

Wearables like smart watches and fitness trackers like the Fitbit, Jawbone UP, and Nike Fuel band all sync with your mobile device to keep track of what’s moving you--and how often. From your commute to walks around your office, from a trip to the gym to getting tucked in at home, these movements are tracked and communicated to your smartphone without further disruption. Rather than leaning on a user to enter the metrics of their workout or tally the steps that they take, wearables offer a considerable amount of flexibility, acting as a pedometer, monitoring heart rate, sleep, and more. These wearables are associated with a number of apps and help better align your daily habits with your daily goals, lighting up, vibrating, and interacting with the user to encourage them along the way.

Push Notifications Become Your Personal Trainer

Simple apps that can help you be a better version of yourself often take advantage of one of the most simple solutions--giving users a push, everyday, around the same time. By using push notifications to encourage users to check in, apps remind users of the goals that they have set and help to positively influence users to meet those goals by encouraging regular accountability. What many may fail to realize is that gyms often use the same logic to help encourage better habits; a class schedule helps encourage users to show up for a workout regularly while using the accountability of other people to help hold them to this new routine.

Apps that use push notifications to help ask users to engage and track their behavior often alert users at the same time of each day, a way to encourage consistency and accountability, and create a bond between the device and the habit that they are trying to create. This simple solution is an increasingly important one in the way in which people set and achieve goals.

Workouts Become Your Win

Nothing keeps things fresh and fun like a little friendly competition. Leveraging social networks to create sign-ins helps app developers to improve the user-experience, build community, but crucially, connects you to your friends through a common goal. This connection becomes invaluable to the success of both your New Year’s Resolution and the app itself by encouraging the same type of accountability we spoke about earlier. Gamifying apps that track everything from weight loss to workouts, or from alcohol consumption to conserving cash get a little more fun with friends around. Competing with your friends to achieve your goals doesn’t have to be fierce or fiery, but instead can help inspire. Use the connections you have with friends to inspire growth and foster fun competition in order to build a better relationship with your app, and ensure your friends are there to help you celebrate the small wins on your route to a better you.

For more information on how to build the app of your dreams, contact us today.