Friday, 30 November 2012

How having an App can help your business

First of all, what is an App? An App (short for Application) is a program that runs on a smartphone in the same way as installed software runs on your computer. It allows the user to carry out tasks they want or need to do whilst on the move using their smartphone.

We’ve all heard the huge success stories of Apps like Angry Birds and used common Apps such as Ebay or Twitter but how can an App help your business, no matter what size it is? There are three main ways a smartphone App can be used to help:

1. Marketing
As part of your marketing effort Apps can be very powerful. As Apps are only just becoming mainstream then the first companies to have an App in their sector can generate a lot of PR around this. A client of ours ( has done exactly that by being the first orthodontist in the UK to have an App. Also, in the same way as your website gets found by Google, then with the right setup, people will find your App (and of course your business) through the various App stores.

2. Customer Service
We all want to serve our customers better in whichever field we work. Have you thought how you could help yours without them needing to be in the office sat in front of a computer? Mobile Apps allow you to do this! We practice what we preach at Appware so as well as using web based project management software in the office we also use the associated iPhone App for this. This means that if I’m sat with a client I can give an update of exactly where we are with their project in real time. I can also make notes or add new tasks as they are requested so my team can get to work on them before I’m even back in the office!

3. Direct Revenue Generation
The types of Apps above are usually given away for free. There is of course the option to actually generate direct revenue from an App. This can be done in a few ways; you could simply charge a flat fee for an App, give a limited version of an App for free but allow customers to pay to upgrade and unlock any limitations, or support the App through sponsorship or adverts. The cost of Apps to the end user is relatively small (starting at just 69 pence) but the worldwide market is huge. With a great idea and good marketing then the potential is massive. For example, the original version of Angry Birds has sold over 12 million copies!

I hope this gives you an insight into the world of Apps. Feel free to ask any questions by getting in touch at

Friday, 23 November 2012

Why Is 4G for Me?

4G is out and we want to tell you why 4G may be the thing for you! Currently 4G is only available through Orange network (well, rebranded as EE) and isn't that cheap but it is said 4G will expand to other networks soon. Once that happens then expect prices to come down and the number of different deals to go up. You also need to have a phone capable of handling this speed and modern handsets like the iPhone5 and Samsung Galaxy S3 support it.

4G is five times quicker than 3G (the current fastest way to get data and browse the web across the mobile phone network) which makes it a superfast tool to have, it covers 11 cities so far with plans to have 16 cities 4G'd up by the end of the year.

4G allows you to check emails, download massive documents and complete video calling, all on the go, all unbelievably quickly. Along with downloading, with 4G you can also upload massive files to a website and complete video conferencing wherever you are.

If you are into multiplayer games and you can’t wait to get home in the evening to beat your friends then 4G can help you with brilliant live multiplayer games that you can play with anyone and everyone across the world.

To sum up, 4G can do everything that 3G does but it can do it a better quality and a lot faster! Anything 3G can do, 4G can do better!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Microsoft Surface – A Different Type of Tablet

Most of us have seen the trendy adverts on the TV. It shows people sat on a picnic bench with different colour ‘machines’ passing them from person to person, propping them up with the back case and sticking a keyboard on the front before holding them together to create a guy – This is the Microsoft Surface, the new tablet on the market available from just £399.

Microsoft claim that with surface you can see more, share more and do more – but does this make it better than other tablets? Let’s have a look at what’s on offer;

Microsoft states that the surface is not only a timeless and tough work of art but a feat of engineering too. It is said that after using it just briefly you will clearly be able to see the thoughtful design and craftsmanship perfection that, joined together, makes the Surface a joy to behold. The Surface also has a unique casing called VaporMg and this offers not only a high quality fit but it also gives the Surface an ultra light and durable finish.

To stand it up just use the integrated stand that flips out from the back of the tablet, allowing you to have hands-free entertainment. Whether you want to sit back and enjoy a video in HD or take some beautiful photos, just flip back the stand and it’s propped up for you. However if you want it back as an ordinary tablet the stand closes back in on itself and moulds into the casing, leaving it looking smooth and sleek.

If you’d rather not use the touch screen for the typing then why not turn your Surface into a laptop by using the Touch Cover which just clicks into place giving you a slim and spill-resistant keyboard that you can use to type away until your heart’s desire. You can make your Surface as personalised as you want it to be with lots of vibrant colours to choose from. Alternatively why not consider a Type Cover? This combines the comfort and speed of your everyday keyboard but it is lightweight and super thin making it ideal for extended usage at home or work.

It may look incredibly thin but do not despair – the Surface still features a full-size USB port, microSD card slot and HD Video out port meaning that you are able to transfer files easily and use numerous compatible accessories such as the charge up, plug in and show off.

The fact that the Surface is cloud-connected is an added bonus as it means you can use SkyDrive to access any files at any time from wherever they may be.

One of the biggest advantages however, is that it uses the same operating system that can run on your laptop, Windows 8. So this means that you can use all the same software that you're used to using on your desktop or laptop in exactly the same way. Only time will tell if Microsoft really have produced a true laptop replacement in tablet form...

Friday, 9 November 2012

Is your company mobile friendly?

The "normal" Appware website
It was stated in 2010 that mobile phones outnumbered computers four to one, yes, there are four times more mobile phones that there are computers, worrying thought? It should be if your website is not mobile friendly!

A survey showed that less than 1% of websites for small businesses work on mobile phones with small business owners just presuming they do and never checking to make sure they do. Why is this of concern? If for example you are a locksmith company, someone is stuck outside, their computer is in the house and they have a smartphone so they search on the internet for a local locksmith, it seems you are the nearest but then clicking on to your website and nothing... the website will not load so the customer that is stuck outside calls your competitor!

Of course this could happen in lots of other businesses to, a guy is sat on the train on the way to work when he suddenly remembers his wife’s anniversary, he pops onto the internet on his smartphone to find a local florist, the first one he spots on the search engine he clicks on and the website doesn’t work, so he goes to the next one. You’ve spent fortunes on SEO getting you to the top of the search engines and now this poor guy can’t even see your website!

With so many people owning smartphones (mainly iPhones, Android, Blackberry) can your business really afford not to have a mobile friendly website? Can your business afford to miss this many customers because you are missing a mobile friendly version of your website?

The mobile optimised Appware website
It is important to remember that a smartphone user may not be looking for the same in depth information as a user on the computer, they want to see everything, but not in depth, they don’t want to scroll and scroll and scroll to find what they are looking for, instead a mobile website version needs to be clear with snippets of information that they can click on to see more. Make sure your contact details are on there with the times you are open and your location. Make sure all the basics are covered clearly.

It was stated in 2010 by experts in the smartphone industry that the mobile web and app usage will overtake the desktop computer in less than 3 years, it is now 2012... You need to get a mobile version of your website quickly if you have not done so already.

If you are designing the mobile version of your website yourself you need to ensure that you avoid any video or high resolution images as this will slow down the speed in which the website loads and will tend to put customers off visiting your website, or staying and waiting while your website loads.

The most important things you need from the mobile version of your website is that your customers can go on it and be able to find you, be able to contact you, be able to refer you and be able to add you to their phone book. If they want more details than that it’s unlikely that will look on their smart phone anyway, instead they will look on their computer where they will have more time to research and browse your website and competitors websites.

The most important thing is that you need to get on your smartphone now and check that your website works on mobile phones, check that it is of a good usability standard and does not take too long to load up or find the essential details. If it does not you need to work on it, or call in an expert to work on it for you... hint, hint ;)

So in summary, your business NEEDS to have a mobile presence to improve the brand of your business and to keep up with the ever growing mobile audience.

Friday, 2 November 2012

iPad Mini - What Is So Cool About Small?

Apple has launched the new iPad Mini today, claiming that it is the whole package but in a smaller package. It’s looking pretty cool with a beautiful and clear display, powerful A5 chip, a HD Camera for FaceTime, an iSight camera with 1080p HD video recording, extra fast wireless internet access and it has access to over 275,000 apps ready and waiting to be downloaded. But what is the difference between the iPad and iPad mini? It’s smaller of course!

The screen is just 7.9 inches and has an LED backlit display meaning it looks just beautiful. You can scan through your pictures, search through websites and watch videos easily. It’s perfect size means that you can work with the hundreds of apps that are made for the iPad not just scaled up iPhone Apps.

At 7.2mm in depth it is 23% thinner than the iPad and weighing just 308g means it is over half (53%) lighter than the iPad. The iPad mini is pencil thin and light as a feather meaning that it can be held easily in the palm of your hand.

There are some brilliant apps available on the iPad mini including iPhoto which makes it easy for the user to view, edit and share their photos with the simplicity of Multi-Touch.

iMovie is an excellent app too making it possible for you to shoot 1080dp HD movies, turning the footage into Hollywood style trailers or mini feature films.

Then there’s the GarageBand app which allows you to play instruments on the iPad mini and they sound as good as if they were the real thing.

The Pages app is a superb addition to your iPad mini collection; this app allows you to use the pre-designed (by Apple) templates to create your own professional letters, flyers, invitations and more. However, if numbers are your things then the Numbers app is the app for you allowing you to make flexible tables and 3d charts.

With help from the Numbers App, the Keynote App available on iPad mini means that presentations never be boring again. This app can be used to create elegant presentations with themes and styles on offer.

The apps already built in to the iPad mini include Siri which allows you to find out what is going on where and the best place to go, use the maps to find your treasure, FaceTime to keep in touch with your nearest and dearest, read magazines or your favourite book, watch a film, check your emails or send a message.

The powerful A5 chip means that the iPad mini is fast and fluid in its performance allowing you to switch from page to page, app to app in a smooth and natural way.

The iPad also offers a battery life that is not to be laughed at – up to ten hours of usage without charge is really pretty impressive for such a small thing that can do so much.

FaceTime got more fun with the iPad mini, you can chat to your friends using the front facing camera, or show them what you can see using the iSight camera on the back, wherever you are your friends and family can feel close to you.

Being able to record in HD Video in full 1080p is a huge bonus for this mighty but small machine, meaning wherever you are, however unexpected the event, you can still capture it for a lifetime using your iPad mini.

The 5 megapixel iSight camera means that all your photos will come out great whether in low lighting or sat out in the sun, there is also a huge display meaning that you can compose your shot until it’s just right.

The iPad mini also has built in advanced wi-fi technology meaning that the wi-fi is at least twice as fast as any earlier iPad, download speeds can reach a whopping 150Mbps.

The iPad mini has iCloud built in so just turn it on and you have access to whatever document you require, whether it is on your iPad, iPhone, Mac or PC, you can locate and lock whatever you require, wherever you require.

Using AirPlay means that you can stream all your music, photos and videos to your HDTV and speakers with just the tap of a button, wirelessly. In the same way you can use AirPrint to print whatever you require, wirelessly, at just the touch of a button.

The iPad mini cover is a must have if you have decided that you want the iPad mini, with its magnetic technology the smart cover snaps into place perfectly to protect your screen, but then fold it over and you have a stand – all with no extra bulk, keeping the iPad mini small, slim and as sleek as ever.

As you can tell, we're big fans and managed to get one sent to the office today. If you'd like to have a play with one in the flash then get in touch and we'd be happy to let you.

iPad Mini