Friday, 31 May 2013

Amazon expands Appstore to China

Amazon has become the first Western company to offer paid Android apps to consumers in the world’s largest smartphone market.

Amazon has attempted to capitalise on the expanding mobile economy  in China by beating Google, who remains limited to only free Android apps, this means Amazon’s Appstore for Android is now accessible to  200+ international markets.

The move into China is a great move for Amazon and is part of their strategy to dig deeper into the country’s phone market; a market of around £17.6 billion. Amazon controlled just 3% of this market before offering paid apps, so it still has a lot to conquer.

After originally opening to the US consumer market in March 2011, the store has expanded to countries all over the world. This store promises user experience which is rooted within the company’s expertise of e-commerce.  It also highlights a series of automated marketing features which broadens Amazon’s well-known product recommendation engine into mobile software merchandising and a Bestseller’s section. These additions are aimed at improving consumer discovery.

The software screening and merchandising processes of Amazon guarantee China’s consumer market and developers a safe and secure experience.  A huge emphasis is on home grown firms in China including social networking website, Sina Weibo and video-sharing site, Youku Todou.

Over the past six months, Amazon has already begun improving its presence in China by launching the Kindle Store. They have remained silent on their expected launch of the Kindle range in the country but it does let us know that the introduction of its Android Appstore means that they will soon be ready to offer consumers devices that are more than capable to run its applications.  

Amazon’s intentions are quite clear. By investing in the Chinese consumer market and improving on their current 3% that they shave in the market, they are aiming to become closer to key competitors Apple, who already have a major presence in the country. Apple actually has over 17,000 outlets in China selling their products and the country is Apple’s second-largest market. Amazon has quite the distance before they can be on the same playing field, but expanding their paid apps for Android is a good start.

Friday, 24 May 2013

The Samsung Galaxy S4 - What's New?

With so much technology available, it is only right that we get excited about a new product that is due to be released.  And that new piece of technology is in fact, the Samsung Galaxy S4.

This device is one of the most anticipated smartphones to be released this year, and with a whole host of features, there is no surprise why.

This Samsung is one of the most eagerly awaited devices ever from the Korean brand, and aims to be the most powerful and desirable device that they have created to date.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 hasn’t grown in size compared to its ancestry but it does have a larger screen.  It is equipped with a 5-inch screen in fact, and has full HD resolution too. This means that the device can easily be compared to a television that could cost close to £1000.

On the inside of the smartphone is where the real damage is done though.  It possesses a much faster processor, more than enough storage space with a slot for an expandable memory card, as well as 4G, Bluetooth 4.0 and a surprisingly good battery life.

Don’t for a second think that this is all, as this Samsung also has incorporated into it a much more powerful camera, an improved way to chat with your friends, and a rather strange but interesting push into health through its dedicated apps too.

This device may look like it’s older brother, the Samsung S3, but don’t be fooled by this … it is only when you start to look deeper into its capabilities and technology that you can see this device is actually far, far, far ahead of its predecessors.

The build quality of the Samsung Galaxy S4 is something worth mentioning too. Unlike the models built before this one, which felt a bit flimsy and inexpensive, this new smartphone has a much better build and feel in the palm of your hand.

Don’t get us wrong, the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S3S were great phones, but this new kid on the block has outshone them both and has been updated in all of the right areas.  This phone is going to be such an improvement that we can forgive it for being plastic too.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Apple's App Crackdown

Apple is on a mission to track down all of the apps that are posing as app stores.

Apple has decided to take action against deceiving apps by searching through its App store and rejecting those apps that are fooling down-loaders.

This crackdown began in April when AppGratis was rejected from the App store for promoting products from other sources, rather than its own. This could mean a huge clear out of apps that are promoting anything other than itself.

AppGratis was originally approved until it was later removed, which caused quite a controversy. CEO of AppGratis, Simon Dawlat was in complete disbelief when he found out that his app had been rejected because the iPad version of this app was approved just days before.

Since then, there have been more and more developers who have reported rejections from Apple because of this very problem.

The App store has been referring to its regulation, 2.25, to track down these ‘app discovery’ apps. This regulation bans any apps that it feels customers could mistake as an app store within the App store.

There are a number of ‘app discovery’ apps that are purely the efforts of a developer trying to force an app into the chart’s. These apps can also be recognised solely as the efforts of marketing strategies.

Apple have a history of targeting these apps though. Back in 2011, the App store was vigilant against any app that offered in-game currency in exchange for downloading any other apps. So this is not something we should be surprised about. 

In fairness, this may actually come as good news for those customers who have already been deceived by ‘app discovery’ apps, like AppShopper for example. This new crackdown is likely to bring a stop to these deceiving apps and will mean we can browse through the App store without worrying about any apps posing as an app store in its own right.

The only thing that could be a problem though is if Apple decides to get to into its policing and ruins the App store altogether.

Friday, 10 May 2013

What is Google Glass?

When you think of the internet, you think of Google and when you think of technology, you think of …. Glass?

The search engine super-giant has released its new Google Glass, a computing device that you wear like a pair of glasses. This new Google Glass is aimed at the next step in technology and boasts similar features to that of today’s smartphones.

For those of you that don’t know what Google Glass is, we are going to clear up a few things for you:

So, what actually is Google Glass?

Like we said, it’s a computer device you wear on your head but not only that, it has been reviewed as the equivalent of a 25-inch screen that is just eight feet away from you. It may not be as detailed as a top of the range smartphone but it does have a good screen and is relatively easy to function. 

What are its features?

In a nut shell, Google glass is a display, a camera, a touchpad, a battery and a microphone all built into one device that is very reminiscent of a pair of spectacles. You can also video, send and receive emails, texts and calls and you can, of course, do Google searches. This clever piece of kit might be cutting-edge technology but at what cost you ask?

How much is it?

When Google Glass was first shown to its audience at the Google I/O developer conference in 2012 it cost $1500 to pre-order. So, not cheap. 

Although it may look a bit silly on your face, like some sort of torch or glasses with no lenses, it has got a lot of people rather excited.  And we are no different!  Especially when we found out that Google Glass will be able to run apps.  Google Glass will only run apps pre-approved by Google before we can use them which mean only the decent ones will be available.

With Google Glass being built with Android technology it is bound to have some interesting apps and has been purposely intertwined with Google’s own services which mean the apps will operate more like features than separate apps altogether.

The potential of this device is enormous; let’s just hope it lives up to our expectations.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Windows Want You!

With Apple and Android leading the way in terms of apps, it was only a matter of time before Microsoft did something about where they currently lay in the market share table.

Android and iOS currently make up around two-thirds of the market and Windows have decided to change this statistic by offering app developers the chance to build them some apps. 

Windows are offering these developers $100 per app they create for them and their Windows 8 OS. These developers can submit up to 20 apps each which would mean they can earn themselves $2000. This does mean though that 10 will be made for the Windows Phone store and the other 10 can be submitted for the Windows 8 store. 

Although many people have slated this idea by saying it screams desperation, BlackBerry did the exact same thing by offering developers the opportunity to develop apps for their new OS 10.  They did this to ensure that they had enough apps ready for the launch, which apparently resulted in around 1000 apps being submitted to Blackberry World in a day. 

Windows are currently only managing a mere 4000 apps per month, so it is well worth them taking a shot at emulating what Blackberry did.  

So, although this may seem like a desperate idea, it is a short term solution which is pretty much guaranteed to improve the platform. There is a downside to this though; it could mean that they accept a lot of strictly average or below par apps in order to reach their required amount to bolster their share in the market. 

Apple and Android are sitting pretty at the top of the market share table, but Microsoft is definitely determined to become one of the big wigs when it comes to percentages.
If you are interested in developing an app for Microsoft you will need to be pretty sharp about it though, as they are only going to be open for the first 10,000 apps, or until the end of the offer period. The date for this is the 30th of June.