Category Archives: Mobile App

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6 things Mobile App Developers need to know

6 Things You Need to Know Before Building a Mobile App is a story published in the Huffington Post. If you are serious about mobile app development, I strongly recommend you read it.

For example, consider the section on how much it costs to build a mobile app:

1. What Will It Cost?

This question is one of the most commonly asked questions regarding app development, and is the same as asking “what does a house cost?” Ultimately, there are different variables, features, and development processes to consider, and then it furtner varies from project to project.

If you are planning to build the app yourself or you have access to an in-house development team, the cost would depend on the amount of time you put into the project. If you can do this in your spare time, it will only cost you your time and skills. However, keep in mind that most professionally developed applications require a team-effort, usually consisting of a product manager, designer, developers, testers, and marketing experts.

The leading mobile app developer review company Clutch recently surveyed representatives from 12 leading mobile app development firms to determine cost ranges for building an iPhone app “and found that the median cost range is between $37,913 and $171,450, but could climb up to $500,000 or higher. The best way to find out where your app will fall in that range is to obtain price quotes from several development companies;” One of the 12 firms surveyed by Clutch was Digital Brand Group, and the CEO Jeremiah Jacks is a friend of mine. Something to keep in mind that Jeremiah mentioned is that “what you get from a lot of development companies is that they treat their customers from a kind of manufacturing standpoint, where they’re getting in a contract, they’re looking at a scope, and they’re just delivering on the scope. They’re not going any further beyond that.”

If you’re going to hire a mobile development company, then at least choose one where your money is going to count for something, and the vendor doesn’t look at you as just a number – you will need a partner. DBG has a good whitepaper on selecting a top mobile development company to help you decide.

Finally, innovative mobile application ideas can also be promoted on crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter. In this way you may be able to raise funds externally before you have to spend money out of your own pocket. Make sure you have a killer pitch if you want to increase your chances of raising money through crowdfunding, and keep in mind that once your idea is out there, you have limited time before someone else takes off with your idea.

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A lot of this is material which has been covered before on the Desirable Apps website, but it doesn’t hurt to re-read material you may have read before, especially if you are considering making a substantial investment. The Huffington Post article is well presented and informative.

If you have any questions about the process of building a mobile app, or any other considerations, please contact me.

New Mobile App Developer Tool- 5 Billion Sessions/Day

Twitter Answers - New Mobile App Developer Tool attracts 5 billion sessions per day

Twitter Answers – New Mobile App Developer Tool attracts 5 billion sessions per day

Twitter has claimed that its Answers mobile app developer analysis tool is currently juggling 5 billion sessions per day – a figure which puts Twitter into the same league as major rivals such as Google Corporation.

According to Wired;

Twitter says it’s now juggling about 5 billion “sessions” a day on its Answers service, the tool it released this past summer in an effort to help the world’s software developers analyze the performance of their mobile apps.

In other words, the company says, developers are using the seven-month-old service to collect app data from hundreds of millions of mobile devices out in the real world.

Answers is part of a larger suite of tools for software developers, known as Fabric, that Twitter formally unveiled at its inaugural developer conference in October. With Fabric, the company aims to help improve the performance and design of mobile apps—and perhaps integrate its own services into the larger world of computing. The suite, for instance, offers a tool for syndicating tweets through third-party apps.

“We want to empower the mobile app ecosystem for everyone,” says Brian Swift, who helps oversee the Answers tool. “We want to make these tools available for free—and make them as easy to us as possible.”

Read More…

Why do I need a mobile app analysis tool?

App Analysis tools like Answers Service are critical for serious mobile app developers and entrepreneurs, because they provide precise information on how users are using the mobile apps – which functions they spend time using, which functions they find confusing, even which functions they avoid. This feedback is critical for serious iPhone App developers and Android App Developers, because it provides detailed information about which areas of a mobile app need more development, either to fix problems, or because a function is popular, and should be expanded. Mobile App users rarely provide detailed information about a mobile app unless it is defective. A stream of negative reviews in Apple App Store or Google Play Store is NOT the optimum way of discovering and responding to problems – it is much better to get advance warning of problems, and address those problems, before they spill over into a public barrage of negative feedback.

Google Analytics – the main rival to Twitter Answers

I must admit my preferred tool for mobile app analysis is Google Analytics. However, Google Analytics can be a little intimidating to use for non technical users – it provides a lot of information, but Google actually recommend you attend a training course to make full use of their tool. It really can be that complex to use.

Why is Twitter Answers taking market share from Google?

Twitter Answers, which has only been available since last October, and is designed to be much easier to use than Google Analytics. Twitter promote their tool with the slogan Finally, mobile app analytics you don’t need to analyze… The fact that in such a short time, Twitter have attracted 5 billion sessions per day of usage, is strong evidence that ordinary users and technical mobile app developers are embracing the new analytics paradigm.

If you would like to learn more about mobile app analytics, and how analytics can help boost the popularity of your iPhone App or Android App, please contact me.

Mobile app developed: A New Age of Government?

An exciting new mobile app development in democratic accountability.

An exciting new mobile app development in democratic accountability.

The Indian State of Andhra Pradesh has developed a mobile app to ask people what they think, about a range of government proposals, services and projects.

The issue is Andhra Pradesh is effectively a new state. The old Andhra Pradesh was split in two, giving birth to the new state of Telangana. The old state capital Hyderabad is in the new state of Telangana – so Andhra Pradesh has a tremendous amount of ground to cover, they have been given 10 years to build a new state capital.

The Andhra Pradesh government’s response is a bold new experiment in mobile app technology – a mobile app, to give the ordinary people of tech savvy Andhra Pradesh an unprecedented level of oversight, over the progress of their new government.

According to Asia Pacific Future Gov

Indian state Andhra Pradesh has launched a new mobile app for citizens to suggest ideas on upcoming projects and give feedback on government services, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu announced.

The app, known as AP Speaks, lists broad areas that the government wants to improve such as education, electricity and tourism. A short description appears alongside each.

People can submit their ideas or like an idea shared by another person under these topics.

The government has also asked them to rate the state’s electricity service as good, bad or average.

Andhra Pradesh has tied up with Facebook and Indian telecommunications company Reliance Communications to make sure people without internet access can use the app as well. Customers of Reliance will be able to access AP Speaks without data charges through the Internet.org Android app or www.internet.org

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Mobile apps have repeatedly demonstrated their utility for streamlining communication. If the Andhra Pradesh mobile app feedback experiment yields positive results, other governments will follow their example – potentially opening a vast new market for mobile app developers, and an exciting new age of more accountable, more responsive government.

If you are considering a new communication mobile app, an app for enhancing client feedback, please contact me.

Could a Mobile App Project be your key to Hollywood?

New Katy Perry Mobile App aims to replicate the success of the Kardashian App

New Katy Perry Mobile App aims to replicate the success of the Kardashian App

Katy Perry has commissioned the development of a new mobile game, from the same developers who created the “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” game.

According to Business Insider Australia;

The new game, which has yet to given an official title, will feature Perry’s voice and likeness and promises to “introduce players to a digital playground of global success and talent,” according to the press release.

“Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” was also a free-to-play game, but the game offered in-app purchases that allowed players to use real money to purchase additional playing time and virtual clothes with the game’s currency, “K-stars.”

The strategy worked well for Glu Mobile and Kardashian. “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” dominated the Apple App Store charts, peaking at the #1 overall spot and #4 in top-grossing apps. It raked in $US1.6 million in its first five days on the market, and has since been downloaded 22.8 million times, generating $US43 million in revenue from its June launch through the end of September.

Creating a mobile app is an obvious merchandising dimension for already famous hollywood stars, especially given spectacular successes like the multi-million dollar Kardashian mobile app. However, mobile apps often succeed without backing from famous people. But what about the reverse – could a successful mobile app help someone break into hollywood?.

Could a mobile app be your big break in a Hollywood acting career?

To some extent we’ve already seen at least one example of this – the blockbuster Angry Birds mobile app has spawned, among other things, its own cartoon franchise.

But imagine a game based on a copyrighted Sacha Baron Cohen character such as the dictator of the fictional nation of Wadiya. In principle the mobile app could help drive the rise in popularity of the character – just as Angry Birds spawned a cartoon franchise, so a successful mobile app could spawn demand for a movie franchise.

Crazy? Impossible? Well it has already happened – not with a mobile app (as far as I know), but with the blockbuster console game Halo. The game created demand for a movie – Halo: Helljumper, released in 2010.

The lesson is clear – if you want to be a Hollywood Star, consider creating a mobile app. The Katy Perry App will do well – but it is unlikely to be the same runaway success as the Kim Kardashian game. Why? Because the Kardashian game came first. There is a potential opportunity here – Contact Me if you want to be the person who seizes that opportunity.

New mobile app lets users make money from selfies

An clever new app allows users to make money from selfie pictures.

An clever new app allows users to make money from selfie pictures.

This has got to be one of those wow moments, when you see an idea so clever you wish you had thought of it yourself, an app which could revolutionise the modelling industry – a new mobile app which allows people to make money by taking photos of themselves.

How does it work? The idea is incredibly simple – you dress up in your hottest outfit, snap a selfie, then use the mobile app to scan the bar codes on all your clothes and accessories. Other people can browse the selfies, then use the app to buy the clothes and accessories if they see a look and style they want to copy.

According to CNBC

“What we’re doing … is removing friction from path to purchase,” said Tadd Spering, founder and CEO of Stylinity.

A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers highlighted the importance of social media for retailers. According to the firm’s global online survey of nearly 20,000 shoppers, 62 percent of respondents said that interactions on social media had led them to buy more in “most” or “some” cases.
Read MoreSelfie sticks are the new Beatles

It also found that more than one-third of shoppers follow some of their favorite brands or retailers on social media.

Read More…

And of course, people who demonstrate a natural talent for modelling clothes and accessories – my guess is they will very quickly find an offer of a modelling contract in their inbox. The potential for this app to transform how clothes are sold, and transform ordinary people’s lives, by opening exciting new career options… lets just say, watch this space.

The big takeaway from this innovative new mobile app, is that there is still plenty of room for new mobile app development ideas – we have barely scratched the surface of the tremendous potential of the mobile app industry. In addition, paying mobile users to install your app has got to be a good way of growing your user base.

If you have a new idea for an iPhone App or Android App, and would like to discuss the realisation of your mobile dream, please contact me.

A Freemium Mobile App Development backlash?

A gathering backlash against some freemium mobile apps?

A gathering backlash against some freemium mobile apps?

Freemium Mobile Apps – apps which are free to download, but which offer in-app purchases. A few days ago, I discussed different ways of monetising apps, and how the Freemium model appears to dominate the industry.

However there are signs of a potentially serious backlash against tactics some freemium mobile app developers are using, to encourage users to purchase in-game options.

According to Game Revolution

… The thing is, our industry has become bad; society’s view of our industry has become bad. We try to get as much money out of the player as possible. That’s what the job of the [casual] game designer has become. That’s how people see us.

…What we’re doing is selling games to children. I think it’s so disgusting. We sell them $100 packages of fake currency and make their parents pay because we can easily manipulate them. This is the thinking of the gambling industry.

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To put this into perspective, not every iPhone App project or Android App project which contains in-app purchases is “evil”. If you want to give people a taste of your app’s functionality, then it is entirely reasonable to present basic functionality in a free mobile app, then encourage people to purchase additional capabilities. For example, Angry Birds – you could play a few levels on the free version of the game, then you could buy the “full” version, then there was ONE in-app purchase option – the “great eagle”, which allowed you to blast through frustratingly difficult levels, to see the next level. Good clean fun – simple costs, you know what you are buying.

But clearly there is a line which it is dangerous to cross. If your app targets children – encourages them to spend ridiculous sums of real money buying food bricks for their pet dragon or walrus or whatever, so their faithful electronic companion doesn’t starve and die, to me this is a high risk strategy. There’s a real risk your mobile game might end up at the top of someone’s list of evil. Such a design might even trigger a consumer campaign to remove your product from app store or play store.

My advice is, everything in moderation. By all means throw in a few in-app purchases – its a fantastic way of boosting revenue. Who knows what apps we would never have known, without the financial incentive provided by profits from in-app purchase options.

If you would like to discuss app monetisation strategies, please feel free to get in touch.

Fast Text Searching in a Mobile App

Searching large text fields (as in thousands of words) for small key phrases is traditionally a difficult problem, especially when the search has to be performed by a mobile app, using an Android or iPhone handset’s limited computing power.

Linear Text Search

Your mobile app could search for your key phrase by checking every letter in your text, as the possible starting point for the phrase you want to find. This works when the text you are searching is short – but if you are attempting to search many thousands of words of text, a linear search is slow, even at modern computing speeds.


Search: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog
Key Phrase: lazy dog
Algorithm: check each letter
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

Text Map Search

The alternative is to partially pre-run the search when developing the mobile app. You can’t predict the keywords a user will enter, but you can create a searchable text map of the relationships between words and phrases in the text to be searched, to allow code to rapidly search the map, rather than having to check every letter of every word of the text to be searched.


Search: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog
Key Phrase: lazy dog
Algorithm: pre-run search
L -> La -> Lazy -> Lazy Dog

How do you pre-run a search? You could research efficient word search structures – suffix trees, and other exotic data representations. After a significant amount of effort you would be able to create a search engine, which was much faster than a linear search of every letter in your text.

Or you could use the full text index feature of the SQLite database engine, which is fully supported in both the Android App and iPhone App environments.

SQLite Full Text Index

The SQLite full text index engine is very fast – correctly configured, it can search 10s of megabytes of text stored in your mobile app, fast enough so your code can update a list of hits in realtime, as the user types into the search box (obviously its a bit smoother if the database search is running in a different thread). In my experience the limitation on search speed is usually how quickly your code can create tables of data to represent the search results, rather than executing the search itself – so during performance tuning, it is worth considering minimum phrase lengths (e.g. don’t start the search until the user has entered at least 3-4 characters), to limit the number of results which are likely to be generated by a given search.

Creating a SQLite Full Text Index table is very similar to creating a normal database table. If the text to be searched is fixed (i.e. doesn’t change when the mobile app is used), the text search SQLite database can be created when the app is built, and accessed immediately, as soon as the user starts the mobile app.

Other Full Text Index Options

Full Text Index databases are also well supported by web technology. On most Linux boxes you can choose between a SQLite Full Text Search Database or a MySQL Full Text Search Database.

The Next Step

If you are thinking of developing an iPhone app or Android App, or any other kind of mobile app, which needs to present users with the ability to search a large chunk of text very rapidly, please contact me, for advice on optimal ways of implementing such a search.

Avoiding Mobile App Store Rejection

What to do if your mobile app is rejected by App Store.

What to do if your mobile app is rejected by App Store.

The dreaded rejection – you’ve commissioned your mobile app, developed it, tested it, then Apple rejects your creation – because you inadvertently violated one of their rules.

It happens – rejection is never pleasant. I’ve personally dealt with mobile app rejection on several occasions, in all cases at no additional cost to the client. A lot of the time the rejection occurs because the reviewer misunderstood app functionality – on more than one occasion I’ve negotiated a solution which did not require any change to the app functionality. In other cases, a minor change to functionality is required, to bring the app into compliance. Sometimes an app is rejected because of a malfunction – in which case the reviewer is doing you a favour, helping you to discover and correct a mistake, before your app receives negative reviews from the public.

Venture Beat News has written an excellent article providing 5 tips to avoid rejection.

1. Test, test, and test.
In every scenario for successful app submission, it all boils down to testing app performance and user experience. From bugs to crashes, the list of app rejection reasons is ridiculously long. The recent Forrester report on mobile app testing confirms that “successful app testing requires real devices rather than emulators; many development teams have learned this the hard way.” Engaging, high-quality apps can do wonders for your brand reputation, while poor-quality apps turn off even the most loyal customers. So do yourself a big favor. When you have built and tested your app to absolute perfection… test it again!

2. Plan for patience
Possibly the most frustrating aspect of app store submission is the time it takes to review. The inconsistency can be particularly maddening. The Apple App Store review process can take as few as 4 days, as many as 14, or anywhere in between. And that’s if your app gets accepted the first time. Google Play doesn’t take as long, but patience is still a virtue here. Unless you have an app store reviewer on your payroll, it’s a very good idea to plan for a lengthy review process, and hope for the best.

3. Understand the submission fields ahead of time
Submitting your app requires you to fill out a lot of information, and neglecting this step until the last minute has caused a review delay for many an app. Be sure to research all the fields you’ll fill out (app description, categories, keywords, copyright, screen shots, etc.) and get a good head start before you’re ready to submit, and eliminate this avoidable delay.

4. Monitor the latest app store updates
Apple has an annoying habit of changing their acceptance rules frequently, especially after new OS releases. This can easily lead to a lot of app rejection headaches, so it is important to have someone keep on top of the latest updates. Ensure that someone on your team is continually familiar with the Apple Store and Google Play submission rules, and save yourself some hair.

5. Create your own app store
Unlike individual developers, companies don’t necessarily have to subject themselves to the verdicts of the mobile elite. Enterprise app stores are a growing trend in today’s mobile world, as companies are finding the capability to host and distribute their apps internally. If you have the right cloud platform, this is a great way to make life easier, both for yourself and your end users.

Read More…

If you would like more information on how to avoid having your newly developed mobile app rejected by mobile app store review, and what to do about it if your receive the dreaded rejection notice, please Contact Me.

The rise and fall of Google Glass

Google Glass in happier times

Google Glass in happier times

Google Glass has had a short but troubled existence, the story of which provides an interesting insight into the boundaries of socially acceptable, with regards to mobile app development and wearable tech.

Wearable technology is seen as the next frontier of consumer electronics. As the mobile phone market approaches maturity (i.e. pretty much everyone who wants a phone already has one), tech companies are keen to find new gadgets they can sell to us.

Google Glass was an experiment by Google Corporation to give us a continuous headsup display. In principle such a display would be spectacularly useful – instead of continuously looking down at your mobile phone map while walking to a new destination, bumping into other pedestrians every time you take your attention off what is in front of you, the Google Glass headsup display would allow you to see navigation directions superimposed on your normal field of view.

Google also wanted to incorporate a camera, to allow people to create video recordings. Since the video record was physically very close to user’s eyes, the video recording would be almost identical to what cameraman was actually seeing.

Video recording capability ultimately led to the downfall of Google Glass

Google thought that by making the Google Glass product really obvious, that people would know when they were potentially being recorded, which should alleviate public concerns about being covertly recorded. Unfortunately this tactic backfired. People who fell in love with their Google Glass accessory didn’t want to take it off – which created huge concerns about privacy whenever Google Glass users (who quickly became known as “Glassholes”) wore their Glass accessory into nightclubs and other places where people didn’t want to be recorded.

The Google Glass Code of Conduct

Google tried to address public concerns about privacy, by publishing a code of conduct about how to use Google Glass.

According to The code of conduct

DON’TS:

Glass-out. Glass was built for short bursts of information and interactions that allow you to quickly get back to doing the other things you love. If you find yourself staring off into the prism for long periods of time you’re probably looking pretty weird to the people around you. So don’t read War and Peace on Glass. Things like that are better done on bigger screens.

Rock Glass while doing high-impact sports. Glass is a piece of technology, so use common sense. Water skiing, bull riding or cage fighting with Glass are probably not good ideas.

Wear it and expect to be ignored. Let’s face it, you’re gonna get some questions. Be patient and explain that Glass has a lot of the same features as a mobile phone (camera, maps, email, etc.). Also, develop your own etiquette. If you’re worried about someone interrupting that romantic dinner at a nice restaurant with a question about Glass, just take it off and put it around the back of your neck or in your bag.

Be creepy or rude (aka, a “Glasshole”). Respect others’ privacy and if they have questions about Glass don’t get snappy. Be polite and explain what Glass does and remember, a quick demo can go a long way. In places where cell phone cameras aren’t allowed, the same rules will apply to Glass. If you’re asked to turn your phone off, turn Glass off as well. Breaking the rules or being rude will not get businesses excited about Glass and will ruin it for other Explorers.

Unfortunately either Google Glass users did not abide by Google’s code of conduct, or public hostility to Glass was too intense, because Google has decided to pull the product, pending a redesign.

Solving the Google Glass Dilemma

Google does not want to give up on their Google Glass product – many of the people who got their hands on a Google Glass absolutely loved it. The problem was a lot of other people hated the thought of being covertly recorded by nerds wearing high tech specs.

What will Google do to solve the issue of public rejection? Its anyone’s guess, Google are keeping their ideas for a redesign pretty close to their chest for now, but ultimately the problem which must be solved is the issue of privacy.

According to Mashable

Critics of Glass (including myself) have advocated a redesign for a long time. When Google settled on the original design for Glass, it decided to make the product stand out. The company did so for multiple reasons, but one of the main ones was to avoid accusations of spyware: An ostentatious design meant Glass was borderline useless as a covert recording device An ostentatious design meant Glass was borderline useless as a covert recording device.

While that may have been true, the decision ended up backfiring. With the camera in plain view, the first question most Glass Explorers got from observers was, “Are you recording me?” The design, far from diffusing the issue, actually exacerbated it; many people’s abstract fears about technology dissolving privacy suddenly had a real-world avatar. Occasionally, violence ensued.

If Google is redesigning Glass “from scratch,” it invites a host of questions: Will the new version look more like a pair of glasses? Will Luxottica, which signed a deal with Google last year to produce Ray-Ban and Oakley versions for Glass, play a part? Or will Fadell go back to concept, and rethink exactly what problem the wearable is supposed to solve, possibly leading to something entirely different?

Whatever the ultimate answers are, it’s encouraging that Google is considering them; 2015 could be the year Glass gets its polish back.

All of us nerds are looking forward to seeing how Google solves this problem. Will they remove the camera, or do something to make it very obvious when the camera is active? How Google solves this problem will have implications for other wearable technology – ultimately nobody wants to have the whole world intruding on their privacy, but the personal headsup display is obviously a potentially very hot product, providing Google can find a solution to privacy concerns.

If you have a mobile app idea, or gadget idea, and would like to discuss technical feasibility and any potential privacy concerns, please contact me

Trivia Crack – One of the most profitable mobile apps

Trivia Crack - a simple idea which has taken the mobile app game world by storm.

Trivia Crack – a simple idea which has taken the mobile app game world by storm.

When you think of blockbuster mobile app games, you normally think of huge hollywood budgets, million dollar special effects and 10s of thousands of hours of mobile app development effort.

The reality is, some of the biggest iPhone Apps and Android Apps are nothing of the sort – they are simple ideas which caught on, earning a fortune for their creators.

One of the biggest games to date is Trivia Crack – a mobile app based on the old favourite Trivial Pursuit.

According to Venture Beat

After catching on big time in the U.S. and Canada, Trivia Crack has expanded to countries like U.K. — and this is helping fuel its domination of the mobile app markets.

Trivia Crack is the top downloaded game on mobile in the world, according to developer Etermax and industry-tracking firm App Annie. Since its debut, this app has racked up more than 125 million downloads worldwide. It has also managed to reach the No. 1 spot on the overall app download chart in important countries like the United States and Canada. With mobile gaming revenue reaching $25 billion in 2014, Etermax carved out a piece of that for itself by appealing to casual players with a trivia app that hooks heavily into social media.

Trivia Crack pits players against their friends in a Trivial Pursuit-style quest of knowledge. It already has over 200,000 unique questions, and — thanks to its players — it gets 2,000 new questions every day.

Important Lessons

There are some important lessons we can learn from the success of the Trivia Crack game.

  1. The use of social media – friends challenge each other via social media, which helps to propel the explosive growth of app users
  2. The enlistment of users to supply new questions – these guys don’t even have to think up new questions themselves, they get their users to do it for free.
  3. Simplicity – the game doesn’t pack in every imaginable feature, or heavy servings of Hollywood Glitz, it is just Trivial Pursuit, with a few adaptions to make it more attractive in a mobile app environment.

If you have an idea for developing an iPhone App Game or Android App Game, and you are worried that your idea is too simple to work – please don’t let that stop you. Because when appealing to mobile users who are snatching a few few seconds from their busy schedule, simple is good. And if users like your idea, you could have a runaway success on your hands.

Contact Me to discuss your mobile app development idea now.