Altabel Group's Blog

Archive for July 2011

You`ve probably noticed a bit of a hot debate that is going on at the moment regarding Flash “vs” HTML5. Here I`m not going to defend Flash and Flex (since Flex is also concerned here) as well as I`m not going to say that HTML5 is the long awaited messiah that is going to bring a new web paradigm to your browser. I think that the situation needs to be seen from a more rational and complex point of view.

There is no HTML5 versus Flash, and they are not really competing to be honest. Full Flash web sites are now almost not created. After the Flash fever at the end of the nineties many big corporations moved away from the “pure flash” website and are now using a mix of Flash and HTML instead. Certainly the Flash player is a wonderful step in the history of the web still we should admit that it is a plugin and a plugin is something you plug in, it is not native. But we shouldn`t forget that Flash cannot be replaced in many areas like games, desktop widgets, e-learning interactivities and many applications that require advanced animation API or techniques.

A strong point in favour of Flash is that everything can be created in the Flash environment using the design tools and Actionscript. You don’t normally need to use any other programming languages except when you need to interact with server side scripting. HTML5 will require interaction between javascript, CSS and Ajax.

A strong point for HTML 5 is that although HTML5 will require interaction between Javascript, CSS and Ajax, it will be running directly inside the browser without the need of a plugin and will therefore be more “natural”.

The other part that is seldom mentioned is the continually increasing capabilities of Flash. As HTML 5 is slowly realized, Flash continues to innovate at a very fast pace so that it can continue to fill the gap between what HTML technologies offer and what developers want to build. You should see what’s coming in future versions! Flash will continue to complement HTML and help developers realize capabilities not possible otherwise. Can Adobe continue to innovate to fill the gap? Can Flash evolve fast enough to continue complementing HTML? Perhaps we will be debating HTML 6 vs Flash Player X and see whole new set of hot topics?

BR,
Anna Kozik
Altabel Group – professional software development

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iPhone 5 may turn out to be Apple’s best bet yet against Android range of Smartphones, thanks to iCloud and iOS 5.

Apple may be the biggest technology company in the world but when it comes to Smartphones, Androids are outselling iPhones. The company has been facing a huge challenge from Android Smartphones lately. According to a comScore report, the market share of Google’s Android surged to 36.4 percent while Apple’s IPhone dropped down to second place with 26 percent market share or barely ahead of RIM’s BlackBerry (25.7 percent).

A Nielsen survey also reveals that Android users download more apps on average than iPhone users despite Apple’s App Store being more than twice bigger than Android Market Place.
However, Apple hasn’t given up the fight yet. And why should it? After all, the company’s iPhone had set the benchmark in the Smartphone industry for rivals to follow.
iPhone 5 is not expected to boast of hardware upgrades but iOS 5 and iCloud could be the magic tonic iPhone needs to catch-up with Android or even race ahead of its rival. But beating Android won’t be easy.

Android is all about choice and cutting-edge innovation. New hardware and software alike pour out at a breakneck pace, and the number of options can be almost staggering at times. Apple, on the other hand, is about simplicity and uniformity. Instead of getting every feature and choice under the sun, you get Steve Jobs’ carefully controlled vision for what a Smartphone should be.

iOS 5 is also going to face stiff competition from Google’s next version of Android OS (code named Ice Cream Sandwich), which will incorporate the best features in tablet specific OS Honeycomb and Smartphone OS Gingerbread. It will bring features like face-tracking, camera focus and voice recognition to the existing OS.

Does iCloud and iOS 5 have what it takes iPhone 5 to beat Android? Apple fans sure hopes so.
But with more Android-based devices hitting store shelves in the second half of 2011, the Google Smartphone OS will further widen its gap with iOS thanks to its more complete ecosystem.

In conclusion, if Apple is planning to beat Android, iOS 5 should include groundbreaking updates. iCloud alone cannot help iPhone beat Android, agree?

BR,
Kristina

View Kristina Kozlova's profile on LinkedIn


Altabel Group

A recently published Distimo report states that “It is more challenging for developers in the Google Android Market than in the Apple App Store to monetize using a one-off fee monetization model.” Obviously, the reason for that is dominance of free apps on Android Market.

Of course, ad based apps are a well known way to monetize free apps, however there are some other indirect ways to gain profit…

1 – In-app purchases
App users are inclined to purchase more levels, currency or other bonuses within apps they’re already hooked on. Leading potential users into your app, free of charge delivers an opportunity to introduce in-app purchases to your users. Instead of determining a one off fee from the get go, develop an up-sell long term strategy by introducing more of what your users really want.

2 – Leveraging Free Apps for Paid Content
One of the most utilized marketing methods on the app store is the “Cross Promotion” strategy. Successful developers have learned that it’s much easier to have paid apps discovered and monetized, when there’s a network of free apps cross promoting it. A quick look at the top free apps on the android market shows a host of free apps such as flashlights, clocks, notepads and other basic apps, developed with the main goals of either generating revenue through ads or cross-promoting paid apps.

3 – Increased Download Rates
Free apps have the advantage of generating more than 10x times the downloads then a similar paid app priced over the $0.99 USD tier. For branded apps that are developed in the interested of increasing customer engagement, free apps open a channel of communication never before possible. So branded apps that are either useful to the company’s core audience or just entertaining enhance the company’s product and the company’s publicity.

4 – Generating and monetizing traffic to your website.
The idea is in the following. You should invite your user to visit your website (e.g. to view high scores, read info about application, etc.). Popular application can generate quite significant traffic to your website, where you can monetize the site itself.
Showing ads on a landing page is not the only thing you can do with a traffic. If you have products or services relevant to your Android application theme, you may want to try to sell it instead (or in addition) of showing ads. The idea here that you may drive your target audience to your web site via Android application.

Do you know any other ways to monetize Android free apps? If so, it would be really helpful to find out about them. Please, share your ideas with us!

Thank you so much,

Aliona Kavalevich
Altabel Group

The debate on the success of outsourcing as an industry seems to last endlessly. Over the years outsourcing contracts underwent a lot of changes – as the result we now see more multi-sourcing engagements and smaller focused contracts. In fact outsourcing contracts shrank in length or value per contract, but the relationship with the client has endured. Indeed, it’s relations, not size that matters. So, recently the issue of a choice of a right vendor for an outsourcing contract has become even sharper and vital for a larger number of companies in IT industry.

Many organizations that want to outsource IT services are intimidated by the task of determining which location in general and vendor in particular would best suit their requirements. Many researches in the field have been made. If in the early days of outsourcing price level was the weightiest criterion, now determination of an outsourcing partner and their geo-location is based on a whole system of criteria including not solely cost competitiveness based ones but key statistics on resources and skills level, country’s business and economic environment. Among them you may see English (French, German, etc) language skills, educational system quality, cultural compatibility, political and economic environment, global and legal maturity, and data and intellectual property security and privacy.

Historically such low-cost locations as India for instance were very popular offshore outsourcing destinations, still recently with the maturation of IT domain and with recent wage inflation and educational challenges these locations have receded their position as outsourcers now expect more “added value” to their projects and business. In this respect more attention is paid to Eastern European region, especially by Western and Northern European companies. Germany, Switzerland and Austria along with the Nordics in particular perceive Eastern Europe as a favored nearshore destination. Eastern Europe ranks high in terms of efficiency of technical education, work ethics and cultural sensitivity adding to the region’s geo-attractiveness as a base for outsourced activity.

Many respectable researchers think in the next ten years it is likely that Eastern Europe will move out from being an ‘emerging destination’ to a ‘key destination’ for outsourced activity: even though facing continued cost pressure from Indian market and despite being largely ‘overlooked’ by US based outsourcing providers, it is expected to proceed receiving its share of traditional high end software engineering and other IT services, from Western and Northern Europe. Many who experienced outsourcing there are characterizing Eastern Europe (Lithuania, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, etc) as [a good place to find low cost, technically superb coders,.. generally hard workers, honest in answers to any your questions and strategically thinking].

Anyway, all these ratings of outsourcing locations are just generalization – anywhere you may find good and worse executors. As Gartner tips: “Don’t just seek the leaders – determine which vendors are the right fit for your organization”.

Well, perhaps very generally it would be a bad idea to hire designers from South East Asia if you expect a Western looking result :), still efficiency of an IT service provider should be checked in each particular case. There are a couple of advises helping to choose a good provider:

- Choose companies who have good feedback, ratings and recommendations. If a company follows market trends, makes marketing and technical researches, has good recommendations, especially from the companies from your geo-region, these all mark quite a solid level of credibility.

- Be careful about generic responses. This mostly concerns a stage when particular project details/requirements are already discussed. The tip considers both parties actually :)

- Start cooperation with a relatively small test/pilot project to evaluate provider’s competences. Altabel Group’s experience shows it’s natural for our clients to develop a pilot project with us to confirm our competences and then organically move on to Dedicated Development Team model for further cooperation.

- Try to meet your partners personally at initial stages of cooperation. Arrange short trips to visit a provider and especially meet your team members face to face.

- Think “potentially”. Keep contact information of those companies whose responses you liked for future references even if they do not fit your current project requirements.

And what are tips from personal experience? When does outsourcing have the best chances to succeed or fail? Do you have any preference in terms of a region to outsource from?

You are welcome to share your opinions here.

Kind regards,
Helen Boyarchuk – Business Development Manager (LI page)
Helen.Boyarchuk@altabel.com | Skype ID: helen_boyarchuk
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

The old-fashioned PC paradigm has run out of gas. As conventional Windows systems are too hard to manage and pose too much of a security risk so that sales are declining. For lack of a better alternative, you may need to live with Windows for the foreseeable future. But now that the sins of Vista and the antiquarian vulnerabilities of Windows XP have been corrected by Windows 7, what could possibly induce you to upgrade to Windows 8?

The answer may lie in the latest build of Windows 8, where Hyper-V 3.0 can be found in Control Panel.
Why? Because that could give the best possible solution for desktop virtualization. Today’s prevalent model for desktop virtualization is VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure), where Windows clients run in virtual machines on a server in the data center. VDI delivers centralized management and security, but it also demands heavy-duty server hardware, sufficient network bandwidth, and a constant connection between server and “client” (typically a dumb terminal), which rules out mobility.

Hyper-V’s role may be in Windows 8, runs a virtual Windows desktop on the client rather than the server. This would give the ability to run without a connection to the server, so users can take their Windows virtual machines with them on a laptop or tablet, and IT still enjoys all the manageability and security benefits of VDI.

Users could run multiple Windows versions to support legacy applications, Linux versions supported by Hyper-V, or, as Peter Bruzzese speculates, even Windows Phone 7 apps. Users could even bring their Macs to work and, Apple willing, Hyper-V could slip right under Mac OS X, allowing the company’s Windows virtual machine to run alongside.

One big advantage to IT is that it would no longer need to manage end-user hardware, just the business virtual machine downloaded to it. In other words, users could buy and maintain their own personal computing device, as long as it could run the business virtual machine.

IT gets a cost lower than that of VDI and with significantly less complexity.

Could Windows 8 change everything? :)

Best Regards,
Elvira Golyak
Altabel Group


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