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Archive for November 2011

Jobs’ predictions about the fate of Mobile Flash have come true. Adobe has stopped the development of the Flash Player plug for mobile devices. Having buried a mobile player, Adobe actually acknowledged its in a long-term dispute with Steve Jobs, who had claimed that Flash technology for mobile devices was out of place.

HTML and Flash have been considered for many years as separate technology solutions, the mixture of the two being appropriate depending on the brand experience or audience. Now, HTML may finally be starting to step into Flash’s turf of audio and video in particular, presenting another option for “rich media” and interactive experiences. Will be there no place for Flash soon?

Still Flash is not going away.

Think most of you heard that Android 4,0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” will not support flash as current versions are incompatible. Still Adobe said that a compatible Flash release should be available by the end of the year. Indeed, Adobe confirms that its port of Flash for ICS will be the last: future versions of Android will not be compatible. There is one reality that Adobe must face with Android, and that’s fragmentation – as some users could still use versions of the OS that are Flash compatible. Adobe will still provide updates for those users, but only to address “critical” bugs and security issues. Adobe announced that it wouldn`t support mobile versions of Flash, a move that acknowledges the shift towards HTML5 among mobile developers.

The company remains committed to Adobe AIR, its application runtime used to create Internet – based applications. That platform uses a variety of technologies – including Flash – and Adobe still plans to support it for the foreseeable future. The company also intends to support Flash for desktop applications, but even there HTML5 has made inroads.

A survey released in September by JavaScript and HTML5 consulting firm claims that 84 percent of developers plan to employ HTML5 within the next six months. Another survey conducted by Appcelerator and IDC found that 66 percent of mobile developers are “very interested” in developing for the platform.

So that maybe it’s time to say goodbye Flash? What do you think?

Thank you for your attention!

Best regards,
Elvira Golyak
Altabel Group – professional software development

Seems like the world is pushed towards HTML5. Apple has been amongst those trying so hard to get Web developers out of the Flash domination, and judging by the latest news of Adobe becoming HTML5-religious Apple’s anti-Flash campaign was successful. Becoming stronger and better polished HTML5 looks to supplant not only Flash but also press back such mobile giants as Apple, Google and Windows.

Recently the popular prediction has become that HTML5 will kill mobile apps business. The logic is simple: better HTML5 => higher quality developer’s tools release => better Web apps => improved Web-browsing experience on mobile devices. All these make the native applications position pretty unsteady. So will it necessarily lead to the twilight of native mobile apps development? At first glance – all point to this supposition. Still let’s take a deeper dig.

1. All the look and feel.
Native apps are intended to look glossier and perform better than their browser-based counterparts. As they are developed separately for each mobile platform and therefore use advantage of being OS customized and smartphones’ hardware features advanced. But will native apps preserve this advantage for a long time? Sounds doubtful…due to several reasons.
First, because to the growing variety of mobile platforms and their sub/versions. Recently developers have to spend more and more efforts on versioning and support and this is indeed exhausting and expensive. So perhaps the biggest potential benefit of HTML5 is that it will enable app developers to focus on making one version of each app running smoothly in many kinds of browsers, thus freeing them to move on to bringing more and better apps to market. And that’s definitely good, especially keeping in mind that a well-designed Web app can be indistinguishable from a native application for the user, but not ideal in this terms as still HTML5 browser apps run differently from browser to browser and from device to device making it quite difficult for developers to ensure that all mobile consumers will enjoy the way an app works in their setup.
Another point of concern so far has been that, despite all HTML5 improvements, in real-life use cases native apps still run better, faster and more predictably than browser apps. It’s natural because mostly native apps run from the phone’s memory and rely less on the network. But that’s surmountable with time – with the advent of 4G networks users will be able to retrieve content from the network far faster and more reliably than in the past.

2. Visibility and promotion.
After creating a quality application your next step will be to make it visible and popular longest possible. Native apps published in an app store may receive very little notice as app stores have grown and become bloated with shoddy or useless apps and thus accessing apps has become more of a hassle. The main issue is poor organizing and categorizing that results in difficulties to find a proper app for user’s need even if it exists in the store. Still poor cataloging of apps at big app stores could be smoothed over by specialized app stores.
Browser-based mobile apps spare developers app stores addiction and lend themselves better to Web promotion via social media like Twitter and Google+. Still even if it seems easier at first glance isn’t it still a challenge in terms of making visibility better and longer but not seen for a fleeting moment? For those creating Web apps, there’s just no good way and even a good review of a Web app on a popular site has only a temporary impact.
The way to get your app in front of potential customers is to get it featured in an app store. And this is gained by building an app that highlights unique hardware capabilities, exactly the features the hardware company use to sell the product. [These will likely be features that you can't access today or in the foreseeable future with a Web app. This isn't because HTML5 won't advance, but because the device and OS manufacturers will always do their best to keep their products somewhat ahead of the lower-common-denominator Web platform. It is how they sell products.] That’s business-justified. So HTML5 is good for many apps, enterprise and customer ones, but not for the core features or the main UI.
Basically relying on HTML5 to quickly get to broad compatibility across the mobile landscape could become a trap if you follow selective strategy in your product distribution and want to have the app perceived distinguishing. For instance, you might want to build apps that only work on the latest and greatest version of a phone, and intentionally not on previous models. Then fewer people will be able to use it but those with the newest toys. [The more your app makes the hot new hardware look good, the more it'll get promoted by the hardware or OS manufacturer. That can give your app presence it could not otherwise get. Once your product is succeeding on the brand-new hardware, you can start adapting it to other platforms.] Doesn’t this strategy distributed strategy look the most attractive?

3. Distribution and revenue generating.
As you may predict here we will mostly speak of Apple and its revenue-sharing mechanisms that has been receiving so many claims. Apple takes a 30% cut of all app sales through its store – the only way for consumers to get apps. That’s much compared to an option to build a web app and putting the whole revenue in your own pocket. This is especially unfavorable for applications with subscriptions as surprisingly this 30% cut doesn’t just cover buying apps in the store, it also applies to in-app purchases including subscriptions that may remove all the profit. That’s why for instance you can already download HTML5 Financial Times :)

So many counterpoints but should there finally be an either/or decision? The truth is somewhere in between. And we believe for the majority there may be a place for both kinds of apps. Just an example – you can create a browser-based “lite” version of your app so that prospective buyers can try it out without having to visit an app store; and further if they like the game, they might decide to buy the full version as a native app.
Moreover, developers build many native apps in much the same way that they build browser apps, using the same tools, but then fit them with a native app “wrapper.” For this reason, native apps and browser apps sometimes aren’t as different as people may imagine.

And what do you think?
In your particular case what have you decided or are going to opt for?

Thanks for sharing your opinion,
Helen Boyarchuk
Altabel Group – professional software development

Not so long ago we discussed that HTML5 will replace Silverlight in Windows8. And now new triumph of HTML5. Adobe decided to kill Flash for mobile and focus its attention on HTML5. Think most of you have heard about it as Adobe`s message triggered hot discussions on different techforums and in Ln.

To my mind, this must have been a hard decision for Adobe to make. Adobe’s chief of developer relations Mike Chambers in order to clear the situation, gave in his blog three main reasons why they decided to do it:
HTML5 is already almost universally supported in mobile browsers and Adobe realized that Flash would never get there. “Our goal has always been to obtain the same level of ubiquity for the Flash Player on mobile browsers, but, at the end of the day, it is something that did not, and was not going to happen.”
Apps made browser-based apps less necessary. “Essentially, users’ preferences to consume rich content on mobile devices via applications means that there is not as much need or demand for the Flash Player on mobile devices as there is on the desktop.”

Fragmentation. To make Flash work on mobile platforms, Adobe had to work with multiple hardware makers (Motorola, Samsung), platform companies (Google, RIM), and component manufacturers (like Nvidia). That took too much time. “This is something that we realized is simply not scalable or sustainable.”
So now it`s clear that Adobe will increase investment in HTML5 and shift resources from Flash to HTML5.

In his blog Mike Chambers underlined that Adobe is not killing Flash completely. They will continue investing in and promoting Flash for desktop browsers, as well as AIR on mobile devices. However here a few pitfalls and questions can arise. Firstly: why should we use Air instead of native application? Air depends on a huge runtime and it doesn’t have access to too many things. Second: why to keep AIR alive when the new PhoneGap technology allows to achieve the same result – native apps for the same number of platforms but developed with HTML, CSS and JS? AIR seems to be just a temporary solution for all those Flash developers that hasn’t got a chance to switch yet… What is more Adobe`s message can lead to the mass panic of the clients: Why should they want something in Flash when they can have it in html5 and it will be viewable from mobile? As the result the future of flash is still not clear.

Flash biggest selling point was the motto “Build once, deploy anywhere”, and now it is no longer true. It seems to me that Adobe`s message led to quite an important communication error and there isn’t much Adobe can do to reverse the message. As Adobe finally admitted that Apple was right and named HTML5 ‘the best and only solution’ , it completely deteriorated the image of Flash and admitted the victory of HTML5 for mobile.

Best regards,
Anna Kozik
Altabel Group – professional software development

The value of a lean start-up approach is that you are not heavily investing upfront in unnecessary/unneeded expenses. Your budget/funds should be allocated toward developing a prototype/product to test against a small/large group and see whether or not your target audience love it or hate it. This will give you a more accurate idea of its potential value, cost to improve the product/market, and maybe a couple of example customers.

The Lean Startup has evolved into a movement that is having a significant impact on how companies are built, funded and scaled. As with any new idea, with popularity comes misinterpretation:

Tale 1: Lean means cheap. Lean startups try to spend as little money as possible
The reality is the Lean Startup method is not about cost, it is about speed. Lean startups waste less money, because they use a disciplined approach to testing new products and ideas. Lean, when used in the context of lean startup, refers to a process of building companies and products based on lean manufacturing principles, but applied to innovation. That process involves rapid hypothesis testing, learning about customers, and a disciplined approach to product development.

Tale 2: The Lean Startup methodology is only for Web 2.0, Internet and consumer software companies
Actually, the Lean Startup methodology applies to all companies that face uncertainty about what customers will want. This is true regardless of industry or even scale of company: many established companies depend on their ability to create disruptive innovation. Those general managers are entrepreneurs, too. And they can benefit from increased speed and discipline.

Tale 3: Lean Startups are bootstrapped startups
There’s nothing wrong with raising venture capital. Many lean startups are ambitious and are able to deploy large amounts of capital. What differentiates them is their disciplined approach to determining when to spend money: after the fundamental elements of the business model have been empirically validated. Because lean startups focus on validating their riskiest assumptions first, they sometimes charge money for their product from day one – but not always.

Tale 4: Lean Startups are very small companies
This focus on size also obscures another truth: that many entrepreneurs live inside of much larger organizations. The proper definition of a startup is: a human institution creating a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty. In other words, any organization striving to create disruptive innovation is a startup, whether they know it or not. Established companies have as much to gain from lean startup techniques as the mythical “two guys in a garage”.

Tale 5: Lean Startups replace vision with data or customer feedback
Lean startups are driven by a compelling vision, and they are rigorous about testing each element of this vision against reality. They use customer development, split-testing, and in-depth analytics as vehicles for learning about how to make their vision successful. Along the way, they pivot away from the elements of the vision that are delusional and double down on the elements that show promise.
The old model of entrepreneurship was dominated by an over-emphasis on the magical powers of startup founders. Usually, the stories we hear about successful startups describe a brilliant visionary, fighting valiantly against the odds to create a new reality. As employees gradually fall under his or her spell, they execute his or her master plan, which leads, in the end, to world domination.
Anyone who has spent time around real startup successes knows this story is usually wildly untrue. Founders benefit from historical revisionism and survivor’s bias: we rarely hear the stories of the thousands of visionaries who failed utterly.
The Lean Startup moves our industry past this mythological entrepreneurship story and towards a methodology that is more scientifically grounded and accessible.
People who are truly committed to a vision of changing the world in a significant way can’t afford the luxury of staying in that cozy, comfortable place of building in stealth mode without outside feedback. If you really believe your vision needs to become a reality, you owe it to yourself to test that vision with every tool available.

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Past Monday introduction of another low-priced rival to the iPad won’t keep anyone at Apple’s California HQ up nights, analysts said. They state neither the Kindle Fire nor the Nook Tablet menace Apple’s dominance of the tablet market. Let’s see what LI members think on this point.

“If you are looking for the best e-reader and not the best tablet – stay away from the iPad – you can’t read it in the sun.”
Michael Greenberg
Corporate Recruiter at Clearwire

“If you want something just to use as an e-book reader, I’d go with the Kindle (not the Kindle Fire). It is, by far, the best of the three for reading. But that’s pretty much all you will be doing with it. On the plus, my Kindle has been in my coat pocket for a month without a recharge. Just turned it on and the battery is sitting at a quarter.”
Greg Henle
PHP Developer at Quotient

“Kindle designed to read the books. People who designed Kindle (at least Kindle Keyboard version) knew few things about books and kept in mind that this device will be used for reading. E Ink screen (no glare), large buttons to scroll pages on each side and month of battery juice makes it simply best piece of hardware for book reading. On top of this, 3G version offers free 3g wireless access to Amazon store at any time. And all this at $139.00.
IPad looks cool, it’s trendy but designed for people who don’t like or simply can’t read, especially something boring like a book. Perfect device to play Angry Birds though. And it cost $500.
And Nook. Well, nobody cares. Honestly, Barnes & Noble should stick to what they do the best – losing in everything to Amazon.
Bottom line: Buy Kindle Keyboard 3G if you need best book reader. For everything else – iPad or any other tablet will do the trick.”
Andrei Vesselovski
Directing e-commerce development and e-branding strategic planning

“I have the Kindle and also an iPad.
I believe that the Kindle is great for reading actual books published with a Kindle version but what it doesn’t do is have a large collection of magazines, newpapers, and RSS feeds that I personally like to follow.
When it comes to reading e-books, I’d recommend the Kindle for great visibility, durability, and it doesn’t strain your eyes. However, I’m quite the night owl myself so I’m disappointed that my Kindle does not have a back light (can’t read in dim lights and I don’t like those little light bulb clips).
The iPad is good for other things (especially with the Flipboard app) like magazines and news, but it does strain on your eyes after a while and is rather heavy without a stand. It does have a back light though and I love reading it at night. Also note that the iPad also has a Kindle app.”
Julie Mok
Experienced Game Flash Artist in Production, Assets, and UI | Game Marketing and Product Management Enthusiast

“Kindle Fire hands down. First of all the main reasons to buy a tablet in the first place are eBook capability, web browsing, multimedia and applications. Kindle Fire supports of all of those at a lesser price than the iPad. Additionally the price makes its accessible to nearly anyone. Add to that the free cloud drive account which means there is no need to have multiple versions with different hard drive sizes.
It’s more portable, the screen is very durable, and because of the size and cost less cumbersome as mobile device. Wi-Fi only is also not an issue because of all the Smartphones with Wi-Fi, why pay for another feature and another data plan?
Also it simplifies the nature of online shopping natively through the Amazon store, which offers music and video much like iTunes, but unlike them you can in the same place purchase other more common retail products also.
The Kindle Fire is the more practical tablet for everyday people and business folks in my opinion, based on capabilities, pricing, accessibility, and how seamlessly it integrates into your regular activities.”
Roberto Blake
Inbound Marketing, Web Design, Graphic Design

And what device do you prefer? Please share your thoughts in comments bellow.

Kind Regards,
Lina Deveikyte
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development


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