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Posts Tagged ‘Smartphones

The Web as we know it have been born and matured on computers, but as it turns out now, computers no longer have dominance in it. According to a recent report by analyst Mary Meeker, mobile devices running iOS and Android now account for 45 percent of browsing, compared to just 35 percent for Windows machines. Moreover, Android and iOS have essentially achieved their share in just five years and their share is getting tremendously larger.

According to some forecasts their worldwide number of mobile devices users should overtake the worldwide number of PC users next year. If forecasts come true, this shift will not only continue, but accelerate. Based on data from Morgan Stanley, Meeker estimates roughly 2.9 billion people around the world will be using smartphones and tablets by 2015.

What does it mean now that more people are accessing the Web through tablets and smartphones rather than laptops and desktops? And is it really a big deal? Anyway, Internet is intended to be accessed from anywhere and thus from any device. Well, it is quite a change at least in terms most people consider the Web and how it gradually adapts to be used on mobile devices.

Apps-like sites
As mobile devices take over, the use of today’s desktop browsers like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari will decline. Mobile browsers are already very capable and will increasingly adopt HTML5 and leading-edge Web technologies. As mobile devices naturally have less screen area, the sites need to function more like mobile apps and less like collections of links. So the sites are likely to look like apps.

Apps may rule
Native apps for smartphones and tablets almost always surpass websites designed for mobile devices because they can tap into devices’ native capabilities for a more responsive and seamless experience. This is most likely to change in the nearest future – most experts agree HTML5 is eventually the way of the future. This is already the status quo in social gaming: for example Angry Birds and Words with Friends. Some services won’t be available at all to traditional PCs — they won’t be worth developers’ time.

Less information at once
Web sites and publishers will no longer be able to display everything new for users and hoping something will catch the user’s eye. Smaller screens and lower information density means sites will need to adjust to user preferences and profiles to customize the information they present. Increasingly, the Internet will become unusable unless sites believe they know who you are. Some services will handle these tasks themselves, but the most likely contenders for supplying digital identity credentials are Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Twitter, and mobile carriers.

Sharing by default
In a mobile-focused Internet, anonymity becomes rare. Virtually every mobile device can be definitively associated with a single person (or small group of people). Defaults to share information and experiences with social circles and followers will be increasingly common, along with increasing reliance on disclosure of personal information (like location, status, and activities, and social connections) to drive key functionality. As the Internet re-orients around mobile, opting out of sharing will increasingly mean opting out of the Internet.

Emphasis on destination
Internet-based sites and services will increasingly function as a combination of content and functionality reluctant to link out to other sites or drive traffic (and potential advertising revenue) elsewhere. These have long been factors in many sites’ designs but mobile devices amplify these considerations by making traditional Web navigation awkward and difficult. Still URLs are not going to die – people will still send links to their friends and Web search will remain most users primary means of finding information online.

Going light weight
As people rely on mobile, cloud, and broadband services, the necessity to do things like commute, store large volumes of records or media, or patronize physical businesses will decline. Businesses won’t need to save years of invoices, statements, and paperwork in file boxes and storage facilities – cloud storage comes as their rescue. Banks will become purely virtual institutions consumers deal with online via their phones. Distance learning and collaborative tools will let students take their coursework with them anywhere — and eliminate the need to worry about reselling enormous textbooks.

Going mobile is an obvious trend today. Experts envisage that nearly every service, business, and person who wants to use the Internet will be thinking mobile first and PC second, if they think about PCs at all. Do you agree? And what other related changes can you imagine?

Many thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

Aliona Kavalevich

Aliona Kavalevich
Aliona.Kavalevich@altabel.com
Skype ID: aliona_kavalevich
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

With the growing popularity of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices the living has become more comfortable. The different types of apps help us to wake up in time, to entertain reading books, booking tickets, listening to favorite music and just chat with friends without extra expenses. Among the challenges in mobile app market stands also the developing of effective web browsing solutions.

In this article I would like to take a look at DHTMLX Touch framework that helps to create nice-looking and easy-to-use mobile web apps oriented to touchscreen devices.

DHTMLX Touch is a free open source Javascript framework/library for building HTML5-based mobile web apps.
DHTMLX was originally designed to work in traditional mouse-driven web browsers, however since the web moved to mobile devices, it was important to have all parts of the web interface touch-ready and looking good on small screens. After some tests made were approved that DHTMLX library will definitely work in mobile environments with Javascript support too. So the planned mouse was replaced with touch events to provide touch-based user interactions.

Let’s see what the characteristics of DHTMLX Touch are:

-compatible with the main web browsers for mobile platforms that support HTML5;

-free under both GNU GPL and commercial Licenses;

-lots of technical samples with the source code that simplify studying how the UI elements work;

- expanded builder tools:
Skin Builder – an online tool that allows you to build mobile web apps through a user-friendly, drag-and-drop interface. Since v.1.2, you can save your design or share it by sending an URL.
Visual Designer - a simple online tool that provides an easy way to choose the skin for you app and customize the skin colors. A set of predefined skins is included.
Touch UI Inspector – a free extension for Google Chrome that provides a handy visual tool for monitoring the inner state of DHTMLX Touch JavaScript components on a web page.

-server side is based on the on dhtmlxConnectors (the same that used for DHTMLX Ajax library) that simplifies client –server communication;

- simplified scheme of CSS editing.

The current version of DHTMLX Touch framework took a long way from the release of its first components dhtmlxTree and dhtmlxGrid in 2005-2006 to become a complete tool that covers the most required aspects of modern application interface. Three months ago in September, 2012 was presented the updated version 1.2. And now we will see what are the new features and improvements were added:

* Bug fixing – more stable and faster performance, better compatibility with the latest iOS and Android platforms;
* Updated visual designer tool: new Unitlist component, new charts, and the ability to share and save your design;
* Auto-complete for IDEs: Microsoft Visual Studio, PHPStorm, WebStorm, NetBeans, Aptana Studio, Eclipse, and others
* Multiple fixes in form validation logic
* Better memory management: automatic destructors clean up the memory, which helps to prevent memory leaks if the app has a complicated inheritance structure
* Better support of full-screen mode

Many companies around the world make the preference towards DHTMLX saying that it’s very simple, flexible and easy-to-use with a live support forum.

If you have already an experience working with DHTMLX Touch framework or heard something about using it, feel free to share your thoughts/experience by leaving a comment.

You can also have a look at new features of DHTMLX Touch framework and the samples of apps already implemented following the link to the official website http://dhtmlx.com.

Thank you for your attention.

Katerina Bulavskaya

Katerina Bulavskaya
Katerina.Bulavskaya@altabel.com
Skype ID: katy.bulavskaya
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Much was written and heard about Windows 8 before its release and there were many rumors around it. Finally October 26, it has arrived. Microsoft announced that the cost for online upgrade will be only $39.99 and approves that it will be compatible with previous operating systems: Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP. In stores, the price will be quite a bit higher: $69.99. However, the question still remains whether it is really worth upgrade to Windows 8? First of all let see what the advantages offer Windows 8 and if there any hidden rocks.

The advantages of Windows 8:

- It’s faster, quicker in comparison with previous versions of Microsoft and either with Apple’s new Mac OS X Mountain Lion.
- Innovative Interface – Microsoft has brought the Metro-style, so much criticized by many users, has an entirely new layout and interface, which is highly touch-optimized as well.
- Loads of apps – recently launched Windows Store that has many programs and apps to download.
- SkyDrive integration – Cloud Storage is going to be an essential element nowadays on PCs, tablets and smart phones. With SkyDrive cloud service will be easy for users to sync docs, music, video and other content with cloud and they can be easily accessed from all PCs across the world.
- First-class touch feature – Microsoft has designed Windows 8 both for tablets and for regular computers with keyboard and mouse.

There’s always a but…

Users remain significantly less enthused about Windows 8. Many of them think that it is unstable and the first version of a new operating system is bound to have bugs and issues. As the result, they don’t find anything attractive in new software as the priority feature remains the confidence. The absence of common Start Screen and Start Button is the other reason why the users not interested with Windows 8.

According the last survey that was held in US among 1,200 adults; it was found that 52 per cent hadn’t even heard of the release of Windows 8.

“Among the people who knew something about the new operating system, 61 per cent had little or no interest in buying a new laptop or desktop computer running on Windows 8, according to the poll. And only about a third of people who’ve heard about the new system believe it will be an improvement (35 per cent)”.

“I am not real thrilled they are changing things around,” Dionne said. “Windows 7 does everything I want it to. Where is the return on my investment to learn a new OS?”

“I like something I am used to and can get around on without too much trouble. Sometimes when you get these new (systems), you wish you could go back to the old one.” said Sweeten.

The proverb says how many people so many opinions. So for those who is keen to push towards innovation and ready to the upgrade primary Microsoft recommend to make sure that currently running OS will be compatible with Windows 8 and in this connection prepared sort of instruction of commonly asked questions and answers. Below you may find some of them in order to find out whether your computer is ready for the Windows 8 upgrade.

Can your computer run Windows 8?

The minimum system requirements for Windows 8 are fairly accommodating. Microsoft says that if your computer can run Windows 7, it should be able to run Windows 8.

Among the basic requirements for Windows 8 are:
• Processor: 1GHz or faster
• Memory: 2GB (32-bit) or 2GB (64-bit) RAM
• Hard disk space: 16GB (32-bit) or 20GB (64-bit)
• Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver

Besides the basic ones, Windows 8 has the specific features. To use touch options, obviously you’ll need a tablet or monitor that supports multitouch, though some laptops will get extra trackpad gestures through the new OS. Windows Store apps (which include most of the new ‘Modern’ interface options) require a screen resolution of at least 1024 by 768, and app snapping requires at least 1366 by 768. This can be a problem for netbooks, which typically have a resolution of lower resolution of 1024 by 600 pixels. There’s a somewhat clunky registry hack to fix that, and you can still install Windows 8 on netbooks if you’re happy to only use the conventional desktop mode.

Are your programs and devises are Windows 8 compatible?

Most apps and devices that work on Windows 7 should be fine on Windows 8. To check specific programs, visit Microsoft’s Compatibility Center or run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, which scans your computer and checks for software and hardware compatibility.

Besides, on Microsoft.com you can also find the guidelines for how to install Windows 8, apps on your computer and further technical support.

For sure Windows 8 is quite different from previous Microsoft versions and other operating systems; it represents new approach towards computing. There are many positive and inspire opinions as well as the hostile ones. As everyone makes decision according to his own preference it’s hard to predict the real impact of Microsoft windows 8 in the market. So let’s wait –and-see how the things go on.

Thank you for your attention and you are welcome to leave the comments and share your advice and experience on Windows 8.

Best regards,
Katerina Bulavskaya
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

With the start of 2012, there are some strong trends that are changing the game industry in a big way. We take a look at some of them and what to expect.

Smartphones and tablets are changing the portable gaming market in a big way. Although most games on iOS and Android are smaller experiences than say Uncharted on the PSP (or the newly released PS Vita or 3DS), there is no doubt that games on the iOS and Android ecosystems are exploding in terms of development support, user base, and revenue coming into 2012. Smartphones and tablets are offering ways for smaller and indie developers to get noticed and sell their game to potentially millions without needing a huge budget or marketing campaign. Expect a lot more Android tablets and continued strong sales of the iPad to push games on larger 5-11″ screens. As Android devices are now pushing 720p resolutions, expect Apple to not lag behind in this area too much longer. Market share for Android devices sky rocketed in 2011, and we expect the Google OS to grab even more of the market in 2012. This means more developer support from game developers.

Say hello to the PlayStation Vita. 2012 will usher in a lot more power to handhelds with the release of Sony’s true successor to the original PSP. The big question though remains…. Are gamers really interested in that much power in a handheld, or will the 3DS at a much lower price outpace Sony’s latest offerings like it did with the DS? There seems to be a big push as mentioned previously that the mobile market is garnering a lot of attention from developers and gamers alike. Is the PS Vita going to take the gaming world by storm, or will it lose market share to devices like the iPhone and Android devices… Time will tell. What we can expect though is Sony pushing the PS Vita hard to gamers and developers. A price cut might be needed though to get it the market penetration they are seeking.

Different ways of interacting with video games will also take center stage in 2012. Kinect is coming to PCs, and others like Apple with Siri are taking voice controls first offered from Kinect seriously. The industry clearly is heading into a direction towards different ways of playing and interacting with games and media. Expect this to continue in 2012 with several companies offering competing technologies that offer the gamer and content consumer ways to get immersed into digital content.

All in all, expect a lot of focus and attention towards the mobile sector for the game industry. I think it’s safe to say we will see a lot of competing products fail, and a few moving forward taking the spoils of war. Also we should continue to see voice integration as well as motion controls make a big push in 2012.

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development


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