Huawei has officially announced HarmonyOS, or Hongmeng if you live in China. It is the operating system it was rumored to be developing to replace Android amidst all the legal implications the company is currently facing. The company says the operating system, a microkernel-based distributed OS, can be used in everything from smartphones to smart speakers, wearables, and even in-vehicle systems to create a shared ecosystem, a bit like what Samsung are also working to acheive. The operating system will be released as an open-source platform worldwide to encourage adoption and hopefully we’ll be able to get our hands on this asap.

HarmonyOS

There’s been a lot of speculation about Huawei’s in-house operating system ever since Google suspended the company’s Android license back in May, following the US government’s decision to put Huawei on the Entity List. Huawei has made no secret of the fact that it’s been working on its own OS, but the extent to which it would be able to act as a substitute for Android is unclear. Huawei plans to launch HarmonyOS on “smart screen products” later this year, before expanding it to work on other devices, like wearables, over the next three years.

To find out more about Huawei’s new OS, click here to read this article on the Verge

Over one year from its a initial launch data, and nearly half a year from its iOS launch, Fortnite has finally announced the list of Android devices that will also soon support the popular video game. A full list of supported platforms is provided at the bottom of this article, but suffice it so say that a majority of newer Google, Huawei, Sony, Samsung, and Motorola phones will be supported.

This much-anticipated release reportedly also comes in concurrence with the release of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, which will enjoy exclusive access to the game for a month before the full rollout to all other supported devices. That’s right, if you’ve preordered the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 not only will you be able to use the game a month before every other Android user, but you will also be rewarded with a substantial amount of in-game currency called V-bucks. Allowing the user to buy their particularly famous dance moves, taunts, skins, and more.

The app does not currenlty have an official release date, but many have speculated that it will drop for everyone with the supported devices around the games 1 year anniversary on September 25.

Apps are the cornerstone of the iPhone – what really set it apart from Android back in the early days. But, saying that, the best iPhone apps are typically the best in class.

However, finding the greatest apps among the millions available isn’t easy, and so Tech Radar have done the hard work for you.

Tech Radar’s lists compile the very best the iPhone has to offer, whether using your iPhone for photos, video, drawing, music, office tasks, reading, maps, weather forecasts or keeping kids entertained.

This round-up compiles their favourites, from top-quality creative tools and video editors to the finest productivity kit and social networking clients. In addition to their ongoing list of the absolute best, every week they’re adding their picks for the latest and greatest new or updated apps, so check back often.

Even if you don’t have an iPhone right now, it’s worth reading up on what’s available if you’re considering investing in the iPhone XS or even one of the older models (if you need more info, check out Tech Radar’s list of the best iPhones) – but note that some of these titles will only work with models from iPhone 5S and later.

Click here to view the full article on Tech Radar.

What’s the best smartphone for mobile gaming… The specs war continues to rage, with RAM and processors being boosted every year. When it comes to gaming, the options have never been better. However, really all you need is one device, for now and the near future… the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge!

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is probably the most powerful smartphone available today. Packing the latest Snapdragon 820 processor, the Adreno 530 GPU and 4 GB of RAM, it will cope with the most strenuous games available as well as those that are yet to be released.

SamsungS7Gaming

 

Samsung’s 2016 flagship smartphone is, of course, very expensive, but it offers the best gaming experience available today. It’s also future-proof, as far as a smartphone can be, guaranteeing at least two years of top-level performance.

The screens curved edges make the most of its 5.5 inch display, giving a really interesting take on the possibility for the future of the edges on a smartphone. As usual for Samsung, the viewing quality is of the highest standard available on the market. However, there aren’t many mobile apps developed that make specific use of the edge feature which is why games work so well on the S7!

Aside from the amazing specs of this smartphone, the device is set up specifically to offer a truly impressive gaming experience. A Samsung-only software feature called the Game Launcher, acts as a gaming center, organising your games. It also employs a floating button arrangement called the Game Tool, which can be used to block notifications and record your gameplay from within any game.

gamecentre

Not only that, but the S7 devices are the first smartphones to use the Vulkan API, which is looking set to be the future of mobile gaming.

Working closely with the NHS Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, our mobile applications and cloud statistical systems are enabling better training and feedback for doctors and patients.

We have recently been tasked with designing and developing a cross-platform mobile application for use on smartphones and tablets that will enable doctors, nurses, surgeons, practitioners, GP’s and other administrative staff to quickly and accurately log all activity undertaken. Additionally the software will also be the basis for feedback and reporting during training sessions within STH for students training for their specialities.

The applications will also allow doctors to anomalously take patients email in order to forward on feedback surveys so the STH as a whole can obtain a full breakdown of how their medical staff are performing through the eyes of their patients.

Ultimately, the overall aim for the project over the coming years is to help the NHS understand what areas need improvement in order to provide a better and more efficient service for trainee doctors and patients alike.

The newest and now standard mobile phones or “smartphones” such as Apple’s iOS based iPhone or Samsung’s Google Android based Galaxy’s offer an array of amazing capabilities for the user. Primarily among these improvements, was the creation and development of mobile applications or simply; “apps”. We’re not talking about just a mobile version of a website here, but an entirely unique handheld interface that works on all smartphones and tablets.

 

The Mobile Market

Smartphone apps are limitless in ability and application; they offer everything from useful tools right through to amazing interactive user experiences. That means from opening up a calculator, performing language translation, playing games to pass some time all the way to purchasing a product or service from a local business, Apps are one of the most effective marketing tools available today for businesses and organisations who want to off a “different experience”. Mobile is the fastest way to grow a business with 81% of businesses looking at creating a mobile application in the next 12 months.

Unlike a traditionally designed desktop website or mobile optimised website, apps are found on the marketplace for each major carrier such as the Play Store for the Android market or iTunes for Apple’s iPhone and iPad, among others. Smartphones are built much more similarly to your computer then any traditional or landline telephone. They are equipped with internal storage area and SD cards that make a nice home for your mobile app. Mobile apps are downloaded and placed into this storage for continuous, simple and easy access.

But, what does this mean for you? Well, mobile apps allow you to create an environment that stays with the user and allows you to communicate with that user at any time and in any way you can imagine so creating a mobile application and having app store presence is a must in today’s ever expanding markets.

 

How do I go mobile, and develop a beautiful mobile application?

Make sure you create a mobile application that serves at least one of three types of consumers;

  1. People who are looking for information
  2. People looking to make a purchase decision
  3. People who already have made a purchase

Doing this ensures your designed mobile app provides a value to your target market. Remember, think about YOUR customers. Just because it’s an app on a global marketplace doesn’t mean you must appeal to a global market! Make sure the  content for you mobile app is focused; if you work with local businesses in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley, and Doncaster or even wider afield like Yorkshire for example, then make sure you target this audience. You don’t need to appeal to someone in the US or even in London!

 

Things to keep in mind when creating or developing a mobile application:

SEO/App Discovery for Mobile Markets – This is the process of getting found, and just like SEO for a website it can make or break your app concept.

Build for the long term, make it custom – Make sure your applications allows for long term upgrades and future OS upgrades, don’t be tempted to go down the ‘cheap and cheerful’ option as this will only be problematic.

Select your platform – Where does your app have the best chance of success? iOS, Android, Blackberry… what handsets do your target audience use? iPhone, Samsung, HTC etc.

Create a long term plan – Always a good idea, make sure you have development milestones in place. Move from one area to the next in sequence just like traveling; you can’t get from Rotherham to Barnsley or Leeds without traveling through Sheffield first!

Work with the best mobile application development company you can – We don’t like to blow our own trumpet but Pipe & Piper are one of the best mobile application development companies in Yorkshire, with multiple top mobile application and enterprise systems already designed and developed. However, make sure that whatever app development company you work with has the skills and ability to work with you long term. You want to work with a company that knows not only how to design and develop your app but and keep your business objective in mind at all your marketing stages.

 

Remember: Mobiles need to be simple and easy to use!

Opening and using the applications on your mobile device must be as simple as opening and using any program on your standard desktop computer at home or work. Using the application should only require the user to touch your icon and your app opens up immersive and ready to interact. Limited only by your or indeed our creativity, apps work by providing an exclusive channel to exchange information and communicate with your smartphone addicted customers.

Businesses are striving to reach not only their existing clients but new customers too! Offer a more engaging and content rich experience that if done right won’t make them think twice about your competitors.

If this article has inspired you or you would just like to know more then please get in touch, one of our friendly team will be more than happy to discuss you app ideas and concept in more detail.

Contact us!

In today’s world it’s rare to find someone that doesn’t use a smartphone or tablet device, along with a multitude of apps to stay productive at work, one the road or at home. And there are now more than ever, so many mobile devices on the market including the popular iPhone and Samsung Galaxy handsets through to the Amazon Kindle and respective iPad.

business mobile

In all honesty, mobile devices have significantly shifted the online landscape we once knew. There was a time when mobile devices could only make calls and send SMS text messages. Now the world we live in revolves (to some degree) around the use of popular mobile platforms and other technologies. In 2014 over 70% of all internet access here in the UK will take place on a mobile device and for the first time ever, the last quarter of 2013 saw tablet computing outsell traditionally desktop PC’s. In fact, 28% of iPhone and Android users in the UK use social media apps; like Facebook and Twitter, before they even get out of bed in a morning!

The mobile and cloud computing markets are booming but still it is considered uncharted waters for many UK businesses looking to expand their brand awareness. What’s worse, many companies that are believed to be using mobile technology to expand their horizons across the mobile industry are in fact nothing more than a website that “kinda works” on mobile devices.

If you company or organisation is looking into a mobile strategy, then these few tips should help you get going are really understand what your customers’ needs from an engaging mobile experience. Initiation of a mobile strategy should always begin with thinking about the basics: who, what, why and how.

taking your business mobile

Start by asking yourself the following questions;

Who are your customers and who are you trying to reach? Who will want to engage with your mobile content? What tasks and needs does your audience have? Why do your customers need information from you in a timely manner?  Why do you need to create content to be viewed both in standard web browsers and on mobile devices? How will your target audience access your mobile content (which type of handheld device)? How will they use your content in their daily lives? How will you make your mobile content engaging?

A solid mobile strategy will include several ways to connect with consumers via their mobile devices.

Text, Apps, mobile marketing campaigns, mobile coupons, QR codes and geo-location are all very different and provide assets that if used correctly will build you a nice mobile eco-system.

As mobile apps become more and more popular it’s important that your chose the right platforms for your markets. If your customers are in the app marketplace then iPhone or Android based systems will be your best bet. Alternatively working within the public sector means that Blackberry should be your desired platform.

What are app markets?

Here at Pipe & Piper we always like to inform our clients of the latest trends and mobile information. This week we’ve put together the UK mobile market share to give you an insight into how popular the varying platforms have become. This latest information was sourced this month by the leading global internet technology and market share statistics firm; www.netmarketshare.com

57.6% – Apple iPhone iOS
37.2% – Google Android
2.3% – Windows Phone
2.1% – Blackberry
0.6% – Amazon Kindle
0.2% – Other

What does this mean?

As you can see the results make for an intriguing read! Apple’s iPhone hold over 50% of the entire market in the UK with Google’s Android platform coming in a close second. Both combined they hold almost 95% of the entire market!

Blackberry and Microsoft’s Windows Phone have less than 5% of the entire market which is quite astounding. You may have though that the figures would reflect different results before reading this article. You may even believe that this can’t possibly be right, especially if you have friends and family that use Blackberry and Windows Phones but the truth is the market place is dominated by Apple’s iPhone and iPad platform; iOS with Google’s smartphone and tablet OS; Android coming in a close second.

However, this isn’t bad news for you! Designing mobile apps for iPhone development and indeed Android is the cheapest and most cost effective due to their popularity.

App developers in Sheffield…

As iPhone and Android developers in Sheffield South Yorkshire, we are constantly being asked to build mobile apps for the smaller market share. People generally like to be all inclusive but don’t always perhaps appreciate the costs involved when doing so. We always like to be up-front with our clients and so always suggest that they design the app and develop it for the popular markets first. If this proves to be really successful and they have a high demand for the likes of Blackberry or Windows Phone then we can look at designing for these platforms at that point.

You may think it’s more cost effective to do everything at once, you may even have the budget to so but we think you’d be much better spending this additional budget on marketing your iOS and Android apps. Why? Well due to the complex nature in which Blackberry and Windows aps are created nothing is particularly transferrable between projects so it actually makes no difference when they put together. However, good marketing that supports your app in the marketplace will give you huge benefits, ones that can see your app fly to the top of the ‘most downloaded’!

So if you’ve got a mobile app then visit our apps page to find out more, you’ll be surprised how cost effective they can be. Or if you just want to chat about your ideas, call us and one of our team would be more than happy to help.

QR codes were originally the must-have gimmick for marketers, and were thought of as an easy and fun way to allow people to interact with adverts, even though they didn’t actually offer consumers anything other than a website link!

In recent months QR codes are becoming more advanced offering consumers better interactivity and ways to utilise their beloved smartphones. Recent studies show that 19% of all UK residents have scanned a QR code, with 3.3 million people doing it in the past 3 months alone!

qr-code

So if you’re considering using a QR code to promote products, services or even your brand, here are top 5 tips that you should consider before you do…

1. Make sure it actually has a purpose!

This does seem to be less of an issue in recent months, but often QR codes are still used on marketing material without any discernable purpose. So before using a QR code, think about what it actually adds to the user experience. For example; are you allowing your potential customers to access product information or maybe a discount voucher? Is it something that people will go out of their way to stop and scan? Think about it, what would make them actually scan it?

An estate agent on Ecclesall Road (in Sheffield for those of you reading this not from the area!) that put QR codes on the property ads in its window, which is a great idea as it allows house hunters to quickly pick up property details on the go, assuming the estate agent adhered to the next rule…

2. Don’t link to a desktop site!

The golden rule of QR codes is that you MUST NOT link users to a desktop site. Why? Because QR codes are a mobile experience and so the content you want consumers to view must be mobile optimised (read our recent blog about creating a mobile website). Nobody likes waiting around for a website to load especially if you’re on the move and you need to wait to read through a website that’s not even navigable on your phone!

3. Size DOES matter!

Really, the minimum size a QR code should be is one inch square. Any smaller and you’re going to make it really difficult for your customers to scan it, thus defeating the entire point of the QR code.

QRstuff.com states the relationship between scan distance and minimum QR code size is roughly 10:1.

“So a 2.5cm (one inch) QR code printed in a magazine will have a effective scan distance of about 250mm (10 inches), and a QR code on a billboard 20m (65ft) from the where a passer-by would be scanning it would probably need to be about 2m (6.5ft) across”

4. Think about where you’re going to place your code!

People might think this is obvious but there are still many examples of QR codes being put in places that people either don’t notice them or can’t quite reach to actually scan them.

For example, if your code is on a billboard or on your shop signage, don’t tuck it away in the top corner as people probably won’t be able to reach it, but equally people are unlikely to stoop down to scan a QR code that’s stuck in the bottom corner of your shop window. Head height is ideal (unless on printed or screen material of course!).

In reality people won’t bother scanning your QR code unless it’s put right in front of them or in a place where they don’t feel stupid or awkward being seen scanning it.

5. Tell your potential customers what they get from scanning it!

Scanning a QR code can be seen as a chore, so consumers are highly unlikely to pull out their smartphone unless they know they’re going to get something out of doing it. It’s really important that you inform them what the QR code links to and, depending on who you’re targeting, possibly instructions on how to download a QR code reader.

Instructions for scanning the code can be a simple call-to-action; “Scan to get 2-for-1,” or “Scan to get 30% voucher.”

You need to entice your potential customer, make sure the content you are offering them is worth the effort!

That’s it really!

Follow these steps and you’ll soon be running successful QR code campaigns that will enchant your customers and show them you’re up to date with the latest tech!

Need some inspiration? We’ve found a few examples of QR code campaigns that have really worked.

Heinz

Last year Heinz ran a QR code campaign and placed codes on their ketchup bottles in selected restaurants to help promote its new environmentally friendly packaging.

heinz

The codes linked through to a mobile website where users could win prizes by answering green knowledge trivia questions.

Heinz reported that more than 1 million consumers scanned the codes.

Emart

This is an excellent (actually award winning!) example of creativity using QR codes and that really engaged the consumer.

Emart is South Korea’s largest retailer. Their campaign involved creating a shadow QR code that only became visible when the sun was at the correct angle in the sky between midday and 1pm.

As a result of this mesmerising effort, Emart sold more than 12,000 coupons, membership increased by 58% on the previous month and sales increased 25% during lunchtime hours.

This is possible the best example of QR code use since its creation! However, it’s important to bear in mind that it sunny in South Korea much more often than it is here in the UK.

Watch the video below to see how it all worked!

There has already been a tectonic shift in the way we view content on the web. The mobile web isn’t the future it’s the present and for any business to ignore the demand that’s clearly there is simply madness.

If you owned a shop, you wouldn’t turn away people in blue t-shirts, would you? So why if your business relies on traffic from your site would you not cater for mobile devices as well? 33% of us Britain’s use our mobile phone to access the internet everyday! Don’t stick your head in the sand!

Don't stick your head in the sand with mobile websites

Smartphone Snowballing

Where ever we walk we nowadays we have access to the internet on our phones through 3G or WiFi, the technology inside these smartphones is advancing constantly and allows to now carry around a mini super computer in our pocket.

Did you know that 43.5% of all Americans access the internet through their mobile phone and that 25% of these people use the internet daily. Fascinatingly the people of India are using mobile phones (60%) more than the traditional desktop computer (40%).

In the not too distant future smartphones and Tablets will be the device of choice for people in the UK. This is why you need to think about getting your business to cater for mobile and tablet devices now!

Desktop Demand Declining

In 8 years the shipment of PCs worldwide has declined by 75%, during this time mobile devices have seen huge increases. The total of mobile devices now surpasses the PC shipments by 200,000 million units per year. These figures help demonstrate that the internet is only going to go one way, “mobile“. It’s estimated that in 2015 the desktop computer will only take up 18% of computer sales.

Impact on Search Engines

If you have a “Responsive Website” (a website that has specific layouts for different devices) most search engines (eg: Google) will reward you in the search results page. Google now serves a different set of results depending on the device your using, so it’s important to make sure your website is not being overlooked.

User Interface Benefits

As well as having a positive impact on search engines results, responsive web design can also help users navigate on large websites with a more user-friendly interface. Thus allowing them navigate through the content of a website faster and easier. A great example is websites that have huge blocks of text, these blocks can be hidden away under sub headings to improve readability. There are many case studies; most notably the Amazon one, that show that after introducing support for mobile devices, that they have a dramatically increased their sales figures.

smartphone

Mobile App Explosion

The demand for mobile apps is also constantly increasing. It’s estimated that global revenue from mobile apps will exceed £16 billion this year, which is a 63% increase from last year. The idea that your business could own an app and then this app will sit inside the pocket of it’s users and acts as a constant marketing reminder, this potential is absolutely priceless! The idea of apps is mainly to give more power to the user. By empowering them they can generate and interactive with dynamic content more easily than ever before, with just one touch of a button, you can now send a tweet out to thousands of people across the world.

For an app to be successful, it’s need to both hook and compel the user. The longevity of an app is determined by how often the user will want to use it. It’s imperative to place a post launch strategy in order to keep your app popular.

To reach one million users it took…

  • AOL – 9 Years – [visit]
  • Facebook – 9 Months [visit]
  • Draw Something – 9 Days [visit]

Mobile App Infographic

Earn Extra Income from Mobile Apps

Apps are a great way to earn extra revenue for your business. If you have an innovative idea that could be harnessed through technology, an app is an ideal starting point. If you get your app idea developed you need to start getting people to download it. A great way to get noticed is to give your app the most polished look possible as users are more likely to consider a professional looking app more enticing. New apps can also sometimes become featured for the day that there released, so this another good reason to make sure your app is ready when you do release it!

Get your app developed

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