Samsung’s flagship mobile phone is due in the early part of April, 2014 and here at Pipe & Piper we couldn’t be more excited! The new device will go up against the latest iPhone 5s in addition to strong competition from Sony, HTC, Nokia, LG and BlackBerry. It will initially be made available in blue, black and white, similar to apples latest iPhones.

Samsung S5 Blue

The S5 brings a new boost the Android market as the Samsung series equates for around 60% of the entire android market share. It contains the latest a href=”http://www.android.com/versions/kit-kat-4-4/”>android 4.4 (KitKat) operating system & the latest version of Samsung’s TouchWiz.

Dust / Water Resistant

One of the main advantages of the new Galaxy is that the S5 is resistant to sweat, rain, liquids, sand and dust thus allowing for a more robust product and allowing the end user to have more confidence that their phone won’t stop working anytime soon.

Hardware Specs

It looks like the Samsung S5 is being powered by the large Quad Core 2.5 Ghz Snapdragon 801 32-bit processor, with the same amount of RAM as samsungs S4 (2GB). Quite surprising is the fact that they haven’t implemented a 64bit architecture into the processor, unlike their main competitor Apple; with the 5S. However they smash apple devices with their 5.1 inch screens producing a 1920×1080 resolution (Full HD). The camera as mentioned previously is one incredible 16MP beast with auto focus, LED flash and 4K video recording (being one of the first devices to offer such a feature).

s5-camera

New Features

This latest samsung has definitely put it’s marker in the sand in regards to embrace an healthy lifestyle with your phone. It includes a heart rate sensor, a peronsal fitness tracker and manny other features. They’ve also added a finger scanner (much similar to the iPhones) which will allow you to confirm payments, lock your phone and add many other security measures. One of the most intriguing features is the LTE system which aims to boost downloading via WiFi by approximately 80~90%.


Samsung’s latest technology at the tech show “Impact Event”

Conclusion

The samsung S5 offers improvements in most areas such as hardware, software and features. Although some hardcore users are left disappointed by the lack of design re-invention. The improvements made on the hardware side are considerable without being drastic, which confirms that the S5 is a worth upgrade from it’s predecessor the S4. It’s also worth noting that the S5 is evolving into more of a leisure tool, focused at people with active lifestyles, hence the inclusion of the heart rate monitor, personal training program and the finger print scanner. In our opinion this definitely gives the android market something to think about.

It’s a new year and we’re ready to embrace some of the latest movements in the industry. Last year we noticed an overwhelming acceptance for the multitude of devices now on offer and 2014 definitely boasts increased awareness of this. Check out Pipe & Piper’s “ones to watch” for 2014 below:

1. Flat Design

Apple

Web design has often grown in complexity over the years and while this will continue to be the case we will notice almost a step back in terms of UX. The “Flat Design” most commonly noticed in the new release of apple’s iOS 7. Everything has been stripped back to basics; removal of drop shadows, 3d gradients and much more. While not everyone has adopted this approach, what happens more often than not is when apple deliver a new design other designers within the marketplace follow suit. If you need an apple app specialist in Sheffield get in touch today.

Twitter

Another big name you will instantly recognise is Twitter’s new flat approach, they, like apple have reversed ideas on design. These new design ideologies remove any reminiscence of a “web 2.0” feel. By removing the shiny icons and navigation bars we are left with solid colours and more icons.
Twitter & Apple iOS 7

2. Dropping the Sidebar & Adding the Reveal Bar

For many years we’ve been getting used to lot’s of websites offering  sidebar which give you extra navigation links, now with increasing demand for less cluttered interfaces they are becoming increasingly hidden from view. Now it’s extremely important to know what type of device your user is using so you can provide them with an appropriate interface, whether it’s touch, tap, slide or click. By hiding the the sidebar it allows the designer to create a design with more impact to the user.

Hide Sidebar Show Slidebar

3. Less Text

Don’t worry “content is still king“! However we’re seeing more and more websites utilise the homepage as a large splash screen. With little text, more full screen images  & extenuated sexy typography becoming more prominent. We live in a world of constant information and we are now seeing designs which harness all this information and present it to you in bite-size chunks. Websites now portray a story to the user rather than presenting them with information overload, they take you on a journey
fullscreen

4. Hero Areas

These are the are the large banners that take the whole focus of the website, they normally appear on the homepage. This technique is becoming increasingly evident and will continue to shape design of websites throughout the rest of the year. These banners also tie in nicely with the trends 1) flat design and 3) less text. These areas will be bold and sometimes adventurous, there aims are to grip your attention.
Hero Space

5. Mobile First Approach

While designing for mobiles and tablets is nothing new, however we will be seeing more websites totally focus around smart devices first then build the desktop version on top of this model. We’re seeing complexity stripped from initial prototypes and extra functionality from the desktop sites added a later date in the development process. The reason for this increased approach is the fact that smartphones and tablets are gaining huge market share. Google developers have implemented this ideas for a few years and finally we are seeing the marketplace being persuaded.

Smart Devices Mobile First

Potential Trends for 2014…

HTML5 Canvas – For animations & games previously the web used Flash or Java to handle the heaving. However with apples decision to end Adobe Flash’s lifespan and Java’s need to install itself onto the users browser we can expect to see huge numbers of sites using the inbuilt browser technologies to display complex animations.

SVG – Another open source product which will most likely be hitting the headlines this year will be the Scaleable Vector Graphic. These allow images to be stretched with minimal distortion and also allow 3 dimensional shapes, there also great for analysing dynamic data such as numbers to product complex graphs and charts. There are millions of delicious examples of SVGs’ capabilities that are already out there in the marketplace and will only continue to grow.

The future of NFC is now. Our credit cards are slowly being replaced, bus passes and train tickets are disappearing, and those paper based loyalty cards for high street coffee shops we all have… redundant! The future of NFC paints a picture, a future where the wallet, purse, paper ticket and pocket have all gone digital and live solely on your smartphone.

Welcome to Near Field Communications (NFC), a contactless, Wi-Fi style tech that is more than likely already on your smartphone, and could soon be a regular feature of your daily life.

nfc

 

How does NFC work?

At its core, it’s a short-range, low power wireless link evolved from radio-frequency identification (RFID) tech that can transfer small amounts of data between two devices held a few centimetres from each other. Unlike Bluetooth, no pairing code is needed, and because it’s very low power, no battery in the device being read.

By tapping your phone on a contactless payment terminal in a shop, train station or coffee shop is able to identify your account (and even your personal preferences, shopping habits and even your most frequently travelled route home) and takes payment through an app on your smartphone.

nfc2

Passive NFC ‘tags’ on posters, in shops and on trains could contain a web address, a discount voucher, a map or a bus timetable that passers-by could touch their phones on to receive – or to instantly pay for absolutely anything.

NFC ‘tags’ can also be used in conjunction with mobile apps to serve information or to enhance user experience. There are so many applications for NFC that developing say smartphone and tablet apps that utilise this technology is becoming really popular. If you’re considering a mobile app for your company, contact Pipe & Piper and we’ll help develop something that’s truly unique.

“The SIM card in your mobile phone is a smart card identifying your account to the network,” says John Elliott, Head of Public Sector at Consult Hyperion, who’s worked on the Oyster Card. “On NFC phones, the SIM is being extended to act as the Secure Element that can hold other apps such as payment cards.”

 

NFC phones: which handsets have NFC?

A surprisingly huge number, largely because NFC has long been supported by the makers of Android handsets. Though Apple is yet to embrace NFC, flagship and mid-range handsets from the likes of Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Nokia, LG and Blackberry all include NFC.
The latter all feature BlackBerry Tag, a peer-to-peer feature in the BlackBerry 7.1 OS that allows users to share contact information, documents, URLs, photos and other multimedia content by tapping their BlackBerry smartphones together.

Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 OS supports NFC, too, so expect upcoming smartphones from Samsung, Nokia and HTC to be compatible.

The full list, includes almost all Android tablets too.

NFC is still in its trial phase, but it’s got a big future. ABI Research predicts that 1.95 billion NFC-enabled devices will ship in 2017, largely in smartphones, though NFC will also enter the living room. WiFi routers will swap passwords for a simple ‘tap’ from any smartphone, tablet or games console, with 395 million consumer electronics devices to ship in 2017 – in other words, NFC will be in everything.

Source:  – www.techradar.com

 

At CES 2014 which is an annual technology showcase for the world’s leading innovators that takes place in Las Vegas. This year was nothing short of what visitors wanted with real emphasis on ‘wearable technology’ and ‘bendable’ TV’s. However CES has always been a place for new tech start ups to showcase the creations and this year so what Kolibree are announcing as the world’s first connected electric toothbrush.

toothbrush

It sounds incredibly unnecessary, after all people have managed to brush their teeth for the past few hundred years without the need for fanciful mobile technology but Kolibree says that it can analyse your brushing habits and display the information via their mobile app on your smartphone or tablet. The idea behind this being that motivates (or shames) you into brushing better and giving yourself better dental hygiene.

Although not on same just yet, the Paris based company has said it will be available in Q4 of 2014 and starting at around £80 which isn’t too costly given that the more well known toothbrush brands have electric brushes in excess of £100. Top models will set you back around £180.

You download a free mobile app and connect your smartphone to the toothbrush via Bluetooth wireless. It records every brushing and syncs the information to your smartphone. The mobile app will then display information to see whether you brushed long enough and reached the hard-to-hit but important parts of your teeth and gums.

You get a score for your brushing and can share those stats with your dentist or your family. But if you share this data too widely, it will clearly be in the “too much information” category. Kolibree rewards your progress when you are improving.

What’s more interesting is how the company will make the brushing data available via an applications programming interface so third-party game designers can create games around it. We’ve had a brainstorm around the office and are not sure what these games might look like or how they might work but perhaps incorporating this with the new Xbox One’s Kinect sensor would provide an interactive experience that makes kids want to brush their teeth all the time! (maybe a little OTT).

For a couple of months now, mobile users have been automatically redirected to their relevant app store as a prompt to download various well known games. Both Android and iOS users have been targeted, taking their respective users to games such as Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, Game of War, Zelda Dungeon, and other titles.

The issue involves well known ad networks that should really be blocking and removing these ads but aren’t. Thousands of users have been effected which has led to poor user experience and a general “loss of faith” with well-respected and popular apps such as eBay, Imgur, TwitPic and many others.

In Imgur’s case, Reddit users informed the company about the problem over two months ago and have been consistently providing feedback. Just over a week ago, the company responded on its own website to state that they were looking into the issue but could not clearly identify the ad network that was at fault.

These auto re-directing ads have been affecting both Android and iOS platforms but not just on mobile devices. Desktop and mobile websites have also been affected by the third party ad networks involved. To make matters worse, the ads move around which makes them difficult to pin down and block. At the moment it is unknown which ad networks have been involved and it has been suggested that the ads change once they have been approved, making them even more difficult to identify and remove.

In addition, networks sometimes buy inventory from other networks, blurring the line as to who’s responsible but it has been reported that Google’s AdWords and AdSense have now resolved this problem.

Other apps and websites that have been effected have simply removed the gaming category of ads on their platforms which has prevented them from appearing. We’d recommend taking this action if your website or app has been effected until the issue has been resolved.

Medium to large organisations have been waiting to delve into the mass of information that they gather about their customers, particularly in digital trends. Mobile and cloud technology appear to be at the very top of that list but what does this actually mean for those organisations?

Ovum expects a significant wave of business technology ramp-ups in 2014, in response to the market demand. They are predicting that many businesses will fail to act on the data they possess keeping with existing ‘future-less’ systems in an act to save money. However, some will move forward with this new found information they have spent so long obtaining and really push the boat out to grow their IT services ecosystem to create more immersive, engaging, and quicker ways to engage with their systems.

The number 1 priority for those ready and willing to progress their IT ecosystem will no doubt be looking at diversifying their existing IT solution. The biggest game changer that companies will find useful is the transition from traditional ‘desktop’ software to the new cloud systems which don’t require terminals with multiple areas for problems to occur. The cloud systems operate under a single umbrella, all data and computing takes place in a single area as opposed to every computer on the network creating the requests. This tied with the power of new servers and the speed at which most internet connections are currently running means that some systems will be up to 80% more efficient meaning less time waiting and more time working.

Perhaps bad news for employees but certainly good news for employers!

Making technology work, really work; for your staff and your customers isn’t easy. Many companies make the mistake of working around technology which ends up being nothing more than problematic, time consuming and a constant compromise on service. Technology must be deployed in a way that proves to be a valuable resource for your staff and internal systems as well as your customers and their specific needs, so don’t start with ‘off-the-shelf’ software that will compromise your organisation, instead let Pipe & Piper mould bespoke software around you and your customers.

touch screen graph on a tablet

We provide bespoke mobile and cloud software, business and technology management consulting, and most importantly a clear IT solution built around you! We have experience across a whole range of business sectors and industries providing integrated solutions to start-ups right through to multi-nationals.

Pipe & Piper will provide you with business and technology strategies, project management, business intelligence solutions, and software implementation. We truly understand business technology and how mobile and cloud systems can create an effective, dependable solution for your business. Ultimately our aim is to optimise your internal systems and procedures; creating new efficiencies, increasing your revenues, and improving your profitability.

We believe mobile and cloud solutions are the future of business technology. Software giants will still provide the building blocks; the platforms, the credibility for new technology, but we will utilise the popularity and flexibly, in a timely and cost effective manner build to a bespoke solution to suit your specific needs.

The future of business technology is cloud computing and mobile software platform services which will rapidly and significantly change the way the world does business. Contact Pipe & Piper today to find out how we can help your business grow.

We’ve been so busy working on projects new and old we’ve not even had time to update our own website! Not great, we know but it does mean that we’ve got some great things to update you with!

Over the next few days and weeks we’ll be adding much of our new content so keep an eye out for our updates.

In terms of web and tech news, there’s been some amazing stuff! iPhone 5S and 5c, GTA 5, Google Android basic to name a few of the popular ones!

Bear with us and we’ll get more info on all this exciting stuff soon!

Its only a matter of days now before the new iPhone’s are released in the public domain! We’ve had chance to play on the new iOS7 operating system and it has some great features! All you iPhone fans out there will be happy to hear that there are features unique to the new OS that only you will get (they’re not coming to Android anytime soon). In particular the cool multi-layered effect background, new quick link short cuts (which to be fair have been present on Android handsets forever!), updated app interfaces, 64bit software support (something we’re really excited about) and a new easily accessible music interface.

Additionally, we’ve seen plenty of images on the new iPhone’s and it has to be said they look great. We particularly like the cheaper iPhone 5c that comes in a variety of colours. The iPhone 5s looks identical to the old iPhone 5 but is now available in grey (black really), silver and gold (which somehow doesn’t look tacky!)

More on the new iPhone when we’ve got our hands on it 😉

Websites are still in evolutionary process, they continue to support and introduce new great features; which enables us to view richer content more easily than ever before. It’s always exciting to imagine what could be next for the www. Here in this article we delve into what’s currently hot this year in terms of web design.

Single Web Page

Lots of creative companies are going down the route of having a single page website. These sites utilise the navigation links to scroll to the relevant section. There are several positive and negative impacts single pages can have on a design. If Single Page is well designed then, you should be able to stay clear of most of it’s detractors, it’s worth knowing that there is a lot of work goes into making a single web page a slick and interactive product.

Positive Impacts

  • Design looks creative and free flowing
  • Looks different to the more traditional box layouts
  • Content is already loaded so decreased loading times per section

Negative Impacts

  • Harder for the design agency to maintain (may increase the cost)
  • The company that has a single web page is mainly reliant on their website designers to maintain the website
  • Not great for SEO as all sections are loaded on one page and not split into different cacheable URLs
  • Slows initial loading time for webpage as all content is loaded at once.
  • Website can confuse user if not extremely clear workflow

There’s no right or wrong way to design a website but there’s definitely some food for thought when thinking about implementing a single page app.

Single Page Web Apps
A great example is Purple Orange a PR company.

Minimalism

We are seeing increasing numbers of web apps deploying a minimalistic approach. There have been several influential products which have had an impact on this trend. Especially with the new windows 8 metro design for tablets, mobiles and desktop computers. Has seen many new websites spawning being heavily influenced by the windows design. Another example great example is the new XBOX 360 dashboard, this like the metro design is both simplistic and easy to use. This minimalism hides huge volumes of content into more palatable bite-sized chunks.

Windows 8 Metro UI
A great example of a minimalistic approach which has influenced many new websites

Typography

The use of typography in web design has always been considered by many an art form, since the inclusion of @font-face we have seen a huge reliance on custom fonts to change the way we view websites. This art form is not just appreciated by web designers but everyone! This year has seen some fantastic websites take advantage of some of the extremely elegant fonts that are now available. Whilst websites in the past have incorporated  typography as a large part of the design process, we are now starting to see nearly every major website rely on this technique.

Great typography web design trends
Image from chriswhitedesign.com

Fixed Headers

The year of the fixed headers! This is a funny one because the ability for a user to have a fixed navigation bar has always been available, however it’s only been widely adopted by many sites fairly recently. The fact that fixed headers are so easy to incorporate begs the question of why have they not been around sooner?

However having fixed headers provides many advantages…

  • Brand Building -It helps build the sites brand as the logo and brand name are always viewable
  • Easier Navigation – Helps people navigate around your website more easily
  • Stops Unecessary Scrolling – It can more often than not prevents the need to scroll all the way to the top/bottom of the web page
  • Improves Usability – By improving the usability of the site you are in turn increasing the pleasure factor of the visitors viewing experience.

Fixed Headers Web Design Trends
Facebook has had a fixed header for years but only now has many other websites followed suit.

Responsive web design

Web design trends in 2013 could not be complete without mentioning the rise to prominence of “responsive web design”. It has been around for a while, like many other techniques listed, however the amount of sites that now offer a responsive layout to it’s users is only ever increasing.

responsive web design
Our Pipe & Piper Responsive Design

The web is only heading in one direction and that is mobile, this is why many websites cater for different devices and screen sizes. A responsive website allows the owner of the website to serve the same content but to be displayed differently depending on your device. It’s a really cost effective way to reach as many people as possible, it’s very important not to alienate your visitors.

Stay up to date with the Latest Trends

With Pipe & Piper you can guarantee your business gets a head start by knowing your website is at the forefront of the digital age. Whether your in Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster or anywhere in the Yorkshire area we have happy clients all around the UK, so location is no problem for us!