Archive for the ‘Mobile’ Category

WWDC 2012 Report: What’s Up with Apple?

WWDC BuildingIt’s been 3 extremely informative days at WWDC 2012. Apple is taking steps to solidify their platforms for consumers across the board.  The product they launched at this year’s conference is a new MacBook pro with the enhanced Retina Display.  I’ve seen this first hand and all I can say is WOW.  You can watch a 1080DPI video in the corner of the screen leaving a million pixels available.  This will revolutionize the graphics and video industries.  In addition to the video, the hardware is equally exceptional.  Having the state of the art Intel quad core processor, the new MacBook is a powerhouse.  Add the capability to 16GB of RAM, and this will be the work horse of the future for mobile power users.

Although the MacBook Pro Retina Display is impressive, it wasn’t the only thing Apple announced.  The new IOS 6 is going to be a game changer.  This version will have a brand new state-of-the-art mapping app which will sever the ties with Google once and for all.  In addition to this, there are over 200 new features with some being updates to the phone app, updates to Siri, and many more.  One new app they announced is PassBook.  This app will allow you to consolidate all your loyalty rewards cards, airline tickets, and just about anything with a barcode.  This is a smart app which will automatically bring a card to front and notify you when you arrive at the store’s location.  For example, let’s say you have a Starbucks rewards card and you walk into a store.  You will no longer have to fumble through your apps to find theirs to pull up your card.  PassBook will know you are in Starbucks and will display the Starbucks rewards card on your phone.  This app alone will change the way things are done on the POS and Loyalty Rewards front.

Finally, they demo’ed their new OS for Mac, OSX Mountain Lion.  This OS takes many leaps forward to integrate your IOS devices/data.   This update has over 200 new features with many of them being iCloud based.  When you make a change in a document in the cloud on your iPad, that change will appear real time on your Mac and other IOS devices.

It’s been a great week so far here at WWDC and an invaluable experience.  I look forward to the rest of the week and for the releases of IOS 6 and Mac OSX Mountain Lion.

 

Why Hospitality is One of the Biggest Hi-Tech Industries

Technology is taking over in the hospitality industry. Resorts and hotels provide their guests with interactive resources literally at the tip of Hospitalitytheir fingers. Instead of guests making multiple calls to the front desk to find their way around a resort, they now use portable devices to make their stay even more enjoyable.

 

Revel, a resort in Atlantic City, recently implemented the use of innovative tablets to engage their visitors. Revel has implemented an interactive guest-service solution designed by a collaborative team of technology partners, Suitelinq and Unidev. The Cisco-created hardware and the integrated software package device allows guests to easily access extensive amounts of information. Visitors can check the weather, order room service, view promotions, track flights and more. The tablet also acts as the room phone and alarm clock. You can attach the tablet to the phone and make a call or remove it from the phone dock and call through a speaker phone.

 

Along with the convenience, interactive menus such as the one used at Revel allow for metrics of data. If the hotels or resorts would like to track the times and frequency people are ordering food or scheduling a massage, they can do so quickly and efficiently using a digital platform. Another example of this advancement is mobile apps. Mobile apps stored on the tablet allow guests to access additional information regarding the hotel properties.

 

Revel is not the only hospitality venue integrating technology changes. The Hilton chain increased its customer satisfaction by implementing Hilton Design Studio. The Hilton Design Studio guides online users through the hotel and gives them the opportunity to ‘design a guest room’. The Hilton will also be adding interactive products for the valet and a connectivity station. Another example of technology arriving in hospitality is Hyatt Hotels enhancing its rooms with interactive televisions. Through the TV, guests can not only decide on entertainment choices, but ordering room service, searching local information and file downloads will also be available.

Technology is growing rapidly in hotels and other resorts because of the competition. With more of the popular hospitality establishments growing digitally, they create a pressure in the market for other providers to keep up. This generates a need for companies like Suitelinq and Unidev to design unique digital solutions.

 

With new technology, hotels can dramatically improve and innovate upon the “guest experience”. Employees can better manage their time using a digital solution rather than taking phone calls. Technology implementation in the hospitality industry is continuing to grow and is bringing new solutions to workers and travelers everywhere.

 

For more information on Unidev and how we can enrich your technology, contact us.

 

 

Windows 8: What to Expect

“Reimagined” is the buzzword surrounding Microsoft’s latest update to their operating system, Windows 8. With a brand new user interface and design, Microsoft is displaying Metro-style apps on the PC to create a seamless, integrated experience across tablets, laptops, and traditional desktop PCs.

Main Features

The most reimagined feature in this major update is the touch-based design. Gone is the familiar start menu and taskbar that has been part of the Windows OS since Windows 95. Large tiled app buttons linking to various applications like music, email, social network activity, Microsoft Word, and Internet Explorer replace the traditional Windows layout.

Metro-app start Screen for Windows 8

The design closely follows the Windows Phone app layout.

Microsoft has essentially developed two versions of Windows 8 to facilitate identical experiences on touch screen tablets and desktops. The new operating system will support traditional x86 CPUs found in most PCs in addition to the low-power ARM processors found in most tablets. This could have major implications for mobile application development.

The new “Windows to Go” feature augments even further consistency across multiple devices. Users can create a secure image of Windows 8 and place it on a typical USB flash drive. Users can then boot their own operating system from other Windows 7- and 8-enabled PC’s and laptops. This allows for an easy transfer of important applications and data to other machines. These updates, along with native 3G and 4G support will make mobile workforces more productive than ever.

Will it be worth the upgrade?

At this point, it is impossible to say whether most users will make the jump to the reimagined Windows 8 or not. While the new design is receiving high praise, there are some concerns Microsoft may alienate long-time Windows users by obscuring the traditional start menu interface they are used to (as seen below).

 

 

Additional concerns call to question the likelihood that businesses will adopt the new operating system. Though the secure Windows to Go and mobile productivity additions are appealing to business owners and IT managers looking to expand their mobile workforce, the expense of training employees on the new interface could create a high barrier to entry.

So will Windows 8 be a success for Microsoft? We’ll find out this Fall when it is released commercially. For now, you can try it yourself with the recently released Windows 8 consumer preview. Let us know what you think by sounding off in the comments!

Full disclosure: Unidev is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.

What is the difference between a mobile application and a mobile website?

With over 4 billion mobile phones in the world today, the need to develop a mobile application or a mobile website over just a standard website grows.

Web developers and web designers typically create standard websites with larger screens in mind. For example, a standard 19-inch, 5:4 aspect ratio computer monitor is going to be 1280 x 1024 pixels. A standard 19-inch monitor, 4:3 aspect ratio is going to be 1600 x 1200 pixels. It is common to find 22-inch monitors, 24-inch monitors and larger. As large scale computer and television monitors increase in size, it becomes even more important to develop mobile applications and mobile websites to display a “small-device-friendly” version of your website.

But after a company decides to develop for mobile devices, how do they determine whether a mobile application or a mobile website better fits their needs? So how do development costs, functionality, and hardware integration differ between mobile applications and mobile websites.

Below, some general truths about mobile applications versus mobile websites.

Cost and capabilities of mobile apps versus mobile websites, Infographic

Mobile Applications (also known as native mobile apps)

  • Mobile apps can integrate with the device operating system
  • In many cases mobile apps still work offline (assuming that the application does not need to connect to the internet or a database)
  • Mobile apps often better facilitate engagement due to their enhanced OS integration capabilities
  • Users often download mobile apps to a mobile device and then store them on their dashboard for more frequent use

Mobile Websites (also known as browser-based sites)

  • Mobile websites now look more like mobile applications (see m.target.com)
  • User can load from URL, do not have to download and store the app to their phone
  • Detect your device and display a special screen for that specific device
  • Do not have to pay to develop a Mobile App for multiple smart phone operating systems, can reduce development cost by as much as 50-60%

Keep in mind that every business is different. A mobile effort must perform in terms of your goals (i.e. conversion rates).  Don’t just select a mobile application or a mobile website.   Ask some questions to make sure you’ll optimize return on investment (ROI)

  1. Who is my customer?
  2. How do does my customer use mobile devices?
  3. What do we want customers to do as a result of this mobile effort?

At Unidev, we develop mobile apps and mobile websites.  Please contact us for more information.

Google Phone

Google launches new mobile application for speedier access to Gmail. It can be easily downloaded from mobile.google.com. Click here for details…