Apple recently announced two new smartphones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Both are larger than any of Apple’s previous smartphones. Also last week, Samsung introduced its latest Galaxy Note phone, the Note 4. During the last 4 or 5 years, Samsung has popularized the large screen smartphones devices and Apple has seemingly always been against large-screen devices. Recently Apple has seen the potential of a big screen and has introduced two bigger phones. In this blog post I will give a head-to-head review on iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note 4.The Screen
When we look at the size differences of Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus, we notice the iPhone 6 Plus is a bit taller than the Note 4. On the other hand, the Galaxy Note 4 is more than one mm thicker than iPhone 6 Plus. In general, the iPhone 6 Plus is 158.1 * 77.8 * 7.1 mm and the Note 4 is 153.5 * 78.6 * 8.5 mm. Looking at the size difference between screens, the Galaxy Note 4 has a 5.7 inch display while the iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5 inch. In terms display differences, the Samsung Note 4 packs a Quad HD Super AMOLED display whereas the iPhone 6 has a backlit LED IPS display. In terms of resolutions, iPhone 6 Plus has a 1920 * 1080 pixels resolution that offers about 401 ppi pixel density. I am glad that Apple went for a Full-HD size for the screen because it is standard comparing to iPhone 6, which is 750 * 1334 pixels. On the other hand, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 definitely has the advantage here by offering 2560 * 1440 pixels that can fit about 515 pixels per inch. By looking at weights of these devices, the Galaxy Note 4 is 176 g while the iPhone 6 is 172 g and is slightly lighter.Internal Specifications
Apple has been famous for its quality and this is very apparent when we look at iPhone 6. The iPhone 6 Plus has an aluminum body and comes in three different colors; silver, gold and space gray. Samsung also improved the quality of its devices and replaced its metal-looking plastic frame with actual metal. The back cover is made of a leather-like, soft-touch material and the device comes in four different colors: black, white, gold and pink. The back cover in the Galaxy Note 4 is also removable and allows users to replace the battery and external memory.
Looking at the internal parts of these devices, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 features a Quad-core 2.7 GHz Snapdragon 805 CPU and also has an Adreno 420 GPU. In terms of other current Android devices, these specifications are at the highest level. On the other hand, the iPhone 6 plus has a 64 bit Apple A8 processor with two cores and 1.7 GHz clock speed. It is worth mentioning that the iPhone 6 Plus uses a separated chipset for motion processing. In terms of RAM, Galaxy Note 4 has 3GB of RAM while the iPhone 6 Plus works with 2GB.
In terms of available options for the internal storage, Galaxy Note 4 comes with 32GB internal storage and no mention yet about any other options such as 64GB. However, the Galaxy Note 4 can take advantage of an external memory up to 128GB through a micro SD card. On the other hand, the iPhone 6 Plus comes in three different options: 16, 54 or 128GB and we don’t have a 32GB version anymore.
Let me move to the cameras of these devices. In the Samsung Galaxy 4 we will get a 16 MP rear camera that finally uses Optical Image Stabilization feature. On the other hand, the iPhone 6 Plus has 8MP rear camera that also has Optical Image Stabilization. Moreover, the iPhone 6 Plus packs a Dual-LED flash, white and amber, that improves the quality of photos especially in a low-light environments. Samsung also provides handy camera features such as real-time HDR and selective focus that lets users improve their photography experience.
The iPhone 6 Plus can capture movies up to 1080p at a rate of 60 fps and 720p at 240 fps that lets users have very smooth slow-motion movies. Samsung Galaxy Note 4, however, is capable of capturing movie at up to 4K resolution, that is 2160p, at a rate of 30 fps. And we also get 720p at 120 fps and other variations.
In terms of the front camera, Galaxy Note 4 provides a 3.7 MP camera with 1080p resolution with wide view angle mode, 120 degree, that lets users to capture high quality selfies, while the front camera in iPhone 6 Plus is 1.2 MP and can capture up to 720p.
Both the Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus have finger print scanners, however users seem to be much more satisfied with the iPhone’s performance than the Galaxy Note 4. Since both devices have NFC (Near Field Communication), they support mobile payments: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 uses Google Wallet for regular payments and Samsung Beepn’Go for other cards such as point cards and cards. Apple uses the new Apple Pay payment system and takes advantage of finger print signatures for payment authorization.
In general, the Galaxy Note 4 provides a variety of extra features compared to the iPhone 6 plus such as a heart rate sensor and is water and dust resistant. The key feature of the Galaxy Note 4 is its S-pen. The S-pen has 2048 pressure points and provides the most accurate stylus pen among all portable devices. The Galaxy Note 4 also is famous for its multi-tasking feature. This device not only lets users work with multiple applications, but also lets them manipulate their window size.
In terms of battery-life there hasn’t been much revealed about the iPhone 6 Plus’s battery, but we know that the battery provides enough juice for 14 hours of video playback. The Galaxy Note 4, however, uses a 3220 mAh Li-Ion battery that is removable and supports 13 hours of continuous video playback. Galaxy Note 4 also offers a new feature called “fast charging mode” that lets user charge from 0 to about 50 percent of the phone’s battery in 30 minutes.The Cost
Finally by looking at the prices of these devices, Galaxy Note 4 costs around $750 and will be released by October 2014. On the other hand, for the iPhone 6 plus you are going to be looking at something around $750, $849 and $949 for 16, 64 and 128GB models respectively and they are expected to be released by September 19th, 2014.
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I started at Push in August of 2011. Before that however, I was a Chad Jones’(our CEO) student in one of the early offerings of the Smartphone Programming Class at the University of Saskatchewan.
I almost didn’t! After high school I studied psychology, with a focus cognition and neuropsychology. I found however that while interesting in of itself, psychology didn’t offer me any career paths I would call fulfilling.
Feeling rather aimless and disillusioned, I discussed the situation with my girlfriend. She – knowing me better than I know myself – suggested I take an introductory computer science class. That suggestion is one of the many reasons we ended up getting married!
In computer science, I found a discipline that appealed to me on many levels. I enjoy the analytical straight-forward nature of the coding itself; The computer does what you tell it to do, no more, no less. I love the opportunity to solve tricky problems with elegant and clear solutions.
But first and foremost, I found that going through computer science and becoming a developer gave me chances to change people’s lives for the better. I don’t mean that in a very dramatic sense; I’m no doctor or fire fighter. But I believe strongly that technology should and can be adapted to people, to be used in the way that they choose, and in the way that works best for them. My personal vision is to have the world full of technology that empowers people to be the best version of themselves.
I became a developer to help make this vision come true.
Either that, or because I can wear jeans to the office. That’s also fairly fantastic.
Since I care so much about people and their relationship to technology, I feel most comfortable working with the aspect of development that represents the direct transition from person to computer – The User Interface. I’m a guy who worries about whether it’s better to have one button or two, and should they be buttons or switches anyway?
Before Push, I specialized in Flash Development. In my view, Flash was one of the precursors of the beautiful and elegant interfaces we see today (although I’m aware that today’s interfaces have serious shortcomings too).
After joining Push, I left my Flash roots behind (Flash is basically dead, anyway) and threw myself into Apple’s iOS platform. While Flash and iOS are very different platforms, they both do one thing that is at the core of computing as I appreciate it; They both put the user (you and I) in the driver’s seat.
Have you ever watched an Apple keynote address? I love the keynote where Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone for the first time.
Watch it here:
So many words have been written about that presentation and I needn’t go over it again. More important was what I felt while watching that presentation. Immediately, I know that the game had changed. From the first time I held one in my hand, I could see incredible potential; not to add complexity and technology to my life, but to remove it. For the next few weeks, I found myself with an incredible amount of creative energy, which I was able to apply to my work at the time.
In answer to the question; I enjoy being at Push for a number of reasons; Working with a great team, having great clients, and working on exciting technology every day.
There’s a period of time after every keynote – be it Apple, Google, Blackberry or Microsoft – when I feel the entire office explode with excitement and energy beyond the norm. Out of all the things I enjoy about being at Push, it’s this burst of creativity and excitement that I look forward to the most.
What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time?
I’m like a lot of developers, in that my screen time doesn’t stop when I leave work for the day. Lately I’ve been dipping into Apple’s new programming language Swift. There’s a lot to be excited about, although it may be some time before we’re relying on it heavily.
Otherwise, I spend most of my free time with my family. I’ve got kids and a brace (two) of beagles, which keeps us hopping!
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Building an application for smartphones is a lot like constructing a house. It requires meticulous research & planning, time, energy, and resources. But what if someone else builds a near-identical version of the perfect house you envisioned, undercuts the price, and puts it up for sale right next to your lot? Sadly, unless you are prepared to invest as much into removing the copy cats as you did in developing your unique application, not much can be done about it. Welcome to the reality of the app store.
Take Swing Copters for example, a game which came out just a short while ago for iOS and Android. Not only was it marred with knock-offs that went so far as to plagiarize the title itself, but many of the clones were freely available before the original game was officially published. With the advantage of being first on the market lost to the hundreds (yes hundreds) of clones, the app could very easily have fallen into the abyss that is the App/Play Store. You may have noticed that I used the past-tense; if you did, cookies for you. The reason being is that Swing Copters, with all the problems that plagued it’s release, also happens to be a rare exception to the Wild West nature of the app stores.
Both Apple and Google showed some initiative by purging the Swing Copters wanna be’s from their respective stores, but the direction was a purely reactive – as opposed to the desired proactive – approach. What makes Swing Copters so special is that it happens to be developed by the same person who created the ultra-famous (or infamous depending on how much you’ve read about it online) game Flappy Bird. The resulting media backlash illustrating the lack of control on the app stores was sufficient to force the two major conglomerates to ‘refresh’ the app catalogue, but not convincingly enough for either companies to commit in improving the submission & filtering process. Until such a time comes, the general developer populous is left to fend for themselves, so here are some tips to help protect your app ideas:
- Have an idea that is difficult to imitate. Be mindful that difficulty is not directly proportional to the time spent in creating an application. It can take the original inventor months or even years to perfect the mechanics of an application with comprehensive testing, user studies, and other things that an imitator does not have to concern themselves with.
- Keep your cards close. It’s always fun bragging about an idea until someone steals it, and such was the case with Swing Copters when developer Dong Nguyen posted a video demonstrating the gameplay. This isn’t to say that nothing should be made public until the application has been published, but there needs to be a balance between how much you want to show off vs how much harm can be incurred by this kind of exposure.
- Be mindful of your competition. It’s near-impossible to come up with an idea without having it being compared to something else, but that’s ok. Companies like 3M prides itself in innovating existing products and the same can be said about improving an existing application. The key word here being “improving”, that is, providing a reason why your product is comparatively better in some regard and consistently stay ahead of the competition by iterating on that unique take.
- Have a solid marketing strategy. A product is only visible on the market if people know about it. This seems like an obvious point but is something that I personally believe a lot of people don’t focus enough on. You can have an amazing app on the store but if it doesn’t stand out in a search result, it can end up staying hidden to the potential consumers indefinitely. Not only is it financially stifling, but gives someone else the opportunity to recreate the idea and claim it is as their own.
The makers of Triple Town (pictured above) had filled a lawsuit against the makers of Yeti Town (pictured right) which resulted in an out-of-court settlement.
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Technology for home automation such as climate control and lighting is considerably popular. Over the last few years, this technology has made homes smarter and improved functionality. The use of smartphones, tablets, and innovative apps can help homes function more efficiently. It is important to add that the use of an app or a smartphone does not require ripping up flooring or tearing out walls. Controlling the features of the home and its systems has become an effortless process. In most cases, home automation and using an app can save money and time for homeowners. And it will give your resell value a nice boost when it comes time to move.Changing Temperature
An ideal use for home automation is programmable thermostats. This feature can allow homeowners to create a schedule for adjusting temperatures inside the home. This is a HVAC tool that can save money on heating and cooling bills. There is a programmable thermostat available by Nest that is used to adapt to the heating preferences of the home. This usually occurs automatically over time. After the thermostat identifies how the temperature in the home is manually adjusted, the device will start making adjustments automatically.
There is also a useful feature that connects the thermostat to the app via an open Wi-Fi network. This allows the homeowner to adjust temperatures using the Nest iPhone app. Adjusting the temperature of the home can be performed from anywhere. Whether the homeowner is lying in bed or riding inside a cab on the way home, this device is considerably useful.Adjusting Lighting
In many ways, adjusting the lighting in the home can offer a sense of security and comfort. Currently, there are several devices on the market that can make adjusting lighting in the home simple and easy. Belkin offers a WeMo device that uses Wi-Fi to help homeowners control different household devices using an innovative app. Devices include lighting options such as lamps as well as other devices such as TVs and space heaters.
This device is used by the iOS system on the iPhone. The app allows homeowners to remotely control lamps and lightening while away from home. This can save money and create a regular schedule for lighting. There is also a more expensive version of the device that includes a motion detector that turns on the lights when motion is detected in the room. It is important to note that this device is available with a web service. The Ifttt web service allows users to create guidelines such as sending a text message when doors are opened.
Another innovative product is Hue from Philips. The Hue is an LED light bulb that is designed using built-in wireless controls. These useful bulbs can be programmed to dim, light up, and shut off using an iPad or iPhone. These cool light bulbs can even change colors. The Hue produces an amount of light equivalent to a 50-watt incandescent bulb.Home Automation
Many homeowners desire to create a fully integrated home. These homeowners want a complete system that offers control over security, lightening, and entertainment. There are companies such as Control4, AMX, and Crestron that offer complete home automation packages. However, these systems are expensive and require professional installation.
There are also several national providers that offer home automation packages. These providers offer excellent services that include monitoring for emergencies, burglaries, and fires. Comcast currently offers this service for its Xfinity Home subscribers. This service allows homeowners to monitor the home via a smartphone app. Subscribers can use the app to control lights, thermostats, and security cameras. There are also extra gadgets such as locks, water sensors, and carbon monoxide detectors.
Vivint is another provider that offers a similar home automation service. This is a basic security service that includes useful energy management features and door locks. Vivint’s service is considerably cheaper than Comcast’s Xfinity; however, the economy package will require a five-year contract.Overall
Controlling the features of the home is an ideal way to make the home smarter and make the home function more smoothly. Homeowners can control different aspects of the home via smartphones and tablets. The main advantages of using these products includes saving money and increasing the functionality of the home.
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How long have you worked at Push?
I’ve been working at Push for about two years now. I started as an intern in the Spring of 2012. I became a full-time developer in November after backpacking through Southeast Asia.Why did you become a developer?
Software development encomposses many of my passions. I strive to create delightful experiences for both the end users and the developers who will interact with my apps. Software development challenges me both creatively and intellectually. Building an app that gets someone excited to tell their friends and family about exercises me creatively. Writing code that others can enjoy and appreciate is more intellectually simulating. Simply put, it’s fun to make things that people can enjoy.
I currently specialize in iOS development and have dabbled with Android.What is your favourite thing about working at Push?
I’m surrounded by talented developers who always strive to better themselves and their work. This results in a work environment that is fun and dedicated to getting things done right. Most of the apps we develop have a quick turnaround so it gives us a chance to experiment with new techniques to see what works best for us. Having flexible schedules and being able to work outside of the office has allowed me to to seize many travel opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.
I’m passionate about A LOT of things. I find what I’m obsessing over usually changes every few months. Currently, I am doing a lot of reading and trying to stay caught up with Doctor Who, Big Brother and … Bachelor in Paradise (I thank Chantel for this and all the jokes about to be made at my expense ). Less embarrassing ways that I spend my spare time include playing sports and games (board and video), exercising, watching and studying film, writing, programming, drawing, comedy and cooking.
I also enjoy doing nothing at all but I’m just not that great at it.
Check out some of my blogs:
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Finally the promised Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was announced on September 3rd, 2014. Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is a popular phone with many phablet (phone-tablet) users. Since Galaxy Note 3 was introduced in 2012, many smartphone users found it a dream handheld device with the ability to satisfy both smartphone and tablet users. In 2013 Samsung introduced the 3rd version of its beast phablet, the Galaxy Note 3, which truly was a beast in terms of specifications.
The Galaxy Note 4 was released during Samsung’s September 3rd event. This time Samsung not only introduced the Note 4, but also introduced another version of Note series, called Note Edge, that packs a curved screen on the edge. It is worth mentioning that Samsung released two other wearable devices as well; first an smartwatch, Galaxy Gear S, that can be used as a smartphone without bluetooth connection to the actual smartphone and second, a virtual reality headset, Galaxy Gear VR, which works as an accessory for Galaxy Note 4 and provides users a virtual reality experience.
Now lets back to the Galaxy Note 4 and talk a bit about this newly arrived family member of Galaxy Note series. The first thing that users notices is the 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED screen that provides about 16 million colours and has the resolution of 1440 * 2560 pixels.
The Galaxy Note 4 packs a 14 MP rear camera and a 3.7 MP front camera. The camera supports optical image stabilization. The rear camera is capable of recording 4k quality movie with 60 fps, while the front camera captures full HD movies at 30 fps rate. The camera in the Galaxy Note 4 provides several handy features such as Dual Shot, Simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization, panorama, Wide angle for Wefie (as opposed to Selfie) and HDR.
The S-pen also has received a couple of updates in the new version. The sensitivity has increase dramatically. Also some features have been added to its functionality that provides users a mouse-like experience. Users can resize, drag and drop and multi-select images using the S-pen.
Maybe one of the biggest improvement in the Galaxy Note 4 is its metallic frame. Samsung finally decided to improve the quality of material in its phones and the Galaxy Note 4 is the first Samsung smartphone indicates this. The back cover material has changed slightly and looks like stitched leather with a softer feel, although it is not a real leather. The Galaxy Note 4 also takes advantage of Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which is a lot more scratch-resistant compared to its predecessors.
Finally the Galaxy Note 4 packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 CPU, Adreno 420 GPU, 3 GB RAM which is amazingly fast. It also provides a fast charging mode that lets users charge the 3200mAh battery up to 50% in only 30 minutes. Although the Quad HD screen is hungrier for the battery juice, Samsung claimed that the battery life has been improved by 7% comparing to Galaxy Note 3. Here is another hands on review videos for Galaxy Note 4.
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Apple’s next big event is coming up in a week on September 9th, and the biggest rumor is that the bigger iPhone is expected to be unveiled. In this post I will update you on the most expected specifications of Apple’s iPhone 6.
There are a lot of rumours about what iPhone 6 is going to carry as the next Apple’s flagship smartphone. Let’s take a look at what has actually been officially released by Apple.What do we officially know about iPhone 6?
Mmm… well… Not too much indeed! The only thing, which is absolutely going to happen, is Apple’s event on September 9th in Cupertino, California. Also it looks like Apple has announced that there will be a wearable device. However, the question is will it be the promised iWatch or not? This is it! This is all we officially know about the event. Now let’s talk about what is rumored to come.
The screen size
The majority of rumors have been around the size of the screen, which is expected to increase significantly. The current size of an iPhone screen is 4 inch in iPhone 5s, while it was 3.5-inch in the older versions. Last year Apple acknowledged high demand from users for a larger iPhone screen. It looks like the big A is addressing this request by introducing the iPhone with bigger screen.
Rumors say that Apple will release the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 around September of 2014. However, it is not clear when the bigger 5.5-inch version will be released. The following images show the leaked cover of iPhone 6 in China. These images were removed instantly after a couple of hours but it had been enough for fans to spread the word about it. The following picture gives you a rough estimation on how big the iPhone 6 could be.
Material and durability
iPhone 6 may feature a durable sapphire display. It is still not clear whether all iPhone 6s will have this durable material or not, but Apple’s fans are expecting to receive it on at least some of the models. Rumors also indicate that the new iPhone will be thinner from the previous versions.
The following video is a durability test from Marques Brownlee, a popular reviewer, in YouTube. This video covers a variety of tests such as scratching the screen with knife, bending the screen, etc. The result of the tests indicated that although the screen panel might not be made of sapphire, it provides a very strong and durable material.
Beside the above specifications, the bigger 5.5-inch version of iPhone 6 might pack an Optical Image Stabilizer, which is a favorite feature of photographers. We have heard a lot of rumors about the local storage of new iPhones as well, which indicates Apple’s intent to increase the capacity to 128 GB, although nothing has been mentioned about its details.
The last expected feature that Apple probably packs in its flagship phone is the Near Field Communication (NFC). It has been a while that iPhone users asking the company to add NFC to its iPhone and iPad devices and 2014 could eventually end this long waiting time. NFC is a standard for radio communication between two devices that provides short-range, power-less wireless communication experience to users. Featuring NFC lets the new iPhone 6 to provide mobile payments using known payment methods such as MasterCard, Visa, American Express and so on. Rumors indicate that the big A is partnering with these companies to provide mobile payment feature in new iPhone 6.
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From being protested in London to banned in Berlin, Uber, the mobile app that connects passengers with drivers for hire, is no stranger to news headlines. In my recent trip to New York I decided to give Uber to try.
After downloading the app I was instructed to register. The registration process was simple and straightforward. The only caveat is you need to provide your payment information during the registration process.
After signing up, getting a ride is easy. I simply set my pickup location, and requested a ride. Before making the request I could view the fare quote so I knew how much it would cost before getting into the vehicle. Interestingly enough, Uber is now cheaper than a New York City taxi. While I was waiting the app provided an up-to-date map of the driver’s location in the city and their ETA.
There was no fumbling with cash when being dropped off as the fare is charged automatically to my VISA. Afterwards I submitted a five star rating for the driver (he earned it!) and carried on with my day.Uber Experience Summary
Uber makes getting from point A to B easy and convenient. I knew in advance how much a ride would cost and how long I’d be waiting. When I arrived at my destination the payment was taken care of for me and the drivers were both friendly and knowledgable.
Uber is a service I would definitely use again!
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I was looking for some new cool apps to download the other day so I headed over to the App Store and checked out the “best new apps” tab. I find that searching for apps is like searching for a good book. I first check out the app icons (Yes, yes I know! I shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover but come on, we eat with our eyes first!). Then once I have selected an icon I like, I check out the screenshots and finally read the details. If all of those checkpoints pass my test I will then go ahead and download the app. From there I can barely stand the anticipation as it downloads! Is it going to be good? It is going to be bad? Is it going to be a life changer????! The possibilities are truly endless.Stay Curious
I digress. The point was to tell you about the cool new app that I downloaded called Curious. Curious is an app “designed for the lifelong learner in each of us”. Once you launch Curious you will find thousands of different lessons taught by experts around the world. The topics range from arts and crafts, cooking, DIY, home and garden, music, software all the way to sports, life skills and tons of other cool topics. Under those topics you will find short videos that will teach you about the topic. Every day they have a new feature that span all different types of topics. I also tried out a tutorial for making your own cider and it had little mini quizzes throughout the video to test your knowledge of what you were learning.
Another thing that I like about the app is it is bright and cheerful and has nice little graphics (again I am a sucker for the visual aspects!). I also enjoy getting one email a day from Curious with the featured post. I thought at first I may get annoyed with their emails everyday but I have found the topics really interesting so far, and I guess if I am not interested in a feature that they send me, I will just choose not to read it! Problem solved!
I encourage you to download this and and of course always stay curious!
You can find the Curious app on the iTunes store HERE.
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Hi everyone. My name is Amin. I am a Android smartphone developer at Push Interactions. We recently decided to start a new series our blog where we will introduce new smartphones, compare different devices and give you tons of useful hints about the world of smartphones. We have a lot of experience with many different phones, as we test our apps on all different types of devices. This series opens up a new perspective to the world of smartphones. We are still working on a tittle for our new series and will let you know what it is as soon as we can.
As the first post in this series, I am going to give you some tips for choosing a new smartphone. Smartphone devices are handy devices that make our life easier. Nowadays, smartphones give users a lot of features; such as managing emails, setting appointments, playing music, tracking workouts and diet, etc., It is important to choose the right device based on your needs. It is hard to say which device is the best and we often need to consider a range of devices before making the final decision. In this blog post I will help you to narrow down your options and find the best fit. If you take a look other blogs or websites, you probably find tons of hints about how to choose a smartphone that each gives you numerous things to consider. In this blog, I will point to three most important steps you need to take to have your favorite smartphone in your hands.
Find why do you need a smartphone
Although it looks silly at first, it is the first item in our To Do List. To answer this question, see how you are using your current phone, or if you don’t have one currently, make a list of your most important features you are expecting from a phone. Remember, don’t go too far with this list, otherwise you will find yourself delved in tons of options and it will make the selection harder. The secret in this step is to name three top features you cannot live without.
Set your budget
Budget is the next thing to keep in mind. The cost of a smartphone plays a determining role in choosing the right smartphone. After this step, you have a notion of what range of devices you can go for. The budget of an smartphones includes the price of the device and the price of your plan. Different providers offer various deals and it is up to you to find which one you can afford. The secret behind this is to set the budget that you can pay at once when you buy the phone and the budget you can pay monthly to keep your plan.
Find your favorite operating system
Operating systems of different smartphone can change users’ decision at any point of this process. Sometimes users choose an operating system regardless of previous steps just because they like it more. I cannot say it is a mistake. This is all about choosing your way of access to your most favorite features, so be cautious about this. You don’t want to be one of the people that change their phones later only because they hate their operating system.
Four of the most common operating systems for smartphones today are iOS, which runs iPhones, Android system, Windows Mobile and Blackberry OS. The first noticeable thing about different platforms is the number of application that they provide to users. iOS and Android offers more that 1.2 million applications in their stores, while this number hits 300000 apps for Windows and 120000 apps for Blackberry in mid 2014. The other noticeable fact about a smartphone operating system is a unique user experience that each one offers users. You might want to stop by your local stores and play around with your two or three last options that are still remaining in your list to see which one is the best fit for you. In next blog posts I will give you more details about operating systems.
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When we rebranded our company name from CollegeMobile to Push Interactions we knew that one thing for sure would remain unchanged, our dedicated and talented employees. I wanted to make sure our Push Interactions brand reflected our dedication to people: both our clients AND our employees. I wanted to make sure that we told our employee’s stories and celebrated them as individuals who make up our strong and united team.
Over the course of the rest of the 2014 year we will be rolling out blogs that let you meet our talented employees. Stay tuned and get ready to meet the Push Interactions team!Mobile app developers, mobile application developers, mobile app developer, mobile app development, Push Interactions, CollegeMobile, Mobile Apps, App Developers, North American App Developer, iPhone Developer, Android Developer, Windows phone Developer, BlackBerry Developer, BlackBerry10 Developer, Canadian Developer, app programmer, smartwatch developers, smart, watch,
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In Jan-March of 2014 Apple sold 51 million iPhones leading to a 13.1 billion dollar profit. With the upcoming release of the iPhone 6 a new round of heavy buying is expected. The question may arise is which countries will benefit the most?
When it comes to building the hardware of an iPhone and the question of “which countries will benefit?”. You will be surprised at the answer.
When polled most people will answer that the United States (where Apple is headquartered) and China (where the iPhone is assembled) would be who takes the majority of the profit. Some people will argue that United States takes more or China takes more but in any case the expected (not actual) distribution may look similar to the following:
However, this perception is actually very incorrect. The majority of the money actually goes to the countries which make some of the precision components that go into the iPhone. Japan and Germany taking home the majority of the profit. The reason is because it takes a very highly educated workforce to make some of these components that go into the phone. So it takes countries with highly educated workforces with skills in these areas to make these components. While China assembles the components only a minority of the profit (3.6% go to China). The majority staying in highly developed nations which have those special skills.
This gives us not just a background on how the iPhone is distributed but also gives a basic lesson in economics. That it is the highly skilled economies which benefit from new technologies like the upcoming release of the iPhone 6. It is also the highly skilled labour in the economy that benefits with higher paying jobs, leading to more revenue in taxes, leading to more government money for education and other programs, leading to a higher skilled workforce, eventually leading to more spending power in the economy, leading to more job creation in a virtuous cycle which helps to raise the living standard of everyone in that economy over time. Note some of the numbers above are from previous versions of the iPhone but the distribution remains largely the same as is expected to be this way with the upcoming iPhone 6.
Wall Street Journal
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If you’re like me, you have trouble remembering when your next vaccination is due or what it will be for. Keeping track of our paper vaccination records can be cumbersome. Did I file it in the right place? Is it still in the glove box?? Did I already book the next appointment?
There is now a bilingual app for Canadians that will help to keep track of your family’s immunization records. It’s called ImmunizeCA and you can download it for free on the Apple App Store and on Google Play.
You can create a record for each member of your family to keep everything all nicely organized.
ImmunizeCA will give you easy access to the vaccination schedule for your province or territory. At a glance, you can see a list of your upcoming vaccinations and when they’re recommended. You can also add appointments to your calendar directly from the app.
Filling out your vaccination history is as simple as clicking on a vaccination in a pre-populated list and then flipping a yes/no switch to indicate whether you’ve received it or not and entering the date it was received.
This app also gives you really handy information about the diseases being vaccinated against as well as fact sheets on the vaccines themselves.
For our convenience, you can also backup your information to Google Drive or iCloud. This makes sure you don’t lose your information if you lose your phone or transfer to a new one. This is one of my favorite feature in any app. It makes sure that I’ll never have to spend time re-entering lost information.
One other interesting feature of this app is that it will alert you about disease outbreaks in your area.
I find this app easy to use and was pretty quick to get started with. I love that all of this information can be at my fingertips in an instant in an easily searchable format. No more depending on my paper filing skills to find out when our next vaccinations are due!
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Push creates apps for a huge variety of users, including different languages and from different countries around the world. These kinds of varied apps require special attention, because cultural backgrounds have a strong effect on how people interpret apps and the content within them. For example, the colour red means warning and errors in North American culture, but represents money and wealth in Eastern cultures. How can you design apps to ensure they are accepted in all your target markets?Languages: Localizations
The first way to accommodate various users around the world is also the easiest. Localization is the technology that allows apps to change their language based on the phone’s settings. It is important for apps to detect which language the phone is set to, and to use that language in the app. All modern mobile platforms have support for localization, and if you set up the app correctly, this should just work out of the box.
The hard, and extremely important step, is to translate the interface elements (e.g., the menus and buttons in the app) to the appropriate languages. Do not do this step using Google Translate! If you are not a native speaker of the translated language, you must hire someone to do the translation for you. There are far too many examples of PR nightmares out there when developers tried to translate interface elements themselves; even if the words are translated correctly, the combination and structure of the words in the translated language may have connotations that only native speakers of that language would understand.Languages: Content
In addition the interface elements like menus and buttons, many apps pull content from a central server (e.g., blog posts). To ensure users receive this content in their native language, you may need an app-based language selection that will display the content in different languages. There is less support for this on modern app platforms than with interface element localizations, so you will likely need to roll your own solution for this.Cultural backgrounds
One of the most difficult parts of designing apps for a world-wide audience is understanding how different cultural backgrounds will interpret your app and its content. This requires an on-the-ground understanding of the natives of your target markets, typically gathered through in-person interviews and focus groups. This is very time consuming and difficult because it may not be obvious what kinds of questions you should be asking.Submission to multiple stores across the world
Once you are confident your app is ready for world-wide release, the simple part is actually doing the worldwide release. All modern app stores have separate stores split by country. As the app developer, you can choose which countries your app is available in. There is no additional cost to limit the countries or to make it a world-wide release, so there is little to lose when releasing to the world except if you didn’t do your homework and users are upset or offended. It is always better to try to anticipate problems that could occur than to try to back peddle and recover from a PR nightmare.Conclusion
Digital products are so easy to distribute across the entire world that it is tempting to just release apps world-wide; however, there are potential pitfalls with this approach, as an ideal user experience would translate the interface and the content of the app to the user’s language and cultural background. It is important to understand your target market, and to understand how they will interpret your app and its content.
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We had a great opportunity this year to partner with a University of Saskatchewan associate professor, Dr. Regan Mandryk to develop a mobile game that would gather data in a naturalistic environment. Sugar Rush is a research project aimed at understanding whether crowd-sourced experiments embedded within a game experience would allow researchers to gather data in a naturalistic environment. In other games, players can purchase boosts; in Sugar Rush, players complete short tasks typical in lab experiments, such as measuring how quickly people can tap on targets on a touch screen. With the app in the wild, Dr Mandryk is now able to crowd source lab experiments to people across the world, providing more naturalistic results because people are doing the tasks on the bus, laying in bed, and sitting on the bus.
Help guide our sweet bouncing cupcake from candy cane to candy cane, avoiding the spiky sugar bugs, and gathering as much candy as you can to attain a high score! Use boosts to enhance your gameplay and push your score even higher!
Download the Sugar Rush app FREE on the Google Play Store.
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When I was in school there was nothing more exciting as fresh back-to-school supplies. The crisp packs of lined and hole-punched paper, the sharp pencil crayons in all of their glory, fancy new binders, and if you were lucky a fresh pack of Mr. Sketch smelly markers (grape is still my favourite to this day!). I realize that many of these items are still student necessities, however in this modern-day of technology there are many digital tools that can also help students. I explored 3 of these apps for CTV’s “Best in Class – Back to School App Recommendations” today:Flashcards
SuperCard Flashcards FREE for Android
Flashcards FREE for iOS
I am wiling to bet that every student in their lifetime has used some sort of flashcards. I found these two free flashcard apps for iPhone and Android and think they are a great alternative to the traditional recipe-card style flashcard. If you have your flashcards on your mobile device (or a parent’s device for the younger students) you can practice absolutely anywhere without having to worry about bringing a big stack of cards with you. The nice thing about these apps too is you can create your own flashcards but you can also choose from pre-set categories to test your knowledge.
When September rolls around there is no better time to get yourself organized. Summer is but a distant twinkle of a memory in your eye and it is time to put your sunscreen and shorts away and get back into the swing of things. Getting organized (whether you are a student or not) is essential! Evernote has been around for a while now and continues to impress the masses. It helps you remember everything you have to do across all of your devices. Evernote will let you take notes, photos, create easy-to-use to-do-lists, scan business cards, create voice reminders and the best part is you can share this across all of the devices you use whether through an app or your desktop.
No matter where you go, keep your files close! There is nothing worse than being away from your desktop and having to access a file or edit something on the fly. Google Drive lets you keep all of your files in one places so you are never without access. Another great thing about Google Drive is that you can share files with others (perhaps classmates on the same team project) and you can allow access to edit, view, etc. Not a super exciting and glitzy app, but definitely very useful!
I hope you all enjoy the rest of the summer and I want wish good luck to all of the students going back to school!
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Mobile app developers are often faced with a critical choice. The endgame for any successful app is availability on both major platforms, Android and iOS. However, quite often neither the development nor release of a new app takes place simultaneously across both platforms. Sometimes one platform gets an app faster, and sometimes even much faster. It begs the question of which platform to develop an app for, first? Why do some companies or independent developers choose to work on one platform over the other?Why Release iOS First?
Likelihood of Purchases. This is major. Although Android has a larger worldwide market share, from a profit-taking standpoint, that does not tell the whole story. As it turns out, iOS users are far more likely in the aggregate to pay money for an app they like. This consumer behavior is reflected in the numbers for the first quarter of 2014 for both major app stores, with the iOS App Store generating an astonishing 85% more revenue from purchases than the Google Play Store, despite the Google Play Store netting almost 50% more overall downloads.
Less Competition in the Marketplace. Profitable app development is a twofold challenge of trying to make an app a user likes or needs, while also making the app unique in its functionality or user experience, and therefore something a customer would want to buy. The relative ease with which a developer can release an app in the Google Play Store also means that there is a large assortment of free, redundant, or open source apps in that particular store that may all be trying to accomplish the same thing the same way, each vying for a download from all the same Android users. This can make standing out in the crowd and monetizing any one app a significant challenge. However, that is not the culture of the iOS App Store, where Apple’s stringent requirements for app release tend to weed out competition and give established app developers a significant advantage.Why Release Android First?
Market Share. Android devices such as smartphones and tablets have an estimated 78% market share, worldwide, compared to less than 18% for iOS. If the goal is to create a new app with the largest potential customer base possible, then a developer can do no worse than Android.
Familiarity. Because Android devices are so ubiquitous, and the Android platform is relatively easy to work on, Android enjoys major support from the hobbyist and open source development communities. These people spend their idle hours tweaking and improving existing apps, or writing their own apps from the ground up. Sometimes, they do it to fulfill a need, and sometimes they do it because it is their passion. When the time comes to profit from that passion by releasing products in the Google Play Store, Android developers often already have a wealth of data to draw from.
Freedom. Apple maintains an infamously tight stranglehold on what apps make it into the iOS App Store. Developers must submit their iOS app for approval, and then wait days and sometimes even weeks before Apple either accepts or rejects the app. If the app is rejected, even for the slightest reason, then it must be modified according to Apple’s whims, and resubmitted for approval, taking even longer. In the Android world, there is no such process. Rather, Google maintains detailed workflow documents and other materials intended to aid developers in releasing concise, bug-free apps consistent with their best practices. The difference in approaches is striking: “If your app is not great, you cannot release it at all” versus “Here is what you should do if you want to release a great app.”Conclusion
Ideally, mobile app developers will release apps for both Android and iOS in order to reach the largest number of potential customers. However, when one platform receives an app before the other, there are often very logical justifications for it, ranging from things like financial considerations to sheer convenience. Hopefully, this article has provided a useful and cursory glimpse at some of the myriad reasons why an app makes an appearance on either platform first.
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The user interface is the space where interactions between humans and machines occur. The first and most important element is the human, the person that’s using the system and the other people that they work and communicate with. Then you have the target device, that’s the machine that runs the system. Finally you have the interface that represents the system to the user.
At the early design stages of each project, we often don’t know what the problem is or what the space of possibilities might be. Consequently, real-world design is often iterative; they failed fast so designers succeed sooner with more experience. It is important to focus on the people who are going to use your system. “Good design brings people joy: it helps people do things that we care about, and helps us connect people that we care about. Good user interfaces can have a tremendous impact on both [the] individual’s ability to accomplish things, and societies’ ”. (Scott Klemmer) Graphical user interfaces help with computing a hundreds of millions of tasks, enabling us to do things like create documents, share photos and connect with family and find information.
Delivering a perfect pitch for clients needs to have a perfectly-organized and beautifully-designed presentation. Here are three major steps that help designers to present a convincing prototype:Finding Requirements:
One effective starting point for designing new applications is to clearly identify an existing problem or need. Observing people can also help you build empathy and think from their point of view. Observation helps designers to answer the following critical questions:
- What do people do now?
- What’s the baseline that we’re starting from?
- What values and goals do people have? Most often we want to build interfaces that align with what people care about and what they hope to accomplish.
- What are similarities and differences that you can find across people?
One of the easiest mistakes to make in interface design is to focus on the user interface before you focus on the tasks that the interface is going to support. What is nice about storyboard is in just a few panels you can convey what the user interface will help a person to accomplish. Another thing you can see in good storyboards is that they communicate flow, like comic strips. They are showing what is happening at key points in time. One of the biggest worries about creating storyboards is that interface designers would say, “I cannot draw!” But storyboarding isn’t about beautiful drawings; it’s about communicating ideas, and I think that everyone can learn how to visually communicate ideas. In some ways, bad drawing is actually an asset, because then all you can do is focus on the content.
In general, storyboards should accomplish two things:
1- First, it should accomplish the setting: Who are the people involved? What is the environment? What tasks are users trying to do?
2- It should show the sequence: What are the steps that they do to accomplish the task? — Not necessarily what user interface is exactly, but what role the user interface plays in helping users to get their goal achieved.
Once you’ve got it out on paper, it makes it much easier for people to have common ground, and agree on how to move forward.
Prepare a Prototype
Once you’ve got a rough idea of what your application is going to accomplish, you can begin to plan your implementation. Implementation in this case means “What is it going to look and feel like to the user? What is the actual user interface going to be?” To figure out the user interface at an early stage, the very best technique that I know of is using paper prototyping. Paper prototyping is exactly what it sounds like: You are going to make a mockup of the user interface and instead of doing it on the computer, which can take a lot of time, you are going to use paper to sketch things out really quickly. Paper prototyping is not only fast and efficient; it is also really fun, and you can get really creative in figuring out different ways to convey interactions.
As your prototypes increase in fidelity — from storyboards, to paper prototypes, to digital mockups — the kinds of evaluation and feedback that you’re going to get from people will be evolved as well. Prototypes can also be useful for critiques within your design team. And as you get to higher and higher fidelity mockups, you can have the opportunity to get to more formal experimentation techniques. Rapid prototyping techniques are probably the most valuable weapon you’ll have in a human-centered design process.
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This June, Apple announced the new version of their mobile operating system, iOS 8. This is the operating system that will power the upcoming iPhone 6, the new line iPads, and possibly be adapted to new products like a smartwatch or a new Apple TV. Although we don’t know much about these devices yet, some features in the new OS may point towards the direction Apple is going with their future products.
When Apple releases new devices, people are going to want to run their favourite apps on them. Currently, Apple has separate AppStores for Macs and iOS devices, and it is reasonably easy to find apps for those devices. If Apple ends up expanding their product line to include more advanced Apple TVs or smart watches though, finding apps may become much more difficult. The AppStore would become more cluttered with each new device they release, not to mention, navigating the AppStore on your watch would likely be a frustrating experience.
This problem may be solved with one of iOS 8’s major features, extensions. Extensions are separate, mini apps that can come bundled with apps downloaded from the AppStore. At launch, iOS 8 will support notification centre widgets, extra keyboards, and more as extensions, but this idea could easily be expanded to include “apps” for peripheral devices as well. In this way, when you download an app for your iPhone, it could come with an extension for your watch that communicates with data on your iPhone, and you could avoid having a new AppStore all together. Your smart watch would be automatically populated with content based on the apps you have installed on your phone.
“Size Classes” Will Allow Devices to Vary More in Size
Up until now, Apple devices have had very consistent sizes. Since it’s release in 2007, the iPhone display size has changed very little. It doubled the resolution for the iPhone 4, and added some extra vertical space for the iPhone 5, but both of these changes were carefully planned to ensure old apps were compatible with the new screens. When the iPad was released, developers were typically expected to make an entirely new interface for the new screen size, and maintain it separately when changes occur. This system was manageable, but it doesn’t scale well, and something new is needed if more products are to be added to the mix.
The solution to this problem has been introduced in iOS 8, and it’s called size classes. Size classes make it easier for developers to create apps that work well with different screen sizes and shapes. Without getting too technical, the new features allow developers to design a single interface that can automatically adapt based on what kind of screen it appears on. It is now much simpler to design apps that look good on the iPhone and the iPad, and can scale well to different sizes in between. Although this feature was most likely added to work with the expected larger screen of the iPhone 6, it could also help with developing apps for new devices. Apple could introduce a watch that comes in various different shapes and styles, and developers could easily make apps that will adapt to the screen they are presented with.
“Continuity” Makes Sharing Between Devices Easier
One of the biggest arguments against smartwatches and other peripheral devices is that they are unnecessary. Buying an expensive watch seems like a waste of money when you have the same information on a bigger, more powerful computer right in your pocket. Current smartwatches try to replicate the experience of a smartphone, but it will always be less satisfactory due to the size constraints a watch presents. For example, if you’re reading an email on your watch, but you want to type up a response on your larger phone screen, you have to open up your phone and find the email before responding. Having the extra device on your wrist just makes things more complicated if you end up doing the same thing on your phone again anyway.
With the new continuity features in iOS 8, transferring between devices is much easier. A new feature called “Hand Off” allows you to open exactly what you’re looking at on another one of your devices. When you’re using an app that includes Hand Off functionality, a new icon will appear on the lock screen of all nearby devices, and tapping on it allows you to open up the same app to the same content you were just looking at. This allows you to seamlessly switch between devices without thinking, and your content is always in front of you. In this way, your devices can compliment each other, instead of replicating each other.
Continuity also lets devices share features with others near by. For example, if you want to make a phone call from your Mac, it can automatically connect with your iPhone and use it’s hardware to perform the call. Using this kind of hardware sharing, your smartwatch could provide many of the features of your larger devices, without having to include all the bulky hardware. It could also have sensors of it’s own that it could use to share data with your other devices. In this way, a smart watch could collect new data that can’t easily be gathered by the iPhone in your pocket, (like health information, for example) and transparently share that information with other devices in your network.
Although these features may or may not make it into Apple’s upcoming devices, they definitely show the direction Apple is going. With iOS 8, your devices will work together better, and it will definitely be exciting to see what’s coming next.
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“Huge for developers. Massive for everyone else.” reads the tagline on Apple’s iOS 8 Preview webpage. With all the focus on how much iOS 8 will benefit the developer, it is easy to lose sight of the benefits for the end-user. It is important to remember that a better environment for developers will lead to more innovative and creative apps for users to enjoy. Home automation is a market that could see a lot of improvements in usability because of iOS 8, and more particularly, HomeKit.
Home automation enables a user to control different parts of their home with a remote or a mobile phone. The market is growing at a rapid rate.1 HomeKit isn’t a new entry into the market but it will unite home automation accessories in the eyes of the users and allow the creators to focus on their product and not how it will tie together with other products.
HomeKit will provide a way in which accessories can be integrated into a whole without vendors having to coordinate with each other. This allows vendors to focus on making the best product they can. HomeKit will give users a wider selection of apps to control their home automation accessories because they will no longer be restricted to the vendors application. This will undoubtedly lead to the implementation or more creative and innovative ideas.
Home Kit will provide apps with a centralized space for users to add and manage the home automation accessories (for example, a user could control both their Nest Learning Thermostat and their Philips Hue lights from a single app instead of having to use multiple apps). Accessories can be grouped by room (living room, kitchen, etc.) or zones (upstairs, downstairs, etc.). A user could then perform an action such as turning off the lights downstairs. A user will also be able to issue these commands using Siri.
With iOS 8, I believe Apple is betting by providing the developers with a more powerful and simplified development experience that the end result will make great leaps for iOS users. I think it will lead to endless innovation and great user experiences throughout the lifecycle of iOS 8 and into the future. HomeKit is just the tip of the iceberg.
1. The market is currently worth roughly USD 3.6 billion and expected to grow at a rate of 24.5% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) from 2013-2019.
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