The Future of Mobile Technology: How it will improve everything we do

There is a world in the not-so-distant future where a mobile device will be completely customizable to the taste of the end-user. Maybe you want a camera, e-reader, access to every version of “Spoonful” ever recorded, and various apps but no phone. Maybe you want to videoconference and simultaneously monitor your child napping in his crib. Maybe you need an add-on blood sugar monitor to manage your diabetes. For the greenies out there, surely there will be an app for recharging your device with the wind outside your train window. Cloud computing, augmented reality, geolocation – the options are limited only by our imagination and our paradigms.

There are some who are frightened by the changes, quoting Orwell and holding their day planners close to their chests. The fast pace of change today amplifies this phenomenon, creating an even wider gap between those who send handwritten letters and the teenagers who don’t know that written words once had vowels in them. However, the learning curve for new technology is much less steep now. We used to look at new technology and have to learn to adapt our behavior (remember those folks that printed their email to read it?) Now technology anticipates our behaviors; we look at an iPod and exclaim: “What a great way to store and access all my music! Where do I buy more?”

Today, right now, mobile technology pairs beautifully with the trend toward simplification in our lives. We can eliminate the clutter by traveling with paperless tickets, banking online, using GPS instead of maps, presenting digital coupons to store clerks, and reading eBooks. It is only our sense of nostalgia, and to some extent our fear, that keeps us clutching to a security blanket of paper. Who knew mobile applications could help clear the way to a state of Zen?

This brings humanity to the biggest change.- the change in perspective and how we approach the moments that make up our lives. Mobile technology helps us preserve our past with digital images, art, music, blogs… so that we can let go. We know that it is there, accessible from any place at any time, and we can get on with the business of living our lives. In living a moment, we can use the mobile applications to embrace every element, giving the experience more texture and color. We can click on an app and learn on which slope the grapes in our Riesling were grown. We can hold our mobile device up to the sky and learn the name of the star we have wished upon since childhood. We can connect with a dear friend and share a funny thought that reminded us of a shared experience. Our lives are richer, fuller, and more connected to one another in so many beautiful (and really cool) ways.

Vensi To Develop Application for Legal Community

Vensi develops a wide variety of mobile applications for all of the major, growing platforms, including iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry. Our developers work with clients from a number of different industries, including legal services, to build effective and creative mobile applications. Technology and the law are sometimes on opposite sides of the courtroom (just think about the recent lawsuits involving illegally downloaded songs and copyright infringement) but most members of the legal community see technology in much the same way as Vensi sees it: as a tool that can empower businesses of all kinds to be more efficient and effective in their efforts to reach customers, build brand identity, and be accessible.

Until now, there have not been very many applications developed specifically for the specialized needs attorneys have. As attorneys begin to seek the advantages of 21st Century solutions, Vensi is leading the way by helping the legal community develop a better understanding of how technology can work to enhance their services.

Vensi is currently developing a powerful mobile application will help attorneys be more accessible to their current and potential clients by making it possible for them to easily provide contact information, a detailed profile, and Google map directions on iPhone, Android, and Blackberry platforms. The application also allows attorneys to upload video footage, assisting them in reaching their potential market more effectively.

Mobile technology assists lawyers by providing them with the tools they need to be successful in a highly competitive market. Vensi is pleased to be partnering with WebPerseverance and GetLegal to develop mobile application solutions that will allow attorneys to provide better and more efficient services to their clients and improve intra-office communications and information management. From time management and billing to law library access and rich media on the go, mobile technology empowers the legal community and enables attorneys to be more efficient and effective with all of their efforts.

Today, over 40% of all consumers use a smart phone.  In five years, that number is expected to reach 80%.  Legal services, like any other industry, can benefit from becoming more visible and accessible on the web by providing mobile solutions to their clients. Vensi is proud to be on the forefront of this transformation; building mobile applications to help the legal community put the power of technology to work in ways that will help them streamline their services, conveniently manage their billable hours, and effectively market their services.

Android vs. iPhone

<As developers, we provide mobile platform technology for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry, and feel that all three have something to offer users. We end up doing a lot of work for iPhone because it has been leading the industry lately in sales and there’s been a huge demand for apps that will work with iPhone.

The great thing about working on apps for iPhone is the tools Apple has made available. However, Android certainly offers its own advantages, because it has so many APIs and so many libraries that there is a lot of flexibility with what you can do. Additionally, the open source community has developed a wide range of applications and tools that can be used in new projects.

The disadvantage of the Android is this same wealth of available material. The sheer amount of it means that when a developer is working on a new project, there is a lot to sift through to be productive. iPhone has a limited set of developer tools that makes it easier to get up to speed on iPhone development, so there is a much shallower learning curve. While this allows developers to ramp up on the iPhone programming much more quickly than Android, Apple’s proprietary development stance has had the effect of chasing some experienced developers away.

Because of the non-proprietary hardware requirements that Android has, fragmentation is becoming a major issue. Not all devices can run the most recent versions of Android, so Android applications have to be able to run on many different versions on the same OS or risk excluding a significant percentage of the user base. This includes everything from using different system calls to dealing with a different screen sizes and resolutions.

Because iPhone only has a limited number of variations on which you have to test, it’s much easier to make sure your applications are properly functioning. Even though we are starting to experience a limited degree of fragmentation on the iPhone and iPad platforms it is nothing close to the experience of developing mobile apps for the Android platform. With what little fragmentation there is with iPhone, Apple has done a good job making the framework more cross-functional in order to prevent developing for the different versions from becoming a huge problem.

Even though it can be more difficult to develop mobile apps for Android because of the fragmentation and open source APIs, Vensi strongly supports providing mobile application platforms for our clients that can be used on all three of the major platforms – iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. It is simply good business sense if you are going to have an app to make it available to all users regardless of the platform they choose. Vensi is one of the few companies who offer mobile platform development for all three.

Why a Rejection From Apple Isn’t All Bad, Part II

As promised, we’re offering even more guidelines to help developers achieve approval for their submissions to Apple for their iPhone mobile platform applications. Working with Apple’s submission process is not always easy, but it does force developers to maintain high standards and quality checks; often understanding that Apple rejections can be arbitrary can at least help you plan your release schedule more effectively.

In fact, there are several reasons why you might want to plan extra time in your release process. When planning a release, you should anticipate the extra time some approvals might take. Apple often requires developers to provide proof that they own the content. This can add to the length of time it takes to receive approval. As well, planning for rejection and resubmission time can ensure that you do not miss your target release date.

Keep these other tips in mind when you are working on a mobile platform project for Apple:

  • Provide as many details as possible about the application in the demo area. Be proactive about your submission and don’t leave any room for Apple to reject the application.
  • Releasing your app for beta testing using the Ad Hoc distribution prior to submitting to Apple can help you resolve any issues before you submit and can increase the likelihood of obtaining approval.
  • Always check for network connectivity within the application. If your app needs to connect to the network, then it needs to check to see if the network is available and give an error message if it is not. As we know, the AT&T network is not perfect.
  • Apple won’t reject your application based on its size, but you should consider the size of your application when submitting, because apps over 20MB must be installed using iTunes or WiFi; they are too large to be downloaded over the air.
  • You may be able to submit your alpha version to Apple for feedback in order to let Apple’s review system help you identify issues prior to you submitting the final release of the app. You will need to set the release date way ahead so that the app is not available to the public.

Because Apple products are enormously popular, there are hundreds of submissions being reviewed. Be prepared for Apple to catch an error on a subsequent release of an app that they may have missed on an initial release. Like the rest of us out here, they’re only human and some issues do escape the review process and must be caught by end users.

Why Blackberry Is Still in the Game

While it may seem as though iPhone and Android are battling it out for the top spot as the must-have phone OS, many businesses still prefer the reliability, security, and functionality of the Blackberry. What this means for mobile platform developers is that it is still important to develop applications for the BlackBerry platform and not focus exclusively on the other ‘Big 2’. Vensi is uniquely positioned to provide superior mobile applications for businesses that can be used across all three of the major platforms.

More than 14 million users, including the U.S. Government, rely on BlackBerry for everything from phone calls to calendar management to email. The BlackBerry offers users an integrated package that uses push technology using the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) to provide quick access to email and corporate networks without compromising security. BlackBerry’s security encryption is what made the platform the government’s first choice for a wireless solution. The data contained on a BlackBerry remains safe even if the phone is lost or stolen.

While many mobile platform developers have stopped creating applications for the BlackBerry, Vensi believes that BlackBerry will continue to be a viable and necessary platform to support. Blackberry apps have been around for a long time — long before iPhone and Android apps. A properly designed app for BlackBerry can be reused with other mobile phones running J2ME. For example, a J2ME app can be ported to BlackBerry by reusing some core logic. Similarly, a BlackBerry app can be ported to J2ME phones.

Even though the iPhone is a large draw for mobile application developers, followed closely (and perhaps soon to be overtaken) by Android, the BlackBerry is still critical. And because Blackberry follows the Sun Java standards, they’ve had no issue with Oracle, which could pose a problem for developers. Oracle just filed suit against Google regarding Android. With fewer mobile platform developers even providing development for the BlackBerry, Vensi’s decision to develop applications for all three platforms sets the company apart.

From our point of view, since Blackberry has the largest market share, developing mobile applications for the BlackBerry is a must, particularly for business-to-business and business applications that foster productivity. The learning industry (companies that focus on providing training) should focus on BlackBerry as well, since they are the phones most businesses have. If you want your app with the top-level executives for sales trainings, business compliance trainings, and other learning apps, Blackberry is the way to go.   

For those who think Blackberry is all business and no fun, we suggest taking a look at Blackberry’s social networking feature. Blackberry’s BBM (Blackberry Messenger) app rivals its counterparts in the social realm. BBM™ allows users to send and receive messages with no character limits and choose a display picture that is sent with the messages. The app turns the phone into a mini social network by allowing users to share photos and videos with several contacts at the same time.

As well, RIM recently acquired QNX, a popular operating system in automotive known for its reliability. We’re betting BBM™, QNX and its existing infrastructure, as well as the efforts Blackberry is making to reposition themselves to capture the less corporate crowd will keep them viable and competitive in the coming years. It’s our hunch that BlackBerry will rise to the top as the most reliable phones.