Tag Archives: Google

SEO Pro Tips: Perfecting the Title Tag

Over 100 billion searches per month are made on Google worldwide. Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) has become one of the top marketing disciplines for anyone trying to drive web page traffic and digital revenue.

Title tags are one of the most important facets of SEO. Title tags are the titles of web pages that display in search engine results pages (SERPs) and as the clickable headline for a given result. They are the most obvious element in a search result and are pulled to the forefront of SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). They display as below:

Social networks use title tags to determine what to display in the link preview when you share a page:

Title tags are extremely important for SEO, social sharing, and UX. They are one of the major on-page SEO elements. Keywords in title tags will factor heavily into a web page’s rank in any keyword-based search query.

Below find some of the best practices for crafting the perfect title tag.

KEYWORD EFFECTIVELY: Since title tags have a direct affect on SEO, effective keywording is crucial. Putting important keywords in the front of the title tag will increase SEO rankings, while keywords and search phrases at the end of the title tag will be less of a factor. For this very reason, it is best to put a company or website name at the end of the title tag, unless that name is an important keyword phrase. Keyword stuffing, or overloading keywords without making sense, will result in penalization. Ultimately, keywording effectively means writing clearly to an intended audience while factoring in important search phrases.

OPTIMIZING LENGTH: Title tags are not measured by length, but by a 600-pixel limit. Pixels do not equate to characters since certain letters require more pixels to compose than others. 600 pixels generally equate to about 50-60 characters. Measuring pixels can be made easy with this pixel length measurement tool by Search Wilderness.

RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH: Statistics show 48% of marketers worldwide identified keyword/phrase research as the most effective SEO tactic. Effective research means honing in on your audience and enacting relevant keyword searches to observe the organic search competition. It is also important to note the inorganic competition: promoted ads for web pages that are boosted to the top of searches by Google AdWords.

Having a solid understanding of what a web page is up against in search engines helps web developers optimize their pages to stand out in the face of the competition. Since the competition and search rankings are constantly changing, research is an ongoing process. 34% of marketers cite frequent website updates as a key to their success.

PIPES “|”: Pipes can be used to punctuate and divide sentiments while minimizing punctuation and word count. See below for an example:

As with any copywriting, writing for an audience is crucial. Since the Title Tag is often the first thing a search user will see about your website, it is ultimately very important that it clearly communicates the subject of the web page and entices the intended searcher. Effective title tags are the first step on the way to SEO dominance.

Stay tuned for next time when we explore how to write an effective meta description!

Everything You Need to Know About Machine Learning

A calculator can solve complex problems which would take even the most savvy mathematicians an incomparable amount of time. Artificial intelligence has become one of the most hotly debated and highly funded aspects of technology because the speed at which machines can process information yields innumerable possibilities and applications which can and will benefit humanity. One of the first popular incarnations of AI is Machine Learning.

Machine Learning is the ability for a computer to learn without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning focuses on computer programs which can identify patterns and create its own algorithms when exposed to new data. It is used in self-driving cars, in newsfeed algorithms on social media, in evaluating job candidates, in recognizing faces on your phone, and more.

The most powerful form of machine learning currently active is called “deep learning”. “Deep learning” builds a complex mathematical structure known as a neural network out of vast quantities of data. Machine learning’s ability to handle mass amounts of data makes it crucial to the advancement of IoT. The IoT collects enormous amounts of data which require computers with machine learning to recognize patterns and create algorithms.  In self-driving cars, IoT cameras and sensors in each autonomous vehicle absorb their surroundings and turn them into huge amounts of data. The data is then sent to the cloud where it is accessible to all autonomous vehicles on the road. Thus, when one self-driving car makes a mistake, all of them learn. In conjunction with the Internet of Things, machine learning will be vital to the building of a smartworld.

TOP PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES

Machine learning requires a great deal of statistical analysis; it demands an intelligent programming language which can process a number of complex issues and general paradigms.

R: Considered a statistical workhorse, R has emerged as one of the top programming languages for machine learning. R is intended for advanced users because of its complex nature and wide learning curve.

Python: A rising star for machine learning, Python is a data science book which has been in use in the manufacturing industry for awhile. Python gives users direct access to predictive analytics, making it the foremost data science language. Developers turn to Python when they are looking to frame better questions or expand the capabilities of their existing machine learning systems.

MATLAB/Octave: Millions of engineers are already using MATLAB, a matrix-based language, to analyze and develop cutting edge systems. MATLAB has emerged as the simplest way to demonstrate computational mathematics.

MACHINE LEARNING AND iOS 10

Machine learning laid much of the groundwork for the biggest upgrade in iOS 10. It is very difficult for computers to comprehend the intricacies of the human language. Machine learning has enabled iPhones to sense contextual clues with increasing confidence, improving iMessage’s ability to autocorrect and for Siri to understand the particulars of your vernacular. In the iPhone 7 camera, machine learning allows the device to separate the background from the foreground to achieve amazing portraits once possible only with DSLR cameras.

MACHINE LEARNING AND ANDROID

Google is among the dominant forces in machine learning. Much of Google Search’s prominence is owed to advances in the machine learning field. In November 2015, Google released TensorFlow, an open-source software library for machine intelligence. TensorFlow effectively simulates “deep learning” neural networks across different computer hardware and offers a straightforward way for users to train computers to perform tasks by feeding them large amounts of data.

Google uses Tensorflow in many of their internal processes, including RankBrain for information retrieval, image classification, SmartReply, and more.

MAXIMIZING MACHINE LEARNING IN MOBILE APPS

Now that mobile devices have the high productive capacity level to perform tasks to the same degree as a traditional computer, the question of what machine learning can offer apps has arisen. Large retailers like Amazon and eBay use machine learning in their mobile apps to improve customer experience with smarter product search and recommendation features, along with the ability to forecast buying trends with analytics.

While Machine Learning algorithms require a high level of programming experience and a ton of data to be effective, integrating apps with Siri & iMessage for iOS 10 allows developers to take advantage of the vast deep learning neural networks embedded into Apple’s 1st-party apps.

While the future of machine learning  on a commercial level remains to be seen outside of tech titans like Facebook, machine learning algorithms will be crucial in conjunction with the IoT in building a new SmartWorld with unparalleled predictive capabilities.

Nougat OS: Everything You Need to Know Android’s Latest Treat

With all the fuss about iPhone 7, iOS 10 and the new Pixel, it’s easy to forget Android recently unveiled their latest OS: Nougat. In line with Android’s other dessert-themed software titles (Marshmallow, Lollipop, KitKat, etc.), Nougat is a treat. It’s a refined version of Marshmallow with improved UX, specs and a lot more. Both iOS fans and app developers take note, here are Android Nougat’s top features:

MULTI-WINDOW MULTITASKING

Android Nougat Multi-Window Multi-Tasking via Phone Finderr

The most notable feature of Nougat is Multi-Window Multitasking. Unlike iOS, Nougat allows users to run multiple apps on their screen at once, allowing users to watch a movie while they text, view a recipe while they keep their eyes on the timer, or use any number of applications. Multi-Window Multitasking can be utilized with three display options: Split-Screen, Picture-In-Picture and Freeform Mode.

Split-Screen mode splits the screen across the bottom when held vertically, or across the middle when held horizontally.

Picture-In-Picture mode will be optimized for Android TV and will eliminate the controls and interface elements while keeping the content portion to scale.

Freeform mode will allow users to customize the size of each application, like one can with a desktop or laptop computer.

REFINED NOTIFICATIONS SETTINGS

Notifications Settings via How To Geek

Android has always been a major advocate of customizing notifications, and Android Nougat improves their system. Users customize their quick settings to ensure they are only alerted to the top-level notifications. Users can also maintain conversations within the notifications bar to make it easier to chat without having to go back and forth into apps.

Bundled notifications allow users to see what is happening within their apps at a glance without clogging their feed. Simply tap to expand the box and view more info without going directly into the app.

FASTER PERFORMANCE, MORE BATTERY, LESS MOBILE DATA

The best improvements of Nougat OS are not flashy new features, but overall improved functionality. Google’s “Project Doze,” designed to increase phone battery length, was introduced with Marshmallow, but gets a big upgrade with Nougat. Doze shuts down CPU and network activity while the phone screen is off. Previously, Doze only worked when the device was motionless, but now it can operate whenever the screen is off.

Data overages can add up quickly. Google seeks to counter the threat of overages with Data Saver, a program which kicks in whenever the user is on a metered data connection and limits apps and background processes to a set amount of data. Rather than cutting off data usage at a  preset limit, Data Saver makes Android phones more efficient with constant refinement.

Both Data Saver and Project Doze are bolstered by minor technical improvements to Project Svelte, Android’s device optimization initiative, creating a more efficient phone.

SEAMLESS UPDATES

Android isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel. Their Nougat OS functions primarily as a UX improvement over Marshmallow. Android has instilled major security improvements, including file-based encryption. Android has also taken a page out of the Chrome OS playbook by adding seamless updates, which will allow system updates to install in the background.

NEW EMOJIS

Android Nougat Emojis via Tech Hive

On the lighter side of things, Android has installed 72 new glyphs and has revamped their 1,500 emojis to appear more realistic. Nougat is also compatible with Vulkan API, which opens up a world of low-overhead graphical possibilities.

WHEN CAN I GET NOUGAT?

As with any Android update, the real question is: when is it coming to my phone? Nougat is out, but device fragmentation on the Android platform entails a staggered availability based on the hardware. While Google’s Pixel phone could soon alleviate some of these fragmentation problems, Android still cannot move at the speed of iOS—but Nougat’s improved functionality is a welcome addition for both app developers and consumers.

For a full list of Android Nougat release dates, check out this awesome article over at Pocket Lint.

Sink or Swim: Why Google Needs Andromeda to Compete with Apple

Andromeda summed up in a graphic (Via thehackernews.com)

App developers commonly cite device fragmentation as one of their biggest peeves about the Android platform. While Apple keeps a stronghold on all iOS devices, Android allows third-party developers to create hardware for the platform. With a number of different devices all with different screen sizes, tech specs and OS capabilities, developers cannot efficiently optimize the end user experience of their apps for all devices as they can with iOS. However, Google is making a major move to create a more streamlined app ecosystem with Andromeda.

Rumors of Andromeda began when multiple independent sources revealed it would be announced at Google’s October 4th announcement. When October 4th turned out to be hardware-focused, the heat died down on Andromeda. However, in the big picture, Andromeda represents a necessary move in order to prevent Google from losing potentially billions of dollars to Apple in the years and decades to come.

WHAT IS ANDROMEDA?

The idea of Andromeda is to combine Google’s laptop OS (Chrome OS) and their mobile and tablet OS (Android). Chrome OS is not Google Chrome, the web browser you may or may not use every day, but their desktop operating system which works with Chromebooks. For the skinny on Chrome, check out this awesome breakdown:

Rather than integrate Android features on Chrome OS, Andromeda will do the opposite and enable mobile devices with Chrome OS features. Mobile devices will begin to feel like an extension of one’s desktop. Rumored features include file organization, multi-modal windowing and compatibility between mobile and desktop apps. While the details have yet to be revealed, the concept behind Andromeda makes it a huge, necessary step for Google’s long-term future in the OS market.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Andromeda will put Google in direct competition with the Mac OS X and Windows platforms. Apple has long been focused on device Continuity, the interchangeability between iOS devices. Their mobile (iOS) & desktop (OS X) operating systems are optimized to work together. By merging Google’s mobile platform with their desktop OS, Google increases cross-device functionality  and creates a strong incentive for consumers to keep all their devices within the Google brand.

THE INTERNET OF THINGS MAKES THIS SINK OR SWIM FOR GOOGLE 

The good news for app developers is in Andromeda’s long-term potential. Andromeda will enable developers to create apps which seamlessly function across devices: smartphones, tablets and desktops. As the IoT becomes domesticated, having a unified OS will mean big bucks for software companies looking to capitalize on home automation and commercial IoT products. In 10 years, consumers will be incredulous if they can’t control their coffee machine, change the channel on their TV and lock their doors on any of their devices. They want cohesive simplicity. If Google loses the OS battle with a less cohesive strategy than Apple, they will also lose the smartphone, tablet, TV and laptop.

CONCLUSION

Dennis Jones, CEO of payments technology company Judopay, put it this way for Developer-Tech: “Andromeda will be the foundation for omnipresence for Google-powered hardware, similar to Apple’s ecosystem… Andromeda is the foundation to enable this omnichannel world.”

Without Andromeda, Google would be dead in the water against the future omnichannel world Apple has been developing over the years. Who will execute better? Until the public sees Andromeda in action, the answer remains to be seen.

Smartphones to Smartworlds: How the Internet of Things Is Shaping Our Future

Our five-part series on the top Mobile App Development Trends for 2016 has now reached part 4, where we’ll be discussing how the Internet of Things, IoT, is changing the world as we know it.

In November 2015, Gartner (a leading research and advisory firm) predicted 6.4 billion connected “Things” will be in use in 2016, up 30% from 2015. By 2020, they expect the number to reach 20.8 billion. McKinsey Global Institute recently reported that $4 trillion to $11 trillion of economic value could be generated by IoT by 2025. IoT has been consistently hailed as one of the biggest technology trends in the world, yet many people are confused about what the IoT really is.

Top put it simply, the Internet of Things is the network of physical objects embedded with electronics, software and sensors which enable them to collect large amounts of data and communicate with other smart objects. Jamboxes, smart cars, TVs, homes, gyms, bridges and more have been implanted with sensors that allows them to communicate with other devices and objects seamlessly.

Technically, the Internet of Things was created before the World Wide Web. In 1991, researchers at University of Cambridge used a camera, a frame-grabbing card, and a Motorola 68000 series-based computer to create a networked sensor to show the state of their communal coffee pot. Two major shifts have helped evolve the “IOT” into a billion dollar, world-changing industry:  shrinking prices and sizes of computer processors and sensors, and the evolution of the cloud. Cloud-based applications interpret and send data coming from sensors, enabling IoT to exist.

IoT is a major disruptor in virtually every industry: from agriculture to healthcare, car manufacturing, disaster management and more. Businesses are leveraging the IoT to save money and prevent potential threats from becoming catastrophes. The speed with which crucial data can be processed will give mankind incomparable control over asset, resource and disaster management. For example, smart cars will be equipped with unparalleled diagnostic systems capable of learning exactly what problems are happening and how to solve them in seconds. As Google has demonstrated, we’re headed toward a world of self-driving cars.

Self-driving cars only scratch the surface of what this type of object-to-object communication can achieve. Homes equipped with sensors which connect to the web can optimize energy efficiency based on temperature and the GPS location of the owner. Bridges will soon be built with smart cement equipped with censors which will evaluate stresses, cracks and warpages in a way which will allow them to communicate with authorities to fix problems before they cause disasters. IoT will create a smart world in which risk has been decreased significantly.

In order to leverage IoT, businesses need to not only invest money in technology, they must invest brainpower in innovation. As a burgeoning disruptor, the ramifications of the IoT haven’t quite processed in all industries. Management and business model innovation are required for the IoT to fulfill its potential across many industries. Those capable of capitalizing on the IoT will dictate the trends and sail to the top of their industries.

Please continue to follow our blog for more interesting articles on app development, web design, strategic marketing, tech, and more.

Crossing Over: Best Cross-Platform App Development For Your Business

Over the next month, the Mystic Media Blog will be delving into the top app development trends for 2016. Check out our master list in our blog App to the Future and be on the look out for next week’s blog when we explore Cloud Integration.

Since the dawn of the iPhone, smart devices have become omnipresent. With Apple, Google, Microsoft, and more jockeying for position in the device and operating system market, many app developers will be investing in cross-platform development tools in 2016 to ensure their apps function on all operating systems and thus reach the widest possible audience.

Cross-platform development offers an extremely fast, simple and cost-effective method of creating an app. By building apps on a common code which can be easily ported to fit any OS, developers can focus more on a single universal app rather than divide their attention over multiple native apps. Developers also reduce the amount of maintenance necessary since they only have to update one app.

We have previously tackled this subject in our 2013 blog Should Your Company Develop Native Apps or HTML-5-Based Apps?

It’s important to understand that cross-platform app development also comes at a price. Developing for multiple platforms prevents app developers from maximizing the capabilities of any individual OS. Some apps may be too advanced to develop using a cross-platform tool, in which case, developing native is the best and only option. Android and iOS have different design schemes for apps on their respective Operating Systems. Customizing app design to match iOS or Android aesthetics improves ASO in the Apple App Store and Google Play. Apps can also have trouble integrating with devices due to the variety of storage options available on devices. We recommend you always discuss the project with your app developer before committing to developing using a cross-platform tool.

Ultimately, it comes down to a matter of resources. Developing an app natively for iOS and/or Android will yield a better product optimized to the device. While any company would love to be Facebook and have the money to invest in completely different native applications for iOS and Android, some have to be pragmatic about their budget. Once the decision to build cross-platform is made, the all-important question of which app development tool to utilize arises. Here are some of the best cross-platform development tools on the market in 2016.

PHONEGAP 

Adobe PhoneGap is one of the most popular cross-platform development tools on the market. PhoneGap is based on the open source Apache Cordova project, making it free to use. Adobe also offers an enterprise version of PhoneGap – it integrates with Adobe Marketing Cloud to not only focus on app development, but to ensure apps reach their audience and experience success. PhoneGap not only creates apps for iOS and Android, but also BlackBerry and Windows, making it an extremely versatile tool.

XAMARIN

Xamarin recently attracted a great deal of attention when it raised $54 million in its Series C round of investments. Xamarin is utilized by over 20% of Fortune 500 companies. According to IDC, those developers will be delivering almost $5 billion to the marketplace in 2017. Xamarin separates itself from the pack by using native UI components from each platform, allowing users to create their app with the native look app for each platform.

APPCELERATOR TITANIUM

Appcelerator Titanium uses Javascript to create native iOS and Android apps while giving developers the ability to reuse from 60% to 90% of the same code for all apps. Appcelerator is a major time saver. It’s also an open-source tool, meaning hundreds of developers are constantly adding to it and improving its functionality. In January 2016, Appcelerator was acquired by Axway, a software and services company. Axway plans on making it easy to integrate Appcelerator with their existing digital business enablement solutions.

For more great cross-platform development tools, check out these great curated lists by AppIndex and TechBeacon.

Rise to the Top of Google SEO with Responsive Design

When designing a website, web developers have both practical and aesthetic concerns. From a practical standpoint, a website must reach and connect with its core audience. Due to the rise of mobile technology, it’s important for a site to have mobile functionality so that it can reach the multitudes surfing the web on their mobile devices. The most efficient, cost-effective & effective way is to develop a responsive website. Responsive design not only helps reach a mobile audience, it also increases overall SEO so that the website will rank higher in search engines.

For those unfamiliar with responsive design, check out this quick 60-second review:

When it comes to SEO, Google is king. As of October 2015, studies show the massive tech titan owns about 63.9% of the search engine market share. In February 2015, Google announced they will be emphasizing mobile-friendly search results. In their own words: “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.”

In accordance with their announcement, Google Adwords charges less for a keyword when the landing page is optimized for mobile. Responsive websites represent a major incentive for advertising on Google since responsive design guarantees presentation will accommodate the device regardless of whether it’s a mobile device or a computer.

Responsively designed sites offer a common landing page for all devices, consolidating the amount of links and improving the SEO. If a desktop or laptop user iMessages the link to an iPhone, they can click on it and immediately prompt the same web page rather than a different page optimized for mobile. Instead of duplicating content with separate sites for mobile and desktop mediums, responsive design ensures brand and information continuity with a singular master site.

According to Sociomantic, over half of online shoppers use more than one device. A responsive website not only ensures a consistent UI and brand experience, it eliminates maintenance cost by reducing the amount of websites one is required to maintain. The better a site is, the lower the bounce rate is, and the higher it will rank in Google. For businesses looking to succeed, responsive is almost always the best form of web design.

Mystic Media is a web design and application development company based in Salt Lake City, Utah and specializes in responsive design. For more information, click here or contact us by phone at 801.994.6815.

Facebook Champions Material Design: Why You Should Too

In the past year, material design has been rising in prominence as both an app and a web design aesthetic. As we’ve detailed in our past article How Material Design Redefined Android App Aesthetics, Material Design has the potential to catch on in a major way.  In this post, we take a look at the bright future ahead for the platform.

Facebook recently began testing a Material Design overhaul of their Android app. Additions include a floating action button commonly found on Lollipop apps. The design on the whole has a more cohesive digital world adhering to Material Design principals.

“Not only does the app look better, but it’s also going to make the app easier to use for Lollipop users who are now becoming accustomed to that floating action button.” Writes Killian Bell of Techno Buffalo.

Check out this picture of the Beta app (via Techno Buffalo)

Material Design Facebook

If Facebook’s Material Design app looks slick. If it proves to be functionally efficient, it’s reasonable to assume they could utilize some of the same design techniques to update their iOS app.

Facebook’s Android app redesign is reminiscent of the Gmail Inbox app. Considered one of the premier Material Design apps on the market, Inbox was developed by Google and provides a perfect showcase for Material Design aesthetics. Depth plays a major role in all the gestures. When the user swipes an email to mark it done, it reveals a green checkmark underneath the top layer as the email disappears off screen.

Check out his awesome promo video by Google which explains how Inbox works:

Inbox was created to manage mass volumes of emails. Larry Dignan over at ZDNet reviewed Inbox by forwarding his 700 or so work emails per day to the app to see how it handled organizing bulk emails. Inbox passed the test, allowing the user to create bundles of emails in order to better organize incoming messages.

With futurists predicting the downfall of email, the question becomes: Could the same Material Design techniques which the Inbox app uses to organize bulk emails and save screen space be applied to an encompassing Facebook social feed which replaces email?

The main problem inhibiting Material Design from catching on in a major way for the Android platform is device fragmentation. As of March, only 3.3% of Android devices are running the latest OS: Lollipop. 40% of Android devices are running KitKat and 20% are still using Jelly Bean.

Despite the obstacle of device fragmentation, as the next Android OS is released, Lollipop and Material Design are sure to become more and more prevalent. What makes Material Design so crucial is its role in connecting the Android device ecosystem. With more and more devices coming into the fray, Apple has been doing their part to push for Device Continuity, allowing for seamless transition between devices. Android may have to battle to overcome device fragmentation, but as Material Design gains momentum, their hardware and software will at least have aesthetic continuity.

The future of Material Design extends beyond the smartphone and the tablet. With the wearable revolution impending upon Apple Watch’s April 24th release date, it’s reasonable to assume Material Design will find outlets beyond traditional mobile devices as Android increases it’s wearable repertoire. If Google Glass had lasted, no doubt it would have utilized Material Design in its updates. Regardless, Android has several products in the pipeline that are sure to boast Material Design, including Android TV and Android Auto.

For now, Material Design is an Android-exclusive technique still vying for mainstream adoption. However, Facebook’s adoption of the design technique for their upcoming Android app is a good sign. As we look to a device-interconnected world, it seems inevitable the principles of Material Design will continue to evolve and shape the future of Android design aesthetics, and potentially expand to influence web and iOS aesthetics as well.

At Mystic Media, we’re constantly engaged in various app design projects. Our expertise reaches across all facets of the industry, be it iOS designAndroid designweb designstrategic marketing and more. Contact us today by clicking here or by phone at 801.994.6815

Samsung and Microsoft Team Up for Galaxy S6–What It Means for Apple, Android, and Windows

Samsung is looking to step up its smartphone game.

Recently, there have been reports that the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge devices will come pre-packaged with Microsoft apps despite running on the Android OS. Coming only a few weeks after the two tech titans settled a royalty dispute out of court, the move is sure to raise eyebrows–especially those at Android.

At the Mobile World Congress, Samsung revealed the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will come bundled with Skype, OneDrive, and OneNote applications preinstalled in a “Microsoft Apps” folder. The Galaxy S6 also comes with 115GB of free OneDrive storage for two years as part of a new partnership with Microsoft. It’s possible Samsung may also include Microsoft Office mobile with their phones, but they did not reveal this during the demo.

Windows Central alleges Samsung is looking to make more phones on the Windows OS in 2015. They have had limited success doing so in the past, but perhaps the reputation for efficiency of the Windows OS is drawing them to expand their repertoire, or perhaps they intend to create more affordable hardware on Windows.

Samsung has been attempting to reduce their reliance on the Android OS for some time now. They created Tizen, their own operating system, back in with the intent of competing with Android, iOS, and Windows. After several delays, Samsung recently launched their first smartphone utilizing Tizen: Samsung Z1, to middling results.

For Apple, the move certainly increases stock in Samsung’s direct iPhone 6 and 6 Plus competitor, but regardless, there’s no denying Samsung is shamelessly playing catch-up. The S6 features an updated fingerprint scanner and Samsung has recently announced their Apple Pay competitor: Samsung Pay.

For Microsoft, this is a huge win. The move represents Microsoft’s first time striking a deal with a non-Windows phone to preload any of its apps.

If you’re an Android fanboy, this cannot be pleasing. Although plenty of iPhones receive installs of Google Maps and other Google apps, they do not come prepackaged. Microsoft effectively poached a major Android device, and there’s virtually nothing Google can do about it.

Of course, we won’t know the ultimate impact until the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are released in April. Until then, we’ll chock it up to a win for Microsoft.

Mystic Media is an app development, web design, and strategic marketing firm located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Contact us today by clicking here or by phone at 801.994.6815

Apple Vs. Google: Who Will Win 2015?

With 2015 off to the races, we take a look ahead at what’s in store for the top tech companies this year.

APPLE

They say it’s not over until it’s over, however, Apple, the biggest tech powerhouse in the world, is unmerciful. Apple announced the first week of January broke their record for weekly billings with over half a billion dollars spent in the App Store on apps and in-app purchases.

2014 was a huge year for Apple. They released the iPhone 6, iOS 8, OS Yosemite, and, perhaps most important when we look forward at the coming year, Swift, a programming language designed specifically for iOS.

As we detailed previously in our article Swift Execution, Swift is the most beginner-friendly programming language and, as is custom with Apple products, received widespread adoption both by developers and tech curriculums. 2015 will be the year we see the beginnings of Swift’s impact and what developers are capable of doing using the language.

On the hardware side of things, there are rumors Apple will release a larger-screened iPad, a retina-displayed MacBook Air, and even potentially a new model of iPhone; however, one product is for sure: Apple Watch.

Apple Watch represents the first new Apple product since the iPad. It’s their first foray into wearables, along with the first wearable device expected to receive widespread adoption. We will cover this subject in-depth next week when we explore wearables. For now, what matters is that surveys say 18% of iPhone 6 owners will definitely buy the Apple Watch when it’s released, a number which will grow when the functionality of the device is better known. Shipments were recently announced to begin in April.

If any of this is any indication, 2015 will be a great year for Apple. It’s going to be tough for the competition to keep up.

GOOGLE

Google has its work cut out for them. Expect the release of a new OS, however, it’s more likely it will be an update for Lollipop than a major upgrade considering the impact of material design.

One of the big projects Google has coming in some form in 2015 is Project Ara, a product development concept in which the owner of a smartphone can upgrade specific parts of the phone, such as the camera, or processor. PC Advisor likens it to Legos. Although there’s no set release date, Google has said they plan on introducing in some stage in 2015.

Google recently announced they are pulling Google Glass from the market in its current form. While many are trying to spin this into a failure (specifically this hilarious C-NET article), Google insists the withdrawal is actually the next step of the Google Glass program. They have held steady Google Glass was in a beta stage are still developing the product. One cannot deny the potential impact of a year’s worth of usage on the research process. Though no official date has been released, the new product will likely compete with the Apple Watch either later this year, or early next year.

Aside from Project Ara and Google Glass, expect new Android TV, Android Auto, and Android Wear. Android TV, announced last year at Google I/O, will bring all the apps connected to Android smartphones and tablets and bring them to the TV platform.

Android Wear will likely expand to support more devices and become more widely-adopted when Apple Watch releases.

Overall, unless the Apple Watch release proves to be a major failure, it’s unlikely Google will overcome Apple in the mobile hardware and software department. With widespread adoption of wearables looming, it’s going to be a very exciting year for technology.

Mystic Media is an iOS and Android application development, web design, and strategic marketing firm. Please take a moment to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook. Contact us today by clicking here, or by phone at 801.994.6815