Tag Archives: Tablet

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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QRO3gKj3qw

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.

Mobile Game Monetization Methods for Bartle Types: Think Like an Explorer

The Mystic Media Blog is currently engaged in a series of articles examining each of the Bartle types and how to acquire, retain and monetize them according to their desires. Check out last week’s article on Achievers.

Explorer via Massively OP

The Explorer is one of the most important Bartle types to maintain in a userbase. Explorers are out for the thrill of discovery. They want to test the limits of the game and see as much of the world of the game as possible. Explorers will wander the world to find secrets. If given a level map, they will utilize it to view as much of the world as possible. They enjoy trying out different weapons and characters. For Explorers, the gameplay is simply a mechanism for discovering different worlds and abilities. They are obsessed with Easter eggs and exposing game methods to find hidden areas. They love analyzing gameplay systems and motion systems, and executing plans designed to see if they can outsmart the designer and find parts of the map which the designers hadn’t expected users to find. The savvy game designer will know his game inside out and give Explorers props when they reach rare areas of the level.

Explorers’ role in the Bartle Type ecosystem is very important. They make for easy prey for Killers, but also, the secrets which they discover generally trickle down into Achievers, much to the benefit of Achievers who will go on to use these secrets to better their status.

Check out this awesome video on balancing Bartle Types by Extra Credits:

Retaining Explorers depends on the size of the world, but even a simple 2D scroller can have several lo-fi backgrounds which will prove incentives for explorers to see all the different backgrounds. A game board is a major opportunity to show off your world and offer explorers a tangible visual for the amount of work it will take to fully see the world. Explorers love to play as different characters and with different gear to see how the game experience changes. If you really want to appeal to this archetype, creating parts of a map only accessible with certain gear or characters will drive them wild.

The beauty of thinking about Explorers as an audience is that it will force the game designer to enrich their game. Making different levels available for purchase can drive Explorers to reach for their wallet. The savvy game designer may create an area which is only reachable when the user has made an in-app purchase of new gear or a tune-up. The Explorer wants to have the most full understanding of the game, so having unlockable and purchasable characters with different music and sound effects can entice the Explorer to buy.

But perhaps the best way to monetize an Explorer is not by forcing them to buy, but by sectioning their gameplay off with rewarded ads. Rewarded ads give the user a certain amount of in-app points or game money which can go toward an in-app purchase. Explorers are willing to spend hours exploring a map without a tangible goal – thus, rewarded video ads are a great way of rewarding their inquisitive behavior while offering a preview of some of the goods available for purchase.

A properly edited trailer will preview the game world in a way that leaves enough to the imagination of the user that it instills the desire to explore, regardless of whether they are Explorers or not.

Next week, we’ll take a look at Killers and the best methods for attaining, retaining and monetizing them.

Mobile Website or Mobile App: What Should I Build?

Mobile commerce will reach approximately $142 billion in 2016 according to Mobile Commerce Daily. Promoting business through mobile platforms has become an essential part of many IT and marketing departments worldwide. Mobile phones allow businesses the opportunity to share information about their store, such as hours and nearest location, as well as offer exclusive deals through branded apps as well as third-party apps like Yelp & GroupOn.

The necessity of a mobile presence is evident. When developing for the mobile platform, one has the choice between building a mobile website or a mobile app as the avenue of preference. Obviously developing for both platforms is ideal, but it’s important to realize the strengths of each platform when developing a mobile strategy. Many businesses don’t take into account the importance of the mobile web when it comes to driving revenue.

If you read Cashing Out the Smartphone, you know that while 85% of time spent on mobile devices occurs in apps, 80% of that time is spent on the user’s top 3 apps, a web browser often being one of them. 82% of smartphone users reference their phones when deciding what to buy. When it comes to eCommerce, mobile websites drive twice as much traffic as mobile apps.

Thus, while mobile apps are more expansive, mobile websites are in many ways more important to retailers. Utilizing both in tandem and playing to each platform’s strengths will maximize mobile presence to bring in revenue. Here are the top factors to weigh when deciding between building a mobile website or a mobile app:

DISCOVERABILITY

Due to the omniscience of Google, mobile websites are much more discoverable than mobile apps. Although it is good to have a presence in the app stores, it’s often more important to be discoverable on the web since the web is where the majority of customers go to find information. Mobile websites share a common publication format, making them almost universally accessible across smart devices. As we detailed in our article on Responsive Design & SEO, optimizing a website for mobile is not only a vital SEO practice, it also lowers the price of keywords in Google Adwords.

IMMEDIACY

The immediacy of mobile websites make them an asset to companies looking to disperse information about their products. Mobile websites can be found from any smart device with a single Google search. Mobile websites are quick, easy to find, and direct to the point. Mobile apps, on the other hand, require the user to go to the app store, search, download the app, then often sign up for an account. The distance between initial engagement and action/conversion depletes the chances of a mobile app acquiring new customers without a clever strategy, while mobile websites are more likely to pique new customer interests.

Many retailers have turned to mobile apps to manage loyalty points and increase customer retention through exclusive discounts.

Here are some popular third-party apps for increasing customer loyalty:

Shopkick: Shopkick offers customers rewards the moment they walk into a store. It is the most-used US shopping app connecting shoppers to retailers.

Belly: Belly is a digital loyalty rewards program which serves over 12,000 businesses and has more than 6 million members across the US.

COMPLEXITY

While mobile websites are great for dispersing information, apps typically can do much more. Native apps are designed specifically for a device and OS, thus ensures maximum performance. With mobile commerce on the rise, apps can help make the check-out process seamless. The process of approval required by the app stores assures users that any given mobile apps will be safe and secure. The complexity of mobile apps also makes maintenance more expensive.

Mobile websites are easier and less-expensive to maintain since they have a common code across platforms. Developers can release and update without worrying about being approved by the app marketplace. Mobile websites can only utilize a limited scope of a given mobile device’s features, although mobile browsers are in the process of getting more powerful and enabling more power over the device.

COST

Mobile websites are less expensive to develop and maintain since they use common code across devices. While cross-platform app development tools ensure a cheaper way to make an app usable across Android, iOS, and other operating systems and devices, they also can dilute the functionality.

In our opinion, it’s often better to start with a mobile website which disperses necessary information and calls attention to the business before creating a mobile app to supplement with additional functionality.

Any given business or organization has unique needs which must be attended to when establishing a mobile presence. Experienced web and app developers should ask the questions which get to the root of what is needed and can design creative solutions which maximize functionality for any given platform in accordance with the project budget. Be it through a mobile website or a mobile app, the mobile platform allows for any number of possibilities which can make any business more efficient, attractive, and profitable.

Safety First: Mobile Security Is More Than Worth the Investment

Having established the top mobile app trends for 2016 with our blog App to the Future, the Mystic Media blog is currently exploring each of the top trends in greater detail with a five-part series. This week, in Part 3 of our Top Mobile App Development Trends series, we will be examining security.

2015 saw several major data breaches, including 87 million patient records from Anthem and 21.5 million security clearance apps from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. The European Union is currently crafting a General Data Protection Regulation designed to strengthen and unify data protection.

Gartner correctly predicted that over 75% of mobile applications would fail basic security tests in 2015. Many mobile companies are sacrificing security to attain quicker turn-around on smaller budgets, and the result has been disastrous for many. Even Apple hasn’t been safe from mobile app hacks.

Mobile application security is an integral part of the app development process worthy of the same level of attention as app creators give to design, marketing and functionality. With that in mind, here are some of the top app security trends for 2016:

DevOps Protocol on the Rise

In a recent RackSpace Survey of 700 IT manager and business leaders, 66% of respondents had implemented DevOps practices and 79% of those who had yet to implement DevOps planned to by the end of 2015.

DevOps is an approach to app development that emphasizes collaboration between software development, IT operations, security and quality assurance through all stages of the app development process under one automated umbrella. Utilizing a DevOps protocol improves app security by bringing the IT security team in at an early stage to guide the development process away from potential security threats. App Developers gravitate toward DevOps since it speeds up the time to market while increasing innovation. Like a conveyer belt, DevOps puts a system of checks and balances in place at all stages to ensure that the product will be sufficient for delivery.

By opening up the app development process, security team members can inject security into the code early in the development process and eliminate vulnerabilities before they become threats.

Security Risks In Wearable Tech

Wearable technology is on the rise not only in the marketplace, but as a major security vulnerability for businesses. With the technology in nascent stages, developers have been more concerned with creating a functional strategy for the wearable platform than they have been with improving security. Health and Fitness apps leave users the most vulnerable by constantly monitoring the user’s heartbeat, movement and location. With limited UI and an emphasis on usability, wearables severely lack in security features. App developers looking to create safe apps for this platform will have to innovate and dictate the trends in order to create apps that don’t put the user at risk.

IoT (Internet of Things) & BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device)

With the workplace increasingly becoming virtual, malicious hackers acting through the Internet of Things are targeting personal mobile devices in order to find vulnerabilities in businesses.

Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) has increased in popularity in work cultures, each of which represents a potential vulnerability . Smartphone owners generally don’t invest in security on their personal devices with the same thoroughness as a business would when issuing work devices. Due to the boon of mobile work apps, many app developers are cutting corners to meet demand by sacrificing security in service of quicker turnover.

Wise and experienced app developers know you can’t put a price on safety, and they take the necessary precautions to protect the integrity of the app for its users and the app owner.

Major organizations must understand IoT and how it can improve or threaten their business through their employees’ mobile devices. By encouraging a culture of collaboration and welcoming unique expertise into the app development process at an early stage, DevOps practices help ingrain necessary knowledge about IoT and mobile security into organizations.

That’s it for app security! Be on the lookout for part 4 of our series on the top mobile app development trends for 2016 next week when we explore the Internet of Things.

Can Cloud Integration Take Your App to the Next Level?

In continuation of our exploration of the top 5 app development trends for 2016, this week we will be exploring cloud integration. Check out our master list in our blog App to the Future and be on the lookout for next week’s blog when we explore Security.

While the ethereal nature of the cloud makes it a mystery to many consumers, the cloud has engrained itself in businesses across the globe. Studies show the global market for cloud equipment will reach $79.1 billion by the year 2018.

A lot has changed since we last tackled the cloud in our 2013 blog What Can Cloud-Based Mobile App Development Do For Your Company? The aspects which haven’t changed are the basics: the cloud reduces operating costs by taking the computing load off of local and dedicated servers, it improves collaboration, and it fosters a streamlined collaborative environment.

CLOUD FOR CONSUMER USE

In the past 5 years, Amazon, Google and Apple have all monetized clouds for consumer use. These cloud offerings break up into two categories:

PUBLIC CLOUD: iCloud, Google Drive and Amazon Web Services, in addition to Dropbox and Box, all offer public cloud storage offerings. These clouds are accessible to the public through the Internet.

PRIVATE CLOUD: While the public cloud is available on the public web, the private cloud is designed for a single organization. These offerings are often crafted by cloud providers such as Rackspace, VMware, Microsoft and OpenStack.

HYBRID CLOUD ADOPTION

One of the major cloud trends in the past few years has been the adoption of the hybrid cloud. The hybrid cloud uses a mix of on-premises, private cloud and the public cloud to customize storage needs. Hybrid cloud adoption jumped from 74% in 2014 to 82% in 2015. The hybrid cloud has gained popularity because it allows businesses to section off their storage needs and leverage the advantages of the private cloud and the public cloud while keeping the disadvantages at bay.

CLOUD INTEGRATION

One of  the most interesting trends in the cloud for mobile developers is cloud integration. Device integration entails that multiple applications share data in the cloud and communicate either directly or through third-party software.

A great test case is Apple’s use of the iCloud to promote device continuity. Apple uses the iCloud to make sure files and apps which are synced to the user’s MacBook are also synced to iPhone, iPads, and Apple Watch. This allows the user to alternate between devices seamlessly and encourages them to buy Apple products.

For app developers, cloud integration is a major trend within the industry. With Apple leading the charge, many app developers and their clients want their iOS apps to integrate with iCloud with the intention of luring users to download apps on multiple devices and use them seamlessly. Cloud-integrated apps represent an investment in both time and money for developers.  In order to justify the effort, the app should appeal to tablet, smartphone, and perhaps also desktop users. Cloud integration represents a major opportunity for developers to increase brand continuity by creating a user experience which is consolidated across devices and informed by data across the enterprise.

Learn more about device integration with the iCloud via Apple’s Developer website.

For those with their sights set on cloud integration, here are some of the best third-party cloud data integration software options on the market:

Jitterbit

Zapier

Microsoft Azure

Informatica Cloud Integration

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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snQp757_Rr0

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.

Shaken Not Stirred: Apple Watch’s Anticipated Impact on Wearable Platform

Last year was huge for Apple products. The company announced and released a number of very important advancements, including iPhone 6, iOS 8, OS Yosemite, and Swift. The one product Apple announced but didn’t release could prove to have the most significant impact: Apple Watch.

Wearables are the next big platform for app development. While they’ve already caught on in Toronto, wearables aren’t predicted to receive mass adoption in the US until Apple Watch begins shipping in April. The function of wearables in the user’s daily life isn’t widely understood by the public. As with tablets, until consumers have the opportunity to use the devices and experience first-hand what the fuss is about, they will remain skeptical and the technological and market potential of wearables will remain untapped.

With the release and impact of Apple Watch looming, a surge in relevancy for wearable devices is imminent. As an app developer, wearables present a major opportunity upon which to capitalize: a brand new platform with new rules and plenty of room for innovation.

While the iPad acted as a bridge between the laptop and the smartphone, Apple Watch will have the smallest screen, functional for receiving information and sending out responses via voice memo and dictated text. The screen-size and lack of keyboard mean the controls are extremely simple. One would imagine very few practical applications which would work, however, this summary of the Apple Watch announcement shows how much app developers can do within the simple control scheme: The Verge Apple Watch Announcement in 6 minutes

The Honeywell application allows you to control the temperature of your home. Lutron allows you to control the lighting. Keep up to date on the latest sports scores, check text messages on the go without losing your train of thought. One of the cliche jokes about smartphones revolves around how we use them to avoid eye-contact. They disintegrate our social interactions because we’re constantly getting pulled away from conversations and sucked into the digital world. Apple Watch represents an intermediary device which will allows us to complete the bare essentials of digital communication without losing a step. The user can subtly process information sent to them without appearing rude for pulling out his/her phone.

The simplicity of Apple Watch weeds out overly-complicated unproductive applications to emphasize ways in which technology can aid the user in their day-to-day. The purpose of a watch is to help its owner have a better sense of time and time management. Apple Watch will no doubt see a host of new productivity apps released exclusive to the platform. The ability to set reminders with subtle notifications will allow professionals with busy schedules to stay focused on the task at hand without missing a beat.

Apple Watch presents a potential breakthrough for healthcare apps. Fitness tracks your daily movements and Workout allows users the ability to set goals for themselves and change their habits. Apple Watch will track glucose levels for diabetics. The ability to track heart-rate and movement also offers a host of uses for clinical applications detailed in this report.

About 35 million people reportedly want to buy an Apple Watch within a year of its release, according to Business Insider. It’s expected to be the biggest Apple release of the year and will likely initiate the widespread adoption of wearable devices. With its release looming, we can only speculate and await anxiously the future of wearable devices.

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

Parallax Scrolling: How the Latest Cutting Edge Web Design Can Increase Business

Web design trends are constantly changing. The latest and greatest today is Parallax Scrolling.

Parallax Scrolling websites are generally large one-page sites. As one scrolls down, the background images move by the camera slower than the foreground images, creating the illusion of depth. Oftentimes different animations are launched during the course of scrolling which generally cover different topics. It’s like having multiple pages in one stream-of-consciousness scroll.

Here’s a basic example of a Parallax Scrolling website.

There are many benefits to Parallax Scrolling websites. For one, they are aesthetically pleasing. The user experience is no doubt greater than any other common form of web design. Instead of forcing the user to explore the site, they need only scroll down to take in the information at the pace the web designers desire.  When creating a website for a single product, Parallax Scrolling sites can be very useful because they allow the designer to show off all the different features of the product without having to create separate pages.

Here’s a great example of a parallax website utilized to display all the different angles and functions of a single product.

Parallax Scrolling also allows the web designer to create a story and control the way in which the user experiences the narrative. Parallax Scrolling gives the designer unparalleled control over the pace at which the user takes in information. Again, the user only has to scroll down, they are much more likely to see the animations created by scrolling down than to have to click around different pages and explore to find information.

Check out this awesome example of how to tell the story of your brand through a Parallax Scrolling website.

Parallax Scrolling can also have a positive effect on Search Engine Optimization. Having a one-page-site means a reduced the bounce rate, the number of visitors who move to another page without exploring, which is beneficial for SEO.

Another benefit is the increased mobile and tablet user experience. Traditional websites involve several pages which all need to be customized for mobile and tablet devices. The time it takes to redirect on a mobile or tablet device can be tedious. Parallax Scrolling utilizes one-page, reducing the redirection time for smartphone and tablet users. If created with responsive HTML (Check out our post Responsive Web Design Is the New Web Design), you’re guaranteed good mobile and tablet user experience, so long as the user’s device isn’t outdated.

Due to the emphasis on cool, crisp visual presentation, Parallax Scrolling sites are more likely to attract social sharing, and thus will attract greater traffic. If the design is crisp enough, a parallax scrolling site could land itself on one of these best of lists.

Parallax Scrolling websites are generally created using HTML5 and CSS3. Although they are high-tech, they also come with their share of cons. For one, due to the heavy use of animations, Parallax Scrolling sites can take longer to load. They also may not function smoothly across all web browsers. Because the designer is in control of the pace of the scrolling, it can also be frustrating to users who want to consume information faster, or confounding to less tech-saavy users who are confused by the set-up.

Overall, Parallax Scrolling is the most visually-pleasing, high-tech aesthetic one can choose for their website. Although it’s pricey and complicated to create, it’s the most dynamic form of web design used today, and, when designed effectively, the most engaging way to lure traffic to a web page.

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