For the last 6 years, in the major part of my projects I used scrum in many ways and variations. I will write down my conclusions, maybe right, maybe not, but they are mine 🙂

First of all, I won’t say Scrum will solve all the team-product problems, as it won’t. Processes involving people and creativity are – in a natural way – potentially problematic. But also amazing! In my opinion, being as direct to the point as possible in all the stages of the Scrum and paying attention to the strengths and weaknesses of the team are essential . Not being able to achieve these means that no methodology will be possible (call it Scrum, Kanban or whatever amazing new approach appears).

The Daily Meeting:

What did you do yesterday? What are you going to do today? Any blocker?

Some people complains about the utility of the Daily meeting due to reasons such as:  people show up late, other people don’t say anything at all – and other do not stop talking -, other talk to the Scrum Master instead of the Team…and, because of that, the conclusion is that Scrum is not useful. Disagree. The Daily meeting works well to create a high-level communication of the state of the work and features. And, as many other methodologies, implies commitment by the team. Some people are inside their comfort zone just writing code -nothing against that- but, in order to make things work, some team vision will be necessary for each member of the team, without exceptions!dailystandupmeeting-300x225

In some cases, I can hear the argument that the Daily is like a way of justifying the work that you were doing. If the Daily meeting smells like that, then a problem (not Scrum) is on the air: maybe hidden micromanagement, maybe some team conflicts…Daily is not the way to show how good someone is or to measure how productive are the members of the team. Is a tool for them.

There are some natural problems that pop up during the Daily meeting. They are not making Scrum useless but if not solved in a proper way they will. For example, discussing technical or specific details that are not urgent for the rest of the team (warning! do not miss urgent vs important!) can make the Daily a big waste of time. Also, common ego-battles can be very problematic, as it can dramatically lower the moral of the whole team. Let’s make the daily as short as possible and grab our 9 am coffee! 🙂

The whole scrum:

Some people argues that Scrum can be a distraction for the project goal. Well, in my opinion, that’s partially true. But it is a price to pay for reaching the goals. For example, some days scrum (such as Daily meetings) are more useful than others, totally agree. But, in my opinion, it will take more time to decide everyday if all the members agree to do the Daily or not. It is possible to shorten it, make it simpler – we know that urgent things pop up constantly- but it should be there. Otherwise, not doing it at all, will start to create divergencies between knowledge and opinions inside the team.

In some cases, we cannot rate in an realistic way the task we should perform and it cannot fit well inside our sprints: it is very complex, huge task hard to split into subtasks…whatever. But well, punctual problems shouldn’t be the major force to change the whole methodology, as all the approaches will have such exceptions. If you are inside a team and you say something like: “this task cannot be realistically achieved in less than 6 months”, and the team agrees, then the problem is not the methodology, is a task that creates a critical problem for the project (and maybe the whole company!).

Management areas:

Scrum  is not only part of the IT area (or development departments, to be more specific). It implies a commitmenscrum-principlest together with the management or decisive areas. The easiest way to understand it is the fact that the Input (call it requirements) and Output (call it The Product) to/from the Scrum team will strongly depend on the decisions coming from such areas. Weak management, lack of decision, doubts and chaos will change the requirements (and the formally known as Definition of Done), the priorities, the deadlines…in such cases, Scrum won’t save the product, but (as far as I know) no any other methodology will. So it is important that all the team to be on the same page to have a healthy communication and mitigate the risks and change managements in a happy way. Scrum is specially good to changing environments!

The team:

In my opinion, the team can have different level of experience (Juniors and Seniors) and different areas of expertise (let’s call it Design, Security, Architecture…). It is OK, different backgrounds can provide different points of view what is very positive for the project . In my years working in different teams as a Team Lead, Scrum Master, Product Owner and Developer what I found is that there are two major team-destroying things: Lazy (and Non-committed People) and Individualists. And, in my opinion, it will destroy the whole team. Why? The first specie of people will make the rest of the team to feel annoyed, break the team identity, to make them not feel comfortable to work together with someone without the same enthusiasm (warning! do not miss unexperienced or Junior person with Non-committed! In my experience Junior developers were some of the most motivated and committed members!). In the best case, the Team itself will remove these profiles from the Team.
The second specie, Individualists, can also be as dangerous or even more than the first one. In the best way, they just do not collaborate too much with the team but they try to do their best, what can be OK. In other cases,  for whatever reason, they feel like they are above the team (maybe they have more experience or knowledge) and they hardly accept constructive critics. They want to have the last word of the conversations (specially technical ones), they need to show their technical muscle and constantly create conflicts inside the team. In resume (quote from Barry Turner) the goal is to build: “great teams of people, not teams of great people”.

In whatever case, the problem won’t be changing the methodology, but understanding the real problems and make tunings as needed (maybe having a nice talk with the conflictive members or performing changes in some of the processes will be enough). I strongly believe that it is always possible to find a peaceful solution for all these!

So, this is a small simplification of my vision and experience about Scrum, I will keep an eye to newest methodologies and let’s continue learning! 🙂

 Posted in android, iOS, Scrum |  Leave a comment

2015 Mobile resume

by Jose Cortes

As usual, let’s make a small review of this amazing 2015 in mobile. Even all the industries growth through the mobile channel, it looks like there is some saturation so let’s pay special attention to 2016 to see what happens.

These are the major highlights for the past 2015:gsl-gear-s

  • Smartphones continue improving, but they are not impressing too much. Better cameras, better hardware, better design but we are expecting a little bit more related to innovation.
  • Samsung consolidates the position as main Android device manufacturer.
  • Interesting experiments such as iPad Pro and Galaxy Tab S2, let’s see if size matters.
  • Microsoft doesn’t look very competitive in the mobile war: they released Windows 10 and they still remain in their comfort zone of PCs.
  • Smartwaches, the future is already here: Apple Watch, Samsung Gear S2, Sony Smartwatch 3, Huawei Watch…at the moment they look useful for health industrie but it is still unclear how will they impact the average user life. We will figure it out soon!
  • Cars driving without your help: Google is fighting to improve their prototypes for unmanned vehicles. Some tests (and some small accidents) are on the road but we are sure it will still take some time in order to find these ghost cars in our daily basis.

So, let’s see what happens in 2016 and how these new technologies improve our lifes!

 Posted in 2015, android, iOS, smartwatches |  Leave a comment

New projects coming! After spending some days traveling through north Europe (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland and Norway) and achieving one life-personal goal (watching northern lights 😉 ) with amazing people, it is time to continue working! 🙂12239232_1071989702811877_1042692342976622276_o

As I left the amazing teams in Centralway to continue my projects with SlashMobility until 2016 I will continue improving my experience exciting mobile technologies (lastly more focused in Android, but I will have to update myself in iOS, I promise 🙂 ).

At the moment I will stay in Zürich as I really enjoy living here (nice people, nice city…but a little bit cold, nothing is perfect! 😉 ), so lets see how the 2016 behaves!

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Holidays!

by Jose Cortes

Let’s have a rest, so let’s spend some days in the amazing Greek islands in Corfu! SI857399

The year continues being great, the projects I am involved are improving really fast and looks like they will continue like that 😉 so time to take some breath and energy in a small break! Good food, nice people and lot of sun, after a crazy year working and traveling we deserve a rest, so see you back in few weeks! 😉

Enjoy your holidays too!

 

 

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Overengineering

by Jose Cortes

As in previous posts I talked about simplicity, I would like to write something about the opposite and its concrete implementation in engineering, also known as overengineering.

If I would be asked about what overengineering is, I would answer something like solving problems that you don’t have. And maybe you never will. Let’s go step by step.

First of all, after working for years deep inside software development, I understand that overengineering comes from the good will of the developer and some misunderstood concepts (starting from our lovely years at University). During the technical education we were taught about how to create few lines of code and make them escalate to become an amazing Matrix system that will be able to control the whole humankind. Well, maybe it is OK, but let’s be focused: if we are working on an App then our goal is to make the user happy. If we are working on a Framework, our goal will be to make the Developer life easier. And, of course, there is gap to discuss what does it mean for each case.

In my experience, good engineers understand what scalability means. In this concrete case, scalability means to allow the application to grow in a healthy (not buggy) and easy (without complications) way. And this is the trap. Nobody ( best developers, best product owners…) knows how the application is going to grow. It means, for example, that you can take many decisions related to your App architecture expecting the future to move in a concrete direction. Maybe you are right, maybe you are not. Concreting in code, you start creating classes, and extending classes that extend other classes that implements interfaces that implements other interfaces. And the result is a hierarchy of classes that nobody but the first developer knows how to use as it is too complex.
The second problem that this creates is the one that it tries to solve: it forces the App to grow in a specific way in the future, that due to many reasons it is far to be the most optimal and natural and making the App growing becomes a trauma (and the psychologist for the trauma is named Refactoring 😉 ). main-qimg-282305a3665ce3793a5c3d1e4b77a9d4

Coming back to the App example, good engineers will take the easiest solution: do what the App and architecture are expected to do in the simplest (but effective and efficient) way as possible. And, here is again the trap. Some people will say: bah, then the App is not scalable! And that’s the point: scalability doesn’t mean to open a concrete door now (to take a decision with a huge impact in the future) and close others, but having access to different doors to choose and open the right one when the future arrives. Just as an example, it is not the same to create a layer to communicate your App with the database than create a whole system entity-based being able to deal with all the different database formats in the world. I have nothing against that if you are working in an open-source project, non-strict deadlines or a personal App or working on investigation, but if you are working in a company with strong deadlines then you are playing the Russian Roulette.

A misperception is to think that there is a correlation between lines of codes (and complexity) and quality. There are many metrics to define what quality is for a concrete App, some of them are technical (transparent for the user, such as scalability, maintainability, reusability), but the most common are these that we can measure, such as the number of bugs and response times (database, Api communication…). Other metrics are a little bit subjective and will depend on the team, the project and common sense. So, having an amazingly complex architecture won’t have a direct impact on quality: just the opposite (some stimations say that there are around 10 to 50 bugs for each 1000 of code written). Of course, everything should be put in balance and find the right solution, whatever it means for each case, the most important thing here is to be flexible enough to understand how our decisions will impact on the App and also in the Code!

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Simplicity

by Jose Cortes

All the people that knows me also knows that I strongly aim for simplicity. Simple things are beautiful, more reliable, easy to manage. There is a linear correlation between complexity and problems. Related to software, some estimations say that there is a ratio around 10 to 50 bugs for each 1000 of code written (book Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction, Code-Complete-Practical-Handbook-Construction). Not sure if it is so big, but it is clear that as things are bigger and complex, they become more problematic.444378-simplicity

So, what are the main benefits from simplicity? In my opinion, there are 5 points really clear:

1. Full focus to the problem, as there is no need to pay attention to noise and unnecessary things.
2. Clarity: whatever thing (software, products) clear enough are really easy to approach. Take a look to the iPhone design!
3. Effectivity: creating things simple and effective is not easy. In my experience, good engineers understand the real problem to solve and minimize the complications. The opposite is also known as over-engineering.
4. Do not complicate it yet: things will become complicated in a natural way. So do not create unneeded complications. If your lovely user wants to use the application to find a hotel in a concrete city, don’t make her/him navigate across 20 different screens asking for unnecessary personal information. Maybe in the future it will be necessary, but not now.
5. Spiritual peace :-): be honest: you are in a hurry and you have to do some task. Let’s say you are a developer. And you find 100.000 lines of code to perform something (supposedly easy) but you get crazy in order to figure out where to start working. If you ever found this situation before, you know of frustrating and annoying can be!

And, that’s is simply all! 😉

 Posted in android, iOS |  Leave a comment

Yes guys, this year is over… Looking back, this year was absolutely exciting, lots of challenges and milestones achieved (not everything, but almost! 😉 ). In my case,  all the changes were fortunately positive, so I hope next year will be even better. Something is sure: let’s do whatever possible to get that! New year resolution 2014 Making a personal overview of this year, I was amazed by some funny numbers and goals:

  • I have been envolved in 4 different and big projects and lots of medium and small projects.
  •  I have been in 8 different countries: Spain, Andorra, France, UK, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia and Switzerland.
  • I lived in 5 different apartments 🙂
  • I met lots of amazing and lovely people!
  • I started learning German and trying to improve my English.
  • The 99% of the people that I worked with, are nice. The 1% will be nice in 2015. (I hope so! 😉 )
  • As proposed at end of 2014, I kept distances of negative and destructive people.

Next year will be a year to challenge to myself, so now it is time to take a small rest, some breath, and crush 2015! Regarding to mobile, I gather some info about the most interesting goals of this year: Relevant tech acquisitions:

  • Beats acquisition by Apple.
  • Facebook completed the acquisition of WhatsApp .
  • Google sold Motorola to Lenovo.
  • Microsoft bought Acompli in order to improve the way of thinking about email.

What happened related to the mobile manufacturers?

  • Samsung Galaxy S5 and Nexus 6 (with not very positive reviews at the moment…)
  • iPhone 6 and 6 Plus released.
  • HTC continues in the fight with HTC One
  • The Chinese manufacturer OnePlus appeared to be positioned in low-cost devices.

Regarding to mobile operative systems: * Android 5.0 Lollipop and Material Design, first UI-quality-oriented bet by Google. * Yosemite and iOS 8 released, and Swift trying to become an standard. Other interesting news:

  • The number of smartphones connections exceeded the number of humans on the planet (well, depends on the metrics, of course 🙂 )
  • More than 1.2 billions of smartphones were sold (1.9 billions of total phones)
  • Apple introduced the Apple Watch and Google allow high-connectivity with Android Wear.
  • Amazing integration mobile and TV with Chromecast
  • 30 years since Apple introduced Macintosh!
  • Big security flaws in Apple platforms and iCloud with the result of stolen photos and private data.

So, see you next year, that will be even better than this one! 😉

Bye bye 2015! Bye bye 2015!

 

 Posted in 2015, android, iOS |  Leave a comment

This 2014 looks a restless year! Continuing with the changes and aligned with my personal plans of moving outside Spain, now it is time to move to one of my favourites cities of Europe: Zürich!

Zurich_City

After closing some importants projects in Barcelona, Madrid and London, it was time to look for more ambitious projects outside my native country and all my focus was to Switzerland. Why? In my opinion, Switzerland has three of the most important things that I am follow in this moment of my life:

* Potential growth in mobile
* Favorable market trends
* Quality-focused country

Moving to Zürich is like starting from the scratch: new city, new friends, new way of doing things and thinking…wait…everything is new? it sounds like new challenges! 😀

Centralway

So, as far as the NDAs allow me to say, I am moving to start working in a very demanding and ambitious project, Numbrs in Centralway, related to banking. This project has a perfect combination of what I am really looking for: high-quality needs, be part of an international team and ambition and very high goals, factors that can make you to fall in love with a product!

So here we go!

 Posted in android, Centralway, iOS, Numbrs, Zürich |  Tagged , , , |  Comments Off on Time to fly! Bye bye Spain, hello Switzerland!

Google IO 2014

by Jose Cortes

Once again, yesterday we had the Google’s most important event of the year. In this Google IO we were introduced in some new technologies, current stats of Android platform, watches, cars…so let’s take a look to the news and try to figure out how these will change our life for the next months:

Stats:

  • During the 4Q of 2013 315 devices based on Android were sold.
  • Peak of 1B active users during a month!
  • 93 million pictures taken using the frontal camera of Android devices
  • 62% of tablets Android-based.

Android One project:

  • Low price hardware for smartphones based on Android, around 100$ per device.
  • Partnership with indian vendors like Micromax, Karbonn and Spice.

Project Volta:

  • how to increase the performance of the battery.
  • Nothing clear yet, Google is working hard in making the usage of the battery of the Android devices much more efficient.

Virtual Machine:

  • Empowering ART (Android Runtime), a Virtual Machine much more faster than the classical DVM.
  • Dalvik Virtual Machine looks that will be deprecated soon.

Android L:

  • New version of Android coming soon.
  • Improved performance with ART.
  • New changes in design (Material Design provided)

Android TV, Wearables and Android Auto:

  • Google Now focused to the auto sector.
  • Better integration with Google Maps.
  • Android Wear for smartwatches.

Other interesting projects:

  • Google Play Services 5.0, adding support to games and improvements in Google Drive and Google Wallet.
  • Google Fit, as we can see in the MWC 2014 this will be the year of the health. Adidas and Nike will back this project that will let the user to know the details of its physical state.
  • Better Chromebook-Android synchronization.
  • Google Slides, a new application for creating slides.

Assistants:

  • Sundar Pichai, senior VP at Google.
  • Matías Duarte, Android UX Director
  • Dave Burke, Engineering Director at Google
  • Avni Shah, Product Manager at Google
  • David Singleton, Engineering Director at Google
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This week was the most expected by the Apple developers: we enjoyed the WWDC 2014 and the new (and dramatic!) changes that are coming with the next version of iOS (iOS 8).

One of the most striking changes was the release of a new language that will coexist (replace?) with Objective-C: SWIFT. Do we really need a new language in order to make things better? Not sure, but it is supposed that SWIFT will bring new changes, a easy way to develop iOS Apps and performance improvements, so it is time to try it out and see how powerful it is.

Some of the key features of Swift vs Objective-C:

  • Playgrounds, a way to see in real time what we are doing during the development process.
  • ARC Support
  • Co-existing with Objective-C
  • Backed by Cocoa and Cocoa Touch
  • New types (Int, Double, Float…abstracted as typical OO classes)
  • Keywords “let” and “var” will be used for defining variables and constants.
  • Methods and functions can return tuples for retrieving N values at the same time instead of the typical single result. It improves the limitation of retrieving a single result in one register of the processor (remember EAX? 🙂 )
  • Assertions – typical use for unit testing-
  • Two main structured types: Arrays and Dictionaries
  • Typical flow control instructions (if, for, while…). Switch-case sentences are more powerful as they can select a case inside an interval. Really interesting…
  • New structure for functions.
  • Closures: (it smells like Javascript…), embedded functionality that can be sent to other functions or methods, commonly used in scripting languages.
  • Class and Structures support: the first one support heritage, type casting and deinitializers – used when resources should be freed, as opposite to initializers-.
  • Subscripts – similars to functions / shortcuts-.
  • Heritage support – subclassing and overriding of methods and properties-.
  • Initializers and Deinitializers invoked when creating and destroying object instances.
  • Extensions, allow us to enlarge the functionality of any class or even of any native type!
  • Protocols support

Well, there are a lot of new features, at the moment these are the most relevant, but Apple has released a free book in iTunes (The Swift Programming Language) to have the first touch with Swift. Now it is time to try it out and move some projects to support iOS 8, so…good luck! 🙂

Related articles

 Posted in ipad, iphone, wwdc |  Tagged , , , , , , , |  Comments Off on Swift vs Objective-C: new features!

How Mobile is hardly impacting in the day by day work of the companies? This week I had the pleasure of showing how the Mobile channel and sales will impact in e-commerce companies in Desigual HQs and what will be the next trends in m-commerce and retail business.

I was able to share the speech with Rafa Granados, who told us the details of how Windows Phone, WebApps and Hybrid Apps will impact on IT and will reduce the costs of developing Apps without making a big trade off with quality.

Speech at Desigual Speech at Desigual

This speech was focused on:

* Introduction to Mobile context.
* Android and iOS history.
* Android and iOS users and behaviour.
* Android and iOS statistics.
* Fragmentation
* New Players: Windows Phone and HTML5
* Windows Phone context and stats
* Native vs WebApp vs Hybrid
* The mobile development process
* Main mobile enterprise architectures
* How mobile will impact in B2B, B2C and B2E areas
* Global quality guidelines.

 Posted in android, barcelona, desigual, ecommerce, google, iphone, market, mobile marketing, trending |  Leave a comment

Yesterday I had the pleasure of giving a speech about communication for the amazing team of SlashMobility. This speech was focused in how to improve our communication skills, detect in what we lack when speaking to other persons and how to empathize.

Next, the roadmap of this talk:

* Consecuences of bad communication skills
* How to solve conflicts
* Common mistakes when communicating with other persons and consecuences
* Why sometimes our messages doesn’t communicate what we want to really say.
* How to become more effective communicating.
* Empathyze, empathize, empathize…
* Non-verbal communication

Speech Jose Cortes communication speech

It was a really interesting talk, where everyone contributed with their own experiences, mistakes and points of views, and we discussed about what are the best ways to avoid the typical confrontation situations or deal with them in a positive and constructive way.

 

 Posted in Communication, Project management |  Leave a comment

New challenges!

After more than a year in Vueling and lots of really nice experiences, it is time to open new doors and become part of new experiences and projects!

determined-challenge-accepted-l Let’s do it!

As IT and mobile technologies evolve, it is important for IT consultants not remain still and grow at the same speed in order to not become deprecated. For these reasons, sometimes it is important to take decisions that will make you out of the comfort zone but at the same time will be part of your own experience. That’s why it is time to join a new adventure: becoming part of the amazing Desigual team as Mobile Architect where I’m sure I will live a lot of interesting experiences and situations that will allow me to work with big professionals. I will contribute in making them growing through the mobile channels, where m-commerce (B2C) and mobile strategy for B2B and B2E will be key for the next 5 years.

I’m sure it won’t be an easy way, but of course it will be funny! 😉

 Posted in android, desigual, iphone, vueling |  Comments Off on New challenges incoming!

Vueling hackathon

by Jose Cortes

After some months of hard working, it has been time to enjoy the first hackathon of Vueling Airlines focused to develop mobile Apps for mobile companies.
article_188_contents_1291_buttonIn this 24h hackathon (8th and 9th November, Mobile World Center) the developers have to create an App that will help to improve the passengers experience, buying process or whatever related to the whole flight.

After a strict selection process and lots of doubts, 20 teams were selected to become part this hackathon, the first one of an european airline.

Finally, the amazing Megateam (composed by Jonathan García, Beatriz Tejero, Toni Camí and Diego Ruiz) were the winners of the competition.

Congratulations!

 Posted in android, Hackathon, vueling |  Comments Off on Vueling hackathon

How are users able to find my amazing App? It is a common question when planning mobile marketing strategy. Not easy to answer because of the difficult to capture the attention of the potential users in mobile environments, but we have some interesting metrics that will help us in order to focus marketing efforts.

Users discovery mobile Apps channels Apps Android and iOS iPhone discovery

The “European Technographics Consumer Technology Online Survey 2012” and via Forrester bring us some data about users behaviours when discovering and using mobile apps. The main top 7 are next:

  1. AppStore and Google Play browsing: it looks like users really love to get lost in the woods of millions of Apps without a clear destination and find something interesting to try out. Human curiosity! 63% iOS users, 58% Android users.
  2. Word to mouth: as usual, one of the most important way to be present in the user thoughts is to be recommended by someone really reliable for  her/him. For me, it is the critical channel. We can spend a lot of money in order to be present and top-positioned in the stores, but making other users talk about your App – in a positive way- is a cheaper and a powerful way to multiply your downloads. Be viral, my friend! 50% iOS users, 41% Android users.

    Google Play featured contents Google Play Apps

  3. Promoted by stores: well, similar to the main choice, featured Apps have a special place in the user heart. I will write a post with the best ways to be featured by both markets, but you know, they really love quality and high value apps.34% iOS users, 25% Android users.
  4. Preinstalled app into device: mmm…it’s ok, but there is not much thing to do about this. iPhone users really like to use the well-known iApps. Android users are more promiscuous in this sense, but if you can be part of a new manufacturer custom Android release for sure you will have a lot of things won.20% iOS users, 23% Android users.
  5. Social Media: my second favourite way to reach the user’s eyes. Social Media is a powerful tool in order to expand through the user’s friends. But in that sense I think we should be careful: bad Social Media plans, stupid-agressive and undesired notifications make me think about future changes in the Social channel behaviour. Be social, but dont be irritating!19% iOS users, 15% Android users.
  6. Internet browsing: typical navigation is still a way to find apps. Not so important as the others, Internet browsing has not to be discarded yet.16% iOS users, 13% Android users.
  7. Classical search engines: I heard Google? 🙂 Yes, the medieval way to find things is still working. Dont forget it. 14% iOS users, 16% Android users.

In next posts i will talk about the main options in order to make our App visible, some interestings platforms – as AppGratis, recently banned from Apple Stored –  that becomes interestings bridges between user and mobile apps developers.

 

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 Posted in android, App discovery, appstore, google, ipad, iphone, market, mobile marketing, trending, Uncategorized |  Tagged , , , , , |  1 Comment

…what would happen?

Yesterday we received an interesting rumor for mobile world: will Google acquire WhatsApp?

According to an unknown source both companies have been trying to close a deal in the last month, and the estimated price is close to one billion dollars. Of course, that deal is not closed yet, so it is possible that that number changes over the next few days or even they abort this negotiation.

WhatsApp penetration WhatsApp penetration

But, how can it be possible that a company like Google is interested in WhatsApp? What about Google Talk? Will they close this service, as they did a few weeks ago with Google Reader? We don’t think so…

At this time, Google has a lot of services related to messaging: GTalk, Google+ Messenger, Hangouts…It is possible that Google plans to merge all user communications – with Babble- in order to improve their “quality information”. The question is: why? In my opinion, having access to “real time” private communications is a powerful tool to learn more about users and a good way to face other real time information sources…we said twitter?:-) Obviously without breaking any privacy policy rule…
Whatever Google plans, what would it mean for Google’s competitors and mobile environment?

*    Facebook: both Google and Facebook are fighting for messaging features and centralizing information – see Android Home services -. It would be a fist in the face of Facebook so it is possible to see an aggressive reaction in the next months.

*    WhatsApp: with a revenue of about $100million, fifth in the App Store, 100 million downloads from Google Play, and Sequoia Capital as main investors in venture capital, the compan

Facebook vs WhatsApp Facebook Messenger vs WhatsApp

y founded by Brian Acton and Jan Koum – Yahoo- will be turn into Google’s communications hammer.

*    Line: trying to overcome the number of download of WhatsApp, it would be a step backwards in its aggressive race against them, but still maintain a good position in the Asian market, a hard battlefield for communications especially for WhatsApp.

*    Apple: it is possible that its closed ecosystem and relative expensive platforms and services becomes a problem if they really want to be a serious competitor in messaging. iMessage is a service for iOS based devices, with a record of 2 billion messages per day versus 17 billion of WhatsApp. Lot of work to do in that sense…

Let’s wait for news and see the next steps!

 

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 Posted in android, appstore, google, iphone, news, trending, whatsapp |  Tagged , , , |  1 Comment

Obviously quality – by definition- implies certain subjective factors. But it is true that exists a global perception that – for the time being- there is a qualitative superiority of Apps iOS-based compared to Android. Warning, i dont want to be tendentious! Android  improved much from the first versions – 1.5, 1.6…- but I think they have a lot of homework pending yet.

After almost 5 years in mobile marketing and development with Android, iPhone – Blackberry also-, our experience has shown us the 5 main qualitative differences why Android Apps are not better – yet – compared to iPhone:

  1.  No restrictions in Google Play – old Android Market-: it is easy to virtually upload any App to the store. No minimum quality. Apple is very clear: try to send us an App that doesnt contribute the community and you will lost two or three weeks in the revision process. 🙂

    Android low quality Apps Android low quality Apps

  2. Fragmentation: it sounds really happy to have available a new version every 3 or 4 months of the platform. But reallity hits your face: you have to maintain the quality in the wide ecosistem: 2.3.3, 3.x, 4.1.x, 4.2.x…Although Google ensures backward compatibility with the majority of the plataform features, our experience reveals that it is not really true. One of the most used word for Android Developers is: WORKAROUND – do some tricks to make something work-. And i will write an articule about the hidden fragmentation: manufacturers Android customization.
  3. Bad – very bad -Android API documentation: what should be a reference for developers contains documentation incomplete, inconsistent and careless. A little example: http://developer.android.com/reference/android/app/ProgressDialog.html#setProgress%28int%29. Stackoverflow becomes the main information source for Android Developers.
    In that sense, Apple takes care about developers, bringing them documentation with quality. Not perfect, of course, but it is something.
  4. Technical complexity: it is impressive the quantity of files, XML, and lines of source code to create a little feature in your Android App. Simple things as apply a simple style on a screen results on creating or modifying lots of files: styles.xml, colors.xml, AndroidManifest.xml, creation of shapes, drawables, backgrounds, selectors…Obviously, more things you get, more things you have to test, especially when you have much lines of codes for a simple feature.

    Android vs iPhone satisfaction Android vs iPhone satisfaction

  5. IDE immaturity: there are a lot of alternatives for Android development, as Intellij and Netbeans. But Eclipse remains as the main and favourity IDE for Android. In my opinion, here we have two main problems: operative bugs, intrinsec to Eclipse and its plugins – constant memory leaks, crashes, workspace corruption…- and Android problems – migrainous visual editor and visual XML leaks makes developer write their UI in raw XML, pitfall for visual bugs. It is easy to find Apps that are not visually correct in some types of screens.

It is my experience, sure we can make this list bigger or different. Did you find any other reason? I will appreciate it if you make me know! 🙂

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By 2014, mobile users will exceed desktop users (Morgan Stanley), and will be remembered as the year when there will be more smartphones that people on Earth :-D. Amazing? Maybe. But what does it mean for us? To face the challenge of making about 7,3 billion smartphones and their users happy :-). Mobile web browsing will also overcome Desktop web browsing.

Mobile Web usage growth Mobile Web usage growth

This growing smartphone penetration has brought high expectations for quality and response time (resumed as UX or Mobile User Experience). Failures are not forgiven: if you cannot address the real user expectations about your company, all efforts will be turn into:

  • Fast decrease in revenues, whatever being your business model: sell channel, in-app purchase, content provider…
  • Brand damage: user can be an ally, but also can be your worst enemy, no empathy with him and you will have viral and negative branding.
  • Low ratings: some companyes are not aware of how dangerous can be not making efforts in quality. If you have a negative review, you will have to get married with that: you cannot delete it,you cannot ignore it, you can correct your mistake but…the review will be there. Forever. I repeat: failures are not forgiven!
Mobile Testing priorities Mobile Testing priorities

Thats why we strongly believe that moving your business into mobile can be a really good revenue channel, but as they say, real business means real risk. So it is important to have a good quality assurance. Couriously, majority of companies focused in Q&A has a primary focus on testing the performance of the Apps further than functionality. Usual priorities such as functionality, security have lower-priority, and companies are focused on demands of end-user, totally different of desktop user!

Extracted from Perfecto Mobile, there are some strategies to take into account in order to build your mobile quality and test plan:

Measure what matters

It is important to clearly define KPIs – Key Performance Indicators- in order to measure what is acceptable for our App and what is not. For example, in a booking process, it is important that whatever your App does in background and no user-significative tasks never impacts on that process. So a good KPI in this case could be the time from the beginning of the transaction to the commit.

Never ever our Mobile Test Plan can include KPIs such as: the booking process has to be as fast as possible. Show me the time!:-)

Select the right devices

Most devices with the same OS – Android, iOS– has common functionalities. Especially in Android, specifications says that if you have the correct OS version, you can access a set of functionalities, APIs, and so on. It is true, but not totally true. It is easy to think

Challenges to Mobile Testing Challenges to Mobile Testing

that testing an App with Android 4.2 on a Sony Ericsson Xperia will have the same results as testing the same App on a Samgung Galaxy SIV. Totally wrong. Our experience has shown how difficult can be to deal with the brand devices user alternatives.

Network conditions

Network Mobile testing is the major headache for the tester. It is really difficult to simulate all the real conditions that our App will be executed on, and it is a common pitfall that makes a lot of Apps crash. Manage the connectivity is a must in a Mobile App, and you can never assume that the request will reach the server, or the response will find the App, or the response will take less than 30 seconds…etc. Always try to simulate worst cases, delays, packet losses, bottlenecks…whatever your instinct says is a potential risk for your App.

Also, it is important to get the values of that indicators in real-world conditions. Mobile network is different to Desktop Apps networks: lower bandwidth, faster transactions and lower response times.  And remember, testing on a Wi-fi life looks happy 🙂 but try to do the same with 3G or LTE when taking a bus 🙂

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After the first day of Mobile World Congress 2013 we already have the first news of the main companies, manufacturers and software developers. This year the event changed its usual location from Fira-Montjuic to Fira-GranVia, at Hospitalet de Llobregat, placed at 4km in an extension of 90.000 m2 and about 18.000 assistants. As expected, this year we hadnt a lot of news about innovation, just another better-bigger-smarter-devices event but no news about originality nor omg!-feelings. 🙂

Trying mobiles out! Trying mobiles out!

This year has been focused in mobile marketing, LTE technologies and the all-present NFC. In my opinion, too many gadgets with this technology, in some cases it looks totally unnecesary but seems like this year a gadget without NFC is a gadget with no future…or present.

Lots of courious devices, as a double-screen mobile, smartwatches – maybe we will see soon an iWatch?:-)- and mobiles, mobiles and mobiles…Smart TVs have not been really present, there were some interesting concepts but is possible that the markets are not ready yet for that kind of technologies.

The remaining days we will see if there are some hidden suprises, at the moment we pay attention at the next steps of the giants of mobility and we hope to find something that make us feel really excited.

In short, the most relevant news about mobility are:

Mozilla

LG

Windows Phone

ZTE

  • Flagship devices with Firefox OS, powered by Mozilla and Telefónica.

    Mobile gadgets Mobile gadgets

Samsung Galaxy

Nokia

4 news phones launched:

  • Nokia Lumia 720, with Windows Phone 8
  • Nokia Lumia 520, with Windows Phone 8, about 139 euros
  • Nokia 105, low cost, if you dont want complications.
  • Nokia 301, low cost, about 65 euros

ASUS

SONY

Huawei

  • Ascend P2

MasterCard

Other interesting compiled references:

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A falta de dos días para el Mobile World Congress 2013, este año parece que será bastante interesante desde el punto de vista de fabricantes de hierro. Por un lado, parece que en el evento se potenciará todo lo relacionado con tecnologías LTE según vaticinan los gurús. Por otro lado creo creo que hay buenas expectativas para ver qué ofrecen de novedoso los gigantes – con permiso de Google con Android y Apple con iOS – de la movilidad.

Mobile World Congress 2013 Mobile World Congress 2013

Este año es posible que veamos un punto de inflexión: durante los últimos años hemos visto evolucionar muy rápidamente el mercado móvil con novedades tan contundentes como el Smartphone – el de verdad-, el iPAD y los TabletPC. Pero es posible que se haya llegado al punto de saturación – quizás sí, quizás no, lo veremos durante el evento!-  y los fabricantes no puedan aportar nada más que una  vuelta de tuerca sobre los mismos conceptos. Un ejemplo es lo que sucedió con Apple con el paso del iPhone 4S al iPhone5: aunque potente, realmente la innovación se echó de menos y todas las expectativas se quedaron en unos pocos centímetros de más…Bonito, pero algo deprimente para ser Apple!

Por el momento, dejo entrever las expectativas de los principales pesos pesados y lo que se comenta en rumores y blogs:

  • Huawei: presentará su Ascend P2 mini, versión reducida del Ascend P2. Más info aquí
  • Samsung: uno de los grandes del que más se espera y posiblemente no decepcionará: Huawei Ascend P2 Huawei Ascend P2

    Samsung Galaxy Star,  GT-S5282. Se descarta la presentación del Samsung Galaxy S4, descartado por JK Shin, su presidente.
    Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, nueva generación de tablets de Samsung.Samsung Galaxy Note 8, con una resolución 1280×800.
    Otros ya conocidos: Samsung Galaxy Q, Samsung Galaxy Young, Samsung Galaxy Fame, Samsung Galaxy XCover2

  • LG: Los coreanos aportan nuevas series de smartphones, concretamente 4:
    Serie L, con el L3, L5 y L7.
    Serie V estarÌa m·s enfocada a Phablets – ni smartphones ni tablets!:-)-.

    Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Samsung Galaxy Note 8

    Serie G, con el Optimus G Pro, con pantalla de 5,5 pulgadas.
    Serie F, con el F5 y el F7, con prestaciones particulares a conocer.En general, parece que LG apostará por la interacción con los electrodomésticos desde el dispositivo, ¿posible reactivación de la futurista domótica?
    También se comenta una fuerte apuesta por la calidad de las cámaras fotográficas, anteriormente se apostó por la óptica alemana Schneider Kreuznach de muy buena calidad.

  • HTC: Potenciará la línea HTC One con Android 4.2.1, One V, One S, One X

    Nokia Lumia 920 Nokia Lumia 920

  • Nokia: Nokia EOS (con cámara Pureview) y Nokia Lumia 920
  • RIM aka Blackberry: Después del año desastroso del pasado año y el poco éxito la tablet Playbook, la línea Blackberry10 intentará recuperar el mercado perdido. A título personal, tras “juguetear” con la Blackberry10, creo que es un buen dispositivo pero tengo la sensación que han llegado un año tarde, la aportación al usuario es mínima, aunque es una opinión y habrá que ver la aceptación de los mercados de consumo.
  • ZTE: Los chinos parece que apostarán por ZTE Open – de Open Source-, interesante y arriesgada apuesta con Firefox OS, primer smartphone comercial con este sistema y basado en tecnologías HTML5. El dispositivo en sí parece bastante mediocre, pero posiblemente levantará interés por ver cómo se comporta su sistema.

    Sony Ericsson Xperia Z Sony Ericsson Xperia Z

  • Acer: Acer Liquid E1, con pantalla de 4.5 pulgadas, cámara de 5 megapíxeles y Acer Liquid Z2, con pantalla de 3.5 y 512Mbs de RAM, de gamas medias y baja, basados en versiones Android 4.1.
  • Asus: tras sus Asus Transformer, este año se espera que aporte una nueva versión de tableta enfocadas al low-cost. No tengo mucha más información al respecto, así que habrá que esperar 🙂

Alguna de esta información es de momento rumores, tenemos que ver realmente qué pasará los próximos días en el MWC para ver las tendencias del 2013-2014 en movilidad.

BlackBerry 10 BlackBerry 10

Por lo demás, es posible que los otros posibles winners del evento de este año sean las Smart TVs, aunque parece que es la típica tecnología que no acaba de arrancar, quizás este año empiece el repunte y veamos un nuevo mercado tan suculento como lo ha sido el del smartphone y del tablet.

También tenemos en el punto de mira a Windows Phone 8 y su alianza con Nokia, veremos realmente si el sistema de Microsoft cumple las expectativas del mercado, que más que una opción es una necesidad para realmente alcanzar un nivel competitivo para jugar en la misma liga que Apple y Google.

Veremos que pasa en los próximos días! Stay tuned!! 🙂

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