Wearable technology is set to dominate the mobile market in coming years. Google Glass has made waves among the tech press and should be available to consumers in 2014. Meanwhile, though nothing apart from rumors has yet emerged, predictions for an Apple iWatch abound. Based on a report from ABI Research, the wearable wireless devices market, led by sports, fitness, and wellness segments, is expected to attain $6 billion revenue by 2018.
Smartwatches that sync with Android and iOS phones, however, are already plentiful. Large and small companies alike offer wristwatches that run apps and extend the capabilities of smartphones.
Here is a list of some of the top players in the smartwatch category.
If you would like to develop apps for smartwatches, speak to one of our experts by calling (603) 881-9200 or emailing us.
Just in time for trick-or-treaters, Google started handing out KitKat yesterday, along with a new smartphone running the latest Android operating system.
Although the tech rumor press had pretty much accepted Key Lime Pie as the moniker for the upcoming Android release, Google announced a partnership with Nestle at the beginning of September. The K-release (following Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich) was thus named KitKat.
New Features in Android 4.4 KitKat
For Android users, KitKat enables always-on voice searching, faster multitasking, wireless printing, integration of Google Maps into the phone dialer and caller ID, and, in a real productivity coup, emoji symbols built right into the default keyboard.
Options for app developers abound, too. Message Access Profile (MAP) eases communication between mobile devices and cars with Bluetooth capabilities. The operating system and apps can be optimized for low-memory devices with as little as 512MB of RAM. An Immersive Mode removes all UI elements like the Home button and top bar. Notifications can include more information like pictures and a chronometer. There’s also support for hardware infrared blasters and tougher encryption.
Nexus 5 Proves Popular
New Nexus devices tend to be hotly anticipated, as they receive Android updates more quickly than other phones and are sold inexpensively and unlocked for use on multiple carriers. The Nexus 5 was no exception, with rumors swirling about its specifications and release date for months. The $349 black and white models with 16GB storage were sold out as of the morning of November 1, with $399 32GB models expected to ship two to three weeks later.
The phone is built by LG and is internally very similar to that company’s G2. It uses the same 2.26GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, but has a smaller 4.95-inch display that nonetheless runs at a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080. The 8-megapixel camera uses optical image stabilization to reduce blur in photos. And of course it runs KitKat from day one.
Unlike the Nexus 4, the Nexus 5 supports LTE mobile broadband, giving it faster access to the Internet. Sensors include accelerometer, GPS, compass, proximity/ambient light, gyroscope, pressure, and hall effect. It also supports wireless charging, Near Field Communication, and HDMI out via SlimPort.
NFC or Near Field Communication is integrated into an increasing number of smartphones. Google Wallet is the first app that crosses our minds when we talk about NFC. However, NFC technology is not just limited to payment alone; it can be utilized for health care checkup and patient monitoring, parking systems, transportation, even creative interactive NFC apps. For example, NFC technology is enabled at The Museum of London, which provides its visitors access to vouchers from the museum's shop and cafes and more information about various museum exhibits.
Various mobile phones support NFC technology, including Android models from Samsung, HTC, LG, and others. Here is a list of some of the best NFC apps developed:
If you would like to develop NFC apps, speak to one of our experts by calling (603) 881-9200 or emailing us.
For the past couple months, Zco has been traveling around New Hampshire speaking to local business owners about the benefits of using iPads to increase productivity and sales. On September 17, it was a seminar organized by Small Dog Electronics, an Apple reseller headquartered in Vermont. Just last week, we were invited to the Apple Store in our own hometown of Nashua for a similar education event.
In both cases, a representative of Apple provided insights straight from the company itself. For instance, IT managers worried about the security of iPads need to address user habits first: about 50 percent of smartphone users don’t take advantage of the built-in passcode feature on the device lock screen, allowing anyone with physical access to use it.
Leveraging iOS Security
The good news is that iPads used for work can be managed centrally to enforce a passcode requirement, as well as other security measures like encryption and network access. In fact, even personal iPads can be managed under a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) model.
Despite the iPad’s (and iPhone’s) origins as a consumer device, there’s a whole infrastructure in place dedicated to making it work in a corporate environment, in concert with Windows servers. Apple even provides an iPad in Business mini-site specifically for MDM (Mobile Device Management), BYOD, user app management, and other IT concerns.
Small Business Benefits in iOS 7
There’s also the fact that new iOS 7 devices activated after September 1, 2013, can download productivity apps Keynote, Pages, Numbers, iPhoto, and iMovie, previously $40 total, for free. With worry about creating and editing documents, presentations, spreadsheets, images, and videos gone, the iPad becomes a convenient and cost-effective business device.
Custom Apps for Custom Businesses
We teamed up with Apple because our custom development expertise perfectly complements the iPad’s solid hardware and operating system foundation. Creating custom apps for corporate clients is our specialty.
Apps for businesses can take a couple different forms: customer-facing apps with a focus on marketing and internal apps that employees use to help do their jobs.
Branded Apps and Games
Customer-facing apps, often known as branded apps and games, enhance the relationship between companies and their customers. They might feature a complete e-commerce experience, extra functionality to use in brick and mortar stores, or even be a fun diversion with the company’s branding. Many offer rewards for using the app that can be redeemed in-store or online, a concept known as gamification.
Internal, Workflow, and Enterprise Apps
Internally, businesses can benefit from enterprise apps. Many businesses already use customized software to track workflow and organize sales campaigns; taking those functions mobile frees up the workforce to go where it’s needed.
Commercially available apps certainly have their place in the enterprise, but for sensitive and unique business functions, custom apps can be aligned perfectly with business objectives. Gamification in the form of sales contests or rewards for completing tasks can be built right into the app.
With consumers and employees alike taking mobile devices everywhere, it’s up to businesses to help everyone use them effectively in their daily interactions. Custom mobile apps can be developed to do exactly what each particular business wants.
To learn more about using the iPad in your business, give Zco a call at 603.881.9200 or email us!
Apple introduced a whole passel of new hardware today, as well as updates to much of its most popular software. At the announcement event, CEO Tim Cook and crew unveiled two new iPads and four new laptops in addition to detailing features of other products that are now available.
New iPads Get Thinner & Faster
Since its first generation was released 3.5 years ago, Cook said, 170 million iPads have been sold. He also claimed that among all tablets, the iPad accounts for 81 percent of all actual use. On the iTunes App Store, 475,000 apps are specifically formatted for the iPad.
Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller took care of the details behind each new model.
First came the iPad Air with the same 9.7” Retina display as the iPad 4, but with a narrower bezel. It’s also 20 percent thinner, at 7.5mm, and lighter, at exactly one pound. The 5-megapixel camera captures 1080p video, and battery life for the device was pegged at 10 hours. It starts at $499 for 16GB of storage and Wi-Fi connectivity. Adding LTE mobile broadband bumps up that price to $629.
The new iPad mini, shipping in November, is simply called the iPad mini with Retina display. The 2048 x 1536 resolution screen was the most-requested feature for the mini, said Schiller. Like the iPad Air, the new mini is built around the 64-bit A7 chip and M7 motion co-processor. The 16GB Wi-Fi version costs $399.
Both new iPads come in dual-tone silver & white and space gray & black color schemes.
Apps Get Updates for Free
While new features were discussed, the biggest news about iLife and iWork was the price for each suite: free. Buyers of new iOS or Mac OS hardware can download the latest versions for free, getting iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Keynote, and Numbers at no cost.
Also free? The latest version of Mac OS X itself, Mavericks. To qualify for the free upgrade, Mac owners must be running version 10.6 Snow Leopard or later and hardware from at least 2007.
New Macs Too
The line of laptops got a spec bump and price drop. The new 11-inch MacBook Air starts at $999, and the 13-inch starts at $1,099. The new 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,299, while the 15-inch starts at $1,999.
Although it comes in a small package, the previously-announced Mac Pro is a monster of a desktop workstation, with up to 1TB flash storage and 64GB RAM. The base configuration starts at $2,999 and will be available by the end of the year.
What do you think of the new hardware and software? Let us know in the comments!
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