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Latest Android, iOS moves wow developers15 November, 2012 | Article Source: Srini |
As the mobile landscape mushrooms, operating systems are taking center stage. In fact, sooner than later, operating systems will be the major ‘show runners’ and will play a pivotal role in defining mobile success – be it mobile advertising, building addictive apps, or manufacturing phones and tablets.
Of the several mobile platforms out in the market, iOS and Android’s dominance remains unchallenged for the most part. Between the two, they share almost 80% of the global market. The interesting thing is that each company creating these platforms has also taken to manufacturing devices independently – Google, rather recently, and Apple, of course years ago.
An open secret about Google-Apple economy lies in apps – they drive the greatest share of mobile revenues for both. Apps are a key influence across all consumer-related fields—business marketing, lifestyle, gaming, fun, entertainment—even politics.
In fact, unlike 2008 where political campaigning in the US virtually thrived on social media, this year, of the approximately $1 billion spent on the election by the Democrats and Republicans, around $54 million has been spent on digital advertising — including mobile apps.
It’s fairly obvious that apps are past the period when they were mere fun tools. Today, they are proven vehicles for driving information consumption and sharing, and getting a toehold in niche business markets, especially when brand advocacy is becoming increasingly difficult with numerous brands vying strongly for consumer attention.
Since Google and Apple are on top as the two major apps players, here’s a rundown of the latest innovations surrounding the two, which can be useful in mapping out your own app ideas.
What’s new: iOS 6; iPhone 5
The iPhone 5 is out, and once again, meeting the huge initial demand is a production challenge. With iPhone 5, Apple’s has ventured into 4G on the A6 processor—which simply means a more exhilarating apps and streaming experience on tap at all times.
Other than the iPhone 5 hardware itself, the typical Apple fanboy on the street is raving about ‘iOS 6’. The upgrade is touted to bring on some 200 big and small feature additions, the most prominent being: a reply-later option for phone calls you can’t take immediately, seamless iOS-Facebook integration, Facetime over cell-phone networks, and Apple’s much awaited maps app.
Another great piece of news is that Apple’s moving towards bridging the gap between iOS and Mac. In the next Mountain Lion upgrade, Apple will inch the iOS closer to the Mac platform, blurring the lines between future laptops and tablets/smartphones.
These incremental additions should spur app users towards exploring a much faster, innovative iOS, which in turn could lead to creation of multi-platform apps on Apple devices on the world’s hottest selling apps platform.
What’s new: The latest from Google is Jelly Bean, the Android 4.1 update which is expected to match up to the iOS 6, especially in its voice recognition capabilities. Jelly Bean is set to amp up the overall ‘voice’ experience as Android users would now be able to deploy voice recognition offline. Jelly Bean also comes with swipe-and-search, which brings search to your fingertips, quite literally. The flip side however is only a very small fraction of Android users would be able to upgrade to Jelly Bean–again due to the infamous Android fragmentation roadblock.
Google’s also out with Google Now — its latest attempt to optimize search on handheld devices. To a certain extent, Google Now can be dubbed the Android equivalent of Siri, but there’s definitely more to it. Google Now draws on users’ search preferences, emailing habits, history, calendar usage, GPS location etc to send out relevant information specific to a given user at a given moment.
As Google puts it, “With the predictive power of Now, you get just what you need to know, right when you need it.”
Google’s also continually innovating the hardware on its devices – the Nexus 7 with its sprawling seven-inch display, and the Google Play integrated spherical Nexus Q being classic examples.
To add to it, Google is also looking closely at spicing up its tablet apps market, which many feel lacks the same versatility as Google’s massive smartphone apps repository. It has already published a “tablet app quality checklist” on its Android Developer website to galvanize developer support for taking advantage of large-screen Android tablets and building a tablet apps storehouse.
What it means: Android already powers more phones than iOS, and Google’s concerted attempt to refine its tablet market will only add to its expanding market share of smartphones and tablets. With its hardware moves, Google’s adopting a holistic approach towards providing developers with a more innovative Android platform.