Monday, 25 April 2016

10 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Mobile App Developer

If your company doesn't have a mobile app yet, you could be missing out on a golden opportunity to tap into new revenue streams. Smartphones and tablets are where today's consumers live. The majority of the 120 million smartphone owners in the U.S. use a shopping or retail app at least once a month, according to a recent Nielsen report. Yours could be one of them.
If you'd like a mobile app that lets customers buy your products -- or simply access products reviews, videos or coupons -- you'll need to hire an experienced developer you trust to custom build it.
Here are 10 key questions to ask mobile app developers to help you choose the right one for the job:
1.Where can I find examples of mobile apps you've developed? 
Qualified candidates should be eager to provide you with a list of apps they are personally responsible for creating -- or at least played a major role in developing -- complete with links to each in Apple's iOS App Store, BlackBerry App World or Google Play, Google's Android app store.
"That way you can begin to gauge whether or not they have the skills, experience and vision to produce the type of mobile app you're looking for," says Chad Mureta, CEO of App Empire, a San Francisco-based app development firm, and author of App Empire: Make Money, Have a Life, and Let Technology Work for You (Wiley, 2012).
Related: The Basics: 3 Important Tips for Creating Killer Mobile Apps

2. May I have a list of your current and past clients? 
Unlike reading movie credits, there's typically no way to tell who actually developed an app. This is why speaking directly with candidates' current and former clients can be essential to verifying that the developers actually created the apps they claim to have worked on, Mureta says.
Checking references also gives you an opportunity to ask how reliable, responsive and results-oriented candidates are. For example, you might ask whether they delivered on deadline and within budget, and how well they work under pressure.
Candidates sometimes only offer references who have a favorable opinion of them, says Farhan Thawar, vice president of engineering at Xtreme Labs, an Ontario, Canada-based mobile strategy and product development firm. He suggests visiting a candidate's LinkedIn profile to see if you have any professional colleagues or former co-workers in common. If you do, contact your mutual connections and ask them about their impression of the candidate's experience, capabilities and work ethic.
3. What kind of smartphone do you use?
This question can provide insight into how passionate and knowledgeable a candidate is about specific mobile platforms, Thawar says. "If you're telling me that you can build an app for an iPhone, then you should have an iPhone, you should be playing with the apps that you are building and also playing with other people's apps on a very regular basis." The same goes for Android and BlackBerry.
4. How can my app make money? 
If your primary goal is to generate revenue with your app, the developer needs to know exactly how to build in features that will allow you to make money. You could opt for a pay-per-download revenue model, charging, say, between 99 cents and $4.99, depending on how many features your app offers.
If you opt for a free app, be sure the candidate is well versed in how to integrate mobile display ads, in-app purchases or paid subscription services.
5. How will we communicate during the development process? 
The quality of your app often depends on how clearly and often you communicate your app design and functionality requirements throughout the development process.
Does your app developer prefer to chat in person or via phone, Skype, instant message or email -- and how often? Or does he or she prefer to interact with you using a popular project and task management system like 37signals' Basecamp? How often will he or she provide you with status updates?
6. What kind of special features can you create? 
Apps rarely grab consumers' attention without truly innovative and useful features. Figure out the bells and whistles you'd like and then assess your developer's capabilities. For example, can your candidate add 3-D gaming, social media sharing, GPS check-ins or product coupon elements to your app?
7. Who will own the mobile app? 
Typically the individual or company paying for a mobile app will own the finished product, Mureta says. To be sure you own all the rights to the app you commissioned, you and the app developer should sign a written "copyright assignment" or "work made for hire" contract. The document should establish confidentiality and state that you own the app's design, source code and all of its content.
8. How will you test my app? 
Generally, the best way to test an app is simply to run it on the smartphone it will be used on. The candidate should provide a thorough explanation of how he or she conducts an extensive beta test to weed out any glitches. If bugs are found, how will the candidate fix them -- and how quickly?
9. Will you submit my mobile app to app stores? 
After you've approved the beta-tested version of your app, the last step is for the developer to submit it to an app store for approval to be sold there. App submission is often a long, multi-step process that your developer should already know how to successfully navigate.
10. What are your fees and payment terms? 
Draft a written agreement specifying that you will pay the developer by the hour or with a flat fee. Most developers, like Mureta, ask for a one-time fee upfront. Others require a deposit at the beginning of a project, often for up to half of the estimated total cost, with the balance due when the app is completed.
The most basic mobile apps can start between $1,000 and $5,000, but you could end up spending many times more if you pay a developer by the hour. More complicated mobile apps, including ones that are database driven or involve 3-D gaming, can cost thousands more.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Nine Tools for Building Your Own Mobile App

Nine Tools for Building Your Own Mobile App

As a small-business owner, if you decide there's good reason to develop your own mobile app, there are several ways to do it.

But before you dive into the deep end of the app development pool, familiarize yourself with a number of the more advanced mobile development options. Here's some background on each platform:

Android: You can create apps using Java for Android by downloading its free software development kit. The kit comes with samples, source code, developer tools and emulators for testing your app. Android even provides how-to videos, technical articles and instructions on how to develop apps, just in case you're feeling overwhelmed. A one-time $25 developer registration fee is needed to distribute apps in the Android marketplace, now known as Google Play.

Apple iOS: If you want to create an iPhone app using the iOS platform, you'll need to shell out about $99, which isn't much considering the elegance and functionality of the program. The iOS Developer Center has a wide selection of tools, tips, debugging tests and guides for creating apps for just about any purpose.

BlackBerry: The BlackBerry platform supports several ways to develop applications, mobile websites, themes and even widgets. To distribute apps on BlackBerry's App World, you have to pay a fee for every 10 apps you submit for approval. BlackBerry often offers promotions to waive this fee.

Windows: The Windows platform may not be the world's largest, but its user interface is easy to use. The Windows Phone development program provides valuable documentation on the best practices for marketing your app. Plus, you don't have to worry about your app or game idea getting rejected after you've spent time creating it. Windows provides clear documentation on what will fly and what won't with its approval process.

Related: How to Build a Mobile App for Your Business

Now that you have a better sense of the platform options, you'll want to start considering which tools will help you create your mobile app. But what if you're not a programming junkie? What if you don't necessarily like to speak in code? There is good news: There are plenty of app development tools for ordinary humans, too.

Here's a look at nine that you might find useful:

1. AppMakr

This is a browser-based platform designed to make creating your own iPhone app quick and easy. You can use existing content and social networking feeds to produce a variety of different approaches for your app. It includes features such as push notifications, location- aware GeoRSS, custom CSS and JavaScript capabilities.

The tool is free to use, but a $79 monthly fee per app subscription gets you access to more advanced features. AppMakr works on the iOS, Android and Windows operating systems.


This tablet and smartphone publishing platform allows you to create and manage your presence on all popular mobile devices, including iPad, iPhone, Android and HTML5 apps. It delivers rich graphics, photos, video, audio and other forms of interactivity.

GENWI also enables you to revise your apps as often as you like. What's more, apps can include various revenue-generating capabilities for businesses, like ads, coupons and in-app subscriptions. After a three-month trial, pricing varies by features included.

3. Mippin

One of the greatest strengths of the London-based Mippin platform is its ease of use. It allows you to create apps for Android, iOS and Windows, and provides flexibility in designing the app. You can even have Mippin distribute your app for you to the iTunes, Android, Windows and Amazon stores. Native apps can cost as much as $999 per year.

4. MobBase

Are you a singer or in a band? If so, then MobBase is for you. This app builder allows you to use an RSS feed to keep your fans up to date on band news and events, lets you upload tracks for fans to listen to while browsing the apps and makes it easy for fans to find information on upcoming shows, buy tickets and get directions.

Activation of an iOS app requires a one-time fee of $250 (includes $99 to set up an iOS developer account). Android activations run $20. Hosting fees range from $15 to $65 a month. Additional fees for support services are not included.

5. MobiCart

Do you have an e-commerce store that you'd like to take into the mobile sphere? Then MobiCart might be what you're looking for. It links up with PayPal to allow any business or consumer with an e-mail address to securely, conveniently and cost-effectively send and receive payments online.

Basic plans cost $15 per month. "Pro" plans will cost $49 per month.

6. MyAppBuilder

For just $29 a month, MyAppBuilder will create an iPhone or Android app for you. All you have to do is provide content (videos, books, etc.) and their pros will take it from there. You don't need a technical background to develop an app with MyAppBuilder. They'll even take care of the hassle of uploading it to the app store for you.

MyAppBuilder says can create two apps per month once you register and pay a $29 monthly membership fee.

7. RunRev

You can use RunRev's LiveCode to develop your app, which is an English-like language for developing iPhone and Android apps.

With this cross-device platform, you can build live prototypes that use the full capabilities of iOS and Android devices and deploy to whatever platform your customers need. The site is also packed with plenty of tutorials to help you along the way.

Pricing for RunRev's commercial-level LiveCode packages range from $299 to $1,499.

8. ShoutEm

Another easy-to-use platform is available via ShoutEm, which is set up for bloggers, students, sports fans, news portals and local publishers. You don't have to have knowledge of coding to set up your app, and ShoutEm will even take care of the iTunes and Android Marketplace submission process.

ShoutEm offers basic, advanced, pro and enterprise-level packages that start at about $30 per month.

9. SwebApps

Here is a simple, inexpensive way to build, track and update a native mobile app for your business. You create your iPhone and/or Android app online. Once it is available for download via the iTunes Store or Android Marketplace you can update content in real time through SwebApps.

The basic package, which includes one app for one platform, requires a one-time $399 development fee. Hosting costs an extra $29 per month.

Building your own app can be an effective way to differentiate your brand, to open up new revenue channels and deepen your relationship with your customers. These tools can help you come up with the app that's best suited for your business.


This article is an edited excerpt from Go Mobile: Location-Based Marketing, Apps, Mobile Optimized Ad Campaigns, 2D Codes and Other Mobile Strategies to Grow Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012) by Jeanne Hopkins and Jamie Turner.

Corrections & Amplifications: A previous version of this excerpt misstated the operating systems on which AppMakr runs. It works on the iOS, Android and Windows operating systems.

Thomas Suarez: A 12-year-old app developer

What do you think about this talk? Nearly 2.5 million views say it all!

2016 Bring New Cross Platform App Development Tools And Oportunities

Unity is one of many powerful tools allowing you to easily develop cross platform apps. Image credit: Unity.

If you’re a technology fan or just like new things you probably have read websites like TechCrunch, Wired, Engadget and Forbes. You must have noticed new smartphones and tablets coming out every month. Bigger, faster, thinner, lighter…

The same is happening with the mobile software. It’s amazing. If you compared what we had in 2011, just five years ago, and today, you’d notice that we don’t need to use our laptop or desktop computers for many tasks anymore. You can order food, travel, rent a place, meet new people, learn, teach and do things you never imagined you could do, all from your mobile device.

Despite the dominance of key players (Google and Apple) in the mobile devices industry, we’re seeing new players and products entering the market every year. And even amongst the goliath Apple, once known for its uniformity in devices, we’ve seen them launch several different shapes and sizes of mobile devices in the market now. Android is well-known for its thousands of different form factors and screen sizes. So what does it mean for the app developer? It means there are big questions about what kind of apps to develop, what OS to optimize for, and ultimately tools and platforms to use in the design and development process.

Over the past couple of years, along with the growing needs of app developers, the app development platform and tools market has evolved and grown as well. A few years ago you needed a team of highly-skilled mobile developers and designers to create an app. And you were building it from scratch in an IDE (integrated development environment).

But today, seasoned and aspiring developers can both access numerous of types of tools that enabling them to create and launch apps faster than ever. Most important, you can now create cross-platform apps that will enable you to reach more users no matter the location, income or device type. Best of all, most of these tools let you focus on what matters most: delighting your users.

Let’s take a look at some of the latest cross-platform app development tools available in 2016. If there is a tool I missed, make sure to leave a comment or a tweet.


Image credit: Xamarin.

Xamarin is a Microsoft-owned software company. With C# codebase, you can develop Android, iOS and Windows apps with the powerful cross-platform development tool Xamarin. One key feature is that Xamarin allows code sharing in multiple platforms. Xamarin has a cloud service, which allows testing any number of devices.

Pricing: $25 – $158/month


Image credit: Kinvey.

Kinvey is a backend service that helps developers and enterprises to set up and operate a cloud backend for their mobile, tablet and web apps. You can easily secure mobile data and identify, standardize backend integrations, and scale up or down with turn-on infrastructure.

Pricing: $24,000 – $60,000 app/year


Image credit: Mag+.

Mag+ app SDK allows developers to build on top of their core components, saving hundreds of man-hours of coding. Also, there is an app for iPad which provides the fastest, simplest publishing platform for creating content optimized for mobile devices, without the need for programming skills.

Pricing: $499 – $2,999/month


Image credit: Xojo.

Xojo is a development tool targeting Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, x86 Linux, iOS, as well as the web and Raspberry Pi. Xojo offers Xojo Cloud for easy, secure, maintenance-free web app hosting.

Pricing: $99 – $1,999/year

Corona Labs

Image credit: Corona Labs.

Corona supports all major platforms, including Android, iOS, Windows. Corona’s tool is specially made for building 2D graphics games and educational apps.

Pricing: $79 – $199/monthDropsource


Image credit: Dropsource.

Dropsource was built for developers to more efficiently design, build and deploy iOS and Android apps from scratch right in the web browser. Build your app using drag and drop, connect apps with any RESTful API, and Dropsource uses automated programming to generate clean and succinct source code for you. Then you can download to launch in the app store or customize the source code in an IDE.

Pricing: Free (during beta), $20 – $75/month


Image credit: Yapp.

Yapp enables users to create personalized mobile applications for their events, gatherings and groups. It’s one of the easiest and most affordable way to create and instantly publish mobile event apps. Engage and delight participants.

Pricing: $399 – $1,599/app


Image credit: Cocos2D.

Cocos2D is a place to create 2D apps and publish from a single code base to mobile, desktop, the web, and console. It gives multiple options for languages in which your code can be written. Such as cocos2d-objc, cocos2d-x that uses C++ as a language, cocos2d-JS uses JavaScript, cocos2d-XNA uses C#, ocos2d- swift uses objective C, etc.


Image credit: Kony.

Kony is a mobile application development platform for building mobile, tablet, desktop, and kiosk applications. It’s one of several platform supports that developers can use to build mobile applications for consumers and enterprises.

Pricing: $15 – $29 user/month


Image credit: Unity.

Unity is one of the biggest game development platforms. You can use Unity to build high-quality 3D and 2D games, deploy them across mobile, desktop, VR/AR, consoles, PC, mobile devices, and websites.

Pricing: $75/month


Image credit: Appcelerator.

Appcelerator is a mobile app development platform delivers great native apps, rich MBaaS, and real-time mobile analytics. It supports JavaScript as a core language for writing a code with an alloy of MVC framework.

Pricing: $39 – $259/month


Image credit: GameSalad.

GameSalad revolutionizes learning through applied game development. Composing games in a drag-and-drop fashion, using visual editors and a behavior-based logic system. It’s built for creative professionals such as graphic designers, animators, and game developers for rapidly prototyping, building and self-publishing cross-platform games and interactive media.

Pricing: $19 – $29/month


Image credit: BiznessApps.

BiznessApps is an affordable and simple place for small businesses to making mobile apps. It’s an iPhone, iPad, Android & HTML5 app platform that allows any small business to simultaneously create, edit, and manage mobile apps and mobile websites online without any programming knowledge needed.

Pricing: $29 – $59/month


Image credit: MobinCube.

MobinCube is a drag and drop, web-based app builder which lets non-developers build their own mobile apps using a series of templates. It allows you to create applications for smartphones and tablets with no technical knowledge, build for iPhone/iPad, Android, and Windows Phone.

Pricing: $10 – $100/month


Image credit: AppsMoment.

AppsMoment is an application builder for iPhone, Android, iPad and Kindle App without coding. With more than 300 app templates and 120 features, you will be able to create your first app.

Pricing: $49 – $197

What is holding you back from developing your own app?

There is no more excuse left not to develop your own app. Tools are there. You just need to invest your time and very little money to get your app out in the market.

Haven't got the time or maybe too many ideas? Give us a call and we can listen, think, and work with you to get your idea into your hands. Contact us now


Monday, 18 April 2016

Great example of a developer who negotiated a deal for his app on shark tank and got...

Check out this guy, a late 80s enterprenuer who went from trading pokemon cards to flipping and developing apps. True hustler gets a great investor deal for his first app!

Do you think  apps like this really help our society? Please leave your comment below