I recently attended a conference where the main theme was how to grow the audience for mobile apps. The landscape was pretty broad from games to social apps, e-commerce and so on. There were two main themes that kept being repeated at the conference: advertisement and attribution.
For those like me that aren’t familiar with attribution it’s essentially a set of tools to monitor where clicks come from. This is useful in two ways: to track which of your marketing campaigns are working and to limit fraud.
A talk I really enjoyed and that was full of data points was from Chris Calderon @ Gamejam. He offered a lot of detail around user acquisition strategies and costs when developing hyper casual games. An interesting aspect of hyper casual is that as a developer you should acquire users at the lowest possible cost (true for everyone) so that your users will see the most ads. This to me sounds like a numbers game, <ads I show> – <ads to acquire user> = <profit made>.
A related topic that came up more than once is the relationship with the Play Store and App Store. It’s key to have a relationship with the staff there, but even when developers have a relationship, irrespective of the app category, they have no control over their own fate. Getting featured on the opening page of the store makes any app an instant success, but get below the top 10 of your category and nobody will ever find you. As a developer you are left advertising your apps on Facebook while you hold your breath and hope to get noticed and given a shot at the opening page of an app store. It’s not an exciting perspective, especially if you are a small or even medium development company.
To make the situation more complex users aren’t really keen to pay a premium. Top games on consoles cost tens of dollars and often come with monthly subscriptions, but in the mobile world apps are at most 99 cent or a few dollars. Hyper casual games are quintessential of this landscape: maximize ad revenue versus cost of (user) acquisition.
So this left me with more questions than answers. In a time when more and more people are wondering how to find the right balance between meaningful ads without giving up (completely) privacy why are developers cornered with only 1 viable business model?
Mobile phones seem to have opened a million opportunities, but aren’t there better ways to earn a decent profit from creating apps (utility, games or other) that is not showing as many ads as possible?
I was doing some cleaning up and tidying up and an item that has been sitting on my todo list for a long time was to move my personal blog from a private hosting to a cloud service. I have had a private hosting (virtual server) for many years, but the reality is that I haven’t used it for 4 maybe even 5 years. I was just too lazy to transition to something else.
As I completed the transition to wordpress.com I also realized I have not written a blog post in more than 4 years. My last post was about starting at Samsung and the first few months. It’s been a great ride, I did many different things and learnt a lot. Samsung is in the past, though.
During those four years I worked on some amazing projects, maybe it’s because it was the first one, but Simband still holds a very dear place in my heart. If you haven’t seen it, it was a power-house of sensors to push innovation in digital health. The watch (admittedly pretty bulky) had multiple PPG sensors, GSR, could read ECG signals and more. All with raw signals available to developers either in the embedded processor or in the cloud. Pretty innovative for 2014! Here are a couple of my favorite pictures (all Samsung copyright!):
After Simband I transitioned to ARTIK, helping the cloud team first and eventually building a catalog of software, services and hardware components that could be used with ARTIK. While ARTIK was meant to be the central module controlling all IoT, it needed a lot more to actually build an IoT product. As of today it looks like most ARTIK properties are down and only a few areas are still visible. It’s not even worth linking. One of my favorite outcomes has been the Kitra GTI, an IoT gateway with everything you can dream of:
So here we are, at the end of 2018 and ready for a new adventure. In October 2018 I joined Kin to continue innovating, but this time with Blockchain.
If starting a new job is not exciting enough, on my first day I went straight to the SFJAZZ Center to meet my new colleagues and see them get ready to come out of stealth mode. The day after the big announcement: two projects are announced, Simband and SAMI. The first is an open platform for developers to work a wearable device the second is a data exchange platform. Basically the two hottest topics in technology today. If you are curious the full presentation is available.
One of the many improvements introduced by HTML5 is around forms, users hate filling forms and developers hate validating the data submitted. HTML5 makes these tasks a lot simpler.
In this article I will not talk about what HTML5 added, but I will rather focus on what is new in IE10 mobile, i.e. the browser that comes with Windows Phone 8. At the end of the article I have collected a few useful links that cover HTML5 forms at large and provide more examples and complete support tables. All the code examples are meant to be cross-browser, unless specified. Continue reading “HTML5 forms (and IE10 (Mobile))”→
Producing images of the perfect size, when you create a Web site that targets multiple device classes with very different screen sizes is always a problem. There are a number of solutions out there, but they all require some kind of server-side detection and image wrangling. tinySrc is a nice and simple solution that takes away most if not all of the legwork. Possibly the only downside of tinySrc is that it relies on server-side detection itself. A lot of developers that worked with browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Opera advocate for client-side detection where it’s the browser that tells you about its capabilities instead of relying on a static database. I will not go into the details of why and when one is better than the other, let’s just say that tinySrc already gives you the power of the server-side, with my little software you can also benefit from the power of the client. Continue reading “Responsive images and tinySrc”→
DISCLAIMER: I work for Nokia, Forum Nokia. DISCLAIMER 2: What I am going to say here is exclusively my own thinking and analysis and based only on what is publicly known.
I have no insight on why and how the decisions were made, no insight of any behind-doors-agreements, gossip or promises.
What I am writing here is simply the result of my thinking based on what I have read and heard in the public announcements. Continue reading “Why Microsoft and Windows Phone 7 is the best way to pee in your pants”→
It is very common that over the years something gets more and more cluttered, until at some point someone comes in and decides it’s time to clean up and start fresh, based on current and up-to-date needs. User-Agent strings, part of the HTTP request headers, are no different and between desktop and mobile browsers, the history is long and the amount of text (some might say useless text) has just kept growing. I am going to try and write down what is important today and why. Continue reading “Sorting User-Agent strings out”→