Developer – HTML5/iOS/Scrum

Background

My client is a start-up Digital Agency working with a large household name to create a new range of digital products.

They have a requirement for a Developer (HTML5/iOS) to join to work on a cutting edge new digital project.

The right individual will have the opportunity to shape the product, project, technology direction and will be the core of a growing development team.

Requirements:

- An all around mobile app developer who is willing and able to work on all aspects of a new app development (architecture, front + back end, testing etc.)
- HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript
- Experience of development using Scrum
- Solid skills in developing apps for Apple iOS (iPhone, iPad)
- Strong understanding of offline capabilities of HTML5 based apps
- Strong understanding of hybrid iOS/HTML5 apps
- Experience in developing commercial applications that are visible on the App Store

The Role/Responsibilities

- Must be able to work collaboratively with clients
- Must be willing to contribute to all areas of the software development process (requirements gathering/analysis, solution design, testing etc)
- Excellent communication skills
- Must be able to work independently and at client sites
- Be able to work in a fast paced, test driven, agile environment

Other information

- Initial 2 month contract with long extensions likely
- Based in central London

Contact info@nlms.co.uk to apply or for further information

Kindle Winning the Battle of Print v Electronic

Two years ago I predicted that the Amazon Kindle would revolutionise the way in which we buy and read books.

What I actually said was: “The Amazon Kindle will help lead the charge in the market shift away from paper, and towards electronic reading. Get ready for a big change in the way you consume books. The eBook has finally arrived.”

I’m not usually one to say ‘I told you so’ but recent news that customers on Amazon.co.uk are buying more Kindle books than print books seems to show that I was right.

Celebrating the second anniversary of the e-reader in the UK, Amazon revealed that so far in 2012, 114 Kindle books were sold (it doesn’t include free books) for every 100 print books, both hardback and paperback.

Perhaps even more significant, Kindle owners now buy four times the number of books than they did before they owned their e-reader. At the same time, Amazon.co.uk has seen a 400%-plus increase in the number of UK authors using the self-publishing tool Kindle Direct Publishing.

That’s a lot of would-be writers out there!

Kindle EU vice-president Jorrit Van der Meulen said: “Customers in the UK are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books, even as our print business continues to grow. We hit this milestone in the US less than four years after introducing Kindle, so to reach this landmark after just two years in the UK is remarkable and shows how quickly UK readers are embracing Kindle.” Of course, what these statistics don’t do is compare revenue share – often many Kindle books are sold for a lot less than their print versions. Neither do sold eBooks necessarily equate to read eBooks – I’d suggest there’s a lot of impulse buying of cheaper eBooks partly because the mechanism to obtain them is so much easier.

That said however, the fact that Kindle has transformed our reading lives so dramatically in such a short time is testament to the fact that Amazon’s pared-down e-reader does its job effectively without any need for any of the bells, whistles or gimmicks that its competitors all too frequently opt for.

When you want to read a book, you just want to read a book. Simple. In my original blog entry two years ago, I also said: “This Kindle serves one purpose, reading books, and it serves that purpose well. Better in fact than any other device currently available. Amazon already controls the means of content distribution for books. Now they have a good device to distribute electronic formats, they will continue to dominate the book market in the way Apple have done with music.”

Again I don’t want to say ‘I told you so’, but…

Happy Facebook IPO day

On the 16th April 2007 I posted the following as a note on my Facebook account:

Facebook Has Arrived
The buzz around Facebook at the moment is just incredible and is proof that the social networking phenomena that has been predicted and talked about for years has now well and truly arrived.

The BBC mention it daily in their news programs as does just about everyone else. Registered user growth is exponential and currently expanding at 5% a week. That is a staggering figure!

I believe the Facebook model could help solve the email spam issue and help make the web feel like a smaller more personalised environment which is something most of us are crying out for.

It’s new status as a platform will ensure its success and some measure of longevity, a major issue with these sort of sites (hands up who remembers friendsreunited.com?). By allowing developers to extend the platform, Facebook will remain fresh and exciting for some time to come. Only basic plugins have arrived so far. Wait until Google, Ebay, Amazon and co wake up and smell the coffee.

Facebooks founder, Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly been offered $1bn for the site already and turned it down (quite right, its worth far, far more). His ambition for Facebook is nothing less than for it to become the social operating system of the web, the Google of people. Quite a target. There’s nothing like aiming high Mark.

Watch out Google. A new contender has stepped into the ring and its got knuckle dusters in its gloves.

It is incredible in light of what will happen today that only 5 years ago Facebook was valued (by someone significant) for “as little” as $1 billion.  Today it is expected to be valued at $80-100 billion.  Not bad for 5 years work!  To put this in perspective, this is in the same region as McDonalds, a global food giant that has been established as a market leader for over 50 years.

It is still a risky investment by the way.  The continued hype and strong feelings for Facebook mean it may be over valued.  However, if they can continue to deliver on their incredible promise and monitise their business model in the way Google have done then they may be very cheap at twice the price.  Watch this space.

2012 – The Year of the Internet Connected TV

This is what I predicted in Dec 2011, less than a month ago but it already but seems like almost a year:

Connected TVs will continue their slow rise to prominence and will one day soon be a defacto standard. An estimated 50m will be sold this year. Apple is rumoured to be working on an offering which is likely to launch this year and will no doubt be beautiful. Uptake of connected TV’s is slow comparative to other technology because of the high cost of a new TV. People are used to changing mobile phones every 1-2 years but TV’s only every 10 years or so.

I’m now convinced that this will be the year that Internet connected TV’s hit the big time in the UK, US and other core markets.

The launch of Netflix in the UK this week and the battle with Lovefilm that it has brought about will lower prices for all of us and quickly accelerate the terminal decline of DVD and Blueray.  Streaming movies to your TV will rapidly become the norm for most of us.  The proliferation of circa £100 streaming servers (Boxee, Apple TV, etc) have already reduced the barriers to entry and now we will have the content to make the technology a worth while investment.

I’m going TV shopping tomorrow.  Its time to embrace to the future of TV.

2012 Technology Trends To Watch

Here are my picks of the Technology trends to watch for in 2012.

Mobile Commerce

10% of visits to eCommerce sites in the UK already come from smartphones. Support for mobile in retailers digital presence will become a must have in 2012. Any retaliers without mobile enabled sites at the very least will be losing significant competitive advantage (you know who you are – PC World, Currys etc etc)! Simplicity is the key. At the very least retailers need a mobile enabled site that works on all platforms and screen sizes that allows the customer to carry out the basic shopping activity.

2012 will see the Olympics where mass audiences will watch through mobile for the first time.

Mobile gaming devices like the Nintendo DS are under threat as mobiles continue to replace them for many casual gamers. SMS services from mobile providers are also under threat as people move to free alternatives (BBM, Facebook etc).

Twitter

Twitter will continue to grow rapidly. 2012 will be the year where it introduces its full advertising offering and it will start generating some serious revenue.

Near Field Communications (NFC)

NFC (Near Field Communications) payments are on the way. The iPhone 5 is likely to support this and with a push from Apple it could really start to gain traction.

Internet Connected TV

Connected TVs will continue their slow rise to prominence and will one day soon be a defacto standard. An estimated 50m will be sold this year. Apple is rumoured to be working on an offering which is likely to launch this year and will no doubt be beautiful. Uptake of connected TV’s is slow comparative to other technology because of the high cost of a new TV. People are used to changing mobile phones every 1-2 years but TV’s only every 10 years or so.

Education

Education is becoming more expensive across the world due to widespread cuts in public services brought about by the global recession. Technology is emerging that would help students and educators (eBooks, Cheap laptops/tablets etc, video). Societal changes in digital media and communications haven’t really spread to education yet. Video is a great way of teaching anything. YouTube is launching an education service giving schools access to 450,000 education videos.

What Have I Missed?

What important trends have I missed? Let me know via the comments below.

Amazon Kindle 3G Review – The eBook Has Arrived

My new Kindle arrived this weekend.  This is Amazons’s new 3rd generation eBook reader.  There was some media fanfare when this device was announced a few months back, but all has been quiet of late.  Is it any good, and will it be a significant entry to the market?

The first impression is good.  It is well packaged in the minimalist style Apple has got us all used to. The size is just right.  It has the same dimensions as a small paper back book and is around the same weight.  The battery is only called upon when turning pages or downloading new books, so it will easily go 1 month between charges.  The e-ink screen is easy on the eye and can be used outdoors in bright sunlight (unlike the iPad).  New books can be downloaded over WiFi or 3G.  The Kindle looks and feels good.  It is not as flash as the iPad, but is not trying to be.   It is well priced at £109 for WiFi only and £149 for WiFi/3G. It would be nice to see this fall below the £100 mark soon, however someone, somewhere is buying it as it is now sold out until mid September.

The Kindle means I can now carry all my books with me wherever I go, without breaking my back.  The list of available books is somewhat limited at present, but expect this to change quickly.  You can even download trial versions of any book so you can read a bit before you buy.

A great feature is that I can read my kindle books on my iPhone or iPad when I don’t have my Kindle with me. I will never be without my books again.  It even remembers and syncs the page I have reached in each and every book so I can immediately continue reading where I left off on a new device.

This Kindle serves 1 purpose, reading books, and it serves that purpose well.  Better in fact than any other device currently available.  Amazon already control the means of content distribution for books.  Now they have a good device to distribute electronic formats, they will continue to dominate the book market in the way Apple have done with music.

The Amazon Kindle will help lead the charge in the market shift away from paper, and towards electronic reading. Get ready for a big change in the way you consume books.  The eBook has finally arrived.

Is the launch of the iPad the start of a new era in computing?

The Apple iPad goes on sale in the UK on Friday morning. It is probably the most hyped piece of technology ever.  Is it a game changer, or just an over-sized iPhone?  The answer is both and so much more, and that is why it will be one of the most important computers ever!

If you have some spare cash, buy some shares in Marvel comics!

The iPad is simply brilliant for reading books, magazines and comics.  To see what I mean watch the demo video for the Marvel Comics app.  Marvel is going to make a medium sized fortune with this app.  Aged comic book fans, who wouldn’t dream of setting foot in a comic book shop, will be suddenly paying £1 to download X-Men #96 that they could never dream of having as a child.

The iPad also opens up a new world for game players.  Real Racing HD and Scrabble are the best examples of the gaming potential of the iPad.  The large iPad hand held screen with motion sensitivity and the iPhone as a controller is a potent combination.

The built in Safari browser on the iPad works nicely.  Video embedded in web pages now makes sense and works well.  Browsing the web is now the multimedia experience it has long been trying to be.  The iPad is perfect for the sofa, bed and kitchen or anywhere else where a laptop is oversized and over-powered.

Everywhere you go, and everything you do…the iPad can go with you, and there will be an app for that!

The range of iPad specific apps is limited at present but this will change very quickly.  The real interesting apps are still a glimmer in someone’s eye (hopefully mine) but expect this device to be used in situations and places you never thought possible.  The potential is limitless – think hospitals, schools, shops and restaurants just to start.   The European Parliament has preordered 763 iPad’s, one for every MEP.  It is good to see the worldwide recession has not prevented our public servants treating themselves to this “vital to their jobs” bit of kit.  The iPad will reach critical mass quickly, so get ready to see it in the hands of people on trains, tubes, buses, coffee shops and parks soon – and don’t expect it to be unusual for long.

They say that true perfection has to be imperfect…

As with most Apple launches, the first generation device is not all it could be.  The Wi-Fi is unreliable (a weak and poorly located aerial), it takes too long to charge and burns through the battery quickly.  It lacks sufficient memory to run its apps, meaning developers are severely constrained when building software.  It is expensive to buy and lacks a camera.  Apple will of course resolve these shortcomings in the 2011 versions of the device.  Indeed, many of these “features” are deliberate by Apple to ensure healthy sales of the 2nd generation devices.  The only weakness Apple will not address of course is the price, because they do not do cheap.

The addition of the camera in the 2011 model will make the iPad the killer device for video conferencing.  The iPhone 4G (July 2010) will blaze the path for this and the iPad will take it mainstream.  The upgrade to the operating system (OS4) to allow limited multi tasking will add massive value to both the iPhone and the iPad and help keep the competition at bay for a little while longer.

Hoping to see Flash on the iPad, er…don’t hold your breath…Steve Jobs is no fool!

Do not expect to see Flash on the iPad ever, period.  HTML 5 is the way it will be and the world will follow suit.  Sorry Adobe!  The choice of Objective C as the programming language for the iPad is not coincidental.  Picking Java or .Net would have given a controlling hand in the future to Oracle or Microsoft and Steve Jobs was never going to make that mistake.  Having started my career as a C developer back in the 1990’s it warms my heart to see this language making a powerful return.  Thirty-Eight years young and entering a renaissance.  Now that is lasting power!

Reports vary, but somewhere approaching 2 million iPad’s have been sold in the US to date.  In most locations, they are indefinitely unavailable.  In the UK, they were available for preorder from 10th May.  By 14th May, Apple had sold out the first allocation, and as of now the earliest you can get your hands on one via the Apple website is an unidentified date in (late) June.

The world is changing, and Apple understands this…do you?

The iPad represents a new era in computing.  It will prove to be the most significant computer since the IBM/PC of the 1980’s.  It will permanently change the operating models for publishing,  gaming and video to name just a few.

In 1848, Karl Marx said that power in society lay with the owners of the means of production.  In today’s world this is still largely true, but all the factories are now in China.  So where does the power lie in the rest of the world?  Power in the West at least now lies with the owners of the means of distribution.  On the surface Apple is one of the World’s largest technology companies, but what they really are becoming  is the world’s largest content distributor.  They started this trend with music, which they now dominate much to the record industries disdain.  They will continue with books, magazines, newspapers, comics, games etc.   The group that controls the distribution of information will be all-powerful in the 21st century.  Google started this by controlling content on the web, Facebook are carrying the torch for digital personal information, and Apple is starting the 3rd leg of this relay race.  Watch this space, and be afraid if you are a content producer because you are about to be owned by a fruit!  The man from Del Monte (Steve Jobs) has said “Yes”.

Check back here next week for an update following the UK launch of the iPad.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.