Android TV and Apps

Did you hear about the new Android TV? These televisions have caught the fancy of people and offers a new way to watch television. Be it playing games or browsing the net, an Android TV offers a lot.

However, Android apps haven’t been that easy to make. So, if you are looking forward for developers to make apps for Android TV as well, you need to consider certain aspects first.

Here is a look at the difficulties developers face when designing an Android TV box app.

Developers work hard, putting in lot of thoughts, time and energy into making a great product. However, many developers fail to take a few key steps that can help them create that magical app. It has to be remembered that almost everyone has a smartphone today. While there are millions of apps for the Android smart phones, apps which are specifically designed for playing with Android TVs are still not that high in number. Developers need to meet different challenges to design newer and better apps. Creating the right product and managing to get loyal customers requires a good strategy.

All about apps

The app icon and the user interface should be clean and be easy to use. Users begin to form opinions about the app once they download it. Developers should read the reports from users to find out the requirements.

Determination of the demographics

Developers get vast information about app users and usage from users. If you are thinking to create a new app, you need to think like a marketer and critically analyze the market to determine your target demographic. For instance, if your app is targeted at low-income people within a particular age group, why would you concentrate on building apps for iOS?

Of course, if you do that, you will spend more money and energy building apps for the wrong audience. Android TV apps in particular, need to be more appealing.

Investing on metrics that can be quantified

Most developers don’t understand how to make proper use of app usage data. As a developer, you ought to read usage of app data by users on a daily basis. Developers should also use reports which show how effective their ads are and how much they can possibly monetize it.

Network for discoverability

Networking with other app developers is a great way by which you can take your apps to even greater heights. Utilize social networks and also guest blog about your app in other app developers’ blogs. You can also simply attend seminars or webinars where app development is the topic. Building relationships in the right circles can offer results that you never anticipated.

Conclusion

Developers require extra effort and research to come out with something innovative. If they are developing an app for an Android TV, they need to first know the audience well to understand the needs and preferences. There are several ways of doing this. As a developer, the end product should actually be user friendly for the users.

Games and Brand Extension – Do They Click?

For this article I wanted to look into the way that traditional games and gaming elements have been used to enter the mainstream space from a business standpoint to either incentivise consumers or engage them on a different level.

Games are primarily an entertainment medium, but that hasn’t stopped companies from having games developed to reach a different demographic than perhaps represents their core market. An ad campaign may run for 2 weeks, 4 weeks or 2 months but branding within a game can have a much longer shelf life. The most common example of brand extension within the gaming arena focuses on movie tie-ins. Many Disney/Pixar films release a game based on the film around the same date. It helps consumers engage with the film on a deeper level and get to know the characters and brand better making it ultimately more likely that additional purchases of merchandise or DVDs are made. The main issue with game tie-ins however is often they are rushed to coincide with the film release and most end up being fairly average titles. The sheer fact that the majority are aimed at a very young audience means though that children tend not to worry too much about this and just enjoy controlling the characters.

Looking at something completely different from an engagement aspect. Papa John’s pizza in the UK released a mobile gaming app which had you deal with pizza orders and create pizzas as perfectly and speedily as possible. App was priced at 69p with the hook being if you reached a certain score then you could earn a free pizza. It was a well made game and was quite a fun stand alone game as well as being challenging in the later levels. The only disappointing part was upon reaching your free pizza it was for collection only which limited me somewhat but was still a good prize.

Weight Watchers UK campaign last year focused on treating weight loss like a game thanks to the point system that was in use. It was an interesting take on things but it wasn’t continued for the 2013 marketing campaign. Arguably, despite the fresh take on losing weight, it didn’t engage the largely female audience of its membership base as even now, females are still in the minority when it comes to enjoying games. It perhaps didn’t resonate as strongly as it should have.

When there is a natural gaming tie-in that fits organically such as in Wreck-It-Ralph you get the best of both worlds – a good film and a very relevant game. You even have in-game advertising which can be seen in many of the Need For Speed series of games. Rockstar also create such believable worlds with their Grand Theft Auto series that there are teams dedicated to creating fictional brands within this universe – they actually extend their own brands within the games and also into the real world. Rusty Brown Ring Donuts is one that always springs to mind.

I’d be interested to hear any other examples you may have experienced perhaps in countries other than the UK.

Gadgets and Apps – Welcome to the Future of Travel

Travel’s facelift for the 21st century has been radical and far-reaching. Skype and wifi have replaced the ritual of calling home by feeding endless foreign coins into a phone box, updating your Facebook status is the new postcard, and travellers are increasingly likely to use ‘augmented reality’ rather than have a guidebook tucked under their arm.

If anything, the pace of change continues to quicken – exciting, sometimes mind-boggling innovations are appearing all the time, meaning how we interact with places and people keeps on evolving. Below are some of our favourite gizmos and gadgets.

iLingual

A phrasebook like no other – download the iLingual app, take a photo of your mouth, the app then has over 400 phrases your mouth can ‘say’. Cue the odd sight of travellers holding their iphones in front of their actual mouths as the screen ‘talks’. Watch a video for this app – a demo is better than any written explanation. Only a few languages on offer at the moment, but it can’t be long until iPhone-bearded travellers are pow-wowing in Swahili on the Serengeti savannah.

Word Lens

Very Star Trek this one, another app for those struggling with mastering a foreign language. Word Lens only currently translates English-Spanish, but it’s a neat idea and could be genuinely useful. All you need to do is aim your iPhone camera at some printed text and Word Lens translates it in realtime. You need never struggle over a foreign language newspaper again (or at least not a Spanish language one).

Google goggles

Google goggles may just be the biggest game-changer of all. It’s still in its infancy, but the image recognition software is looking a pretty awesome and versatile travel tool. Here’s how it works: you’re strolling around a city, or a museum or gallery, you take a snap of something you want to know more about it, if Google recognises the subject of the image it will bring up search results. Cue instant expertise and a handy tool for appearing knowledgeable about, well, everything – from sourcing well-reviewed restaurants to enabling you to wax expertly on, say, pre-Incan Peruvian art. In other words, this may be the ultimate dating tool.

World Customs

We always give people who travel with us with plenty of tips and guidance about local cultures and etiquette in foreign countries, so this app is right up our street. Pick your country and then you’ll be presented with a load of helpful info on the destination – from law & order to religious etiquette to taboos. Great for sorting out your do’s from your don’ts.

And a couple of lower-tech gadgets we like…

Solar-powered LED light and water bottle cap

This one looks genuinely good doesn’t it? Mixing water and electricity perhaps isn’t intuitively clever, but the sealing means you’ve got nothing to worry about, and the light is supposed to be decent enough for a tent lantern. The idea of a solar-powered torch may lead cynics to snipe about artificial light being a little redundant if the sun is beating down, but ignore them – this has a good charge, is cheap, light and saves space, and is environmentally intelligent.

The daddy of all Swiss Army Knives

A supercharged multi-tool that looks like it’s on steroids. 87 tools on offer, including – at last! – a golf shoe spike wrench. All that’s missing is a flux capacitor. This one kilo treat fits snugly into your pocket, providing your pocket is 30cm long. A snip at nearly $1000AUD, plus postage, which presumably bumps the final price tag up a bit, not least because the instruction manual must run to a couple hundred pages.