A Hypothetical Co-Working Space in Downtown Toronto

Photo: Northwest corner of University Avenue and front Street, Toronto

The downtown location in question.

Jesse and I took at look at some primo office space in downtown Toronto today for our mobile software startup, CTS. Located a hop, skip and a jump away from Union Station, brimming with nearly 3,000 square feet of space, several offices within, featuring exposed wooden beams, brick walls and high ceilings as well as a big boardroom and even a shower, it’s a beautiful spot. It’s just a bit large and a bit pricey for a company of five. We talked about this with the people offering the space, and in doing so, we found that they’d be open to us sharing the space with other people. “As long as we’re getting rent for it,” they said.

On our way outside, I was struck by an out-there idea. “Jesse,” I said, “What if we took the space, used only the parts we needed, and rented out space to other people? Maybe as a coworking space?”

He looked at me in wide-eyed amazement, replying “I was thinking just the same thing!”

Here’s my question to people looking for great office space right in the heart of downtown, within striking distance of the financial district, Spadina, the TTC and GO Trains, the Island Airport and a zillion other things in the core: If we were to rent this place and then rent out desks — say for $550 a month — or even whole rooms, would you be interested?

Let me know, either my my work email or personal email, whichever you prefer.

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.


The Management/Employee BYOD Gap

it employee byod gap

One thing we do at CTS is help companies put together mobile device strategies, and a key part of that process are our mobile assessments. In our assessments, we get feedback from as many parts of the client organization as we can, and often we find that management has a certain set of needs, wants and expectations, which often differ from those of the rank-and-file employees. That’s why we try to get input from as many different people within the organization as we can: a mobile strategy that serves only part of the organization can often be worse than having no mobile strategy at all.

As I wrote in an earlier article, Samsung’s mobile division have been chasing after the enterprise market. Opportunities abound in the enterprise for the Apple/Samsung duopoly, what with the mass exodus from BlackBerry and a complete lack of interest in Windows Phone, despite their business-friendly features. In their pursuit of enterprise customers, they’ve been doing their homework and finding out what people at enterprises want in their BYOD programs, and their findings are summarized in the infographic above.

Note that in some cases, management and employees agree on what’s important to them in a BYOD program, while in other cases, there’s a fair bit of disagreement. Here are issues on which management and employees mostly agree:

  • Having a single mobile device for both work and life helps maintain work/life balance.
  • Being able to send and receive company email from a BYOD device is crucial.
  • Equally crucial for a BYOD device is security.
  • Also important: being able to access the web and review and edit documents with a BYOD device.

Here’s where management and employees disagree:

  • Employees think that it’s important to be able to multitask across a variety of functions on a BYOD device; managers less so.
  • Far more managers than employees believe that being to access enterprise productivity applications and resources on a BYOD device is important.
  • Far more employees than managers believe that being able to share large files via a BYOD device is important.

These differences in opinion are to be expected; after all, the sort of work that management does is quite different from the rank-and-file, and vice versa. The lesson to be taken away from these observations is that when putting together a BYOD plan, you have to remember that a one-size-fits-all approach will often be unsuitable, especially in organizations with more than a few dozen people.

This article also appears in Mobilize!: The CTS Mobile Tech Blog.


Samsung and Android News Roundup

samsung galaxy s iii phones

Buoyed by the Galaxy S III smartphone and the Galaxy Note II “Phablet” and sales of flatscreens to all manner of companies — including their rival, Apple — Samsung made over $8 billion in profit during the most recent quarter. They’ve managed to move almost 500 handsets a minute, selling about 15 million Galaxy S IIIs and another 8 million Galaxy Note IIs.

Neil Mawston, executive director at market researcher Strategy Analytics, said that his firm predicts that Samsung will sell 290 million smartphones this year, up from a projected 215 million for 2012. Kiwoom Securities’ analyst, Kim Sung-in, has an even bigger estimate: he predicts Samsung shipping 320 million smartphones in 2013, with tablet sales doubling to 32 million.

apple and android

The latest numbers for ComScore’s MobiLens numbers have come in. For November 2012 in the U.S., they say that Android had 53.7% of the market share followed by iOS, with 35.0%. Combined, that’s nearly 90% of the U.S. mobile market: a Google/Apple duopoly.

Here’s a table based on ComScore’s latest data showing U.S. mobile market share by vendor:

Smartphone Vendor Aug 2012 Share Nov 2012 Share Change
Google 52.6% 53.7% +1.1%
Apple 34.3% 35.0% +0.7%
RIM 8.3% 7.3% -1.0%
Microsoft 3.6% 3.0% -0.6%
Symbian 0.7% 0.5% -0.2%

Recovering Windows Phone Champ that I am, it pains me to see that Microsoft’s share has dropped from 3.6% to 3.0% (it also relieves me that I’m no longer involved with that train wreck). It’s a far cry from Gartner’s predictions — and yes, I’m going to keep pointing back to them from time to time: they said that by now, they expected Windows Phone to have made off with nearly 11% of the market.

samsung corporate hq

With the increasing abandonment of BlackBerry devices and the Galaxy S III passing security muster at a number of corporations, Samsung is reportedly making big pushes into the enterprise market for 2013. According to Reuters, SAP has standardized around the Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note and Galaxy Tab devices. SAP’s CIO says that “the one clear trend in enterprise is the shift away from one device to multiple devices” and “because of the fragmentation of the Android software, we decided to go with just one Android company and we went with Samsung”.

samsung galaxy s3 and iphone 4s

On the more personal side, reports of Apple fans taking up Android devices and enjoying them continue to pop up. I myself picked up a Galaxy S III a month ago and have made it my primary phone for the time being. It’s quite enjoyable, and I have yet to find an app that’s iPhone-only that I miss. I’m enjoying my stay in Android-land.

A notable convert is mobile app developer Grandcentrix’ CEO Ralf Rottmann. He was a die-hard Apple fan, but in a popular article on Gizmodo titled An iPhone Lover’s Confession: I Switched to the Nexus 4. Completely., he writes that he’s fallen in love with Android:

I find it to be better in terms of the performance, smoothness of the rendering engine, cross-app and OS level integration, innovation across the board, look & feel customizability and variety of the available apps.

This article also appears in Mobilize!: The CTS Mobile Tech Blog.


My Favourite Java Joke

…aside from the language itself (I kid because I care):

Facepalm Picard: "I had a problem so I thought to use Java. Now I have a ProblemFactory."

By Orange and Bronze Software Labs. Found via Dare Obasanjo.


The First Mobile Developer News Roundup of 2013: A Whole Lotta iOS News

A large array of app icons

Ed Bott is that rarest and most curious of creatures — a Windows fan — so it shouldn’t be surprising that when Apple reported that they hit the 40 billion downloads from the App Store, with nearly half of that in 2012, his take-away from the news was that the numbers were good for Apple and less so for developers. At no point does he make any mention of the vast sums of money one can make on the Windows Phone marketplace, because no such opportunities exist. Speaking as a former Windows Phone Champ, I think I can safely say that my one post about ridiculous Windows Phone market share predictions has made more money through Google AdSense than most Windows Phone apps.

In the Wall Street Journal blog Digits, Matthew Lynley says that these 40 billion apps have led to $7 billion in payouts to developers. He also notes that the rate at which developers are being paid is accelerating, from a total of $2.5 billion total in July 2011 to $4 billion in March 2012.

It should be noted that a mere 25 developers accounted for half the revenue in the U.S. App Store (for iPhone apps only) and Google Play in the first 20 days of 2012, according to the analytics firm Canalys.

Crowded Apple Store

There’s always a lot of that repeated mantra, “Android is Winning”, but according to Kantar WorldPanel’s data, iOS is leading the pack in smartphone OS sales. For the 12-week period ending November 25th, 2012:

  • iOS surpassed the 50% of phones sold, acquiring 53.3% of the market
  • Android dropped 10%, down to 41,9%
  • Windows Phone held steady at 2.7%

An interesting observation from Kantar:

Of those who purchased an iPhone in November, 27% upgraded from another smartphone OS, 34% upgraded from a previous iPhone and 40% upgraded to their first smartphone.

Joey deVilla's iOS development setup

iOS developer Andrew Rauh has put together a list of things he’s learned as a freelance iOS developer. You should read his article for the details, but here’s a quick summary:

  1. Be picky with your clients. 
  2. Reuse code.
  3. Always ask for at least half the cost of the project up front.
  4. Keep communication consistent, but don’t allow clients to be obsessive.
  5. Anticipate the worst.

Justin Benson asks an interesting question: Would Instagram make it today, as an iOS-only app? He writes:

Would Instagram make it today purely on an iOS only strategy? One answer is Yes. There are many more iOS devices in play today then when they launched. The potential audience is therefore much larger. So they numbers would indicate it’s more than doable.

Yet what would we think of someone who tried to just support one platform? Would it indicate closed mindedness? Elitism? Out of touch with the broader world? Would it say “These guys just don’t get it!” – even to many iOS users?  Would it make you wonder about just how good a product they can build if those are some of their foundational qualities?

Closeup of MacBook Pro keyboard

And now, a number of coding links…

  • NSLogger: A high perfomance logging utility which displays traces emitted by client applications running on Mac OS X or iOS. It replaces your usual NSLog()-based traces and provides powerful additions like display filtering, image and binary logging, traces buffering, timing information, etc.
  • Determining a user’s most important contacts on iOS: “Many iOS apps provide an ‘invite your friends’ feature. From a usability design perspective it is desirable that the app suggests friends that are likely to be invited by the user. This article explains an App Store-legal heuristic that guesses the most important contacts in a user’s address book on iOS. Additionally, it provides an example implementation and a demo application under the MIT license.”
  • Mosaic UI: A tiled UI for iOS that does automatic layouts based on the tiles’ sizes.
  • Real-time iOS filesystem monitoring: Security Aegis have an article covering the use of filemon.ios to watch applications as they drop files to the app filesystem as well as automate the finding of of all kinds of M1 Insecure data storage vulnerabilities.
  • Demystifying iOS application crash logs: An article at the always useful site: “you’ll learn about some common crash log scenarios, as well as how to acquire crash logs from development devices and iTunes Connect. You will learn about symbolication, and tracing back from log to code. You will also debug an application that can crash in certain situations.”

This article also appears in Mobilize!: The CTS Mobile Tech Blog.


Happy New Year!

"2013 is gonna be awesome" over a starry background

Have a great new year! Regular posting will resume on Monday, January 7th.