Tag Archive | "html5"

Social Commerce Startup Chloe+Isabel Introduces Live Virtual Jewelry Trunk Shows

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Chloe+Isabel earrings

OpenFin Raises $4 Million To Bring HTML5 Apps To The Financial Services Industry

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Financial services-focused software developer OpenFin has raised $4 million in a new round of funding to help financial services firms update their technology infrastructure and junk the Bloomberg terminal. Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Opera Signs Up Samsung For Its Smart TV Apps Store

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Opera Software today announced that it has signed up Samsung as its tenth partner for its HTML5-based Opera TV Store. Besides its mobile and desktop browser, Opera has long been working on increasing its profile in the smart TV world and the launch of the TV store at CES last year marks its latest foray into this business.

The Store made its first appearance on Sony TVs and Blu-ray players in March 2012 and since then, Opera has signed up MediaTek, Humax, Changhong, Konka and Amino. It’s also available on a number of TiVo, TCL and Hisense devices.

The partnership with Samsung will bring the Opera TV Store to a couple of select Blu-ray players in the near future. It’s unclear if Samsung also plans to bring it to its TVs as well, where it has a pretty wide reach with its own HTML5-based Smart TV platform.


The Store is cloud-based, which makes deploying it – and the apps it showcases – pretty straightforward for OEMs that want to integrate it into their own products.

One Opera TV feature the company plans to showcase at CES this week is its previously launched Snap technology, which allows content owners to turn their online video channels and existing video catalogs into TV apps in just a few minutes.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Nickelodeon Partners With Ludei To Bring HTML5 Games To Its Upcoming Android App

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Ludei, which offers an HTML5 platform for building games and other apps, is announcing today that it’s powering the games in Nickelodeon’s upcoming Android app.

Ludei CEO Eneko Knorr said that Nickelodeon is basing “its entire game development strategy” on his company’s technology, with the kids’ entertainment channel treating the new app as a “container” that will include dozens of HTML5 games. The app is scheduled to launch on November 15.

“It’s clear that HTML5 is the right choice for cross platform game development, but development challenges require close attention in order to achieve optimal performance,” said Dhimiter Bozo, vice president of engineering for apps and games at Nickelodeon-owner Viacom, in the press release. “Ludei’s easy-to-use solution helps us address these challenges, and makes it easy for us to deliver excellent, native-like HTML5 game experiences.”

As for iOS, where Nickelodeon already offers an app, a company spokesperson said that these games would be included initially, but they added, “obviously” the goal in embracing HTML5 is “to enable across platforms.”

Ludei says there are now 20,000 developers, including three of the world’s top 20 game publishers, using its platform. It raised $1.5 million in funding earlier this year.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Bunkr Unveils New Major Version Of Its PowerPoint Killer

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French startup Bunkr just released a new major version of its presentation web app in partnership with Etamin Studio. It still is a fully responsive HTML5 web app that works seamlessly on your computer, phone or tablet. Yet, it was redesigned from the ground up and the new user experience should make the app more appealing to new users.

As a reminder, Bunkr is the PowerPoint killer we’ve all been waiting for. It allows you to collect content and create a presentation, integrating the cumbersome image searching and saving step into the service. Whenever you see something that you want to add to your presentation, just click on the bookmarklet and it will be in your Bunkr account. Users can collect images, videos, websites, articles, notes or quotes.

On the presentation side, it looks a lot like PowerPoint for the web. Like in PowerPoint and unlike in Prezi, Bunkr still uses the traditional slide metaphor with simple drag and drop mechanisms. In other words, Bunkr paid attention to heavy PowerPoint users — they won’t feel lost.

Finally, sharing a Bunkr presentation is as easy as sharing a URL. It makes it much easier to see a presentation on a smartphone or tablet or even to send a presentation to someone. And if you really need this .ppt or .pdf file, you can download it.

For now, you have to search on Google Images, YouTube and your hard drive to import content. Adding support for more services should come next. Even though Bunkr wants to replace your Evernote presentation folder, linking directly to Evernote has its own advantages.

Out of its 35,000 user base, 500 clients are already paying for the product. The ratio is definitely low, but the startup already has some high-ranked clients, such as Amazon, Publicis and Orangina Schweppes. This new version is really what it should have been from the get-go. It looks better and it works better. Now, gaining traction and raising the right amount of money are the two next steps to turn Bunkr into a serious Prezi and Google Docs competitor.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Shumway, Mozilla’s HTML5-Based Flash Player Replacement, Lands In Firefox Nightly

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Shumway, Mozilla’s technology experiment to build an efficient, web-native renderer for Flash files, has now landed in the latest Firefox Nightly builds. The idea behind this project – which is still far from being production-ready – is to fully replace the Flash Player to display SWF files by using HTML5 and JavaScript.

Back in the late 90s, Macromedia’s Flash Player helped bring sound, video and animations to the mainstream web, but today, Flash is probably one of the most hated browser plug-ins. It’s still heavily used, however, and while most mobile browsers don’t support it anymore, it remains a staple on the desktop.

Mozilla started working on this project in early 2012 and, as it noted when it last talked about this project in detail in November 2012, the main goals for Shumway are to “offer a run-time processor for SWF and other rich-media formats on platforms for which runtime implementations are not available.” It also wants to push the open web forward by improving ways to display rich media format in the browser without the need for proprietary solutions.

Until now, Shumway was only available as a browser extension. It’s still not activated by default in the latest Firefox Nightly builds (version 27), but you can go to about:config and activate it (you still need to have the Flash Player installed, though).

Even without installing the latest Firefox Nightly, you can take a look at its capabilities thanks to Mozilla’s online Shumway Inspector. While Shumway won’t run all that many commercially available Flash applications yet, demos like this racing game or this basic 2D physics engine demo show the technology’s potential. Whether it will be able to fully replicate all of Flash’s capabilities remains to be seen, however.

For Mozilla, this is the second major project that replaces an Adobe technology. With PDF.js, the organization already replaced Adobe Reader as the default technology for rendering PDF files in the browser.

It’s also worth noting that other projects have tried similar approaches in the past. Google’s Swiffy, for example, launched as an SWF to HTML5 converter in 2011, and while we haven’t heard all that much about it since, it looks like that project is still going strong.

Adobe itself has also been stepping away from Flash, too, and virtually all of its recent projects for web developers have been about supporting web standards and creating HTML5-based sites.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Steroids.js Bridges The Performance Gap Between PhoneGap And Native Apps By Using Native UI Components And Animations

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Steroids - logo steroidsag

Adobe’s PhoneGap mobile app development framework for bringing HTML5 hybrid apps to mobile devices is incredibly popular, but even though developers love the fact that they can write cross-platform re-usable code with it, it’s not exactly known for being very fast. Steroids.js, a new project from AppGyver which officially launched today, aims to bridge this gap by combining PhoneGap’s solution with access to native user-interface components, navigations and animations.

Steroids then lets developers easily add these to PhoneGap HTML5 apps to allow them to build “HTML5 hybrid apps with animation and other performance results that are indistinguishable from those of native apps.”

As AppGyver founder and CEO Marko Lehtimaki noted when I talked to him earlier this week, the system is fully compatible with PhoneGap and even supports PhoneGap plug-ins. The tool has been in development for about 18 months now, he told me, and has been in private beta for almost a year. Now, the AppGyver team believes, it is ready for prime time and “fully battle-tested and production ready.” Lehtimaki told me his team has spent almost eight man-years working on fixing PhoneGap’s performance issues.

The use of PhoneGap at the core of Steroids also means you get the same kind of hardware access as regular PhoneGap apps, including support for the device’s camera and microphone, for example. Steroids also has built-in CoffeeScript and Sass support and allows you to quickly set up a Ruby On Rails-like scaffold for your apps, featuring a number of generators to get your started. Overall, Lehtimaki estimates, using Steroids can speed up development times by up to 30 percent.

For developers, one of the nifty features of Steroids is that you can easily connect it to your device and see your code in action right away. Pushing an update to the device just takes one click and for debugging, the team integrated the Safari Development Tools to let you make changes to your code on the fly.

For easy ad-hoc distribution of the new app, Steroids uses a QR Code that you can quickly scan to load the app onto your device.

Steroids is free for developers who want to just give the service a try and for anybody who wants to develop open-source software with it. AppGyver also offers a commercial license, starting at $60 per month, for those who plan to release an app under their company name and for freelancers who will be developing for companies.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Amazon Appstore Now Open To Web Apps, With One-Click In-App Purchases In Tow

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Amazon today is announcing a significant expansion to its mobile application marketplace, the Amazon Appstore, which will now be open to developers of HTML5 web applications and mobile websites. These web apps will be discoverable and sold alongside other native Android applications on any device where the Amazon Appstore is able to run, including, of course, the Kindle Fire.

At launch, a small handful of web applications have been added to the Amazon Appstore catalog, including “Happy Tree Friends: Run & Bun” from TreSensa, “Dream Pet Link” from Spil Games, and “Video Game Reviews, News & Previews” from IGN Entertainment. However, today’s announcement is more about making it known to developers that the Amazon Mobile App Distribution Program is available, rather than touting a lineup of new additions.

To date, the major smartphone app stores, including Amazon’s as well as Apple’s iTunes App Store and the official Android app marketplace, Google Play, have only made native applications available for search, discovery and download. Though web app developers have certainly targeted these markets in the past, they would first have bundled their HTML5 code in a native wrapper of sorts, using something like PhoneGap, Titanium, or Corona, for example.

With Amazon Appstore’s support for HTML5 web apps, however, the process for a web developer becomes even easier as it doesn’t require developers to do any native app development at all, or use any third-party software. Instead, they submit their URLs and other metadata (e.g., images, product descriptions, etc.) to Amazon, who will then package it up in a format that makes it available to millions of Kindle Fire owners, as well as any other Android smartphone or tablet owners who have the Amazon Appstore running on their device.

Amazon is using its own in-house technology to make all this possible, explains Appstore Director, Aaron Rubenson. However, for Kindle Fire specifically, he says the company has built something more. “For Kindle Fire, we’ve built a new, faster web runtime environment based on the Chromium project. Other devices will use the web runtime environment that comes with whatever device the consumer happens to be using,” Rubenson says.

The web applications won’t be categorized separately from other natively built applications in the store, making the distinction between native and web apps more of a blurry line for consumers.

One-Click For the Web Apps

In addition, web developers will be able to take advantage of a number of tools previously out of their reach, including Amazon’s Appstore analytics and reporting, and more importantly its In-App Purchase API. The company built an extension of that API that will work for JavaScript, allowing developers to sell virtual goods, subscriptions, upgrades and more within their web applications, and have consumers pay for them using Amazon one-click, just like the Android native counterparts.

In time, Amazon may choose to bring more of its native offerings to these web apps, like its “login with Amazon” authentication technology, for example, but that’s not a part of today’s focus.

Rubenson says the company is excited for the addition of web apps to its store because it’s another way for developers to monetize their efforts – meaning, of course, Amazon gets a cut via the standard 70/30 revenue share involved. Plus, it serves as a way for developers without the experience needed to build native Android applications can bring their apps and sites to Android users. This targets a large swath of iOS developers, naturally, who today are still bringing their applications to iPhone or iPad first with promises of Android applications yet to come.

This is true not only for smaller startups who don’t have the resources or skill set in-house to build for Android, but also for larger tech companies who just don’t see the benefits in developing for a consumer base that’s still relatively difficult to extract revenue from.

Expansion Through Pre-Loads

Though the impact of such a change to Amazon’s Appstore may not be immediately obvious upon today’s launch, Amazon notoriously plays the long game. By opening up to web apps, Amazon has taken a step that hints at its longer-term plans on mobile – a comprehensive app store which grows its numbers by betting on the good-enough capabilities of the web, and R&D spent specifically on making “the web” work better and faster on Amazon hardware.

Meanwhile, though rumors of an Amazon smartphone swirl from time to time, what Rubenson would say today is that the company is currently focused on expanding the Appstore’s footprint and distribution through pre-load deals. Three of last several Verizon handsets (Samsung Galaxy S4, LG Lucid 2, Motorola Razr Micro) have shipped with the Appstore pre-installed, he says, and there are around a half-dozen preload deals in total. These are all in the U.S. for now. But, says Rubenson, “we’re viewing this as a global market segment for us.”

Support for web applications follows a series of moves in making the Appstore more robust an offering, including the launch of other developer tools like analytics and reporting, A/B testing, in-app purchases, GameCircle, and more. The Amazon Mobile App Distribution Program is available now at https://developer.amazon.com/appstore in the nearly 200 countries Amazon’s Appstore serves.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Debunking Some Myths About Native And HTML5 Hybrid Apps

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An elegant iPad app is like a fine yacht. Built the right way, the app can have a sense of elegance that provides the customer with an optimal experience. The Google+ iPad app has that beauty and usability. Flipboard provides a similar experience. But even more so, an iPad app moves the work experience from the desktop to the mobile arena.

According to Wall Street & Technology, that apparently also includes retail trading, where iPads are fast replacing the desktop. Several companies have abandoned HTML5 for pure native app development. LinkedIn made the switch to native apps, as did Xero, the successful online accounting SaaS provider. But the move toward HTML5 with iOS wrappers is certainly growing.

For the uninitiated, a hybrid is written with web technologies that run inside a native app container. For example, a hybrid iPad app would be written in HTML5 with Javascript and CSS. Developer frameworks to build these new types of apps include PhoneGap and  appMobi,  now part of Intel. Icenium is another example of this new kind of framework. Salesforce.com has its own offering. Conduit have morphed into a framework provider from its roots in providing community toolbars.

tradeMonster is an HTML5 app that is contained in an iOS wrapper, which does two things: It gives the app the status and usefulness of being on the iPad and the practicality of having the code on the server. The goal is to make the iPad as powerful as its desktop counterpart with the security and easy access that comes with having access to the code.

TradeMonster shows how hybrid mobile apps can be viable in the most demanding of environments. It’s really not about one being better than the other. TradeMonster illustrates how leveraging both iOS and HTML5 can make for a first-rate app experience and can serve as a model for replacing the desktop.

For TradeMonster, standard frameworks were not sufficient for its needs. The leading retail trader needed an app that can stream 8 billion stock quotes and a host of features such as watch lists and options strategies. It had to suit the heavy trader who needs to handle multiple orders on the app itself. The app can handle up to four accounts simultaneously, the layout can be changed, and the customer’s balance and portfolio can be seen in real time.

But due to the performance requirements of retail trading, the TradeMonster platform is designed to stream across its own proprietary architecture. For example, that allows the customer to view trades anywhere on any device where the app is running.

It’s true that HTML5 works across different platforms, but getting an app to function properly across such a fragmented landscape is a different story. TradeMonster addressed several issues in HTML5 in order to have a universal footprint across any device:

Scrolling: TradeMonster developers wrote their own components to deal with the rendering issues inherent in browser scrolling. They also wrote their own home-grown slider.
Requests: To optimize the pulling of the data, TradeMonster used a combination of methods to detect a user’s bandwidth and latency.
Animation: To make the transition between screens fluid, TradeMonster wrote its own menu component and combined them with some intelligent loading of screens, optimized to the user’s bandwidth and other factors.
Memory footprint: With a hybrid approach, the memory footprint is higher. To remedy this, TradeMonster had to write some optimization code for memory usage.
Event handling: Several events are fired for updates. For example, market data or an order might come in. In that case, the screen should update or request for updated data. Also, when someone does a trade or action on the desktop, it is also delivered for the iPad to update, as well.

CTO Sanjib Sahoo will be the first to tell you that the approach they have taken with TradeMonster was done to fit their own needs. What they have is not a universal answer for enterprise mobile developers. Their method is complicated by the custom code requirements that they have which are necessary to serve retail traders. They also have the advantage of their own proprietary streaming architecture, also needed for its retail trading customer base.

But regardless, their experience shows the viability of hybrid apps. If an HTML5 app can excel in retail trading, then it’s clear its uses are fairly broad across the market.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Even At $90 Firefox OS Phones Have To Get Apps Right To Battle Budget Android

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ZTE Open Orange

The first phone running Mozilla’s Firefox OS phone goes on sale tomorrow in Spain. Mozilla’s nascent open web HTML 5 mobile platform has garnered considerable carrier support already, months ahead of any phones being launched, which just serves to underline the level of concern in the mobile industry about how dominant Google’s Android platform has become.

Smaller handset makers like ZTE and Alcatel are also unsurprisingly taking a punt on Firefox OS. What’s to lose? And with carrier pricing as low as Telefonica’s opening gambit of $90 (a price which includes around $40 worth of airtime for pre-pay customers) a degree of consumer uptake should follow — if only by gobbling up the remains of the feature phone market. As IHS Screen Digest analyst Ian Fogg tweeted today: “Now there’s no price reason not to own a smartphone.”

Feature phones still take considerable share in the emerging markets where Firefox OS is being aimed. And while Spain may seem an odd first choice to debut the OS the Spanish economy is having a very tough time of it at present, with unemployment riding high, especially among the young, so a budget smartphone is likely to find plenty of takers. In that crisis, Telefonica clearly perceives an opportunity.

BlackBerry’s low cost handsets have also traditionally done well with Spanish teens (and in emerging markets generally). So as that company puts its energies into higher end devices running its new BlackBerry 10 OS, there’s a gap opening up for another low cost smartphone to muscle in. Enter Firefox OS: perhaps the best chance yet for carriers to put a little clear blue water between the devices they peddle and Google’s Android at the low end.

How well Firefox OS performs on low end hardware will be key, as there are still question marks over HTML5′s ability to perform on mobile (Facebook famously switched back to native after failing to make HTML5′s performance stick), especially if you factor in the lower powered hardware Firefox OS is going for. These devices won’t need to be super slick, but they will need to be slick enough to compete with similarly budget Androids that are also constrained by their hardware.

After overall performance, app availability and performance are going to be essential. Apps like Facebook and Twitter have been optimised for Firefox OS already but Mozilla and its backers certainly have its work cut out to get in the game because Android has such a head start — and already plays at this budget price-point. ”The challenge for Firefox OS, is that Android is already v v cheap & has lots of content available too,” as Fogg noted via Twitter.

That said, so long as enough key apps (like Facebook) are available — and if carriers bolster those app staples by helping to foster and promote localised app content to differentiate the devices — there is still room to stand out at a feature phone replacement price. It’s a similar strategy Nokia has been deploying with its Asha devices — which aren’t fully fledged smart phones but add in smartphone-like features (such as pre-loaded social network apps and baked in social sharing) to beef up their appeal to budget buyers.

The big question is how easy is developing and optimising apps for Firefox OS? One HTML5 app maker, Atlas CT, which makes a turn-by-turn sat-nav HTML5 app (called EverNav) has been working on its app for two years. It’s optimising EverNav for Firefox — with plans to release it on July 15, hoping to be the first turn-by-turn sat-nav for the OS.

“We began working on EverNav even prior to Mozilla’s announcement on HTML5 based OS.  We estimated that having a true cross platform navigation solution will be a major advantage for mobile advertising and also for end users everyday navigation,” the company tells TechCrunch.

“We initially began by adding very basic turn by turn navigation to a mobile webpage. Later on in the development process we added features for both navigation and mobile advertising until we got the full featured application we are releasing. Naturally, we still have a long list of features that will be added in upcoming versions.”

When Mozilla announced Firefox OS in February, EverNav’s developers began work on a dedicated version for the platform — so that’s about a six-month additional development window on top of time already spent on their HTML 5 app. Still, this is not exactly a lightweight app. The company says developing such a time- and location-sensitive app in HTML 5 has definitely been challenging, describing its functionality as pushing HTML 5 to its current limits.

“Things that are trivial in native application development such as utilizing the GPS or running parallel processes are much harder to be done efficiently in HTML5,” it says. “Just to give you an example, one of the hardest tasks we had was to play sounds at exactly the right time to match the driving directions. Something that is extremely easy when developing native applications became a challenge in HTML5.”

With those challenges and limitations in mind, it will be interesting to see how Firefox apps fly: whether they can stand up to real-world use and abuse, how they manage with budget hardware — and most importantly whether HTML5 can hold its own against native Android equivalents at the low end.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

April 2014
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