Android became a worldwide phenomenon not only because it is Google’s operating system but also because it is an open source OS. Among various things that make open source technologies intriguing, one major trait is that they often come with surprisingly innovative features that are normally seen on commercially sold software and apps with noticeably bigger price tags possess.

However, Android still has a few proprietary components that make up its functionality and user experience aspects. But the open source Linux is still its base kernel establishing the OS as an open source contribution.

The stock Android ROM served as a foundation for a number of third-party custom ROMs including MIUI, Paranoid Android etc. Apart from the ROM, many apps designed to run on Android are actually open source complementing the nature of the OS itself. As a leading open source development services provider in the Middle East, we too often deal with client demands for an open source mobile app for Android.

That said, as we are ushering in 2019, here is a list of a few open source mobile apps that ended up making a lot of Android users happy this year.
 

Orbot

 
Orbot, a product from The Tor Project released in 2008, is the Android version alternative to the Tor browser. Similar to Tor, Orbot serves as an effective anonymity cover for Android devices.

Once the Tor proxy has been enabled using Orbot, the app will suggest using an open source web browser called Orfox which in turn shares source code similarities with the Tor browser. To unlock Orbot’s full potential, the device it’s running on will have to be rooted.
 

VLC for Android

 
VLC is one of the most popular video players for the Windows operating system. It’s free and open source, and has a dedicated community working on improving it. VLC for Android didn’t dominate the Play Store however as MX Player already took the top spot. Nevertheless, VLC Android is still loved by millions of Android users, and features better audio support than MX player as well.
 

Amaze File Manager

 
What Android users expect from a great file manager include simplicity, material design, appealing looks, and a bunch of other useful file management features. Amaze File Manager has all these and more. Amaze File Manager is an open source file manager that gained good momentum this year in terms of downloads and feedback. It can also use other apps to open various media files.
 

AdBlock Browser

 
Intrusive advertisements are too frequent and too annoying now. With the AdBlock browser for Android, unwanted or intrusive advertisements while browsing can be blocked. The customizable open source browser is recommended by Stanford University and the Electronic Frontier Foundation as it also effectively minimizes the risks of ‘malicious advertising’ infections.
 

ProtonMail

 
ProtonMail was founded by CERN scientists in 2013, and was backed by a $550,000 donation campaign. The open source app is proudly presented as the world’s largest encrypted email service. The app comes with an impressive, modern UI with a number of great features including customizable swipe gestures, set self-destruct timers for messages etc. Users can also password-protected encrypted emails to non-ProtonMail addresses.
 

Conclusion

 
Evidently, 2018 gave a lot of momentum to a number of open source Android apps despite heavy competition. Open source tools and technologies have been around for a long time, and never have they actually disappointed people who simply aren’t willing to spend a lot on apps. Most open source apps including the ones in this list are products of passion.

As open source gains more traction across popular industries including but not limited to software development, mobile app development, IoT applications etc., we can expect the arrival of even more open source digital solutions packing awesome features with surprisingly smaller price tags or none at all.

Written by: Ajeesh Azhakesan

A few years ago, the concept of the Internet of Things was seen as some weird concept from a sci-fi flick. But things changed. Though IoT is still in its infancy, it garnered a lot of attention lately and is now seen as a revolutionary technology that will transform and disrupt various industries. There’s great interest in building IoT devices and IoT software development today.

As a matter of fact, many organizations are competing to make various components available in the market in order to promote the already trending development of IoT solutions. However, some of those platforms ran out of steam.

Among those platforms that came complemented IoT is .NET – one of the most popular microsoft technologies. Corporate behemoths like Amazon, Accenture, Dell etc. has been leveraging .NET for years due to its versatility and impressive performance. Coincidentally, these two traits are what IoT app development demands today.

That said, let’s explore the merits of using .NET for IoT projects.
 

Windows 10 IoT Core compatibility

 
Windows 10 IoT Core is a free, optimized version of the popular Windows 10 OS from Microsoft, designed to work with low-power devices such as Dragonboard 410c, Raspberry Pi 2 & 3 etc. The OS features an impressive toolkit and a plethora of integration options.

But the icing on the cake is that .NET is fully compatible with Windows 10 IoT Core. Combining both these contributions from Microsoft enables developers to build great IoT apps with a decent UX.
 

The rich toolset of ASP.NET Core

 
A popular, widely-used open-source web framework, ASP.NET Core allows developers to create visually appealing web applications including IoT apps. Combined with the Windows 10 IoT Core, one can also use ASP.NET Core to build services that can run on the background of IoT devices.

The highlight however is ASP.NET Core’s toolset. The framework supports a number of popular programming languages like Visual Basic, C# etc. and facilitates faster deployment, excellent performance, and easier cloud integration. With ASP.NET Core, the devs are also free to choose the cloud platform for their applications – be it AWS, Google Cloud IoT, or Microsoft Azure. It’s no wonder why the ASP.NET development services industry is still one of the fastest growing tech industries in the world.
 

Ready-made solutions

 
.NET encourages developers to use its ready-made solutions to save time. But this also has another advantage. When using .NET’s ready-made solutions, the developers are less likely to encounter a coding issue that hasn’t been rectified or resolved by the community.

If the devs use ready-made .NET solutions for IoT and comes across some obstacle, chances are someone already encountered and resolved it and was generous enough to publish the code on GitHub. The reusable code generated by the .NET community can speed up IoT app development considerably.
 

Supportive community

 
The best thing developers can have is a supportive community backing a technology they are extensively working with. .NET has such a community. Thousands of experienced developers in the community can help thousands of amateur developers trying to figure out IoT development. They normally hang out on GitHub and StackOverflow publishing unique pre-written code pieces and relieving amateur developers of their coding headaches.
 

Conclusion

 
.NET has been around for a while and consistently retains its position in the market countering advancements from potential replacements. In fact, it’s only become more popular with its rich toolset, open source persona, and strong community support. All of these traits combined makes IoT app development a fun activity with .NET.

Written by: Ratheesh V S

Businesses see mobile apps as a means to boosting revenue while building relationships with their customers. But to be able to achieve success with mobile apps is not an easy feat. They will have to invest in custom mobile application development to craft an app that aligns with their business goals while serving the needs of the target audience.

The app should be built to thrive in a highly competitive market, and it needs to be backed by smart marketing strategies. The goal of the app is to serve customers by solving a specific problem that’s been bugging them. The business thus makes a revenue out of the app’s purpose as customers are willing to spend money via apps. So the business will also have to ensure that the app is enticing enough for customers to spend money on.

And that’s what we will cover in this blog – getting customers to spend more money in a mobile app.

Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind.
 

Customer loyalty programs

 
Customer loyalty programs aren’t meant to get customers to spend more money in the app directly. Instead these programs are designed to keep customers engaged and retain them so there’s more chance of them making in-app purchases. Besides, loyalty programs reward customers for using the app and even making purchases. This generally encourages users to use the app more.
 

Personalize shopping experience

 
The customer might check out certain things in the app each time they log in but may not make a purchase. Businesses should track this behavior and their purchase history to understand what the customer was interested in, and then try to upsell or cross-sell items similar to or complementing their previous purchases or browsing interests.
 

Use push notifications wisely

 
Studies have found that push notifications at the right time can increase conversions by 50%. But this massive conversion potential comes with a catch. If push notifications are misused to spam customers with alerts or if they are simply sent at the wrong time, customers will get annoyed instead; so much that they may even decide to remove the app completely. A leading mobile application development company would recommend first figuring out the time of day when target customers are most likely to make a purchase, and then encouraging them to make a purchase at that time with enticing push notifications.

A great approach is to send personalized push notifications with some kind of value offers to customers based on their purchase history, app browsing behavior, and marked interests.
 

Conclusion

 
Developing a great app and getting customers to spend more money in it is a surefire way to grow a business fast. However, investing a lot of time and resources into one single tactic from the ones mentioned in this blog is a wrong approach. The best way is to try out different tactics and measure the results to see which ones work best. You won’t see any dramatic boost in spending overnight. It’s a slow process but executing these tactics properly and patiently would surely deliver good results.

Have more questions on mobile app development and marketing? Get in touch with our experts today.

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Written by: Rikhil Mohan

For an organization to become successful by selling their products or services, they’d need to ensure that their products/services are of great quality. Enterprises are keen on observing trends that help them improve the quality and speed of their products/services. This is why they need great QA and software testing strategies.

However, for these strategies to grant benefits to an organization, they should be aligned with the organization’s business goals which is easier said than done.

The first step is to develop an actionable QA strategy itself.
 

Developing the strategy

 
The concept is similar to what the marketing and finance department does in an organization. They always find a way to devise appropriate strategies that tie to the organization’s larger business goals. A QA strategy can be developed the same way. However, the software development team should be involved as well to understand the actionable potential of the strategy better.
 

Why align QA strategy with business goals

 
Many organizations do not take QA strategies into account when planning to determine an optimal approach to achieving the business goals. The QA process itself might not be given the priority it deserves. To improve the product quality, simply facilitating QA and testing aren’t enough. The team involved with the product should be able to understand the tangible value in investing the organization’s resources in QA. This would help the team define QA goals that correlate with the business goals.
 

Figuring out the right goals

 
Not all organizations have established or at least transparent business goals. If the QA team is to align their goals with the business goals, they will need to get input from the various stakeholders across the organization. This also helps the QA team understand how product quality impacts the success of the business. The key is to understand the high-level goals. The QA team can then work backwards to devise a strategy that aligns with the high level goals.
 

Challenges to know about

 
Tying QA strategy to business goals isn’t going to be easy. Even the nature of the people involved can give the QA team a hard time. Another major challenge for the team is to ensure that the QA goals are quantifiable. The company should decide which metrics are linked to their business’ success, and the QA goals are created based on these chosen success metrics.
 

Conclusion

 
The software development company should be willing to invest time and resources into creating a QA plan that would contribute to the success of the company by improving product/service quality. This is the only effective way to benefit from QA. If the company is simply not willing to invest in a good QA plan, they will start running out of steam in the long run.

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Written by: Kiran

Open source is so popular and widely used that there are people who are using it daily without even realizing it. There are people who use WordPress, one of the most popular open source platforms, for blogging. There are many who use Mozilla Firefox, another digital contribution from open source, for browsing. Open source development services are highly demanded by enterprises across various industries.

As a matter of fact, a survey by Black Duck last year revealed that 60% of the surveyed businesses reported an increase in the use of open source in 2017.

Despite the wide acceptance and popularity, open source technologies are heavily criticized by many. Many myths surround the technology and many people believe those myths and misconceptions are true. Here are 5 such open source myths that people still believe to be true.
 

It’s free

 
The ‘free’ of open source technologies relates to ‘freedom’ i.e. open source technologies tend to have fewer restrictions than their proprietary counterparts. People think it’s all about the monetary cost and ‘free’ means it wouldn’t cost them anything.

However, there are free (literally) open source technologies available but they may not be the most up-to-date or feature-rich. Typically there wouldn’t be any licensing costs for open source software. But there are exceptions to this as well. The bottom-line is that not all open source is free, and not all free open source is good enough to make a difference for users.
 

Large companies don’t use open source tools

 
Open source tools, especially open source software, has been used by organizations of all sizes since the early 1990s. Corporate giants like Microsoft, Google, IBM, and many other companies use open source tools in some form. Open source software development is a big industry with an ever increasing number of developers.
 

Open source software aren’t secure at all

 
Many organizations refrain from using open source tools due to the misconception that they are less secure than proprietary software. This wrong notion is mostly due to the fact that the source code of an open source software is openly available to anyone who wants to tinker with it. This increases the likelihood of black hat hackers figuring out a vulnerability to exploit.

But this isn’t the whole truth. Contrary to public perception, open source codes also serve as a way for many open source experts to verify the integrity and security of the code i.e. security vulnerabilities are more likely to be detected, reported, and removed.
 

You can’t always count on support for open source software

 
It’s true that some open source software don’t have a long lifespan. These software “die” once the community backing them leaves them behind. It’s the community itself that provides the biggest support for open source technologies. It’s pretty much the same for proprietary software as well. The company that developed the software may simply stop providing support one day, and move on to a more lucrative project. Popular open source software with a reputation will likely still have a community backing it, ready to help anyone with technical issues.
 

Conclusion

 
These are but a few myths around open source software. It isn’t as unreliable as many people still seem to believe. It’s open source technology that powers quite a lot of popular platforms that have proven their worth across various industries. An enterprise can have a customized open source software developed to drive business growth efficiently and securely – something that can do the job just like a proprietary software can but more cost-effectively.

Written by: Ajeesh Azhakesan
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