YouTube live mobile video changes everything


Google invented live-streaming video for the masses back in 2011.

It was presented as a feature of Google+ but was really all about YouTube. Called Hangouts On Air, the idea was to live-stream video with up to 10 participants. Unlike regular Hangouts, Hangouts On Air could turn a video chat into a public performance. Hangouts On Airstreams could be instantly shared, meaning that you could share it while the video was in progress. After the live stream ended, the video was posted on YouTube for posterity.

There was just one problem: Hangouts On Air was desktop-only, not mobile. As we learned later, the ability to live stream from a phone is the killer feature for live videos.

Fast forward to last week, and Google has finally rolled out what they’re calling YouTube mobile live streaming. The live-streaming feature will be built directly into the regular YouTube app.

The app sounds easy to use. You’ll tap on a “capture” button, optionally take a photo that will serve as a thumbnail, type in your description of the video to come, choose whether you want people chatting over your video, then start streaming.

As with Hangouts On Air, YouTube mobile live-streamed videos will become regular YouTube videos in your channel.

The feature was rolled out last week to only five prominent users, with Google promising a general rollout later.

The late entry into mobile of the first mover on desktop for live-streaming video changes everything.
The cradle of live-streaming mobile video

It all started less than a year and a half ago with the sudden popularity of an app called Meerkat from a startup called Life On Air.

Less than two months after Meerkat hit, Twitter acquired then launched a mobile live-streaming service and app called Periscope.

Later, Facebook rolled out Facebook live-streaming videos for celebrities only, then to everybody. Facebook clearly sees Live Video as its opportunity to compete with YouTube. Facebook is reportedly paying some $50 million to celebrities and media organizations (such as The New York Times, CNN and BuzzFeed) to stream video via Facebook Live.

Other mobile apps with the live video streaming include YouNow (which pre-dates Meerkat), AOL’s Kanvas and Upclose.

It’s clear now that only the biggest companies can compete in this space. One year after launching, Meerkat pivoted away from one-to-many live streaming and toward few-to-few streaming (kind of like the original Google Hangouts before “Hangouts On Air,” or even Skype), saying that Meerkat couldn’t grow because of Periscope and Facebook — companies with massive data and streaming capacity.

The clash between Google, Facebook and Twitter will make it close to impossible for startups to compete. That competition will also fuel the next media boom. And it’s going to be amazing.
Why YouTube mobile live streaming changes everything

Mobile live video streaming has been around for a while, but Google’s entry is a game-changer. Here’s why: YouTube is a star machine.

Felix Kjellberg, a.k.a. Pewdiepie, made $12 million last year from advertising on his videogame-centric YouTube video channel. He has 46 million subscribers. YouTube has made millionaires out of dozens of hitherto unknown people.

(Confession: I’m a secret fan of the hilarious Colleen Ballinger Evans, a.k.a. “Miranda Sings.”)

Many YouTube obsessives are teens and children, who know YouTube stars better than they do TV stars. As the young get older, they’ll bring their YouTube-viewing habits with them, squeezing out and simultaneously influencing TV even further than has already happened.

Will YouTube stars embrace YouTube live mobile video? I say they won’t. In fact, most of them already record from desktops, and if they wanted to stream live they could have been doing it for years.

The truth is that different media favor different kinds of talent. Lucille Ball was almost unknown as a radio personality but became a huge star when TV went mainstream. Pewdiepie could never have made it on TV, but he rules the YouTube medium.

The biggest home-grown YouTube stars tend to be charismatic, hyperactive, irreverent people with editing skills who talk about video games, wacky products or beauty products in their bedrooms. YouTube favors a particular kind of editing, which, combined with goofy or outrageous commentary, makes sure that even the shortest attention span stays glued to the screen.

In other words, YouTube stars have been made by a certain kind of performance and a certain kind of production.

Just as a Darwinian process transformed a handful of YouTube users into mega stars, the same will happen with YouTube mobile live streaming.

But YouTube’s live mobile feature will usher in an entirely new kind of YouTube star. I’m sorry, Pewdiepie, but you’re a washed up has-been, a media dinosaur.

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10 simple tools for building mobile apps fast

No-code and low-code mobile programming tools give business users and developers a fast track to mobile app success

No-code and low-code mobile dev tools


While the great debate rages on between the various mobile development camps — the pure HTML5/JavaScript/CSS3 mobile Web faction, the native code purists, and the hybrid mobile app fans — businesses still have to create and maintain mobile applications for their employees, business partners, and customers. The one conclusion that everyone seems to reach, eventually, is that there is no single panacea in this space. Each approach and toolset has its advantages and drawbacks.

The difficulty and cost of mobile app development have not escaped the notice of innovative companies. We present here 10 low-code or no-code builders for mobile applications. Some of them target more than one mobile platform; some target Web applications as well. All are aimed at getting your mobile application development project up and running quickly.

Alpha Anywhere
Alpha Anywhere is a database-oriented, rapid app development tool that shines at creating Web and hybrid mobile apps that work offline. It allows developers to build good apps quickly, with surprisingly solid performance and nativelike look and feel.

Alpha Anywhere’s SQL database support is especially strong because it allows you to use the native SQL dialects of each database if you wish, or you can go with Alpha’s Portable SQL facility, which will emit the appropriate native SQL for the current database connection. Alpha’s support for offline mobile operation is also quite complete. It reduces the development of data conflict resolution logic to a few clicks.

Recently, Alpha added mobile file system access in hybrid mobile apps for large amounts (gigabytes) of data, with compression. This has advantages both for viewing cached media offline, and for creating large numbers of photos, audio files, and video, even when you don’t have connectivity.
Mobile Optimized Forms were released in the spring of 2016. Alpha built this capability around a FormView, with specialized controls for the likes of ink annotations and audio capture (with pausing).

App Press
App Press is a Web-based, no-code app creator that targets iPhone, iPad, and Android applications. Aimed at designers, App Press uses a Photoshop-like user interface for assembling screens from visual assets, via layers. On the back end, App Press is an Amazon cloud-based service and platform. The company claims that designers can produce their first app in one day, that with experience designers can create five apps per day, and that experienced designers can train new designers on the platform.

EachScape is a unified, cloud-based, drag-and-drop editor for native iOS and Android apps, as well as HTML5 Web apps. That might seem like an odd combination, but it works well. In addition, EachScape includes mobile back-end services for apps you build with its platform, Web preview for all apps, and an online build service.

The architecture that allows EachScape to build iOS, Android, and HTML5 apps from a drag-and-drop editor (the Cloud Studio) depends on blocks and modules, as well as layouts and actions. Under the hood, EachScape has implemented a set of classes in Objective-C for iOS, Java for Android, and CoffeeScript for Web apps that correspond to ads, buttons, containers, controls, data connectors, data input, HTML, images, maps, media, navigation, placeholders, RESTful remote queries, social networks, and text. Advanced developers can build new blocks and modules for EachScape to extend its capabilities, using its SDKs. is a Web-based enterprise platform for creating Web and mobile forms, combining a drag-and-drop forms builder and flexible back-end technology. The builder can create new forms or replicate existing paper forms, set up process-specific workflow and API integration, embed logical transitions, allow the capture of images within the forms, capture digital signatures, and enable form field autofill. Finished mobile forms can collect information when disconnected and transfer the collected information when the connection has been restored.

iBuildApp is a Web builder that offers customizable templates for iPhone, iPad, and Android apps and promises that you can create an app in five minutes. For common app types, template-based systems such as iBuildApp can sometimes produce usable results, as long as the selection of widgets includes the functionality you need.

QuickBase is an online builder and platform for Web database and mobile Web database applications, with limited support for integrations outside its own database. QuickBase offers more than 800 customizable application templates, including the Complete Project Manager shown above. Users can also build QuickBase applications “from scratch” starting with a data design.

All QuickBase websites can be viewed as mobile websites. While mobile QuickBase is not currently available in native app form, the mobile website is eminently usable. In the future, QuickBase Web apps will use a responsive design that is said to work better on a range of devices from phones and tablets to desktop browsers.

Salesforce1 and Lightning
Salesforce developers at all skill levels can find good options for building mobile apps based on their Salesforce site. At the most basic level, you can configure compact layouts and both global and field-specific actions for the Salesforce1 mobile app from setup pages.
At a much more advanced level, Salesforce Mobile SDKs make it possible to access Salesforce data from native and hybrid apps, and Mobile Design Templates enable developers to create decent-looking mobile app pages. In between these options, Salesforce’s new Lightning App Builder, Components, and Design System allows for easy creation of modern enterprise apps for desktops, tablets, and mobile devices.

The push from Salesforce is for developers to create a “Lightning experience,” but they haven’t taken away any of the older technologies. Existing Salesforce apps will continue to function.

If you already work with Salesforce in your company, running Lightning or one of the other mobile Salesforce options for no additional cost to expose your data to users on their devices is a no-brainer. On the other hand, if you don’t have Salesforce, the per-user pricing model will likely make little financial sense.

ViziApps combines an online visual designer and a number of customizable sample apps with code generation for mobile Web and both iOS and Android native apps. The ViziApps designer has form fields and charts, many user actions, 60 backgrounds, 4,000 stock images, a navigation bar, and a navigation panel. It also supports lots of customizations and JavaScript extensions, as well as more than 50 data sources. Template apps show how fields, actions, and data interfaces are used.

Appcelerator combines an IDE, an SDK, multiple frameworks, and back-end cloud services into an enterprise-level system for mobile development. The Titanium SDK lets you develop native, hybrid, and mobile Web applications from a single codebase.

Titanium Studio is an extensible, Eclipse-based IDE for building Titanium applications and Web applications. Appcelerator Cloud Services provide a wide array of automatically scaled network features and data objects for your app. Alloy is an Appcelerator framework designed for the rapid development of high-quality Titanium applications; it’s based on the model-view-controller architecture and contains built-in support for Backbone.js and Underscore.js. Arrow combines a framework for building mobile APIs with an elastically scalable cloud service for running them.

While Appcelerator is not a no-code solution by any means, it provides JavaScript-based tooling for iOS, Android, Tizen, BlackBerry, and mobile Web applications in one place.

AppGyver Composer 2 is a Web-based builder and hosting service for hybrid iOS and Android multipage apps. Based on the Supersonic UI framework, AppGyver offers native UI elements — page transitions, modals, navigation bars, tab bars, drawers, and more — to achieve a native look and feel in a hybrid app. You can create apps starting with one of a half-dozen templates, or from scratch using modules and components. If you want to write code, you can create custom modules. Your app can receive numeric and text data from a variety of sources.

When you are ready to publish your app, you can build and deploy it in the AppGyver cloud. A companion app can be used for previewing and testing your work on an iOS or Android device. When the app is ready for prime time, you can submit your builds to Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store.

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Android N may not get its ‘biggest feature’ at launch: Report

Android fans wait for the 3D touch feature has reportedly got longer. Google is said to have delayed its support for Android version of Apple’s 3D Touch which was widely expected to come in the upcoming Android N version. According to a report in Recode, quoting sources, “…the feature will not be part of the initial Android N release and will have to wait for a later release of the operating system, most likely as part of a maintenance update to the software.”

Previously, there were speculations that Google is working on Android equivalent of the 3D Touch feature that would allow developers to take advantage of 3D screens.

3D Touch is one of the key USPs of Apple iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. Essentially a derivative of the Force Touch technology used in Apple Watch, the feature offers the ability to differentiate between types of touches and taps and perform different functions. It even lets users directly jump to certain sections of the app directly from the homescreen. Users can update status, upload existing photos and videos and take photos and videos for sharing on Facebook without opening the app by force tapping the Facebook icon on the homescreen.

Recently, there were reports that HTC , which is said to be manufacturing the next Nexus handset, will be using a 3D Touch-like pressure sensitive display technology in the 2016 Google smartphone.

Presently, there are very few Android phones that use pressure-sensitive screens. The problem, so far, for Android devices with pressure-sensitive displays has been the lack of support from app developers across the board as without default OS support, apps need to be customized to every device’s technology.

Google is holding its annual developers conference I/O 2016 from May 18-20th where it is expected to reveal more about its next version of its mobile operating system dubbed Android N .

However, unlike past years, this time Google has already given us sneak peek into its upcoming operating system. In March this year, Google surprised everyone by releasing the first developer preview of Android N, allowing users early access to the new features that the mobile OS will bring.

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Microsoft brings SharePoint to iOS

Microsoft announced this morning the launch of a new mobile app for SharePoint customers aimed at bringing a company’s SharePoint-powered intranet portal and its content to users’ smartphones and tablets. The app is initially available on iOS – meaning it will work on iPhone and iPad – but it will arrive on both Android and Windows platforms before year end, Microsoft says.

The company said last month that such an app was in the works when it detailed its plans for the future of SharePoint. Used by over 200,000 organizations, SharePoint is often synonymous with the “intranet” – the internal portals businesses run behind the firewall where employees share news, files, collaborate on projects and more. However, what was lacking was a more modern, mobile-first approach to making SharePoint content available to a business’s end users no matter which device they’re using.


With the new SharePoint app, Microsoft touts that it’s now putting the “intranet in your pocket.” That means users can access company news and announcements, people, sites, content and more from their mobile device. The app works with either SharePoint Online in Office 365 or SharePoint Server 2013 or 2016 in on-premises or hybrid scenarios.

The app features a Sites tab that lets you visit the SharePoint sites you frequent, so you can see recent activity, files, and access these files, lists, pages, and other content on those destinations.

The app also works with other Microsoft mobile apps, the company notes. For example, when you click an Office document in the app, it will launch the corresponding Office mobile app; and when you view a document library on a team site, you’ll be taken to the OneDrive mobile app for iOS.

A Links tab lets you see the full list of sites and portals in your company, as curated by the SharePoint administrators, and a People tab lets you browse through lists of colleagues as well as view their profiles.

Search is another key feature, as it allows you to locate resources by keyword and filter results by sites, files, and people, as well as “content recommendations” which are powered by Microsoft Graph, Microsoft’s machine learning technology.

Though available as public release as opposed to a beta, Microsoft says it’s still accepting feedback about the new app, which can be submitted by in-app Shake, UserVoice, and Twitter posts to @SharePoint and @Office365.

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Microsoft is experimenting in your mobile app

It’s not uncommon that people sometimes lose their place in a mobile app because they were interrupted by something else – like a notification from another tool – and struggle to find their way back.

A team at Microsoft Research believes it has a solution to that problem, and it’s called uLink. It’s described as a mechanism that uses mobile deep linking to generate a link and allows you to bookmark it – just as you would with Web URLs.

uLink is a new deep linking mechanism that brings the notion of web URLs to mobile apps. With uLink, users can bookmark links to app pages or search previously-seen pages with content of interest.

It also lets you search through your app browsing history. So if you came across a restaurant in a booking app, you can find it again just by typing a keyword from that page – like the city it’s located in – without having to bother swiping through the app in question to return to the page you’re looking for.

The team has implemented the uLink system on Android, and says that it requires minimal developer effort and achieves significantly higher coverage than other techniques. It isn’t yet clear if this will become available to users soon or show up on other platforms like iOS, but it’s certainly an idea worth pursuing.

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