Source: Google Releases Android 4.1 SDK
Source: Inside the PlayStation Suite SDK
A lot has been made over the last couple of days of how Android renders HTML5 a lot slower than iOS. This comes as a revelation to absolutely no one. HTML5 development studio appMobi thinks it has a fix. At the Game Developers Conference today appMobi announced the availability of its directCanvas SDK for Android that promises refresh rates up to 10 times faster.
Android will eventually catch up in the HTML5 department. Chrome for Android will be a great step when more developers and consumers have Ice Cream Sandwich devices in hand. Sencha spent a lot of time improving Android performance in its release of Touch 2. appMobi now steps up with directCanvas for Android, which will be nearly identical to its iOS offering. For those not able to stop at appMobi’s booth at GDC, the company has provided ReadWriteMobile with beta access to the Android directCanvas SDK, check below for the details.
If you are unfamiliar with directCanvas, the simplest explanation is that it works like the standard HTML5 Canvas with superfluous functionality stripped away. Instead of making several n calls, it only makes the ones needed to render frames for the game or app that is running it. By stripping away extra ingredients directCanvas is lightweight and able to run faster.
The Android SDK for directCanvas supports Android 2.2. Froyo all the way through Android 4.01 Ice Cream Sandwich. That inherently means that it works for Honeycomb as well even though Honeycomb’s source code as never released (it is in the documentation of ICS). It also accelerates sound and physics calculations, just as the iOS version. appMobi released an update to directCanvas in December aimed at solving HTML5′s audio problems and that functionality is being baked into many f the product releases the company has this year.
Between appMobi and Sencha, Android’s HTML5 performance should drastically increase this year. In the HTML5 ecosystem each company is the ying to the other’s yang and put them together and each are pushing the entire environment forward.
The only way to get access to appMobi’s Android directCanvas SDK right now is to go to the company’s booth at GDC or, you know, visit ReadWriteMobile. Visit this site from your mobile device (http://appmobi.com/gdc/vip/) or scan the QR code below.
If you do try out the beta, let us know how well HTML5 for Android performs with directCanvas in the comments.
Imagine playing a game of Scrabble on your iPhone against your mother. You and Ma are competitive and these games tend to turn into rabid battles for literary supremacy. Also, she’s your mother so you want to talk about how things are with the family, your nephew and if Pa is taking that new job in Chicago. So, you press a button in the app and create a voice connection running over your data connection. No dialing, no minutes used. Just a data connection straight from the app.
Cloud communications company Twilio is making that possible. Today it is announcing a new native iOS software developer kit for its Twilio Client, allowing Voice-over-IP calls from any app. The future of telephony is in data connections, not wireless minutes and Twilio is looking to make the mobile carriers’ networks programmable for the next generation of app developers.
The Twilio Client iOS SDK is an extension of its browser-based SDK the company announced in 2011. The idea is to create a voice connection from any app, anywhere. Think of it as the smart device version of a walkie-talkie. It is a fairly simple but powerful idea.
We wrote about Twilio’s ability to disrupt the mobile carriers in January and the basic tenets hold true – when communications become IP based, the business model has to change. Twilio is just nudging the carriers in that direction. Yet, instead of outright disrupting the carriers, Twilio thinks that it can become a partner. The idea is to create value for the cellular network.
“I actually think would be interested in a partnership opportunity with the carriers. I think something like Skype would be in competition with the carriers because they are going after the end users,” said Thomas Schiavone, Twilio’s project manager responsible for the iOS SDK. “We are an API on top of networks that the carriers have the opportunity to work with developers and add value to the networks, which is something that they need to do. We are trying to figure out how to give people an API that adds value to the network and new and interesting use cases as opposed to the traditional, ‘I want to call someone.’”
Unlike other companies that provide programmable VoIP solutions, Twilio does not institute a threshold to use its services. There are no minimum messages that need to be sent per month, no amount of minutes or data that a developer needs to hit to use the Twilio Client. The idea is to create ubiquity across the developer landscape as opposed to an artificially high limit that precludes smaller developers from adding an interesting feature like push-to-call in their apps.
From an enterprise standpoint, Twilio can add a lot of value to a single employee out of the office. The logic needed to create a call center is located in the Twilio cloud and accessible through its variety of SDKs. Since it creates a data connection, all an employee would need to become a IP PBX call center is an iPad and the proper software.
“What we really think is interesting is that it can run the gamut between consumers and enterprise; how do I improve my business practices?” Schiavone said. “All that logic is internal to Twilio. You can think of the Twilio Client as sort of the end-user experience that you present to the user and all the smarts and intelligence are not in the SDK. All the brains and smarts are in the Twilio cloud.”
Twilio has an Android SDK in beta that developers can sign up for. The company will continue to evolve the Twilio client, giving it more robust features.
“You will see continued investment in this Twilio Client with Web calls, IP next-gen infrastructure because I think there is a lot of value we can give to developers and in extension, to users,” Schiavone said.
What do you think about the “programmable network?” Is a voice connection something you need in your app? Let us know in the comments.
Imagine making credit card-based payment with your smartphone. Visions of dongles are go dancing through your head. This is a function of conditioning that companies like Square and Intuit have taught users to expect. But, what if you could make a payment just by scanning the card with your smartphone’s camera? Ditch the dongle. That is the goal of payments startup card.io.
card.io is releasing a software-based payment app today for Android and iOS. In and of itself, that is only mildly interesting. There are dozens of startups and enterprises looking to evolve the mobile payments space. card.io is thinking bigger. It is giving mobile developers a new software developer kit to institute its payments platform into any application.
The card.io mobile payments SDK is an evolution for the company. The company already had a “Scanning SDK” that it released in June 2011 (iOS) and September (Android) that would allow people to scan a credit card but not actually process the payment. The new SDK will process the payment as well, taking the friction out of the transaction by eliminating the steps between scan and processing.
There are no set up or monthly charges. card.io will take a 3.5% plus $0.30 per transaction cut and payouts go to either PayPal or a bank account.
card.io is not alone in creating a camera-based software payments system for smartphones. Jumio is also working on creating the ability to take pictures of credit cards and process payments through its app and Netswipe platform. Jumio also has an SDK to institute its payment technology and has more funding with its recent $6.5 million round led by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin. Jumio is well ahead of card.io and working on basically the same product. card.io has raised $1 million from a variety of investors.
There is a new wrinkle in the mobile payments space. Developers are trying to lower the bar for what it takes to institute payment technologies within apps. Near field communications (NFC) requires a special chipset baked right into the smartphone hardware. Dongles are external hardware that can be attached at need. Yet, what Jumio, card.io and to a certain extent companies like LevelUp (which uses QR codes) are attempting to eliminate those special hardware needs.
What it will come down to between card.io and Jumio is really what platform works better. Here is a challenge for the developers that and community of ReadWriteMobile: build and app with card.io and another with Jumio. Put each through the paces and let us know what is better.
Seatwave is a long-time secondary marketing startup in the UK which competes with Viagogo. However, it appears to be tacking towards trying to out-innovate the competition by today releasing an iOS SDK. As far as we know this is the first time a ticketing company has done such a thing, and it could well boost the company’s traction, especially amongst the plethora of music iPhone apps out there which point towards live events.
The fan-to-fan marketplace which majors on sporting and concert events will now enable developers to monetise their apps through ticketing. The move is a major pivot away from the portal model of these ticketing sites towards a more distributed approach.
The “patent-pending” Seatwave SDK, which is optimised for iOS, allows developers to add ticket-buying functionality to their apps. Developers will earn up to 35% of the net revenue on each ticket sale. Since the tickets are bought within the app, developers may be able to get higher conversion rates on purchases than they would by linking off to a website.
The first partners for the app are radio apps including What’s On Air and Maxima 99.1 FM and music discovery apps like Music DNA ID, going live soon.
The iOS SDK supports French, Spanish, Italian, German and Dutch languages and payments are accepted in Sterling, Euros, US dollars and Canadian dollars.
Seatwave already has it’s own iPhone app, and this is an extension of the product, according to CEO Joe Cohen. He said users are finding it way more convenient to consume and buy web and mobile services as and when they discover them rather than be redirected elsewhere.
Seatwave has raised a total of $53M from investors including Atlas Venture, Accel Partners, Mangrove Capital Partners and Fidelity Ventures. The company was founded by Joe Cohen, formerly of Match.com and Ticketmaster, in May 2006 and began online trading in February 2007.