The number of ways you can interact with your mobile devices has expanded further in 2012 than in previous years. This year we have seen convertible laptops hit the market, which turn from a PC into a tablet in one careful snap. New sensors like gyroscopes, compasses and accelerometers have arrived to give us more scope to be creative with our tech. At the same time as our devices are changing, we have changed the way we use apps on them. And more importantly, what we expect from our apps.
The new sensors and features on devices are ripe for exploitation by developers. Without sounding too much like a teacher, we need to make sure we help this technology reach its full potential. By embracing the new functions and models available, we can develop the apps of the future: the ones that people are talking about.
Back in May this year Intel launched the Ultrabook™ Experience Software contest with exactly that in mind. They ran a six-month competition to see how developers could integrate sensor and touch features into apps; new or current. Over 250 developers from over 20 countries submitted innovative app ideas, and 30 developers were taken forward to the next stage. Intel provided the resources, examples and samples, and the chosen 30 used their imaginations and coding skills to run riot. In a few months, they brought to life a host of varying ideas that exploited the new sensors: touch and gesture. These designs all had the Intel Ultrabook at the heart of them and made sure to bridge the gap between PC and mobile devices by making an app that worked on both.
Three winners were crowned, and given prizes to reflect their outstanding efforts, having demonstrated unparalleled skills and inventiveness in their software designs. The top three are:
- “NUIA Imagine” – Silke Oberle (4tiitoo AG): an application that helps you organise your vacation pictures in a very intuitive manner via touch and voice recognition
- “Day by Day” – Ercan Erciyes: a lifestyle application that helps you organise your day with the help of touch screen
- “Live Ball” – Ivan Petrovic (Finalhit Ltd.): a touch and sensor friendly ball game.
From a developer’s point of view, this ever-expanding range of form factors with new features is an opportunity to create something different. Creating hybrid apps could be the key; write once but compatible anywhere. Just make sure the one app you write includes the functionality to let it translate across as many as possible devices.