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Dec 5, 2014

5 Addicting App Games To Try

app game

With app stores growing more cluttered, it's getting harder to identify those actually worth downloading. That's particularly true in gaming, where there seems to be new "featured apps" and fresh selections from established developers just about every day. To help you sift through the endless options, here are five genuinely addicting and fun games I'm recommending this December.

Only One

Updated in August, Only One isn't a brand-new game, but it's become one of my go-to addictive gaming getaways. The format is simple: you control a small character running about on a cliff top battling various enemies as they appear. In striking down your enemies or knocking them off the edge of the cliff, you can regain health and gather "power," which is actually currency to be used for upgrades. The design of the game has a great indie feel to it, relying on an intentionally retro look while the gameplay is addicting without being frustrating. Yes, there are in-app purchase options, but this is a rare freemium game that you can fully enjoy without buying anything. The purchases are purely for those who want shortcuts or simply want to experience all of the various upgrades you can get. Touch Arcade said it best: this is a game with "depth well bey ond what you would expect."

Vainglory

Vainglory
Designed specifically for iPhone 6, Vainglory has taken the title as the best mobile MOBA game out there. For those unfamiliar with this term, it stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, and that pretty much sums up the game. You compete in a battle format against other real players in real time to control the arena and, in this instance, destroy the Vain crystal of the enemy team. It's not only incredibly addicting (just try not playing again if you lose), but it's a beautiful game taking full advantage of the sharpness and quality of the new iPhone.

Betfair Bingo

I'm not typically one for casino apps, mostly because they're somewhat clumsy. The app version of the Betfair bingo platform, however, was updated for iOS devices just this November and it comes across in a clean and professional way. The design is sleek and sharp, the game offerings are clear (with real-money options for those interested), and it's altogether simple and easy to play. That's all that many people want from a casino game as opposed to the bells and whistles that complicate so many of the app options out there. It's obviously best suited for people who are already fans of bingo, but it's definitely worth a try for anyone.

Dwelp

Dwelp

A brand-new game and an inventive new sort of puzzle, Dwelp is one of the most engaging games in any app store at the moment. It does cost £0.69 in the iOS app store. However, it doesn't rely on in-app purchases and it's a pretty extensive game, so it's worth the cost. The game shows you dots on a grid and challenges you to link up those of the same colour without locking them in place too soon. It's almost like a bizarre blend of a match-the-dots format and a sudoku brain teaser. A YouTube preview of the game clarifies exactly how it works and shows the addictive potential.

Kiwi Clapas

Kiwi Clapas
I almost wanted to dislike this game because of its blatant attempt to become the next Angry Birds. But after giving it a shot, I have to say it's incredibly entertaining. Basically, you're presented with an area containing a number of "kiwis" (little cartoon bird characters) and challenged to contain them in as small a space as possible by drawing walls around them. There are more kiwis as you advance, and you benefit more from containing them in as few moves as possible. That makes it easy to continue challenging both yourself and the game. It's simple, and maybe not a game you'll stick with long term, but for a short binge here or there Kiwi Clapas is surprisingly engaging.

This is a guest post by Brad Jenkins.
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Nov 18, 2014

Is iPhone 5C Still Relevant?

[Sponsored Post]

When Apple released the iPhone 5c, a lot of people were left scratching their heads. Many couldn’t figure out why Apple would release a device that wasn’t as good as the 5s, and more importantly, also was more or less the equal of the earlier iPhone 5, but in a different case. There were arguments that the 5c was set to target newer markets, emerging markets, and a number of other things, with Forbes even chiming in on the subject.

However, the reasons are relatively immaterial. A lot of people bought the iPhone 5c. While it might not have been as many people as Apple analysts had hoped, there were still plenty of colourful iPhone 5c handsets floating around the mobile world. People who bought them weren’t complaining, and everyone was embracing the iOS sphere, just like they have with every other iPhone that’s ever been released. With that in mind, here are the top seven reasons you should consider an iPhone 5c.

1) Ergonomics: By far the most ergonomic feeling handset Apple has released since the iPhone 3GS, it’s an appealing and easy to use phone. Reminiscent of the old polycarbonate MacBooks, it’s a bit of a retro throwback. A lot of people, including a number of designers, loved their iPhone 5c phones. In fact, according to Mashable, the 5c is “Unapologetically Fun”.

2) Front Camera: The selfie, or front facing camera, of the iPhone 5c is significantly better than the older iPhone 5 camera. It takes better and clearer photos, and the differences are very obvious when compared side by side with the older iPhone 5 front facing camera. It has an improved sensor, and better pixel density, which is makes photos shine.

3) Style: One thing too few people considered about the colourful plastic body of the 5c is that they eliminated the need for a secondary case. Most of the time our thin and sleek phones end up stuck in rubberized or polycarbonate cases that are, well… colourful. The iPhone 5c skipped that step by building the phone into a case that is already covered in polycarbonate, and available in more than one colour. This gives fashion conscious people the ability to choose what they want from their phone colour, without bulking up the slim phone design with a fat case. To quote Jony Ive, the iPhone 5C is "beautifully, unapologetically plastic."

4) Battery: The battery is an improvement over earlier devices, and can last up to three days of normal and varied use. While it won’t last that long if you’re constantly playing Angry Birds or Candy Crush, normal use has seen a boost, with a reported two hours of increased talk time.

5) iOS: While this is a turn off for some, those who love and use Apple products will find all of the features of Apple’s latest operating system working just fine on their 5c phones. Air Drop, FaceTime, and of course the Apple iMessage system are just a few of the great perks that come standard on the device. Again, it’s not ground breaking new tech, like the Apple iPhone 6, but it’s a solid workable phone that looks and handles great, supporting all of the features of iOS8.

6) Video: The 5c has the same great video capture and rear camera quality the iPhone 5 had. This means you can record great video with your 5c, while also being able to take amazing photos. That’s not to say that you won’t later want to upgrade to a better phone if you’re a video junkie, but rather that normal users will not be disappointed in the video or camera functions of this phone. It holds its own, and takes beautiful video.

7) Storage: We’re fans of the 32 GB storage options, but you can also get 16 GB, or even 8 GB. However, the smaller memory phones aren’t high marks for us. An 8 GB phone will fill up almost overnight, while a 16 GB model will perhaps last through a few weeks or maybe even a month of apps, photos, and other installs. While you can always use iCloud to offload those things, it’s just an all around better option to go with the 32 GB model out the gate, and not stress over your storage or viewing options. Nothing’s worse than trying to take a photo or video and finding out that your phone memory is full.

The iPhone 5c is a solid device. It’s colourful, and the plastic is pleasant to hold, not feeling cheap or off market like many competing phones in plastic cases. Especially for younger generations and kids, who like the bright colours, it’s a great way to personalize and enhance your look without digging too deep into your pockets. Priced from about £350, it’s not the most powerful (or expensive) device Apple offers, but it’s a good phone that you’ll enjoy using.

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Oct 28, 2014

Webinar: The Impact of Mobile User Interface on Productivity

User Interface Presentation

Hi all,

I am delighted to invite you to a webinar I’m giving on one of my favorite topics: User Interface.

We all know this topic, we all talk about it, we all know what we like and what we don’t like about user interface, and we all have experience with bad user examples. And yet, analyzing user interface for many years, working with software and mobile apps, I’ve collected a few interesting points I believe would interest you.

Software trends, usability tips, design tips, flat UI, responsive UI, how to design a workflow, how build clarity in your software. I will review a very long list of tips and best practices and hopefully you will find it interesting. so get ready to a celebration of UI with tons of screenshots, mock-ups, and real world examples everyone can relate to.

The webinar is tomorrow, October 29th, 11:00am EDT/ 15:00pm GMT. 
To register, head over to this registration page:

The Impact of Mobile User Interface on Productivity

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Sep 9, 2014

5 Things To Love About The Apple Watch And 5 Reasons To Skip It

Apple Watch 5

Watching the Apple announcement today made me feel like packing some stuff and standing in line with all the crazy people. iPhone 6 looks very nice: finally some curved edges that will make it nicer to hold the phone, and some cool new size-relate features like the split view. The overall design was a bit of a disappointment at first, but I still think its one of the best looking phones you could find these days.

And about the watch…

Few weeks ago I wrote about 10 Reasons Why You Probably Shouldn’t Buy an LG G Watch.
I wrote it after trying out the G Watch for a few days and realizing the watch is close to being a useless beta version of what is expected to come.
And indeed, as I wrote in that post, the Apple Watch announcement presented a polished story, crystalized and appealing, that makes you want the gadget even though you know you don’t really need it.

Apple Watch

Here’s 5 things I really liked about the Apple Watch, followed by 5 reasons why I think buying it is a mistake (that I’m definitely about to make).

5 Things to Love About the Apple Watch:

  1. Design Options: unlike the iPhone and iPad, the Watch is presented as a personalized fashion product with a lot of customizable options. I like it. The watch looks very nice and many of the design options are actually appealing.
  2. Health & Activity Tracking: as a FitBit Force owner I learned that activity trackers can really help you get motivated to exercise more. Since I spend most of my 4-times-a-week gym practice on reading emails and exploring new shoes –  I found that the FitBit motivates me to walk more and climb more stairs (reaching an average of 20 floors per day!). I would love to see more capabilities around health and activity tracking wrapped inside fancy UI and cool features. I know Apple’s API’s will make it possible for developers to develop great new apps around this area of functionality.
  3. Digital Crown: what a name… what a series of names… have you noticed Apple did not give a name to that button below the digital crown? It’s the only button, cable, feature, box, they haven’t named in the past 7 years, and in their website they just call it; “the button under the digital crown”…
    In any event, I enjoy exploring new input methods and just like trackpads in the old days, joysticks and styluses, I am interested to learn how this thing feels like, especially with that weird yet refreshing homescreen. Suddenly multi-touch seems like a boring technology isn’t it…
  4. Digital Touch: Sure it’s stupid, and of course it will not make me more productive, but hey, I thought the same about FaceTime and iMessages and those are my favorite features in iOS. I’m sure I will enjoy playing with all sorts of new communication options. Not including “YO” of course.
  5. Functionality Beyond Notifications: One of the things I didn’t like about the LG G Watch is the fact that the only actions I could make with the watch were to read the notifications and dismiss them, while anything beyond that required that I will open the “full app” from my Android phone.
    Apple managed to present new use cases that demonstrated new capabilities directly from the watch and that is before publishing those API’s to the developers, which I’m sure will turn them into super cool features in their apps. We are just scratching the surface right now with wearable capabilities and seeing some apps that take the watch beyond just notifications is a positive sign.

There were some other nice features demonstrated today, one of them was loading songs to the device which seems like a very important (and basic) capability.

Apple Watch 4Apple Watch 3 Mobilespoon

5 Reasons Why Buying an Apple Watch is a Mistake

(mistake that I intend to make…)

  1. Price
  2. Design. Overall I like it, but I suspect it’s a bit too chubby. I was hoping for a watch that will be thinner.
  3. Battery life: not that we know too much about it, but since it was not mentioned in the keynotes today, I am suspecting that just like the LG G Watch – the battery life is going to be unacceptable, and by unacceptable I mean less than 1 day. 
    There are rumors that Apple postponed the release of the product to keep improving the battery life which means that it is most likely going to be an issue anyhow.
  4. It’s G1. Historically, generation 1 devices become outdated much faster than later models. If the average time it takes for a device to look lame is 2 years, then with generation 1 models it often take 1 year. Something that takes you back to the price problem…
  5. Apple Watch? Is it a typo in the name? Where did the “I” go?
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Aug 13, 2014

10 Reasons Why You Probably Shouldn’t Buy an LG G Watch

LG G Watch MobileSpoon

Battery life, design, apps, crashes, Casio digital watch, SCRUM and Apple. Here’s 10 reasons why you probably shouldn’t buy an LG G Watch (unless you really want to):

LG G Watch MobileSpoon

10 Reasons why you probably shouldn’t buy LG G Watch right now (unless you really want to):

  1. Design
    Personally I don’t think it’s that bad, and of course, design is a subjective thing.
    But realize this: the current smartwatch models belong to the pre iWatch era, which means things will look different once Apple and other players (Moto 360?) will get into the smartwatch field. That is expected to happen in the coming months and then the LG G Watch will look like a big, goofy alpha model with bezels that are too wide and thickness that doesn’t make any sense at all.
  2. The software is still in beta phase.
    Yes. Sorry Android fans, but someone has to say it. Google likes it this way; release a product that is almost polished and improve it on the move. Learning from those unhappy customers.
    That’s not my idea of a great product. 10-20 crashes a day are more than enough for me. It’s 2014, I expect software to run smoothly.
    And by the way: using “Something went wrong…” as an error message may sound nicer than “fatal error” or “null exception” but in the 10th time you see this message you will feel like doing something “wrong” to the damn thing.
  3. Battery life is simply unacceptable.
    I read a few positive reviews praising the battery life of the LG G Watch, and I just couldn’t believe it.
    A watch that needs to be charged 2 times a day? A watch that must be removed from your wrist once a day and then once again during the night if you want to have some battery left in the morning? How can that be an acceptable thing?
    My Fitbit activity tracker needs to be charged once every 10 days and it still feels a lot, so 1-2 time per day is simply not something we, as consumers, should accept, especially given the charging method (see next bullet). Smartwatch makers: find a way to solve this.
  4. Charging method is done through a proprietary cradle.
    Having iPhone/iPad cradles and Micro USB cradles in my office, car, and home, made me think I’m covered for any kind of future gadget I am likely to use. I was wrong.
    For some reason the LG engineers felt it would be a great idea to invent a new magnetic charging device instead of simply using Micro USB. The cradle itself is nice (saw some complains about it but I admit I didn’t feel it was that bad), but you just cannot carry it everywhere you go! That’s insane.
    To my opinion proprietary cradles can only work if you have few of them (like most people do with Apple cables) or if your gadget requires charging rarely (once every few days) so you can plan it ahead.
    The LG G Watch falls short in both cases and I think that the combination of the poor battery life with the lack of a direct Micro USP port will eventually kill this product regardless to its’ other flaws.

    LG G Watch
  5. The watch falls short as an activity tracker.
    When I bought my FitBit tracker I wanted it to count not only the number of steps I make but also number of stairs and floors I’m climbing every day. For a while the tracker made me challenge myself on a daily basis reaching 30 floors per day. Other activity trackers also count calories, measure sleeping quality, and some can even measure your pulse, blood pressure and more. The LG G Watch falls short in most of the above and can mostly track steps and running distances. That’s not enough to replace previous and upcoming activity trackers and it means you cannot replace your tracker with a smartwatch. Well, at least not at the moment.
  6. Home screen. Actually, the lack of it.
    Here’s an interesting user story to all of you SCRUM fanatics out there:
    As a user (this is how every user story should begin) I want to touch and slide my watch 5-6 times (at least) in order to get to the list of my installed apps, so that it can take me really long time to activate the desired app.
    As weird as it may sound, this is how Android Wear standard UI behaves, focusing on voice commands neglecting some visual UI elements. BTW, the first thing you can do (in case you accidently already bought a watch) is to install Wear Mini Launcher which looks really good and operates very well for me so far as a main screen substitute.
  7. Notifications, notifications, notifications… is that all you’ve got?
    In the future, we will carry a few wearable devices on our bodies and we will be able to activate them using synergetic body gestures, voice communication and brain commands. Touchscreens will be gone.
    OK, wake up, that’s the future.
    We are in the present, and in the present, Android Wear does a nice job in showing notifications coming from the phone, but that’s about it. There isn’t much you can do with the notifications.
    For some notifications there are 1-2 additional actions that can be done directly from the watch, but in most cases the action will simply take you back to your smartphone opening something. That’s kind of lame if you ask me, and I think that in the upcoming months will see more and more apps providing meaningful capabilities done directly from the watch, but for now – the most popular action is to open the relevant app on the smartphone.


    Android Wear MobileSpoon
  8. Apps.
    It is fun to see how quickly Android Wear apps are added to Google Play.
    Many developers are trying to achieve their moment of glory by being the first to develop a useful Android Wear app that will make the watch be more productive. I think there’s a huge potential there, most of it is not yet developed, or even explored, but it’s there.
    For now, however, there are tons of alternative faces to the watch (kind of like clock wallpapers), and too many funny (useless) apps like flashlights, calculators, and Tic-tac-toe.
    After searching for 2 days I don’t think I have found a killer app for Android Wear, but I’m sure there will eventually be some.
  9. Lack of significant hand gestures
    The LG G Watch wakes up every time you move your hand in a certain way which is far too common.
    This gesture wakes up the watch too often and it’s a bit annoying.
    Apple, Google, Microsoft, here’s an idea for you: similar to scrolling, pinch to zoom, and other elements that evolved though mobility – how about you start working on a new gestures language: specific movements that can be used to navigate through any wearable UI. Something that is unique and that we can get used to.
  10. iWatch
    Let’s admit it. In a few months time, Apple will reveal its’ iWatch gadget. It will look amazing, feel amazing, and above all, Apple will “sell” it to us as the most incredible (and required) device ever created. “humanity reinvented!” (or something like that…).
    It is most likely going to be slightly limited in some areas, while amazingly promising on other areas (health and fitness maybe?), and it will most likely redefine (I’m beginning to sound like them!) some wearable categories like smartwatches.
    If you are not in a hurry to buy a new gadget, I would wait a few more months…


    android-wear-1

 

Summary:

LG G Watch is a product for early adopters, not for mass market. 
As such, the watch is an interesting product, showcasing the integration between the Android phone and the Android watch using Android Wear. The notifications mechanism works well but that’s about most of it.

I admit having this gadget on your wrist is nice, not to mention it takes me back to those Casio digital watches from the 80’s.

I’m not against inventing the technology first and building the use cases later, but I think the LG G Watch suffers from a technology which is simply not good enough at the moment; Android Wear is not there yet, and the combination of the software with the hardware is more time consuming than helpful in most cases.

Add to it the combination of poor battery life and the problematic charger and you end up with a product that has serious issues. .

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Aug 6, 2014

Powerful Project Management Tool Using Google Calendar, Mobile App and… Lego

I’m a huge fan of productivity & project management tools. Recently a friend of mine sent me a link to a unique project that found a way to combine paper-based tasks board with a mobile app and … Lego.

lego workplan app[5]

In many software companies working with agile methodologies like SCRUM or KANBAN you can see those low-tech looking task boards holding a list of paper-based tasks with different statuses under different columns. Those boards are often more useful than any software out there and provide a visual feel of the project status combined with the simplest update mechanism ever invented: moving the paper from one column to another.

Well, the folks at Vitamins, a design and invention studio, came up with a unique idea to replace the board and paper-based tasks with a Lego-based board. That made the board look much nicer of course but they wanted it to also include a software-side, so they took the idea to the extreme and combined it with a mobile app that captures a picture of the board, scans it, and translates the visual elements into meaningful items in Google Calendar.

kanban using lego board 

Lego Project Management

Here’s how the company describes the project:

  • Every row represents a month - we have three on our wall. 
  • Every column represents a day of the week. 
  • Every person in the studio has their own row - there are six people on ours. 
  • Every project has its own color, and we keep a little index hidden away to remember which color represents which project. 
  • Each brick represents a half day spent on that particular project.

And here’s a short video describing the idea and the implementation:

Visit the Lego Calendar website

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Jul 27, 2014

Circular Windows for Wearables Concept

There are hundreds of iWatch designs and concepts out there, and yet the best looking wearable I would like to share with you is one that was designed for Windows Phone…

This design captures some of the nicer elements of Windows Phone and places them in a clean way that fits the tiny rounded screen.

My favorite one is the people’s hub:

Windows Smart Watch

Other nice screenshots can be found in here.

Microsoft-smartwatch-concept-4-490x388

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Jul 24, 2014

3 Interesting Usability Improvements with latest iPhones and iPads

Usability is usually measured by examining the efficiency of the software user interface for achieving the user’s goals. Recently I’ve been working on a long user interface presentation (more details soon), and while working on It I came to realize there were 3 significant improvements Apple did with latest iOS and iDevices (iPhone/iPad) that most people rarely talk about, probably because they are not directly related to the software’s visual design.

And still, talking about usability as a whole, here are 3 significant usability improvements implemented by Apple with latest iPhones, iPads and iOS7: 

1. Touch ID

Regardless to how secure it really is – Touch ID provides a usability boost to iPhone users.
Most of us unlock our phones over 100 times a day. Given that you have a password protecting your phone, it takes around 3-5 seconds to unlock it, reaching up to around 500 seconds which stand for over 8 minutes per day, 4 hours per month in which you are wasting your time unlocking your phone.

touchidsensor

With Touch ID this can be reduced significantly: the ease of unlocking the phone allows you to do it much faster than with a password lock, and it’s easier too, especially when you are on the move. 
For the sake of the discussion – let’s assume this usability boost can result in around 2 hours per month. Not bad for busy people…

 

2. Lightning Cable

We are all spoiled and seek for the simplest way to get things done.
It takes 3 attempts to plug in a USB cable (try once, fail, rotate, fail again, realize the second failure was more definite than the first one, rotate back, done), and with micro USB it takes 1-2 additional seconds to plug the cable to the phone. With the new Apple cable this task is easy. Given that you charge your phone at least 2 times in 24 hours – this is another usability improvement when dealing with with Apple’s devices.

ligthningcable2

3. Back Button

Well, no, I am not hallucinating. iPhone did not add a back button, probably the biggest missing feature in the history of iPhone (the top left corner back buttons are simply not usable). However, iOS7 brought something much better than a back button: a back gesture (along with a bunch of other useful gestures).

Why do I think it’s better? because when gestures are well implemented they create a superior experience to any button (virtual or physical). Buttons require accuracy, and when you are on the move it’s easier to perform a quick swipe (all over the screen) than to locate the accurate location of the button, especially when dealing with large phones where the back button might be hard to reach.

Switching from Android to iPhone always required some adjustment to the fact the back button is not there, but now with the back gesture, using a Windows Phone or an Android feels like the back button is simply outdated.

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Jul 17, 2014

Productivity War: Evernote vs. OneNote. New World vs. Old

productivity apps

I’m a huge fan of productivity tools and I use different apps to arrange my daily activities, collect information, write down my ongoing thoughts and manage my action items.

When it comes to working with my own teams – I had the chance to test many alternatives like Google Tasks, Asana, Remember the milk, Any.Do, Producteev, Trello, Basecamp, they are all great, some of them are amazing, and yet, I ended up designing my own tool on top of ClickMobile, a product I’m leading at ClickSoftware.
To make a long story short – ClickMobile is a mobile application development platform that allows enterprise organizations to rapidly develop their own mobile apps, with a strong focus on back-end integration, reliable data synchronization, flexible forms, offline capabilities, amazing cross-device support (agnostic, responsive), knowledge collaboration and more. The ClickMobile product is highly optimized for field service use and less for engineering activities, but with all of the flexibility it holds I figured I better be “drinking my own champagne” than using other apps.

And still there’s this thing I needed. My personal notepad. A quick & dirty to-do list. A notebook.  
This little paper replacement you want to carry with you anywhere you go.

evernote

From OneNote to EverNote

Before SoMoClo (social mobile cloud), I used to use Microsoft’s OneNote. For many years it was my number one tool for notes taking, managing to-do lists, saving screen captures, arranging my customer visits information, storing my technology notes, code snippets and more.

It was unbeatable.

And then came mobility… and just like that… OneNote was a dead product to me.

The minute I had to synchronize my data between few devices (where few means bigger than 1) it was over. Microsoft, like in many other aspects of mobility, was (understatement ahead:) “slow” to react to my emerging needs, and instead of a powerful sync I ended up facing conflicts, disconnections and data losses.

Then came cloud. Real cloud.

I switched to Evernote.

True, Evernote never had the same richness like OneNote. The notes were limited (at first), and the functionality was basic. But Evernote represents all the amazing things that happened in the software industry in the past 6-7 years: it is (by design) lightning fast, works across all devices (including PC and Mac), completely cloud-based, easy to join, connect, install, and most importantly – Evernote was designed for users like me who constantly switch from one device to another, using phones, tablets, laptops, desktops. Those notes are always in sync.

Evernote and the era of BYOA

For a few years I’ve been a huge fan of Evernote. Promoting this app everywhere I go, not only in terms of the app itself but also due to the underlying platform that is used by a few more apps built on top of it. It’s fascinating to see how such a basic thing like notes taking can evolve into the giant Evernote became.

Evernote is one of the biggest ambassadors of today’s BYOA (bring your own apps) trend which is becoming even more significant than BYOD. When Gartner analysts talk about Shadow IT they talk about the likes of Dropbox, Asana and EverNote. Those products were born as a result of a growing need to have decent consumer-style productivity apps, and today they are quickly penetrating the enterprise because they are easy to use, fun, and cost nothing to implement. This process is fascinating and slowly reshapes the role of IT in those organizations from bringing in new software to accepting software brought by the employees.

In a world of Shadow IT and BYOA, I ended up having all my data managed by cloud-based apps such as Dropbox, Pocket, Feedly and EverNote. Without them I am unable to function. They are all installed on any gadget I come across, be it a new iPad or a Windows Phone.

Microsoft’s Comeback

Recently I gave OneNote another try. After all, Microsoft is making a huge effort to remain relevant in this fascinating SoMoClo game with the releases of Outlook.com, OneDrive and other goodies.
You can feel the difference between older Microsoft tools and the ones that were released in the past 3-4 years. They are changing. Even their annoying error messages are replaced with a friendlier: “something went wrong…”

I decided to give OneNote another (last) try and I must admit I was very impressed.

OneNote

Microsoft maintained the rich functionality and made the mobile version of OneNote simple to use, cross platform (that iPad app s gorgeous!), well designed, and above all – useful and reliable with regards to data sync between multiple devices.

While Evernote is currently evolving into becoming bigger, stronger, and a bit heavier (first examples can be seen by the latest updates which actually took the UX backward and added complexity) – Microsoft made OneNote simpler, faster, cleaner, nicer…

Surprisingly enough, I’m now back with OneNote. I still have Evernote installed everywhere I go, but it’s mostly for my older stuff. Talk about a twist in the tale…

What’s next?

We are living in a world of mobile, cloud, and IT consumerization. People vote with their feet and employees are people. We want software that is simple to use, easy to learn, and works exactly how we expect it to work.
If the giants can’t provide such software – they will be replaced with others.

There are almost 1 millions apps in Apple’s AppStore. Thousands of them are productivity apps.

Microsoft is making a very interesting move by making tools like OneNote free and available across all devices. Gone are the days where it was enough to support only Windows. Microsoft understands that and is acting more like Evernote by making the software accessible to everyone. Microsoft understands that selling to the IT departments can only be good to some extent, and if we, the end users (and employees) will not like what we see we will simply replace it with something else.

Ask Evernote.

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