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What is new in the Android Ecosystem?

At Bottle Rocket, we love developing for the latest technology.  There were a lot of announcements this week regarding the entire Android ecosystem, so we thought we would provide a summary of the highlights.  We have grouped them by category with a short overview of each. 

Hardware

The Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 were announced, providing a new baseline for phones and tablets. Along with this, a new Android TV device dubbed the Nexus Player debuted, and was shown launching with Watch Food Network, Travel Channel, and HGTV, all developed by Bottle Rocket.  We’ve been working on this for the past few weeks and we look forward to it’s official launch on November 3rd. 

The Nexus 6 comes with a 5.96” display, and the Nexus 9 is a 64-bit device that’s in a 4:3 aspect ratio, which is new for Google’s Nexus tablets. The resolution is the same as the current Retina iPads, but it’s hard to know if that means other tablets will follow suit. The Nexus Player utilizes the new lean back experience that Google showed at I/O, but also includes Google Cast support (the same technology in the Chromecast).

Here are the links if you want to read more: Nexus 6Nexus 9 Nexus Player

Software

Up until now, we’ve only known it as Android L, but from now on it will be known as Android 5.0, Lollipop! It brings a huge number of changes, the largest being to notifications and the new Material Design standard, but there have also been lots of efficiencies and lower level changes added. Ask your neighborhood Android developer for more details, and how we might use any of the new technology in our apps.

For more details on all the changes (and there are a lot) in Android 5.0, see here.

Visuals

The Material Design guidelines have been further extended and formalized, with a lot of demos of how it will work in Android 5.0. Make sure to take a look at http://www.google.com/design/.

If you want to read the official announcement, it is here.

So, what should our clients be thinking about?

Google will be looking for apps that showcase Material Design, and that use the newest APIs. Integrating with wearables will become more important as more wearable devices are launched, and TV apps are now a first-class component of the Android ecosystem.  Apps will need to consider their behavior on all devices, and will need to make significant adjustments for wearables and TV. Deployment for these extra platforms is simplified since they are all combined into a single app.  The unified standard of Material Design has been designed to work on all the platforms, so there should be consistency in an app, regardless of how and when it is used.

All of this leads to a consistent, beautiful and engaging experience for users.

Contact us today to learn how we can help elevate your brand on mobile. 

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Food Network, Travel Channel and HGTV featured the Nexus Player debut

This week, Google announced the new Android TV device dubbed the Nexus Player, and was shown launching with Watch Food Network, Travel Channel, and HGTV, all developed by Bottle Rocket.  We’ve been working on this for the past few weeks and we look forward to it’s official launch on November 3rd. 

We all know that content is king and getting best in class content to users in beautifully crafted experiences is our passion.  This was an amazing opportunity to do it again on this new platform.  We were thrilled to be able to partner with brands as powerful as Food Network, Travel Channel and HGTV.

 

At Bottle Rocket, we love developing for the latest technology.  Contact us to see how we can launch your brand on the latest and greatest! 

 

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When it comes to Second Screen, it's not one size fits all

Rocketeer Judy Johnson, recently spoke on a second screen panel at the Digital Hollywood conference in San Francisco.  When asked about second screen, she explained that a lot of people are approaching the idea of the second screen completely wrong. “Up until recently, [second screen] has been mobile, but now, we’re seeing that any screen can be the second screen.”

If you’re on the second screen, you’re likely doing something other than what’s on TV.  If you think about Sundays and fantasy football, a football game on the big screen is likely background noise to the fantasy football player, checking team stats on a second screen. Whatever screen you’re looking at, that’s you’re primary screen.  Increasingly, people in most every age group are multitasking, using more than one screen whenever content is playing. 
 
If second screen companies want to capitalize, they need to better-tailor their offerings based on the content.  What works for sports won’t work for a scripted TV drama. What works for a live TV show won’t work for movie.  It’s not one size fits all.

   

Bottle Rocket’s experience with TV Everywhere, Video Delivery and Second Screen runs deep.  To learn more about our work for networks such as NBC, Showtime, and the family of Scripps Networks, contact us today.

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Rocketeer Charity: Pencils of Promise

This month, Rocketeers are supporting Pencils of Promise, which is a non-profit organization that builds schools in the developing world.  As of 2013, the charity has built over than 150 schools throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Pencils of Promise believes every child should have access to quality education. They create schools, programs, and global communities around the common goal of education for all.  Need, sustainability, cost efficiency, impact and commitment are all taken into account when picking a location for a school. The facilities are built with local labor and material. The charity also supports projects through ongoing education programs, curriculums, scholarships, sister programs. Local staff are provided with professional development training to grow as professionals and take on leadership and mentor-ship roles. 

Quick Stats: 

  • 100% of online donations goes directly to their programs on the ground.
  • Teachers enrolled in our teacher training program attend school with 97% frequency
  • Our scholarship students progress to secondary school 2X more than the regional average

This organization was chosen by Mike LeDuc who said, “This organization is important to me because it helps provide an education to children around the world who would be unable to break out of the poverty cycle. I personally know the power of education to improve lives.  I became aware of this cause because my Yoga instructor Tracy Carruth mentioned the book “Promise of a Pencil” during one of her classes. I read this book at it inspired me to help raise money to build a school.”

For more information, visit http://pencilsofpromise.org 

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Six ways virtual reality can be used in the enterprise

Let’s be honest, virtual reality is not all fun and games.  VR is breaking into the enterprise.  When you think virtual reality, you immediately think entertainment and games.  Now, thanks to the recent buzz around Oculus VR, we are eagerly anticipating a major impact on the enterprise in many different ways.

At Bottle Rocket, we are actively working with large brands to build VR strategies for use in numerous ways ranging from safety in the enterprise to brand engagement.  Check back early next year to see several fully deployed solutions for major brands.  We’ll be able to discuss more in the next few months. 

Here are six ways virtual reality can be used in the enterprise:

Data Visualization

Sensors are everywhere these days.  With massive amounts of data being collected every second, we must find new ways to distill it and understand its value.  VR creates a very immersive way to surround yourself in data instead of looking at the same old 2D charts and graphs.  From geological surveys to medical visualization, VR can provide a new perspective on how we interpret and manipulate data. 

Hazardous Training

A common challenge for high-risk industries such as fire safety, mining and the military is how to provide safe safety training. Virtual reality simulation allows for the development of expertise, quick problem-solving and decision-making under stress without the trainees being in harms way.

Product Simulation

Virtual Reality allows users to have a natural interaction with a virtual product to determine out how to optimize product performance, test design principles, safety, and more.   This interaction in turn allows for more communication between departments.

Virtual Collaboration

What about your average office worker? Employees can now collaborate by sharing presentations and documentation virtually rather than printing, emailing or projecting in a meeting room.  Picture an office where everything is available in VR and desks and common areas are completely clutter free.

Education

Today's students are learning in completely connected environment but, with constant contact comes constant distraction.  VR provides a new way to immerse students in learning.  Imagine following George Washington into battle or taking the role of Neil Armstrong during the first moon landing.  They are virtually on-site making decisions and learning from them.

Socialization

In virtual worlds, people can create avatars and socialize in a way we have never seen.  From the virtual boardroom to the bar, a wide range of networked experiences will form the metaverse of virtual human connection.   

According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the virtual reality market is expected to grow to $407.51 million and reach more than 25 million users by 2018.  Bottle Rocket has been hard at work with clients, internal labs and partnering with Samsung and Oculus.  We see an amazing trend.  (Source)

We can't wait to share what we have been working on with a select number of premium brands.  Contact us today to learn how Virtual Reality can streamline your business. 

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Judy Johnson, director of product innovation for Dallas-based app developer Bottle Rocket, thinks a lot of people are approaching the idea of the second screen completely wrong.

“Up until now, [second screen] has been mobile,” she said Oct. 20, speaking during a second screen panel at the Digital Hollywood conference. “Now, we’re seeing any screen can be the second screen.”

Read More