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Meeker Releases Annual Report.

Mary Meeker  - a juggernaut in the venture capitalism world known to some as the “Queen of the Net” – recently released her latest report on Internet Trends.

The report, released by Meeker’s partner VC firm KPCB, has been an important reference in Bottle Rocket’s back pocket when it comes to discussing the leading edge of mobile innovation.

Some important points from the 2014 report:

  • 30% of all mobile users are now equipped with smartphones

One of the most important considerations we make is where eyeballs are moving and how we can follow them. With the percentage of mobile users on smartphones climbing every year, it means more and more eyeballs are on iPhone and Android screens.

  • Tablet shipments increased 53% over the last year

Tablets changed the landscape of mobile app development by providing a completely new layout and altering how users play with apps.

  • People spend 20% of their time consuming media on mobile
  • 84% of mobile owners use devices while watching TV (second screen)

Bottle Rocket has strong experience developing for second screen experiences – such as Showtime SYNC. Second Screen experiences bring the user into their favorite shows with interactive content and social media integration.

According to Meeker the tech boom we are currently experiencing does not have the same valuation risks as the “dot com” bust. With the continued increase in mobile screens there are new market opportunities that will utilize these devices to extend brand capabilities in new ways. Meeker also points valuation of Chinese companies as a foundation for continued strength in technology. 

Another interesting stat from Meeker’s report references the explosion of screens across the globe.

A decade from their inception, mobile devices are already 4-5 times greater in unit volume shipments than TVs and PCs.

Previously we’ve referenced Meeker’s 2013 report to discuss the massive potential for advertising on mobile.

Calvin Carter, our Founder and CEO, leveraged the same content during a talk in Austin last May:

"Mobile is an underutilized channel. That might seem like I'm overstating things because there is so much conversation about mobile. CMO's are likely saying "Are you kidding me, it seems like all we talk about is mobile". But take the time consumers spend in a channel compared to the amount of money spent advertising in that channel [see picture above]. In 2013, we spent about 4x more on ads in print than people spent time looking at print. TV is on balance. Internet and radio could actually nudge up a little bit in their spending relative to the time consumers spend there. But there is 4x as much usage on mobile than we are spending on mobile.  While it seems all we do is talk about mobile, it could be argued that advertisers and brands are not fully leveraging time spent in that channel.”

Mary Meeker’s work has helped us to analyze important trends in digital and mobile, and we’re looking forward to fully digesting KPCB’s latest findings.

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Bottle Rocket welcomes Epic Games

Bottle Rocket opened its doors to Epic Games last night for their “Dallas is Unreal” Indie Developer meet-up.

From 6-9 p.m., representatives from Epic Games hosted members of the community at our offices and showed off demos of the new Unreal Engine 4.

The new engine boasts “new workflow features and a deep toolset” that allow developers to iterate on ideas quicker, all while providing complete C++ source code access.

“We want this to be as widely available as possible,” Epic Evangelist Andy Hess said. “By making the tools available to everybody, amazing things happen.”

Hess and his team gave live demos showing off new post-processing effects and animation previews – all aimed at making developers’ lives easier.

We’re excited to see what local indie developers do with Unreal 4 and are looking forward to seeing the guys from Epic Games again!

Check out the Unreal Engine 4 website for more information. 

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Six-year-old dazzles with app idea

Those close to Bottle Rocket know our story started with a few sketch pads from Office Depot and the passion to build something amazing.  We keep that tool close, by always having sketch pads around our office to get our ideas down on paper!  We have iPad and iPhone versions that we have passed along to many of our clients and partners.  

Recently we heard an amazing story from our friend Richard Smith at IBM.  Richard’s 6-year old son Cole is a MASSIVE Star Wars fan and had an idea to create his own iPhone game!  Cole used Bottle Rocket graph paper to sketch out his ideas.  

It is evident by his designs, he had a clear vision of what he wanted and was heading in the right direction! In Cole’s game, players choose a good guy and a bad guy to fight.  Check out his sketches:

 

Cole was to share his project at his school’s science fair and enlisted Bottle Rocket’s Partner Channel Manager for a bit of advice before submitting.   After talking to Darin about the idea, Cole felt a boost of confidence and entered his game into the contest.

Out of 80 entries, Cole’s game was one of fifteen projects displayed around town!

We’re expecting more great things from Cole. Give it a few years and he may just turn into a Rocketeer.

It’s always great to see the things we are most passionate about extend beyond a glowing screen and inspire others… especially children!

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HomeKit's jump toward a connected home

Home automation and intelligently connected devices aren’t just a myth anymore. Now we have products from Nest, Philips, Honeywell and more that are helping bring some of the magic of smartphones and the Internet into our homes. The only thing missing was one big player to make home automation for the masses both cheap and accessible. This is where Apple is hopefully coming into play.

At their Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) in June, Apple unveiled HomeKit, a framework for communicating with and controlling devices in your home. Compared to everything else that Apple unveiled that day HomeKit flew under the radar. Everyone is much more excited about iOS 8, OSX Yosemite, continuity and the new programming language than HomeKit. I guess that makes me an outlier.



The week before I attended WWDC I, and some other developers here at Bottle Rocket, created an app that can control Philips Hue lightbulbs with your voice. In order to do so we had to learn how to use Philips’ APIs and build an entire framework to do so. But now, with HomeKit, we don’t need to do any of that.

What HomeKit does is make one central framework that can control any HomeKit enabled accessory. So instead of having to learn and build an app that can control Philips’ Hue bulbs and then one to control Honeywell’s accessories, I can just build one app that can control everything. This means developing apps for HomeKit is going to be incredibly easy, which of course means that we’ll see a lot of amazing apps. The only problem though is getting people to actually buy these devices and putting them in their homes.

But here lies the magic of Apple. So many people own and use Apple devices that people have started to just trust anything they make. When an unknown company comes out with a new way to control your thermostat, consumers are going to be wary at first. They don’t have any reason to assume that product is going to be any good. However, with the ridiculous amount of customer satisfaction and trust that Apple has, if a company releases an Apple certified and approved device that can control a part of your home, I think consumers are going to give it a second look.

With so many large companies already on board to create HomeKit devices, we know they are going to want amazing apps to control them, and we are ready to make them.

Prepared by Justin Ehlert 

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