ARM and a leg...

The cost of the mobile devices are plummeting and the CPU's are getting better, from a single processor to a dual processor. So things are looking good, right? The question I'd like to ask is for who???

A mobile device manufacturer has a supply of the latest and the greatest, because the suppliers can only get them the new parts. The older legacy parts are not available for manufacturing. Plus who would want to buy an outdated device than the latest shiny one? If that was a question and not a statement, the answer to that would be the corporates.

Having run the enterprise for a very long time in my previous life, it is not easy to just jump and pick up the latest hardware/software. There are issues that surround it and often change the outcomes.

To give you a real life example, around 1996-97 when BMW had purchased Rover and were trying to integrate the two systems, it was not exactly easy or pretty. BMW at the time had a unix based diagnostic system that was a huge SCO Unix machine running in graphical kiosk mode with a 15" touch screen. SO the mechanic would plug the diagnostic head onto the engine and then interact with the vehicle via the touch screen. It could do a lot of things, including raise and lower the windows to check the electrical connectivity. So when we had a visit from the Rover delegate, I found him seated with a laptop, a 486 based Laptop, not a Pentium, it did pique my curiousity on why an older machine, it is due to Rover being outdated? The answer was that now Rover had to have the facility for diagnosis from a tester unit/machine. The timings on a Pentium were a bit too fast and would timeout thereby giving false results. So a 486 based laptop was selected to have the timing right.

Windows 98 was on a lot of desktops for a very long time before Windows 2000 or XP was adopted. Again, not because the organisations are stingy, but also because a lot of other software that is critical to the business, that helps run the operations smoothly, might not work on these. Ask the people that have been holding the fort, they will tell you that though it might be nice to have a copy for testing, it is often difficult to migrate to a new system before testing all compatibility and other related issues.

Lastly, finances also do play a major role. Let's take an example of a client that has a small to medium business with let's say 10-15 employees. They want to contract the development of a mobile based software that will automate some tasks for them. Every one of their employee is in the field with a mobile phone, so deploying the app on these mobile devices will ensure that they are always connected if they so want. What do you think the cost of the project is for them?15 employees x iPhones even before they add the cost of development, they are already in the 5 digit mark. Compare this with the android devices from Huawei or Samsung, etc these devices are in the range of $99 - $199 in contrast to the > $700 iPhones. So what is different about these devices, how come they are cheaper? Like every other Apple product, iPhones are the mobile devices with the latest and greatest processors, where as other manufacturers use the run of the mill, cheaper CPU's or as they say, the last season's collection. Generally most of these have an ARMv6 processor.

Perhaps this is the most common and the most widespread processor in the market. However, from an Ansca point of view, it is easier to drop support to be able to provide wonderful features... which are...Most of the Android apps build with CoronaSDK are not optimised. So they will mostly crash on startup. They will be slow, and slow, really slow. There was an article recently by an intern (that will be joining Microsoft, but is a Googler at heart after having spend so much time being an intern at Google) on how and why the dual core chips are a boon for android, it masks/hides the inability of the Android system to provide a non lagging experience like the Apple products. Plus add to that, something that I had not seen earlier android .apk files display a message that the application has been corrupted. WFT??? This was then clarified by community members that have faced the same issue than Ansca themselves that the way they handle directories causes this to happen.

The rant on Ansca continues for a couple of reasons, it has been over two years, when the Big C was talking nice, I had requested for a database/dump of the API. For three months it was something that was trereated like a hot potato between the departments, the IT guy to the Web Server guy, and what not, only to come to the conclusion that *GASP* the API is all over the place and crappy because it is not generated but is types in manually into their CMS. The first FAIL towards customer service.

The second thing that did get me is the way Ansca deal with information. One like to show off and place teasers all over the place of things to come, where as the rest quietly release a feature and then the PR guy tweets it over 100 times. The part that they do not get is despite all of this, the developer is still unable to use it as there is no documentation on that new bit. Then Ansca release a blog post talking about how cool they are to have release this and here is a snip on how to use it, the snip will never work. It is always incomplete or faulty. Then after a week or so, there would be another follow-up blog post or a tutorial from other Ansca staff on how to use this. The documentation will still not be completed. Maybe they need to have a look at LuaDocs type of framework to help generate their help files.

The worst part is that though they are primarily responsible for helping educating their users and providing a base of resources, it seems that the only thing that they are interested in is getting more *Flash* users, hitting up on the Flash User Groups and Meetups, from a corporate governance point of view, they have a product that is good, I will say good because the product is good. However they have kept deliberately kept it crippled and do not bother with the documentation and help. To add to it, they are even charging their user base, what one calls making a quick buck off the *test drivers* that are otherwise not really paying anything.

The point of the whole post is that the way they treat the customers, the developers is wrong. They do not really care of work with the developers. They do not have any resources on how to do things with their framework, it is left to the 3rd parties to provide all of that. Then when it does become lucrative, they terminate their partnerships as it suits them.

They killed off the ARMv6 support for android devices which ironically makes up a major chunk of the market. These devices might be god for non game type apps, but did they ever think of that, NO. Ansca claims that the framework is for both but they do not really offer any features that are non game related. Now they have killed off the older iOS devices that ran on ARMv6, honestly, it does not bother me personally as iOS users are the ones that will always have the latest devices in comparison to the Android users. So it does not matter, however having said that from a developers perspective, they have just killed off a sizeable market that could have purchased apps. So Ansca has not really enabled, but disadvantaged the developer.

I am not based in the USA, however a client of mine (thank you) send me a kindle to look at the potential of the device. Ansca has been putting up teasers of how it is easy to develop for the Kindle Fire, Nook, etc. Connect the Kindle and .... NADA!! If I had connected the Android device, I could copy the APK file to the device and then install it from there, how do I do that on my iMac? After updating the Android SDK from 14 to 16, the device could not be found when adb devices was typed, why??? a few quick google searches led to that there needs to be a usb profile created with two ID's which then got the Kindle recognised. Compiled and uploaded my app... NADA!!! This application is corrupted.

Some of the good companies layout all the information for their developers/clients to empower them, it is not about getting the money in their pockets, it is about getting them. If you have ever purchased and used an Apple product, please let me know one that has NEVER after that ever purchased any other Apple product (unless it was the Apple TV, which I was so mad with) A person that buys an apple product is a client of Apple for life. I started with the MacBook Pro and now I have a couple of Apple devices, iMacs and MBP's not to mention tablets, phones and iPods. Do I recommend Apple to others, yes I do.

Though this might seem like a bit of a disjointed rant, it actually is a call to Ansca to wake up and do the minimum and retain the customers, what is the point of having stuff that cannot be used? It is as good as not having it, which means that all the hard work that they did on getting those features is a waste.

Ansca has cut off all the ARMv6 devices, but it seems that if they continue they shall also be cutting off a leg off the developers. Monetization is entirely based on the app and they type of app, yes one can put AD's in the fart app but when dealing with corporate UI type stuff, AD's are of no use, but having integrated PDF viewing, eMails, SMS might be more important.


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