BBVA API Market
It is expected that the smartwatches phenomenon will become one of the major wearable technology trends during 2014 and onwards. Proof of this is that tech giants like Google, Microsoft and even Apple (not yet confirmed) are already preparing their intelligent watches. These companies will join others such as Sony, Samsung and LG, who never stop innovating in this field.
In fact, such is the impact that Business Insider estimates that the smartwatches market may reach 9 billion dollars in the next five years.
If you want to test yourself in this market, whether you're a basic level or an advanced developer, before starting to create apps for smartwatches these are some aspects you might want to take into account:
First of all, keep in mind that applications created for this platform are based on the display of essential data in such a way that it has to fit in a small screen.
It is essential to build simple and easy-to-use applications, since the size of the screen is small and the contrast is low, compared with traditional watches, for increased battery life.
It would be desirable to use text aligned to the left or right, but never centred.
It is useful to provide space for users to place their fingers and browse through the watch.
New applications should offer something that cannot be done with a smartphone or offer added value to apps already developed, providing a better user experience through the smartwatch.
Finally, keep in mind that typing has to be done from the mobile phone. A good option, therefore, is to use voice recognition technology already present in other mobile devices.
This is certainly a market with great opportunities for developers who want to test a platform so far little exploited. Leading media in the technology market such as Computerworld believe that most smartwatches manufacturers have a long way to go, as they still have to overcome a number of hurdles for their widespread adoption. According to this publication, one of the main shortcomings is that the first devices that have been launched to the market have limited functionalities and many of them lack of innovative applications.
In addition, most of them require a connection to a smartphone via bluetooth. For the time being they can't function autonomously and they are conceived more like accessories that need a connection to a main phone. For example, to use Sony's SmartWatch it is necessary to install a Google app in your Android smartphone. In the case of Samsung Galaxy Gear you need to connect to the Internet through your mobile's network. It could be said that the smartwatch acts as an extension of your mobile phone, so it requires great vision by applications developers.
To give an idea to developers, currently you can use smartwatches to receive notifications of incoming e-mails, messages and calendar events, besides being able to see weather forecasts, remotely control the music player, play games and enjoy apps related to physical activities or social networks.
A new world to discover
It is clear that this is a market yet to explore. In this regard, it is interesting to note the lack of developers Samsung has around its Galaxy Gear. In fact, on of the major criticisms to this smartwatch is that there are not many apps available. However, Samsung says that for now they prefer to focus on searching for applications instead of opening a platform for developers in general. However, to make life easier for its partners, Samsung has released five software development kits (SDKs), including one for mobiles. Nevertheless, none of these SDKs is valid for Galaxy Gear.
In contrast, Sony has already made available a development kit for its SmartWatch with tips and tutorials. The company has even gone a step further by enabling advanced developers to create an alternative update of its firmware, sharing with them technical details and instructions.
Furthermore, Pebble (one of the most popular smartwatches so far among end-users) offers through its website all kinds of tools to develop, build and test apps for this intelligent watch with its SDK2. It also provides documentation, mobile libraries to expand the existing applications and clear examples to facilitate the creation of apps.
In a connected world, APIs are the glue that keeps all the parts that form our day-to-day lives in place. The same way the power of glue depends on the material it is used on and the knowledge of its properties, APIs are only as useful as their documentation allows for.
There are different solutions to monitor the performance of an API, in terms of traffic, quality and speed of the answers it provides. Detecting faults in the code or quantifying the generated revenues are also some of the options offered by these useful tools.
App users must be aware that a button... is in fact a clickable button. Therefore, app buttons must be designed in such a way that users should feel invited to interact with the interface and actually click on it.