In the past few months, there has been a string of developer conferences and events from some of the world’s largest tech giants.
In April, Microsoft showed off the latest version of Windows Phone – 8.1 – at its Build developer conference. For businesses, the big news was the tech giant adding a range of new Mobile Device Management (MDM) capabilities.
At its World Wide Developer Conference in early June, Apple showed off new versions of iOS (iOS 8) and Mac OS-X (Yosemite), along with its HealthKit API for wearable devices and HomeKit home automation/IoT framework.
Since then, at a special event, Amazon confirmed it is launching its own line of smartphones – called the FirePhone – to complement its Fire TV set-top boxes and Kindle Fire tablets. The smartphone has a unique 3D feature called Dynamic Perspective, along with Firefly, an object recognition and shopping system the company says can recognise 100 million songs, shows and items.
There was even some good news for BlackBerry loyalists, with the announcement that its next operating system upgrade (BlackBerry 10.3) will include Android apps from Amazon’s app store. This means BlackBerry users will be able to gain access to over 200,000 Android apps, including Groupon, Netflix, Pinterest, Candy Crush Saga and Minecraft.
Not to be outdone, Google demonstrated a whole string of new technologies at its Google I/O conference. These included a new version of Android (Android L), along with versions of Android for wearables, cars, TV and the ability for future ChromeBooks to run Android apps. It is also allowing businesses to have unlimited cloud storage for $10 per month.
Even Facebook got in on the act, with the social media giant running its annual developer conference, known as f8, during April.
Of course, there can be a temptation for some small business owners to not look into these big announcements any further than the headlines. After all, these announcements are mostly aimed at developers, and have to do with operating system upgrades and new APIs.
However, there’s an important reason why finding out more is a worthwhile idea.
Understanding the yearly cycle of the tech industry
The large tech giants, and especially the mobile phone industry, tend to work to a (roughly) yearly cycle.
Consumer electronics retailers (CES) and mobile phone carriers (MWC) from around the world gather at these two events and choose the products they’re stocking for the year ahead. Aside from new product announcements, the tech giants tend to show off a range of prototypes designed to fuel hype and generate buzz for the year ahead.
Through the middle of the year, as we are now, there’s a string of developer conferences. Tech companies use these to convince third-party developers to create apps, services and accessories for upcoming products. After all, who wants to buy a smartphone only to discover there’s no apps for it?
This is the part of the year we’re in at the moment.
Finally, the biggest sales periods of the year for tech devices are in the month leading up to Christmas and the month leading up to Chinese New Year. Because of this, consumer electronics companies, including Apple, aim to refresh their product lines in the second half of each year, with enough time for some pre-Christmas hype.
‘Tis the season to do your homework!
The operating systems and APIs the tech giants have shown off to developers really form the bedrock of the new capabilities of the devices and services that are likely to be unveiled over the coming months. Think of it as a rough outline of what’s ahead, in terms of capabilities, for each of the platforms.
So are you looking to upgrade your IT equipment at some point in the near future? Or perhaps coming up with a tech strategy for the new financial year?
If so, it’s worth researching the capabilities that are planned for each of the platforms for the year ahead – as demonstrated at each of the developers’ conferences – to help you to make an informed decision.