A TestFlight alternative: migrate to Appaloosa-Store

As you probably know, TestFlight is closing doors on their Android support on March 21st. Let’s see how Appaloosa-Store is a long-term TestFlight Android alternative:

 We support iOS, Android and Windows Phone soon.

We provide a unified development and distribution environment. Whether you plan to test your self, beta test wider or distribute to your company, you don’t need to use multiple services. On Appaloosa-Store, you will be able to manage users & groups, beta or production, in a single interface. For each uploaded new app version, pick the groups it will be distributed too, example below.

Screenshot 2014-02-27 08.38.51

When adding a new version of your app, select the target audience, in this case “Developers” only. The other users will have the live version while “Developers” will have the newest one. When your testing is done, set the target audience to “All users” for this version.

We provide support for multiple app stores on the enterprise plan. If you manage multiple customers during your app development, create one store per customer. Each customer will have its own set of apps, versions, users & groups.

 How to migrate from TestFlight to Appaloosa-Store in 4 steps?

  1.  Create a free account on https://www.appaloosa-store.com
  2. Retire the TestFlight SDK from your apps
  3. Include Crashlitics free SDK in your apps: http://try.crashlytics.com. They provide better bug reports than Testflight, for free. And they can be used in production, not only for beta testing.
  4. Upload your builds to Appaloosa

Can I use Appaloosa-Store for continuous integration?

Absolutely. Using our Jenkins plugin, upload all your builds directly to your store.

jenkins

Cherry on the cake? our automated push notifications to target audience when you deliver an update. We will enable this feature for users leaving Testflight!

What is really annoying for devs is when they push a new version, each of their beta testers have to manually delete the app and install the newest version, often from an email or a web interface. Our enterprise customers benefit from native app store their users can download, with push notifications whenever there’s a new app or app version.

Ready to migrate? Sign up for our free plan and email us your TestFlight account deletion confirmation screenshot to support@appaloosa-store.com. We will enable your native app store with push notifications!

Screenshot 2014-02-27 19.17.56

 

Let’s forward this news to your friend devs!

Kill Switch SDK, massive group import and Windows Phone 8

Revoke devices with Kill Switch

Sometimes, a simple user removal from your directory is not enough. While it does indeed prevent any former user from accessing your enterprise app store, every mobile admin can run into other cases requiring more device-specific action. For instance:

  • when a device has been lost but the user is still part of the company
  • when an employee is terminated and you want to prevent him from executing corporate apps on his devices

Our Kill Switch makes certain that you can revoke any device from launching your corporate apps.

The Appaloosa-Store SDK gives developers access to the Kill Switch feature for iOS and Android. Once included in corporate apps, admins can blacklist individual or several devices from the web dashboard.

On the user’s end, the app is not allowed to launch any longer. For developers who would like to make use of our SDK and the Kill Switch feature, check out our resources on GitHub for iOS and Android.

Be part of our Windows Phone 8 beta!

We plan to launch full Windows Phone 8 private app deployment this quarter and would like you to join us for our February beta campaign. If you have Windows Phone 8 powered devices and would like to participate, email us at sales@appaloosa-store.com with your contact information, number and type of devices you with to sign up for this program. The most active participants will receive gifts for their apps

Massive group import from CSV

Creating a brand new user group with dozens, hundreds, or thousands users? Starting from the Basic plan, you can now automatically assign new or existing users to your groups with a simple csv upload.

recommend app in mobile applications private store

Recommend mobile Apps within your enterprise App Store – Appaloosa Store’s new feature announcement

We are pleased to announce the release of “Recommended Apps” feature.
It is now available in your “easy to use” Mobile Application Management solution: Appaloosa Enterprise App Store.

As usual, we let this feature accessible for everyone having an Appaloosa Store account, even free users can use “Recommended App” feature.

This new feature lets you include any public apps within your Enterprise Apps store with ease. In few clicks, you can recommend public apps to your employees. It is easy to manage any apps (custom built for private use or available on a public app store) and configure your enterprise app store to display only apps pertinent to a person based upon its job and role.

Recommanded App feature

Choose to add an iOS or Android App

Adding a public app in enterprise app store

Just add the link, an icon and a description

Enterprise App store : users group management

Select which groups can access to this public app, add screenshots and publish

 

Allowed users will then have access to the recommended mobiles apps within their enterprise Apps Store. This is an invitation for them to use the public apps you recommended them to use.

Here is our FAQ article about “Recommend App” feature.

Why recommended Apps is useful in Mobile Application Management policy?

There is several use cases for this new feature, depending on the usage you make of your enterprise app store and the job and role of your users. Here are some examples:

  • Event stores: your are organizing an event and you want participants to have access either to private and public apps. You can therefore easily set up an event app store that includes any mobile apps related to your event (exemple:
  • Your own public Apps: entreprises often develop public mobile applications. A good practice for getting employees to download and use these apps is to include them in your private enterprise app store.
  • Get a specific group using specific mobile apps: Some mobile applications are useful for specific jobs: mailing apps, curation apps, files sharing apps, time tracking apps, project and task management apps… Recommend your employees to use them!

A step towards Apple’s VPP (Volume Purchase Program)

Following Apple announcement concerning their Volume Purchase Program, the “Recommend App” feature will let us implement and include the management of mobile application licenses. As soon as Apple will give us more information about it, we will include features that will:

  • help in dealing with the purchase of mobile applications licenses,
  • and help in managing them.
The power of crowd for mobile app testing

Mobile Application Crowd Testing

After several weeks of development, your mobile application is finally done, ready to be published on Apple Store, Google Play, Windows Phone Store or even your Enterprise App Store.

But before going public, you should definitely go through a Friendly User or Beta Test. It’s a very important phase before going public on the official App Store, and here at Appaloosa Store, we strongly believe that it is an essential step of your mobile app deployment strategy.

During this Beta Test period, you will be able to:

  • see real users behavior with your app and that UX corresponds to what you expect,
  • retrieve feedback from your Beta Users and improve your app,
  • detect the latest remaining bugs.

To achieve a successful Beta Test, you need to recruits great beta users. They should be representative of your final users or market profile, especially on term of device model and configuration.

Mobile device fragmentation

Mobile Device Fragmentation

No matter your application is iOS or Android compatible, you will face one main issue : the devices fragmentation.

On Apple side, the market is split between the different generations of iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, and above all the different versions of iOS.

On Android side, the fragmentation is obviously the biggest issue when it comes to testing. The team has at best several Android devices to test the application during development, often the most popular models on the market. But unfortunately, these devices are often not representative of the whole market.

The power of the crowd

Find in the crowd  the future users of your app. Your market is out there, look for your early adopters, and make them play with your mobile app. They will eventually love using it and start telling their friends about it.

Moreover, they will give you feedback about the app but also tell you if there’s any bug on their device. You will be able to learn about the crowd material fragmentation, in addition of their behavior with your app. It is a great way to gather early feedback to improve your app.

Your collaborators are the better beta testers

In your enterprise, use your collaborators as beta testers. Today, everyone has a smartphone, provided by your company or personal device (BYOD). Use this powerful crowd of people with their device to beta test your app. Your collaborator feedback will probably be more accurate as their company brand is involved in the app.

For corporate internal apps, choose a set of collaborators that is representative of the targeted users. This beta test period is essential to test your app and verify that you did hit the target with it.

You will also take benefit of the viral effect: the beta testers will probably show your great app to their colleagues. Hopefully you will then have tons of requests to test the brand new app that everyone want!

Mobile Application Crowd Testing made easy using Appaloosa Store

Crowd Testing made easy using Appaloosa Store

To succeed in your mobile app beta test phase, you will need a way to easily share your app with the crowd, and learn from their usage. Appaloosa Store is a tailored solution for this:

  • Private distribution / Group management: deploy different versions of your mobile application in different group of users. You will be able to do nice tests such as A/B testing.
  • Feedback system: your beta users can easily submit feedback through the store and even directly in-app (coming soon using our SDK).
  • Device management: retrieve automatically user’s device model and configuration such as operating system and version.

If you are interested in using Appaloosa Store, the Enterprise App Store solution, for your beta test, just contact us at : sales@appaloosa-store.com

 

If you have any question or want to share your experience in mobile application crowd testing, please leave us a reply.

 

 

 

 

PKI certificate android distribution

PKI certificate : install, manage and secure

Below is the slideshare of Philippe Prados and Aurélien Rambaux, presentation they made at DroidCon Paris the 17th of June 2013. They showed solutions for exploiting, protecting and deploying PKI certificates in employees mobile devices.

Android Master - Philippe Prados        Android Master - Aurélien Rambaux

How to deploy PKI certificates with ease ?

Their innovative approach, we implemented for Appaloosa’s customers, let a simple, quick and secure distribution of PKI. They exploit advanced Android technics for securing mobile data and applications against theft or different attacks.

 

Using this security feature and PKI distribution for simplifying Mobile Application Management

This security feature is available on demand for our customers implementing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or COPE (Corporate Owned Personally Enabled) policies.

There are several usages and advantages of implementing it:

  • Enrollment of a big number of devices
  • Management of temporary access to enterprise mobile applications and data
  • Management of lost or theft devices
  • High flexibility in deployment with high security standards
  • No loose in User Experience : user only needs an ID.

Interested in how we do it ? Have any questions ? Leave a reply or contact us.

Tools for designing Mobile Apps

Design tools for Mobile Applications

When editing Mobile Applications, you need several tools throughout the project for designing, organizing, documenting, testing, improving, deploying and analysing. These tools are part of your software factory.

The first step is to validate your design. You need as well to debug some User Interfaces.  Here are some tools to help you :

Designing tools for Mobile Applications

These tools, that are always more closer to reality, help for :

  • Prototyping for easily creating mockups
  • Refine your ergonomics quickly

Proto.io

Design tool for mobile application

Fluidui

Design tool fluid

Any device: iOS, Android, HTML5, Windows 8…

CBIntrospector

debugging UI

“Introspector is a small set of tools for iOS 5+ and the iOS Simulator that aid in debugging user interfaces built with UIKit. It’s especially useful for UI layouts that are dynamically created or can change during runtime, or for tuning performance by finding non-opaque views or views that are re-drawing unnecessarily. It’s designed for use in the iOS simulator, but can also be used on a device.”

Get more information about CBIntrospector

 

PonyDebugger

“PonyDebugger is a remote debugging toolset. It is a client library and gateway server combination that uses Chrome Developer Tools on your browser to debug your application’s network traffic and managed object contexts.”

This tool helps you gaining time while debugging iOS Applications:

“…As you move through the XML tree, the corresponding views are highlighted in your app. You can edit the displayed attributes (i.e. frame, alpha, …) straight from the Elements tab, and you can change which attributes to display by giving PonyDebugger an array of UIView key paths.”

Get more information about PonyDebugger

If you know other good tools to use, feel free to share with us!

Mobile Applications and devices

Mobile Device Management versus Mobile Application Management

When it comes to Enterprise Mobility Management, there is 2 different cultural approaches for defining the right strategy for providing mobile tools (devices and mobile applications) to employees. Your business goal is to let your collaborators having the best tools for business purposes (performance, flexibility, productivity,… whatever) anywhere, anytime. Your choice is between managing devices or managing applications.

Pros and cons : Mobile Device Management against Mobile Application Management software

Here are the pros and cons between Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM) software. Appaloosa focuses on Mobile Application Management (MAM) and this article tries to point out the main differences without any “partial thought”. I shall remain objective (at least, I try ;-)

There is a deep cultural difference between MAM and MDM:

  • MDM aims in taking control of the device that need to access the enterprise Information System.
  • MAM aims in managing only Applications (not the full device) for controlling and securing access to the data.

Just follow this link if you want to read more about Mobile Application Management.

Mobile Device Management

Mobile Device Management features

MDM approach is to control the device whether it belongs to the employee or the company. It is intrusive and has no concern for user privacy. Enterprise needs to control everything:

  • Erasing the entire device for security purpose.
  • Updating devices and mobile applications without user permission
  • Taking remote control of the device and troubleshooting users
  • Inventory Management and consulting real-time communications
  • Users account are saved on enterprise servers and can be restored in case of loose or renewal.

As long as your device is for business needs, where is the problem ?!

Implementing MDM is not simple

As MDM tools are trying to address the whole set of features Information System Administrators may need, they are often tricky and heavy software.

  • Integrating Mobile Device Management solution with existing IT infrastructures and third party applications can be tough.
  • Implementing Mobile Device Management needs to write specific enterprise terms of use that has to be accept by employees. Will they agree if they have a private use of their device ?
  • Learn how to use MDM software and features often needs specific training.

Bring Your Own Device and Mobile Device Management

As you can expect, MDM and BYOD are hardly compatible. Will employees accept their enterprise to access and control their private device with their own pictures, mails, SMS, applications ? You must have collaborators who are confident in their company.

We believe that MDM is not the right approach as it is intrusive, not respecting user privacy and hard to implement (sorry I issued a personal view ;-).

Mobile Application Management

Mobile Application Life Cycle Management

As stated before, MAM is focusing on applications and not on devices. Therefore, MAM solutions are delivered without the whole bunch of features for inventories. MAM are often easy-to-use solutions without any need of training.

MAM features

Mobile Application Management features helps in building, distributing and managing apps (Life Cycle App management):

  • Sharing apps with developers and testers teams while developing mobile apps with continuous integration (ie: Jenkins Plugin), feedbacks, groups, UDID management (Ad Hoc profile) and version management features.
  • Distributing Apps within your enterprise: Open-source SDK for auto update, security access and identification.
  • Managing deployed mobile Apps: Versioning and analytics.

You can have a look at Appaloosa Mobile Application Management features to see how you can easily start managing your enterprise apps.

MAM or MDM ?

In few words, MDM might be needed when you have enterprise owned devices that needs inventories (even if you can find light device management features in MAM software, like the UDID management feature for Ad Hoc certificate).

Security solutions are offered by both MAM and MDM. There is a big cultural switch to understand you can have enough control while managing only applications and access to enterprise data without taking care of devices.

MAM enables you to really have control over Life Cycle App Management which is, in my point of view, the main concern for Enterprise Mobility Management.

Last and not least, MAM pricing is cheaper than MDM’s (indeed, MDM is offering more features than MAM).

Have you ever experiment MAM versus MDM software ? What do you think ? Can they be compared ?

mobile app marketing

How to promote an App – Infographic

Following our last article about “Tips on App Store Optimization and Mobile App Marketing“, we were searching for a nice infographic that would resume and make our text more visual.

Thanks to Bluecaribu, we found this infographic they made “How to promote an App, a guide to mobile App marketing”. This is a nice introduction to our previous article. We hope you will find good tips and ideas for promoting your mobile application and planning your marketing strategy.

Developing a mobile application that don’t meet its target audience is useless. For private and enterprise mobile application, it is easy to follow usage with Appaloosa Store. For public and commercial mobile application, it is a tough task and knowing how to market your app might be useful. We hope you will enjoy this infographic.

How to Promote an App?

Mobile App Marketing Optimization

App Store Optimisation : tips for a better mobile App marketing

Emerging in the App Store, Apple or Google, is not an easy job. However, it is essential to think about it before releasing your mobile application. Being visible on Apple AppStore or Google Play is essential in the success of your App. You need to plan your mobile app marketing. App Store Optimisation (ASO), SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for Application stores, is a main point of your app marketing plan.

A quick view on figures to show the importance of optimizing your visibility on AppStores

In june 2013, there is about:

  • 850,000 apps for iPhone and 350,00 apps for iPad on Apple AppStore
  • 700,00 apps on Google Play

The last iTunes version has reduced the number of categories. Competition for emerging is stronger because you have more competitors in your category. The result is that majority of mobile applications have not or very few downloads.

The fact is that less than 20% of apps have been rated on Apple AppStore. For ranking in the top 5 of the french Apple AppStore, you need 20/30k download per day and the CPI (Cost Per Install) is between 0,80€ and 1,20€.

Moreover, the growth of mobile usage and number of mobile apps available should make it harder to emerge without important marketing investments.

This is just to point the importance of mobile app marketing and App Store Optimization to be a key point in your strategy for emerging. Here are some tips and tools you have to keep in mind to help you in how to market your app:

1. What are the decision triggers when downloading a mobile app ?

When a person choose to download an app, the points that influence are:

  • Description for 25%
  • Reviews for 24%
  • Images and screenshots for 23%
  • Stars and ratings for 13%
  • Icon for 13%

2. A mobile App with a good User Experience

No need to say that your mobile application should:

  • Be useful or entertaining for your market targets
  • Have a nice design
  • Be ergonomics

The most important is to prevent from bugs. Error and crash will result in having bad reviews (24% of decision trigger are based on reviews).

3. Mobile App Marketing plan

Communication can be expensive. Your marketing strategy will depend on your budget and your targets. Whatever your plan is, focus your ressources on 3 days instead of a month. Your ranking in tops actually depends on the number of downloads on consecutive days. Once in tops, your mobile apps will be naturally downloaded.

Here are some cost effective points to implement :

  • Press Relations is essential when releasing your app. Use promocodes for blogs/magazine readers. You can also pay for a review.
  • If you already have an installed base, use autopromo (mobile to mobile is more effective)
  • Make a video demo. You can use it for PR, minisite, Youtube…
  • Apple featuring plan : free but only few mobile apps are selected by Apple
  • Display campaign (Facebook Ads for Apps, Tapjoy, Google Admob, Ad4Screen, …)
  • App Store Optimization (ASO) : everything is set when submitting your App. And there is several things you can do for optimizing your App Store submission
  • Publish a website for your mobile App

4. ASO: App Store Optimization

Prepare releasing date

Think about the best date for your target (Christmas might be a good timing for a game but not for a banking application). The trick here is that Apple validation can last several days to a couple of months. You can have more information here : Tracking of average App Store review times.

To prevent from this delay, you can make intermediate submission. The first submission is generally the longest.

A good practice is to avoid manually submission and use automatic validation on iTunesConnect.

Rate your mobile app quickly

Apple give you a rating only after 5 notations. So, get rated right after releasing to get more chance to be in tops. Be sure to synchronise your releasing date with your marketing plan and ask your friends to note your mobile app.

Description and screenshots of your mobile application

If you are not in the top ranking, this point is even more important. The only way to find your app will be by using the search tool (64% of apps are downloaded after a research). In general, only one word is used while searching and 80% of researches concern category or center of interest.

  • Add keywords in your mobile application name. This name should tell what your app is doing
  • Add description in your screenshots
  • Write a simple, clear and well organized description : pitch, rewards if some and features. A good tip is to insert a “call to action” at the end for encouraging download

Choosing the right keywords for your mobile application

You can use 100 characters (about 10 keywords)

  • Use comma between keywords without space
  • Do not repeat the same word
  • It is useless to use the app name or publisher name
  • Use singular instead of plural
  • Check your competitors keywords

You can use some SEO tools for App Store Search to help you in choosing the right keywords:

Mesure your performance

Here are some tools you can use to help you in monitoring your mobile app marketing:

  • App Annie: analytics tools and intelligence
  • AppBooster d’Appsfire: a tool for managing notifications and ask for feedbacks and ratings. 

I won’t tell you that Appaloosa Store can help you improving your App Store ranking. It won’t! But if you are developing a public mobile application, Appaloosa is a good tool you can use for beta testing and get some feedbacks before releasing.

Have you experiment some nice App marketing strategies? Share your tips and tools!

Impact of Mobile on enterprise security

Mobile Security Infographics

Enterprises needs to offer mobile services and mobile access to their data and Information System. These needs are driven by business. IT do not really have choice that to adapt their Information System and open access to mobile workers. But enterprises should as well balance this evolution regarding security of their Information System.

Here is an interesting survey made by IAITAM (International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers) and reported on this above infographics by Intigrow. Mobility is essential and Mobile Security is to be a major concern. You will see interesting points you need to monitor in order to assure Mobile Security and which might help you understand the best ways to secure mobile devices and crucial data.

Impact of Mobile on Enterprise’s Information System security

In a nutshell, here are the main figures regarding Mobile Security :

  • 77% of people think mobile technology essential.
  • 76% think mobile usage is a thread for Information System security.
  • 39% have implemented mobile security measures.
  • 49% of employees said they want mobile security measures.
  • Only 6% of employees said they are compliant. 15% don’t even know.
  • 51% said they experienced a data breach due to insecure devices.
  • 96% think their organisation has to adapt device management because of the increasing number of different devices and OS.

There is clearly an important gap between mobile security measures and business mobile usage.

6 mobile security practices you can implement

  • Location : Allow access to data and enterprise mobile applications depending on the location or access point of the device.
  • Sign In : Implement a higher level of authentification than a simple ID + password (Biometrics…).
  • Access Management : Monitor and set different data access regarding the criticality of the services to ensure only authorized person have access .
  • Encrypted data : Sensitive information has to be encrypted.
  • Infrastructure : Information System architecture should be build with appropriate defenses.
  • Situational awareness : Define patterns that will help you in having a overview and maintain stability of your infrastructure over time.

The challenge is to keep an easy access and high level of user experience with a high level of security in order to maintain the best mobile usage adoption, engagement and productivity.

If you need to know more about IT infrastructure security and mobile access, Appaloosa Store can help you in offering mobile access with a high level of security. Contact us.

Mobile Security