17 Jul

Pokémon Go is the Best Example of AR in Action that I’ve Ever Seen (up to this point)

I haven’t played with Pokémon Go (PG) yet. But I have to say that I’ve never seen an app (in general) as sticky as the PG app. I mean, wow. I’m totally impressed by its adoption.

For example, a few evenings ago while at the Domain in Austin, literally, 8 out of 10 people were playing the AR game. How do I know? Because I asked people what they were doing while using their mobile handset. And I’m talking about kids, teenagers and adults — EVERYONE!

I’m blown away.

There are a number of aspects that I find fascinating about PG:

1) The amazing adoption.
2) The game bringing people together, in groups, sharing and having fun.
3) The game bringing people outside of their homes (again, in masses, in groups, and having fun).

I’m happy about the visibility that PG has been giving to Augmented Reality (AR). I’ve been a big fan of AR since day one — more for business use cases, and I’m still a big fan. A few years ago I spent some time helping BigPlayAR and morganwarstler@ a bit with their BigPlayAr project (click link to see Vimeo) which was based on Qualcomm’s Vuforia SDK (now part of PTC), and that was awesome; so much potential.

Today (I hope) Pokémon Go is helping open the door and help raise the awareness and adoption of AR across many different use cases and industries — lots of potentials in my opinion. Today, AR on mobile is ready for the masses, as proven by Pokémon Go, while we wait for the right AR Glasses tech, form-factors and cost, to be ready for the masses.


05 May

Android Platforms Adoption (May 2016)

Every year I like to take a snapshot of the Android platforms adoption. It is great to compare Year-to-Year numbers for historical purposes. Keeping track of platform adoption is important as it directly impacts what developers should be focusing on vs. what should be deprecating or end-of-life.

Below is the Android platform comparison 2016 vs. 2015. (Search my blog for previous ones).

(Data sources: Android Developer Dashboard.)

May 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 12.34.52 PM

May 2015
Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 12.34.52 PM

Main adoption is driven by Lollipop (35.6% up from 9.7%), followed by KitKat (32.5% down from 38.9%). Marshmallow (API level 23) was introduced on Oct/2015 and its adoption rate is at 7.5% (May 2016).


26 Apr

SEA –> AUS 2016

My Dear Friends…

After a year in Seattle with Amazon Mobile Ads SDK and Services, I’ve moved back to Austin with Amazon Logistics.

I’ve enjoyed Seattle and the Fremont/LQA areas very much. And I’ve fallen in love with the Pacific Northwest and Washington state — its beautiful outdoors and awesome seafood and oysters.

This move comes after an intense year of Freestyle training with the Rainmakers freestyle disc club, and, after the Rainmaker’s board of directors, and Randy Silvey himself! have unanimously approved my return to Austin TX to continue my training with the Austin Freestyle Club. 😉 I’m going to miss my Freestyle buddies in Seattle — a bunch of kick-ass jammers from whom I’ve learned a whole lot. 😉

Some photos below….

Jamming at Green Lake Park

Slow-mo Jam (at Magnuson Park)

Some of the Seattle and Portland jammers

Ferry – from Edmonds to Kingston, on our way to Hama Hamas and Lake Quinault

Lake Quinault

Hiking – Lake Quinault

Big Cedar Tree – Lake Quinault

Hiking – Lake Quinault

Fremont, Seattle

South Lake Union

@ Taylor Oyster Farm (Samish Bay)

More Taylor Oyster Farm (Samish Bay)

More Taylor Oyster Farm (Samish Bay)

Tulips – Skagit Valley

Cabin View towards San Juan Islands — Samish Bay

@ Hama Hama Oyster Farm (Hood Canal)

@ Hama Hama Oyster Farm (Hood Canal) – Panorama




My regular corner, with Jack, Oyster Master – at Blueacre

Best Oysters in Seattle – at Blueacre

View from Amazon Doppler building — 22nd floor — towards Lake Union

And of course, I’ll miss my old Mobile Ads SDK/Services team (part of the team in photo)

IMG_20160418_162947 (1)

I’m very excited to return to Austin, Texas. Reconnect with my old friends, both tech and jammers, and of course my family. Very excited to be joining Amazon Logistics and help (re)define package delivery, worldwide.

Thank you so much to my friends at Amazon Seattle, my Seattle Rainmakers and Portland jammers friends — I’ve learned a whole lot. I’ll be traveling to Seattle often, so… see you all soon!!!

/CEO | Apr 2016

31 Dec

Happy New Year/2016

Happy New Year, my dear Friends…

Let 2016 be an awesome year, full of health and prosperity…

Truly yours,
C. Enrique Ortiz (CEO)

Attributions: See image source.

29 Dec

Don’t Abandon Puerto Rico (NY Times)

— See Image Source.

I typically stay away from Politics in this blog. As a matter of fact, in this blog I’ve never written a piece on such topic. But today I need to.

My Dad recently sent me a New York Times (NYT) article/opinion titled Don’t Abandon Puerto Rico (PR) that describes the current economic debacle in PR — the result of many years of bad decisions across many administrations — in my opinion, more than 30 years in the making.

Today, Puerto Rico’s government and its public corporations have a debt of over $70 billion. To put things into perspective, as of 2014 the state of Hawaii has somewhere between $11 to 18 billion in debt (source: Google Search).

But due to Puerto Rico’s current political status (that is, an unincorporated U.S. territory) and related laws, Puerto Rico CANNOT restructure its debt — that is, until Congress changes the law that excludes Puerto Rico from bankruptcy protection.

As the NYT article reads, “Bankruptcy protection won’t cost the US federal government any money“. And that “Similar approaches have helped the District of Columbia and New York City resolve financial problems.“.

Yes, PR’s past leadership, over many years, have caused this situation. Yes, it is up to PR to solve this debacle. Yes, more and better should’ve been done. Yes, better leadership is needed. But it is a “chicken and egg” situation: more money is needed over time, local industries have failed to flourish, things like tax break incentives for US industries are no longer available, too much dependency on the government, thus more loans are taken. Bankers and investors love this, but this is bad for the local economy for obvious reasons. This combined with bad management and spending, the result is what we are seeing today.

There are solutions to this problem and one of them is debt restructuring. But without the ability to restructure its debt, as incorporated legal entities are able to do, Puerto Rico is stuck. And the result is that PR has a debt of around $72B, and things are not going to get any better.

Click to see Google Search results for “PR Debt Restructuring”.

If you are in the US Mainland, and specially if you are from PR, please help by contacting your Congressman. Find your Congressman/woman and let them know. I just did. This approach should cost the US Federal government next to $0, nothing, nada…

Message to Congress: Don’t abandon PR. Please let the island address this severe economic situation. Allow PR to restructure its debt. As the NYT article reads: “Without an orderly process to restructure its debts, Puerto Rico and its creditors could be locked in years of litigation that would benefit no one and inflict intolerable hardships on millions of Americans.”

Update: See related article on the HuffPost: Puerto Rico Is In Serious Trouble. Here’s What You Need To Know.


24 Nov

US Mobile Market Update – Q3 2015 (Chetan Sharma)

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 9.55.07 AM

Check out Chetan’s latest report, US Mobile Market Update – Q3 2015. Some highlights below. More details are available at: http://chetansharma.com/connectedconsumer15.htm.

Handsets – As expected, (a) Smartphones continue to rule, with penetration in the US now at 78%! (b) On the opposite end, feature phones are becoming extinct.

Android vs. iOS: The fight for profit continues – Chetan’s report shows that Apple continues to dominate the market with 80% of the profit share, 40% of the revenue share, with only 14% of the unit share. This is in contrast to Android where its OEMs such as HTC, Sony, LG and Lenovo all lost money in their device business; if we don’t count Samsung, Android OEMs made around billion dollars (despite over $26 billion in revenues). Chetan attributes this to the difficulty in differentiating on an open platform, which I agree with.

Other – Annual household spent on Mobile data is approaching $1,000, with mobile data spend rising while landline voice has declined. In addition, cellular voice spend has also gone down. Complementing the fact above that feature phones are becoming extinct, US consumers will spend more on wearables than on feature phones in 2015. Other interesting pieces of info: number of connected devices per US household is now 5.3 with over 37% of the households in the 4-8 range, and almost 6% of the households have 15 or more connected devices.

So in summary, the US and the whole world continues its path to always connected — with the mobile device at the center of how information is retrieved and how we connect with others. The mobile device is the world’s most important social artifact, ever. Those (companies) that have not yet embraced digital and mobile, are today’s dinosaurs.

Related to this, see Fortune’s article To Grow, Mobile Operators Must Look Beyond Phones.


14 Sep

Getting ready for the new iOS 9 ATS feature

With the goal of enforcing best practices for secure network connections, iOS 9 introduces new security requirements and behavior with its new App Transport Security (ATS) feature.

If you are not planning to recompile your apps with Apple’s iOS 9 SDK (or Xcode 7), you do not need to make any changes. But if you do recompile your app, not following the new security requirements will result in connection failures.

To comply with the iOS 9 ATS security requirements, your app network communication must:

(Source: iOS 9 documentation)

  • The server must support at least Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol version 1.2. This is the default behavior.
  • Connection ciphers are limited to those that provide forward secrecy (see App Transport Security documentation).
  • Certificates must be signed using a SHA256 or better signature hash algorithm, with either a 2048 bit or greater RSA key or a 256 bits or greater Elliptic-Curve (ECC) key.
  • Invalid certificates result in a hard failure and no connection.

If your app’s network communication is not ATS compliant, you can define security exceptions in the meantime. Keep in mind this affects both direct and indirect (third-party) network communications within your app. There are two approaches to defining security exceptions via your app’s Info.plist.

  • The first approach is to disable the ATS feature completely.
  • The second approach is to explicitly define exceptions for each domain. This can be tricky since you must know all direct and indirect HTTPS calls made by your app and failing to include a given domain will result in network connection failures.

Please refer to the iOS 9 documentation for more information.


06 May

Android Platforms Adoption (May 2015)

Every year I like to take a snapshot of Android platforms adoption for historical purposes. Below is the Android platform comparison 2015 vs. 2014. (Search my blog for previous ones).

Keeping track of platform adoption is important as it directly impacts what developers should be focusing on vs. what should be deprecating or end-of-life.

(Data source: Android Developer Dashboard)



Since 2014 we have Lollipop with its two API levels (21 and 22) with an overall 9.7% adoption rate. Ice Cream Sandwich went from 14.3% down to 5.3%. Jelly Bean decreased from 61.4% down to 39.2%, and KitKat jumped from 5.3% up to 39.8%.

Related to this see On Android and Fragmentation (early 2014).


18 Apr

Android and Microsoft (2015)

(Image Source: Mario Tomás Serrafero)

I find this interesting: the recent move by MSFT to get into and “steal” the Android space.

Today, thanks to new leadership at MSFT (Nadella), it seems the company is entering a new phase — with new vision and no-or less ego than before.

And with this, MSFT is directly taking advantage of open source software to go after the Android market.

By leveraging the Android open source baseline from Google and investing around $70M in Cyanogen, it is going after the Android-based hardware (think Emerging/Global markets) independently of or not having to worry much about the underlying hardware/devices, while at the same time not depending or having to use Google Services and instead MSFT has the opportunity to introduce their own services and apps on Android-based hardware. A game changing strategy.

Very interesting indeed…

Thanks to Google for the Android Open Source Project which makes all of this possible. Google knew the risks and benefits, so did Sun Microsystems when it open sourced most of Java, and of course, let’s not forget the Linux core OS which triggered the OSS revolution and ecosystem. Open Source Software (OSS) is a beautiful thing…

Side note: It was around 2011 when MSFT made the initial deal with Nokia and many, including I, found it strange that Nokia would go the MSFT route — true signs of trouble within Nokia back then. Many of us asked ourselves why not go the Android way instead. But I believe ego and lack of vision (Elop/Ballmer) played a large role in the decision. MSFT ended-up acquiring Nokia as expected. Today, their combined market reach is tiny as expected, as compared to Apple and Google.


28 Feb

RIP Leonard Nimoy

I’m forever a big fan…

Thanks for inspiring so many in tech, space and reasoning…


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The Shuttle Enterprise

In 1976, NASA’s space shuttle Enterprise rolled out of the Palmdale manufacturing facilities and was greeted by NASA officials and cast members from the ‘Star Trek’ television series.


23 Feb

Bit.ly is not in Lybia

When deploying (mobile) apps for verticals such as Healthcare or Banking, you typically have to get the app approved or blessed by the customer’s IT security team.

Some tips or info:

  • Only deploy, even for Proof of Concepts (POCs), properly signed apps
  • Do not use or store personal identifiable information that can track users
  • Use device IDs (Advertising ID, IDFA and IDFV) that doesn’t identify individual users
  • Sensitive information shall be encrypted
  • Sensitive information shall live behind the firewall
  • Cache TTL values for sensitive data is not “infinite”
  • Show Analytics at the user aggregation level
  • Beacons do not track users. Beacons only emit the signals used for proximity and/or triangulation
  • And last but no least, if using bit.ly for whatever reason, be prepared to prove that this particular .ly domain and related servers are not at or traffic goes through Lybia — a simple traceroute will help show this point.



18 Feb

Improving The Patient Experience (early 2015)

Disclaimer: The French Hospital Medical Center app is powered by Phunware’s Vertical Solutions platform, one of the products that I manage at Phunware.

As the mobile lifestyle, advanced smartphones and advanced networks continue its path to convergence powering the pervasive, actionable Mobile Context, we are starting to see its impact on people’s daily lives. One such example is the impact and benefits that this brings on the user experience and the Healthcare space.

Improving the Patient Experience

Recently, the French Hospital Medical Center launched its first mobile app.

The FrenchWay
(Click link to see video via KSBY News)

“From the time that you leave your house, you’ll get a reminder and it’ll take you actually into the hospital door to the actual department you’re going to, and then after your appointment, you can continue to navigate to the pharmacy, so this really helps people have a lot less stress as they’re going through the entire healthcare journey… It’s also great for visitors as well because sometimes you may have a loved one in the hospital and trying to find them can be pretty stressful.”

This is a prime example of how the young and the old can leverage their mobile devices with its advanced features and sensors, and access to fast networks, to improve the patient experience. The key is to bring the right information at the right time, from hospital and doctor information, to information about related places, using dynamic content and notifications and location-based services such as mapping, wayfinding and navigation. Location marketing with geofences and Beacons for outdoor and/to indoor navigation and outdoor and proximity notifications brings enable for very interesting use cases and are of particular interest to Hospitals (and other verticals), as it helps patients deliver information in real-time as well as helping patients reach their destinations, all via their smartphones, improving the patient experience with the added benefit of helping reduce the costs associated with deploying such a solution as well as costs related to late or missed appointments.

Related see Dignity Health Mobile App Helps Patients Navigate Hospitals.


11 Sep

Let’s not forget…

Let’s not forget. 13 years ago, it was morning. It was the year 2001. The attack came in the form of airplanes and souls; let’s not forget those who perished and what was at the center of that horrible act.

Societies in general are quick to forget — within a couple of generations, of even the worst kind of events. The result: history repeats itself. Let’s not forget.

05 Aug

Three Generations of Mobile Apps (Aug 2014)

We currently are at the third generation of native Mobile apps (2014), with each generation building upon the previous one.

The first generation was introduced to the “masses” circa 2000. This generation of mobile apps were Operator-centric and built for the first generation of mobile handheld devices such as PalmOS, J2ME, WinCE, BlackBerry OS, Nokia devices, Psion and other.

The second generation came with the iPhone and Android (2007–2008), essentially giving (re)birth to a new generation of mobile apps where rich content was king. These were apps based on advanced Smartphones and higher-speed networks that pretty much made the previous generation obsolete. During this time period the Ecosystem took center stage away from the Operator. Many of the companies behind the first generation such as Nokia, BlackBerry and Microsoft were impacted during this time period in major ways — some are gone while others and are still trying to recover.

More recently, we have entered the third generation of mobile apps where the user and user context is king, with sensors on the device and core services and infrastructure residing on the cloud.

The following table summarizes the three generations of mobile apps (2014).

mobile app generations


18 Apr

On Android and Fragmentation (early 2014)

Due to its origins and philosophy with respect to openness, Android is a fragmented mobile platform. This is illustrated next:


There are different kinds of fragmentation to keep in mind.

Android platform versions. To minimize fragmentation-related headaches, decide early on what versions of Android to support. As you can see above, Gingerbread (introduced in 2011) still commands close to 20% of the Android device distribution (data above is gathered from the new Google Play Store app). It is important to keep in mind is that the more versions you support, the more testing and maintenance and related costs that you will have.

Multiple screen sizes. When creating an Android app, you will have to decide the kinds of devices to support, for example Smartphones, vs. Tablets, each with different sizes and resolutions, and provide the appropriate assets, fonts and layouts that ensures the best possible experience across such different screen characteristics. See Design Apps for Tablets (Android Developers Blog).

Hardware support. Another kind of fragmentation is related to hardware support, for example, the supported sensors and/or UI facilities. Not all devices are created equal and different device manufacturers decide what to include. A couple of examples: not all devices may support the same kind of camera, or may or not provide support for Bluetooth or for that matter, Bluetooth Low Energy (introduced with Android 4.3 (API Level 18). NFC may or not be there. Another example is the Kindle, which is based on Android 2.3 but it doesn’t provide support for many of the hardware sensors or UI facilities found on other Android devices.

Consistent UX Design. Maintaining a consistent design is not necessarily easy and can lead to a fragmentation user experience. Learn and follow the Android Design Guidelines. Google has done a great job documenting the best design guidelines for Android apps. From design principles, to styles and patterns, to building blocks, you should spend time going over these great developer resources by Google.

The good news is that as you can see on the pie-chart above, the market is consolidating on 4.x and newer and devices are getting more consistent. The whole Android reminds me of the Java Micro Edition and Sun Microsystems back then, which wanted to be open with great intentions, but that caused a lot of fragmentation and problems. The answer to this is to enforce consistency across. Google is attempting to do so by “Forcing OEMs To Certify Android Devices With A Recent OS Version If They Want Google Apps“. Let’s keep in mind that the main reason the iPhone and iOS have been so consistent with respect to platforms version, functionality and distribution, is because Apple owns the whole stack (hardware and software). But in an open platform, consistency is very hard to achieve, especially when there is competition within the ecosystem.


Related to this see: 5 Tips to Get Started with Android Development.

06 Mar

Mobile Monday Austin @ SXSWi 2014 (Unofficial)

The Mobile Monday Austin (unofficial) SXSW party is back. Join us at Fogo de Chao on Monday, March 10 at 5:30pm for some free drinks and food, as well as demos from leading mobile startups from Austin and around the world.

We packed Fogo de Chao last year with a room full of great conversation, brilliant ideas and interesting people — and you can expect the same this year, so come grab a drink with us at the end of another day of SXSW before you head out to the night’s parties.

Many thanks to our Sponsors!!!

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

16 Jan

Using Android’s Advertising ID

My most recent piece is about Using Android’s Advertising ID (Safari Online Books blog).

The ability to identify users is important for advertising, analytics and other purposes. Android developers typically rely on the Android Device ID or Telephony IDs such as the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) to uniquely identify users, but these approaches also introduce privacy concerns. Android 4.4 Kitkat introduces a new anonymous identifier for advertising purposes. Referred to as Advertising ID, it provides a user-resettable identifier that helps protect the user’s personal identity.

Read the rest of the blog Using Android’s Advertising ID


31 Dec

2013 Review

As the year 2013 ends, it is time to reflect and write down some thoughts and highlights for the year.

This year I spent most of my time working on Telco stuff, specifically on a supply chain orchestration SaaS platform and private marketplace, and Intellectual Property, that helps Telcos manage, buy and sell IP services — all around the Telephone Number. During this time I learned quite a bit about all the gory details, role and life-cycle of telephone numbers, and how to help bring Telcos to the new world of Cloud Computing and Services (OTT); see The Evolving Role of the Telephone Number in the Growth of Mobile (Cloud Computing Magazine). It also was interesting to see something that many of us have been talking about for a long time – the state of “voice services and apps” — all moving to IP and the Cloud. Technologies such as WebRTC made a lot of noise in 2013 and will continue throughout 2014.

All the above triggered a number of thoughts including the ones captured on a piece that I wrote titled On Voice Apps (2013). Another related piece of interest is Enabling Voice Communication on Android Apps, which was the focus of a presentation I gave at Google I/O Austin. Related to the above I recommend that you read my friend Chetan Sharma’s book Mobile Future Forward Mobile 4th Wave.

On the prediction side of things, a number of things have materialized in 2013:

  • As predicted back in 2011, Microsoft acquired Nokia. Nokia should have gone the Android way back in 2011 but ego got in the way; enough said;
  • As predicted in 2010, Visors! as exemplified by Google Glass, Meta and companies like Austin’s Pristine.io;
  • Predicted in 2010 (and earlier), Mobile devices as the personal sensor gateway to the Internet – this has been exemplified by many; mentioning some Austin companies: MapMyFitness, Atlas Wristband;
  • The role of the Mobile Context – this has been exemplified with Google Now, and my friend’s Raj company TempoAI;
  • One thing that I have been telling folks in 2013, is that Mobile has peaked. And coincidentally today, I saw a blog from Furry titled “Christmas Continues To Set App Download Records In Spite Of Slowing Growth and Globalization of App Market” with data that shows what I have been saying. This doesn’t mean Mobile is really going down, but that we have entered a new phase of Mobile. This also means that if you are in the (crowded) space of mobile development services/consulting, you need to start thinking “Products”.
  • Being an NFC aficionado and proponent, I must include something on such topic for 2013. OK, my predictions around NFC have not fully materialized yet. NFC still has not taken off. Yes, ISIS (and Google Wallet) happened, but NFC has not really taken off, not yet. But its support on Android means that it is not totally dead in the global market — its adoption has taken forever and I am starting to lose faith it will ever happen. But let’s not forget that NFC is not only about payments but also about interactions. I do believe that once (if) Apple decides to pick it up, then it will bring new life to NFC (in the USA);
  • And being a Space aficionado (and an ex-Space Shuttle coder), it is great to see my prediction from 2008 materialize — The future of the USA space program is the private sector, as exemplified by SpaceX.

On the publishing side of things, it was cool to see my Android in Action 3rd edition book translated to Portuguese, and I recently contributed to Rudy De Waele’s shift 2020 book, together with many other like-minded global technologists. I also contributed blog content to Safari Online Books on the topic of Android. And of course, I continued writing on my/this About Mobility blog.

On my spare time, I continued my Mobile-related endeavors: Mobile Monday Austin and Android Dev Austin, and the Texas Wireless Summit. While Mobile Monday Austin was a bit slow in 2013, the plan for 2014 is to make it very active again with socials and events. I also gave advice to a number of ventures or startups, including my friend’s Ajit and his UK-based Feynlabs educational venture.

Something very cool I helped with on my spare time was Kloc Developers. Kloc Developers is a new, very cool visual-and social way for Developers to promote themselves, and discover and connect to/with like-minded people and content. Kloc answers the need for better ways for developers to tell their coding experience and story. The evolution of Kloc.me has been pretty cool, and as the year ends, the Kloc team is happy to release a new version of Kloc Developers Beta — sign up, use it, let the Kloc team know what you think.

Last but not least, 2013 reunited me with my favorite sport of all time (and with old friends): Frisbee Freestyle. After watching a local announcement on TV about the Austin Freestyle Disc Club tournament (the first one after a decade), I joined the group, which is home to a couple of world champions, made new friends and re-united with old ones, and have been enjoying jamming a whole lot, and hope to continue doing so. In 2014, we are bringing to Austin the American Freestyle Open, which will bring players from all over the world – stay tuned.

I am thankful for everything: my wife and family, my friends, Austin, what the year 2013 brought, and everyone and everything else that I left out from this blog. Love you all.

I wish you an awesome and prosperous 2014 year…