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Five Minutes was chosen as a strategic partner in developing mobile applications for the first subscription digital music service in the world, Rhapsody, which offers its services in Europe under the famous brand Napster. Rhapsody delivers unlimited access to a collection of over 20 million tracks to music enthusiasts that they can enjoy on their smartphones, tablets and computers for a monthly fee. Rhapsody took over Napster in 2011, the revolutionary service which gained its popularity back in 1999. Through Napster’s brand, Rhapsody is expanding its services in the growing and competitive music market in Europe.
In July this year Rhapsody expanded the Napster service to 15 European countries , and followed that up with deep integrations with many leading mobile carriers across Europe. One of the main growth drivers for Rhapsody and Napster’s expansion is the rapid growth of smartphone and tablet applications market. Rhapsody found a mobile development strategic partner in Five Minutes, a successful Croatian company that specializes in mobile applications development and which steered its business to the global market. Their top engineering team has years of experience in developing demanding mobile applications and server solutions for music distribution, and have proven their experience and expertise working on numerous projects in the U.S. and the global market. With offices in Zagreb, Osijek and New York, and plans for new recruiting, Five Minutes is one of the fastest growing IT companies in Croatia.
“We are addicted to music and have been betting on digital music streaming for a long time, waiting for the days when we will have a collection of million singles at our fingertips. Now we have the opportunity to create the new generation of such software,” said Luka Abrus, Five Minutes CEO. “Through this engineering center we will open new jobs and have the opportunity to hire some of the best Croatian engineers. We are extremely glad to be able to ensure that engineers can work from Zagreb and Osijek on global projects using cutting-edge technologies and reaching millions of customers.”
Through its partnerships with Five Minutes, Rhapsody has invested in improving the platform in order to reach even more subscribers and expand to other markets. In the past seven months, ten software developers and testers from Five Minutes have joined Rhapsody’s engineering team to develop Android and iOS mobile applications, and improve the existing platform used by more than one million subscribed users.
“Five Minutes is the perfect partner for us as we continue to drive forward with the premier on-demand music service mobile application” said Brian Ringer, Rhapsody Chief Technology Officer. “Their combination of great technical skills and passion for all things mobile and music has been the perfect addition to the growing Rhapsody engineering teams.”
Currently available in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the Netherlands, Napster provides an extensive music collection of local and international musicians with a simple and flexible way of listening and finding music. The service is available on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android smartphones and tablets as well as PC and living room devices, with Napster’s music experts ensuring an offer of interesting playlists, prominent musicians and editorial content through a music guide that helps users discover new music.
Rhapsody International is parent company of leading streaming music services, Rhapsody and Napster. Initially launched in December 2001, Rhapsody is the original streaming music service that gives members unlimited on-demand access to more than 20 million songs, whether they’re listening on a PC, laptop, Internet connected home stereo or TV, MP3 player or mobile phone. In December 2011, Rhapsody International acquired Napster International. Rhapsody International is headquartered in Seattle, with offices across the U.S. and Europe. Rhapsody and the Rhapsody logo are registered trademarks of Rhapsody International Inc. Follow @Rhapsody on Twitter and keep up with the latest on the Rhapsody Facebook page.
From small and affordable to powerful and large, nearly 80% of all newly shipped smartphones in the world use some version of the Android operating system. Primarily designed to be flexible, Android adapts to all types of mobile devices. Regardless of whether the device is a tablet or a smartphone, regardless of the screen size and built-in hardware features, the operating system must always provide the best possible user experience.
I talked about this specific topic at this years Mobility Day conference held in September in Zagreb. This article is just an addition to my talk on the basics for developing adaptable applications and describes the key features of the Android platform.
It’s been over two months since Google made a splash with Chromecast, a 2-in gizmo that plugs into your TV’s HDMI port and can be controlled by more than one device – phone, tablet and computer – if they’re on the same Wi-Fi network as the Chromecast.
One of our projects at Five minutes involved implementing the technologies on an Android and iOS app for a client. We gave an intro to developing apps for Google Chromecast a few weeks back at an Android meetup organized by the Google Developer Group Zagreb, hosted at the Faculty of electrical engineering and computing, but would like to share our experience for all those who couldn’t make it.
Google Cast is, essentially, a screen sharing technology that lets users send and control content like video from a small computing device like a phone, tablet or a laptop to a large display device like a TV. For instance, if you like to send a Youtube video from your phone to your TV you can do it easily, without on-screen menus to navigate, no extra devices.
How it works
The Chromecast stick runs a scaled-down Chrome browser with a receiver application that uses websockets to maintain a control channel to mobile devices or a Chrome browser running on a Mac or a PC. For video playback, Google provides an implementation of a special protocol, called RAMP (Remote Application Media Protocol), on top of this channel. When playing a video, the control device uses RAMP to send a URL pointing to the video resource located on the internet or local network, which is then loaded in an HTML5 video element on the Chromecast stick. RAMP provides means to easily send most common video control commands from control device to the stick and to send playback status in the other direction. This flow can be customized to facilitate authentication, DRM and other scenarios. Read more
A great service starts with great people. We’ve been on a hiring roll lately, and have yet to stop. During the last few months we have hired a number of excellent people who have joined our UX/UI design, development and quality assurance teams.
Luka Vida joined our UX team and will be working closely with our clients and developers designing each client’s mobile assets, running thorough user testing and delivering top-notch usability in every app.
Two junior designers with an incredible potential, Mihovil Vargović and Domagoj Kapulica, will be working with our UI team creating eye-catching and engaging mobile experience. Mihovil’s college project was recently presented at Vizkultura as one of the best student projects originated at art schools across Croatia and abroad, while Domagoj is still involved in his side-kick project Squee, an iOS app for discovering amazing product design and sharing what you like with your friends.
We recently accepted the NYC BigApps 3.0 challenge organized by the City of New York and applied for its competition. The challenge was to enhance New Yorkers’ everyday life by finding a better use for city’s raw data sets available online. Our candidate on the competition was Lend a hand!, an Android application that makes it easier for people to browse open volunteering positions throughout the city and apply to them.
Facebook SDK for Android does a pretty good job of providing Facebook support for your app. However, SDK doesen’t give you a direct way to do stuff that web users find trivial. Link sharing and link querying being two of them.
Sharing a link actually means posting a link to your wall. Keep in mind that posting a link is different from posting a status with a link attached. Posting a link brings much more value then just attaching it to a wall post, key value being the link statistics. Some of the statistics gathered for a shared link (available via Facebook Query Language) are the number of times someone shared a link, liked a link, commented on a link, etc.
The future is here – more and more handhelds are being built with high definition screens. The iPhone ships the Retina display, while on the Android (as of August 02, 2010) HDPI accounts for more than 50% devices.
To web developers, there is clearly a need to build high density compatible web sites.
HTC Hero is my first Android phone and I’m using it for a month now. First minute impressions were very good and that is mostly because of its user-interface, the latest version of HTC Sense™ and applications that are bundled with it. Looking from the outside, device itself looks very nice but still not that elegant like an iPhone:
- Front side has a trackball and six buttons (‘Call’, ‘Home’, ‘Menu’, ‘End call’/’Lock screen’, ‘Search’ and ‘Back’). This makes it look a bit geeky with too many hardware buttons in my opinion. Some other Android devices have just three of them (‘Menu’, ‘Home’ and ‘Back’).
- Up top there’s a 3.5mm headphones socket and at the base it has the ExtUSB port which is compatible with standard mini-USB. No complains here. And yes, it will recharge the battery when connected to computer with USB cable.
- Left side has volume controls and on the back there’s the 5-megapixel autofocus camera. There’s no flash and no dedicated camera button.
- To access microSD card it is necessary to remove back cover.