09 4 / 2013
The Road to Android: Development
In setting out to expand MAZ to the Android platform, there were a lot of development considerations to be made. The joy/bane of developing for iOS is that it’s a very closed ecosystem with rigid regulations/rules/standards. While it’s easy for some developers to gripe about this approach, it does help keep iOS apps consistent and in-check. Google takes a more ‘hands-off’ approach with the Android OS, and as such it was up to us to make a lot of the key decisions for an Android release, even though we had never developed for Android before.
The first thing we needed to determine was which devices we wanted to support. Android is the operating system for hundreds of products, which can make compatibility and quality control very challenging (compared to under 10 variations for iOS). We decided to launch on the most popular Android tablet and smartphones, and the Amazon Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD. The devices we chose to concentrate on cover 90% of all Android installations, and will allow us to deliver an incredible MAZ experience across the board.
Once we determined which devices to support, we needed to get started on the Android software development itself. Because iOS and Android are written in two completely different programming languages, we had to rewrite every last line of code for MAZ apps on Android. We expanded our development team to accomplish this, hiring 3 new Android developers and testers. They were tasked with building the equivalent of what took us years to build for the iPad in only a few months.
We also realized that the MAZ experience on iPad would not translate properly to Android. What has always set MAZ apart from our competitors is that we design our apps from the point of view of our consumers, and we design our publishing tools from the point of view of our publishers. Android users have different user interface (UI) expectations - there are conventions that the ecosystem and the apps that came before ours have worked hard to define. Making an Android app that looks and feels like iOS is not really making an Android app at all. In a lot of ways this was less of a technical challenge and more of a cultural shift. We consulted with a leading NYC Android development and design agency, TouchLab, to provide a more authentic look and feel (more on that in a future post), so that our apps feel consistent with the device you are using them on.
With the app design and development strategy in place, it was time to think about the MAZ Control backend. How would we build in the option to output to the Google Play store and the Amazon App Store, without increasing the work load for our publishers? Our publishers have come to expect that MAZ provides them with the simplest solution possible. They don’t want to use their valuable resources on repetitive tasks like multiple outputs. With the new version of MAZ Control, we will give publishers the ability to publish across multiple ecosystems with just a few extra clicks and without needing to do anything extra to their content.
As engineers, our goal is to always increase efficiency while reducing the amount of time/energy it takes to complete a task, fulfilling the very promise of technological innovation! We’re happy to take on these complex development challenges so that our publishers don’t have to. We can’t wait to see all of the amazing content on all of these new platforms.
MAZ 3.0 is almost here. Stay tuned!
21 3 / 2013
The Road to Android: Strategy and Planning
Deciding to launch MAZ Android Apps was a BIG decision. We’re still a lean startup, and projects like this require the whole team to put in a huge amount of time, attention, and effort to make them happen. Our growth depends on us addressing compelling demands when they hit a crescendo, and that time for Android has finally come.
So why Android tablets? Why now? Well, the answer comes from one simple truth: people have started to buy the things. Consumers are demanding content from their favorite publishers, and “your operating system hasn’t historically been a profitable platform” doesn’t cut it anymore.
We’ve heard the strongest calls from our clients with paid content. Nobody is expecting the same level of profits they’re making from iOS, but there is money to be made. It doesn’t matter which platform is “winning,” we’ve crossed a tipping point where there are enough interested readers using Android to make it worthwhile.
Let’s be clear, though: Android is still a riskier venture than iOS for paid content. There is even more of a reason not to invest too much time and energy into it until you have tested the waters a bit. We want to make sure that publishing to Android is easy. And fast. Really, really easy, and really, really fast.
So that’s what we’ve built - a multi-platform solution that doesn’t put any more work on the publisher’s plate. You do the same work going in, but you get more going out.
Readers are going to love their favorite publications on Android, our publishers are going to love the newfound revenue and ease of publishing across multiple platforms, and we at MAZ are going to learn a whole lot in the process.
The time has come for Android at MAZ. Here we go!
17 3 / 2013
14 3 / 2013
MAZ on Bloomberg TV
Paul was a panelist on Bloomberg TV’s “Bloomberg Surveillance” earlier today. Check out what he had to say about Samsung, Apple, and the future of mobile devices.
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08 3 / 2013
02 3 / 2013
Register Now for the Next Free MAZ Webinar: Navigating Your App
Register for the Next Free MAZ Webinar: Navigating Your App
Effortless navigation makes it easier for readers to enjoy more of your quality content. In the March webinar, MAZ Founder and CEO Paul Canetti will show you the best ways to make your magazines easier to navigate. You’ll learn how to create your own interactive table of contents, tips and tricks for incorporating website content, and see examples of the best navigation strategies.
Navigating Your App
Tuesday, March 12 at 1pm EST
Hosted by Paul Canetti, Founder and CEO of MAZ
FREE - Registration Required
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22 2 / 2013
This is a Big Announcement
MAZ is coming to Android.
Phew! That wasn’t as hard as we thought it would be.
Okay, a little backstory. Here at MAZ, we love Apple. Our CEO is a former Apple employee, and the entire company was founded on the endless possibilities that iPad and the App Store provide to publishers.
Over the last two years, though, our vision for what MAZ can be has expanded beyond the iWorld. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to experience dynamic digital content from publishers, regardless of which gadget they purchased.
The next step towards delivering on this grand vision is the launch of MAZ Android Apps. In just a few weeks every MAZ customer will have the ability to launch their publication on the Google Play Store and Amazon App Store.
We have spent a lot of time and attention on this new endeavor. MAZ Android Apps will provide the high quality user experience you’ve come to expect from our iPad apps, including zoomable pages, speedy downloads, and web content integration, but with an Android twist. Just as our iOS apps feel “Apple-y”, we want to make sure that our Android apps feel “Android-y”.
Stay tuned for more details about this release, but know that MAZ Android Apps are coming.
It’s an exciting time at MAZ, and we can’t wait for you to see and use the new technologies we have in store over the next year.
P.S. You may have noticed that “Digital Publishing for (Smart) Dummies” has transformed into “The MAZ Blog.” Here you’ll find company announcements, best practices for digital publishing, and the occasional hilarious viral video. If you’re looking for the personal insights of MAZ Founder and CEO Paul Canetti, head on over to paulthewizard.com and subscribe to his brand new blog.
06 2 / 2013
Introducing MAZ Webinars
Is your publication ready for 2013? Join MAZ Founder and CEO Paul Canetti for a free webinar as he forecasts what the next year has in store for digital publishing. You’ll learn about the newest trends, technologies, and marketing strategies that will change the way your publication will do business.
Registration is free, but limited. Sign up today to guarantee a spot.