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Posts Tagged ‘Apple App’

Windows Phone 8 Having Trouble Attracting Developers

October 30th, 2012 10:39 admin View Comments

Windows

colinneagle writes “Microsoft has promised that cross-platform development across the 8s – from Windows 8 on a desktop to Windows Phone 8 – will be a simple matter, but that’s still not enough to get some developers moving on Windows Phone 8 support. The Windows Phone platform has made a remarkable recovery since its reset with version 7. Since then, WP7 has grown to 100,000 apps. But that pales in comparison to the 675,000 in Google Play and 700,000 in the Apple App Store. Granted, there’s a ton of redundancy – how many weather or newsfeed apps does one person need? – but it points to availability and developer support. A report from VentureBeat points out what should be obvious: that while developers like Windows 8, they aren’t as excited about Windows Phone 8 software because they have already made huge investments in other platforms and don’t want to support another platform. A survey by IDC and Appcelerator found 78% of Android developers were ‘very interested’ in programming for Android smartphones, a slight drop from the 83% in a prior survey. Interest in the iPhone and iPad remained undiminished, with 89% and 88% interest, respectively.”

Source: Windows Phone 8 Having Trouble Attracting Developers

First iOS Malware Discovered In Apple’s App Store

July 5th, 2012 07:17 admin View Comments

IOS

New submitter DavidGilbert99 writes “Security experts have discovered what is claimed to be the first ever piece of malware to be found in the Apple App Store. While Android is well known for malware, Apple has prided itself on being free from malicious apps … until now. The app steals your contact data and uploads it to a remote server before sending spam SMS messages to all your contacts, but the messages look like they are coming from you.”

Source: First iOS Malware Discovered In Apple’s App Store

Finally, a Cross-Platform HTML5 Game

June 6th, 2012 06:01 admin View Comments

We’ve been hearing about it for years: The collection of Web technologies known as HTML5 is the future of online publishing. The promise of cross-platform applications with one easy code base is enticing to developers, who stand to save a fortune in coding costs, and publishers, who could extend their reach and leap across distribution channels. Meanwhile, skeptics keep saying, “I’ll believe that HTML5 is the answer when I see a great app built in nothing but HTML5.” Finally, it’s showtime: Boom Town, a game developed by appMobi, represents the first step toward creating dynamic mobile games built solely in HTML5.

Boom Town is not exactly original. It is much like Triple Town from Spry Fox, a highly addictive experience that allows players to build a town by combining ingredients on a game board. But the game itself is beside the point: Boom Town was created using one set of HTML5 tools and it was deployed to the Apple App Store, Android Google Play and Facebook all at the same time. 

Have you ever download a game on an iPad and wished you could save your progress and then pick it up on an Android smartphone? Maybe later you wanted to continue in the browser on Facebook. Native apps do not behave that way on iOS and Android. An iPhone game is limited to iPhones and iPads; an Android game is limited to Android devices. Part of this is by design. Apple and Google want to keep you within their own environments. 

This is where HTML5 becomes extremely important. Developers and publishers want to be able to play within Apple, Google and Facebook environments, but they also want to be able to cut across them. The opportunities become significant. Marketing and tracking through analytics services have more power if they can reach the player on any device. By engaging users wherever they are, publishers can attempt to monetize them through ads and in-app purchases. Other apps by the publisher can be cross-promoted within apps on any device. 

In addition to serving as a proof-of-concept cross-platform HTML5 app, Boom Town is intended to showcase appMobi’s broader offering. A product called appSync makes it possible to save a gaming session on one device and open it in the same spot on another. The company’s 1Touch Universal payments handles in-app purchasing, and playMobi provides analytics and leaderboards. 

Of course, enterprising developers can create these capabilities within HTML5 apps without having to use appMobi’s tools. Analytics, engagement and payments are offered by a variety of services such as Apsalar and Flurry, through PlayHaven or directly through mobile platforms themselves, including iOS and Facebook. 

Beyond the question of how to build, deploy, market and monetize mobile apps, Boom Town speaks to bigger concerns. For instance, where does HTML5 lead? At one time, it seemed to promise the ability to strong-arm Apple and Google out of the deployment environment entirely. Yet, as more apps and games are created with HTML5, they are being deployed within the App Stores as well as outside of them. If HTML5 does not disrupt the app store model, what will it contribute to the mobile ecosystem?

The easy answer to that question is the ability to deliver quality apps, such as Boom Town, that communicate across platforms. Write once, run everywhere. Hasn’t that been the promise of new sets of programming tools for more than a decade?

Source: Finally, a Cross-Platform HTML5 Game

Facebook Announces App Center

May 9th, 2012 05:13 admin View Comments

Facebook

An anonymous reader writes “Facebook today announced the App Center. Whether you’re a Facebook user or a third-party developer, think of it like the Apple App Store or the Google Play store, but for Facebook. That’s right: while in-app purchases have existed for a while, Facebook will now give developers the option to offer paid apps (users will pay a flat fee to use an app on facebook.com).”

Source: Facebook Announces App Center

The Future of Social Is Video: Interview With Socialcam CEO Michael Siebel

May 1st, 2012 05:45 admin View Comments

Socialcam is being called the “Instagram for Video” app. With this phrase comes the idea that, like seemingly every startup nowadays, the goal is to build an awesome and thriving community, pump up the product to the level of ultimate coolness and then cash in by selling to a bigger social company that may or may not have a working business model. That’s one way to look at it.

After one conversation with Socialcam CEO Michael Siebel, it seems like the future of social video isn’t in selling your company to Facebook – it’s in the niche communities that populate this tiny app. They are the true owners of this bustling social video community. 

Spun off from Justin.tv and launched little more than a year ago, Socialcam is a social video app that gives users a ridiculously easy way to shoot a video, upload it to the app’s niche-focused community and then share it to other social sites if they’d like. As of today, Socialcam has surpassed Viddy as the #1 photo and video app in the Apple App Store. Instagram has since been bumped to #3.

It also grabbed additional funding from some “A-Listers” like Yuri Milner of Startfund and Tim Draper of Draper and Associates, making for a total of nearly 40-some-odd investors. Like the app itself, it’s nice to look at. But that’s not where Siebel’s head was today, when we talked.

Socialcam CEO Michael Siebel sees the potential mainstreamification of social videos as a way not only to share one’s life story, but also to create community around the moving image. Interestingly, however, Siebel ended up as the CEO of Socialcam not through his love of telling stories or the image. Rather, he saw it as an opportunity that he just couldn’t pass up. He studied political science at Yale University and thought he would end up in DC. That’s not quite what happened, however.

From Politics in DC to the All-Video World of Justin.tv

In 2007, Siebel cofounded Justin.tv with his friend Justin Kan, Emmett Shear and Kyle Vogt. Justin.tv allowed anyone to broadcast video online through “channels.” The original channel just included Justin broadcasting his life 24/7. But Siebel did not start out with a particular passion or interest in the tech world, or the video world. 

“I think basically it was a level of stubbornness,” says Siebel. “I got into startups because of Justin. I wanted to do politics with my life but was convinced that I needed to do it in a very particular way, which included working on a campaign when I was young, having a family, a mortgage and other such basic experiences.”

After working for a year in DC as the finance director for Kweisi Mfume’s U.S. Senate campaign, eventually moving up to the position of Finance Director, Justin approached Siebel.

“Justin gave me the opportunity to work and be a cofounder of Justin.tv, and even though I thought it was crazy, I also thought to myself ‘when would I have another opportunity to start a business with my best friend?’” 

Siebel grew up in Brooklyn, and describes himself as a guy who’s always been comfortable around computers. 

“My dad was a programmer,” he says. “And I was excited about that world, but it seemed so far away.”

After he joined teams with Justin Kan, he left his East Coast digs for San Francisco, and jumped right into the video world.

“It was a rough road, I gotta tell you,” he says. “Everyone was a Deputy Downer for video companies, and we were a video company. We had to work really hard to survive. But during the process, I really started to fall in love with video.”

For Siebel, half the passion came from what he describes as a chip on his shoulder, a response to the people who said he wasn’t going to make video work. The other half of it came from a desire to get more people to use video to share their life and experiences.

Why Live Video Didn’t Make Sense, But an All-Video App Did

Siebel recounts a story about getting interviewed by reporters in massive vans.

“It was hilarious because we were filming them live using our 25-pound video equipment, and they were standing up on their vans trying to film us live,” he recounts, jokingly.  

Much like its image-oriented cousin Instagram, Socialcam gives users the opportunity to add a variety of filters to the video itself. A short, “au natural” video can suddenly become newsy, “classic,” “casual,” or like an MTV music video. Music accompanies these videos too, if the user so wishes to add it – get some “street” music into the video, or perhaps some “happy”-sounding tunes or just plain tropical breezy. Socialcam gives users the opportunity to transform their otherwise possibly boring moments into mini productions, starring their friends and family, or maybe just a plain old fire hydrant.

When Socialcam launched in April 2011, it was immediately available on both iPhone and Android. There was no iPhone-exclusivity like Instagram. And there was also more than a focus on the filters themselves.

“Socialcam users are using more than just filters – it’s the filters, themes and soundtracks all together,” says Siebel. “Why? I think it goes back to the core vision of the company. We want to make video creation mainstream.”

To take video into the space that photography currently occupies, however, is not an easy task. 

“How many people do you know who have taken a photo class? A videography class?” asks Siebel. “Photography is a much more widely distributed skill, and it’s something that everyday people feel more comfortable with. We want to take video outside of the black box, breaking down that barrier between the professional and the everyday person, and we want to provide people with simple tools to do that.”

And according to Siebel, this will happen with the rise of the smartphone – because anyone with a smartphone has a video camera.

“Instagram didn’t have to popularize photo-taking,” Siebel says. “They were able to take the fact that people loved photos, and help them take even more photos. So for us, we’re kind of doing double duty – we want to make you feel comfortable taking a video and being in a video, while also making sure it’s fun and easy, and something you can be proud of.”

Socialcam does not put a limit on the length of a video. According to Siebel, this would actually hinder the amount of videos published. The shorter you make the video, the longer a user has to think about how to say what they want in a specific period of time. If the video is good and the sound quality is high, chances are people will stick around and watch it.

Communication Gone Visual: The Moving Image Is Moving Forward

Socialcam is host to a huge variety of videos, from aspiring rap stars to sweet violin-playing musicians who mix their music with the tunes offered. And there’s always a bit of toilet humor and inspirational talks to go alongside those more creative endeavors. 

“We have a hugely diverse userbase,” says Siebel. “Socialcam is a global network. We’ve got this amazing community of deaf kids in France who use Socialcam. They use it like a phone call – they use video to communicate with one another. I love to see that this stuff can just happen.” 

Aside from the popular trending types of videos and the niche communities on Socialcam, there are four categories that Siebel sees growing the fastest. The first one is family. 

“Young parents take videos of their kids, and then send them to the grandparents who consume them,” he says. “One of the most basic use cases is videos of my kids.”

The second most popular use case is community – people use Socialcam to interact with each other within the community. The third is “what we like to call informally ‘Jackass,’ or stuff my friends are doing that’s stupid or funny,” Siebel says. “Before you would tell a story, and now you just take a video of your friend doing that.” 

The last biggest use case is a category that Siebel refers to as “traditional.” It includes the type of Timeline-esque life events that you would expect, including graduation, Christmas and other holidays, birthdays, special events, vacations and weekend trips. 

“I think that in the next two years, we’re going to take a huge bite out of the number of people who take videos once a week,” Siebel says. “When you’re going back through the content you’ve taken, there will be a lot more videos, and it will be easier to browse and remember.” 

Source: The Future of Social Is Video: Interview With Socialcam CEO Michael Siebel

Sponsor Post: There’s Never Been a Better Time to Start Something on Your Own

April 26th, 2012 04:59 admin View Comments

Editor’s note: We offer our long-term sponsors the opportunity to write posts and tell their story. These posts are clearly marked as written by sponsors, but we also want them to be useful and interesting to our readers. We hope you like the posts and we encourage you to support our sponsors by trying out their products.

It’s been almost a year since the epiphany that changed my life. I was on my honeymoon on the southern coast of Spain, my second week away from work, poking around my hotel room, when it hit me: my first creative thought in awhile. It was just a dumb little joke about the sign on the bathroom counter, reminding us to save water by recycling our towels – not even funny enough to share. But it was inspiring.

 
 
After years of grueling work without a long break, I realized what I wanted more than anything: to start my own business, create things I was proud of, work for myself, and control my schedule and destiny. A few weeks later, I was on my way. Later that summer, my new site, SplatF, was born. It’s been amazingly fun. Now it’s your turn.
 
I can only speak for my industry, but in digital media, it’s never been easier to go out on your own. Developments like high-end ad networks, inexpensive publishing and hosting tools, and services like the Apple App Store and Kindle eBooks store, have all made it possible for a writer, software programmer or engineer to start something new.
 
Why bother? If you’re like me, your time is the most important thing in life: more than money, notoriety or anything. There’s something about working for yourself that’s freeing. It’s a lot of work, of course, and often humbling. But when you’re in control of your time, there’s nothing better.
 
When I was growing up, my father started a small ad agency, and I saw the benefits of going out on one’s own. Now, 20 years later, I’ve done it too. You can be next!
 
- Dan Frommer
 
 

Source: Sponsor Post: There’s Never Been a Better Time to Start Something on Your Own

Sponsor Post: There’s Never Been a Better Time to Start Something on Your Own

April 26th, 2012 04:59 admin View Comments

Editor’s note: We offer our long-term sponsors the opportunity to write posts and tell their story. These posts are clearly marked as written by sponsors, but we also want them to be useful and interesting to our readers. We hope you like the posts and we encourage you to support our sponsors by trying out their products.

It’s been almost a year since the epiphany that changed my life. I was on my honeymoon on the southern coast of Spain, my second week away from work, poking around my hotel room, when it hit me: my first creative thought in awhile. It was just a dumb little joke about the sign on the bathroom counter, reminding us to save water by recycling our towels – not even funny enough to share. But it was inspiring.

 
 
After years of grueling work without a long break, I realized what I wanted more than anything: to start my own business, create things I was proud of, work for myself, and control my schedule and destiny. A few weeks later, I was on my way. Later that summer, my new site, SplatF, was born. It’s been amazingly fun. Now it’s your turn.
 
I can only speak for my industry, but in digital media, it’s never been easier to go out on your own. Developments like high-end ad networks, inexpensive publishing and hosting tools, and services like the Apple App Store and Kindle eBooks store, have all made it possible for a writer, software programmer or engineer to start something new.
 
Why bother? If you’re like me, your time is the most important thing in life: more than money, notoriety or anything. There’s something about working for yourself that’s freeing. It’s a lot of work, of course, and often humbling. But when you’re in control of your time, there’s nothing better.
 
When I was growing up, my father started a small ad agency, and I saw the benefits of going out on one’s own. Now, 20 years later, I’ve done it too. You can be next!
 
- Dan Frommer
 
 

Source: Sponsor Post: There’s Never Been a Better Time to Start Something on Your Own

The Artificial Life of the App Store

April 22nd, 2012 04:41 admin View Comments

AI

mikejuk writes “How does the Apple App Store actually work? What is the best strategy to employ if you want to get some users and make some money? There are some pointers on how it all works from an unusual source — artificial life. A pair of researchers Soo Ling Lim and Peter Bentley from University College London, set up an artificial life simulation of the app store’s ecosystem. They created app developers with strategies such as — innovate, copy other apps, create useless variations on a basic app or try and optimize the app you have. What they found, among other things, was that the CopyCat strategy was on average the best. When they allow the strategies to compete and developer agents to swap then the use of the CopyCat fell to only 10%. The reason — more than 10% CopyCats resulted in nothing new to copy!”

Source: The Artificial Life of the App Store

Apple to Developers: Don’t Mess With Our App Store Rankings

February 7th, 2012 02:45 admin View Comments

Apple really does not like it when you mess with its finely tuned systems. Especially when it is the company’s cash cow iOS platform. In a short statement yesterday, Apple warned developers not to game the rankings system in its App Store, threatening the loss of Apple Developer Program membership to those who are found using services intended to artificially raise the profiles of their apps in Apple’s store.

Full statement from Apple’s developer page: “Once you build a great app, you want everyone to know about it. However, when you promote your app, you should avoid using services that advertise or guarantee top placement in App Store charts. Even if you are not personally engaged in manipulating App Store chart rankings or user reviews, employing services that do so on your behalf may result in the loss of your Apple Developer Program membership. Get helpful tips and resources on marketing your apps the right way from the App Store Resource Center.

This is not the first time that Apple has reacted to entities trying to game the App Store rankings. Mobile marketing company Tapjoy was famously kicked off the iOS platform last year after providing users incentives for downloads through virtual currency. This latest threat comes as some developers may be turning to third-party services overseas where users are paid to download apps in order to have them raise their rankings.

The practice of paying users to download apps or flood the Web with posts has been called “water armies” because of their willingness to inundate the Internet with content or downloads for the right price. Tactics include link and content farming or posting to social media channels. Google has battled water armies in its SEO rankings for some time with its Panda program.

The same concept applies with the Apple App Store rankings. Users getting paid to download appsbecame enough of a problem that Apple felt the need to speak out on the subject. As Apple is usually tight-lipped about its metrics and methods, the announcement is a bit of a wonder in itself.

Apple paid $700 million to developers last quarter with the top performing apps likely taking up the bulk of that revenue. Publishers getting their apps in the top rankings is the difference between making hundreds of dollars on an app or thousands.

There are a variety of third-party marketing services that developers can use to avoid the ire of Apple. Options include analytics firms like Flurry, Localytics and Apsalar, PlayHaven (among others) to more traditional marketing outlets like public relations firms or mobile marketing studios such as SapientNitro or AKQA.

In any business, marketing is not easy. There is really no easy fix. Attempts to game the system are likely to be punished by Apple or scorned by the larger community. Tapjoy found out the hard way and has been spending a good portion of the last year finding ways around the App Store (through its own application marketplace and HTML5 initiatives).

The best advice to get into the top rankings of the Apple App Store is to have an app worthy of the attention. Releasing a mediocre app and gaming the system will only work for so long, as users find it subpar and start flooding the reviews sections with calls for the developers head on a pike.

Source: Apple to Developers: Don’t Mess With Our App Store Rankings

[Infographic] History of Mobile App Stores

February 7th, 2012 02:04 admin View Comments

apps_150x150.jpgThe rise of the app store has fundamentally changed the concept of software delivery. Gone are the days when zealous software companies sent users discs in the mail (oh, AOL, we remember you well) that ended up making better coasters than programs. Many computers these days do not even ship with a CD-ROM drive and smartphones have never seen any type of physical downloads. The delivery mechanism of the application store is an often-overlooked revolution of the mobile era.

A Croatian startup named ShoutEm that provides a platform for iOS and Android app creation created a timeline infographic of the history of the mobile app store. Starting in 2008 with the advent of Apple’s App Store, the game has fundamentally changed. Check it out below.

The Apple App Store launched in July 2008, a year after the first iPhone was released. It had 500 apps and, to many, was a revelation. It also marked the beginning of the dominance of the native mobile application. 10 million applications were downloaded in the first weekend.

The Android Market launched a couple months later in October and had 50 apps to start.

Research In Motion was not far behind, announcing its BlackBerry App World at its developers’ conference in October 2008 and accepting submissions from developers in early 2009. Nokia’s Ovi Store opened in 2009 starting its short-lived run as the No. 2 global app store behind Apple’s trailblazer.

The Windows Phone Marketplace launched in late October 2010. By July 2011 it had nearly 30,000 apps. As of Jan. 2012, it has almost 50,000. The BlackBerry App World had about 37,000 at the end of July 2011.

Apple reached the 100,000 app mark first, a little more than a year after launch, in November 2009. Skipping ahead, the Android Market hit 200,000 in early 2011 and nearly doubled its developer output through the remainder of the year. As of now, the Market has about 400,000 apps available while iOS has nearly 550,000.

Check out the timeline below. It ends in Aug. 2011 but we know the history since. The Ovi Store is in decline as Nokia gradually phases out the Symbian series, BlackBerry is in flux and awaiting new devices and trying to spur developers in to creating apps for the platform again while iOS and Android maintain exponential growth.

app_store_timeline.jpg

Source: [Infographic] History of Mobile App Stores

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