Herzlich Willkommen in Berlin: A phrase mobile app managers, marketers, designers, developers, and enthusiasts will hear as they flock to Europe Mobile App Conference in Germany September 29th through October 1st.
Translation? Welcome to Berlin!
The event will be an all app-talk weekend extravaganza. Germany-based finance and IT consulting company, Díaz & Hilterscheid, will be hosting the conference for the first time. The workshops, keynotes, and networking will take place Dorint Hotel Sanssouci Potsdam in the heart of Germany’s capitol. Specifics on which mobile app community leaders and leading companies are still in the planning, so stay tuned.
Since there is still much to plan, Mobile App Europe invites app leaders with passion and wisdom to pass on to submit a speaking proposal. They also welcome ideas for keynotes and lectures. Proposals can be submitted on the conference website. The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 28th. Here’s what’s in store:
“During a series of lectures and keynotes with leading mobile app experts, you will learn about the different principles, models, strategies, methodologies, and best practices. Mobile App Europe will help you to make the world a better place with your perfect apps, ensuring happy customers.” – Díaz & Hilterscheid
Why are we excited for this at Appency?
Besides our crazy obsession with apps, the conference reflects the booming status of the app industry. As we’ve seen in the App Store, the market has become quite competitive, which is great! It gives app users more options and allows those gold-star ideas shine through the saturation. The Europe Mobile App Conference promises to give attendees the tools, networks, and inspiration for a competitive edge. If you’re still on the fence, here are some additional reasons to grab your passport and book your ticket:
• Learn what path the industry is moving towards
• Answer this question: What trends are currently trending?
• Capture the innovation and inspiration in the air
• Finally, a PR Agency’s favorite word – networking!
Sign up for the latest news on lectures, keynotes, and fun details on the conference website, Facebook, and Twitter. App leaders interested in presenting or pledging to sponsor may inquire within the same website. For now, notify your fellow app lovers and the start practicing your most commonly used German phrases in preparation for Europe Mobile App Conference 2014.
What makes a good app video trailer? Should it be long, short, funny or to the point? We go in-depth with a guest post from Appency partner PreApps’ CEO Sean Casto with some thoughts on what makes for a terrific trailer.
Most people rely heavily on visual elements during the decision-making process. For app developers who have undertaken a great marketing campaign and been able to successfully drive traffic to their app, the next step is to ensure users are actually downloading the app and the download is going to rely heavily on the demo video. A demo video is the first glimpse users will have of an app, and it isn’t something that should be created hastily; it goes beyond an app store description, and gives users a visual representation of what the app has to offer. An app demo video gives users the opportunity to experience an app before they decide to buy it, and it’s a make-or-break component for successful apps.
Making the Most of a Demo Video: The Top Tips
There are a few ways developers can optimize their demo video, and make it a sure-fire success by generating not only interest, but also downloads.
1. Choose Your Tools Carefully
Use the right recording programs. For example, when creating a video for an iPhone app, consider options like the iPhone Simulator and SimFinger. Great caliber recording programs improve the overall quality and delivery of a video. Snapz Pro X is a screen capture program that allows users to capture quality recordings easily, and it’s relatively cost-effective.
2. Don’t Shy Away From Creativity
Using creativity to set an app apart means the demo video can’t be basic. Infuse a bit of personality into it, and make it unique from the other countless videos users will see. Whether it’s through music, or the development of a storyline, compelling users to download an app because it’s fresh and different will make an app memorable and noteworthy.
3. Harness the Power with a Strong Voice
Finding a voice is integral for an app. Even paying for a voiceover may be worth it to improve the overall quality of a demo. For simple apps, it isn’t entirely necessarily to include a voiceover; background music will suffice as long as it gives off the mood and feeling the app portrays.
4. Keep it To-the-Point
With only a short window to convince the user an app is worthwhile, focus on utilizing a small amount of time, rather than making a long video. Focus on grabbing the user’s attention in the first few seconds of the video, because that may be all the time a user will give before moving on.
5. Hook Your Viewers
A demo video doesn’t simply have to demonstrate functionality, it can also include a few benefits and features that will entice users. Include these as part of the voiceover, or added as captions during the editing process if only music is being used. A demo video is a unique selling tool, so take advantage of the opportunity.
A Professional and Polished Final Product
Creating an app demo video can be an overwhelming process for many developers, and creating a finished product that is polished and effective can present a challenge. To overcome this obstacle and create a dynamic and impactful demo, developers can use the services of PreApps. PreApps offers three packages, all of which will provide a complete, professional level demo video, at budget-friendly prices. The packages vary in the level of details they provide, and range from a standard option to a comprehensive VIP package, which offers everything, including live action footage with the app being used in a natural setting.
About the Author:
Sean Casto, a Boston-based entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of PreApps.com, the leading platform introducing new apps to users and the marketplace prior to release. He has been a guest speaker at industry conventions for Microsoft and Samsung and lectured at Universities such as Northeastern and Harvard. He as also appeared on and been mentioned by The Washington Post, USA Today, The Boston Globe, Boston News Network, and The Associated Press. Through his work and industry experience, Casto has acquired a deep understanding of the struggles developers face and a passion to serve the growing mobile app community. He is now the Chairman & Founder of App Demo & Drinks (a mobile non-profit) and holds an advisory position for numerous start-ups.
When I started Appency four years ago, we were truly breaking ground as the first full service marketing agency dedicated to app developers. As the market exploded, it is no surprise that many more agencies and marketing services have sprung up to help app developers compete in this highly competitive marketplace. Many of our competitors like Appular are great agencies in their own right, and while we are competitors we all know there is plenty of work to go around and many of us even refer business to each other when our plates are full.
The explosion of the market however has had a dark side. Unscrupulous “marketers” (and I use the word loosely) have seized on developers desperate to be competitive or that do not know better (being a good developer is a very different skill set than being a good marketer) and have not only put black hat tactics into the market place (remember Gtekna?) but are often simply deceptive to their potential clients.
Today a member of my account team was emailed by a site called “iGiveaway.us”. We are often approached by other app marketing tools to use their services for our clients. I try to review each potential partner as a way to see if it could be beneficial to help our developers succeed. I went to their site and red flags immediately started showing up. The first was the “package” approach. Purchase package A, B, C, D, and we will do X, Y and Z. I’m sure you have seen these yourself. There are a million types of apps out there in the app store – and each succeeds with different tactics. An in the box approach to app marketing will NEVER work. Still, while inefficient, there is nothing unethical about generic marketing.
That’s where things start to get sketchy. The site starts talking about their Twitter reach like this:
“Every tweet to our network of more than 600,000 followers earns you at least 3,000 retweets; our tweets convert into retweets at a rate of 3-5%. That’s because we’ve got one of the most active networks of retweeters anywhere on Twitter, so your tweet goes viral right away. We can also reach out to our press and media contacts, with branded press releases, and conduct other reputation management efforts. Each retweet reaches an average of 1,000 more people. That’s 6,000,000 more eyes (everyone has two, of course.) on your product. A total of 3,000,000 individuals will see your product sponsorship tweet.”
Wow… that sound impressive right? 3 MILLION individuals will see your product sponsorship tweet! Time to sit back and watch those Apple checks role in.
So while I’m sure they have more than one Twitter account than their @iGiveaway Twitter account which is how they come up with 600,000 followers, its the only one they show off so I went and took a look at their Twitter account. About 125,000 followers on that one – not a bad showing at all for a Twitter account. I wouldn’t mind tweeting to 125k people about my app.
The thing is… there are these great little tools that can check how real your followers are. I happen to like http://fakers.statuspeople.com/ – it allows you to run a check on an account to see how many people on an account are inactive, or simply fake. A quick check of @iGiveaway gives some revealing results:
Percent of Fake Accounts: 75%
Percent of Inactive Accounts: 19%
Percent of Real Accounts: 6%
6%… yup. Out of 125,000 people, it looks like around 7,500 of them might be real.
Now – we all end up with fake followers if we have any sort of auto follow back on, but 75%? @Appency shows up at 2%, while my personal twitter @AppGuyAaron shows up at 3%. Yet people like this claim that you will be seen by millions of new potential users, and charge you good money for it. Frankly, it disgusts me.
They say be careful what you wish for. Well… be careful what you pay for.
Let me know in the comments: Are there any other black hat app services you have seen in the market that deserve public shaming? Let us know!
Apple’s special press event Tuesday was announced a week ago, but many of the aspects of the presentation were already known: iOS 7 will be coming out soon, Apple is offering a cheaper, colorful iPhone, and many iPhone 5S features were familiar to the attending press. This briefing will quickly break down the most important aspects of the presentation. As developers, it’s important to keep in mind that the App Store will be bogged down for a few weeks as other developers push through updates to keep up with the changes for iOS 7.
iOS 7 Release Date
Apple’s brand new operating system will debut to the public on September 18, 2013. iOS 7 is a complete redesign of the look of Apple’s system, trading skeuomorphism for flat designs. The software update adds a Control Center for one-swipe access to media playback controls, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi toggles, brightness controls, redesigned folders, and new features for both Safari and Game Center.
iOS 7 was announced at Apple’s WWDC this summer. Here are some of the key features of iOS 7:
· Updated design: New, skinnier font, flatter icons, less shine, and more white than grey overall.
· Control Center: Access this pull up tray by swiping from the bottom (even in lock screen) and adjust brightness and volume as well as wifi, Airplane Mode, rotation lock, Do Not Disturb, and bluetooth. Access a built-in flashlight, camera, calculator, and Safari.
· Improved multitasking: Third party apps now consume less battery life when they run in the background
· Safari: Now opens in full screen mode. Tabs are now unlimited and viewable in a scrollable carousel. Search field is now a unified smart search field.
· AirDrop: Sharesheets are more easily shared, with no NFC required.
· Camera: Swipe through settings like panorama, HDR, or square.
· Photos: Photo gallery now organizes photos by day and location, and users can search within them. Apple has its own basic photo filters now, accessible in Edit Photos. Photos can be shared through AirDrop, iCloud, and Photo Streams.
· Siri: Male and female voices are now available, as well as French and German (with more languages to come). Siri can now be used to adjust settings like Bluetooth. Siri now draws on Twitter, Wikipedia, and Bing.
· App Store: Users can now search for apps based on their location.
· Automatic updates: Apps will now automatically update in the background.
· iTunes Radio: Much like Pandora, users can start a radio station off of songs, artists, or albums that they like, and additional songs will be pulled from the iTunes catalog. The service will be free with ads.
· Activation lock: Users can now turn off their phone remotely, and the phone will require a user to enter the iCloud password associated with that phone. This will hopefully prevent theft.
iPhone 5C: Color and Plastic
Apple will start offering the iPhone 5C on September 20, 2013. The back of the phone will be made of plastic, available in five colors, instead of glass or aluminum. The screen size is the same as the iPhone 5S (a four-inch 1136×640 display) and, like the iPhone 5S, requires a Lightning connector. Inside the phone is an Apple A6 system-on-a-chip and 1GB of RAM. It has an eight-megapixel camera with a single-LED flash. The 16GB storage model will sell for $99, and the 32GB storage model will sell from $199 (both prices with 2 year contract agreements with carriers). Both phones come with options for dual-band 802.11n and LTE.
iPhone 5S: The “Gold Standard”
The new iPhone, the iPhone 5S, will be available at the same time as the iPhone 5C. The screen is the same four-inch, 1136×640 display as the iPhone 5, with a new Touch ID scanner that will use the home button to scan its owner’s fingerprint, which can then be used as a password. Inside the phone is an A7 chip, reported to be “desktop quality,” boosting the CPU and GPU performance, giving it twice the general-purpose and floating point registers of its predecessor and is up to twice as fast at performing CPU tasks. The phone supports OpenGL ES 3.0, and Apple claims that the graphics performance in the 5S is 56 times better than in the original iPhone released six years ago. Most importantly, the iPhone 5S will have an M7 motion-sensing chip that allows the phone to process data from sensors without waking up the phone itself, with important implications for gaming. The camera gets an upgrade as well, with a five-element lens at an f2.2 aperture and a 15 percent larger sensor.
What This Means for Developers
Much of what we knew would change for developers was mentioned during the WWDC iOS7 announcement: the free flashlight, for example, will push some fo the most popular apps off the store and filtering from inside the native camera app will force the major camera app developers to offer new and exciting features to entice users.
The changes present from the new presentation, however, were two-fold:
1. Full iWorks Suite going free: having apps built by Apple for it’s mobile devices for free is going to make other productivity and business apps much harder to gain traction, as these will most likely dominate the charts. Pages, for example, was one of the higher price points in the store at $9.99 and other competitive apps priced themselves accordingly. Now, why would users pay around $10 for an app when a full featured competitor is entirely free?
2. The M7 and CoreMotion API’s offer exciting new possibilities not just to health and fitness apps, but to mobile games as well. Zombies, Run is just one example of a game that already uses the your movement to propel you across both a real and gaming world – the ability to track information while the phone is in sleep mode should also provide increased battery performance for simultaneously running the CoreMotion and gaming apps.
Innovative gravitational search gives immediate access to related information, creating the email app for the next decade.
Bellevue, WA, September 12, 2013 – Tipbit, the company that is revolutionizing email, announced today the launch of its smart mailbox app exclusively for iPhone and iPod touch. Tipbit boosts on-the-go productivity with smart mobile email that gives users what they need to respond now: immediate access to related information. By employing an innovative gravitational search technology, Tipbit creates rich, instant connections between email messages and related people, meetings and data.
“Email is the first app you check in the morning and the last app you view before going to bed. It’s the lifeblood of business,” said Gordon Mangione, Tipbit founder and CEO. “Today, more email is opened on mobile devices than on desktops, yet we are still stuck in the ‘read and respond later at our desk’ paradigm. With our unique approach to context and gravitational search which lets us know and respond now, Tipbit is the email app for the next decade.”
Tipbit is more than just a new mail app; it’s a smart inbox poised to disrupt the mobile email space. Tipbit combines gravitational search and a new user experience to create contextual intelligence that automatically connects messages with related content. From within Tipbit, the user can access background info from previous emails, related documents from the user’s personal cloud, people profiles from social networks and even web search. Users simply tap or swipe for insights, decisions and action. Tipbit’s rich context gives users the power to reply quickly and efficiently to email, rather than waiting until they’re back at a desktop machine.
Tipbit is designed for busy people on the go and supports the broadest range of email services. The app includes support for ActiveSync for Exchange and IMAP services such as Gmail and Yahoo. The Tipbit app is available for free from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at http://itunes.apple.com/app/id685038041 .
Tipbit is the 2013 winner of the SxSW V2Venture competition in the mobile and table technologies category. For more information please visit https://www.tipbit.com and follow Tipbit on Facebook and Twitter.
Internships: Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they are something I consider essential in the professional development of a young college student such as myself. Spending four years in a classroom learning definitions and writing essays is helpful, and it’s a great way to be introduced to what you will allegedly be doing in the real world, but it’s internships that really throw you into that “real world.”
My summer internship for Appency was amazing. I’m not just saying that to suck up, either – it was truly one of the best and most beneficial experiences I’ve had in my life. Actually coming in at 9 in the morning, sitting down at a desk, and working until 5 in the evening showed me the world of a full-time job. I realized that student life is very different, in both good and bad ways.
Being thrown research projects (some with extremely urgent deadlines), asked questions at accounts meetings, and managing clients are all in a days work for the full-time employees at Appency. As an intern, I helped with all of those projects. Instead of reading a chapter on press releases out of a textbook, I was writing them. Instead of being lectured on theories of press relations, I was tracking down journalists to pitch.
May through the end of August: That was the length of my summer internship with Appency. In those four months, I can honestly say I learned more about my major than I did in the past four years of classes and homework. At the end of of those four months, I’m more prepared and more excited for a career in public relations than I was before.
Troy Petrunoff is graduating from CSUS and looking forward to a career in public relations after years of involvement in PRSSA, Pi Kappa Phi, and work as a campus tour guide.
Master the art of telekinesis to solve puzzles and evade fire, lasers and other thrilling deathtraps in this new puzzle game.
Dallas, Texas — Vellum Interactive today announced the release of their newest mobile game: Telekinesis Kyle. Help Kyle figure out how to use his special talents to escape a sinister mountain fortress and uncover an evil secret. Telekinesis Kyle is a story-driven puzzle game, available to download for free on Google Play and the iTunes App Store.
When Kyle’s telekinetic powers were discovered, he was sent away to a school for gifted children. The school turned out to be nothing more than a front for an evil experiment to take over the world. Help Kyle escape his captors and reach freedom by harnessing his telekinetic powers to move obstacles, solve challenging puzzles and flee the mountain fortress. Run through mysterious hallways, move boxes and evade lasers, all while exploring the rich environment in which the game is set.nbsp;
“Our goal was to make the most immersive game possible on a mobile device,” said Brian Reinhart, programmer and studio head at Vellum Interactive. “Our definition of immersion means creating a game with a strong story, natural controls and artistically engaging visuals.”
Telekinesis Kyle features 27 individual puzzles that are closely tied to Kyle’s story of discovery and survival. Follow @TelekinesisKyle on Twitter to learn more about Kyle’s experience and ask him for hints on how to solve the hardest puzzles.
- Play free before you buy. Experience the first seven levels and learn how to manipulate Kylersquo;s telekinetic powers to save the world.
- Features a visually stunning, console-quality puzzle platformer with a new type of game play mechanic.
- Hand drawn comic book sequences tell the story of Telekinesis Kyle and his amazing escape.
- Level up by completing the puzzles, but do it quickly and earn more Game Center achievements.
- 27 unique levels with in-game video and story-line throughout. Help Kyle escape a prison and maybe even save the world.
- Tweet @TelekinesisKyle for game hints.
About Vellum Interactive, Inc.:
Vellum Interactive, Inc. is a small, independently-funded game studio based out of Dallas, Texas. They create games they want to play. Their motto is simple: If we don’t like them, you won’t like them!
Help the nutty professor destroy monsters and save his laboratory!
JULY 18, 2013 (SANTA VENERA, MALTA) – Software Prodigy today announced the release of their newest mobile game: That Monsters Game. Match-and-zap monsters as fast as possible to win experience points and save Professor Marty from his own creation! That Monsters Game is now available for free, exclusively on the iTunes App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/app/id590736402
When the nutty Professor Marty’s newest experiment goes horribly wrong, monsters are created by the masses and threaten to destroy his laboratory. Demolish these monsters by matching three or more and zapping them away. Collect coins and gems throughout the game and use them to buy Labkits, tools to destroy even more monsters. Use earned XP stars to unlock game play modes and survive until the next level!
“With the bright colors, fast pace and never ending monsters filling up your screen, That Monsters Game provides a fun pastime for every type of mobile gamer,” said Neville Attard, founder of Software Prodigy.
Be prepared to swipe your way to monster-zapping victory!
• Three unique game play modes that unlock different tools and challenges.
• Beautiful graphics and gameplay features.
• If you’re fast enough, earn extra points during monster explosions!
• Play alone or invite your friends to help you take on the monsters and compete for the ultimate high score!
• Participate in weekly tournaments with your Facebook friends, earn achievements and make your way to the global leaderboards on Game Center.
• If you ever get stuck, just e-mail Professor Marty for a hint!
For more information please check http://www.softwareprodigy.com/ and follow Professor Marty on Facebook!
About Software Prodigy:
SoftwareProdigy is a Maltese independent game developer for mobile games founded back in 2002 by Neville Attard. Our mission is to create addictive, casual, mobile games while keeping the user’s feedback in the development loop.
Social Consumers and Brand Managers Can Now Get Real Time Twitter Insights on Any Topic With the vs. iPhone® App
San Francisco, California – Ever wondered which celebrity is more popular on Twitter? Which band has a more active fan base, or which team has more support going into tonight’s big game? Meet vs. — the first-ever entertainment app that uses natural language processing to analyze tweets in real time for sentiment, relevance and trends. Developed by OpenAmplify™, a technological leader in text analysis and Natural Language Processing (NLP) solutions, vs. marks the company’s first venture into the mobile app market.
To use vs., individuals simply pick any two topics that they would like to compare and hit “go.” vs. then breaks down the most recent tweets on each topic to determine which topic is being discussed more favorably on Twitter. The result is the vs. score, OpenAmplify’s™ unique numeric system for decoding natural language processing in real time.
“With our new vs. app, we’ve made social big data bite-sized, entertaining and relevant for both brand specialists and everyday consumers,” says Mike Petit, Co-Founder of OpenAmplify™ and creator of the vs. app. “When you pit two topics against one another on vs., you harness the power of natural language processing through a fun app that’s sure to be conversation starter.”
Features of vs. include:
vs. is available now in the iTunes App Store for free. Download vs. today: http://itunes.apple.com/app/id539718826
OpenAmplify™ is Making Sense of Social™. As a leader in large scale, commercial Text Analysis and Natural Language Processing (NLP) solutions, OpenAmplify™ delivers social-grade signals with its patented NLP technology that mimics the human process of language understanding to identify the significant topics, brands, people, perspectives, emotions, attributes, intentions, actions and timescales contained in online text. The OpenAmplify™ API returns the meaning in English-language content in usable and actionable data structures including XML and json, thereby enabling other solutions providers to create value, profit and grow. http://www.openamplify.com/
Smartphone software development is both an art and a science. Developers are incredibly protective of the great work that they produce, graphic designers have a passion for aesthetics and user experience designers have insights into the natural way that the product should interact with the user. The project manager binds it all together; keeping the communication open and the information flow between stakeholders just right. We could call this the dream team.
Then we come onto the customer. They are solely interested in a product that works. They have high expectations too and rightly so; mobile introduces a whole new set of user behaviour.
Of course, the customer has an interest of which tasks the development team are undertaking and an outline of the development methodology used. This however means nothing if it fails the core objective or doesn’t solve the problem.
They will be interested in the developments within the mobile industry and could be dazzled by the rumours of the new technology that will change the way we use a smartphone. They will buy into this and that’s a good thing. But the customer has one key goal – to make the product work for them and their customers. Anything else that came before it becomes pointless.
Become the guide
Between Apple and Android there are nearly 15 million smartphone apps available with a scary download and delete mentality. The need for the mobile application to truly meet the needs of the customer and their customers is as important as it ever was. You want longevity and you want engagement.
We must share the customer objective. We must guide the customer down the correct path and deliver the Minimal Viable Product (MVP). We must try not to dilute this with a list of features to make the app more appealing. That can come later down the line and a new release.
As a customer, if this isn’t happening then you need to think about if what you are doing is right.
The job of the development team is to challenge and question the customer brief. To ignite conversation, promote debate and create an even tighter brief. From this, we can then begin to produce the user stories, create tasks and plan out the development sprints. Does this sound familiar? Well, agile development is perfect for keeping communication between the development team and the customer ‘close’ and ‘regular’ but that’s for another post!
But wait…what about testing?
The dream team isn’t complete without a tester right? If you haven’t got a tester or product developer whose job it is to think beyond the screen then who is going to do it? Have this conversation early as it’s going to require careful planning around resource and project milestones.
Yes, we will test the application, Mr. Customer, that’s part of what we do.
I’ve heard this so many times. The reality of the situation is that if you haven’t created a separate line item of costs on your quote to the customer to test the application, then you are only testing against what you know. Generally, this tends to be on a simulator controlled by a mouse, not in the real world with real people doing different things in different locations with different software versions, battery levels, signal strength, mobile phone settings and differing memory levels all at the same time as using the app. Phew!
Quick tips to remember
The below graphic details six points to consider when developing a mobile application. We could have carried on well beyond twenty but we wanted to keep it short and sweet for you!
Be flexible – software development is never 100% right
I started the post by saying that software development is an art and science, which is true. It’s also bespoke and no matter if you are Apple or Google, it will never be 100% perfect. So whilst you must test, test, test you must also keep testing and you must also keep iterating your product development.
There are some things that you just can’t predict. Testing wont give you the answer to these unknown situations. Humans are unpredictable but we can set expectations, minimise risk and plan out a healthy life for the mobile application.
Scott Hague is Managing Director of Integrated Change, a leading enterprise and consumer mobile app development agency. Scott has been involved in delivering over 55 mobile applications across all major platforms. You can find Integrated Change on Facebook or Google+, and Scott Hague is on LinkedIn.