Land tricks, collect power-ups and avoid a wipe out in this addictive, turbo charged surf adventure.
Melbourne, Australia – Gamers, surfers, and retro arcade junkies alike are invited to ride the virtual waves of Surfy, an all-new endless-runner from the Australian app development studio DreamWalk Interactive. Surfy is DreamWalk Interactive’s latest independent mobile game following the very successful launch of their top-rated music app Jam for iPhone.
With simple two-finger controls Surfy is a fast paced and strongly addictive ride reminiscent of 8bit classics such as California Games. The ride begins when players are dropped into a wave by helicopter. Players must then stay ahead of the break while navigating exotic locations, performing tricks and collecting power-ups to compete for a spot on the leaderboard.
From surviving violent tropical thunderstorms to performing radical aerial stunts into outer space, surfers rack up points and coins when achievements are unlocked and tricks are landed. Coins are redeemable in the ‘Surf Shop’ for upgraded boards and power-ups for invincibility, gravity-defying jumps, power boosts and more. Click here to view the trailer for Surfy.
“We wanted to put a modern twist on a classic genre,” says Sam Russell, head of development at DreamWalk. “We hope gamers find Surfy as addictive and fun as the games that inspired us to make it.”
Features of Surfy include:
Surfy is available now on the iTunes App Store for free.
About DreamWalk Interactive:
DreamWalk is a boutique app studio based in Melbourne, Australia. It was founded by brothers, Joe and Sam Russell in 2008 with the development the world’s first commercial GPS treasure-hunting app, also called DreamWalk. DreamWalk’s most recent game, Jam for iPhone, reached #1 on the App Store music app charts in 26 countries, was featured in dozens of publications and showcased at SXSW 2013.http://www.dreamwalk.com.au/
Back in February, we blogged about how excited we were for Mobile App Europe, a new, app-exclusive weekend conference taking place in the heart of beautiful Potsdam. Now Mobile App Europe is less than one week away! The event will take place at the Dorint Hotel Sanssouci Potsdam from September 29 to October 1, 2014.
Appency is looking forward to attending and hearing what other experts in our field have to share, but we’re also proud to announce that our president, Aaron Watkins, will be speaking on the difference found marketing apps in Europe vs. the United States. With over ten years in the mobile industry and having worked with many European clients, Aaron brings his expertise to Potsdam to educate attendants about how to best take advantage of Europe’s attractive app market.
“The EU is a great place to launch an app—smaller countries mean smaller budgets are needed to achieve app rank, and they provide a good testing ground for apps before they attempt global reach,” Aaron says. His talk will cover some of these testing methods.
Beyond Aaron’s talk, some of Mobile App Europe’s keynote speakers include people from Google, AQuA, and Amazon Apps and Games. The conference offers six additional keynotes, 30 talks, and eight workshops. With conversations for app developers, managers, designers, and marketers, and testers, here are topics for discussion attendees can expect:
The final day of Mobile App Europe will be an all-day, hands-on tutorial session with Jonathan Kohl of Kohl Concepts, Inc. Jonathan will teach attendees how to create an overall great user experience, and vigorous discussion is more than welcome. This seasoned expert will show teams how to thoroughly integrate a mobile experience to replace the once-dominant web and PC user experience.
We hope you are as excited as we are. If you’d like to meet up during the conference, get in touch by leaving a comment, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’ve already started looking at registration, we’ve got you covered! Use the code “MobileApp” during registration for a discount rate.
Auf Wiedersehen! Wir sehen uns bei Mobile-App Europa!
(Goodbye! See you at Mobile App Europe!)
Get more apptastic details at the conference website, http://mobileappeurope.com/
We all know that Apple has its favorite phrases and uses them pretty heavily during its presentations. In anticipation of the special announcement coming up tomorrow, we came up with some bingo cards and shared them with our friends at the venerable news site Cult of Mac, who published them so they’re shareable with anyone.
Let us know in the comments what you’re most excited about from this announcement.
Los Angeles, Calif., August 28, 2014 – WeezLabs, a development agency, has announced the launch of their new Android mobile security application, Guest Locker Smart Security.
Perfect for any parent who has lent their child their phone, or a co-worker who has asked to borrow a phone for a quick call, Guest Locker enables owners to set up a discreet guest user account on their mobile device. With completely customizable settings, the owner can restrict access to photos and files, text messages, contacts, apps, and more to ensure their information stays secure no matter whose hands their device is in.
Unlike other security apps, there is no rooting required to use Guest Locker, and guest users will not know they have limited access. Owners simply create two login passwords – one for themselves and one for a guest. The admin password maintains normal profile settings, while the guest password provides access to only approved infomation. With Guest Locker’s beautifully designed and easy-to-use interface, guests won’t even realize their access is restricted.
“The Guest Locker team set out to create an app that made it easy to keep your personal content private while going above and beyond a standard OEM child lock or security mask,” states Samuel Strasser, director of business development at WeezLabs. “Anyone who values their privacy will love Guest Locker and all that it has to offer.”
Features of Guest Locker include:
Guest Locker is available now for $1.99 in the Google Play Store.
WeezLabas, Inc. is a Los Angeles, CA based company that provides solutions for companies with ongoing development needs. Founded in 2012, WeezLabs specializes in the custom development of mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, websites, and databases for businesses of all sizes. With a commitment to client satisfaction, the WeezLabs team develops customized results to furnish clients with the highest quality products by providing the latest technological trends and the best innovative business solutions. For additional information about WeezLabs, please visit the company website.
New York, NY, August 14, 2014 — PromptSmart, the new teleprompter app available for iPad and iPhone, launches today as the first voice-guided public speaking aid with VoiceTrackTM proprietary voice recognition technology.
VoiceTrackTM is a breakthrough in mobile voice recognition technology. It seamlessly follows spoken words and pauses during a speech, adjusting the speed of scrolling text in real time based on the speaker’s actual words and pace. Because the speaker is in total control over the scrolling, PromptSmart delivers a more intuitive experience than even traditional teleprompters and needs no speed calibration. Additionally, the voice recognition processing is completed on the device itself, eliminating the need for an internet data connection.
PromptSmart also recognizes that many speakers prefer to use notes to guide their talks rather than full texts. For this style, PromptSmart includes a digital notecard feature which enables users to stay on-point with functionality to create, rearrange, and set optimum viewing parameters for notecards.
Whatever the style of the speaker, PromptSmart delivers professional tools with cutting-edge technology and an easy-to-use interface. PromptSmart is the ultimate presentation companion to de-stress any public speaking occasion in business, at school, on the campaign trail, or anywhere else.
Founder and CEO Eric Sadkin on PromptSmart: “From my time coaching MBA students in public speaking, I saw an opportunity to significantly improve the speaking experience using today’s mobile technology. PromptSmart aims to be the most advanced, accessible speech aid for any speaker.”
Select features of PromptSmart include:
VoiceTrackTM proprietary voice recognition: PromptSmart follows vocal cues, adjusting scroll speed according to the user’s pace and position in the text (no data/internet connection required).
PromptSmart is available now for a special launch price of $9.99 on the iTunes App Store. For additional information on PromptSmart, visit http://PromptSmart.com, like PromptSmart on Facebook, and follow @PromptSmart on Twitter.
PromptSmart was born out of a passion for public speaking. As a Communications Fellow at Wharton Business School, PromptSmart CEO and Founder Eric Sadkin coached and mentored students in the art of public speaking. Realizing that many orators would be better supported by an intuitive, speaker-controlled teleprompter and a way to digitally create and display notes, Sadkin also recognized that today’s mobile devices could address these needs. With these in mind, PromptSmart was created. For more information, visit PromptSmart.com.
August 12, 2014, Sacramento, CA – Today, music fans everywhere can step into the shoes of their favorite artist and get an inside look at what it really takes to make it as a professional performer. TourStar, conceptualized by entertainment executive Brandon Pankey of Music Players Group and brought to life with the help of Eddie Meehan of GroundCtrl, is the first iOS sim game of its kind to bring tour life and the perks and challenges that come with it to the mobile screen.
Like any new artist just starting out, first-time players of TourStar are faced with a number of decisions like; What should their look be? Should they sign with a label or stay independent? Should they go on tour right away or record an album? Who should they trust for advice?; and much more.
As the game progresses players learn that just like in real life, every decision they make has an impact on their career in some way.
As players make their way through levels of the game, touring the country, recording albums and building their in-game fame, they become eligible to win real world prize packages including concert tickets and VIP meet-and-greets with their favorite artists!
“TourStar is life in the music industry,” states Brandon Pankey. “The game is a fun way to peek into the life of a performer as they try to make it to superstardom. And the fact that gamers get to actually win real prizes like tickets and passes to their favorite artists’ shows is pretty cool too.”
Additional Features of TourStar include:
- Design a personalized 3D avatar to match players’ music style and fashion preferences.
- Virtually tour the country, gaining experience and building a fanbase.
- Record albums and release them to boost fame.
- Improve musicianship with mini-games that keep players’ instruments in tune and shows in high-gear.
- Build a virtual band, and get advice from managers, agents and record labels.
Conceptualized by entertainment executive Brandon Pankey of Music Players Group and brought to life with the help of Eddie Meehan of GroundCtrl, a Sacramento, California-based artist engagement company and AtomicChimp, a leading mobile development shop in Redmond, Wash. Additional music for the game was produced by Roc Nation producer Jahlil Beats and Dilemma. For more information, visit www.tourstarapp.com.
Last week, Amazon announced brand new additions to its popular cloud computing and storage branch, Amazon Web Services, expanding Amazon into mobile analytics, app data synchronization, and user security. Their existing services are used by thousands of developers to store information or perform calculations to help make their apps run faster. Amazon’s global infrastructure and pay-as-you-go pricing have made them a popular choice, though Google has been trying to give them a run for their money.
These new services will be accessible through a SDK that will work across iOS and Android OS, so developers don’t have to reinvent solutions every time they move to a new platform. The services will also be pay-as-you-go, with no up-front investment, and the pricing is fairly cheap, consistent with their existing price structure. In a preview webinar before the launch, Amazon was happy to point out that they had frequently lowered their prices, though some analysts say this was in response to pressure from the wider market.
Amazon Cognito is a completely new service that helps developers cope with user identity and data synchronization in a variety of ways. First, it allows app users to securely sign into existing Facebook, Google+, and Amazon accounts as a way to establish an app account, potentially cutting out some uses of the Facebook SDK. Furthermore, these sign-ins are encrypted by Amazon and provide an extra layer of security for users. Second, it gives each user a unique ID, so their account syncs across devices and operating systems. This could potentially save developers a lot of time; with Amazon Cognito, they don’t have to write their own structure for cross-platform synchronization.
Finally, each user is assigned a unique and random ID. For most, this will correspond to their Facebook, Google+, or Amazon account, but for those users that prefer not to link their app account to a social media account; this unique ID will serve as an account, meaning they can use the app as normal and set their own preferences. If at a later point that user wants to set up an account, the user will experience no hiccups, but a smooth transition, with their preferences intact. This is an excellent, pre-built solution for the large number of users who do not want to share social information with apps – or who do not have a social media profile.
Amazon Mobile Analytics will provide many of the same analytics that other existing SDKs do. Amazon Web Services also emphasized the ease of use of the SDK; they claim that with one line of code, the developer can track active users, sticky factor, daily sessions, and various revenue tracking. With a few more lines, developers can track custom events personalized to the app. Amazon Web Services say their analytics can scale to billions of events per day from millions of users, without any back-end work for the developer.
However, with heavyweights like Flurry and Google Mobile Analytics leading the slew of analytics available to developers, the jury is still out on whether the benefits of Amazon Mobile Analytics outweigh the (admittedly small) costs. It is interesting to see Amazon premier this service around the same time as Apple rolls out new, more in-depth mobile analytics in iTunes Connect 3. One important differentiator may be that the data gathered by Amazon Mobile Analytics belongs to the developer who uses it, not to Amazon, meaning it will never be shared, aggregated, or reused.
Amazon SNS Mobile Push is an existing service that has will be getting new features. Developers will be able to send push notifications to their users in a timely manner, with expiry dates if desired, and the whole service will run much faster and will be easier to use. Amazon’s service specifically works with a wide number of push notification systems (Apple APNS, Google GCM, Baidu CP, and Amazon ADM), and the messages will be sent across the world with no problems because of Amazon’s global storage. Amazon did premier support for Baidu Cloud Push, Microsoft Push Notification Service, and Windows Push Notification Service in June, but it’s still noteworthy today, especially in tangent with the new user identity software from Amazon Cognito. There are a wide number of SDKs already available to developers to help segment users and manage contacts accordingly, including Appboy, which sees 30 percent click- through in their app’s newsfeed.
More information about the release is available from Amazon here.
Sara Kewin is an account manager at Appency who is waiting for the day when Amazon’s web services have server centers on the moon and Mars.
There’s no denying how much we love apps, but we especially love apps for kids that are not only fun, but also educational. Apps claim to make learning fun, develop important skills, and give kids a head start on learning, but are they actually helpful to your child’s learning? In short — yes! A recent study commissioned by developer Motion Math suggests that significant learning can occur with the right apps. They can improve test scores as well as change a child’s attitude toward a subject. According to researcher Dr. Kate Highfield, quality apps can enhance learning incredibly, specifically when dealing with practicing specific skills or encouraging the child to create their own ideas and communicate in new ways. Quality apps can be like digital blank piece of paper, leaving room for the child to make or do anything with them. When used correctly and in combination with traditional mediums like books, apps do have a place in your little ones growth and development and are much more than a simple distraction device. Check out a few quality apps we love listed below.
1. Fun with Colors
Recommended for kids 2 to 5
$2.99, no in-app purchases
We love the adorable animations and interactions this app offers to its young users. It’s refreshing to see a new approach to experiencing the world of colors. What truly makes this app special is it’s teaching through storytelling that’s easy to follow. This app encourages creativity by allowing the user to create their own images, and this is what makes it such a quality app. Rather than limiting what a child can do on the app, it gives them the freedom to create their very own masterpieces. Download the app for iPhone and iPad here, or for Android here.
2. Freefall Spelling
Recommended for kids 4 and up
$1.99, no in-app purchases
We enjoy the many different options the user can choose from when practicing their spelling, and it’s definitely encouraging to see that Freefall Spelling won a Parents’ Choice Award. What makes this app amazing is the option to enter your child’s own spelling list from school. We love when our little ones stay motivated, so what better way than by the apps use of the reward system. For spelling a correct word, a fish is rewarded for their virtual tank. Download the app for iPhone and iPad here.
3. Marble Math Junior
Recommended for kids 6 to 8
$2.99, no in-app purchases
We applaud this app for challenging its little users to solve math problems and recognize numbers in a fun way! Their little hands will be able to guide their marble through fun mazes that will make learning enjoyable. Being based on the Common Core Curriculum makes this app worth checking out. Marble Math Junior has been widely recognized, winning the 2013 Parents’ Choice Award and Common Sense Media 2013 ON for Learning Award. Download the app for iPhone and iPad here.
4. BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week
Recommended for kids 6 to 8
Free, no in-app purchases
We love that this great app gives kids lots to think about —some of its video content may be challenging, but it’s definitely interesting and explained in a manner your youngsters will understand. They’ll learn something new each week with a different animated video. You can even test what they’ve seen though related quizzes and educational activities. The gentle, humorous, and relatable characters serve as guides through each topic, empowering your child to form their own ideas. Plus, the app has no in-app purchases, which protects your own wallet while your kids use the app. Download the app for iPhone and iPad here, or for Android here.
5. Britannica Kids: U.S. Presidents
Recommended for kids 6 and up
$1.99, no in-app purchases
We appreciate how this app makes it easy for kids to learn about America’s history, with concise information and fun facts provided for each president. It makes learning about each president much more interesting and entertaining. It truly brings the Oval Office into your living room and makes it enjoyable for not just your child, but also the whole family to learn something new about their favorite president, or quiz each other. Download the app for iPhone and iPad here.
Jessica Egan is a music, social media, and Disneyland enthusiast who currently attends UC Davis and looks forward to a career in either public relations and marketing.
Apple has been boasting of its app-friendly ecosystem for years, starting with its tagline, “There’s an app for that.” Apple users are offered a wide variety of high-quality apps from a single store. But the process for developers has always been rocky in one way or another, and recently a large, ugly rock has reared its head.
TechCrunch wrote a very in-depth article at the beginning of June detailing who has been rejected from the App Store and why. Some of the problems seem to have first been reported in the iPhone Dev SDK forums, but of course the problem is that some of Apple’s app reviewers are human – some are strict and adhere to the rules, while others are more lax. The system is often easy to criticize for its appearance of favoritism: While one indie developer on the iPhone Dev SDK forum said their app was rejected for having rewards for sharing on social networks, they rightly pointed out that King.com’s Candy Crush Saga gets away with the same thing.
There are two inherent problems at the center of this controversy: incentivized social sharing and incentivized video advertisements.
Incentivized social sharing
The problem:Apple claims that per section 3.10 of the App Store Review Guidelines, apps may not require their users to share content on social networks, though that’s a very specific application of a very non-specific rule. The problem Apple sees is that consumers are being annoyed by bad social media messages pestering them to download or use an app on an Apple product, and that reflects poorly on Apple, even though they did not develop the app.
The solution: Instead of outright banning incentivized social sharing, one of the oldest tricks in the book for engagement and word-of-mouth marketing, Apple should instead institute quality standards and write them out in their Review Guidelines for everyone to see. Developers will be able to see what is expected of them, and consumers will have a benchmark and a place to file complaints against offending apps. In the meantime, developers need to tighten their social media practices. Crying that “Candy Crush does it” will only land on deaf ears; be better than Candy Crush.
Incentivized video advertisements
The problem: Apps are monetizing by offering their users a video to watch in exchange for some in-app incentive. The developer is then paid by whoever wanted the video to be seen – usually, another app. This is a problem for Apple in multiple ways. First, and most obviously, they are cutting in to Apple’s profits; Apple has its own ad network (iAd), and while they tolerate other ad networks, it’s no secret that they would like to keep all that profit in house. Second, video ads face the same problem that incentivized social sharing faces: They irritate the customer. They are loud, startling, and often bog down an internet connection.
The solution: If Apple wants to do something about this, then they needs to put specific language in the Review Guidelines stating explicitly what they want. If they don’t want video ads, they need to say so. If they don’t mind video ads but rather have issues with how the ads are incentivized in the app, they need to write that out. More realistically, if Apple doesn’t do anything, developers will have to figure out new, creative solutions to either skirt the issue of video ads, or come up with a better form of advertising altogether.
The bigger picture
Apple benefits from having some amazing apps in its ecosystem, built by great developers and organized by intelligent, caring community managers. They have every right to control their ecosystem as they like, since it is their company and their creation. But that doesn’t make every decision right.
In an “Mobile Mavens” response article on Pocket Gamer, Charles Chapman, the director and owner of First Touch Games wrote that it’s reasonable for Apple to change its regulations: “[Apple] creates a very nice (walled) garden for us all to plan in, and if it wants to change rules of entry then it is entitled to do so. There are plenty of other gardens for us to play in if we don’t like it.” But are there other gardens?
Sure, Apple’s hardware is (arguably) rivaled by other companies’ products, but it is unfair to compare the app ecosystem to any other. Since they control the hardware, there are standardized screen sizes and device responses. Consumers spend more on iOS apps than they do on Google Play, both on initial app prices and on in-app purchases (see Distimo’s report from May 2013). Sure there are more consumers with Android devices, and even more apps being downloaded from Google Play than the iTunes App Store, but the iTunes App Store still generates vastly more revenue than Google Play. To compare the two stores isn’t just to compare apples and oranges (pun intended), but to compare Hot Dog on a Stick to a lemonade stand.
Since so much of Apple’s user experience is in the hands of apps developed by third parties, the company has a right to be skittish. But instead of lashing out at random and expecting the industry to jump at shadows, Apple needs to put actual rules in place, make them public, and allow for debate. Otherwise developers might one day decide that other platforms are more attractive – and Apple will be the only ones who lose.
This post was originally published on TUAW as a guest blog post on June 4, 2014.
The WWDC keynote can be a stressful time for app developers. You never know quite what is going to be presented when that famous “one more thing” is revealed. Whether it’s a whole new programming language to learn, or Apple suddenly takes the key selling feature of your number one app and makes those features part of the native operating system, the surprises aren’t always welcome for developers. While consumers were dazzled by some of the fun new features their Apple products would be giving them this fall, app developers listened anxiously yesterday to learn what features of the new iOS 8 might help or hinder their product marketing efforts.
1. Videos in the app store
They say a picture is worth a thousand words… which makes a video worth a thousand pictures. App developers will now be allowed a short video to be added in the first position of your app store screenshots, which will take up the full screen when played. Android has had this feature for a while, and Google has claimed that it is one of the most important aspects of getting your app downloaded once a user is on your app store page. It is unclear yet what restrictions are being put on the videos – Apple has a long history of regulating what can and cannot be in the app screenshots, though the enforcement of those rules is sometimes spotty. For example, we do not know if the video must only be screen capture of the app in use, or if developers will be allowed to make more trailer-like videos. It is important to note that the ideal orientation of these videos is portrait to fit an upright iPhone screen, not landscape like most videos for YouTube and other channels.
2. App Bundles
For developers that have an extensive portfolio of apps, the ability to sell multiple apps together at one (presumably discounted) price is a huge advantage when trying to grab valuable screen real estate on a user’s iOS device. Travel app companies could sell sets of guides for multiple cities in the same area, while gaming companies could easily bundle in sequels with their original counterparts. It will be interesting to see how free apps play into the bundle scheme – a developer could make it so that if you wanted to get their two premium apps at a bundle price, you had to also download one of their free apps as well.
Widgets are micro features of an app that can be integrated into the notification center of your iOS device. The example given on stage was eBay, showing off a widget that would allow the user to change their bid on an auction without ever having to open the actual eBay app. It will be interesting to see what other micro-features can be added into this notification section, and app marketers should seriously consider how widgets can help provide solutions to the problem of user engagement. With one more way to talk to your user, your app is more likely to have engaged users, which is more important than ever with the ever growing options available in the app store.
Extensibility is the ability for apps to more fully integrate with the deeper iOS operating system, allowing app functions to be made available while in other applications. Through this, photo apps like Instagram could provide their filters in the native photo app, or a translation app could show you a German language web page in English on Safari. While not obviously a marketing tool – the savvy app marketer knows that expanding your apps features into more areas in the phone will create more reliance on your app by the user. More reliance generally means more usage, which can lead to additional ad revenue, social sharing, in app purchases for additional features, or simply consumer goodwill which can translate into that hard to control “word of mouth” that we all desire for our apps.
Aaron Watkins is the President and Founder of Appency, the world leading app marketing agency dedicated to helping app developers and brands succeed in the mobile app economy. Appency, which launched in 2009, has helped hundreds of app developers achieve success in the app store and have had clients in the top 10 of nearly every app store category.