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Posts tagged ‘Mobile’

Silk: Surreal Abstraction in a Browser


New web technologies give us the ability to create outstanding, beautiful artwork in our browser window without Flash. Silk is an app unlike anything we’ve seen before. We had trouble nailing down how to describe it since we couldn’t compare it. It’s not a tool or a game.

Visit Silk, and click-and-drag a line across your browser. Once you let go, an organic shape will begin to form and glide across your screen. The design looks like waving fabric, or arcs of lightning, or smoke from a cigarette, all depending on what your draw. The shape cycles through colors as it grows, giving you a piece that you’ll want to save and share with friends. Hold down your Shift-key and move your mouse to control the wind.

What surprised us about Silk is that there is a business model behind the tool. The website previews upcoming iPhone and iPad apps. After all, with an app like this one, why would you want to be limited to your browser? We don’t have any other details at this point. But, once they are released in the App Store, we’re willing to bet they will become instant classics.

Mini App Round-Up: Jan 27, 2011

Our Mini App Round-Ups cover smaller apps that rock. If you have a suggestion for an app, send it our way.

ma.rs

noresizeMa.rs gives anyone the ability to launch a sophisticated mobile web app in a matter of minutes. Instead of writing code, users drag-and-drop elements into place. Its simple interface allows anyone to get started. Ma.rs provides the hosting, which means more time building your web app and less time setting up. Basic web tracking analytics are also included. Plans start at $30 per month.

The Daily Startup

noresizeFor our entrepreneurial readers, The Daily Startup pulls in quotes and case studies from business and startup books. Each day, the website posts a new concept from a book. They take a no-frills approach to each article, as in, “Skip the details, and just tell me why this matters.” Their writeups are concise but still provide enough value with actionable advice for your business. The Daily Startup launched this month.

Ledgerble

noresizeLedgerble is a full-featured accounting web app. It breaks away from desktop software by providing your books in the cloud. Ledgerble can handles banking and bookkeeping, and it even has the ability to import your banking data from your account. The service just launched, and pricing currently stands at $14 per month for all features.

Seeking Funding: MixAR, Tagli.us

Mini Sprout focuses on helping young websites grow. Seeking Funding is a category dedicated to promoting new business concepts. Websites featured in this section are in the process of seeking seed funding and backers.

MixAR: Seeking $5,000 before January 28, 2011
noresizeMixAR looks to be the world’s first augmented reality editor on the iPhone. At the moment, some apps allow you to view AR content, but MixAR will allow you to make and capture your own. The app comes from Halolabs, which has already launched an AR app on the iPhone for a music group. MixAR builds on their existing code library and opens the technology up for anyone.

Tagli.us: Seeking $5,820 before February 1, 2011
noresizeDelicious may be the social bookmarking heavyweight, but its future is uncertain, and its feature set is growing dated. Tagli.us seeks to become a modern social bookmarking site. While it will offer all of the features of Delicious, there’s more emphasis on the people behind each profile and their friends. Tagli.us also pulls in any URLs you may Tweet or post across your profiles, making it a true bookmarking service for social media.

Springpad: Fun & Intelligent Notes


Springpad is a free web and mobile app that serves as a destination for all thoughts, tasks and things. It’s available anywhere through the web and is as refined as a Mac desktop app. Add notes, tasks or items, such as products, places, movies, restaurants, recipes and wines. Springpad supports plenty of different items, giving depth to their service.

Type in tasks to have them appear, or look up items across external services like Amazon and IMDB. You’re not limited to a text field either; if you want to save a book while browsing in a bookstore, just snap the ISBN barcode using your phone’s camera. You can also attach notes and files to anything you save.

Items that you save are already grouped by type, so things like recipes, movies and events stay separate. But if you tag your posts, Springpad will group items into specific projects. This way, you can group albums, recipes and gifts together when planning a holiday party, or wines, locations and to-dos when planning a trip. Each notebook includes a board, which works like a light board or scrapbook and lets you arrange items on your screen.

Springpad works in web browsers, and they built sophisticated iPhone, iPad and Android apps to complement. A web browser extension drops Springpad into your toolbar, allowing you to save items on your current webpage without interrupting your browsing session.

Alerts show your tasks and also recommend deals based on your saved items. Springpad likely earns a commission off these sales, but they appear unobtrusive and targeted, so we have no concerns.

Viber: Free Calls Via Your Data Network

Forget about cellular minutes. Viber replaces your mobile’s phone app by providing free calling between other Viber users. International calls come across just as well as local calls, and there’s no charge for crossing continents. Viber pulls in all of your contacts from your address book. Friends who also use the app see the Viber badge adjacent to their name. Tap their name to connect.

What helps distinguish Viber from other services is how it transmits calls. The app runs off your data network, so users can place calls using 3G or wifi. Comparable services, like Google Voice, rely on your phone’s cellular network, which means using minutes and paying for long distance calls. If a friend does not use Viber yet, you can still call using your cellular network or send an invitation to join.

The service supports features you’d expect from a phone app, like recent and missed calls. You can also view missed calls from people who tried reaching you while your phone was off or out of signal range. Push notifications are supported too, so you don’t need to keep the app open to receive calls. SMS is coming soon.

The only thing we see missing from Viber is the ability to leave voice mails. It seems like a highly demanded feature we hope will be added as the service expands.

At the moment, Viber is available as a free download on the iPhone App Store. Android and Blackberry versions are on their way.

We scrubbed their website and privacy policy, and we cannot find any indication of how the service plans to generate revenue. Google Voice and Skype sell credits to connect over a cellular network. Viber may also follow this plan in the future, especially since it wouldn’t diminish any of their current offerings. It’s just that we don’t have any reason to believe so. Until then, enjoy the free calls.

MOUGG: Your Music, Anywhere

There was a time when we didn’t consider a 150MB MP3 player the norm (we’re looking at you, iTunes). It’s become the cornerstone of our media, but it’s bulky. Sometimes we just want to listen to our music, anywhere.

MOUGG lifts your music off your desktop and drops it in the cloud. From there, use your web browser to play your music. The interface is dead simple, like a brighter iTunes. Build a few playlists and you’ll find yourself right where you left off. Your music, playlists, even album art, are included.

The service gives 1GB of free storage, which is enough to try MOUGG and more than enough to get you through a work day.

It’s clear where MOUGG is headed. All music in the cloud, an HTML web app, lack of Flash, mobile compatible; MOUGG is a free music service designed for the iPhone. And it works on the iPhone. Well, not without quirks. After all, it’s not optimized for the device, as you still use the web interface, and your MP3 files awkwardly play in a QuickTime player. But it demonstrates a proof of concept, so let’s not lose sight of that. There’s an Android app, too.

MOUGG is instantly addictive. After a just a few minutes of use, you’ll forget about Pandora and Slacker Radio and go back to listening to your own music. Once they give the ability to add more storage, MOUGG is sure to be a killer.

DailyLit: Books By Email and RSS

Who needs an e-book reader? Your smart phone is capable of viewing text, especially if font size isn’t a concern. DailyLit gives us the option to read books either by email or RSS feed. We may start our mornings sorting through inbox emails and e-newsletters, but now we can read the book of our choice.

When you select a title, instead of DailyLit sending you the entire book as one email message, they break it up into bite-sized installments. That way, your inbox isn’t hit with a multi-megabyte attachment when you decide to tackle War and Peace. Installments are around 750 words, or about three pages. A 500+ page novel like Dracula may be divided into 176 installments, but it’s up to you how often to receive each installment. You can also specify a relative length for the installments, like “Normal”, “Longer” or “Longest”, which dictates how many installments you receive at a time.

Every listing is available for free. Their library boasts quite the selection, from about 600 classics to dramas, business related, banned books, self-help and even tours from Wikipedia’s collection. Browse by title, category or author among more than 900 listings. The layout is slick, and it’s easy to spend a few minutes bouncing around different categories.

They launched with public domain and Creative Commons titles, which allowed them to avoid royalty fees. They also work with publishers to release books for free.

The service is compatible anywhere you check email, which means we’re able to carry our novels on our phones. With DailyLit, we can stop making excuses for not having time to read. Imagine that.

Miso: Check In To Your Favorite Shows

It’s fall, which means networks are airing new episodes each week. It’s also sweeps, which means primetime TV actually means something.

Miso is a community created for the love for television. Create an account (in less than five seconds), and begin checking in to your favorite shows. The site is set up so each show has its own fan page. When you come across a show you like, check in, leave a comment, or share a link to join the conversation with other fans. Miso extends beyond shows, too. After a quick search, we came across movies and sports teams and leagues.

The service has recruited a dedicated community. Shows like Conan and Glee have more than three thousand members, and you see a new person check in to these pages every few minutes.

Different actions on the site are rewarded with badges. They don’t keep a list of what’s required to earn each badge, just to keep things interesting. And badges are unique to what’s popular now, like the Vampire badge or the Sci-Fi badge that reads, “You secretly wished you lived in an alternate universe – a universe in which Firefly had never been canceled.” These people love TV, and they’ve been paying attention.

If you don’t feel like checking in on your computer, Miso offers iPhone, iPad and Android apps. The apps look good.

Miso grasps a really important concept on why we watch TV. Even with DVRs and Tivos making their way into our living rooms, we still watch shows that same night. After all, we want to be part of the conversation the next morning when our friends and coworkers talk about what happened. Miso tells us we don’t have to wait until the next day.

appbackr: Funding iPhone App Developers

Let’s be realistic. An awful lot of people can pick-up a book on iPhone app development and throw together an app. They may even go for gold and submit it to the App Store. Like all marketplaces, however, listing a product does not guarantee it will sell any copies. Not even one.

appbackr lets developers gather funding from supporters before investing the effort into creating and listing an app. Once the app is listed, all investors share in the profits.

Appbackr helps eliminate much of the risk developers face. First, for some, it helps alleviate the process of finding funding. The service gathers an audience of people who understand the iPhone app industry and can spot great ideas easier than those who may not have the background. Additionally, backers have an incentive to drive promotions for the app. The better the app performs in the store, the more money they can potentially earn. Suddenly, promotional tactics are not just limited to the developer’s efforts. Investors have the motivation to launch a word-of-mouth campaign.

Just like any modern fundraising website, developers have to submit an application prior to listing their app on the site. Visit appbackr if searching for a way to build an iPhone app while mitigating risks.

CheckPoints: Earn Points While Shopping

Reward points are no longer limited to flights and credit cards. The new service and mobile app CheckPoints looks to introduce incentivized points to shopping, and no purchase is required.

After signing up and downloading the iPhone app, users can receive points just for entering stores. Visit a store listed in the app, and you receive points towards gift cards, gadgets and flights. Once inside a participating store, users can see if they can earn additional points by checking out products. The app may list a product, and users find it in the store and scan the barcode using their phone’s camera. That’s it; CheckPoints credits the user’s account, and they can continue shopping or earn even more points.

Once you begin to accumulate points, you’re able to cash them in for prizes. Checking in to a store or scanning a product may earn you 20 points, and Amazon gift cards are available beginning for 1,500 points.

It doesn’t cost anything to become involved. From what we can tell, marketers are paying CheckPoint to list their products. After all, if you place a new product in front of consumers, they may just be interested enough to purchase it on their own.