Badland, a premium mobile game title from Finnish developer Frogmind, was first launched onto the App Store back in April. Now as the year draws to a close the game has been released for Android and Blackberry and we've spotted an interesting new development in its monetization strategy.
The first 450 among the tens of thousands pre-ordered Jolla-phones will be sold for eager early bird customers on the 27th of November from a DNA stand at Helsinki’s busiest central mall. The product launch was announced yesterday at the startup event Slush, after an emotional speech by Jolla’s founder Marc Dillon.
Helsinki-based Moves, the activity tracking app that works like a modern interpretation of a pedometer, has now launched on Android. For those of you who haven't checked it out, it works sort of like RunKeeper, or other run tracking apps, but works quietly in the background, following you to work, lunch, and on trips. The app is smart enough to pick up walking, running, cycling, public transportation, and so on, giving you a breakdown of how much you moved each day. If you grab lunch somewhere, it recognizes you're at a location, and lets you tag the place using Foursquare's API.
As they launch their Android app, they count 2.5 million downloads.
Repix, the photo app with a heavy focus on filters, effects, brushes, and frames has now launched on Android. Even if you're not into insane filters and effects, the app is fun to play around with, and their users have really harnessed the app to create images that almost look like paintings or professional graphic design. The app seems to have hit its target market - Repix has received over 4 million downloads on iOS in five months. The app comes from the Helsinki-based guys behind Sumopaint, the browser graphics editor and community.
Repix is free to download, but employs the fremium model, which allows users to purchase additional brushes or filters.
Got a skin problem? iDoc24 is a teledermatology startup from Sweden with a few apps that allow users to send anonymously pictures of worrying skin conditions to a team of licensed dermatologists and get a response within a day. After several years of being available on the web and the App store, today iDoc24 launched their latest app STD Triage on Android. The name of the app speaks for itself - it helps anxious users get the dermatologist's advice on their possible STD symptoms by sending completely anonymous pictures of their private parts.
Since 2008, the startup has grown from the Sweden-based service into a global healthcare platform available in five languages. After STD Triage US launch on iOS in March 2013 the company now offers three different services and thus approaches global healthcare market on multiple fronts.Their first service iDoc24 allows anyone to consult dermatologists about various skin problems like rash or moles.
Today online publishers have to earn their audience through catchy headlines in social media, but it's rough to gauge your Twitter engagement, aside from retweets and favorites. Twitter's new analytics page gives you some idea of the metrics you can easily derive, but twheel, a Finnish mobile Twitter client, can provide more information to publishers and brands about the actual attention each one of their tweets receives.
"Media doesn't own the reader anymore," says CEO Kalle Määttä, referring to how back in the day media consumers were locked into a newspaper subscription or three TV channels, but today online media consumers pick and choose the headlines that are interesting.
WeVideo is an ambitious startup with Norwegian heritage. The cloud-based video editor is built on educational software technology from Oslo's Creaza. Within a year of spinning out a new company and moving to Silicon Valley, WeVideo struck deals with Google and Disney, the latter allowing fans of The Avengers to remix their own movie trailers. They've now taken their product mobile, with the launch of what their PR calls an "iMovie competitor for Android".
The new app syncs with an "online video creation environment", enabling customers to capture video on a video camera or smartphone, edit their footage on any online computer, and collaborate with anyone, anywhere in the world. Videos created with the WeVideo Android app can be edited, trimmed, stylised and published from the phone, or saved to be edited at a later time.
With today's consumer expecting free-to-play games, developers are looking for more models than just in-app purchases and advertising to monetize their apps. One model that can potentially develop a big hook to your game is real money tournaments. AppBattler, a Swedish startup, has just launched a platform on Google Play that allows game developers and their users to set up tournaments, letting their users win real money on their skills while giving game developers a cut of the pool.
The AppBattler platform can be accessed like a new app marketplace, and also within each app in their network. Users can participate in developer-created real-money public tournaments, "Freeroll" public tournaments with no buy-in but real money prizes, or private tournaments set up by users. AppBattler also gives developers the option of creating play-money tournaments, just to drive engagement and social features within the app. Users can be notified of the tournaments through in-app popups.
Vamos has released a new Android app to complement their iOS event discovery app. Vamos CEO Luis-Daniel Alegria tells us that one reason they built the Android app was to target the growing Android userbase, but another reason was to follow the needs of their users.
"We're starting to see extreme growth from South America. In Chile [on Monday] we had a big boom and saw 750 downloads in one day, and that put us in the top 3 in social networks, and 11th overall. Now we're targeting the majority that are Android users, as well as the high end users that have an iPhone."
Vamos, the event app, has secured an "undisclosed €6-digit friends and family round" to hire more freelance developers and continue their expansion. We covered the Berlin-based startup created by a team of Swedes last August, when they announced their public launch. But if you missed that coverage, the concept is pretty simple and handy.
Vamos aggregates public Facebook events through an iPhone app - meaning when you connect your Facebook account to Vamos it shares your public events in a list or map view. As a result, on a given night you can see gallery openings, music at restaurants, and other events that might interest you, even though you aren't connected to the event on Facebook. The app also offers a few other features, like directions to the events and pictures of the people who have publicly said they are attending, giving you a better impression of the vibe at the event.
At the Arctic15 I caught up with Lars Hellström, the founder of Helsinki-based LivLiv Solutions, who showed me their new Android solution for the 55-75 demographic. He pointed out that old folks are a rapidly growing and technologically underserved demographic. And it makes sense- we're at an interesting period of time. Smartphones have become ubiquitous in younger generation's life, but there's still a learning curve and layers of complexity to smartphones, which may be difficult for older generations to grasp.
There are a few handset manufacturers out there, like Sweden's Doro, that provide phones with easy-to-use interfaces and big buttons, but essentially you're just getting a mobile phone. But this is the generation that invented the wheel. They may be suspicious of their phone's power, but they're adaptable enough to changes in technology that a dumbed down or completely locked down phone would be patronizing.
Editor's note: Please see correction at the end of the article for an update.
We covered Jolla in July as they set about an ambitious task to build a MeeGo phone. Nokia built N9, which was their first MeeGo phone and discontinued the line later on. This meant that N9 was their only MeeGo enabled phone. Many thought that this was a crucial mistake for Nokia as the phone immediately received fans around the world for its UI and usability. One thing that was missing though, at least to the comparison of iOS and Android, was the app ecosystem. Jolla, a new Finnish based venture has picked up the pieces and is planning to release a MeeGo enabled phone later this year.
One of the questions, and perhaps the most important one, that has been asked from Jussi Hurmola, the CEO of Jolla, is that of: "How do you plan to solve the problem with building an app ecosystem for the phone?". Tero Lehto from Finnish 3T publication interviewed Jussi Hurmola and learned that the company will be enabling Android (although he does not want to officially disclose it just yet) as well as Qt-applications.
and HTML5-applications to their platform through something that is called ACL (application compatibility layer) Jolla PR got in touch with us and told us that the use of ACL is currently speculation. They will be announcing more information regarding this later this year.
The Helsinki, Finland based startup Transfluent has launched Transfluent for Apps. It is a cloud based service where app developers can tap into the network of 15000 translators that work in 60 languages. The traditional or more common way to translate applications into multiple languages is to finish the app and towards the end of the development cycle, send all the text strings for translators. Transfluent helps in speeding this up, but making the translation process a part of the development cycle and will thus improve time to market.
Transfluent for Apps works through the company's API. The company's backend has been prepared in such a way that it works well with lean development processes where multiple iterations take place each day. All the texts can be sent to translators multiple times per day, but only those where changes have taken place are translated as Transfluent's system keeps track of different iterations.
Helsinki-based Grafetee is looking to become your home for location-based information. They're positioning themselves as both a billboard for posts of location-based information, and as well as an innovative service that sends things from the web to a location-based feed on your phone. Grafetee just soft-launched last week, and is available for iOS and Android.
Just opening up the Grafetee app doesn't give you a complete picture of where the company is going. The app is currently like a collection of location-based feeds; opening it up gives you a chat function, where anyone can post pictures or updates based on location.
ZTE is one of the world's largest device manufacturers and service providers to the mobile industry. In Q4 of 2011, ZTE became the fourth largest handset maker with 4,9% global market share. Today, ZTE and Rightware are announcing a partnership where by ZTE licenses Rightware's Kanzi UI solution to their new range of Android smartphones.
Walkbase, has released Tweagle, a new product taking advantage of the company's advanced indoor positioning API. Essentially Tweagle is an Android Twitter client that integrates with Foursquare, but with a lot more useful positioning features for the Twitter world. The app looks polished, and makes it possible to hear what people are saying at a certain bar, club, or festival, for example.
Lord knows everyone has a shoebox, folder, or some messy way to store receipts and warranties. Helsinki-based Warrantify seeks to take us into the paperless future, and just came out with a nice, clean redesign to their website as well as a free android app that plugs you into the Warrantify service on-the-go. An iPhone app is also in the works. The mobile app is a great extension of the service, which allows you to scan, store, and manage receipts and warranties on products, without being tied to a computer.
Lithuania-originated GetJar claims to be the world's largest free app store with over 2 billion downloads to date. The company distributes more than 350,000 mobile applications for Android and today the company has released a virtual currency that rewards Android users for downloading any app, and allows them to spend that currency on premium apps and in-app purchases.
Rovio has announced that Angry Birds will expand to Facebook on February 14th. They did this in a very subtle way, by inviting people to an event on Facebook itself. Angry Birds has been anticipated to arrive on Facebook since last spring. At the time of writing this there are only a little over a thousand people invited to the event, but this will surely grow as the date gets closer.
The Estonian startup scene isn’t exactly known for its mobile game developers, but Tallinn-based Creative Mobile is doing its best to rectify the situation. Founded in 2010, the company is the developer of freemium hit Drag Racing, a simple but addictive online racing game for Android and iOS that has garnered over 31 million downloads to date.
Sweden-based Freephoo is a fairly new entrant to the fiercely competitive VoIP market. Going up against the likes of Skype and Rebtel, Freephoo is very similar in concept, offering free calls through 3G/WiFi and low-cost “premium” calls to mobile or landline numbers. The company does have some additional tricks up its sleeve though.
According to estimates by research2guidance, a Berlin-based mobile research specialist, Sweden has the most app downloads per user in the Android store. While the U.S. has the most Android users by volume, this data may suggest that Sweden is a good proving ground for apps.
With an average of more than 5 downloads per Android user per month, usage patterns in Sweden reflects a high interest in apps. The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Spain follow slightly behind, all averaging above 4 apps per user per month. This is well above the US average, which is slightly above 2. You can see in the following graph where the rest of the Nordic countries fall:
Apple with the release of Siri for the iPhone 4S has had everyone praising the feature. It is no doubt a great addition to the iPhone, perhaps the only notable one in the new generation of the iPhone. While that goes for the iOS devices, there is one for the Android, Speaktoit. The application comes from Russia and is in for a challenge from Siri and Vlingo.
There is a need for virtual assistants and to be honest, with Siri in the playground we will definitely be seeing a rapid increase in improved versions. I tried my hands with Speaktoit and it does the job fairly well. You can ask questions or commands directly to the Speaktoit assistant on your Android device and the client processes the same, executing what is being requested. Of course this requires that your commands be specific enough for it to recognize and execute.
We talked about Jongla a couple of years back. The Finnish startup promised to leverage the personal capabilities of the mobile devices and become personal marketing tool. The startup offers smartphone users the ability to send unlimited text messages, videos, images etc across the globe for free. Sounds quite a useful tool for bulk marketing.
The core issues or problem addressed is with the limitations that we have when it comes to the size of the multimedia files we share via SMS or MMS and the quality that we do share is awful by all mean (could be my personal opinion). With Jongla, users are freed of this size and quality limitations with the traditional methods. With Jongla you can share all these files directly to their friends. So this means another application, another setup file, a whole new registration or account association. Well not exactly.
With digital books expanding beyond print, even outside the bulky desktop computers and laptops to the lighter e-book readers and the tablets, book lovers have more than one option to read books. I mean if everything is available on the go, why not books? uTales, a Swedish startup leverages the existing technology to create digital picture books for kids. The bigger advantage here is to make the book reading experience more interactive and thus interesting.
The startup germinates from the founders’ experience with bed time stories, the art of story telling that so many of us have enjoyed in our childhood and want to preserve the same for future generations. The idea is to engage, inspire and educate kids by bringing high quality picture books to the young ones globally. How exactly?
Mobile Backstage, the multi-service communications platform for bands and their fans, is now available on the Android platform. The Android roll-out follows the launch of the service’s Facebook application last August.
Android owners can now use Mobile Backstage to follow their favorite artists, interact with other fans, play and buy music, check into gigs and much more.
In this day and age, what could be worse than making a phone call to arrange a taxi? It sounds too much of a hassle, and while it might be effective for many, the concept sounds too medieval. This is just my personal opinion, but gladly some firms are keen at bringing Cab facilitation online. The idea is to help ease the task for arranging taxis via one single destination. Yandex has started doing exactly that.
The Russian online giant is leveraging its popularity online in Russia to launch a Yandex Taxi Search Service. Yandex.Taxi sends request for booking a cab to all taxi services and accelerates the process of finding a cab for travellers. To start off, Yandex.Taxi has succeeded in partnering with 11 Taxi Service providers. Currently this service is just in beta and the operations are limited to Moscow alone.
You might remember our coverage of BrowserTexing last August. BrowserTexing is the Danish Android app that allows you to text from your phone number in your computer's browser. This makes it an valuable service for people who send a lot of text messages, group sms messages, and people who would rather type on their keyboard while leaving their phone in their pocket.
There’s a lot of noise lately about whether or not mobile apps are sustainable, or have any future. But so far, and despite some real challenges and issues, mobile apps have been nothing short of success.
The challenges for developers working on mobile apps range from visibility and pick up rates to loyalty and monetization. The majority of revenue generated by app stores today still comes from the top 100 apps and the “long tail” is often ignored. As the demand for smartphone real estate increases, the cost of acquiring new mobile customers is rising rapidly as well. Seamless payment and customer acquisition methods are other big challenges that apps are struggling to solve. Not to mention how inhomogeneous the two leading platforms - iOS and Android- are.
Games, action, time-killers, fun - there are so many adjectives and verbs that can be instantly associated with games and gaming. With the rapid transformation of smartphones in the last 4 years, gaming turned out to be what it was never before. And this does not include the gaming consoles in the form of Xbox and the PlayStation.
We have seen how the Angry Birds became a sensation in mobile gaming, so much that it has had a movie around its theme, toys, board games, etc. That’s just one game that has done phenomenally well and there are others that enjoy success as well. We came to know about another game that takes advantage of features on your iPhone, iPad or Android devices called Sprinkle.