A new Finnish music app that passed the "woah check this out" test in the office is Cotracks, a collaborative music iPad app released today. We've all seen beatboxing or music creation apps, but Cotracks maximizes the iPad's real estate for realtime collaborative music creation with up to four friends.
It could be complete chaos, but Cotracks is designed to make it easy to record and playback in sync, which is important when up to four people are riffing on the same beat. As you can see in the video, Cotracks lets you copy your friends' beats to add new things to them, and lets you find a common tempo.
Right now if you want to collaborate in real time to brainstorm a beat, it requires hooking up your laptops, which can be a hassle. "When we first learnt that these touch devices can handle lots of simultaneous touches and process realtime audio at the same time, it became obvious that something like Cotracks must be developed," says Matti Jokipii, creator of Cotracks.
Gajatri Studios released their new Yoga Retreat iPad app in the Finnish and Canadian markets, their first new platform since launching on Facebook's gaming center. Yoga Retreat on iOS brings in many of the same elements as their Facebook game, but it's not a direct port. Users still run their yoga retreat, training customers and growing the real-estate of the game, but by looking the behavior of the Facebook game users they discovered that people enjoyed taking care of the customers, so the new release focuses more on the juice bar, meditation room, and steam garden, rather than just the yoga floor.
Yoga Retreat isn't an "educational" game by far - you're still hooked into the standard casual game dynamics - but the game does offer instructional animations for you to learn from, and send to your friends.
These days the iPad is becoming tool of choice for the meeting rooms. You're not hunched over laptop, but with your tablet you can still find more data and take notes. But according to Helsinki-based Punos Mobile, right now users are too spread between apps and services for the meeting lifecycle. Their new app, Meeting Assistant, lets users prepare an agenda, take notes, and find out more relevant info within the app - all for the sake of more efficient meetings. If this all sounds familiar, we covered them last August, although their solution officially launched last week.
Even in this digital age, we're hanging on to handwritten lists for things we need to get from the store. I've downloaded to-do list apps to help me get things done, but none of them seem to stick - there's still something time consuming and inconvenient about typing in lists into your phone. But Helsinki-based Snipbase, run by Silver Elephant Ltd., seems to have found a solution for shopping that is visual, quick, and easy.
The app leverages your camera to help make lists, and is easy to use in practice. For grocery shopping I just opened my fridge and pantry and took pictures of things I was running low on, which I found easier than typing items into the app. For things you don't have in front of you, Snipbase uses an image search as you type in text to help you quickly grab pictures of the things you need.
The New York Times recently ran a piece on the psychology of waiting, and pointed out that what's important is not the amount of time we're actually waiting, but how we perceive the wait. Deep down we all know this, but we stare at the LED board with blank stares, counting down how much longer it's going to take.
Rauno Rüngas, CEO of Qminder, claims that what makes waiting in lines so frustrating is the anxiety and anticipation that comes with having to wait in a fixed location. To update the "take a ticket machine" Qminder has released a tablet and phone solution that offers more precise information about where you are in line and how much longer it will likely take.
One company we haven't covered since 2010, but has building a solid community around its product is Sumo.Fm, the service behind Sumopaint. The Helsinki-based company started off when their CTO Lauri Koutaniemi got fed up paying a photoshop license and decided to create a free online alternative. On top of the web-based tool, the company was able to build a strong community around an online gallery at Sumo.fm, which looks familiar to the concept behind deviantART. Users can share images they've created and interact with each other.
Sumopaint was designed to be to a photoshop alternative, so it still can be intimidating and inaccessible to many users who open it up the first time. To bring the Sumo.Fm community to more people, today the company announces an iPad app that is simpler to use, but still offers the basic set of features that will get creativity flowing to a new set of users.
Face-to-face meetings are a necessary part of the decision making process, but meetings have picked up their negative reputation for a good reason. When no one has time to prepare for a meeting, meeting-goers may not be aware of who they are in the same room with, and have trouble sticking to the meeting agenda. When the meeting is over, many times you don't really know if everyone is on the same page. On top of that, technology in the meeting room may have hurt meeting efficiency more than it has helped it; it's far too easy for colleagues to hide behind their laptop and not use the screen in front of them in productive ways.
But iPads are starting to become the weapon of choice for many corporate warriors, and Helsinki-based Punos Mobile Ltd has come up with solutions to many of these problems by developing an iPad app called Meeting Assistant. Based on their beta testing, some of the most sought-after features allow the users to keep their meetings on time, track to-dos and send notes to everyone right after.
As people were beginning to wind down for the long midsummer weekend, the Helsinki, Finland based Supercell went on to launch their new game Hay Day. Hay Day is a farming game like no other. One might think that the world has seen enough of annoying farm game advertising on Facebook from the likes of Zynga, but having played Hay Day through out the weekend for about 10+ hours in total I can say that there is demand.
Hay Day is also Supercell's first mobile and tablet only game, meaning it has been designed for the iOS platform. You can play it on your iPod Touch, iPhone as well as the iPad.
According to Ilkka Paananen, the CEO of Supercell, the launch has been quite phenomenal despite the challenging launch date.
Just during the long weekend, the game has shot to #7 in the US iPad listing while pushing to #13 on the iPhone. Paananen also disclosed that according to their own analysis, they are going to be achieving similar places in their key markets in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, UK, Canada, Australia and so on. In many countries they're already in the top three spot.
Its tough to remember how huge Rebtel is for an internet service, considering how dominant Skype is in the VOIP space. The Stockholm-based service just hit more than 17 million users, growing at 650 000 users a month. Customers are logging in over 1 billion minutes a year, with projections for an $85 million dollar run rate for 2012. That's not bad. The company tells us now they have released an iPad app that provides free Rebtel to Rebtel user calls, as well as calls to any phone for rates that can be up to 60% cheaper than Skype's.
The Swedish Consumer Agency is considering leading an investigation into Apple's marketing of the iPad after receiving complaints that the advertised 4G connectivity will not actually function in Sweden. The new iPad has been advertised as iPad Wi-Fi + 4G, but in many markets but critics say that the 4G technology is not an applicable feature due to the differences in the 4G spectrum across countries.
At 10am PST today, Apple is hosting an event in San Fransisco expecting to provide some information about their new tablet, the "iPad 3", if you will. The new tablet is expected to boast a 2048×1536 resolution "retina display" screen like that used on the iPhone 4, where the pixel density is so great that Apple says individual pixels cannot be distinguished.
But the invite to the event (image shown above) also alludes to haptics technology, which The Guardian uses to predict that Apple has picked Helsinki-based Senseg's technology to power tactile feedback on the screen of the new device. And according to analysts interviewed by the Guardian, they're expecting to see more than just the high definition display.
Last evening Issuu announced the beta release of their HTML5 app, opening their collection of thousands of magazines to the iPad and other devices. Before this release, Issuu was rough to access on an iPad; Issuu was built out of Flash, so for basic iPad accessibility publishers needed to upload their files into a "single page - continuous" format, similar to a standard PDF reader, and not the magazine style format which has become what they're known for.
On their GetSatisfaction page they explain the issues they've faced to get in the app store:
In an interview with Les Echos, a French business publication, the director general of Nokia France made a remark that that the Nokia tablet would be coming out in June of 2012, and that it would be running Windows 8. Microsoft has not confirmed a launch date of Windows 8, and the details of the new Nokia tablet have been kept to the minimum. At the Nokia World conference last month, CEO Steven Elop spoke positively about Windows 8 the partnership with Microsoft:
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?
BBC’s Global iPlayer iPad app, originally launched in July in 11 European countries, is now available in Finland, Sweden and Denmark. For 6.99 €/month or an optional annual subscription of 64.99 €, users will get access to BBC’s extensive archives from the last 70 years of broadcasting.
A new gaming start-up has recently appeared on the Finnish start-up scene. Tuokio is based in Tampere and their core business are mobile games for everyday gatherings. To be more precise, they develop a portfolio of games for iOS devices. Founded in spring 2010, they released three games so far and are developing another game at the moment. Their games so far include King of Opera, Raiding Company and Blond vs Brunette Racing . We talked with one of the founders, Jouni Salonen, to learn more about what they do.
Erply, one of the most promising start-ups from Estonia, provide software for small and medium-sized retailers who have physical stores. We have not covered the company for almost a year and meanwhile it has been quitely growing. From 2,000 business customers in March 2010, the company grew to 20,000 retailers who daily process over $2.5 million in transactions, according to the Wall Street Journal. Today Erply announced the launch of a magnetic credit card reader that is also NFC-enabled and is fully integrated with its existing cloud-based software. The device is priced at $50 and Erply will also charge 1.9% transaction fee, which is smaller than what its biggest competitor in the US, Square, charge their customers (2.75% per swipe).
What is the connection between a rover exploring Mars and an iPad 2? Both devices are capable of identifying their surroundings with the help of a camera and some software. 13th Lab has built that software for iPad based on theory originally developed by NASA. The technology was first used to automatically navigate rovers on Mars and then it was employed for military and healthcare applications as well as by big utility companies. 13th Lab was the first company to adapt the technology for consumer products. To showcase what it is capable of, they launched an iPad game - Ball Invasion. It's a simple shooting game but it takes augmented reality to a whole new level: it uses iPad's camera to recognize the environment around you so that bullets bounce off the walls or any other objects in your surroundings. Ball Invasion went live as a paid app ($1.99) last Monday and by now it's a #2 paid app in Swedish AppStore and is a featured app in AppStores in US and Canada.
We've talked about the legendary Death Rally set to invade the iOS devices back in January. As per our last reports the game was set to release in March and as promised it is now available for download. It runs on your iPhone and the iPad. You can download the game here, just in case you aren’t keen at reading any further.
iPad, iPhone that’s where the folks are rushing in and so must I. That is what Wesley Snipes must have had in mind when he signed up for Julius Styles: The International. The game comes from Lapland Studios, a Finnish game developer in association with Elstree Studio Productions and Red 27 Films. The release is set for June 2011 release but with Wesley Snipes as Julius Styles, expect nothing short of kicking and bullet riddled action. Oh there is some puzzle too.
Guidepal is a Swedish startup that offers city guide apps for Android, iPhone, iPad, and Blackberry devices. The guides are free to download and use, and contain information about sights and attractions, places to go, shopping etc. typical things you might expect from city guides.
The guides are produced by Guidepal's local city experts and writers around the world. There is currently an app for 27 different cities. Guidepal aims to differentiate from the traditional travel guides by supporting a number of digital platforms, and trying to offer wider and more relevant content than other services.
Finnish social gaming startup Rocket Pack is preparing its first casual multi-platform MMO, expected to come into beta in a few weeks. However, maybe the most interesting aspect of the company is that as a "side" product of the development, they have build a game engine and complete tool set for game developers to build browser-based single player games, Facebook games, and browser-based MMOs that work cross-platform. That is, the games run on PCs, Macs, iPads, iPhones, Android, smartphones - on all major browsers, without any plugin installations required.
Distimo, an app store analytics company, has released their data for April regarding the Apple App Store. This is of interest as it is the first time since they report on the iPad App sales and how they do compared to iPhone sales. Also, the number of iPad applications in the App Store has increased dramatically in the last two weeks of April. On April 12th there were 2654 iPad apps while two weeks later, on April 26th there were 3437 apps resulting in a 30% increase.
The most important information from the report, however, is that on average iPad apps sell at a higher price than iPhone applications. On average, an application for the iPhone in the App Store costs $3.82 while an application for the iPad costs $4.67. iPad apps sell at almost 22,2% higher prices than iPhone apps. This of course could still be a result of the fact that there aren't all that many iPad apps even though we're talking about thousands of them. At the moment there are over 184 000 iPhone apps available.
Erply has come up with an innovative way to harness the mobility of the iPad. Erply is an Estonian company, who just last month raised 2 million dollars in funding and is trying to create an appealing solution to the sales, inventory and CRM challenges of retail SMEs.
Some time ago, Erply announced iPOS, which is essentially the ERPLY solution running on the iPad. They have a demo landing page up for the service, but it is enough to intrigue me into writing a story about it. I think this is one of the best B2B solutions/ideas out there for iPad.