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Evomail+ 2.0.1 update brings iPad support, bug fixes

EvomailPlusiPadFollowing the app’s launch last week, Evomail+ has been updated to version 2.0.1 today. The standout feature of this release is iPad support; though not a dedicated experience – for now the iPad UI is a blown-up version of the iPhone app – the app now runs fullscreen on an iPad, and Evomail believes it still delivers users a “quality experience” for the time being. The company is planning a customized iPad UI for a future update. Furthermore, Evomail says they are busy improving their EvoCloud backend, noting that they’ve added a number of new servers since launch. A good sign that will hopefully help improve their server-side infrastructure, as I noted some issues with EvoCloud in my review last week.

The update also includes your standard bug fixes and other improvements. Evomail+ for iOS 7 is available for free on the App Store.

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Evomail+ for iPhone arrives as a rebuilt, redesigned email client for iOS 7

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I think it’s safe to say we all have a love/hate relationship with our email. We either get too much of it to deal with, we hate the way it works, or we hate the app we are forced to use to get it. Personally, I don’t hate email itself, and I usually don’t get very much of it. But like many people, I hate the apps I have to use to get my email. Apple’s Mail.app on iOS and OS X is barebones, tired, and does not support modern email features like labels and stars. I don’t like web apps, so I refuse to use Gmail, Hotmail, or IMAP in a browser. Google’s Gmail app for Android is pretty good, but their stock “other” Mail app leaves much to be desired. And don’t even get me started on Microsoft Outlook.

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Brewster Release Major Update, Gains Position as Must-Have App

These days, there are only a few ‘must-have’ apps for your iPhone. You have your requisite social network apps, Google Maps,  a choice between Temple Run and Angry Birds, and CNN for breaking news alerts. Today we have a new entry to the list.

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Windows Phone Has Over 120,000 Apps, Still Playing Catch Up

Over 120,000 apps are available for Windows Phone, Microsoft announced at a press conference today. It shows steady improvement since June, when Microsoft announced over 100,000 applications were available, but Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store still has a long way to go before it catches up with the Google Play Store’s 675,000 programs or the App Store’s 700,000 apps.

Microsoft didn’t announce how many Windows Phone applications are exclusive to specific Windows Phone devices, a problem Windows Phone users have wrestled with. Zynga, for example, just announced that Words with Friends is coming to Windows Phone—but it will only be available on Lumia devices for the first few months.

Microsoft also failed to address quality issues that have plagued Windows Phone since its launch. Some applications, including many from big name publishers, are poor ports of iOS and Android apps that have lost features or stability in the journey across platforms.

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Leveraging Mobile Apps to Increase Brand Awareness, Customer Loyalty, and Revenue

In todays society with everything being on demand, we are infatuated with the use of mobile for convenience and accessibility. There has been a significant change in the online landscape where mobile devices are the vehicle for more than half of all internet access. Consumers use their mobile devices to find information they want immediately, often depending on the instant accessibility of mobile apps to quickly provide them with what they need to know. Businesses are having to adapt to this evolution in consumer lifestyle. People are constantly on the move making today’s consumer a moving target. These consumers are also savvy shoppers leveraging technology to access market research as well as assist with purchasing decisions. They communicate via social media to source information from their trusted network about brands and products. This weighs heavy with their purchase decisions and                                                                                  brand preferences.

Businesses are challenged with engaging these consumers, and having a mobile app can be a great way to keep your brand in front of them as they are on the move. The mobile app has become the tool of choice for consumers, and businesses that have adapted to using this technology are seeing significant returns on their investment. There are a multitude of different apps in the marketplace. Some of these are classified as informative, others meant for convenience, and some are purely for entertainment. This medium of engagement isn’t for every business and finding the right solution to meet your business needs requires a great amount of knowledge about your customer base. It is critical to understand their demographic information, lifestyle choices, purchase preferences, and overall experience with your brand.  It is even important to understand how specifically they are using mobile devices in their daily lives.

A recent study conducted by mobile carrier AT&T found that the predominate reason for using mobile applications was in order to save time, according to 62 percent of respondents. Twenty-nine percent stated that cost-saving was their primary reason for using a mobile app. This same study polled more than 2,200 small business owners (with less than 50 employees) and found 72 percent were utilizing mobile apps in their businesses. A quarter of these companies were using apps for social media marketing and location based services, while 20 percent had bought in to mobile credit card payments. The most dominant use of mobile applications on the list was GPS and mapping, which is being used by nearly half of those surveyed.

Many businesses are leveraging mobile apps to not only assist with their operations, but to increase brand awareness, customer loyalty, and more importantly revenue. IBM’s Retail Online Index reported that retailers experienced a 15 percent growth in sales from mobile devices. There are many different ways to go about achieving these goals and it starts with understanding different ways a mobile app can be leveraged to connect with your consumers. Apps are used to appeal to people in primarily three basic ways.

The first is to make their lives easier by simplifying a task or streamlining a regular process. Second, is to save them money or provide additional value in some way. Finally, the third is to make things more fun and provide a source of entertainment for the user. If your app can provide one or more of these things to users then you’re well on your way to having a successful mobile app.

Here are 10 things you can do with a customized mobile app for your business in order to build customer loyalty, increase traffic, and ultimately boost your revenues.

  1. Build customer loyalty and make them feel special by offering discounts, coupons, and promotions just for using your app.  Create or integrate your customer loyalty program within your mobile app.  With Apple’s release of iOS 6 many companies are leveraging the new Passbook app for loyalty programs.
  2. Utilize push notifications to promote events, offer special deals, and provide relevant information about your brand to users.  Push allows you to deliver instant messages to your customers’ mobile phones whenever you wish.  While only 4% to 10% of email marketing messages get opened, push notifications get read 97% of the time.
  3. Create a viral buzz by leveraging your biggest asset, your army of existing customers. Let them quickly tell all of their friends about you using the built-in sharing capabilities of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.  Ask users for their opinions and engage in contesting through these social media channels. Integrating with these networks allows your business to tap into users trusted groups of friends and acquaintances for cross selling opportunities.
  4. Grow your list by gathering names and email addresses directly inside your app. Request an Opt-In or Sign-up and give them a reward for providing you with that valuable information.  You can then easily export that data into your favorite email marketing campaign service.
  5. Promote special events by providing up-to-date information about where your brand will be or that your hosting something at your locations.  Use an in-app event calendar to outline monthly shows, dinners, open houses, guest appearances, product launches, etc.  Take it a step further and direct users to your website to pre-book, pre-pay, or even pre-order.
  6. Use location based marketing to engage users with customized marketing messages based on their specific location and preferences.  This can be done with a blend of technologies including location based services, GPS, geo-fencing, bluetooth, MMS, and near-field communications.
  7. Keep your customers informed about new developments, product launches, guest appearances, and other unique things your doing that would interest them.  Fill your app with information about your business, service offerings, menus, and more.
  8. Connect with ease making it simple for customers to reach you using one touch calling, email, link to your website, and GPS directions all from inside your app.
  9. Get instant feedback and use it to improve customer service or to further product research.  Create a survey or run a poll then show them that your listening by taking action on their feedback.
  10. Track your success through app analytics and results from different marketing campaigns.

These 10 things are all effective tactics a business can use to get the most out of having a mobile app. No approach will guarantee success, but a blend of these along with a unified marketing message throughout your communication channels will certainly put you ahead of the competition. By recognizing this evolution in online access and consumer behavior you’ll be able to address the business challenge of engaging these mobile consumers. Leveraging mobile apps will be a necessary piece of your long term business strategy. Big chains and brands already get it and have aggressively launched into the mobile application space. They are willing to pay the cost necessary to be in there customers hands and realize if they are not that someone else will be there.

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YouTube launches brand-new iPhone app after getting the boot from iOS 6

      
When iOS 6 Beta 4 was released to developers last month, it was discovered that the YouTube app, a staple of iOS since the first iPhone launched in 2007, had been removed. Apple confirmed the news, stating that YouTube would not be included with iOS 6 as their licensing agreement with Google had expired. At the time, Google assured users that they were building a new YouTube app for iOS which would be available on the App Store in time for the launch of iOS 6. Today, Google delivered with the launch of a brand-new native YouTube app for iPhone and iPod touch, now available on the App Store.

The new YouTube app features an interface not dissimilar to that of the Google+ app. The main view displays your subscription feed as a scrollable list of “cards”, and you can set this screen to display “Uploads only” or “Highlights”, which will include extra content such as Suggested Videos. A quick swipe to the right will reveal a menu with access to your account and settings, Subscriptions, and Channel Guide. The menu is quite bare-bones, though is nearly identical to the one on YouTube’s desktop site, and it would be nice to see shortcuts for things like Favourites, Playlists, and Watch Later added in a future update.

The new video player screen looks like a re-skinned version of the old iOS YouTube app. The top half of the screen displays the video (which will automatically jump to fullscreen when you rotate the device into landscape), while the bottom half shows video information, related videos, and comments. Fullscreen video playback uses a skinned video player with direct access to Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down, and sharing options.

Overall, the app is very fast and fluid. Most of the functionality of the old YouTube app is still present, though there is currently no option to upload videos directly from the app. One other complaint I could make is that the app doesn’t support background audio playback, so if you were hoping to stream music from YouTube and listen to it in the background, you’re out of luck.

Interestingly, the new YouTube app is compatible with iOS 4.3 and higher – despite the fact that Apple has no plans to remove the built-in YouTube app from earlier versions of iOS. Regardless, iOS 6 users will be happy to have a native YouTube app available right out of the gate, which I will say is a much better option than YouTube’s mobile site.

Source: YouTube
Get the App: iTunes

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Twitter API v1.1 will impose strict limits on third-party apps

Twitter announced Version 1.1 of their API today, and in an attempt to “deliver a consistent Twitter experience”, the company will introduce some pretty strict new limits and restrictions for third-party applications.

The most controversial of these changes is a new user limit that will be imposed on traditional third-party Twitter clients like Tweetbot and Twitterrific. Apps like these will now be limited to 100,000 users, and should they reach that threshold, they will be required to seek Twitter’s permission to add new users. Current apps that already have over 100,000 users will be able to grow until they reach 200% of their current user base (in other words, double the amount of their current users), at which point these restrictions will go into effect. Twitter has not explained what will happen to third-party apps once they reach their user limit, specifically whether or not they will be allowed to add more users, which will likely be determined on an app-by-app basis. Though the fact that they are urging developers to “not build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience” doesn’t bode well for the future of these apps. Regardless, Tapbots’ Paul Haddad seems pretty confident in the future of Tweetbot:

Twitter will also provide per-endpoint rate limiting with the updated API, a change intended to lessen the frequency of rate limiting issues. The current system allows 350 authenticated calls to be made per hour, regardless of the endpoint, while the new system will allow for 60 calls per hour per endpoint. In addition, all calls to the Twitter API will have to be authenticated, and client applications that come pre-installed on devices will have to be authenticated as well. Twitter is also adopting their current “Display Guidelines” as “Display Requirements” in order to tighten control over how Tweets and their contents appear, though this mostly dictates simple things like displaying the “@” symbol before a username, and linking @usernames to profiles.

While many see this news as “the end of the Twitter ecosystem”, that may not be the case. Though it may seem like third-party Twitter clients will be unable to thrive under these new rules, this may simply be Twitter’s way of regaining some control over their product and ensuring future profitability. It’s possible that Twitter will allow third-party clients like Tweetbot to continue to exist and grow in exchange for them adopting the “new” design requirements, and implementing Twitter’s ads.

Source: Twitter
via The Next Web, The Verge

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Facebook announces App Center, will begin offering paid apps

Facebook has taken a major step today in their quest to be seen not just as a social network, but a social platform: the company has finally introduced their own app store. The Facebook App Center will offer users a convenient way to discover, install, and share Facebook applications and social games. App Center will also mark the introduction of paid apps to the Facebook Platform, as a way for developers to monetize apps that do not fit within the current in-app purchase model.

It’s hard to believe that Facebook didn’t have an app store before now. Previously, the company touted “social discovery” as the best way to find apps, the idea being that relevant apps would appear on your News Feed through your friends. However, with the success of mobile app stores, and Facebook’s upcoming IPO, it’s clear the company saw a need for developers to be able to better promote their apps, and for users to more easily find them.

The concept of “social discovery” will actually be built-in to App Center, as each user will see a different homepage with tailored app recommendations. Recommendations will presumably be based on which apps you already use, and those that your friends use. App listings will also be affected by a rating system Facebook is implementing. The company says App Center is all about “growth for high-quality apps”, explaining that apps with a high rating will be prominently displayed within App Center.

App Center will also be available on mobile, featuring iOS and Android apps that connect to Facebook. Mobile users will be able to find social games through App Center on their smartphone, at which point they will be redirected to the iOS App Store or Google Play Store to purchase and install. Developers will need to utilize Single Sign-on for their apps to be included in this category.

Apps will also get their own “App Detail” page, which will include a description, screenshots, and reviews from other users. Developers can start preparing their App Detail pages now in preparation for launch. Speaking of, Facebook says that app pages submitted before May 18th will be given approval priority, indicating that the user launch of App Center may be very imminent.

Source: Facebook

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