Since the release of smartphones, a new generation of developers, designers and software producers have emerged. People are increasingly interested in creating their own apps and software, but for those that don’t have the patience for the abundance of online learning schools, the difficulty of learning to code holds them back.
AppCraft, from Korea-based startup BeyondApp, is one solution to that issue and it allows users to create their own iOS apps through its own, easy to use iOS app – that’s pretty meta.
BeyondApp was founded in September 2009, though the team built a prototype of the product one year previous. With a mission statement that aims to “Democratize Creativity”, the company wants to help users to realise and channel their creative skills through the platform.
The company released its app development software on the App Store in May 2011 — making it one of the more established solutions — after completing a closed beta. The CEO of the company JaeKwon Jin, recently gave TNW some background on why the company decided to focus on enabling app creation:
We have developed mobile device software for a long time. We see the app market as one that usually has a lot of major changes. It is hard for young ones to enjoy such a difficult market when the preparation time takes a few years. Also, the App Store has opened up a new path, but there are many out there with great content and creativity who cannot get over the ‘wall’ of developing.
Despite being Korean, BeyondApp has targeted global users from the beginning and, to that point, the app was originally produced in English. With the support of the Korea Creative Content Agency, the BeyondApp team was able to travel to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to partake in a six-week-long training course specialising in game development.
Jin recalls how the experience left a lasting impression on the startup:
While there, we admired the developers and also felt jealous. We knew that we also had the skills required, and that’s when we hoped that one day we could develop software that people around the world would use and admire. That was how AppCraft got started.
The program allows users to choose images, or actors that can be controlled, manipulated and animated in various ways. While some might doubt the control that such software gives over creating an app, there are a surprising number of features. Users can choose from a range of complex details and options to control how the app works and how objects interact with one another.
For AppCraft, we took the good points and necessary items from experience with various tools and have interpreted them in our own way. We conducted research using all different kinds of tools including presentation tools, kids’ computer education software, electronic simulation software and even semi-conductor IP design development tools. Through that, we were able to incorporate the necessary animation features for good presentation in AppCraft and more easily learn programming for a game physics engine and an effective sound engine.”
AppCraft also offers tutorials and sample apps to help its users learn how they can make apps more easily. Apps created within AppCraft itself are called “liquid apps” and can be used and edited from within the program at any time.
For a fee, apps can also be ‘solidified’ into files which can be uploaded to Apple’s App Store. Once the user receives the “solid app” which they can sell using their own individual account.
Jin says that, through this, the company has opened up a new window for content creation for the App Store.
We would like users to make all different types of apps with our software. We would like to see apps that can be easily made through AppCraft, such as students creating projects about insects or plants in their area, or for travelers to show, pictures, sound and video from their adventures overseas. It would be great to see apps like these appearing on the App Store.
The app is ad-supported and available to download for free, although a one-off, in-app payment of $4.99 will remove the ads.
Image via Flickr / PhotoAtelier (Glen)
Now that Twitter has introduced all of these fancy new things via its latest API, it’s time to get rid of some of the legacy stuff. One of the legacy items is a platform called @Anywhere, which was introduced by the company in 2010. I’m sorry to report that hovercards are getting the axe.
The new things that Twitter has introduced, namely embeddable timelines, make some of the old junk unnecessary. With those new features, comes constraints for developers, mostly centered around rate limits for content. You can read our full rundown of the Twitter version 1.1 API here.
In a post on the Twitter developer blog today, Jason Costa discussed what this @Anywhere sunsetting means for developers and site owners:
We’ve been growing the family of products that makes up Twitter for Websites, including, for example, yesterday’s launch of the ability to embed timelines on a website. As Twitter for Websites has evolved, it has improved upon many of the features we introduced with @Anywhere: Tweet box, follow, linkify a @username, sign-in, and the hovercard. As a result, we are sunsetting @Anywhere and focusing on continuing to build out Twitter for Websites.
Here is the original feature-set of @Anywhere:
- When you browse a site that uses @anywhere, people and brands that have Twitter accounts will be highlighted with a hyperlink. Mousing over that hyperlink will show a small box (a “hovercard”) containing their Twitter information, including their most recent tweet (in effect it means you don’t have to click over to Twitter’s homepage to see their Twitter profile)
- Publishers will be able to more deeply integrate their own Twitter profiles, making them easier for their readers to ‘follow’ them
- The new platform is launching with a number of major sites and services, including the New York Times, Huffington Post, Meebo, Amazon, Yahoo, Bing, and eBay.
This is now of course all replaced by Twitter’s 1.1 API. I suggest hopping over to the full post to figure out the fixes to keep your Twitter implementation running smoothly on your site, as all of this will go away on December 6th.
[Image source: Flickr]
Pose has made some serious traction since it first launched its iPhone app in early 2011. Its mobile photo-sharing platform that lets people share snapshots of their outfits and tag them with brand and designer details now has one million users who have shared more than two million “poses” on the app. Right now, more than 10,000 poses are added to the platform each day from users all over the world, from Russia to Brazil to the US and far beyond — which CEO Dustin Rosen likes to put in perspective as “more fashion content than Vogue magazine produces in a year.”
And now, the Los Angeles-based startup is set to debut new features that could very well make its platform much more popular — for new user growth and current user stickiness.
Today Pose will launch its first ever native app made especially for the iPad. And along with the iPad app, Pose is launching its first ever revenue generating component, which will be active across all its platforms: “Shoppable content,” linking items tagged in Pose photos directly to e-commerce sites that sell them, letting users complete a purchase without ever leaving the Pose app. Pose will collect affiliate fees through each sale that has originated on its platform.
Those may seem like pretty standard moves for Pose — but the real twist is how exactly the company is going to deploy that cash it will start making. Pose will take a “small piece” of each affiliate fee it collects when an item is sold, but will give the vast majority of the money to the user who originally shared the item in a photo. This money will be deposited through PayPal; Pose will also show each user detailed analytics on the purchasing activity around the items they’ve tagged and shared on Pose.
“We decided we wanted our bloggers to make a majority of the commission that we collect on each purchase because we think it’s really important that we let them really own their content and those links,” Rosen told me in a recent interview. “We just want to further incentivize them to share the best content. They’ve been asking for this [e-commerce] feature, and we really wanted to do it right.”
It’s a very unique move. Most sites that are built on user-generated content — aka, pretty much all of social media — do not share the money they make around that content with the users who actually created it. At first it might seem crazy for a startup to give away the bulk of the cash it brings in on its very first revenue generating feature, but it shows that Pose is really thinking about the long-term. It's hard to think of something that would make users happier than receiving a check each month for doing what they do anyway — snap photos of their most stylish outfits. It'll be really interesting to see how this impacts Pose's growth trajectory going forward; it seems like something that could give the app a major boost in user growth and engagement.
Pose has raised some $4.6 million in venture capital from investors that include GRP Partners, True Ventures, Mousse Partners, and celebrity fashion designer and stylist Rachel Zoe. The company says that those investors are happy with its revenue-sharing strategy right now because they see the potential for Pose to make even more serious money down the line.
“We certainly believe in this grand vision of our company, where content meets commerce. We think of ourselves like a shopping funnel, and within that there are so many opportunities to make money at different points along the line,” Pose’s co-founder and VP of creative and partnerships Alisa Gould-Simon told me. “Great content starts with our users, and we just want to be a platform to facilitate that. First and foremost, it's about building an audience.”
So, Disrupt is right around the corner. And, we’ve put a few things together with our partners and sponsors that we think will help make your conference experience great!
Our conference app: After slogging through a ton of conference app options, we decided to use Taptera. They have even been nice enough to build a custom TechCrunch Disrupt version. This app is your one-stop shop for all things Disrupt. It contains our agenda, speaker bios, program guide, maps to all of the after parties and the Design Concourse, a voting tool for our Audience Choice Award, the Conference Twitter Feed, and an opt-in social networking tool that will help you make the most out of your conference experience. We’ll also use the push notification capability of the app to give you updates on all the spontaneous awesomeness that’s apt to happen at Disrupt. You can download the app from iTunes or you can grab a version for Android from Google Play.
Conference Transportation: Uber has offered Disruptors $10 off of rides to and from the Concourse. Now our friends at Uber are geniuses and have geo-fenced the discount, so don’t try to take an Uber from San Francisco to Sacramento and expect a $10 discount… By entering Code “ConcourseSF289″ into your app or on-line at m.uber.com, you’ll be good to go. Please note that the code must be entered before the first ride is taken in order to receive the savings. And, for all you first time users of Uber you’ll get a whopping $25 bucks off your first ride with this code: “DisruptSF”. Let me warn you – Uber really is the best experience out there – you might never take a taxi again.
Twittering: We’ll have our Twitter stream, Facebook feed and Instagram photos on screens around the conference thanks to Zoomph. The TechCrunch Zoomph feed will also feature any conversations happening in real time using the #TCDisrupt hashtag.
Translation Services: So, we’re creating a whole new level of accessibility for international Disruptors. We’ve partnered with Babelverse – a former Disrupt finalist – to webcast the conference in 12 languages. We’ll have a micro-site up soon and will make the URL available via our conference app.
A Few Other Nice Things: Vonage is the official communication app for the conference and has created special offers on international calling from Disrupt – you can download the mobile app from the iTunes store. Zendesk has offered to run the help desk at Disrupt, and DoMEn is hosting our photo stream which can be found through a widget on the TechCrunch website. Finally, 4sync has offered to recycle all of your old tech gear, and if you’re like the average Disruptor, you’re not like the average American and you have 10.5 devices and don’t use 50% of them anymore. Melt Them Down.
Excerpt from: A User’s Guide To Disrupt SF 2012
The researchers at eMarketer have put out their latest figures on mobile advertising revenue in the U.S., and while they are holding firm on their forecast that they will bring in $2.6 billion this year (it’s a number they actually put out in January 2012), they have drilled down a bit more into who is making what. Unsurprisingly, Google is still at the top of the pile: it will account for 56% of all mobile ad sales. Perhaps more surprisingly, Twitter is doing better than Facebook in driving revenues where mobile ads are concerned: the world’s biggest social network will make half as much as Twitter in mobile ads this year: $72.7 million versus $129.7 million, the analysts say.
However that is bound to be reversed over time: eMarketer predicts that by 2014, Facebook will be making $629.4 million in mobile ads, compared to $444 million for Twitter, putting Facebook at a distant second to Google. Longer term, eMarketer predicts that U.S. mobile advertising will generate sales of $12 billion by 2016.
Going back to 2012, the main reason for Facebook’s lower revenues at present, it seems, is the basic fact that it’s not been selling ads on mobile for as long as it has been selling them on main site, accessed via desktop PCs, or for as long as Twitter has on mobile. It was only in August, in fact, that Facebook unveiled its very first non-social mobile ad unit, an option for newsfeed ads that open iOS or Android app store purchase windows when clicked.
Indeed, eMarketer notes that part of the reason that Google, and others like Pandora (at 8.7% of all U.S. mobile ad revenues, 20.5% in display alone), are doing better is simply because they’ve been chipping away at that business for longer.
But it’s not just how long companies have been at the business of mobile ads; eMarketer also notes that some formats just seem better suited to ads than others. In particular, it notes that in Twitter, Promoted Tweets is a natural fit with the “core user experience” of Twitter. Indeed, these ‘ads’ are just seen as part of the flow of the river of information that is one’s Twitter feed. eMarketer notes that Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo has noted that “on most days” the service actually makes more ad revenues from mobile than on Twitter.com. This might be down to the touch-friendly interface on mobile making these ads more clickable (accidentally or otherwise).
In contrast, Facebook’s primary advertising products on its main desktop platform are on the right-hand side of the screen: these currently make up over 60% of Facebook’s ad revenues, eMarketer says, and these have not made their way into the mobile version of the site. The Newsfeed ads, which are on the mobile version, only started to appear this year.
Meanwhile, Google’s domination is set to continue for years to come. Not only will its overall lead in ads diminish only slightly from its current 54% lead, but as with previous forecasts, the area of mobile search will be a total Google town. Google currently controls 95.4% of mobile search ad revenues, or $1.2 billion of the total $1.28 billion that will be spent this year on mobile search ads in the U.S. (That leaves very little or Microsoft and others.)
The story less monopolized in display ads: here revenues have grown by 102%, helped by the rise of big-screened smartphones, to $1.1 billion in 2012. Rich media ads will be the highest-grossing format within the display category.
Update: As someone has alluded to in the comments below, you should take analyst’s forcasts with a grain of salt — eMarketer’s and others. Some feel even more strongly on this point. I still think it can be instructive to look at all of these comparatively, and notice, for example, how primary sites have been crowding out ad networks like Millennial Media and iAd from the mix, and changing the game in terms of what kinds of ads are working on wireless devices.