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Archive for October 2011

Calvin Carter speaks at Apps World North America

On November 1, all app-propriate attention will turn to the Javits Center in New York City for Apps World North America 2011.  Attendees will network with industry leading brands and developers to discover the future of multi-platform apps.

Apps World offers two days of action packed engaging content including 30+ sessions, across three tracks covering all aspects of the social media and apps ecosystem:

  • Marketing Track:  Day one of the marketing track considers how apps can work within a comprehensive mobile marketing plan – with contributions from big brands making waves in the sector – before moving on to exploring some of the latest innovations that marketers should have on their radar.
  • Developer Zone:  The Apps World developers' workshop will be the place for app developers and entrepreneurs to focus on the development of profitable apps across different apps stores. Technical presentations from leading developers and apps stores will cover a myriad of opportunities and challenges faced when developing apps.
  • Social Media Marketing Forum:   This track  explores the broader impact social media is having on consumer behaviour. It examines the strategy for using this new channel in marketing and PR.  From monitoring ROI to building online communities. 

With 100+ speakers from top names in the industry including Twitter, AT&T, Radian6, Google TV, Yahoo, and Bing, at 3:40pm EST, our Founder and President, Calvin Carter, will host a panel of our most notable clients to discuss "Evolving Mobile Apps Strategy for the Tablet Market."

  • How are leading publishers, entertainment providers and brands evolving their app strategy to integrate tablets?
  • Are tablets always relevant – and how to justify and measure return on investment
  • How far do mobile apps need to be adapted for tablets?  Should brand & content providers be looking at tablet specific apps?
  • Is it all about the iPad, or are other tablets relevant and worthy of the additional development investment
  • Convergence – are we moving to a market where apps are portable across all devices: mobile, tablet, laptop, TV?

Moderator: Calvin Carter, Founder & President, Bottle Rocket Apps

Devin Pedzwater, Creative Director, Spin Media

Evan Silverman, Senior Vice President, Digital Media, A&E TV

Robert Spier, Director, Mobile Product Development, Scripps Networks

With Juniper Research citing, "North American mobile content and apps revenues to approach $10 billion by 2015," the U.S. has truly embraced the applications market.  Considered a relatively mature app market, the stats (according to Pew Research) show that even with 24% of U.S. adults using apps, there is still massive market potential.

American consumerism has created an ideal environment for all things apps and brands are hoping to fully exploit this platform to command the attention of their customers and potential customers via their placement on the mobile screen.  Researchers predict that one-third of U.S. homes will have "connected TV" by 2015 which means that all arrows point to TV apps and a chance for viewers to see their TVs not as a big box in the living room, but rather as a multimedia device that is as connected as their pc and mobile device.

Apps World North America 2011 will delve into these topics and more as we bring together many of the region’s top app Developers, Network Operators, OS Vendors, Brand & Marketing Managers and Technology Providers; looking to connect, build partnerships and network whilst becoming educated and inspired by the latest developments within this exciting industry.

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The XTRA FACTOR Launched by Bottle Rocket Apps

It’s Time…To Face…The Music

THE X FACTOR is the hit competition series that gives viewers the opportunity to help choose the next global music sensation.  Judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, L.A. Reid and Nicole Scherzinger have traveled the nation searching for undiscovered talent 12 years old or over – both solo artists and vocal groups – who are worthy of the largest prize in television history: a $5 million recording contract with Syco/Sony Music.

 

Created by Bottle Rocket Apps for X-Factor (FOX) viewers and fans, the XTRA FACTOR for iPad offers a second screen experience meant to be used while the live show is airing.  Fans can see extra/related content about the show, artists performing, and behind-the-scenes information through video, photos and social media content.  The app synchronizes with the show based on the show's audio that the app is listening for via the iPad's microphone.

The Xtra Factor for iPad is a free app that takes you behind the scenes of THE X FACTOR.  Experience real-time social feeds and live interactivity as you watch the show.  Explore on-demand video, news, bios and other features even when the show is not on the air.

Download this companion experience and enjoy the show Wednesday and Thursdays on FOX!

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National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation: Our October 2011 Charity of the Month

The mission of the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation is to provide unwavering support for all those afflicted with or affected by pancreatic cancer, whether patient or family member, through the use of patient advocacy, educational awareness and direct financial resource support programs, regardless the level of qualification of the patient.

Striving to provide quality of life, sustainability and dignity to those we serve, through our volunteers we offer an opportunity of hope and caring for those afflicted by this devastating disease.  Pancreatic cancer is now the 4th leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.  There is no known cure, however, there are new developments everyday to prolong and sustain the quality of life of the patient.

"With the passing of Steve Jobs earlier this month from a long battle with pancreatic cancer, we are honored to give a small level of support to such a worthwhile cause and be a part of the fight to alleviate this cancer," said Calvin Carter, Founder and President of Bottle Rocket Apps.  "Steve literally created our business, and we remember what a young and fearless guy he was.  You could always see the determination in his eyes.  Never concerned with what was possible or impossible... only with what he loved.  He died the same guy, and we are blessed to be a part of his legacy by creating experiences on his visionary devices." 

There is no known specific cause of Pancreatic Cancer and it is very difficult to diagnose and detect in its early stage. While it does not necessarily attack a specific age group patients in recent years have ranged from 19 – 85 that are afflicted with pancreatic cancer. Previous research of pancreatic cancer patients put the percentages of patients at the older end but in the last couple of years that has changed dramatically while changing the age range significantly. People who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer even at an early stage face a significant risk of recurrence and early death.

As many patients and families travel this long and painful road of uncertainty there is hope through many avenues and new research and treatments everyday.  While this devastating disease takes courage to keep going, through faith we will be able to sustain the quality of life and dignity of our family and friends afflicted with pancreatic cancer.

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Annoying Orange Slices Through Amazon Appstore for Android

One of the fastest growing YouTube sensations meets one of the fastest growing mobile platforms.  Annoying Orange: Kitchen Carnage is now available on the Amazon Appstore for Android.

Since the mobile launch on Apple's iTunes store in April, Kitchen Carnage has juiced up more than 10 million game sessions and over 60 years of time spent in the app.  After taking home the top prize in the August 2011 AppMadness tournament, the developers turned their attention to the strong demand coming from the Annoying Orange fans with Android devices.

Created by Dane Boedigheimer, The Annoying Orange features an endearingly annoying and highly entertaining Orange that playfully heckles other fruits, vegetables or nearby objects with puns and jokes.  The Annoying Orange has taken the Internet by storm, racking up over 840 million total views on its dedicated channel on YouTube as of September 2011.  The Annoying Orange is the ninth-most-subscribed YouTube channel of all time with more than two million subscribers and has over 10 million fans on Facebook and Twitter.  The popularity has also translated over to the official web site, www.annoyingorange.com, which generates nearly 4 million page views each month.

In Annoying Orange: Kitchen Carnage, users can fling characters like Cantaloupe, Banana and Painapple to a gruesome demise while racking up points and bonus time in a quest to become the best Fruitslinger in the Kitchen. The Orange's unique humor extends to pop culture and historic world events, and the series appeals to children while still retaining an edgy appeal to teens and adults.

Annoying Orange: Kitchen Carnage comes on the heels of the announcement of the first wave of partners for The Annoying Orange licensing program. A master toy deal has been sliced with Jay Foreman's The Bridge Direct, Inc., the creative force behind such pop culture smash hits as the Justin Bieber and Britney Spears dolls, for a collection of talking plush, clip-ons, and collectible figures available at specialty retailers including Toys 'R Us and RadioShack beginning this November.  Annoying Orange apparel and accessories for young men and juniors from Hybrid Apparel and Accessory Innovations will begin rolling out this month through Spring 2012. A multi-platform marketing campaign will also support the rollout of all Annoying Orange product.

"The Thruster Apps team is very excited about the launch on the rapidly expanding Amazon Marketplace," said Matt Johnson, Executive Producer of the game. "We are honored that Amazon selected our game to join the ranks of other exclusive marketplace promotions like Angry Birds Rio and Plants vs. Zombies.  Android Orange fans now have opportunity to grab the game early and start the fruit-slinging mayhem!"

Grab a juicy piece of the Annoying Orange: Kitchen Carnage today for Android devices.  The game can be purchased in the Amazon Appstore for Android now for $0.99

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Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

The recently delayed Android 4.0 - ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) event went on at 9PM Tuesday night, and showed off a lot of direction Android is taking.

The ICS talk started with Google's strategy for the future of Android. They have three main goals for Android:

  • Enchant Me
  • Simplify My Life
  • Make Me Awesome

They claim that they used these goals to simplify, beautify, and enhance ICS in ways across the entire UI.

It begins with a new typeface called Roboto, which supposedly looks great on extra-high-density displays like the Galaxy Nexus will have (they didn't explicitly say whether Droid would be going away). Google is enhancing most of the interfaces with what they kept referring to as "Magazine-style" layouts. Also, there will be no hardware buttons on the front of the device, replacing with soft buttons like in Honeycomb (check out our Android tablets to see the basic style).

Consistency was mentioned several times in the presentation, with the same gestures being shown in a lot of different areas. Swiping to the left and right can page between views, so all the work we did on Top Chef and AARP to add in this behavior will definitely help us be forward-compatible for ICS. Borrowing from iOS, swiping a single item can remove it (flinging it offscreen) in several places.

As far as other things taken from iOS:

    • Folders created by dragging one icon on top of another. Folders existed before, but couldn't be created this way.
    • Apps can be killed from the multitasking list (using swiping to fling them away instead of a red X)
    • Individual notifications can be removed from Notifications (again using swiping)
    • Screenshot functionality added (Power + Volume Down)

    And lots of other tweaks to the UI & Apps:

    • View notifications from lock screen.
    • Spellchecker added to text entry areas (red line underneath words it believes are misspelled).
    • Talk to Type is now instant, typing as you talk instead of after you complete your sentence.
    • Face Unlock - facial recognition to unlock your device.
    • Accessibility - explore-by-touch uses a single tap to read the item being touched, another tap in that place opens it.

    Core App changes

    • Browser - manage tabs in the Action Bar, Enable Desktop version of a site with a checkbox option, bookmarks synched with Chrome, save pages for offline reading later, Incognito mode
    • Gmail - Swipe to page between messages, offline search (last 30 days, configurable for longer time periods)
    • Calendar - Pinch to zoom on days, swipe to page between days
    • Settings - Data usage charts (like Battery usage), with custom limits for a warning and a cutoff.
    • Data Usage Graph - can be filtered by time, and it shows which apps used data and how much, and whether it was foreground or background data. You can also restrict background data usage on a per app basis.
    • Photos - Launch camera from Lock screen, basic photo editing built in (including "hipster" filters), Panorama mode (takes photos automatically as you pan camera).
    • Gallery - new Magazine layout style, sorting by date, place, or tagged person
    • Video - 1080p, Continuous Focus, Time Lapse mode, some filter effects available.
    • Contacts - Concept of "Me", Magazine style for favorites (reminds me of Windows Phone 7 tiles), Quick Contact Card.
    • Phone - When calling someone, a photo displays across the whole screen, visual voicemail integrated for Google Voice, has speedup/slowdown of message, when declining a call you can quickly respond with a preset text message.
    • NFC Sharing aka Android Beam - Touch two phones together, touch to beam, done. (Google Maps, Browser, & Contacts built-in, can also share apps by beaming a link to the Android Market)

    For Developers:

    The new SDK (and tools) are available now, you'll need to get the new version of the Developer tools to see the new SDK, since the manager has changed.

    For Designers:

    Take a look at the new icon design guidelines, they've made changes to everything you know: http://developer.android.com/guide/practices/ui_guidelines/icon_design.html

    For Everyone:

    More details on what was changed here: http://developer.android.com/sdk/android-4.0-highlights.html

    Unfortunately, the first devices launching with ICS won't be until next month, and they haven't announced any other devices that will receive the update yet, but I would expect that information to come from Google in the next month.

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