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Archives: April 2010

Twitter Releases Android App

Twitter is in the process of providing official Twitter applications for all of the major mobile platforms, and it officially released the Twitter Android App today. The application is currently in the Android Market, but unfortunately is only available for phones running Android 2.1 or higher. The Twitter iPhone app will be a rebranded version of Tweetie, which Twitter aquired in early April. Twitter partnered with RIM to develop the official Twitter app for Blackberry, which is also available.

When you first start the Twitter Android app, you are presented options to synchronize who you are following in Twitter with your Android Contacts. You can specify whether to synchronize all the Twitter IDs that you are following, only those that are already in your Contacts, or not synchronize. After you configure the synchronization settings, you see the application home screen.

The Twitter branding really stands out throughout the application, which uses the light blue color that you see on the Twitter web site along with the Twitter logo. On the home screen you see options for Tweets, Lists, Mentions, Retweets, Direct Messages, and My Profile. At the bottom of the screen you see the familiar “tweetie” bird, flying through the air and surrounded by trending topics that automatically appear. If you prefer, you can turn the animation off in the app settings. Tap the bird to display all of the current trending topics, in addition you can see the trending topics for the last day and week.

I found some interesting features in the app that I don’t believe I have seen in other Twitter clients. For example, the Retweets section has three tabs: By you, By others, and Retweeted. The By you tab displays the tweets that you have retweeted, By others displays the tweets the people you are following retweeted, and the Retweeted tab displays your tweets that other people have retweeted. It appears that retweets do not appear in the Tweets section, which displays your Twitter timeline of tweets posted by the people you follow.

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Image courtesy of Twitter

Most users will spend the majority of their time in the Tweets section, which is where you see all the tweets of the people you follow and where you compose your own tweets. The Tweets section has a Maps function that displays a map of tweets, however for me it displays a few tweets in New York and I can’t figure out how to view other tweets on the map. At the top of the section, under the Twitter logo, is a drop down to switch between tweets, mentions, and favorites.

Composing a tweet is straightforward, you tap the compose icon at the top of the Tweets section to open a message box to enter a tweet. At the top of the compose section are buttons for uploading a picture, taking a picture, and selecting one of your followers to insert a mention (@ reply) in the tweet. Press the menu button for options to insert a URL or compose a direct message. Picture uploads and URL shortening appear in the background and worked quickly in my tests. Unfortunately, URL shortening requires you to enter “http://” in the URL or it does not work. A thumbnail version of the pictures you and others share in Twitter appears right in the Tweets section, unlike other apps that only display the picture URL.

The Search features in the Twitter app utilize the location capabilities of Twitter and Android. You can tap a button to search for all tweets near your location, or you can enter a search term and have only the tweets near your location with that term display. The most recent search terms are saved in the Search section so that they can be re-used. The Profile section displays all of your tweets, displays your profile, which you can edit, and displays all the other items associated with your ID such as who you are following and your lists.

The program settings are straight forward, you can control whether to sync Twitter data and how often, configure notification settings, turn the background animation on or off, and specify what photo-upload and URL-shortening services to use. The app has two photo-uploading services, TwitPic and yfrog, and two URL-shortening services, bit.ly and TinyURL.

Overall, I am impressed with the Twitter app and plan to start using it as the main Twitter client on my Nexus One. It appears to have more features than the third party Twitter apps and also seems to be faster.

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Social Media 201

Social Media 201Starting October 13Social Media 201 picks up where Social Media 101 left off, to provide you with hands-on instruction for gaining likes, followers, retweets, favorites, pins, and engagement. Social media experts will teach you how to make social media marketing work for your bottom line and achieving your business goals. Register now!

iPad 3G Arrives

Today is another iPad event day as the iPad 3G + Wi-Fi model started selling in Apple and Best Buy stores at 5 PM local time. People who pre-ordered their iPads at the Apple on-line store also received their iPads today. Unfortunately, my iPad is not in that first set of orders, but I did receive my shipping notice so that I will finally have my own iPad early next week.

Some interesting information is appearing on various web sites from those who now have the 3G iPads:

- TUAW reports that every iPad 3G is assigned a phone number even though there is no phone in the device. Apparently when you call the number you hear a recording saying that the person you are trying to reach is not accepting calls at this time.

- Skype does not work over 3G.

- Engadget says the ABC application does not play over 3G and iTunes store previews and Netflix streams are downsampled over the 3G network.

- Gizmodo did some speed testing on the 3G network with the iPad and found its data transfer speeds to be comparable to the iPhone 3GS. Apparently you also need to create a new account when setting up the 3G service as opposed to using a .Mac account.

- Yesterday I wrote about the iPad 3G’s GPS capability and that I don’t understand why someone would use the iPad to navigate in a car. Gizmodo has a video of a car mount for the iPad, and again I say it doesn’t make sense to me to mount the iPad in a car.

Zune HD Unofficially Becomes A Microsoft Platform

No doubt you probably are scratching your head about the title of this post, as certainly, Zune HD is officially a Microsoft platform. However, up until now it has been missing a critical item available on every Microsoft platform since the launch of Windows. Three new apps are now in the Zune Marketplace, two games, Labyrinth and Solitaire, and one utility, Stopwatch. Every Microsoft OS since Windows has had a version of Solitaire, and the card game has been conspicuous by its absence for the Zune. The version of Solitaire doesn’t look the same as what you see in Windows or Windows Mobile, but plays just as well. If you own a Zune HD, go into the Apps section of the Marketplace to download the apps to your Zune.

Friday Podcast: Social Gaming Summit Sneak Preview

neillogoFor this week’s Friday Podcast, I discuss some of the most exciting sessions from the upcoming Social Games Summit, and talk about what you can expect at the Summit. We’re all really excited here at Social Times about the show, and the response has been really surprising in the last few weeks. Take a listen as I discuss some of the interesting speakers and sessions that will be live at the show.
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The Penguincubator: The Future of Books Circa 1935

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Publishing Perspectives ran an interesting essay by James Bridle the other day about the publisher Allen Lane, who, in 1934, brought the paperback to the masses. Additionally, he invented the machine you see above, called the Penguincubator, a vending machine for paperback books.

Here’s an excerpt: In the Penguincubator we see several desires converge: affordable books, non-traditional distribution, awareness of context, and a quiet radicalism. And it’s not a huge leap of the imagination to see how these apply now. I see the same bored gaze on the bus and tube today, as people reflexively flip open their phones and start poking at email or casual games, as Allen Lane saw on the platform at Exeter in 1933. And slowly–oh, so slowly–publishers are seeing that what we are presented with is not the death of everything we trust, value and hold dear, but a similar widening vista of opportunity to that which arrived with the mass-market paperback.”

It’s impossible not to see this machine and think of today’s Espresso Book Machine, the instant POD printer already housed in some book stores. It’s also impossible not to note, as Publishing Perspectives does, that this kind of alternative distribution method put booksellers on edge, as eBooks and POD books are doing now. Of course, Lane’s paperbacks also expanded the reach of the book business considerably…

Peanut Labs and Nexon Offer Teens Virtual Credits For Completing Surveys

peanutlabslogo Peanut Labs, one of the leading social media monetization companies, and Nexon, one of the top online MMO companies, are partnering to offer virtual currency to teenagers in exchange for completion of teenage-focused surveys.  The goal is to collect critical research on teenage behaviors and habits when it comes to social games, and then use those to better refine their services.

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Microsoft Kills Its iPad Killer, The Courier

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Rumors have long been circulating that Microsoft had a dual-screen tablet in the works called the Courier. Now, Gizmodo, the blog that first reported on the Courier’s development, has reported that Microsoft has axed the project.

Here’s more from Gizmodo: “We’re told that on Wednesday…Microsoft execs informed the internal team that had been working on the tablet device that the project would no longer be supported. Courier had never been publicly announced or acknowledged as a Microsoft product.”

So, it looks like Microsoft will not be pushing into the increasingly crowded eBook and tablet markets, alas.

This Week In Social Games – April 30, 2010

This week, we posted a series of Social Gaming Summit previews including a list of the Top 5 Social Games for Hardcore Gamers and an interview with David Fox who helped create the Family Feud game with iWin. We also saw two major gaming companies enter into social gaming, with Lucasarts licensing The Secret of Monkey Island for Facebook and Square-Enix announcing they would be entering the space. Finally, Google acquired PixieLabs game company and Playdom made another acquisition with Merscom. Read on for more information!
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Game Review: Dominate your Foes in Superhero City

supericon1Superhero City is a text-based social RPG that lets players live the dream of being a superhero. Players perform traditional RPG functions such as doing missions along with player-to-player combat that has flashy animation playouts. The game currently has 512,000 MAU and we thought we’d see if the gameplay will keep those players coming back.

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