We’ve all used the old fashioned clunky cash drawer in a store, but how about a future where this expensive and heavy item is no longer needed? The release of Square Register has made that a bit more likely, thanks to the app’s ability to accept card and cash payments via an iPad.
Square Register is ideal for the small business owner. Once the user signs up to the service, they’re provided with a free Square Card Readee. With a compatible cash drawer and receipt printer, it’s possible to take cash payments at a tap of a button. While card payments invoke a fee of 2.75% a transaction, cash payments are free to take making this an ideal app for those business owners dealing with small yet regular sums of cash.
It’s quick to sign up for, as well. Numerous analytical services are then made available so that the user can track their sales, what times of day are their busiest, how many tips have been accrued, and even tax-based inquiries.
It’s possible to keep track of what items have been sold and for how much, as well as create a loyalty program for customers. Electronic receipts can be provided instantly via SMS or email, but paper receipts are still an option.
It’s all very clever stuff and a great space and money saver for the business owner.
The Square Register app is available now for free.
Fans of Mashable can now take the megasite with them wherever they go via the new Mashable for iPad app. The app features the site’s full feed of blog stories and news posts, all optimized for viewing on your tablet. Furthermore, posts are also divided into categories, so you can easily sort all the tech articles, business posts, and so on with a simple tap. Furthermore, the app features robust social media options, allowing users to quickly share via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and the app displays how many times each story has been shared so you can see at a glance what’s making waves on any given day. Last but not least, swiping left or right on an article drills down and provides more specific content, while swiping up or down loads more stories.
Even though Mashable previously launched an iPhone app with somewhat similar features, this new creation is made especially for the iPad and seems to be more feature-rich than its handheld cousin. The interface has also been revamped to appear more attractive and easier to navigate, which users always appreciate. The total package is very nice, and we’re excited to see what new bells and whistles are added in future updates.
FaceTime is great for casual video conferencing use but for more professional purposes, a dedicated solution is a better idea. That’s precisely where Fuze Meeting HD enters the equation.
Initially free, Fuze Meeting HD offers online meetings and audio conferencing between two participants. In-app purchases priced at $29.99 or $69.99 then unlocks the ability to communicate with more participants at once.
With the iPad 2, live video can be sent during a video conference with everything viewable in HD. PowerPoint and Keynote presentations can be added, along with Word documents, PDFs and images all possible to add to the Fuze Meeting content library. Meetings can all be simply arranged via the iPad address book for further useful functionality.
When in a call, it’s easy to zoom and pan in, and it’s especially handy to be able to close the app and open other apps without ending the meeting.
It’s a simple yet effective solution for business people in need of regular collaboration while on the move. Fuze Meeting HD is out now.
How many sick days do I have left? Do I have enough personal time saved up to make that doctor’s appointment? I really want to get away for a couple of weeks, but I’m not sure I have enough vacation time for it.
We’ve all had these problems. Well with the magic of technological innovation and smart thinking, we can use Time Off to keep track of it all. And I do mean “it all.” Sick days, vacation days, personal days – anything that ultimately equates to paid days off – can be documented. It can keep track of multiple jobs, display accrued time in hours or days, and account for rollover. But perhaps the most impressive (and ingenious) feature is that users can send time-off requests to their employers via email from within the app itself.
I know it seems a little silly but I honestly find the concept behind Time Off to be incredibly exciting. And I think anyone who’s dealt with any (or all) of the issues I’ve mentioned about will probably agree with me.
To get it out of the way: The Proposal is not an app for proposing marriage, though it would be convenient with Valentine’s Day here. No, The Proposal is an app for a different kind of proposals – business proposals. This lets sales professionals access their proposal information directly on their iPad, in order easily make their business proposals. GPS data can be used to automatically add the user’s current address. Image locos can be added directly from the iPad or the web. Tax info can be added, along with detailed written proposals, with preset options available. This also means that proposals can be easily and quickly modified when being pitched to other clients. Proposals can be saved and exported with iTunes, saved as PDFs, printed directly form the app, or emailed directly to clients. The app also supports importing price lists as Excel spreadsheets either by being loaded into iTunes, or by being imported in from Dropbox. This versatile app for sales professionals is available now.
This week at 148Apps, we took your New Year’s resolutions seriously and started our “Health and Fitness” month. Editor Rob LeFebvre writes, “We’ve already taken a look at some apps that help us all acheive our goals, and we plan to continue that trend for the entire month, with personal stories from our crack writing team, continued reviews, and focused features like our Favorite Four.”
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2010-05-19 :: Category: Healthcare & Fitness
Our apps-for-kids site, GiggleApps, offered a review of Odd Spotting. Reviewer Amy Solomon says, “Odd Spotting, developed by Micromicon Media Limit, is an “odd one out” game with 144 levels, the goal of each being to spot the object that is different from all the others in the group. As I began to explore how Odd Spotting works, I couldn’t help but to remember the lyrics from a classic Sesame Street song, “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong.”
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-09-21 :: Category: Games
Finally, on 148Apps.biz, writer Jeff Hughes commented on Apple’s recent (and quiet) changes to app categorization on the App Store, saying “Just like Google, when iTunes makes the slightest change to their App Store search algorithm, it has an impact on how many people see your app. The recent changes to the category ordering have also impacted sales for many app vendors for better or worse. Some developers have been helped because their app is now in a category that is displayed higher on the mobile screen…Other developers may be adversely impacted due to the decrease in exposure for their app because their category now appears further down the list.”
And that, my friends, completes our rundown of happenings across the 148Apps network for the week of January 9-13. Keep track of all the latest news, reviews and contests by following us on Twitter or Liking us on Facebook. See you in a week!
We live in a digital era. We carry powerful computers around, able to communicate with anyone in the world, in our pockets! So why are we still trying to share our contact information through tiny little cards on printed paper stock? Card Swapp asks, why not share this information through QR codes? This app allows for users to encode their vital contact info – name, address, email, phone number, and social media usernames – into a QR code that can be shared with anyone. Users of Card Swapp can scan the code into the app directly through its quick and easy QR code reader. Non-Card Swapp users will be directed to a website that will display the contact’s information for them. Users of the Lite version of the app can export the information to email; the Pro version allows for the export of contacts to Google, Yahoo, and Outlook. For users looking to make it easier to share their information using an easily-distributable QR code, this is a viable option.
I’ve got an iPad full to the brim with photos taken over the years, ever since I first dipped into the iOS world. Numbering in the thousands, it’s comforting to know they’re there, ready to browse through at any time.
How to exhibit them to others, however? Or how about just a cool new way of watching a slideshow of images? That’s where Jiv3D enters the picture.
It’s a new app that automatically syncs music with photos, thus creating attractive showcases of all those memorable moments. With several different themes that can be applied and the ability to manipulate images with a tap of the screen, Jiv3D is a pretty neat app and extremely easy to use.
It’s an ideal app for all manners of different situations such as showing holiday snaps to the family or in the conference room to explain a concept to colleagues.
Jiv3D is out now for iPad owners and it’s a free download.
People who regularly go on business trips know the problems behind keeping track of the all too vital expense receipt. That tiny piece of paper makes all the difference between claiming back the gas or hotel bill with an employer, and having to pay for it out of a hard earned pay cheque. This is precisely how people end up with wallets and bags full of random pieces of paper, all in a muddle.
Lemon – Receipts Refreshed should solve all these problems. Users can simply scan their paper receipts in and the app turns these images into information that’s taggable and searchable, making it easy to consult at a later time. Individual items are listed along with the tax added upon payment. It’s an ideal way to keep everything organized and save users from having to keep a bundle of paper in their wallets. It’d even be useful for those who just need to curb their spending and keep an eye on where all the money is going!
Lemon – Receipts Refreshed is out now and it’s a free download.
This week at 148Apps, we celebrated the release of iOS 5 in style, providing guidance on setting up the now-iCloud-friendly device in a home with multiple computers, multiple iPhones and multiple iTunes accounts. 148Apps founder Jeff Scott writes, “If you have multiple iTunes accounts, you can sign in and out of the different accounts without issue from the Store settings. That is unless you turn on automatic downloads. New to iOS 5 are automatic downloads for the iTunes Store for Apps, Books, and Music. If this device only uses the one account, it’s safe to turn on any of these that you wish. But, turning this on will lock this device to this iTunes account for 90 days. So if multiple accounts are used, do not turn on automatic downloads.”
Meanwhile, on sister site GiggleApps, Amy Solomon reviewed an app sure to help your child become more adept with the alphabet, while also cultivating them into kiddie foodies. Solomon says that ABC Food is, “the latest and possibly greatest app from Peapod Labs’s series of ABC apps focused on both letter recognition as well as teaching about a specific topic, be it animals, music, modes of transportation or sports and includes the use of beautifully detailed photographs, videos from Youtube and sometimes fun facts as well. ABC Food includes a new feature to this series as this app contains fun interactions for each food highlighted within this application.”
Read the full review with a quick click over to GiggleApps.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-09-02 :: Category: Education
Data was the name of the game on 148Apps.biz. Rob LeFebvre writes that, “App search company Xylogic has released 220 app download reports from 29 different countries in order to provide partners with a huge amount of data to be used in decision making process across app publishers, developers and the like. The data is sortable across countries and mobile app platforms, including iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.”
Read what all of this data could mean for you on 148Apps.biz.
That’s the long and short of it for this week. Keep watching our Twitter and Facebook feeds for lots of news, updates and contests. See you next week, crimefighters!
As the iPad continues to revolutionize enterprise, products from established software companies are being given new life. ProSel, from the 25-year-old sales software provider Ai2, is just the latest example. ProSel brings Ai2′s mobile sales solutions to the world of tablet computing.
Designed for wholesale distributors, ProSel gives professional users streamlined access to their large amounts of data through digitization and automation. This includes data like item catalogs, inventories, bar codes, changing prices and taxes, and even promotional materials. In addition to reducing paper clutter, ProSel also allows sales representatives to easily make presentations to retail customers, place large orders, and handle returns while cloud syncing over WiFi or 3G quickly makes sure that everything accurate and up to date.
A free demo of ProSel is currently available on the App Store. Companies wishing to integrate ProSel into their office system receive full support from Ai2 engineers as soon as they license the software. Once finished, companies can access their information through their custom version of ProSel.
This week, August 8-12, 148Apps interviewed Matt Gravelle, co-founder of Graveck, the developer behind one of the most successful and addictive iPhone games – Skee-Ball. Interviewer Gianna LaPin writes, “Graveck has recently started developing for the Android platform; this, combined with all the recent advances in the iOS world, is enough to make Matt’s head spin. Looking forward, he sees steady, predictable advancements in the mobile computing field instead of major breakthroughs in the near future. Specifically he agrees with Apple’s move towards creating a more seamless, cohesive user experience between devices by leveraging cloud storage, and Graveck plans on adopting that same philosophy.”
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-22 :: Category: Games
Over on 148Apps.biz, founder Jeff Scott announced the upcoming App Developer’s Conference in Santa Clara, CA: “The App Developers Conference is the essential event for everyone building and selling apps for emerging devices. From smart phones to smart cars, applications and connectivity are driving the consumer application market forward at warp speed. This event brings development professionals together with the platforms, tools, services, and brand marketers that are working to connect people, places and things.”
The fine folks at GiggleApps reviewed an app designed to teach kids the basics of drawing, appropriately called How to Draw. Reviewer Amy Solomon writes, “How To Draw is a creative and fun application that explains, step by step, the elements used to draw simple pictures how and to re-create these drawings themselves. Although universal, this app best performs on the iPad when one is following along, drawing within this app, but this app also included is a very nice section which allows the viewer to just watch these images progress as well – something that can be enjoyed on either iPad or iPhone.”
Sorry for the headline pun, but we couldn’t help it. Appsbar is a startup that launched in April, giving anyone the ability to publish their own professional level apps for submission to the App Store (as well as to the Android Market).
Last week, Appsbar brough in some new functionality, allowing business who take advantage of the free Appsbar creation tools to include appCoupons – digital coupon functionality, easily added to any app created with the web based tools.
“The proliferation of smartphones, social networks, and the community that is growing out of appsbar has let us create this perfect, all-new way for businesses to directly make and deliver digital coupons without all the restrictions and without any of the cost,” said appsbar co-founder Scott Hirsch. “Our goal is to give businesses of any size a way to maximize the effectiveness of digital coupons. Now businesses can build and share appsCoupon on any social platform, email or mobile database they want.”
The application of such an easily produced system should be obvious to business owners who are looking for another way to use coupons in their bid to take over the retail world both locally and nationally. In addition, appCoupons will let businesses control their own coupon promotions, without giving away any of their control or profit, as might be true of a service like Groupon.
These digital coupons can be created using the same wizard and back-end code checker that is included in the free Appsbar set of tools, which can include calendar, menus, soundboard, graphics and GPS capabilities. Once created, the business owner can then notify the users of their app that a coupon is ready for quick and direct marketing. In addition, Appsbar tools allow apps made with the system to be shared on social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
While apps made with Appsbar are necessarily simple, a savvy business owner could well take advantage of such a system to bring the power of smartphones and digital coupons to their own local business. Be sure to check out Appsbar’s website for more info.
It may not be a huge trend, but it appears that a growing number of companies are offering funds to assist developers to create and/or promote their apps in the Apple and Android markets. These companies foresee that the number of mobile phones and tablets purchased is only going to keep on rising for the foreseeable future along with the number of apps for these users. It’s a good time to get into the marketplace. Case in point: Gamevil recently announced a $10 million partnership fund for external developers who have smartphone gaming ideas.
Bestselling business card app Business Card Reader has released a new update set to significantly improve everything possible about it.
For the uninitiated, Business Card Reader sets to save you plenty of time by importing contact information from a business card straight into your iPhone’s address book. We’ve all been there, you’ve been off networking and collecting up many business cards from various potentially useful contacts. Now you’re stuck having to add all that information manually. Scan it in with Business Card Reader and your time is instantly saved. It even works with business cards in other languages or with unusual characters. Jason reviewed it last year and gave it a sterling review with 4.5 stars out of 5.
This latest update hopes to make everything more efficient. There’s improved contact editing courtesy of the new contact editor and there’s a great scanned card preview to check out as you go along. Plus the app is all too happy to highlight symbols that it’s not certain about.
Business Card Reader was already an essential app for the networker, especially for iPhone 4 owners who seemed to have the best results with the scanning engine, but this update sets to make it that bit more useful.
The update is free for owners of the last version. Those who are interested in taking the plunge with the app can purchase it for $5.99.
In what is quickly becoming an annual tradition here at 148Apps, we have scoured the web to bring you all the latest and greatest info on Black Friday app sales that are going to be popping up starting this week. Here’s the list of our favorite deals and discounts we have seen so far, and we’ll keep updating this post with new info as it becomes available. Hide your wallet, because here comes a whole lot of digital goodness at ridiculously low prices.
We’ve split the list up into Games, Apps, and Navigation apps. There’s lots of money to be saved here and we’ll be adding to it throughout the weekend. We can’t put every single sale app on the list. If you want to see every single app as it goes on sale, head on over to our App Price Drops page. There’s a filterable list there that you can see the hundreds of apps that go on sale every day. You can even search just for the app that are now free.
Update 11/23, 1:30pm – Believe it or not we already have an update. Lots of titles from EA and Gameloft added. Also Quickoffice apps and a few others.
Update 11/23, 5:30pm – Lots more added. They just keep coming!
Update 11/23, 10:00pm – Found a few more to add, including a few new apps.
Update 11/24, 8:00am – Added many more games, TomTom apps, and more.
Update 11/24, 5:30pm – Added even more. Will it ever stop? 224 Total now!
Update 11/25, 8:00am – Happy Thanksgiving! Up to 270+ now. Added Activision, more EA, and a bunch of great indie games. Also Sketchbook Pro (for $0.99) and more to the apps list way down below the games.
Update 11/25, 10:00am – Bird is in the oven, what to do now? Update the Black Friday sale app list! 25 more added bringing us to nearly 300!
Update 11/26, 8:00am – Oh my. Turkey coma really took a hold of me last night. Gravy hangover in full effect but we still added 80+ new sale items bringing the total up to 389! And remember, leftover pumpkin pie is the true breakfast of champions.
Update 11/26, 10:00am – added a couple more and due to some issues reported, we’ve split up the post into multiple pages. Not something we like to do, but it’s getting really long and overloading some browsers.
Update 11/27, 12:00pm – prices are still in flux. I’ve added a few new, noteworthy sales to the top. While many of the following are still available, more and more are going back up in price all the time. I’ve removed a few that have expired. Make sure you double check the price in iTunes before you purchase the app.
Update 11/29, 9:00am – Black Friday has now morphed in to a whole weekend and the following Monday. While lots of apps on our list below have gone back up in price, a few more have been added to the top of our list. Including the lowest price we’ve seen for GTA: Chinatown Wars and TomTom USA.
There once was a time when paper and blackberries dominated the commercial world. Now, it’s turning into iPads and iPhones. With more and more businesses seeking not only paperless solutions but also backup solutions, the iPad’s role as a paper replacement is becoming more and more popular, most evident from yesterday’s financial data, released by Apple, announcing that some 4.19 million iPads were sold in Q4 alone.
Of course, the commercial world requires commercial applications. And that’s where iOrder comes in. The application, created by moveinCloud, “can collect orders from your customers in no time at all. iOrder keep archives of your customers and your products on your device, this means that you do not need to be connected to the Internet for work.” The official blurb continues “through an account moveinCloud.com, if you want you can also synchronize your data with the platform and access it from your web browser wherever you are.”
In essence, iOrder is an all-in-one customer utility tool for salesmen and marketers, allowing customer order information to be visible within just a few taps. The application goes further still, with order placement and an entire catalogue of available products right there on screen. It all works through moveinCloud, a web-based online data storage service that removes the need to install applications.
But how far will the iPad branch into the commercial world in the near future with regards to sales? iOrder is certainly a step in the right direction, but I’ve yet to see a salesman bring out an iPad for an order. Even the Apple staff stick to macs when it comes to ordering in-store.
Campfire, the project collaboration application with real time chat designed for private groups where members can share files, text, code and more (think of it as a more powerful IRC client), can now be found on the App Store as an official application by 37signals due to a takeover of Ember, the third-party application developer of Campfire. Ember, as it was then known, was originally priced at $9.99, but developers 37signals saw an opportunity which allowed them to “work out a deal [with Ember and make] a few changes to the app” according to the official blog. As of July 26th, the application has rebranded and re-released with a new price tag: rather, no price tag at all. It’s free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Although the application itself is free, a Campfire account is not. The basic package allows up to 12 chatters and 1GB of storage for $12 a month, and for $24 a month you can upgrade that to 25 chatters, 3GB of storage as well as 500 conference call minutes and enhanced security over the Basic package. A free 30-day trial is available on all accounts.
37signals continues to become a prominent player in the business network, having released other popular applications and clients that allow more professional social networking to take place. Basecamp, Highrise and Backpack all have one thing in common: their developer is Campfire creator 37signals. You can download the free Campfire application by clicking the link below, which will redirect you to iTunes.
Businesses need to keep up with the times to remain competitive these days and keeping up with the times currently means the iPad. Air Forms from Polar Bear Farm looks to provide just such a competitive edge by making it easier for businesses to use their existing databases to create tools that can be used on the move via the iPad.
Yep, it sounds dull and, if you don’t use an iPad or any form of database in your work, Air Forms won’t be your particular cup of tea. But if your business relies on its core information being available to staff outside the office, this could be a handy tool for you.
The app allows businesses to create their own native iPad interfaces for employees in the field whether they’re using the database for tracking data or inputting sales data. The app offers local and cloud data options with the former using data stored on the iPad and cloud allowing multiple users to access the same information. Beyond this setup, users can then create their own interfaces that, from the examples we’ve seen, look great.
Sure, it’s not for everyone, but Air Forms will certainly fill a niche for a wide range of businesses, especially those without a dedicated IT infrastructure.
In all of these months since the app store launched, I’ve been hesitant to be negative of Apple and the app store approval process. Developers have responded passionately and repeatedly with stories of rejected apps and even apps removed from the app store for various reasons. Sometimes they were right, the rejection didn’t make sense. But many times, they were wrong, the app should have been rejected due to obvious reasons.
But today, it seems as though Apple has gone from being just mysterious in it’s approval process to outright complacent. With the removal of apps that use the Google Voice APIs to allow you to access their services, Apple has crossed a line into scary overlord territory. It almost seems as though roles in the 1984 commercial have been reversed.
So yes, these apps may duplicate some of the functions of the iPhone. But as many argue, they don’t, as the features they supply aren’t available on the iPhone. They no more duplicate functions than any of hundreds of apps that provide weather information, calendar interfaces, embedded browsers, contact management, sms services, heck, even the dozens of voice recorders already released now duplicate a default application in OS 3.0.
My big question is, what made this happen now? Is AT&T behind this rejection? If so, this adds to a list of innovative apps they have neutered. For example, SlingPlayer, an application that AT&T even publicizes for Blackberry was restricted to only working over Wifi for the iPhone. Ridiculous… that basically strips 90% of it’s functionality. And if they are behind the rejection of Google Voice related apps, an application that’s already available on Blackberries as well, on their network even, I have to wonder what’s going on? What are they thinking? What are they afraid of?
I can’t believe it’s really their network. They have been adding new customers regularly. Not just this quarter, but for the past 2 years. They’ve had time to upgrade their network as needed for all these new iPhone customers.
Further, why would Apple be in such a stranglehold from AT&T? Why would Apple allow AT&T to stifle innovation in this platform and restrict such applications? It’s boggling why AT&T treats iPhones and their users with such a lack of respect even though we pay more for the same service than other customers.
So, to get to my point, what all this adds up to is that the iPhone is still the best mobile platform to develop for, by far. We all know that. But the platform that freed developers in so many ways is being increasingly perceived as a hostile environment. There are too many unknowns for some developers to put the time and expense into developing the next big, innovative app for the platform when they have no way of even verifying that they can ever release their app.
People are starting companies, risking their livelihoods and their futures on the iPhone and the iTunes App Store. It’s just bad developer (not to mention public) relations to operate such a veiled process like this knowing that so many people depend on it for their livelihood. Not to mention that it will eventually end up in court and could cost Apple a bundle.
So, Mr. Jobs, I ask this of you. You have the power to fix all of these problems. Please do so and we can all be a big happy family again.
First, take the developer agreement and re-write it. At its core, the problem is that Apple has only published rules to developers that basically say, we’ll approve what we want to, here are a few very non-specific guidelines to follow.
Get your product managers in there and tell them to re-write it so that it is written for the benefit of the developers not Apple’s legal department. No blanket statements, be specific with details about what is and is not allowed. Leave nothing out. Then, open it up for discussion with your devoted developers to get their feedback. And then, stick to it. No exceptions like you made for AT&T (going around the in-app purchasing with their GPS app), or Google (use of undocumented APIs for the proximity sensor). We’ll all be happier if we are all on a well explained and level playing field.
Second, slap AT&T, tell them that they have no control over the app store. Apple, you have created a revolution with this platform and it’s bigger than AT&T. But, if they are restricting innovation it can never come close to it’s full potential.
And Steve, can I call you Steve? That brings up a bigger topic related to AT&T. Can you please do something about the AT&T exclusivity in the USA? They treat the iPhone like it’s a cheap Nokia feature phone, not like the best phone ever seen by man. They treat it like a nuisance and it’s users like second-class citizens. We aren’t treated as we should be treated, as their only hope for a future and the only reason they are still in business. AT&T are acting like narrow-minded, slow to upgrade, innovation stifling knuckleheads. So, please, use your powers, the ones that you so deftly used a few years to get your way with AT&T, to either get them to clean up their act, or move on to Verizon like everyone thinks is going to happen.
Publisher / Founder
When the release date of Rolando 2 was announced, ngmoco:) also indicated that Rolando, the original, was going to be pulled from the app store when the sequel goes live. It’s an odd move, very smart, and yet wrong at the same time.
I recently asked Neil Young, CEO of ngmoco:), why the original Topple was no longer in the App Store, his comment was “We pulled it, trying something.” Short response and at the time I didn’t think much of it. I assumed they were planning on trying some new marketing technique with it. Turns out they were testing a fundamental business idea in preparation for the Rolando 2 release. Something new, something that really may change the way we think of games in the app store. Apps aren’t forever anymore.
According to our App Store database, Rolando was released originally on December 8, 2008. That effectively puts the lifespan of the original Rolando at 7 months. Is that really all the life Rolando has left in it? I doubt it. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be pulled from the app store when Rolando 2 is released.
While Rolando is their product and they have the absolute right to do with it what they choose, pulling it just doesn’t feel right. Something about the spirit seems wrong. They aren’t doing anything odd with the price to rise up the charts and increase the price to ride the higher exposure as many high profile developers have been doing lately. But they are sacrificing a product and it’s customers for increased expose for the next episode. Maybe I’m just being too sentimental, but I want to see the game stick around.
Back to the original test that ngmoco:) did, removing Topple from the app store. I’m not sure that it relates directly, removing Topple, a free app, to see what it does to sales of Topple 2 at $0.99. But there is something obvious to it. By removing Topple, they see if that increases sales of Topple 2, the more recent game.
By removing Rolando when the sequel comes out, they don’t lose any sales to the original, cheaper version. When users search for Rolando, they will get just 1 result, and 1 price. That makes sense as a certain percentage people would probably choose the cheaper one, and it removes any confusion of their marketing message for the new game.
What doesn’t make sense is why remove one of the best games on the App Store? Rolando may not have been a runaway commercial success, but it is a great game, very well reviewed, and still has some life in it. You know, what about the long tail? What about all those articles that point to Rolando on the app store. They won’t point to Rolando 2 automatically — you’ll just get the error on the app store that the app is not available.
This decision is also bad for people who have purchased the original Rolando. The app store is a digital delivery system. The only way to get Rolando is to download it from iTunes either on the desktop or on the device. If you don’t have a backup, and you lose it, you’ll never get it back if it’s no longer in the store. In addition, there have been weekly updates for a while from Rolando, building up to the release of Rolando 2. If you haven’t updated in a while, and you wait until July 1, you’ll never see those updates.
And what about the people that try Rolando 2 and want more? They know it’s a sequel, why can’t they get the original. Perhaps the original Rolando levels will be available as in-app purchases in Rolando 2.
It seems as though ngmoco:) is willing to live with a little bit of bad customer experience to try to increase the sales of a new game. Not a great thing, but considering the constraints of the App Store and the very limited ways that developers can operate, it might be the best decision. If nothing else, you have to hand it to them for trying something different and thinking about how to best build a business in the maddening chaos known as the iTunes App Store. It will be interesting to see if other publishers follow suit and do the same. Let’s hope not.
I hope we’ll see Rolando and Topple back in the store, re-released as classic versions maybe, at some point in the future. For now, I think I’ll make sure I have the latest version, do a back-up, and play a little Classic Rolando while I wait for Rolando 2.