Mobile Monday: Mobile App News for Week of August 4th

Millennial Media partners with McDonalds to give out free coffee on Mondays in August

image McDonalds and Millennial Media have teamed up to promote the Iced McCafé Mocha and Hot McCafé Mocha to Hispanics in the New York City area.

Through the use of banner ads on the Millennial Media network, ads will be delivered to the target community that prompts them to go to a landing page and sign up for four SMS text messages reminding them that they can get a free 7oz Iced McCafé Mocha or an 8oz Hot McCafé Mocha on Mondays in August.  The promotion will run through August 21st, and users who opt-in to the promotion will also be reminded of two unnamed local events.

“The new McCafé Mocha Mondays is a creative mobile effort, and we are excited to work with McDonald’s to help them capitalize on the targeted power of mobile advertising,” said Marcus Startzel, SVP of Sales, Millennial Media.

If companies like McDonalds are beginning to realize the demographic targeting potential of mobile advertising, then things could begin to get very interesting in the space.  Add in the word "Free" with some sort of food and drink, and apps that have these ads appearing in them could see an increase in their click-thru rates.  Hopefully this is the beginning of a trend and we will see more promotions like this cropping up.

Big week for Android with multiple handsets hitting the streets

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At last the G1 won’t be the only Android OS phone running around in the wild in consumer’s hands!

T-Mobile has officially launched the myTouch 3G here in the United States.  This does nothing but bode well for Android developers as it finally gives consumers a choice in handsets running the Google OS, meaning more handsets in the wild, and more people looking to download apps!

The Samsung Galaxy also got a surprise brother in the form a white version of the Samsung GT-I7500 Galaxy.  While the black version has already been released in Europe, the white version was only a rumor until photos of it turned up this week at TheUnwired.net.

Also popping up this week were the first photos of the Motorola Shules (or Sholes … no one can seem to agree) over at PhoneArena.com.  This device is going to be launching on Verizon at some point.  This new handset is rumored to have the following specs:

  • 3.7-inch touchscreen ( 480×854 pixels)
  • 5MP camera
  • 3.5mm audio jack

The only question you should be left with all of these new Android handsets floating around with is, if you aren’t developing apps for Android yet, why aren’t you?

As the Palm Pre gets set to hit Canada, app developers gather at their first conference

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While the Palm Pre has been most associated with Sprint since they got the exclusivity for the initial launch, that never meant they would be the only carrier.  It was announced this week that Bell Canada would be getting the first webOS powered phone on August 27th.  It will be selling for $199.95 Canadian with a three year contract and a  minimum 500mb data plan.  (and we thought two year plans were bad in the USA … ouch.)  Reports are that it will be exclusive with Bell for six months before moving on to other Canadian carriers.

So with a new market opening up, app downloads should go up.  Good thing that the the first round of  preDevCamps were hosted on Sunday in cities around the world!  Palm CTO Mitch Allen greeted developers with a short video that gave some key talking points that give us a bit of a view into the world of webOS app development such as that the software development kit (SDK) has been downloaded by tens of thousands of would be developers and the app store has served over 2.5 million downloads thus far.  Seeing as only one handset has been released on one carrier in one country thus far, those are some pretty impressive numbers.  Here is the video in its entirety.

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Another week, another app controversy for Apple

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After the whole Google Voice app debacle, you would have thought that Apple would be a bit more cautious with its app store rejections. Saldy, you would have thought wrong.

The saga of the Ninjawords app (iTunes link) actually starts all the way back on May 13th when Matchstick Software first submitted it to the App Store for review.  What followed was a two month trip through the bowels of Apple’s approval process that no one is soon to forget.  Daring Fireball has a detailed run down of everything that happened, but the short version is that Apple repeatedly rejected the dictionary application over its inclusion of certain words.

Imagine that, a dictionary, a repository for words, including some ‘dirty’ words.

After a lengthy fight with Apple, the application was released to the App Store on July 13th, minus some of the ‘questionable’ words, and carrying a 17+ rating for any one who wished to download it.  To give you an idea of how draconian the list of words Apple wanted omitted from the app were, they included "ass" and "screw".  To add even more insult to injury, I took a look at the Dictionary.com (iTunes link) app on my own iPod Touch, and both words were indeed there along with the slang definitions.  This app does not carry a 17+ rating and is available for free to all users.

Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller contacted Daring Fireball after the story went out and said that the problems really came from the fact that Ninjawords used the Wiktionary.org database for its words list, and that the editable dictionary contained far more questionable words than any other dictionary app.  Mr. Schiller also said that at no time did Apple ask Matchstick Software to censor words out of the dictionary, they just merely wanted the ability to place a 17+ rating on the app.  They informed the company that parental controls were going to be included with iPhone OS 3.0, and perhaps the company should wait to resubmit the app until after that time, so it appears a portion of this was bad timing on submitting the app.

However you look at the situation, it was a disaster from the get go.  Perhaps Matchstick Software should have waited.  Maybe Apple should learn to communicate its wishes more clearly.  Whichever way you do it, it is clear that Apple and its app developers need to find an easier way to get on the same page.

Google will circumvent Apple with a Google Voice web app

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When the iPhone and iPod Touch first appeared on the scene, long before there was an "app store", developers were releasing web apps which were customized web pages that were build with the Apple product’s screen dimensions in mind.  Well, according to The New York Times, Google is going to go that route with a Google Voice web app so that the company can get around the much publicized rejection of its app to the App Store.

Google is promising the new web page will deliver all of the functionality that the app was going to, it just won’t be released through Apple this time.  Can Google really deliver on all of the features?  Only time will tell, but short of putting in some sort of browser filter, Apple won’t have any way to stop them this time.

[Editor’s Note and Disclosure: Millennial Media is a sponsor of SiliconANGLE –spa]