Mobile Monday: Mobile App News for Week of November 22nd

image New site keeps track of those many talked about iPhone App Store rejections

It seems like every week we hear some sort of wacky story about another app being denied approval for admittance to the hallowed halls of the iPhone App store.  The question has been what causes these rejections, what great crimes have these potential applications committed that makes Apple lock them out of the store?  Well, there’s an app for that … er, there’s a web site for that.

The aptly named AppRejections.com is a new site trying to document all of the various apps that have been rejected from the store, and the reasons that the developers have been given by Apple.  It’s an intriguing look inside the process from those that have suffered the sting of the rejections, and exactly what caused them.  It could be a great tool for those just getting into the process on what exactly they can do to avoid similar fates.

I particularly liked the story of an app named ShakeCharge that was told quite pointedly by an App Store employee, “Please don’t ever re-submit this application, we will never accept it. Spend your time and energy on other applications.”

Ouch.

phil schiller

Phil Schiller opens up somewhat on what causes iPhone apps to be rejected

Speaking of iPhone app rejections, Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice-president for worldwide product marketing, spoke with Business Week recently and was more candid than is usual for an Apple employee about what exactly causes some apps to be rejected.

As everyone everywhere knows, Apple does not often raise its veil of secrecy, but considering the ongoing bad press the company has received over its "gatekeeper" status with the App Store, someone was going to have to talk eventually.

While the interview is fairly short when you look at just the quotes, it still clears up some of the reasoning behind some of the latest rejections and what the company is doing to change the process to make it at least a bit more lenient.

One of the best known cases of rejection as of late has been that of Rogue Amoeba’s update to its Airfoil Speakers app.  While the first version of the app made it through the process, an update got it removed from the store due to the use of trademarked images of Apple products that indicated which source a user was streaming music from to their iPhone or iPod Touch.  The images were there for nothing more than source identification, and that is what confused everyone.  While Mr. Schiller never specifically mentions Airfoil Speaker’s, he does mention the type of situation:

We need to delineate something that might confuse the customer and be an inappropriate use of a trademark from something that’s just referring to a product for the sake of compatibility.  We’re trying to learn and expand the rules to make it fair for everyone.

While trademark defense is essential to maintaining your hold on it, as my just-graduating-law-school friend tells me on a constant basis, but Mr. Schiller is totally correct that they need to define the lines of what is and isn’t appropriate a bit more clearly.  (As a side note, Airfoil Speakers is now back in the App Store … with its original artwork.)

blackberry tour

RIM BlackBerry apps to get ads, in-app payments, locations and more

We missed this story last week, but it’s important enough that it needs to be brought up for sure.

According to MobiAD, Research In Motion (RIM) is getting more serious about the apps on its popular line of BlackBerry smartphones.  While the phones have supported apps for some time now, RIM only seemed to get serious about them in the wake of the success of the iPhone App Store.  While App World has allowed users to find all of the applications in a centralized spot, the apps have still been lacking some of the functionality of its iPhone cousins.

New features that are expected to launch in early to mid-2010 include:

  • BlackBerry Advertising Service – RIM will be allowing app developers to add advertising their applications from a pool of mobile advertising platforms that include Jumptap, Lat49, Millennial Media, Navteq, 1020 Placecast, Quattro Wireless and Sympatico.ca
  • BlackBerry Payment Service – In-app payments will allow developers to include one-time sales of content, monthly or annual subscriptions and upgrades or additional level sales for games or entertainment applications.
  • BlackBerry Push Service – Developers and content providers will be able to deliver time sensitive alerts and up to 8KB of data to applications that are installed on a BlackBerry.
  • Location Services – This will include:
  1. Reverse Geocoding so that a geo location can be turned into a real address.
  2. Cell site geolocation so that developers will have options other than using GPS
  3. Travel time will allow apps to calculate travel time for apps.

All-in-all, things are going to get far more interesting on the BlackBerry in the coming year.

android-logo

Android phones get a third-party app store that helps it get its freak on

While everyone else seems intent on protecting their app stores, Google’s Android has the possibility of downloading apps from sources other than the Android Market, and thanks to that little trick, porn is coming to the Android OS.

Yes, you heard right … porn.

MiKandi.com is a new site that has opened up as a third-party app store for Android-based phones to download porn specific applications.  While the store only features one entry at this time, an app that lets users control the intensity of the phone’s vibration, that is sure to change in the coming weeks .

This is interesting for two very large reasons:

  • No matter how you feel about pornography, it has been a major driving force behind various technologies over the years such as VHS, DVD and streaming video.  While other phones have locked out pornography apps, this could give some energy to the rate Android phones get adopted.
  • This could be the first of many genre specific Android app stores.  If one works, why wouldn’t others work?  Religious app stores, sports specific, game type stores and on and on.  This could lead to all sorts of innovations for Android developers.

MiKandi is currently open for business, and even if you have no desire to develop porn apps, it may be worth a look for developers to see how it works.