Monday, May 3, 2010

iPhone apps: SD Times takes a minimalist approach, while IDG's Gamestar app delivers the goods

You'd think the best mobile media apps would come from the tech community, but many of the big tech players are either still on the sidelines or counting on their flip book vendors to supply them with their mobile solutions.

SD Times, the newspaper for the software development industry, has launched an iPhone app and it is clear that software wizardry was not in the cards. To call the app minimal is to saying too much.

SD Times, taking minimal to a whole new level with their iPhone app.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, mind you. The BZ Media property has given its readers a clean RSS reader I suppose. But wouldn't you think a B2B property called SD Times might know a few, you know, software developers? Maybe not, the company seems to be searching for website designers, as well.

Gamestar, if you are not familiar with it, is an iDG owned PC game magazine published out of Germany. The magazine has a circulation of around 250,000 and is one of Europe's best selling game magazines. A U.S. version of the magazine appeared and disappeared fairly quickly.

Gamestar's new iPhone app much more of what a mobile media app for the iPhone or Android should be. The app was developed by eMotionSoft, a German developer. Vidunan Pirathaparajah is listed on their site as Leitung Entwicklung (Lead Developer). Johnny Arulpragasam is listed as developer, finance and marketing, while Marcel Münchow is the user interface designer. The company's websites states that they built apps exclusively for the iPhone, a bit of a surprising admission.

Even if your German is not the best, it is clear this is a very good mobile app. In addition to the latest stories, complete with graphics, the app also delivers video and a photo gallery, as well as some offline features. The videos are delivered through YouTube which may seem to some like an easy way out but is actually a good solution -- after all, it forces the publisher to create a YouTube channel, something even TNM has. You can find Gamestar's YouTube channel here.

So, in the end, this is a simple RSS reader, too. But one that brings lots of content and multimedia to the smartphone user.


Another new news app is called Czech News. It's 99 cent cost was not what convinced me to pass on buying it. It was its description:

Czech News is a very simple e-news reader for the people of the Czech Republic. This app brings you the latest news from all the top Sweden (sic) news sources.

Wow, top that Wired.