Monday, September 20, 2010

Handmark releases iPad app for Evening Standard; continues with series of trade show apps for Ascend

With over 100 iPhone apps inside the iTunes App Store, Handmark, Inc. continues to be one of the more active media app developers around. In addition to news apps for such companies as the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Evening Standard, Handmark has also produced an app for Penton's Supermarket News, as well as a series of apps for Ascend Integrated Media in support of their client's events.
Released over the weekend was their first iPad news app for the Evening Standard. Handmark had previously released a free iPhone app for the London based tabloid. Evening Standard for iPad is also free and is essentially an exact copy of the mobile app. This is not a replica edition as the app does not in any way try and duplicate the print edition. The app is based off the RSS feeds coming off the newspaper's website, which, interestingly, doesn't try and duplicate the tabloid either -- rather than a large photo that adorns the front page of the print edition, the website is a collection of lots and lots of small stories.
The advantage of an RSS feed driven app, of course, is that once the shell is created by the developer all the newspaper needs to do is continue to maintain its website. The feeds from the site can then be pulled in to populate the app -- no additional staffing or effort required. The disadvantage of this approach is that it is more like the website -- and therefore will be priced at that same level.

The app can be used in both portrait and landscape modes. In portrait mode the index is a pulldown menu, but while in landscape it occupies the left hand column. As a result, the reader can not use pinch-to-zoom, though they can increase the size of the font.

Because this app duplicates the iPhone app, rather than the print edition, it is a single-sponsored app with just the one ad at the bottom of the screen (as you can see in the screenshots).

Left: An article in portrait mode; Middle: the settings menu; Right: articles can be shared using Twitter and Facebook

Handmark also continues to release iPhone app for Ascend Integrated Media, the custom media side of Ascend Media. (Both companies are based in Kansas City, Mo.)
The latest app is for the American Academy of Otolaryngology (that would be "ear, nose and throat" to the rest of us) and their annual meeting and trade show. The free app is pretty much devoid of content as of today, but it is assumed that Ascend will fill up the app with content well before the event opens on September 26.

When fully populated with content, the app will offer daily news, a schedule of events, as well as miscellaneous content such as Tweets about the event, photos and such.