Friday, November 5, 2010

Short takes on a Friday afternoon: Skyfire returns to App Store on a metered basis; McClatchy takes baby steps; Rosetta launches first language mobile app for French

Good Friday afternoon. Let's end the week with some app updates.

Skyfire has reentered the iTunes App Store, but who knows how long the app will remain there.
The Skyfire app brings Flash video content to the iPhone by encoding Flash video on the fly and playing it back as HTML5. The key is the abilities of the Skyfire Labs servers to do all this quickly and smoothly. And therein lies the problem: demand of the $2.99 app was so high that the Skyfire system could not cope, so the developer quickly pulled the app to limit the amount of users.

Now, as you can see at right, the app is back, but comes with a warning page that performance might be less than optimal. (No link because it might be dead before you know it.)

"We are going to open batches of downloads for new users over the coming days. The first batch will be in a few minutes on the Apple App Store. It will be first come, first serve," CEO Jeff Glueck wrote on the company's blog. "Please note that there may be some initial congestion as a flood of new users simultaneously try to use the service, but try again an hour later and things should smooth out."

McClatchy released an iPhone app for another of its newspapers -- this time for the Anchorage Daily News. This is the ninth iPhone app for McClatchy, all developed with the assistance of Verve Wireless.

The latest news app offers lots of content, and is definitely based on the unique news needs of the audience: Fishing, Wildlife, Military and other news categories are on the Anchorage Daily News app.

There is one banner ad spot repeated throughout and the first advertiser is, indeed, from an Alaska firm, not some network ad from the lower 48.

McClatchy is certainly behind other newspaper chains. They have no tablet editions yet, and are apparently satisfied to outsource their mobile efforts rather than invest in the future. It's a bit disappointing, but ...

Now for something a little different: the first mobile app from Rosetta -- the language education people. If you've ever investigated spending money on using Rosetta to learn another language you know how expensive it can be.

Now they have released their first mobile language education app, Discover French, which will cost the user $9.99. One would guess that this will merely give the user a flavor of Rosetta, with added costs down the line. But frankly, I'll have to explore the app more to know for sure.

One interest thing about the app is that they decided to do it completely in landscape mode. Exploring the app further might give a clue to this choice.