Friday, August 3, 2012

Political polls are at the center of TPM's first app, while the WaPo updates its political iPad app to add in polling data

One would have thought that bloggers would be some of the first to launch mobile and tablet apps. But bloggers are generally dependent on either WordPress or Google for their technology (TNM launched its iPhone app in April of last year.)
But some blogs have grown way past the blogging stage into established web brands. Those on the right, for some reason, seem to be way ahead of their more liberal cousins. Red State and Drudge, for instance, have had iPhone apps in Apple's App Store for quite some time. Meanwhile, Daily Kos, Eschaton and other liberal blogs are still awaiting their first apps.

Recently, one of those blogs that have grown into something far more interesting than just a blog, Talking Points Memo, recently launched its first app, an iPhone app, PollTracker. The free app is being "sold" under the TPM Media label

While the product, as Josh Marshall, TPM's founder states online, was the product of Kyle Leighton, the editor of the PollTracker section of the political website, and Eric Buth, TPM’s Director of Technology, the actual app was built by Dewey Square Group's Dewey Digital division.

TPM's PollTracker app will prove useful to those who need instant access to information, but the use of outside app builders probably means TPM will have to pick and choose very carefully what and when it launches other apps due to time and costs.

Interestingly, TPM chose not to launch an Android app, and Marshall went out of this way to explain the decision yesterday.

According to Marshall, who occasionally likes to post detailed looks at his site's traffic, TPM skews heavily towards Mac users and Apple device owners.

But I think Marshall is misreading his traffic. While it has been generally true that most sites are seeing heavy iPhone and iPad web traffic, and surprisingly low Android traffic, this is the result of Android users being less likely to use their smartphones for web browsing.

But apps are another story altogether. Confusing app usage with web traffic is probably reading too much into his data.

Yesterday the Washington Post updated its WP Politics app for the iPad adding in its own polling data.

While TPM's app contains tons of useful data, the WaPo app, because it is for a tablet, allows readers to compare different polls using very easy to read and explore charts.

Both apps will prove very useful for those who are addicted to polls, though the WaPo app has the advantage be being able to deliver the paper's news, opinion and analysis content at the same time.