Posts tagged STORE

iTunes App Store SEO: Getting your game recognized via search-engine … – VentureBeat


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iTunes App Store SEO: Getting your game recognized via search-engine
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In spite of all the varying pontifications of experts in the SEO field, most agree that your game's keywords still matter. SEO specialists usually state that when it comes to getting recognition for your website or game, you're generally going to want

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Verizon’s Planned App Store Is The Dumbest Carrier Idea In Some Time

Reporting from the world of terrible ideas, The Information claims Verizon Wireless is scheming to create a new Android app store to compete with Google’s own Play Store. 

The carrier’s plan is currently at an early stage, according to reporter Amir Efrati, who adds that there’s no concrete launch timeframe. As a result, it’s hard to know whether Verizon’s plan, if it exists, is much more than a trial balloon at this point.

Still, let’s hear it out. Verizon is supposedly wheeling and dealing behind the scenes, hoping to give its upcoming store a global reach by getting other wireless operators and tech companies on board. For now, its supposed plan is to use data—like user location, time of day and social data—to power app recommendations.

Cue the eye roll. 

Verizon Makes A Play … For Your Wallet

Telecoms have long wanted to prove that they’re more than just dumb pipes channeling in data for other companies’ benefit. Unfortunately, that ambition usually—make that, “almost always”—translates into unwanted features and pricey services forced on consumers.

No one likes having their Internet service or real estate on their phones held for ransom. One big reason the iPhone took off the way it did was that Apple managed to wrest away control of the phone from the carriers, much to the benefit of users everywhere.

In that context, this reported plan looks like little more than a lame money grab. Verizon subscribers already have access to Google Play, and they can even pay for those apps from their wireless bills. So an alternative app store doesn’t seem to fill any need or solve any problems for people.

There’s also no reason to believe that Verizon, whose own stock apps are for the most part awful bloatware, really understands very much about app development. It would have to, if it wants build relationships with the developers who would populate its store.

Let’s not forget that Verizon tried this before in 2010, with little to show for it but a big bucket of fail. That store, aimed at Android and BlackBerry users, limped along for three years before the carrier finally pulled the plug in January 2013. 

Follow The Money

If the Verizon plan is a reality, it seems to reflect a collective fear among carriers that they’ve failed to dip their buckets deeply enough into the app revenue stream. Sprint also just announced its own app store, called App Pass, a subscription service that assumes users will be happy paying $5 a month to use a collection of paid apps selected by Sprint. That might be a bargain if you believe Sprint has your best interests at heart—as opposed, say, to those of its corporate partners.

Unsurprisingly, money likewise seems to be at the heart of whatever Verizon thinks it’s cooking up. The Information reports that its app-store strategy is a direct response to Google scaling back its app revenue-sharing arrangement with carriers and hardware manufacturers.

How unlike the mobile carriers we’ve come to know and love.

Lead photo courtesy of Shutterstock

UPDATE: Verizon denies that it’s readying an app store, but The Information’s Amir Efrati is sticking to his guns, tweeting, “Verizon spokeswoman says ‘no plans’ for app store. I and @theinformation stand by this report 100%…” 

View full post on ReadWrite

Verizon’s Planned App Store Is The Dumbest Idea A Carrier Has Had In A While

Reporting from the world of terrible ideas, The Information claims Verizon Wireless is scheming to create a new Android app store to compete with Google’s own Play Store. 

The carrier’s plan is currently at an early stage, according to reporter Amir Efrati, who adds that there’s no concrete launch timeframe. As a result, it’s hard to know whether Verizon’s plan, if it exists, is much more than a trial balloon at this point.

Still, let’s hear it out. Verizon is supposedly wheeling and dealing behind the scenes, hoping to give its upcoming store a global reach by getting other wireless operators and tech companies on board. For now, its supposed plan is to use data—like user location, time of day and social data—to power app recommendations.

Cue the eye roll. 

Verizon Makes A Play … For Your Wallet

Telecoms have long wanted to prove that they’re more than just dumb pipes channeling in data for other companies’ benefit. Unfortunately, that ambition usually—make that, “almost always”—translates into unwanted features and pricey services forced on consumers.

No one likes having their Internet service or real estate on their phones held for ransom. One big reason the iPhone took off the way it did was that Apple managed to wrest away control of the phone from the carriers, much to the benefit of users everywhere.

In that context, this reported plan looks like little more than a lame money grab. Verizon subscribers already have access to Google Play, and they can even pay for those apps from their wireless bills. So an alternative app store doesn’t seem to fill any need or solve any problems for people.

There’s also no reason to believe that Verizon, whose own stock apps are for the most part awful bloatware, really understands very much about app development. It would have to, if it wants build relationships with the developers who would populate its store.

Let’s not forget that Verizon tried this before in 2010, with little to show for it but a big bucket of fail. That store, aimed at Android and BlackBerry users, limped along for three years before the carrier finally pulled the plug in January 2013. 

Follow The Money

If the Verizon plan is a reality, it seems to reflect a collective fear among carriers that they’ve failed to dip their buckets deeply enough into the app revenue stream. Sprint also just announced its own app store, called App Pass, a subscription service that assumes users will be happy paying $5 a month to use a collection of paid apps selected by Sprint. That might be a bargain if you believe Sprint has your best interests at heart—as opposed, say, to those of its corporate partners.

Unsurprisingly, money likewise seems to be at the heart of whatever Verizon thinks it’s cooking up. The Information reports that its app-store strategy is a direct response to Google scaling back its app revenue-sharing arrangement with carriers and hardware manufacturers.

How unlike the mobile carriers we’ve come to know and love.

Lead photo courtesy of Shutterstock

UPDATE: Verizon denies that it’s readying an app store, but The Information’s Amir Efrati is sticking to his guns, tweeting, “Verizon spokeswoman says ‘no plans’ for app store. I and @theinformation stand by this report 100%…” 

View full post on ReadWrite

Surprise! Blockchain Bitcoin Wallet Returns To Apple App Store

More than six months after Apple’s controversial Bitcoin wallet ban, Blockchain is back in the App Store with a new wallet.

In February, Blockchain was the only Bitcoin wallet remaining in the App Store after Apple deleted Coinbase in November 2013 and BitPak back in 2012.

That is, until CEO Nicolas Cary got a message from Apple stating Blockchain had been “removed from the App Store due to an unresolved issue.”

See also: Apple Deletes Blockchain, The Last Remaining Bitcoin Wallet For iPhone

Apple never did elaborate further on that statement, but for reasons we can only speculate on, the tech giant relaxed its “purchasing and currency” policies this June immediately following its Worldwide Developer’s Conference 2014. The update states:

“Apps may facilitate transmission of approved virtual currencies provided that they do so in compliance with all state and federal laws for the territories in which the app functions.”

That shift was a signal to Cary to begin working on the next generation of the Blockchain wallet, he told Coindesk. Built from scratch, the new app not only allows users to exchange bitcoins from wallet to wallet like the former version, but also to make purchases from the growing list of merchants who now accept Bitcoin payments.

See also: Here Are All The New Ways To Spend Bitcoin While You Weren’t Paying Attention

With 1.9 million users, Blockchain is the most popular Bitcoin wallet available. However, Apple’s newly relaxed policy may lure competitors into trying to create a better one.

(Apple has not yet returned ReadWrite’s request for comment.)

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The Coolest Objects For Sale In Amazon’s New 3D Printing Store

If 3D printing doesn’t take off, it won’t be for Amazon’s lack of trying. Last year, it created a dedicated retail section to sell 3D printers and materials. Now it’s at it again, this time pushing actual 3D-printed goods—and feeding an ongoing debate about the role 3D printing should play in our lives. 

Amazon’s new 3D Printing Store launched Monday with a distinct focus on people who want to buy, not build, 3D-printed wares. Amazon already had a “3D Printers & Supplies” department which sells 3D printers, plastic filament, parts, accessories and software—stuff which will only be of interest to you if you want your own mini-factory in your house.

Shoppers can now browse through more than 200 3D-printed toys, jewelry, home goods, and other tchotchkes from vendors like Sculpteo, Mixee Labs and others—no printer required. 

Some items sold in Amazon’s store are customizable—like Mixee Labs’ toy figurines—while others have set designs, but offer a range of colors or exceedingly intricate detail.

3D printers—desktop machines that can produce three-dimensional objects from digital designs—have a direct and obvious appeal for designers, inventors, hobbyists and other “makers.” They’ve been less successful with mainstream shoppers, however.

If there’s one thing Amazon knows, it’s shopping. The site makes it easy for customers to discover, search and preview products (even in 360 degrees), while letting vendors offer their own wares by enrolling as an Amazon Seller.

If Amazon does this right, it could capture profits on both sides of the 3D printing business, by helping equip would-be creators and by providing them a place to sell their wares.

3D printing has been a subject of fascination for the technology sector and maker communities, but it’s still a hard sell for your average consumer. That’s one reason 3D-printing marketplaces shifted focus from offering 3D-printer blueprints to stores with completed products. Early pioneers Shapeways, Thingiverse and 3DLT got in on that action, inspiring newer competitors such as Threeding, Layer by Layer and Cuboyo. Even online auction site eBay and Etsy, the sellers’ site for hand-made goods, sell 3D-printed items.

With Amazon plunging further into this niche, it could spark mainstream interest in 3D-printed goods. That may ultimately be good for all players.

Some of our favorites in the new store:

“Create Your Own” Mixee Me

Some people find hyperrealistic 3D-printed figurines kind of creepy (and expensive). But this adorable “Mixee Me” doesn’t overdo it with the details, allowing it to ship quickly in just 6 to 10 days and at just $30. 

Fractal Leaves iPhone 5 Case

This fractal leaf could be your meditation on the fragility of life—or the fragility of your phone. Either way, this $28 bumper case is uniquely pretty and offers some protection for that handset without totally covering it up. 

HP Lovecraft-Inspired Cute Gameboard pieces

Put a little Cthulhu into your Chutes and Ladders. I can’t wait to see these little Lovecraftian gamepieces trounce across my chess board, and every other game I own. 

Unisex Space Invader Ring

You can wear your gaming cred on your sleeve, but why not on your finger? This blocky little ode to Space Invaders can appeal to retro gaming geeks as well as modern-day Minecraft fans. 

Chaos Table Lamp

The most expensive product on this list, the Chaos Lamp will wreak havoc … on your wallet. The $740 price point is steep for any kind of lamp, 3D-printed or no. But oh, if money was no object, having a sculpted art piece that’s also functional would be really appealing. 

 Images via Amazon

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3 Tests to Determine if Mobile Ads are Right for Your Online Store

Mobile is big, and getting bigger. But are mobile search ads a good investment for your site? Ask these questions to help determine your potential for mobile success, and Google Analytics reports you can run to help answer those questions.

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Apple Services iOS Developers With New App Store Analytics

Apple will soon give developers more tools to help them make money. 

At its Worldwide Developer Conference on Monday, Apple announced an update to iTunes Connect, its dashboard that helps developers manage apps, advertising campaigns, bug testing, banking, in-app purchases and more. Apple will update iTunes Connect with a fresh look later this year as well as provide a new analytics dashboard to track users visit and downloads.

“Most importantly, we are adding variable analytics,” said Apple’s apple vice president OS 10 platform experience Andreas Wendker at the WWDC Platforms State Of The Union address. “These analytics will tell you how many people visited your App Store pages. How many users went on and purchased your app, how many remained active over time. And best of all, connecting all of this information displayed right to iOS and is completely automatic. There is no need for any special libraries or code on your part for analytics.”

Wendker’s announcement drew applause from the developer crowd at WWDC, showing just how lacking Apple’s iTunes Connect has been in the area of analytics. Many app developers, studios, marketers and publishers have implemented third-party app analytics software into their apps, usually via a small software development kit and library. Apple’s new App Store analytics will not necessarily displace third-party analytics though, which tend to track user interaction and behavior within an app and across platforms.

Since the App Store was born in 2008, companies like Flurry, Localytics, MixPanel, New Relic, Apsalar, Upsight (formerly Kontangent/PlayHaven) and others have made decent businesses providing app analytics that include user retention and engagement to developers and marketers. 

“This is very different from app analytics,” said Henry Cipolla, co-founder and CTO of Localytics. “This focuses on performance of the app in the store. This is helpful for users trying to optimize their app store SEO and understand which apps are driving the most purchases. App analytics are more focused on what users in the app are doing and providing tools to engage with these users. App store analytics are a great compliment to usage analytics as they provide a view into what users do before they download the app.”

Catching Up To Google Play

iTunes Connect has long been Apple’s oddly named developer portal into all the background functions that app maker’s need to conduct business. iTunes Connect is where developers can submit apps to the app store and set up payments to their bank accounts. But, despite Apple being the biggest and most prestigious of app stores, iTunes Connect has long been a sparse collection of bureaucratic forms and fields. Outside of getting an app on the App Store, some basic analytics and getting paid, iTunes Connect did not have much use for developers.

See also: Making Android Pay

“This announcement is great news for developers working on improving their app store conversions,” Cipolla said. “This is surfacing a lot of useful information that was previously unavailable. However, as app owners look at their app as a cross platform service there is a need for services like App Annie/Distimo to collect a cross platform view.”

Put iTunes Connect into contrast with how Google has updated its Google Play Developer Console over the last two years at its own I/O developer conference and the differences are dramatic. The Google Play team led by the likes of product manager Ellie Powers and director Purnima Kochikar have added robust analytics integration into the Google Play Developer Console as well as features like human-contracted translation so developers can target native languages to specific regions. Google also added optimization tips, staged alpha and beta rollouts (which Apple just announced with TestFlight) and referral tracking at I/O 2013 to help developers optimize their apps and make money across the world. With Google I/O 2014 coming at the end of June, expect the Android maker to rollout more resources in the Google Play Developer Console soon.

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Finding Great Software In Apple’s App Store Will Soon Get Easier

With over 75 billion applications downloaded and more than 300 million people visiting the App Store every week, it’s easy to argue that Apple’s marketplace for mobile software is working well.

Yet consumers and app creators still often feel its too hard to find the right iPhone or iPad app. New features Apple announced Monday morning at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco should address some of that pain.

A Glut Of Apps

It’s easy to argue that Apple’s conundrum is a problem of success. As more and more applications launch on iOS, Apple’s software for iPhones and iPads, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find the app you’re looking for.

At WWDC, Apple’s annual event for developers, the company introduced an overhauled App Store that will help app makers get more exposure and present their apps in more appealing ways.

The feature developers will most likely be excited about is the ability for users to purchase multiple apps from the same developer in one bundle. (This gap was highlighted when Microsoft introduced Office for iPad as a family of apps that users had to download one at a time.) 

A new “Explore” tab in the App Store is supposed to help you discover new apps, with multiple categories and subcategories you can select that fit your specific interest. A “trending searches” feature will help users find what apps other people are looking for the most at a specific time, and app listings will now feature video demonstrations next to screenshots.

Videos are increasingly popular on app developers’ websites as a way of easily explaining how an app works, so the video feature will likely see a lot of use as people upload videos they’ve already created. 

Apple also introduced an “Editors Choice” feature that will display a small logo next to apps that Apple’s App Store managers deem worthy of highlighting. Apple is known for highlighting apps that it likes on the home screen of the App Store and in category pages, particularly if they’re exclusive to iOS or make use of its features. The new logo makes that stamp of approval more obvious in searches.

The company also launched a new version of TestFlight, a tool for distributing early versions of apps to testers. (This new version of TestFlight is the result of Apple’s acquisition of Burstly earlier this year.) Now, developers will be able to invite users to test applications and see results directly in the TestFlight app.

All the App Store updates will be released to the public with iOS 8 in the fall. In the meantime, developers will be busy updating their app listings to take advantage. 

Image via Apple

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ASO is the new SEO as App Annie adds free app store optimization, plus ad … – VentureBeat


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ASO is the new SEO as App Annie adds free app store optimization, plus ad
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How can big data and smart analytics tools ignite growth for your company? Find out at DataBeat, May 19-20 in San Francisco, from top data scientists, analysts, investors, and entrepreneurs. Register now and save $200!
App Annie Adds New Tools For Better App SEO, Paid VisibilitySearch Engine Land

all 10 news articles »

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Why Microsoft’s Universal Windows App Store Is Huge For Developers—And Consumers

Windows is now truly one operating system, whether you’re on a smartphone, tablet or PC.

Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 8 RT and Window 8.1—that is, the phone, tablet (sort of) and PC flavors of Windows—are no longer distinct operating systems that largely look alike but vary wildly under the hood. Microsoft has spent the last couple of years updating its disparate Windows versions so that they work together with the goal of letting developers write one app and deploy it—after some tweaking to the user interface—to Windows PCs, tablets and smartphones.

True, Microsoft’s operating system naming conventions are still awful. But that shouldn’t obscure the major step forward this code-base unification represents to developers, nor the benefits that will flow to users as a result.

All three flavors of Windows now run on a common software core, or “kernel,” with a common runtime (i.e., the set of tools necessary to run programs). The major remaining differences between them have mostly to do with how they handle user-interface issues across a variety of devices, input methods (think touchscreens vs. mouse and keyboard), hardware (not just CPU and memory, but graphics processors, accelerometers and other sensors) and screen sizes.

Microsoft knows that those differences still present obstacles for developers, and hopes to address many of them with an update to its integrated developer environment, Visual Studio 2013, which it announced at Build 2014 this week.

Kevin Gallo, Microsoft’s director of the Windows Development Platform, describes it in a post on the Windows blog:

We’ve designed Windows for the long term, to address developers’ needs today, while respecting prior investments. We do this with one familiar toolset based on Visual Studio 2013, with support for C#, C++, JavaScript, XAML, DirectX, and HTML. The tools and technology stacks already used by hundreds of thousands of developers extend app development across Windows devices. Developers who have built apps for Windows 8.1 will find it fairly easy to reuse their work and bring tailored experiences to Windows Phone 8.1. Windows Phone 8 developers can use the same code, and also access new features, when they develop for Windows Phone 8.1.

Write Once, Deploy To All The Windows

The Visual Studio update allows developers to port existing apps across devices and their specific versions of Windows. For instance, if you have a Windows 8.1 app, you can use settings in Visual Studio to target smartphone-specific capabilities in Windows Phone 8.1. Visual Studio is designed to let developers use the same basic app code across different devices and Windows flavors, and allows them to emulate how an app will behave in each case.

From Microsoft’s perspective, the two most important takeaways for developers are these:

  1. You can build universal apps and share all the code while just making tweaks to the user interface
  2. Visual Studio offers a variety of diagnostics tools to optimize apps for use on different device—smartphones running Windows Phone, laptops running Windows 8.1, etc.

Essentially, Microsoft wants to make it as easy as possible for developers to build Windows apps. Given Microsoft’s minuscule share of the mobile market to date, you can hardly blame it.

In practice, this means Windows Phone developers—and you know who you are— essentially have three options. If you’ve built your apps using the Silverlight Phone 8.0 development tool, you don’t have to do anything; they’ll continue to work as is on Windows Phone 8.1.

Alternatively, you can update your apps to Silverlight Phone 8.1 to access the new features in Windows Phone 8.1, such as the Cortana personal assistant and customizable homescreens. Or you can migrate your apps to the universal Windows app platform with the new tools in Visual Studio. Of course, if you prefer, they can also just start from scratch and build a “universal” Windows app to Microsoft’s specifications, which would theoretically optimize it for the new unified Windows code base.

One of the biggest bits of news is that Microsoft is encouraging developers to use whatever tools they want. Whether a developer chooses to use C# or Visual Basic (VB)—or C/C++—to write native apps, it’s all good. Microsoft is also actively encouraging developers to build cross platform apps with JavaScript and HTML5/CSS and has promised an update to Internet Explorer 11 with hardware accelerated graphics support that takes advantage of a device’s GPUs while leaving the CPU untouched. 

Buy Once For All Of Your Windows

For consumers, Microsoft aims to make the process of buying an app easier. If you buy an app for your Windows 8.1 laptop, you can automatically download it to your Windows Phone or vice versa. Microsoft insists that you won’t need to buy separate apps for separate versions of the operating system because, essentially, Windows is now all one big operating system now. The same is supposed to hold true for in-app purchases within these apps—they should migrate from laptop to tablet to smartphone as well.

Apple doesn’t do this. If you buy an app on Mac OS X for your iMac or MacBook, you will still need to download or buy the same version for your iPhone or iPad. Google doesn’t do this, either. If you buy an app or extension for Chrome OS, you will still need to buy that app for Android on Google Play.

Some individual apps for Android and iOS, of course, do let customers download versions for different devices—for instance, via a subscription service or universal login. But that’s up to the app developer. It’s not required by Apple or Google.

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