Archive for iPad
The US Apple App Store has crossed one important milestone, that of playing host to over a million live apps for the first time ever. The above feat has been achieved in around five years’ time since the app store first came into being in July 2008. Apple had announced its worldwide app store has made it past the million approved app mark almost a year ago though back then; it’s about 700k apps that were live. Now with over a million live apps, the number of approved apps now stands at a staggering 14 million. Of the more than million apps now live, more than half of these are specific to the iPad while around 900k app apply to the iPhone. In comparison, the Google Play Store now has 881k live apps of the 1.17 million that has been approved.
However, there has been no official statement issued highlighting the above feat. This is surprising as this is the kind of news that anyone will like to go around town trumpeting such an achievement. It was the app discovery site Appsfire that first spotted such a development, something that has been confirmed by Macrumors own app discovery site AppShopper which lists the number of apps available for download being 1,006,557.
Market research firm IDC has projected the Windows-based tablet segment to grow to 39.3 million units by 2017. This will include both stand alone tablet devices as well as hybrid tablets, devices that come with a detachable keyboard and can be operated as either a tablet or a notebook device. This rise is expected to fill the void created by the shrinking PC sales, at least to some extent, which has been steadily declining since the advent of the tablet device. IDC pegged the PC segment to stabilize at around 300 million units by 2017, claiming these might have lost relevance to some extent, even though they cannot be replaced by portable devices yet.
It is only the emergence of Windows 8.1 along with low power consuming Intel Bay Trail chips that has led to some degree of acceptability to Windows tablets. Windows based tablets accounted for less than 1 million units in 2011, though it is expected to grow to a bit more respectable 7.5 million by end of 2013. In contrast, Apple has sold 14.1 million of its iPad devices in the third quarter of 2013 alone, while the Android tablet segment reached 16.8 million devices in Q3, 2013.
IDC has stated that the entire tablet segment itself is registering slower growth of late and has been forced to revise its estimates for 2013 to 221.2 million, down from the originally estimated 227 million units. The research firm also stated the segment could end up registering just single digit growth rate by 2017, from the present 53.3 percent.
IDC analyst Tom Mainelli attributed the lower demand for tablets to the emergence of big screen smartphone devices.
“In some markets consumers are already making the choice to buy a large smartphone rather than buying a small tablet, and as a result we’ve lowered our long-term forecast,’ said Tom Mainelli. “Meanwhile, in mature markets like the US where tablets have been shipping in large volumes since 2010 and are already well established, we’re less concerned about big phones cannibalising shipments and more worried about market saturation.”
Meanwhile, there have been a slew of tablet launches running Windows 8.1, which includes the Dell Venue 8 Pro, Dell Venue 11 Pro, Lenovo Miix 2, Toshiba Encore, Asus Transformer Book T100, and others. All of these have had positive reviews so far and are expected to fare well in the market, though it remains to be seen if these can unsettle both Apple and Android’s tablet market share by a significant margin just yet.
Black Friday is within sniffing distance and rattles of discounts and freebies are hanging heavy in the air. Retailers resort to every trick they know of to woo consumers which make this time of the year the best to pick up things they have long cherished. Tablet devices have already topped consumer preference this year, it is but only natural for the latest Apple iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display to garner a lion’s share of consumer attention. Retailers too have been busy chalking out lucrative deals to appeal to the buyers. Mentioned here is a roundup of all the best deals currently on offer for the Apple tablets.
Those who’d like to pick up the new iPad Air, its Target that they should be headed to to avail of the best bargain. Price being quote for the 9.7 inch tablet is $479 which is also inclusive of a Target Gift Card worth another $100. This makes the new iPad Air to be up for grabs for a cool $379, several notches below the original price of $499.
Best Buy and Staples too have lined up discount schemes on the iPad Air but isn’t offering any gift cards. Instead, what buyers will get is a flat $50 discount thereby making the iPad cheaper at $449 – $450 at both the retailers.
With the iPad Mini with Retina Display , you can consider yourself lucky if you are able to lay your hands on one this time round what with supply still to settle down. As such, most stores are forced to do with the first gen iPad Mini and Walmart is above the rest when it comes to the best price for the mini iPad variant. Price quoted at Walmart for the iPad Mini is a sweet $299, which is made even more sweet with the inclusion of a $100 gift card in the deal. Target too is offering the first gen iPad Mini for the same $299 but includes a gift card worth $75. Staples too has a discount scheme running for the iPad Mini which includes a $80 price cut for all of its iPad Mini stocks. This makes the entry level version of the tablet to cost just $249. As for the iPad Mini with Retina Display, it is only Target that is reported to have received a small shipment of the tablet and is offering a $75 gift card with purchase of the same.
For those who are looking to pick up the second gen iPad 2 on the cheap, this is the best time to do so. The 9.7 inch tablet is now on sale for just $299 after weighing in a $100 discount offered by both Staples and Best Buy. The price mentioned is applicable to the entry level 16 GB version of the iPad 2 while Staples is extending the $100 discount across all versions of the iPad 2.
With the iPad 4 that comes with a retina display, the discount being offered is an even higher $150 which makes the 16 GB Wi-Fi only version of the 9.7 inch tablet to cost $349. This is applicable to Staples though others too have enticing deals covering the iPad 4. For instance Target is offering the iPad 4 for $449 which includes a $100 worth of gift card.
However, the prices can change during last minute adjustments or depending on stock levels. Also, consumers will have to hurry if they do not wish to be left out of all the fun, particularly with items that are in demand. These include the iPad Air along with both the first and second gen iPad Mini devices.
Apple is highlighting six stories that depict the use of the iPad in scenarios never originally envisioned. These have been compiled in a new page that forms the newest addition to the company’s official website. The page, dubbed “Life on iPad,” can be the source of inspiration for many owners to explore new possibilities with their devices, and highlights ways the iPad has been used either by an individual or by a company with the collective aim of furthering their pursuit of achieving excellence, either professionally or personally.
The iPad has been put to use, for example, by Dr. Eldo during complicated surgeries and saving people’s lives, by Vintner Christian Gastón to manage his 600 acre vineyard in California using the Field Assets app, and by technicians at Siemens Energy Wind Service to help enhance work efficiency. Others who have relied heavily on the iPad and have made a difference include Mark Post, an off-road racing driver and owner of the Riviera Racing Team; Jeff Whiting, a Broadway director and choreographer; and Bridie Farrell, a competitive speed skater.
There could well be more such ingenious ways that the iPad has been used or is likely to be in future. Its newest releases, the iPad Air and the iPad Mini with Retina Display, have already received rave reviews and have rewritten the way tablets are designed or used.
The Apple iPad Mini with Retina is the latest generation 7.9 inch device and many people may want to use it to read technical PDF files. Today, we take a look at the overall PDF experience using the stock iBooks app.
The iPad Mini Retina has the exact same resolution as its larger screen cousins. This really makes graphic heavy content really shine and is a significant step up from the iPad Mini 1. The PDF file we look at today is the Dungeon’s Masters Guide 5th edition and check to see how image quality, text clarity and what type of gesture support it has. This video is really meant to show off the screen to give you a sense of how it handles larger files.
Just in time for the holiday travel season, we have a ton of great digital comics deals. Load up your e-reader now, and you’ll be good until the holiday gift cards come in.
Indie publisher Top Shelf is having a big digital sale across all platforms—that’s comiXology, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Comics Plus. The sale includes steep markdowns on two of the most acclaimed books of the year, Rep. John Lewis’s March, the first volume of his memoir of the Civil Rights movement, and Rob Harrell’s Monster on the Hill, an all-ages tale (set in a delightful alternate Victorian England) of a monster who can’t quite sum up the energy to be scary any more. Pick up the two of them plus Diana Thung’s delightful Splendour in the Snow and you’ll get a couple of cents back from your virtual sawbuck. There’s plenty here for all tastes: Alan Moore, Eddie Campbell, Jess Fink, Jeff Lemire, Harvey Peckar—you can’t go wrong.
Here’s another cross-platform sale: Superman comics by Grant Morrison, on comiXology, Kindle, and Nook, for 99 cents an issue. This includes his much-loved All Star Superman, a good starting point if you’re new to superhero comics or maybe just haven’t read Superman in a while; it’s one of those comics that you don’t have to be a hard-core comics fan to enjoy.
There’s been a lot of talk about women in comics lately (just Google it!) so it’s nice that comiXology is stepping up with a Women of Marvel sale on titles with strong female leads, such as She-Hulk, Spider-Woman, and Captain Marvel, all for 99 cents each.
Over at Dark Horse, they’re marching to a different drummer, literally, with a selection of rock and roll comics for 99 cents each. Check out a couple of Gerard Way’s Umbrella Academy miniseries or his The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (with art by the always awesome Becky Cloonan), or maybe Orchid, by Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine).
Digital Manga is having an Autumn Sale with 25% off 15 different manga titles; be warned that some of them are adult manga and the link may be NSFW. But there are also some teen-friendly yaoi titles and Harlequin romances available at good prices.
The best price of all, of course, is free. So check this out: You can get a free bio-comic about Alan Moore, in which writer Gary Millidge strings together panels from different Moore comics to tell the writer’s life story. You’ll have to download the Sequential app, which is iPad-only, but go ahead as it’s a nice app and they have some interesting free content (including a collection of lost Neil Gaiman comics) and they are also marking down some of Moore’s comics.
Finally, you can stay home on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all those other shopping holidays and pick up some free digital comics from DC—they will be giving away the first issues of a number of their digital-first series, including Batman ’66 and Adventures of Superman, but just one a day, so check the list and mark your calendar.
UPDATE: ComiXology just added another awesome sale: Big markdowns on the Love and Rockets graphic novels. Catch up on all the adventures of Maggie and Hopey, and see what everyone else has been talking about! The sale lasts through Monday evening.
But wait! There’s more! ComiXology has also marked down Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. Individual issues are 99 cents, and you can get a bundle of 43 comics for $34.99.
Apple’s new iPad Mini has now joined its full sized sibling in making it to the company’s online stores throughout the world. Both the new gen iPad variants were announced towards the last week of October. With the iPad Mini 2 now on sale, this marks the end of iPad Air’s dominion in the market which it had to itself for more than two weeks. Shipping times mentioned is 1 – 3 business days for the 16 and 32 GB Wi-Fi only variant for the tablet, which goes up to 5 – 10 days for the 64 and 128 GB versions as well as LTE versions of the tablet.
Pricing starts at $399 which goes up by $100 each time the memory size is doubled so that the highest specced 128 GB LTE version of the same can be yours for a cool $829. Also, the biggest change with the new iPad Mini, apart from the incorporation of the much touted Retina display, is largely centered around its internals. This includes the new 64 bit A7 chip as well as the M7 “motion coprocessor” both of which made its debut in the new iPhone 5s. There have also been a few issues reported with the functioning of the M7 chip which led to the iPhone 5s returning erroneous results. Apple has been attending the fault and a number of iOS upgrades too have been released.
Meanwhile, the new iPad Mini continues with the same form factor as its predecessor, except that the tablet in its present form is a bit thicker and heavier. This can be attributed to the tablet now coming with a Retina display though on the whole the new iPad Mini still can be counted among the lightest and slimmest around. However, with the new iPad Mini finally entering the retail scene, how much of an impact it makes on the newly redesigned iPad Air will be keenly watched. The first gen iPad Mini had outstripped sales of its stable mate, the iPad 4, though with the iPad Air now sporting looks similar to the mini variant, it will a good contest to watch.
There was some buzz about this last week, but now it’s official: Writer Matt Fraction revealed on Twitter yesterday that Apple will not carry the second issue of his comic, Sex Criminals, and he quoted Apple’s stated reason why: “We found that one or more of your In-App Purchases contains content that many audiences would find objectionable, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.”
On the one hand, that’s not terribly surprising: Sex Criminals, written by Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky, is a “sex comedy” about a couple who can stop time by having sex, which opens the door to all sorts of larcenous activities. Naturally, it includes a fair amount of sex. When he learned that the second issue was “under review” by Apple last week, Fraction actually commented “How the first book made it through and the second one didn’t, I don’t know.”
This doesn’t mean you can’t read Sex Criminals #2 on your iPad, though. Apple has a curious double standard when it comes to this kind of thing: While it won’t allow digital distributors such as comiXology to offer Sex Criminals as an in-app purchase, it is available in the iBooks store. ComiXology users can also go ahead and buy the comic via comiXology’s website, and it will sync to their comiXology apps on all their other devices. And finally, Sex Criminals publisher Image offers it as a direct download from their website.
Although it seems like censorship at first blush, Apple’s decision is really more about marketing. They are quite happy to sell the comic via iBooks, or to let app users sync it onto their iThings; they just don’t want to offer it as an in-app purchase. In general, they have a policy of not allowing super-sexy comics or other material for in-app purchase (violence seems to get a pass), perhaps because they see different audiences for the two types of reading—and it may be that younger readers are more likely to use in-app purchases than the grownups. That’s just a guess, but either way, it seems that Apple sees two different audiences for iBooks and apps, and they are only going to sell adult comics to one of them.
Welcome to another Good e-Reader Video Comparison! Today we take a look at the Apple iPad Mini and the brand new Kobo Arc 7. Many people purchase one of these devices to read digital magazines, newspapers, comic books and books. You can get a sense on some of the exclusive features some of the apps bring to the table.
The iPad Mini features a 7.9 inch 1,024 x 768 IPS LCD touchscreen display with 163 ppi. It has a duel core processor and 1 GB of RAM to keep apps and games flying properly.
The Kobo Arc HD features a seven inch capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 1920×1200 pixels. Underneath the hood is an Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor that is running a very solid 1.7 GHZ. There is also 1 GB of RAM and 16/32 GB variants for storage space. There is no expandable storage with this model, so make sure you buy the one that suits your needs.
In this video we put the exact same video, eBook, magazine, newspaper and comic books side by side. If you are thinking of purchasing or upgrading to either of these devices, this is a review for you.
At least one of the rumors that have preceded the launch of the iPad Mini 2 is proving to be true, that there is not enough inventory of the tablet to begin with. Maybe that is the reason Apple is pushing the market launch of the device closer to the holiday season. There is no specific launch date specified as yet, though a product listing at Target points to it being November 21. If true, this will make the release to be the Thursday before Thanksgiving, one week before Black Friday, meaning there will still be enough time for Apple to catch up with the holiday rush without putting much strain on inventory, something that could have been a possibility if the tablet is launched earlier than that.
Meanwhile, this could also be a tacit ploy on part of the California company to give enough time for the iPad Air to have a free run at the market before its smaller sibling joins the party. As it is, the iPad Mini has already proven to be a lot more popular than the full sized iPad and Apple may not be in the mood to take any chances this time. Apple has provided the new 9.7 inch iPad with a thorough design refresh so that it is thinner, lighter, and more compact than ever before, something that has earned it the “Air” moniker. MacBook Air also came to be called such when it was launched with a thinner and lighter profile.
As it is, the iPad Mini 2 remains largely unchanged on the design front but has been provided with the much talked about retina display. It has also become a bit heavier and thicker in the process, though still well within acceptable limits. It offers the 64 bit A7 bit chip (the same that does duty on the latest iPhone 5s and iPad Air) to boost performance, as well as an improved rear camera. Curiously, the RAM remains the same at 512 MB, even though the 64 bit chip can support much higher capacity RAM.
Apple is yet to officially acknowledge any production issues that they might be facing.
Things do not seem to be as positive for Apple as its CEO would like us to believe. Its profit for the fourth quarter came out to be $7.5 billion, which is less than the $8.2 billion profit that the company made during the same period a year ago. What is even more disappointing is that the slight dip in profit comes on the heels of the company having sold a record 33.8 million iPhones during the quarter, a healthy jump over the 26.9 million iPhone devices it had sold in September last year.
CEO Tim Cook still seemed optimistic, saying, “We’re pleased to report a strong finish to an amazing year with record fourth quarter revenue, including sales of almost 34 million iPhones.”
Apple ended the fourth quarter with sales of 14.1 million iPads, a marginal rise over the 14 million iPad devices sold a year ago, along with sales of 4.6 million Mac devices, which marks a slight dip compared to the 4.9 million Macs sold in Q4, 2012.
The sales figure for the iPhone includes sales of the latest iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c during its initial phase, so only a small number of the new iPhone models make up the sales volume. As for the iPad, the new iPad Air and iPad Mini 2 do not reflect in the sales figure for September.
Apple is banking on its new range of iPhone and iPad devices to hit a high growth trajectory. Traditionally, the December month also proves to be the biggest for Apple, buoyed by strong sales during the holiday season. This time, its iPad and iPhone range will be up against some stiff competition from the likes of the new Kindle Fire HDX, new Nexus 7, and more. Google is also expected to launch its Nexus 10 and Nexus 5 devices on Nov 1, which could make things that much more difficult for both the iPad and the iPhone. There are also the new Windows 8.1 tablets based on the new Intel Bay Trail chips that could play spoilsport for both Apple and Android based devices.
It will be interesting to see how the equation stands following the holiday quarter. While the iPad is still expected to come out on top, it could be left with a smaller territory than it starts with.
The day before New York Comic Con, the comiXology folks invited the press to their office for a presentation about their user groups and a chance to hear some actual comiXology users talk about their comics reading habits. We covered the statistics in Part I of this story, and now here are some of the comments we heard from users.
The group consisted of three men and two women, and their ages matched those of typical comiXology users; Aaron is 28, Christian and Benjamin are both 40, and Suzanne and Marlene are both 23. As the statistics show, men outnumber women among comiXology users (by a ratio of 4 to 1) and the women tend to be considerably younger, in the 17 to 26 age group. Another aspect that correlated with statistics was the length of time they had been reading comics: Aaron and Benjamin have been reading comics since they were kids; Christian was a longtime comics reader who had taken a break for two or three years because he had run out of space. The women, on the other hand, were more recent converts: They both started reading comics in college, and Suzanne actually began reading them when she got an iPad—so she was reading digital comics before print.
ComiXology CEO David Steinberger pitched some questions to the group, and their answers were varied and sometimes surprising. First, he asked if they had discovered anything new via comiXology.
“There are a lot of independent comics that are pretty interesting, like Power Play, that are using Guided View technology,” said Marlene. “I heard about it on Twitter because the artist on that book is one of my favorite artists, Reilly Brown.”
Suzanne said she knew nothing about DC comics until she went digital. “I started with The Dark Night Returns,” she said, “and after that I sort of picked and chose, and a couple of friends recommended a few things to me.”
“Watson and Holmes,” said Benjamin, noting that this is a comiXology Submit title he heard about via Twitter and Instagram.
“I’d say comiXology brought me back to Marvel,” said Christian. “I was strictly a DC guy for many, many years. I read Marvel in the 80s, with [Chris] Claremont’s great X-Men run, but it got so convoluted, and there’s only so much time in the day and money in the bank, so I strictly went DC and was very happy with it. But because you guys run your amazing Marvel Monday 99-cent sales, I read the amazing run on X-Factor, by Rick Remender. It’s amazing stuff, and I wouldn’t have gotten that if it wasn’t for what you guys do.”
Aaron said he picked up on new series when they went on sale, and he singled out Invincible as one he had recently read. “It starts off like a play on a lot of superhero tropes but then it takes a fantastically dark turn,” he said. “It becomes a really gripping story.”
The discussion then turned to the shopping experience and single issues versus trades (collected editions). Aaron said he preferred trades, and Steinberger pointed out that comiXology is about content—”What digital can’t do is prop up the revenue of the market by doing variant covers,” he said. “We get readers. We don’t get collectors.”
“I really do runs of stories,” said Christian. “If a writer I love has a book, I’ll just buy it all in bulk or wait for sales.”
Steinberger pointed out that The Walking Dead runs in six-issue arcs that are easily collected into trades. “Every six issues he cliffhangs, gives you a conclusion, wraps up the storyline, and gets you prepared for the next one,” he said. “Reading in that form, it’s an easier form for new people to get into. We have both. We have an enormous back issue bin… and we also have collected editions, which allow people to say ‘I know this is going to be a good story, I’m going to get to some sort of conclusion.’”
“I still go to the comics shop and buy certain trades,” said Benjamin. “I just don’t have room to buy single issues any more. The companies were starting to produce stories that weren’t particularly engaging and turned me off to single issues. We were talking about Infinity, that you need the Avengers crossover, I just didn’t want to start buying single issues of these various books so I’m just going to wait until it becomes a trade and buy it then.”
Suzanne said she buys independent comics in print, because she likes owning the single issues, but she buys all her Marvel and DC comics digitally. “I enjoy being able to go to the comics store and talk to people,” she said, “but I also love having everything in one place on the app. It’s really easy to keep it organized; I don’t have to worry about losing anything.”
Marlene loves her little hole-in-the-wall comic shop, but, she said, “I have switched to digital now because I like sharing a lot. I like writing about comics, and it’s really easy to just put in a link and people can buy it if they are interested. It’s instant gratification.”
The panelists were unanimous in their praise for comiXology’s panel-by-panel viewing system, Guided View.
“For me it is absolutely preferred,” said Aaron, who reads most of his comics on an iPhone. “I have tried reading on iBooks and it just is not a good experience the way that they present it… Even if you have a trade paperback version, Guided View gives an entirely new experience.”
“Cinematic is the only way I can express it,” said Christian. “I like to listen to music while I’m reading, and I would love to shake the hand of a few people Here. They obviously didn’t know me, and they didn’t know what I would be listening to, but when I flipped on my [Kindle] Fire, the best director in the world couldn’t have done it better.”
“It’s a clean, user-friendly interface,” said Benjamin, who owns an iPad but does most of his comics reading on an iPhone, partly because he reads outside his home. “The phone is just comfortable to me,” he said. “I love how it fits to your screen.”
“I like Guided View a lot, especially for books like Power Play, where it’s integrated,” said Marlene, who reads comics on an Android tablet. “But I prefer the full page.”
There was more variety in the panel’s attitudes to print comics. “There are a lot of things I will get single issues of digitally, and then when the trade comes out, I will buy it in print,” said Suzanne, citing Kelly Sue DeConnick’s run on Avengers Assemble. On the other hand, Christian said, “No offense to print authors, but print is dead to me.”
The final question the panelists addressed is one that has vexed digital comics readers from the beginning: Do they have faith that comiXology, and their digital comics, will still be around in five or ten years?
“I take advantage of the storage space you guys are nice enough to allow us to have, but you can download the book onto a non internet based storage device and the device will still read that content,” said Christian. “At some point I’m sure things will change—that’s the nature of things—but do I have faith that five years from now, yeah. Ten years from now I know it will be different.”
“In ten years we won’t even know what the reading devices will be,” said Steinberger.
“We don’t know what the actual hardware will be, but I think digital comics are obviously going to be around,” said Suzanne. “I work in a print publishing company, and all we are doing right now is figuring out how to convert things to digital, how to make things more easily accessible. I think it’s what the future is, and I think it with comics it makes even more sense because it is such a visual medium.”
“I think that with any company, particularly companies that deal largely in the cloud or with digital media, your commitment to a great customer experience is what’s going to determine how long you are around,” said Benjamin. “If what’s happening with comiXology today is any indication, I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be around. So I have faith that in five or ten years the content will still be up there on the cloud somewhere.”
“When I downloaded the comiXology app, I also downloaded the Marvel, DC, and Image apps,” said Aaron, “and they all just used comiXology—they were all tied into it. That gave me faith that they obviously have an infrastructure, they are established, they are tied in with everyone.”
The digital comics and e-books platform NARR8 launched last November and has been downloaded 1 million times since then, on iPads, iPhones, Android devices, Facebook, Windows 8 devices, and Kindle Fire. This week, they expanded to the next frontier: The web.
NARR8 offers motion comics and e-books with an interactive component. When I spoke to vice president of business development Darya Trushkina last week, she used the term “gamification,” and that sounds about right: The reader swipes or clicks and the characters move or the scene shifts. In addition, readers can earn in-app currency, called Narrs, which allow them to read more comics (the first two episodes are free, subsequent chapters are not). They can also simply buy Narrs with real money. NARR8 is also encouraging users to submit their own comics to be published on the platform.
I interviewed NARR8 CEO Maxim Matveyko about the web version and how NARR8 is working so far.
You have established NARR8 on a number of mobile platforms. What does a web app add?
By bringing NARR8 to web browsers, we’ve opened up our app for millions of new users on browser-enabled computers. When we launched on Windows 8 and Facebook, we had amazing results. We also saw that our content looks great not only on mobile devices, but in a browser as well,. That’s why we decided to add a Web version. This makes NARR8 an completely multiplatform app available for any audience on any devices. To review, NARR8 is now available on web, Facebook, Windows 8, iPad, iPhone, Android, and Amazon.
Can this app be used on a mobile browser? Is that where you foresee people using it, or is this designed with personal computers in mind?
We developed the web version specifically for PC users—it’s optimized for use on computer-based browsers. We’ve found that mobile browsers didn’t give us the user experience we wanted, which is why we’ve developed separate, standalone app versions of NARR8 for each mobile platform instead.
Will the user experience be different from an app?
Users of the NARR8 web app get alternative features to zoom in on content (for example, our series are now available in full-screen view, and they look great!) and more convenient playback options to move from slide to slide. Web and Facebook users will also have more ways to make payments, since mobile platforms have their own specific methods.
Without the iTunes or Google Play stores, how will users buy new content if they choose to pay cash?
The NARR8 Web app includes many tools for making payment. Now, users can submit payments credit cards, e-wallets and many more. We also work with local payment providers—for example, in Russia, we plan to add support for the popular QIWI payment system.
How does your in-app currency work? How does that translate into real money, i.e., profit, at the end of the day?
Good question. Our own currency, NARRs, is a virtual currency that users can either earn for free with regular usage of the app, or purchase. NARRs can be used to unlock new issues and additional app features. But we discovered that many users prefer direct payments for content without buying virtual money. That’s why, for the Facebook and Web versions, we decided to make it possible to pay either with NARRs or directly for real money.
You let users read the first two episodes for free, then they have to pay for subsequent episodes. How much of a dropoff do you see in readership between episodes 2 and 3 of a typical app?
We’re very happy with how readers have read and continue to read NARR8′s series, which are constantly updated with new episodes every week. Again, episodes are unlocked with NARRs, which can be either purchased directly or earned for free over time with regular usage of the app.
In general, the jump from free to paid is a big one. How have you made it easier (or more desirable) for your users to make that leap?
As we mentioned, while new episodes of our various series are unlocked using virtual currency, this currency can be earned for free with regular usage. For instance, we regularly offer daily bonuses, which users can spend on new episodes. We also have virtual currency sales periodically, which makes episodes even more inexpensive for the audience.
At this point, how much of your content is user-generated?
Before launching our Story Builder editing tools, we produced a lot of professional content of high quality. We did it to set the bar for UGC stories, and now, all new UGC stories are moderated before publication in the NARR8 library. Nevertheless the number of user-created submissions is increasing each day. We hope that the launch of the Pro Editor, which will offer full-featured tools to serious content creators looking to make professional-quality content, will empower ambitious users to create even more fascinating and involving stories—which will mean even more high-quality content for our readers.
Do you pay users for that content?
We find users who create interesting, high-quality content and, where applicable, may offer a contract to distributing their stories on our platform with a revenue sharing model. We cooperate with professional artists, authors, and creators of interactive content and give them favorable conditions to let them produce and distribute their best content for our readers.
Our main purpose is to become the most convenient publishing platform for interactive stories. The Pro Editor will offer ample opportunities for serious creatives to build and distribute their content for a huge number of users on a variety of devices…as well as on Facebook and Web.
How did you arrive at the figure of 1 million users? Is that the number of people who have registered?
We have 1 million users who have installed and use NARR8 on their devices. We’re growing rapidly, having already reached top positions on the Russian and US Apple App Stores. We’re also very excited about launching the web version—we’re sure that it will bring us a new audience.
What direction do you plan to take with NARR8 in the immediate future, and what is your long term plan?
We are actively working on updating the app’s layout and visual design to make it more user friendly. We’ll also be making updates on payment solutions as well. In addition, we’re already working with huge copyright owners who produce traditional books and comics to help make their content come alive with interactive features and get them published on NARR8. In the future, we see NARR8 as a powerful tool for creating, publishing, and distributing interactive content.