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WILL THE REAL PAPER PLEASE STAND UP? New York-based app development company FiftyThree has asked Facebook to change the name of its new mobile news reading app, Paper. Facebook’s Paper app — essentially a new version of the News Feed — was launched Jan. 30. FiftyThree’s app of the same name has existed for two years and turns iPads into digital sketchbooks, perfect for drawing mind maps, doodles, or back-of-the-napkin diagrams. FiftyThree’s app is a favourite of tech writers, and won Apple’s iPad App Of The Year 2012 distinction. With Facebook’s scale and marketing prowess, the name confusion may crowd FiftyThree’s Paper app out of top app charts and app store search engine results. Perhaps most ironically, FiftyThree’s Paper app is a Facebook partner, since the app’s sketches, or “ideas,” as they’re called, can be shared on Facebook, and 500,000 have been shared to date. (FiftyThree)
QUOTE OF THE DAY — “What will Facebook’s story be? Will they be the corporate giant who bullies their developers? Or be agile, recognise a mistake, and fix it? Is it ‘Move fast and break things’ or ‘Move fast and make things’
.” — Georg Petschnigg, FiftyThree’s co-founder and CEO, in his open letter to Facebook.
SO IS FACEBOOK’S PAPER APP ANY GOOD?: The app, which is the brainchild of Facebook’s Creative Labs team, has in fact been receiving rave reviews for its design, and user experience. Because the app is not heavily branded as a Facebook product, it seems less like an effort to make Facebook itself more relevant to users, and more like an opportunity for Facebook’s most innovative engineers and designers to create a powerful new product incorporating much of what they’ve learned as they’ve watched the News Feed develop. Business Insider’s Jim Edwards has described it as a “massive redesign” of Facebook itself, and said it is “excellent.” It will be interesting to see whether any of the insights gained from Paper will ultimately feed back into how Facebook thinks about and organizes its marquee News Feed. (Business Insider)
OK, enough Facebook-Mobile news …
DOES APPLE WANT TO BE IN THE GYM, OR IN HOSPITALS? Apple Analyst Philip Elmer-DeWitt has an interesting take on where the real opportunity might lie in the future for any Apple iWatch, as the tech press has imagined that any new wrist-worn Apple gadget will be called. It may be that the real opportunity for disruption isn’t in fitness, but in health care, he argues. Advanced in heart rate, blood pressure, and hydration sensors would make any new wearable device a possible sensor-loaded personal nurse. (Fortune)
THE BENEFITS OF THE SHARK TANK: “I never would have imagined the impact that ‘Shark Tank’ had on the downloads and the website.” Those are the words of app developer Bruno François, whose video app Cycloramic leapt to number one in Apple’s App Store his appearance on American reality TV show, Shark Tank, in which budding entrepreneurs pitch well-known venture capitalists and investors. Business Insider’s Alison Griswold has the story, including an estimate for how much the appearance netted him in download revenue: $US200,000. More than twice the $US90,000 he was asking for from Shark Tank’s panel of investors. (Business Insider)
MOBILE GEOMARKETING GETS A DEDICATED NEWS SITE: An item of interest to all local-mobile types: David Kaplan, an experienced writer for paidContent and more recently ad tech news site AdExchanger has been hired by cloud-powered and multi-device location marketing company Yext to edit a new media property called GeoMarketing. The site will function as the media arm of Yext, according to Capital New York. Recently, MediaPost had a story on how Citibank uses Yext to push local information to its customers. (Capital New York)
GRAPH SEARCH ON MOBILE: Facebook’s last ballyhooed desktop-first new feature is now being tested on Facebook’s mobile apps. Graph Search is essentially a search engine for Facebook, that allows you to search your connections and their posts for certain pieces of information, such as “What restaurants in New York do my friends like?”, or “What are my friends’ favourite clothing brands?” The search function has obvious marketing applications, since such searches would provide great opportunities for highly targeted advertisements. But Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that users haven’t flocked to Graph Search. (Mashable)
RENAISSANCE HIGHLIGHTS: In case you missed it: If you follow any iOS developers on Twitter, chances are that your feed late last week was filled with the #renio hashtag, which refers to the Renaissance conference held in San Francisco, an event for iOS developers. Some highlights: Facebook showed how A/B testing helped them determine that the shape and design of the loading icon would cause users to blame Facebook or iOS for any delay in loading the app. Chris Breen did a panel on tech PR done wrong, and posted his notes online. And Asymco’s Horace Dediu gave one of his chart porn-filled presentations. (#renio)
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