apps stories

 
Have you ever heard of "proximity" marketing? Probably not — that's because the trigger for this new marketing technology is inaudible to the human ear. The technology involves a beacon sending out a high-pitched audio signal that triggers an app on your smartphone to push you a video, ad, text message… or anything that could possibly pop up on your phone.
 
A funny thing happened at Toy Fair this week. Not funny as in funny toys or funny games, but funny as in a sudden but fundamental shift in how we will play from now on. Toy giants such as Hasbro and Mattel, middling companies trying to find profitable new niches and new companies all are creating a new type of product — apps (some Android, most Apple iOS) combined to interact with some sort of physical real-life objects to create a new virtual play experience. For instance, Hasbro has its Lazer Tag blaster, into which you clip an iPhone or iPod to create a heads-up display. Mattel has Hot Wheels designed to roll over a course right on top of an iPad screen. WowWee's AppGear games include ZombieBurbz, little collectable figurines that are set on a table and "seen" in the virtual iPad game. These new app-based toys relates to the on-going controversy about conditions in Apple's Chinese factories, including the pending iPad 3. As part of the conversation, many critics are asking why, with Apple's enormous profits, isn't the company bringing these manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. What's not being discussed is all the perhaps millions of jobs Apple already has produced for the U.S. economy.
 
There's not much that could get me to move faster than a leisurely walk. Except zombies. When threatened by an undead invasion I'd manage to find a bit more spring in my step. It's that kind of motivation the new app/game Zombies Run! counts on.
 
You may have heard of Siri, that sultry vixen with the smooth voice who doesn't know where abortion clinics are but likes to curse out twelve-year-olds. Well, like most sultry vixens (trust me, I know like two… that I saw… on TV… once), she's not a fan of imitators, and even rival Google will ban a Siri knockoff and its developer from the Android Market.
 
Think Yelp, but Haiku No long reviews, which means no tl;dr Haiku Review initially comes off as a gimmick, and a risky one at that. If a new music site promises you nothing but bagpipe covers and you hate bagpipes, you're not going to get a lot of mileage out of it. Yet here, the haiku format is supposed to be a welcoming feature, not a barrier to entry. The proposed app, which is currently little more than the start of an idea on Kickstarter as dreamed up by a trio of Texans, wants to cut down on lengthy reviews without entirely cutting out opinion. We went back-and-forth with Stu Hill, one of the aforementioned Texans, about why forcing people to essentially bang out Yelp poetry isn't the worst idea ever. (And yeah, we're mentioning Yelp a bunch, but that's because Stu and his crew are positioning Haiku Review directly in the social reviewing behemoth's path.)

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