Innovation @ BBG » Android http://www.innovation-series.com Fri, 20 Nov 2015 18:47:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6.1 Listen to VOA audio programs over your cellular voice connection with the VOA Mobile Streamer apps http://www.innovation-series.com/2015/07/07/listen-to-voa-audio-programs-over-your-cellular-voice-connection-with-the-voa-mobile-streamer-apps/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=listen-to-voa-audio-programs-over-your-cellular-voice-connection-with-the-voa-mobile-streamer-apps http://www.innovation-series.com/2015/07/07/listen-to-voa-audio-programs-over-your-cellular-voice-connection-with-the-voa-mobile-streamer-apps/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 14:16:59 +0000 Will Sullivan http://www.innovation-series.com/?p=6515 The award-winning ODDI Mobile Team is excited to announce a new product launching in July, the VOA Mobile Streamer. This audio-only experience is available for Android and  Apple mobile devices and serves broadcast audio news in more than 30 different languages.

Besides offering hundreds of radio news programs on-demand in more than 30 different languages, the app also offers live 24/7 radio streams of more than a dozen languages. There’s also a bunch of smart features like a low-bandwidth mode that saves on download time and user costs, and deep social media platform integration, but the true killer feature of this app is its simple, unique design that allows you to listen to audio over data *OR* cellular voice connections.

For VOA audiences in emerging markets this is especially valuable since mobile data rates are very high and connections are often poor quality so streaming is not always an easy proposition.

Why are we doing this? What is the unique value of the Mobile Streamer for VOA & its audiences?

  • It allows us to better serve and connect with audiences in low-bandwidth countries using click-to-call cellular/voice minutes to get our audio content, instead of having to stream it over costly data connections in emerging markets

  • It offers a new way to experience VOA audio content on the go through a unique and refreshing design offering a very non-traditional news app experience, especially for younger audiences that might be turned off by the more traditional news approach.

  • It offers a passive, hands-free way to consume VOA’s content in the background while commuting to work or doing chores or other tasks.

  • It helps showcase the depth and breadth of all the thousands of hours of VOA audio programs we produce each week.

  • It allows us to leverage our partner, AudioNow’s, international Interactive Voice Response (IVR) infrastructure, phone numbers and tools to expand our content reach for new audiences.

Try out the VOA Mobile Streamer now on:

The VOA Mobile Streamer will join our fleet of dozens of free, innovative mobile apps for high- and low-tech audiences around the world. Check them all out here!

 

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VOA News selected as a finalist for “Best Mobile Service” in the 2014 Meffy Awards http://www.innovation-series.com/2014/09/23/voa-news-selected-as-a-finalist-for-the-2014-meffy-awards/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=voa-news-selected-as-a-finalist-for-the-2014-meffy-awards http://www.innovation-series.com/2014/09/23/voa-news-selected-as-a-finalist-for-the-2014-meffy-awards/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 18:45:37 +0000 Will Sullivan http://www.innovation-series.com/?p=6306 We’re pleased to announce that the VOA News mobile and tablet application suite for Google Android, Apple IOS and Symbian has been selected as a finalist for “Best Mobile Service” the 2014 Meffy Awards!

VOA News KhmerThe Meffys are held by the MEF mobile trade association which is focused on cutting-edge mobile and entertainment companies. The awards this year attracted more than 250 entries from 30 countries across the 13 award categories, and was judged by an independent panel of 40 journalists, academics, analysts and VCs from around the globe.

The ground-breaking VOA News application offers original journalism in more languages than any media organization in the world (44 total) and has previously been honored this year as a finalist for the 2014 GSMA Global Mobile Awards for “Best Mobile Publishing Platform or Service” and the Appy Awards for “Best Multicultural App.”

“Hundreds of hardworking journalists, producers, designers and developers helps us create this amazing, unrivaled application,” Will Sullivan, Director of Mobile for the BBG said. “We owe all our thanks and share this honor with them.”

The new version 3.0 of the VOA News apps are launching within the next month on both Android and Apple IOS mobile and tablet devices with a big new design and enhanced features including customizable Android Widget support and Google Chromecast streaming.

The winners of the 2014 Meffys will be unveiled in San Francisco at the MEF Global Forum 2014 in November.

 

 

 

 

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BBG Mobile News apps get a huge update and redesign http://www.innovation-series.com/2014/08/27/bbg-mobile-news-apps-get-a-huge-update-and-redesign/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bbg-mobile-news-apps-get-a-huge-update-and-redesign http://www.innovation-series.com/2014/08/27/bbg-mobile-news-apps-get-a-huge-update-and-redesign/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 22:29:25 +0000 Will Sullivan http://www.innovation-series.com/?p=6286 The ODDI Mobile team is excited to announce we’ve begun rolling out the 3.0 redesign and functionality update to the BBG mobile news applications on the Google Android and Apple IOS mobile and tablet platforms. The platform that was awarded as 2014 finalists for “Best Mobile Publishing Platform or Service” by the GSMA Global Mobile Awards and “Best Multicultural App” by the Appy Awards is getting a big refresh.

Alhurra Android mobile app version 3.0Alhurra and Martí Noticias are already live for Apple IOS in the app stores and the Google Android version should be submitted soon after we iron out some last bugs and the analytics integration.

The mobile and tablet apps 3.0 version features:

  • Redesigned for all platforms to feature bigger, bolder images and typography
  • More easily accessible and usable navigation with a deep, touch-friendly side-loading feature
  • A new tablet-optimized version for larger format Androids and iPads to take advantage of the extra screen real estate
  • Much richer analytics suite to track usage and learn how to improve what our audiences demand
  • Related story suggestions to give audiences more information about the stories they’re interested in
  • Social media sharing improvements and Google+ support added
  • More prominent user-generated content submission on the app home screen so audiences can report news tips, photos, video and audio and send it directly to our service’s content management system
  • Language service UGC submission available directly in the Android system sharing tray for easy access to send multimedia content and news to our services
  • Android Home Screen Widget support with customizable categories, sizes and refresh intervals
  • Additional languages added for VOA (now supporting 44 language services) and RFE (now supporting 29 language services)
  • Google Chromecast streaming support for audio and video content
  • Tons of bug fixes

Marti Noticias on Apple IOS

We’ve done all this while still maintaining an app that is amazingly optimized for emerging market audiences with a small binary size (around 5 mb), offline saving of content, low-bandwidth mode, proxy integration, and a wide range of Android and Apple OSes supported going back more than 5 years (equivalent to decades in mobile technology history).

All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless work of hundreds of language service producers (too many to name), their digital leaders Matthew, Hutch, Billy, Alen, Iscar, Mark, Martha, Steven, Rohit, Saeed, Catherine, Enver, Arkady P., Arkady B., Sasha, Martina, Natalia, Matilde, Kim and the Pangea team, our amazing analytics czar, Rebecca, and Ashley and Tyler, and last but not least the marauding ODDI mobile team of Ashok, Danish, Bo, Mo, Marian, Marek, Pavol, Pauli, Stan, and Al for his help last minute on screenshots and Adam and Rob for their support and leadership.

Over the next month (depending on final qa, analytics and localization testing), we’ll be submitting the VOA, RFE and RFA updates too. Get them all and learn more about our award-winning apps at:
http://apps.bbg.gov

 

 

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VOA mobile app named finalist for “Best Mobile Publishing Product” in GSMA awards http://www.innovation-series.com/2014/02/06/voa-mobile-tablet-app-named-a-finalist-for-best-mobile-publishing-product-in-gsma-awards/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=voa-mobile-tablet-app-named-a-finalist-for-best-mobile-publishing-product-in-gsma-awards http://www.innovation-series.com/2014/02/06/voa-mobile-tablet-app-named-a-finalist-for-best-mobile-publishing-product-in-gsma-awards/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 17:59:00 +0000 Will Sullivan http://www.innovation-series.com/?p=5828 VOA’s mobile apps launched this year, and we’re pleased to announce that the Voice of America mobile and tablet apps for Android, Apple IOS and Symbian have been named as finalists for the “Best Mobile Publishing Product or Service” in the GSM Association (GSMA) 2014 Global Mobile Awards!

Here’s the rest of our press release about the exciting news:

The BBG’s Office of Digital and Design Innovation, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Voice of America partnered to create a mobile app that provides news and information for people in more than 100 countries, in 43 languages on the world’s two largest smartphone and tablet platforms.

“It’s a huge honor for to be recognized by the GSMA for the immense amount of hard work and innovation that went into this application,” said Will Sullivan, Director of Mobile at the BBG. “It took more than a year of blood, sweat and translations for the indomitable ODDI Mobile team of Borana Kostro, Danish Ahmed and Son Tran, working with Kim Conger and the RFE/RL Pangea Content Management System team along with VOA language service experts to make this happen. It’s truly an amazing cross-organization product that we are proud to share with under-served audiences around the world.”

The Voice of America app is available on Android and Apple iOS which account for more than 90% of worldwide smartphone and tablet shipments. The app lets audiences get push notifications of breaking news, stream radio podcasts on demand, as well as download content for offline viewing. Individuals can easily consume and share content in languages ranging from Afan Oromo to Vietnamese. The VOA News app has been ranked in the top news apps in the Google Play and Apple App stores in most of Africa, Asia and the Eastern Europe, with rating of four stars and above from users.voa app settings

“VOA receives millions of visits from mobile and tablet devices around the world. By offering a best-in-class experience for users of iOS and Droid, we can extend the reach of our journalism into new markets,” said VOA Director of Digital Strategy Matthew Baise. “This nomination is testament to the fine work of our colleagues across U.S. international media.”

ODDI collaborated with RFE/RL and software developer EEA to significantly expand the BBG’s mobile offerings. RFE/RL pioneered this work, building out the framework and CMS upon which the mobile offerings are built. ODDI continues to work with them to add features and upgrade the user experience.

“As collaborators on the design and development of VOA’s mobile app, we congratulate our great partners for such distinguished recognition of this shared achievement,” said Kim Conger, RFE/RL Design Director / Deputy Director, Internet Technology and Strategy.

The GSMA’s 2014 Global Mobile Awards will be presented as part of the Mobile World Congress program on February 25, 2014 in Barcelona.

The GSMA is the largest mobile trade association in the world, representing the interests of mobile operators around the globe. Spanning more than 220 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 mobile operators with 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem. The Mobile World Congress is an industry-leading event, drawing more than 70,000 attendees in 2013.

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Radio Free Asia launches apps on Android, Apple IOS http://www.innovation-series.com/2014/02/06/radio-free-asia-launches-apps-on-android-apple-ios/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=radio-free-asia-launches-apps-on-android-apple-ios http://www.innovation-series.com/2014/02/06/radio-free-asia-launches-apps-on-android-apple-ios/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 16:17:33 +0000 Will Sullivan http://www.innovation-series.com/?p=5829 I’m tickled to announce that Radio Free Asia is the latest BBG entity to join our suite of BBG applications for Android and Apple IOS mobile and tablet devices with support for 10 languages from English to Tibetan (including 3 Uyghur scripts).

Our partner in collaboration, Catherine Antoine, Director – Managing Editor of RFA Online, welcomed the launch saying, “These multilanguage applications delivering Asian news will inform the new generation of mobile users, who are tomorrow’s leaders.”RFA Article Page

This project took a lot of extra hard work from superhero developer and all-around nice guy, Michael “Flip” McFadden, as RFA is on an entirely different content management system than other BBG entities so ODDI Mobile marauders, Bo Kostro and Danish Ahmed, had to do a lot of testing, localizations and custom development work to get all the framework connected and working.

RFA joins RFE, VOA, Alhurra and Marti Noticias on the Umbrella App framework, which going forward we’ll be able to build features for all five entities in parallel providing innovative, enterprise-quality news experiences customized for the challenges that our audiences in emerging markets face.

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VOA Symbian App Launches for North Africa & Middle East Markets http://www.innovation-series.com/2014/01/14/voa-symbian-app-launches-in-four-languages/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=voa-symbian-app-launches-in-four-languages http://www.innovation-series.com/2014/01/14/voa-symbian-app-launches-in-four-languages/#comments Tue, 14 Jan 2014 21:00:49 +0000 Will Sullivan http://www.innovation-series.com/?p=5613 In the new year, we launched a new application on an old platform — VOA for Symbian OS.

The VOA Symbian app is focused on VOA‘s networks English, French, Hausa and Persian, specifically for North Africa and the Middle East regions, and it features multimedia news, photo, text and video content from the Voice of America news services.

Why Symbian? Because the decade-old Nokia platform is still strong in the African countries, still maintaining a top 4 Operating System ranking in many markets jockeying for position between Google Android, Apple IOS, and Nokia S40 OS. Of all those systems, Android is slowly taking the most market share from the older Nokia platforms, but it’s a slow churn rate due to Nokia’s rock-solid industrial designs — their phones are notorious for lasting forever — and because of the financial and technical challenges in the area, users aren’t upgrading their phone every 2 years (or less) as many people do in the more developed world.

The timing of the app launch will also help us with our surge efforts to help spread news and safety information in the Central African Republic, where there’s currently a humanitarian crisis going on. Symbian holds a stable 10 percent market share in the country, behind Android (42%) and Apple (18%) for the top three mobile operating systems.

The VOA Symbian app joins the Google Android and Apple IOS mobile and tablet applications already released which support 43 languages each.

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