So how do you get kids excited about reading? Well, if you grew up in the ‘80s and ’90s, you might remember a little show called Reading Rainbow.
The beloved TV show stopped airing in 2009, but it’s next chapter started in earnest with the launch of a new iPad app.
Reading Rainbow’s iPad app was created by RRKidz, a startup co-founded by Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton and producer Mark Wolfe. The duo licensed the Reading Rainbow name and content from WNED.
“Television was an ‘80s medium,” Burton said. So after the show ended, he and Wolfe asked themselves, “What would today’s technology be?”
The obvious answer was tablet technology, specifically the iPad.
The Reading Rainbow app is very true to the original TV show, keeping the focus on books and dialing down the bells and whistles normal apps would have to keep users engaged.
While the Reading Rainbow app does have animation and games, the books are still the “heart and soul” of the experience.
The app also features “video field trips”—basically showing new video segments in the style of the old show—and users explore content through floating islands with different themes.
The Reading Rainbow app is available for free, and which gets kids access to one book and one video per island. After that, a subscription fee of $9.99 per month for unlimited access applies.
Now a whole new generation can explore the wonders of reading.
Take a look, it’s in a book. The Reading Rainbow!
A slew of announcements took the tech world by storm, and had critics and fans buzzing.
Apple showed love to its faithful MacBook Pro followers with long-awaited updates to the laptop computer.
The new line of MacBook Pros will boast the third-generation Ivy Bridge processors, as well as the new “retina display”—more than 3 million more pixels than a hi-def TV. It will also include a USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 support.
Apple’s new MacBook Pro line starts off at $1,199 to $1,499 for a 13-inch option, and $1,799 to $2,199 for a 15-inch option.
Apple is also planning an update to the relatively new MacBook Airs, with a processor update up to 3.2 GHz. Better graphics and USB 3.0 will also be part of the upgrade.
Mac OS X will also receive an update with Mountain Lion, which will offer 200 new features including more cloud services. Mountain Lion will be available in the App Store in July for $19.99
Mobile was not left out of WWDC, though. The latest iOS 6 features were also announced, and the mobile operating system gets over 200 news updates, including updates to Siri and the new Apple maps.
E-books purchased from the Sony Reader Store will arrive ready-to-read on any e-ink reading devices or the Reader app.
The new Reader Store will allow you to access your Reader Store account from any web browser, and purchase content without having to install any software to your computer.
The launch of the Reader Store hopes to compete with other popular eBook sellers, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Sony has also launched a new update for the Android Reader App, now available for download at Google Play.
The new Reader app offers the same user-friendly reading experience with new improvements such as a sharper user interface, landscape viewing and an overall improved stability.
Currently, Facebook bans anyone under the age of 13 from joining the social network. However, it is estimated that nearly 7.5 million preteens have circumvented this rule—even with their parents’ approval.
This week it was leaked that Facebook is considering allowing kids younger than 13 to use the service with parental supervision.
Among the options would be to connect kids’ accounts to their parents’ accounts and giving mom and dad control over what their children can do on the site, such as who they can “friend” and what apps they can use.
Of course, the benefits of “Under 13” users are not lost on anyone, including Facebook executives. Lowering the age limit would help the social networking giant tap younger users, who advertisers are eager to reach.
Kids are also avid gamers—a huge moneymaker for Facebook. About 12% of Facebook’s $3.7 billion in 2011 revenue came from games such as Zynga’s FarmVille or Tetris Battle.
Although lowering the age limit is not official, Facebook is drawing ire from parents and Internet regulators alike.
Many are worried that kids under 13 are not ready for the grown-up world of social networking, where older children have already fallen prey to online predators, bullies, or exposed to inappropriate content and online ads.
On Friday, Apple quietly added a new feature to its App Store: Editors’ Choice.
Editors’ choice is a new promotional feature Apple designed to support certain apps that would be beneficial to users.
It is not exactly clear how Apple chooses which apps to offer, but users will probably agree that app discovery is a welcome discovery to sort through Apple’s more than 600,000 apps.
When users arrive to the Mac App Store or the mobile App Store, they’ll find the new promotional feature splashed across the top of the page.
For their inaugural picks, Apple chose CoBook, an address book application that supplements usability by accessing social networks.
In the mobile App store, the Editors’ Choice was the newly released Facebook Camera application and Extreme Skater.
In addition to Editors’ Choice, Apple is offering users a limited-time chance to download a paid application for free. This week’s featured app is Cut the Rope: Experiments.
Facebook launched their new photo-sharing app, Facebook Camera on Thursday.
Facebook hopes the app makes photo sharing more fun and accessible for the social media giant’s 900 million users, specifically smartphone users.
Facebook Camera app lets users take pictures and upload them directly to the app. Users can also crop photos, add colorful filters and upload multiple pictures at once.
However, the Facebook Camera announcement has left a lot of people in the tech industry scratching their heads.
The shocking news comes only weeks after Facebook spent $1 billion to acquire Instagram, a similar (to say the least) photo-sharing app. It also comes just days after its IPO got a lukewarm reception from Wall Street.
So far, the Facebook camera app gets generally good marks from early reviewers, who say it’s much faster than the primary Facebook app and displays photos in a large, crisp fashion.
And while there are definite similarities between the two apps, clearly the audience of each is different.
Ellis Hamburger from The Verge says, “Had the Instagram deal never occurred, Facebook Camera wouldn’t really be much of an Instagram competitor anyway, lacking any mobile-only social circles, hashtagged sharing, tilt-shift, and interesting filters.”
Sony’s CycleEnergy USB charger has a built-in hand crank that can generate power for your USB devices.
The CycleEnergy features a dual port unit capable of charging 2 USB-equipped devices and a built-in 4,000 mAh battery chargeable via AC power.
According to Sony, the large battery capacity can deliver enough power to charge a smartphone about 2 times.
As for hand-crank power, it takes about 3 minutes of cranking for a 1 minute call and 5 minutes of cranking for 1 minute of Web surfing.
The CycleEnergy USB charge is due in Japan on June 20 for 8,000 yen (approximately $100).
Facebook announcd it share price at $38 yesterday afternoon, and in early trading the social network’s stock has jumped 12% to $42.50.
Facebook share have even hit a high of $43.20. Faithful users of another social media giant, Twitter, predict that Facebook will close the trading day at $54 a share.
With the $38 per share opening, Facebook was able to raise a whopping $16 billion—also making it the largest Internet IPO of all time. Facebook has sold 421.2 million shares, putting it’s valuation at $104.1 billion.
Trading in social media industry seemed to come to a grinding halt with the introduction of Facebook to the market.
Zynga, the social gaming company that enjoys a healthy symbiotic relationship with Facebook, saw it’s stock fall 13%, or $1.10 a share, bringing it to an all-time low of $7.17 a share.
LinkedIn is also down 2.2% and Groupon has fallen nearly 6% as well.
Facebook is launching their own, new App Center, touting it as a “a place to find social web, desktop, and mobile apps”—and not just Facebook apps.
Facebook’s App Center will bring Facebook’s 900 million users all the best in iOS apps, Android apps, web apps, mobile web apps, and even desktop apps. Both free and paid apps will be available.
With the App Center, Facebook hopes to solve the app discovery problem, and base your decisions on what you and your friends enjoy.
Not only will Facebook’s App Center be personalized to your stated preferences and profile, it will also feature an iTunes App Store-like focus on quality. Each app will have star ratings gathered from users.
Facebook will also be collecting data on how often users come back to the app and how long they use the app.
All of these scores will be combined to determine an app’s overall quality. App developers will also be able to view these stats, and can tweak and perfect their apps based on this data.
While this move may confuse some, Facebook insists it is not competing directly with Apple or Google. The App Center will send traffic to both the iOS and Android platforms.
For interested developers, you can read more at the Facebook Developers Blog.
Rovio, the developers of the wildly popular Angry Birds game series, announced today that over one billion Angry Birds games have been downloaded.
That’s a lot of fowl-flinging, pig-slaying action!
The one billion number counts downloads from all of the Angry Birds games, including the original Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons, Angry Birds Rio, and the latest installment, Angry Birds Space.
To date, this is the first game app that has achieved such a milestone.
Additionally, the feat proves that video games do not always have to cater to a hardcore audience to be successful, selling games for low prices can still be profitable with a good product, and that solid gameplay and level design can easily compete with high-end graphics and game engines.
As a thank you to the Angry Birds faithful, Rovio put out a short video which hints at more exciting things to come.