February 9, 2015 Last Updated 9:08 am

App Publisher launched into Google Play store; Urbanspoon rushes out update

New York Observer updates its replica edition Newsstand app to add stopwatch which grants readers free access to the PDF driven digital editions for two minutes

The Google Play store has a new app, one for App Publisher magazine, the digital magazine relaunched by Paul Blake in partnership Talking New Media. Oddly, a search of the store brings up absolutely nothing – which is why, I suspect, downloads of the new app will be minimal.

AP-htc-androidIn addition to an Android app, a desktop version is planned, as well as a redesigned website.

The search problem with Google Play underscores that it is not just Apple that is having a difficult time with the issue of discovery. Despite the explosive growth of the Android platform, few digital publishers are reporting much success inside Google Play. Despite this, most publishers see developing for Android as essential as creating an iPhone edition (after initially only supporting the iPad). (See this guest column from Zoe Walters on the need to develop for Android.)

Urbanspoon rushed out an app update for its iOS app this weekend and managed to get it through the Apple App Store team in time for Monday morning.

Urban-featureLate last week the company, which was recently acquired by Zomato, released an update that changed the app’s logo and announced the change in ownership… except it also broke the app.

The developers reacted quickly, though, and changed the description on the app to try and warn users not to actually download the update while they worked on a replacement.

“Don’t update the app to this version!” the developers warned.”New version with fix coming soon.”

The problem seems to have been that the update made the app crash, or at least freeze, at open.

One reviewer made a good point: “How did this even get through app review?”

With Apple moving to automated updates, it is more important than ever that the App Store team actually do its work and check out the apps, lest a buggy update make it through. On the other hand, there is tremendous pressure to clear out all the updates submitted, and if a developer has a good track record, or has had an app in the store a while, they tend to get their apps (or eBooks, in the case of the iBooks Store) cleared quickly. That makes it vital that the developers do the checking themselves.

NYO-iPad-300The New York Observer has released an update which it says gives readers free access to the content “for a certain duration of time.”

It is gimmicky little update as all it does is give readers a preview of the issues for two minutes while a stop watch counts down the seconds before the reader no longer has access.

Even if the reader does pony up for the $1.99 to pay for access all they will end up with is a PDF version of the newspaper as the publisher has gone the replica route. (See original post on the Observer’s app here.)

The app was released in October of last year and uses the MAZ platform for create its replica editions.

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