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GetJar out to make mobile phone applications free

WSJ, NY Times, USA Today developing Galaxy applications
Washington (AFP) Oct 8, 2010 - The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and USA Today are among news organizations planning to offer news applications for Samsung's Galaxy tablet computer, an iPad rival, the Journal said Friday. The newspaper said the news organizations are seeking to line up behind a new tablet device in order to broaden readership beyond owners of the popular Apple product. Samsung said last month that US wireless carriers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon will begin selling the Galaxy Tab later this year. Seen as Samsung's answer to the iPad, the South Korean company has not yet provided pricing details of the device, which is powered by Google's Android operating system. The Journal said that its parent company, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., is also in discussions with Research in Motion, maker of the Blackberry, on a range of possible partnerships for RIM's forthcoming tablet computer.

They could include discounted access to various News Corp. properties including the Journal, the newspaper said. The Journal quoted executives from Pearson's Financial Times as saying they were also in talks with tablet makers about similar arrangements. The New York Times will have an application for the Galaxy that will be preloaded on certain devices, depending on the carrier, the Journal said. It said the Times application for the Galaxy will be free until January 2011 when the Times begins charging for full access to its website, NYTimes.com. The Galaxy Tab is one of a number of tablet computers slated for release in a bid to challenge the iPad. US newspapers and magazines have been seeking new revenue streams amid a steady decline in print advertising revenue and circulation and the migration of readers to free news online. US publisher Hearst released an iPad application for Esquire on Friday which allows readers to download an issue of the magazine for 4.99 dollars, the same price as the print version.
by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) Oct 8, 2010
The world's second largest online shop for mobile phone applications is out to change the economics of the booming industry by making the popular mini-programs available for free.

GetJar has teamed up with Glu to offer a set of the hot smartphone game maker's premium titles, typically sold for as much three to five dollars, free of charge worldwide.

GetJar will make one free Glu game available every two weeks during the course of two months that started October 5.

"What we are trying to introduce is going to change the whole economics of app stores," GetJar founder and chief executive Ilja Laurs told AFP.

"We are not talking about a one-time promotion but a long-term sustainable business model."

The pilot program will test GetJar's belief that money paid by developers to promote applications at the service will more than offset the cost of buying licenses to give away mini-programs.

GetJar is the second only to Apple's App Store at iTunes when it comes to programs for mobile devices. More than a billion apps have been downloaded from m.getjar.com and the service logs an average of 100 million downloads monthly.

There are more than 300,000 software developers registered at the GetJar shop.

Premium Glu games being offered for free include "Brain Genius 2" and "Race Driver Grid" tailored for an array of major smartphone platforms including Android and BlackBerry.

"In the future we are sure we will be able to provide more and a much wider selection of apps," Laurs said.

"It creates a strong challenge to other business models based on paid content. You now have a choice to come and pick up an app for free."

He expected the free app model to prove sustainable for software crafted with relatively low investments of less than a million dollars.

Developers that pour millions into creating games or other programs for mobile devices should rise into a class of paid content, according to Laurs.

"Guys that invest in really expensive titles will justify selling apps, but guys working in their bedrooms on weekends to make programs will have to be reasonable," Laurs said.

"In general, these kinds of content might be free. Growing consumer attention and mind share is more valuable."

Games available free in the "GetJar+" pilot come with no ads, registrations or other catches.

"We're excited to partner with GetJar on GetJar+," said Olivier Bernard, a managing director at Glu.

"GetJar's global scale and consumer base allows us to reach an entirely new audience of game-hungry consumers who ordinarily might not be able to buy premium games."

GetJar has become a hot spot for mini-applications for just about any kind of smartphone. The company is venture-backed and has offices in Britain, Lithuania, and Northern California.

Venture capital firm Accel Partners poured 11 million dollars into GetJar earlier this year.

GetJar boasts virtual shelves packed with mini-applications for any type of mobile phone serviced by any carrier anywhere. Developers can make money with in-application transactions such as virtual goods for game characters.

"GetJar is completely open; any developers and any business model," Laurs said. "We just make sure the application is legal, that is the only thing we care about."

Accel has a reputation for smart bets in the technology sector and the list of firms it has backed includes social networking star Facebook and Chinese Internet search king Baidu.




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US parents want better privacy protections for kids: survey
Washington (AFP) Oct 8, 2010
When it comes to protecting the privacy of their children, US parents give social networks a failing grade. Three out of four parents polled by Zogby International believe social networks are not doing a good job of protecting kids' online privacy. The survey was conducted for Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families navigate the world of media and techn ... read more

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