Kategorie: Apple

BeamAir 2.0 – turns iPhone or iPad into a powerful presentation tool

Your iOS device - the ultimate presentation tool

Your iPad – the ultimate presentation device

Finally, the new BeamAir has arrived in the App Store. From the first version, we shifted focus a bit more towards presentations as there are plenty of photo sharing Apps anyway, but presentations are still a topic that has not been addressed too much. Still, we think the approach of BeamAir is somewhat unique also for sharing of images, but also really great for doing presentations.
Our vision is to make BeamAir the mobile presentation device for the mobile age, enabling users to quickly share documents, slides or images with anyone, anywhere. So basically, we aim to turn the iPhone or iPad (Android version might come at some point in the future as well) into a mobile projector.

Using BeamAir is straightforward and can be explained in two sentences: Start a the app session, select an image or a presentation and tell all viewers to enter the session ID displayed by BeamAir at http://www.beamair.com (or just go to http://www.beamair.com/sessionid). As you flick through the images or slides in the app, viewers see exactly the images and slides that your select – live and in real time.

BeamAir also shows a very Snapchat-ish behavior: Once you end a BeamAir session, all images and slides that were shown are not available anymore online and deleted from our servers.

All that was already working pretty well in BeamAir 1.1 – but for 2.0 we added quite a bunch of very useful features to fix some shortcomings of the first version and make using BeamAir more efficient, useful and fun

  •  Slide in Menu and iOS7 Design: first and foremost, we added a menu to BeamAir, to make the load of new options selectable. Also, we tried to stick to iOS7 design in order to make it more stylish (BeamAir is now only available for iOS7 as well)

    Show where you skied down with the paint mode in Beam Air

    Show where you skied down with the paint mode in Beam Air

  • Paint mode: We think this is the coolest and most „magic“ feature of the new version – go into the paint mode and paint in your images and slides, and your audience sees what you are painting – in real time!  This is great for highlighting important facts at presentations, show the tactics of the next game to your football teamor just painting a moustache an image of your your mother-in-laws – possibilities are limitless. Of course, your masterpiece can also be shared as an image in social networks or just be saved in your image library.
  • Instantly take images: Instead of choosing an image from the gallery, it is also possible now to instantly take a picture and publish it via BeamAir – imagine you going to a party, a day trip or a concert and tell your friends the BeamAir session in order to follow your latest snapshot from you having a lot of fun and envy you. Or show live taken shots of people in the audience on a big screen in a bar or club. And when the session is closed, no image remains online 🙂
  • Phone Conferences: As people frequently discuss their BeamAir session on the phone, we included a possiblity to exchange a phone conference number via a BeamAir session in an easy way – by tapping on the phone button and selecting a conference session number every viewer of the session gets a notification that a phone conference room is available in order to talk about the BeamAir session. The default conference call number is worldwide available conference room, available 24 hours, 365 days a year, provided by mobilkom Liechtenstein. It should be considerably cheap to use all over the world, but of course phone fees may be apply. Of course, a custom conference call number can also be established in the settings.
  • Presentation timer: Who ever did a time boxed presentation or pitch will find this feature very useful – while presenting with BeamAir, you immediately see how much time you have used and left before the bell is ringing.
  • Presentation Library and Dropbox Support: in BeamAir 1.1, the only way to add a presentation was by selecting „Open with“ in Mail or Browser App and select the BeamAir App. If you wanted to show the same presentation many times, this had to be done over and over again – find the mail or URL, download the PDF, open in BeamAir – not very comfortable, so now, once opened,  PDFs can be saved directly in BeamAir. We also integrated Dropbox, to get PDFs into BeamAir directly from the Dropbox Account (the Dropbox app needs to be installed for that though)

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    Schedule your BeamAir sessions in advance

  • Scheduled Sessions: When planning a presentation in advance, it does make sense to tell people in advance under which URL and at which time they can follow the presentation. This was not feasible with the old version of BeamAir, as the Session ID was generated randomly and only at start of session. We are trying to address this with scheduled sessions, where a pre-reserved session ID is used. Every scheduled session creates a calendar entry on the iOS device that can also be used to invite participants.
  • Settings: last but not least, we added quite a few settings to BeamAir – now you can control image upload quality in order to adjust BeamAir to the bandwidth available. The delay after an image or slide should be automatically uploaded can be set – or, to get even more control, do not upload automatically, but upload only manually on tap on the image. PDF Annotations/Comments can be optionally shown in a presentation – only visible in the app and not to the viewers of course, very useful for presentation notes to prevent you from losing your lines. There are also various settings for phone conference like using a custom number and the number of digits for a random generated conference room.

Well, we already have some features for future BeamAir versions in mind, as well as considering an Android version in case the iOS version is doing well. We are looking forward to questions, comments and suggestions from our users.

We hope that we can make the way presentations are done easier, more spontaneous and more interactive with BeamAir – for a sales pitch as well as for a lecture or your private photo show from the last vacation.

So, get BeamAir from the App store, try it out and let us know what you think about it:-)

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BeamAir released for iOS

Finally, after a few months of development, we are happy to release our latest App, called „BeamAir“ for the iOS App Store. It is the first (and for sure not the last) non-gaming App by DonkeyCat.
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The principle of BeamAir is simple: you select photos on your iPhone or iPad using the BeamAir app, while your viewers can watch your slideshow live as you are flicking through those images. It works on any internet connected device having a web browser – including desktops, laptops, tablets, projectors or even Smart TVs.

Beam Air is like the slide projector of the mobile age, that is available anywhere, anytime. It is easy and simple to set up –  no configuration, no registration, no login, no network setup, no manual pairing or bumping. All that is neeed to watch your stream is internet connectivity and an auto-generated session code which your viewers enter at http://www.beamair.com.

Of course, many users will love to use BeamAir to share private images taken with their devices with family and friends in real time. But we believe, it is also very useful in a business and educational environment.

Because one pretty cool thing about BeamAir is also, that it is not limited to images, you can also show PDF documents – this in particular useful for presentations in PDF format.

First, you select a PDF on your device – typically from an eMail, or like here, from dropbox and choose open with BeamAir.

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In BeamAir, the slideshow is opened and a channel ID is generated.

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Now, your viewers just enter the channel ID at http://www.beamair.com or just go to the URL directly – and the presentation can start.
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After you end your session, all images and slides are deleted permanently and are not accessible any more, so no traces of your slideshow remain on the internet.

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Coming Soon: „Hosn Obe – 31“ for iOS

We are happy to announce our next app which is submitted to the App Store today after many months of development and testing  – it’s a card game and will be available within the next one or two weeks in the store: It’s called „Hosn obe“  – which is Austrian German and means something like „Pants down“. This is a very popular variation – especially in the German Speaking part of Europe – of the card game Thirty-One. In Germany the game also commonly known as Schwimmen or also Knack, Schnauz, Wutz, Bull and many other names.

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Of course, like in Schnopsn, players can choose if they would like to play with a German or French card deck and there are three AI strengths, of which the highest is – as we think – pretty challenging. Furthermore, it can be chosen how many players should be in the game (from 2-4)

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As there are loads of regional and individual rule variations, we chose to include  three small rule variations to be selected for the first release, and we are waiting for user feedback which are the most popular rule variations to be included in future updates.

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A multiplayer option for up to four players has been included, where players can user their iPhone and iPads to setup a local game via bluetooth or WLAN. One of the four acts as the game host / server while the other just join in – it is also possible to mix human and AI players in a multiplayer game.

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If Hosn Obe manages to get enough users, online play is also considered to be added in one of the future updates, and with it some rankings and statistics … and maybe some more nice features

 

iTunes: Transferring the ownership of an app to another company

So for everybody who wants to transfer their apps from one business account to another (because they sold their app or – as we did – founded a subsidiary which focuses on app development) and wonders if this is possible, here’s the story. Unfortunately without an happy end 😉

As the founding of DonkeyCat was finished we wanted to transfer our apps (Schnopsn HD and Schnopsn Lite) from our mother company hs2n to the newly founded subsidiary DonkeyCat by changing the company behind our App Store Accounts. For Google Play, this was done within a few minutes, for Apples App store, however, we already suspected that it would not be that easy.

So we created a request to change the developer accounts company data in iTunes connect. Very soon (Apple developer support is – despite its reputation – in our experience very responsive) we got an e-Mail with questions and we provided them with answers and documents (like the legal registration) of the new company. Among those questions were the three crucial:

 Has the original company been dissolved, or is the original company still in business?
Has the new company bought or acquired the original company as a whole business?
Is the original company the same legal entity as the new company and is only undergoing a company name change?

None of them was the case, so we answered „no“ and sent the documents. Next day I got a phone call from Apple support stating, that if the new business is another legal entity and the old business still exists, the change is by no means possible. Only we could provide legal documentation, that the old company has been dissolved or acquired as a whole, then it would be possible.

For our case, the „solution“ would be to create a new account for DonkeyCat and then remove the apps from the old account and re-submit them for the new account.

The only thing that Apple can more or less guarantee is that you can keep the app name, other than that it is the same as submitting a completely new app so you would lose:

  • the update path to all existing, already installed versions of your app – will for sure disappoint your user base quite a bit, especially if you have a paid app
  • all ratings and reviews – for some apps, might be not a bad thing though, but our apps received very good reviews
  • all store rankings and therefore crucial discoverability in the App Store – so most of the marketing would have to start all over again

Furthermore you will have to go through the apple review process again, and even if this process may be quicker than initial submission, the app will be out of sale at least for a few days.

So, in short words: Transferring an App from one business account to another – or changing the legal entity of an existing business account – is simply not possible. 

Sorry, but the „solution“ apple offers is nowhere near an acceptable solution, I would not even call this a „workaround“.

This blog entry offers some very good information about the backgrounds – there is some speculation, that apple used the Tax-ID as some kind of key and therefore changing that Tax-ID is technically not possible – may be the case, but why is it then possible to change from individual to business?

At least, changing the bank account to the new company is possible without any problem, but this is also not really a clean solution.

OK, this is also somehow stated – not very easily discoverable though – in iTunes connect documentation so we should have known what we were up to … But as a developers we have to say that Apple should put some emphasis on solving this shortcoming … sure, Apple at them moment provides by far the best best platform – at least from a commercial point of view – for developing and selling apps. As competition – namely Google and Microsoft – is still quite a bit behind in store revenue, they are catching up and in the end of the day the success of a platform is determined by the acceptance of developers that provide high quality apps – so every company, even Apple, is well advised to listen and react to their problems and demands, and we (and pretty sure many other developers) would like to have this solved.

We are realistic enough not expecting to have this solved too soon, and as we are software developers ourselves, we know that a seemingly simple problem seen from user perspective might be a huge issue when looking at it being in the shoes of the people who build the system.

So we will have think of some new strategies for the Schnopsn product line … and who knows, every problem also opens up new opportunities 🙂