Thomas Suarez Wins Award For App Development – 12 Years Old!

A twelve year-old, Thomas Suarez, has won an award at the Tribeca Film Festival for apps development.  The award, called a “Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award,” came on the heels of a “Ted-X Talk” that drew over two million YouTube views.  Suarez, who created his first app when he was nine, has started his own company, called “CarrotCorp.”

His first app was called “Earth Fortune,” and his latest is called “Bustin Jieber,” in which players can “whack” an image of Justin Bieber as it moves across the screen.  Suarez has also started an apps club at his school.

Suarez was given the award by Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Craig Hatkoff, who watched the YouTube video of his Ted-X Talk.  In the talk, Suarez stated that schools need to provide kids with the technology and resources necessary to learn skills such as his, because he projects that a lot of future jobs will be in the apps economy.

Suarez also mentioned two more groundbreaking opinions that could help shape the future of apps development.  He said that a lot of kids would rather develop games than play them, and also said that the young must teach older people about new technology.

CarrotCorp apps are currently available on iPhone, but Suarez is in the process of learning how to create apps for Android.

A new app, GrabFan, allows users to bet game credits against other users on live sporting events.  The app already covers not only wins against the point spread, but also on myriad proposition bets.  Examples of prop bets are how many points a team will score, a margin of victory that changes throughout the game, and even individual scoring stats.  The game credits that a user wins can be used for discounts on merchandise or tickets.

Co-developer Steve Smith, a 25-year-old from San Francisco, has modeled his app after Zynga’s Words with Friends.  Smith believes that there is a wide open market for smaller sports apps at this time, especially for apps that are as nonj-intrusive as this one.

The app is constantly being tweaked; so far, the developers have added location-based updates, simplified their Facebook integration, and added more prizes.  There are some very creative bets on this app, and it even incorporates the sporting tradition of “talking smack.”  GrabFan is currently available free at the iStore.

A 28-year-old named Ryan Linn has developed a new hiking app.  It is called “Guthook’s Hiking Guide” after his “trail name.”  Linn is an experienced hiker based out of Maine, but has hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail.  The iPhone apps, sold for $4.99 each, include Camden Hills State Park,  Bald Rock Mountain, Ragged Mountain, and five apps for various parts of the Pacific Crest Trail.  Linn explains more at Guthooksguides.com.

A potentially game-changing app has been developed in a contest sponsored by Florida International University, as part of the Business Plan Challenge FIU track. The app, Geopon, is a geographically-targeted  loyalty program that incorporates coupons and a payment solution.

The app was developed by a company called Adir Mobile, out of Hollywood, Florida.  The CEO, Ida Meros, is already a veteran of apps development, having co-founded Check21.com, which provides electronic check and credit card gateway technology.  She also co-founded interactive media buying agency Axis Interactive Media.

In a recent interview, Meros said, “Unlike most of our competitors in this space that are singling in on one feature, we are the entire wallet solution ― payment, coupons, loyalty and more.”  She went on to add, “It’s behaviorally targeting, it’s geo-targeting, it’s demographically targeting, it’s a combination of many features and many technologies in one.

The app is an attempt to capitalize on an ever-growing mobile market.  In the US, it is estimated that ninety percent of consumers, or 216 million people, own a mobile device.  A recent study showed that approximately 37 percent of mobile device owners are using them to make purchases.  In addition, revenue in the mobile coupon industry is expected to grow from $5.4 billion in 2011 to over $43 billion in 2016.

Geopon is intended to be a “one-stop shopping” solution for the market, and they are constantly adding features.  They intend, for example, to make restaurant menus and movie times available within the app along with the coupons.  There are nine projected revenue sources for the app, divided into three categories: digital ad services, payment services, and loyalty services.

Geopon is set to launch “shortly,” first for Android, and then for iPhone a few weeks later.

Travel apps have become popular; the most popular free app is called GateGuru.  The app is available on both Android and Apple, and is more effective when the user has a network connection.

GateGuru gives a comprehensive list of standard airport features, such as ground transportation, baggage claims, rest rooms, shops, restaurants, Wi-Fi zones, lounges, spas, and ATM’s.  It also provides a lot of information about area shops and restaurants, with details on locations and price ranges.  The app even contains menus and reviews of the nearby restaurants.  It also provides current wait times at airport security checkpoints.

Frequent travelers can also download iFly Pro, which is $7.50 on Apple and Android, or Airport Transit Guide, which is available only on Apple and costs $5.50.  Both of these paid apps have limited free versions avaialble.

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