Archive for November, 2010

Congress in Your Pocket for Android

November 19, 2010

For two years, we have offered our applications for Apple and then, upon demand, BlackBerry. Today, we announce that we are adding Android to the fold. If you have a Droid, NexusOne, or another Android device, our professional congressional application is now available to you. Click here to see the new page on our website, which also offers screenshots.

Here is a peek at two what it looks like on your homescreen and the welcome page once you log in. Click on the screenshot below to see it in full view on a Droid.

The application offers many of the same features including searches for members, staff, committees, and by state. It also offers all of the essential information you need while you’re on-the-go including address, phone number, staff names, and a short bio. There’s campaign information, links to the official THOMAS congressional database and our partners LegiStorm, who provide all kinds of interesting information on staff salaries, earmarks, and trips. We also include increasingly vital links to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube where available.

You’ve got to tip your cap to Google as Android is becoming a serious player in the smartphone market. According to Business Week, Android market share is growing and might overtake both Apple’s iOS and RIM’s BlackBerry very soon. There are many reasons for this including the fact that Verizon carries Droids but not iPhones. Cost is also a factor as Android phones are significantly cheaper than iPhones and, while it’s not as good (IMO), they offer rich and interactive experiences. BlackBerry appears locked in the business market.

We are interested in what you think about the new version for Android. Please contact us at android at congressinyourpocket.com with your feedback. Also, feel free to give us your opinions below. Thanks again for your business and happy holidays!

(Not So) Lame Duck Update

November 17, 2010

As the “Lame Duck” Congress reconvenes for it’s final go-around, Apple is now reviewing our 5.2 versions of Congress in Your Pocket.  We’ve appreciated all of your feedback and suggestions throughout the 111th Congress and wanted to provide for you one last big, free update.

Here are the new and improved features coming soon:

  • New: Sens. Coons, Manchin; Rep. Stutzman
  • New: Election results in bios
  • New: Tap thumbnail for larger photo
  • New: Retina display splash page
  • New: Create notes locally without an account (Pro only)
  • Improved: Mobile search for congressional bills
  • Improved: Facebook and Twitter integration
  • Improved: Information page scrolling
  • Improved: Speed of over-the-air updates
  • Improved: Faster scrolling through lists

Below are are screenshots of two newbies who took office in special elections: Senator Coons and Rep. Stutzman:

 

We can’t tell you how often we’re told, “I can’t see what these people look like in your app — the pictures are too small!”  Point well-taken.  The photos are 100 by 100 pixels, which can look microscopic if you don’t have perfect vision.  The solution?  Tap on the member’s photo and you’ll now be treated (or not) to a larger version of the photo.  This was quite an undertaking.  There are 541 members of Congress (including delegates) and let’s just say that not everyone has a large picture handy.  If you work for a member of Congress and either (1) don’t like the photo or (2) have a larger version, please send it to us and we’ll put it in the next update.

Here is Speaker-designate John Boehner’s photo:

Speaker-designate John Boehner (OH-Republican)

Tap on that and you get this:

We are particularly proud of our redesign work on the Legislation page.  Many of you have asked us to make this easier on the eyes on your mobile device and we have taken that suggestion to heart.  Now, you can search for bills (e.g. H.R. 1) or words/phrases in bills (e.g. health, defense) and you’ll get the latest information from the official THOMAS database (named for Thomas Jefferson).  Here is a screenshot of that page, located in the More section of the apps:

This update will be the final one for the 111th Congress.  The new 112th Congress, which was elected on November 2nd, will be available to current users as an in-app purchase in January.  To reward your loyalty, we are pricing this update at the absolute lowest available to us: 99-cents.  That’s right, for less than a buck, you’ll have all of the new information on the 112th Congress right where you want it — in your pocket. Finally, for those of you who have been patient with us on the iPad version, it will be offered as a Universal App in January. If you already own a version of our congressional apps, you’ll get the iPad version for no additional charge with the 112th in-app purchase.