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Why do people buy educational apps for their mobile devices?

For kids and their parents, educational apps offer fun and creative ways to learn. Apps like Sprout Games and Videos for the iPad and First Words with Phonics for Windows motivate kids to work on their reading, math and other classroom skills, often using a familiar character like Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat.

A study by global trade organization MEF finds that 17 percent of mobile device users worldwide download an educational app. In its recently released report analyzing regional and global trends for mobile education products and services, MEF finds that educational apps rank ninth among all app categories.

But learning is not the prime motivation for people downloading education apps. Many users see them as playful or fun; the MEF study finds that 47 percent of people who buy an app from an educational site cited the entertainment value.

You can read more about MEF’s study in the infographic below.


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On the surface, the premise appears a bit ridiculous: The president of the United States sitting down to discuss the health care law with a comedian best known for “The Hangover” movies.

But Zach Galifianakis’ “Between Two Ferns” sitdown with Barack Obama got everyone

talking about the Affordable Care Act this week. Website traffic to, the federally sponsored insurance exchange, jumped 40 percent after some 13 million people watched the “Funny or Die” online segment.

Content marketing professionals can learn something from this. Whether it is video, text or images, good and relevant content will draw in those interested in your message. They’re even willing to be sold on the brand, product or message if the content is compelling enough.

The “Between Two Ferns” segment was not focused exclusively on the Affordable Care Act. There’s plenty of humorous and satirical banter between Galifianakis and Obama. But the White House saw an opening to pitch the Affordable Care Act to a target audience segment of young adults receptive to the message, and the administration took advantage of it.

Companies looking to reel in a target audience with video content may want to consider these tips:

  • Be unique in your content. Make it something that has not been seen before.
  • Be professional. The more polished, well edited and complete the video is, the more receptive the audience will be.
  • Be promotional. Get the video out to the right people who will put it before the target audience.

How much is Samsung willing to commit to overcome Apple in smartphone sales? According to the Wall Street Journal, a lot.

The Korean electronics manufacturer spent an estimated $20 million on ads during the Academy Awards ceremonies Sunday. But the company’s biggest promotional coup came from Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres during the show itself.

It was with a Galaxy Note 3 that DeGeneres took the “selfie” seen round the world. The smartphone-generated photo of DeGeneres with Hollywood A-list talent is the most shared item on Twitter ever. It was retweeted nearly 3 million times since Sunday night.

Samsung ensured its product placement during the Oscars, according to the Journal, going so far as plugging its product during the red carpet entrance. ABC, the network broadcasting the Oscars, ran a clip of six aspiring filmmakers, equipped with Samsung devices, touring Disney Studios.

The lengths that Samsung went for marketing visibility – high-profile product placement supplementing its ad buy – is indicative of the steps companies are willing to take to promote its product.

Just a couple of shopping days left until Valentine’s Day. You didn’t forget, did you?

So, what’s the plan for your beloved? Chocolates. A dozen long-stemmed roses (at a substantial markup). Or maybe one of those big stuffed animals from the convenience store with the corny “Be Mine” stitched in its chest.

How about a virtual card? Or poetry?

There are a number of apps out there for your iPhone or Android smartphone that can help make the occasion special, even unique, for you and your significant other. Here are a few that come to mind:

Flowers, and FTD come to mind first, but there’s also The Bouqs. The online floral delivery startup launched a new app that allows customers to send flowers directly from their smartphone or tablet. The app runs on iOS and Android platforms, and provides “two click” sending of its farm-direct flowers to anyone you want.

Virtual Valentine’s card
valday2You can spend five bucks on a store card that rhymes. Or, you can download the Love Pic Booth app for Instagram and show an image of how you really feel. This camera photo app for iPhone and iPad lets you take photos, add frames, and create a romantic or poetic image for the background.

Romantic dinner

valday4Many restaurants are usually booked in advance for Valentine’s Day. Turn to iOs and Android apps like Open Table, NoWait and Zagat to Go ($9.99) to book a cozy restaurant for a romantic dinner for two.

Nothing says romance like a few spoken, or tweeted, words of verse. There’s an app for that, too. “Love Quotes!” is an iTunes app of famous, beautiful and inspirational love quotes and sayings by famous authors.

Valentine Radio is a downloadable app for iOs and Android devices. It’s easy listening mood music from a selection of 40 radio stations that you and your significant other will surely like.



The torch is lit, the competitions are on … the Games of the XXII Winter Olympiad are under way in Sochi, Russia.

If you’re big on figure skating, freestyle skiing or simply want to keep track of what country is leading the medal count, here are a few mobile apps to stay on top of the Winter Olympics action.

sochiart1_artSochi 2014 Guide: This mobile guide to the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi is produced for the organizing committee. You’ll stay up to date with the schedule of competitions and other events, and use an interactive map to navigate sports venues and much more.

NBC Olympic Highlights, NBC Sports Live Extra: As the official broadcast partner of the Winter Olympics, NBC Universal boasts saturation coverage of Sochi, and that doesn’t leave out mobile devices. The NBC Sports Live Extra app provides a live stream of the games that covers all sports and medal events. Some live streaming content will only be available to authenticated cable and satellite customers. NBC Olympic Highlights doesn’t have live feeds, but does offer images and video highlights for those seeking a brief synopsis of the results.

BBC SportBBC Sport’s app has been updated for the Sochi games. The app enables users to watch live action and highlights as well as keep up to date with other sports and news.

2014 Team USA Road to SochiThe app by the U.S. Olympic Committee presents the athletes wearing the uniforms in competition for the USA. There are in-depth athlete bios, photo galleries and video clips of your favorite athletes.

sochiart2_artSochi 2014 Results: Another app created for the Sochi organizing committee, you can get quick and easy access to the competition schedule and results and follow the medal races in real time.