Silicon Prairie News

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March 16, 2012 by Danny Schreiber Only 18 days until Big Omaha. Get your tickets before they sell out!

Hammer time! The SPN app is now available in the iTune App Store for free.

Meet Silicon Prairie News, the app. Thanks to our friends at Ninth Division, a three-year-old mobile product development company, SPN is now available in the iTunes app store and is coming soon to the Android Market. The app features a homepage with the latest article and next event in the Silicon Prairie, a feed of our articles displayed by day and a list of upcoming events in the region.

We're especially excited about today's release, as its creators are long-time supporters of our work. In 2009, it was Ninth Division that came to us with a novel idea: "Your event, Big Omaha, needs an app," Ninth Division founder Andy Peters told us at the time. Peters has grown the feature list of the Big Omaha app each year, and we expect a few surprises up his sleeve for the Big Omaha 2012 app.

Just as Peters has added features to Big Omaha app over the years, he's added to his team and client list, too. We first interviewed Peters in 2009 when he went all-in on mobile development, a risky move as mobile wasn't as prominent as it is today. His latest move was bringing on Brain Langenfeld, who also worked on the SPN app. Jason Kelly, an app tester, and Adam Polt, an Android developer, also contribute to the work of Ninth Division but aren't a part of the team full-time. A recent notable client of Ninth Division's is Union Pacific, which hired Ninth Division to create its UP Steam app as part of its 150th birthday celebration.

Here's an overview video of the SPN app showcasing its features, such as adding an event from our event calendar to your personal calendar.

To learn more about the story behind the app and the features Ninth Division implemented, we conducted a brief email interview today with Peters.

Silicon Prairie News: Why did you want to create the app?

Andy Peters: I wanted to create this app for two reasons. First, we wanted the SPN community to have an app for their site. This is something I personally wanted for a while and I knew I wasn't the only one. Since we've done the Big Omaha apps in the past for the SPN community, everyone thought this would be a natural fit.

The other reason is that I wanted to experiment with a few things about mobile products. In addition to client work, we have been working on some of our own apps. There is going to be a great deal of learning that we can apply from having this app in the wild which will help our future apps and client work. The lessons we learn about product development along the way with the SPN app, we'll be to sharing which I hope will help some of the SPN readers as they set forth to create their next great thing.

SPN: What's one thing our readers should know about the app?

AP: We really hope everyone likes and uses it. This app was done as a side project because we wanted the app and had a hunch, so did most of the readers. If there is a feature, bug or something you care to just discuss, find the website (siliconprairienewsapp.com) and interact on the "Feedback / Support" link. Its a simple UserVoice site that I am still figuring out. We can only do better with this app. If people like and continue to use the app, we'll do more with it in the future.

SPN: What's one feature you'd like to let our readers know about? 

AP: If I had to pick it'd be this small gem: notice on the top navigation bar that when you flick between the Featured section (first thing you see), Articles and Events. See how it goes from "news" to "articles" to "events". Its a small touch that I liked. I point it out because you probably won't see it otherwise.

 

Credits: Photo by Danny Schreiber. Screenshots and video courtesy of Ninth Division.


Become a part of Silicon Prairie News mobile experience. Are you interested in reaching entrepreneurs, investors, creatives and other Silicon Prairie News readers in the startup community like Ninth Division? Silicon Prairie News has several options available. For more information, contact Geoff Wood at geoff@siliconprairienews.com.

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