Last week game publisher Electronic Arts unveiled the first ad-supported game for the iPhone. Lemonade Tycoon, as the name suggests, has you running a lemonade stand and is based on the popular PC game. It’s notable because at present it is one of the few free offerings from the video gaming giant.
The gameplay is basic, and to some might border on “Sim Work,” as you have to determine the location of your stand, how much sugar, ice cubes, lemons and cups to buy. Players can tweak their recipe just like in the old favorite and in real life. So if the mix is too sweet or two sour you might not get repeat customers, but at least there is no FDA or health inspectors to worry about.
But beyond the gameplay, what makes this stand out is that EA is trying to get the right mix of free to play, and paid-for content. If this works, it is likely we could see more ad-supported content. In the case of Lemonade Tycoon, the ads appear much like they do on EA’s online Pogo.com service, where an ad comes up after every few levels. The first ones seem to gather demographic information, and the like. It will be interesting to see where EA takes the ad model in mobile.
This Week’s Notable iPhone Apps:
- Quicken for the iPhone – Considering that tax season is winding down, file this news under better late than never. Intuit has released a free iPhone app that is a companion to its free Quicken Online service. And while this app isn’t designed to help you so much with taxes actually, it is there to give you better insight to your cash phone. While you need to add new cash transaction to the app, credit card transactions can be automatically picked up through the online version when the service checks in the financial institutions. There is even an ATM finder for those who are running short on cash! The app is available now from the Apple App Store.
- Air Mouse Pro – In addition to making calls, sending IM and all the other stuff, here is one of those really noteworthy things you can do with your iPhone. You can use it as a remote control from across the room. While there have been other apps that do pretty much the same thing, the Air Mouse Pro is a nifty app that transforms the handset into a trackpad with both full screen vertical and landscape modes, and even a remote keyboard with function and arrow keys. This is good for those times when you want to stretch out on the couch across the room from your desk, or for doing presentations during an important media. Best of all, this app is compatible with Macs and PCs. It is now available from the Apple App Store for $5.99.
- Zillow – If you’re thinking about buying or selling your home in this market, this free app might just come in handy. The app offers recent sales prices, information on property tax assessments and much more. The company even claims to cover about 95 percent of all homes in the United States. This GPS-enabled app will provide estimated prices so you can drive down practically any street and know if you’re even within the price range or whether you’ve suddenly found some true real estate bargains.
After Hour Apps: When the Workday is Done
- Simplify Media – While the iPhone has changed the way many people now use their mobile handset, it does require regularly syncing, especially if you’re the type of person who downloads a lot of music. But there is now a simpler way thanks to Simplify Media. This new app is available from the Apple App Store for $2.99 through May 14 (when the price goes up to $5.99), and it is an easy-to-install software program that makes it easy to stream music from your digital music library to your iPhone or iPod Touch. This allows you to save storage space, and removes the need to constantly sync with your remote devices. The streaming will work over Wi-Fi, EDGE and 3G networks, and is compatible with iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp and Rhythmbox.
- iStorytime – In the future, there will be kids who have fond memories of bedtime with their iPhone. This week FrogDogmedia has released the first three stories for the iPhone ($1.99) each, where a self-navigating and self-narrating book application can “read” to children. Kids can choose between two narrators with either a child or adult reading or even read the book with the narration off. And while this isn’t really meant to replace the bedtime reading, it is a good alternative to video games or movies while on the go. The first three stories including “Shoe-per Duper Shoes,” “The Brave Monkey Pirate” and “Binky the Pink Elephant.” These titles are available from the Apple App Store.
- Dane Cook Global – And after the kids are in bed there is this multimedia app from comedian Dane Cook, which offers exclusive videos, photos and text updates from Cook during his current “ISolated INcident – Global Thermo Comedy Tour.” iPhone and iPod touch users will be able follow the progress of the tour, get real-time updates and even download exclusive wallpapers for the phones. The app is available for $2.99 from the Apple App Store.